I’m a pretty forgiving person, especially when I’m reading a book or watching a movie/tv show. I understand what goes into creating a story so I’ll give the writer time to win me over. But there are a few things that will me make stop reading a book or viewing a movie/tv show.
1. Too much description: I’m still traumatized from reading Jane Eyre in high school. The two-jacked-up-people-finding-love-with-each-other is my type of premise. But the paragraphs of description made it hard for me to enjoy the story. I was more interested in seeing the relationship develop between Jane and Edward than knowing how a room looked. Just give me the basic description and my imagination will do the rest.
When I encounter a lot of description in a book, I start skimming. I want to get to the meaty parts. The action. If the description of people and things start to slow the flow of the story, I go into skip mode. I start skipping paragraphs, then pages. Chances are good, I’m not going to finish the book. I might (this is a very tiny might) skim the last chapter to see how the book ended.
2. Stereotypes: Racial and ethnic stereotypes will cause me put a book back on the shelf. And I get especially irked if the other characters are well rounded. I wonder why the writer didn’t put in the same effort in to make the stereotyped character just as three-dimensional as the other characters.
In a story I read that had a racially stereotyped character, I think the writer was trying to show the that character was African-American. To do this the writer had the character speak in street slang and use broken English. I was so put off by the character’s speech, I couldn’t finish the scene. Plus, I couldn’t understand what the character was saying and couldn’t believe she’d worked at a prestigious law firm as an secretary. That story didn’t get finished.
3. What the heck? Endings. I don’t expect a everybody-lives-happily-ever-after from every story I read, but I need some type of closure. Even if it’s the unhappy kind– hero dies soon after he and the heroine admit their feelings or heroine is killed right before they’re going to “ride off into the sunset”. I won’t be happy, but I can accept that end. And eventually, I’ll get over the fact the couple didn’t get to be together.
But endings that don’t really give me a clue of what happens next to the characters. I close the book (or turn of the movie) feeling cheated and like I wasted my time, especially if I connected with the main characters. Recently, I watched a movie about a friendship that formed between two unlikely people. I didn’t expect them to hook up romantically at the end, but I at least expected their friendship to have a future. At the end of the movie, hero jumps in his car and drives off with the heroine watching from the curb. I watched all the credits in case there’s a clip of the guy coming back or something. No clip. Just lots of names scrolling up the screen. The ending took away from the rest of the movie, which I totally enjoyed.
What has made you stop reading a book or watching a movie/tv show?
To find out how my writing buddies pet peeves are, check out their links below.