I have hundreds of books on my shelves that I have begun to read but for one reason or another, I have never finished reading. Of course I vow to finish reading them at some point in my life, but for now they will continue to collect dust unless I need quick fix for chronic insomnia or I'm in the mood for some gentle self torture. I will not name authors or book titles, but I will tell you why I never finished reading YOUR book.
1. Too slow
If I've made it to page ten and nothing has happened. No one has lost anything; not life, a loved one, money, fame, integrity... nothing... nada. Then we have issues and I'm officially pissed off. Your character cannot have the same problem in chapter two as they did in chapter one. I'm not saying kill off someone by page one, but jolt me into caring enough about the outcome of the protagonist to make me turn pages. Isn't that what readership is about? Turning pages, so I can finish the book and buy your next one. Most readers brag about the books they couldn't put down, not the books they could.
2. Your character names sound like drinks I want to taste or cars I want to own
I'm all for creative names. I can never forget the name Sula Peace from the novel "Sula", Humbert Humbert from the novel "Lolita" and Mr. from the "Color Purple." But once I see characters named after cars and drinks, I instantly feel suckered. It screams I am lazy...so lazy I couldn't put in the effort to give you a memorable name. However, this is an easy fix. Go to baby name sites (babyname.com) and look up names, flip through the phonebook or look at the credits at the end of a film. There is no reason not to come up with something that titillates the reader's mind.
3. Your characters are not believable
Have you ever read a book that made you think..."yeah right?" Some actions that characters perform or traits they exhibit seem unrealistic. Sometimes it's evident the author has not done his or her research. Unless it's science fiction; I can't believe outright lies. You can tell me a baby walked at ten months old, but you can't convince me it talked right out the womb.
4. Typs....Oops I meant typos
I have read books by popular authors before and stumbled upon a typo or grammatical error here or there. But if I have to re-read a sentence more than once because of a typo, I'm not happy. I can forgive three or four max, per book, but that's my personal limit. I am not a translator (although that does sounds cool) and I haven't played Scrabble in years (sorry Oprah).
5. Not enough white space
I need variation in sentencing and paragraphs. Short, long, short, long, short. If I see too little white space, I've already told myself this is going to be long and drawn out. However, you can take the same sentences and break them up into smaller paragraphs. Most novels I've attempted to read have had about thirty sentences per page. Now if I take those thirty sentences and divide them into two paragraphs only, that looks like alot of reading with no pauses and the task of reading can seem daunting. But if there are five paragraphs, it's easier to feel you're making progress. It's all an illusion and I'm willing and eager to believe. I want to feel like I've accomplished something for my effort.
What are some reasons why you couldn't finish reading a book?