Top 7 Reasons Readers Stop Reading

Top 6 Reasons Readers Stop Reading

Ever wonder what a novel’s nightmares would look like, if it could dream? Naturally, I can only guess. But I’d say the spine-tingling fear of being put down is probably at the top of the list. When reader stop reading, poke their bookmark in between the pages, stretch, yawn, and drop the novel back on their nightstands, it’s a terrifying moment for both novels and novelists alike. This is the moment we’ve worked and sweated and prayed to avoid. And yet it’s a problem that few of us will entirely escape in our careers.

This week, I decided to take a highly unscientific poll in an effort to discover the most common reasons readers stop reading. Below are the bulk of my results, gleaned from Twitter and Facebook.

1. Unworthy Characters

At the top of the list of complaints was the unworthy character. Nothing makes a reader slap a book down faster than a boring, unrealistic character:

Jen Brubacher: I don’t care about the characters, and so I don’t need to know what happens to them next.

Jane Lebak: Mile-long sentences ornamented with clichés, flat characters, cardboard villains, author relying on gimmicks. Yeah. Not reading.

Adriela Ashford: Boring characters. I’ll tolerate a lot as far as contrived storylines go, but if the characters aren’t likable, fugetaboutit.

2. Lack of Plot Progression / Poor Pacing

People read because they care about characters; but they also read because they want to be entertained by the unexpected twists and careening turns of the plot. Let them down, bore them with clichés, or put them to sleep with nonevents, and they’re not likely to stick around:

Lorna G. Poston: Unbelievable plot, unless it’s a fantasy; underdeveloped storyline. I stopped reading a book just recently. It was a nice story, but nothing happened and the scenes didn’t fit together. I ended up not caring what happened to the main character.

Jodie Bailey: Problems that could have been solved in the first ten pages, but they drag out for 300.

Naomi Musch: PREDICTABILITY. I may know that it’s going to end well, but I don’t want to be a chapter ahead of the author the entire way. That makes the journey so dull!

3. Too Much Description

The days of Dickens’s and Austen’s pages and pages of descriptive settings are long gone. Readers today want the scene sketched in a minimum of details:

Tamera Kraft: Long flowery descriptions or narrative that doesn’t do anything to further the story. Too much and I’ll set it down in a heartbeat.

Coralee Walther: Going into so much detail that you lose the flow of the story or it becomes really boring.

Kristina Seleshanko: Dry writing. That’s a big vague, I realize, but usually it means too much description and not enough action.

4. No Emotional Connection

Readers want stories to last beyond just mere entertainment value. They want to connect with stories and characters on a deeper level. In other words, they want to read stories that matter to them personally:

Tommie Lyn: If it’s “wooden,” i.e., creates no emotion in me. It may be technically perfect… and beautiful prose… but if there’s no human element behind those well-chosen words that touches my heart as well as my brain, I can’t seem to get into it, and I’ll put it down.

MarChessa Taylor: A good story evokes an emotion from you, even if you’ve never been in the life situations mentioned therein; you find yourself in the story or imagining it with pictures in your mind. You find yourself relating or getting excited about getting to the next page.

5. Poor Dialogue

Dialogue should easily be one of the best parts of any story. Readers love moving, witty, realistic dialogue. What they don’t love are forced and clichéd conversations:

Adriela Ashford: If the dialogue is too stuffy, slangy, or forced, I won’t read it. And overuse of names. In real life, we don’t constantly call each other by our proper names—why would we in a book?

6. Too Preachy

Even as they desire to be moved by deep and powerful themes, readers are adamant in their dislike of “preachiness.” Trying to force an agenda on a reader will get your book nowhere but dusty:

Holly Heisey: I don’t like books that try to cram a message down your throat.

This list of ours certainly isn’t exhaustible, but it’s a good place to start in our quest to keep readers pawing through our pages as fast they as they can.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion? What do you think are the most common reasons readers stop reading a story? Tell me in the comments!

Top 7 Reasons Readers Stop Reading

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Don’t forget about “Lack of Research”. When the writer has a lot of information wrong, and the reader knows, they stop reading.

  2. Good point. Nothing kills suspension of disbelief faster than a writer who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  3. Good points. There are a lot of movies I wish I could just turn off because of the reasons on your list, but I just keep thinking, maybe I’m wrong, maybe it will get better….

    I can honestly say, since I read your last book in two days, that I did not want to put it down. :O)

  4. I very rarely put a book down, but that’s thanks to my OCD tendencies more than anything. Ironically enough, some of my favorite books have been ones that I didn’t like right up until the ending. So there’s definitely something to be said for not giving up on a book.

    I’m pleased beyond words that Behold had you hooked. No nightmares tonight!

  5. Have to disagree on #5. That one really depends on personal taste, and also on the genre. I like a page turner, and nothing annoys me more than an exciting story being interrupted by a romantic or relationship subplot. I’m still grinding my teeth over a story about a search for lost treasure that got mirred down for most of the book in a marital angst subplot. I know there’s an audience for that kind of thing, but I’m not one of them. I even write in omniscient viewpoint, which is less emotional than third.

  6. Although I definitely agree with you about the vagaries of personal taste, I don’t think “emotional connection” necessarily means either romance or relationships. Emotional connection is just a matter of making the reader *care* about the characters.

  7. I have become an intolerant reader. I’ve realized over the years that there are A LOT of good books, and I just don’t waste my time reading bad ones. I’ve put down books for all the reasons pointed out in your post, as well as a couple in the comments.

    Another reason I stop reading is confusing descriptions–fight scenes and such where I just can’t follow what is happening.

    And, another thing–head jumping. I can’t take books that jump into too many points of view. I prefer books that stick to one or two, even three or more if done right. But if I’m bouncing around through the whole book and have to constantly stop to see whose head I’m in, down it goes.

  8. Although head-jumping is accepted in well-written omniscient POVs, I’m not a fan of it either. I prefer tight, deep 3rd or 1st-person.

  9. Wonderful post ~ all good points!

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Lorrie!

  11. A good list with good examples. All great things to weed out of a WIP. A novel really has to have a lot of things working together for a reader to keep reading!

  12. Probably why bad novels are easier to find than good ones!

  13. Great post!

    The couple things that makes me put a book down is flat/unworthy characters. Also, if the author doesn’t take me to the next chapter wanting more. As a reader, I need to be hooked right away, I have no problem putting a book down and never reading it again (same goes for movies.)

    I’m sure I’ve missed out on good ones that way, but I don’t have the time to slog through a poorly written book. Hopefully, as I write mine, that will help me 🙂

    Very informative- as usual. Love this blog 🙂

  14. That’s a good addition: Poor chapter closers. Time constraints alone will cause a reader to set a book down at the chapter break. The trick is ending the chapter on such a way that the reader can’t wait to come back to the book.

  15. Good one! I’m tweeting this…

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  16. I think lack of research, like Sarah said; flat characters and taking too long to get to the story are the only things that will cause me to put a book down.

    Taking too long to get to the story is what killed my interest in the Wheel of Time series. I tried to read the first book and wanted to stab my eyes out with boredom after the first chapter. It didn’t help that everyone who enjoyed the book said “oh, you have to get past the first 50 pages before it gets good.” Yeah, I don’t care. I want to find out at least a glimmer of the story before then.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Great list! I’m just learning how to write, so I will look at things differently going forward, but here are some things that have been known to turn me off:

    1) BAD writing. I don’t want to read any book where I, as a complete novice, find myself saying aloud at one in the morning, “Heck, I could have written this better!” It’s insulting and not unlike a blind date with a man who uses double negatives and won’t stop talking about how sexy his ex is. Do you leave him at the pub or stay around out of kindness?

    2) Too many characters. Diana Gabaldon did this in one of her novels. By page 40 I was like, “Huh? Who is this? Is he the cousin of the daughter’s ex-spouse? I give up.”

  19. I could add one more thing to the list that’s not here: copycat-ism. If I’ve read three (say) “vampire-slaying-sexy girl cops who wear low-rise Jeans and high heels while taking down the BIG BAD Vampire” books, or Sex in the City copies already this month, dear God, I don’t want to read another–in any form! Don’t just write the same old thing; surprise me with something new. Be original, and I’ll probably love you forever. 🙂

  20. @Elizabeth: Thanks!

    @Matthew: Couldn’t agree more about The Wheel of Time. It qualified for a lot of the points in this post, IMO.

    @Heather: Too many characters is an excellent addition. Not only is it confusing, it shows a lack of finesse on the author’s part.

    @Anonymous: Yeah, a little originality goes a long way.

  21. I agree with all but #3. I think that is only true in Christian circles. In the main publishing markets, sex sells. Like hotcakes!

  22. I just gave up on Moore’s “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Childhood Pal of Christ”. Based on the raw material of the Bible and Christ’s life, I was expecting some sly satire and dark humor, and even beyond the first two chapters’ worth of obvious jokes, and inconsistent tone, I held out hope that it would get better. But it never did.

    Where I’d hoped to find clever insights and a fascinating, funny new take on Christ and the Bible, I found what amounts to a poor standup comedy routine based on Christ and the Bible. The author didn’t press boundaries at all, and repeatedly went for the low-hanging fruit where the humor is concerned.

    Such a disappointment. Lesson learned as a novelist: if you’re going to take on Big Ideas and Sacred Cows, don’t puss out about it. Be brave and irreverent.

  23. @Anonymous: I’ll grant you that my “survey” was answered primarily by Christians.

    @April: The authors that make it big – and are are remembered for years to come – are those that take big chances and don’t look back.

  24. I would say what makes me stop reading a book would be: bad language, bad content, or that the story and characters don’t mean anything to me.

  25. What you say backs up the bulk of the responses I received. Thanks for commenting!

  26. I think you hit on about all the reasons I put a book down. I stopped reading one just a few days ago because the writing was so over the top that I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. I think the adverb quota for the whole book was met in the first 5 pages. Overly flowery or descriptive writing is a major turnoff for me.

  27. Overuse of adverbs are one of my pet peeves as well – though I wonder if I’d notice them as much if I weren’t a writer…

  28. Great post and something for all writers to be thinking about. I’d like to add ‘no hook’ to the list because if I haven’t gotten into the story by the end of the first chapter (or ridiculously long prologue in the case of some fantasy novels) then I tend to put the book down and find something else to read.

  29. Ah, yes, the “nothing-happens-in-the-first-50-pages” nightmare. I’ll definitely second that!

  30. Good post!!

    Gratuitous sex/language will turn me off first and foremost. If I pick up a book and there’s a scene I object to, down it goes.

    Lack of originality is the next thing that gets me. I want to be shocked, surprised, thrilled, awed by what I read. I want to think “Wow, I always FELT that but never knew how to say it!”

    So if it doesn’t make that, then once more I’ll put it down.

    …….oh, btw. Your writing grabs me by the throat from the first page and I could NEVER put it down. 😀

  31. “I always felt that but never knew how to say it” – well put! I think that’s what we’re all looking for in fiction, in one sense or another. We want to see how life is interpreted through someone else’s eyes, so that we can see our own lives a little bit better.

    And, thank you. I appreciate that a lot. 🙂

  32. I try and not put down a book. I like to know why the writer has put me off reading any further. If the book has graphic sex scenes with nothing left for my imagination to play with, I tend to put the book down.
    Interesting post.

  33. I’m like you. It takes one heckuva bad to make me put it down. And, actually, seriously disturbing content issues are about the only thing that makes me skip a book.

  34. What a great post! Great writing advice in here.

  35. Glad you found it useful!

  36. One of the things I’ve heard often about TG is “i had a hard time putting it down” … so I did my job…does that mean 100% of my readers will keep reading, well I hope so *laugh* – but who knows…however, it’s nice to hear that and it’s something I am happy about.

    For me, character is everything, so if the writer doesn’t allow me to be engaged with the character(s), then I lose interest. Also, too much narrative and barely there dialogue – I tried to read a book, recently, that is a huge best seller, but it was almost all narrative and very little dialogue – I kept becoming distracted! the writing was gorgeous though… 🙂

  37. As far as I’m concerned, dialogue is about the most fun part to write too!

  38. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

  39. I tend to stop reading if the author’s worldview is clearly different from mine. I’m a natural optimist, and life is too short to read depressing fiction.

    I also stop reading if the author doesn’t seem to have a worldview. I don’t want the novel to be preachy, but it should be about something more than just the plot.

    Regarding #3, the key word is “gratuitous.” Sex sells, but lack of taste severely limits the audience.

  40. I enjoy reading about the worldviews of others. An open mind is one of the best assets a reader can have. However, I agree about a “lack of worldview.” I like stories that have something to say – without being preachy.

  41. For me the story question has to be obvious within the first forty pages, otherwise I won’t stick with it. I need there to be an important question that I want answered by the end of the book (and no sooner.) If a book (or a movie/TV show, for that matter) answers the question before it’s over (and doesn’t replace it with something even more fascinating/interesting), I’ll just walk away.

  42. All of fiction a question. If somebody’s not asking what’s gonna happen next, then pages aren’t going to keep turning.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Oh, this list is just great. I found myself nodding along to all of them. Plus, it covers all the reasons I can think of.

    I was wondering if I could put a link to this post on my blog and use the seven reasons with my own thoughts on them?

    Would be great 🙂

    It’s a top list for all writers to consider and all readers can relate too.

  45. Sure thing! Send me a link when it’s up; I’d love to read your thoughts.

  46. That covers most of it. Sometimes, though, I just put a book down because I’m not in the mood to read it. I can come back later and enjoy it

  47. I rarely put books down and only then if I’m bored out of my mind. I wouldn’t consider myself an emotional person, so I don’t know that I’ve ever made a decision not to read a book based on my mood. But I’m, admittedly, pretty anomalous about these things!

  48. I have been visiting various blogs for my Term Papers research. I have found your blog to be quite useful.Keep updating your blog with valuable information… Regards

  49. Glad the information was of use!

  50. Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.

  51. Great quote!

  52. Anonymous says

    Oh, well, this is very interesting indeed! Thank you!

    I agree with the fact we have to care about the characters. For me, it´s the most important part of the story.

    PErsonally, I don´t read books when the theme or the settling does not interest me (like epic stories).

    What I really want is to see those characters in interesting situations and moving forward. That is: I can stand a character who does not know what does he or she want.

    Thanks! 😀

    Have a great day!


  53. In every good book, plot and character have to work together, each moving the other forward. But I admit, I’m more likely to forgive a weak plot than I am a weak character. If I love the characters, I’ll hang around even if the plot is unimpressive.

  54. Yes, of course they have together and to some extend they even depend from each other, but you got exactly what I meant ^^


  55. Great minds. 😉

  56. Think alike 😛

  57. One thing that puts me off the most is when the author cares too much for the character(s) that they make everything easy for them. When I expect a challenging journey or a bigger troubles for the protagonist, and seeing they got the easy way out of it most of the time, is a sign for me to close the pages.

  58. No conflict, no story. Writers have got to be more than a little mean to their characters.

  59. Hi K.M.

    Brilliant post as usual. My pet hate is repetition of words. I like authors to show they’re actually thinking of what they’re writing and repetition just ain’t cool. It’s like they can’t be bothered thinking of another word because it’s just too much effort.

  60. We all have our writing tics, and repeated words are one of them. It’s amazing sometimes to run a search through a manuscript and realize how many times you’ve used a particular word or phrase.

  61. Pacing is primarily what kills a book for me. I can deal with unworthy characters, lackluster dialogue, preachiness and gratuitous sex and violence, but if the story doesn’t move forward at a good pace, I’ll put the book down.

    One book I recently put down started with an unnecessary prologue and then proceeded with three (long) chapters consisting mostly of flashbacks. It was like putting the story on pause to say, “Oh, by the way, you should know all this stuff first.” I disagreed. The author contacted me later saying that the story really got going in chapter four, encouraging me to continue, but I didn’t. He’d already let me down too much for me to trust him.

    I do get bored with lengthy passages of description, but will skim them if they aren’t too frequent. If a book is too heavy on description, I’d probably put it down. Did that to one “classic” not too long ago.

  62. Prologues are one of my pet peeves. Unless you’re brilliant, please don’t write one.

    • Joanna Marie says

      Haha, prologues… yes. 😛 Honestly, I just skip or skim through them most of the time, because they usually add literally nothing to the story and just waste time reading about something that could easily have been slipped into some dialogue in chapter 10.

  63. I agree with all of these points. I would add foul language and overly described innuendo. I know that’s a personal thing. But I won’t read trashy books. I have stopped books I have been crazy excited about because of the amount of foul language and recently I put down a really good book in the middle because the author switched from writing about relationships to daydreaming about what the characters would look like without their clothes. Totally ruined it.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is something that’s really important to keep in mind depending on your audience and genre. A misuse will get the book tossed out no matter its virtues.

  64. I stop reading when after around forty pages I get really tired of the plot, characters, voice and setting of a story to a point where each page is an immense effort. Sometimes it’s only a question of ‘feeling at home’ with how a story is told. I don’t like stories where the voice and style take the attention of the reader away from what’s happening, few cases work in this direction, one of them would be China Mieville’s books where the way the story is told is most of its allure. I also don’t like too rational ways of telling a story or when you are full of questions which remain unanswered after the initial forty pages. So, a lot of factors can make you quit and each reader behaves in another way.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, it is important to realize (as a writer) that readers’ habits are ultimately very subjective. There are certain things that tend to annoy the majority for readers, but everyone has their pet peeves as well.

  65. This is already mentioned here — boring characters. If the storyline is slightly cliche and the writing style is bland, but if the characters are original and creative, I will keep reading. Otherwise I will put the book down.
    Which leads me to another point — the writing style has no style at all. If it’s just narrating and describing events like a screenplay would, I will put the book down.
    Thank you for this post! It definitely pointed out some areas in my writing that I need to work on. =)

  66. Gosh, I guess we are all different and that is why it´s so hard for me to find an author I really like, right now I have only two. My number one reason is far from being in this list: A BOOK POORLY WRITTEN! It doesn´t have to be poetry, but I want a smart use of language. The writer has to care about the sound of his words, their meaning, and all and use them with a lot of wit. Plain language is boring. I agree with the dialogue part, it´s what made me leave the last book I stopped reading. I´m not bothered by descriptions or by the preachy side. I would rather have a preachy book than an empty one. That makes me never read the author again. I need the emotional concection and the meaning! Not just pointless action or mistery.
    I have read so many brilliant stories that are kept from being brilliant books by a poor use of language it´s frustrating…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is a really big one for me right now too. I will scan the first page of a book, and if the author doesn’t immediately demonstrate skillful use of language, I usually don’t read on.

  67. Joanna Marie says

    This is a great list… Characterization is definitely #1 for me. If I don’t care about the characters, I’m not going to finish the story, and adversely, if I DO deeply care about the characters, I will often let minor plot holes slide and not care about them so much.

    Another big issue for me (though this does not usually affect traditionally published books, but mainly self-published), is a large amount of spelling and grammatical mistakes. One or two, I expect to see, and have seen even in a traditionally published book that’s been through several editors, but when there are spelling and grammar issues marring every few pages… I’m going to put the book down.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Regarding characters: totally. If you make me love your characters, I’ll forgive just about any other problem in the book.

  68. I have a seventh. I was told by my local bookshop that somebody returned my last book claiming he couldn’t read it on account of all the spelling and grammatical errors in it. Thank God, he was the only one who thought this.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says


    • robert easterbrook says

      You know, the law, where I am, doesn’t support returning a book as it is one of those rare commodities you can buy in a department store and not be allowed to return it due to it being faulty… unless the fault is a missing page or two or something else strange that happened to it while it was being printed and bound.

      So the purchaser cannot return a book simply because of spelling and grammatical errors and a crappy plot or lousy characters and pathetic world building. The law doesn’t cover these things, unlike a faulty toaster.

      So Larry Niven’s suggestion, for instance, that the writer has a contractual obligation to satisfy the reader’s every whim is based on a false premise because it assumes that the law will have something to say about when it fact it doesn’t.

      So if the person who brought your book back to the bookstore and got a refund, for example, for the above-mentioned reasons, did so without the support of the law. And this is something I find interesting about the book industry, that it can mass produce a product, sell it in a department store alongside toaster, but the toaster is the product with a money back guarantee.

      You can’t return a book simply because it was boring. Interesting, isn’t it.

      • Maybe the store manager should have informed him of the law. Thankfully, the returned copy got sold again a few weeks later. Still, you make a very interesting point. The same applies to music. You can’t return a record just because you didn’t like it.

  69. Nathaniel Szymkowicz says

    Good list, I’m a little stubborn when it comes to stop reading though. I prefer to give an author the benefit of the doubt before I try to destroy there work on amazon. However, you have me worried about my series, specifically how it’s all going to end. It’s dripping with social, moral, and philosophical dilemmas and ends with my protagonist giving a big speech on the precipice of catastrophe repeating itself. How do I stop a moment like this getting overly preachy?

  70. Well this post was certainly well received 😀 Seems we all have our pet peeves and this is a wonderful jumping off place for the discussion.

    I rarely start a book I won’t finish BUT there are a few ‘killers’ that have led to a speedy ‘scan’ and ditch reading. Poor writing will break the deal, although I rarely buy a really badly written book since I prefer to go to the bookstore and actually skim through and see if I like the writing and voice.

    Lack of a character I can ‘connect’ with is always certain to get a book put aside. A couple of years ago I was very hopeful about a new fantasy series… within the cast of thousands I found one character I actually was willing to follow. The author killed him (needlessly and I was done. There was no one else in the series I was interested in. Similarly I will struggle to keep reading if the main character annoys/disappoints me. Recently began reading a popular cross genre book …until the supposedly competent and capable heroine took a turn for whiny and needing to be carried like a china doll by the male main character. Done with her.

    It is interesting to see how many individual and personal preferences dictate when a book is put aside. No wonder authors are so nervous to see that a ‘majority’ of readers makes it to The End.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Very true. This is why, as authors, we need to understand we’re only writing for a select group of readers (probably people very much like ourselves). We can’t possibly please everyone, and we don’t have to. That doesn’t in any way negate the need for excellent writing, but within that broad field, our options are as vast as our preferences.

  71. robert easterbrook says

    Geez, I just got this post on FB and it’s already chockers with comments!

    Thanks for the caveat about the survey being unscientific, it made it easier to switch off the science nerd. 😉

    Point No. 3 though upsets me immensely. Can you guess why? Because it reflects the downward spiral reading is experiencing these early decades of the 21st Century. And any writer who submits to this kind of pressure will be guilty of contributing to the growth of ADD. The inability of people to cope with Dickens or Austen reveals something terrible about society and its current decline.

    Authors of Pulp fiction don’t realise the gravity of the situation when they dismiss or disparage authors from the 19th Century; it reveals a lot about their attitude to literacy and the role literature, even Pulp fiction, plays in the development of cognitive skills, especially reading. 😉

    I’ll stop preaching now, and say how much agree with these points, to a certain degree. These aspects of a ‘good novel’ can be achieved in literature as much as in Pulp fiction, and tend to think that when they’re not achieved in Pulp fiction that the author failed.

    I speak from experience: I’m a failure at achieving all the points to a high degree of success in my novel writing, and this can cause me great grief. And I don’t know what to do about it except to keep on writing, hoping that a miracle will occur, even though I don’t believe in miracles. However, I believe I can learn how to make these aspects better and will aim for that.

    But I think the thrill of reading a great book achieved when reading a great book in the 19th Century has been lost and there’s no getting it back because people can’t cope with reading lots of words whether it’s beautiful prose or great exposition. I sighed when I hear someone say to me that readers no longer appreciate it when an author describes a character’s face in detail or describing what a piece of fruit tastes like. Give ’em mind-numbing violence and the heat of sex and they’ll thank you. Let them eat cake, said Marie-Thérèse.

    But I do think reading a good should nourish me in some way…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      As someone who dearly loves the classics, I definitely get where you’re coming from, and there *is* certainly a regrettable degree of dumbing down that has occurred in some of our modern literature. But some of the changing preferences for descriptions–both in degree and style–aren’t necessarily a negating of *good* description, so much as simply an evolution in style.

      Modern style dictates much more showing versus the telling that was acceptable in the 18th and 19th centuries. More showing allows for more subtext, which makes a certain amount of description redundant.

      I love Austen and Dickens–but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the modern evolution of good fiction either.

  72. robert easterbrook says

    Ouch! that felt like a swift kick to the shins. Well, almost. 😉

    So it would have been better to say I don’t much like that style. 😉 Meaning, I prefer the two centuries gone before, where few today seem to venture. 😉

    However, I do think the new style would not have eventuated if people didn’t agree with it… change doesn’t happen for no reason. A bit like the robotics revolution which has invaded my field of work making me redundant… robots are now the new teachers.

    Some of my students used to call me Mr Robot, and now there is a real Mr Robot. Soon Robots will be writing our stories, how do you feel about that? 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Nah, not a kick in the shins. Just a neighborly nudge in the ribs. 😉

      And, yes, the subjectivity of everyone’s varied reaction to the styles of today and yesteryear are all totally valid in their own right.

  73. Lorna G. Poston says

    Someone asked me if I’d read a novel by a certain author and if I liked it. I couldn’t remember if I liked it or not because a good number of years had passed since I read it. So I decided to give it a re-read in order to let the person know my honest review. In the first 16 pages, I counted 43 em dashes. This guy seriously loves using the em dash.

    That was one reason I gave up on it. Taking my Lord’s name in vain was another.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “Hi, I’m K.M. Weiland–and I have em-dash problem–no, really–I admit it!”

      • Lorna G. Poston says

        Hah! I do use the em-dash, but I try to watch how often I use it. This particular author could have benefited from an editor. :p The overuse of the em-dash may have not been a good enough reason to quit reading, but it bugged me. And the one I’m reading now I may quit because I’m bored out of my mind.

  74. Good advice and they are reasons why I have quit reading books.

  75. Long words are Latin words

  76. I am quite sure that the store manager made the refund because of a desire to maintain goodwill in the community. Talking about laws in such a situation doesn’t tend to do that. Had I been the store manager, I would have made the refund with an apologetic smile.

    But then, I’m not a store manager.

  77. I read a book (the title of which I won’t write here for reasons that will become apparent) that had a good plot, great villains and a hero that the reader can connect with.
    However, it had two fatal flaws: the dialogue was too stuffy and formal, and it kept using the word “perpetually”.
    I think some of my own writing could be becoming like that; what do I do to make dialogue more casual?

  78. Nice Post,
    That is the reason why I like to read books.

  79. fantastic atricle on why we reads books in digital era. Thanks for sharing this informative article

  80. Readind in 2020 is almost gone. Peoples like watching Videos in comprison to reading a book or article. This article clear that how we can attract our readers. Thanks for this article. Keep updating with the good content.

  81. I’m reading through your archives 🙂 and finding a lot of helpful stuff! I am wondering though, after reading through this article whether you edited it at some point to remove “objectionable content” as a reason? It is the number one reason I will put down a book (or not even look at it to begin with). I read your Behold the Dawn and really appreciated how you handled what could have been “steamy” scenes…but I guess I’m wondering/concerned whether your viewpoint on this has shifted and whether your later books have changed standards? I also really appreciated the lack of language, etc in Behold and Dreamlander. I have found that if i read anything dirty, thinking i will be fine…i find myself surprised by that stuff rising unbidden to the top of my mind…and my tongue, especially at the times and places I least want it to. 😛

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I don’t remember, but if the podcast is different, I must have. I don’t like the term “objectionable content,” since what each individual objects to is always different and personal. But, no, the content in my fiction hasn’t changed.

  82. Matteo Masiello says

    My biggest reason is more practical. I don’t I’ve the time. Many books are too long and not worth the commitment. There are too many authors to choose from in any given genre of my interest so I can’t decide who is worth reading. Gradual boredom with writers I have read for years as they are not the least bit original in ideas or style. They don’t seem to be interested in evolving as a writer.


  1. […] e reza para evitar o problema que provavelmente todos nós escritores vamos passar um dia. No site Helping Writers Become Autors tem um pesquisa “Altamente Não-Científica” sobre o que faz as pessoas largaram um romance […]

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