when books fail

I started a book today. Reading it, that is. I didn’t get far. Maybe two chapters, and I don’t really like it. I’m going to keep reading, because I thought the premise was so interesting, but I hope things improve. Here’s the major issue I’m having: over-explaining. For instance, a new character enters and begins talking to the other character, and the conversation is very As-You-Know-Bobish. The dialog is fairly stilted as well and instead of letting me sort through the clues, the writer gives clues, and then explains just in case I missed it. I’m not that stupid.

This is a common problem for newer writers (This is the writers fourth or fifth book, so . . . but I digress). It’s really easy to not trust your readers and yourself. It’s easy to say too much and not trust that your descriptions and your dialog will tell the story. It’s like saying: “Don’t do that!” he shouted. Do we need he shouted? I mean, isn’t it redundant? Or take this from my WIP:

He slipped her arbret sprinkled on a goldfruit, knowing she’d pleasure herself insensible with little help from him. As it was, he chewed malda bark to keep his prick hard and sat her on his lap facing away so that she couldn’t see the agony etching his face as she vigorously rode him. There was no danger—or hope—for pregnancy, the malda bark saw to that.

I’m hoping you figure out by the description that they are about to have sex, that he isn’t all that into it, that he’s sick and doesn’t want her to know, and he doesn’t want to get her pregnant. That, to me, should be fairly obvious. I could add on to it and actually say it again, but really, I only do that on some important enough to merit repetition. Sadly, the book I’m reading has a lot of obvious stuff that is then explained, yanno, just in case. So it’s driving me nuts. And like I said, I picked the book up because I love the premise. I should have downloaded the sample, I guess.


  • Lynsey

    That’s such a good way to describe it- “As you know Bobish,” lol. I read a book from a new author that told everything like that through the dialogue (or tried to). She had vampires sitting around saying” Well as you know (Bob), our race began a millennia ago when, blah, blah, blah” As if they would sit around saying that to each other!

  • Douglas Meeks

    Well let me list the ways a writer can ensure I do not finish:

    Leave your politics at home, this is entertainment

    Don’t insult large portions of the populace (had this happen recently by an indie author who books I like but when she suggested that everyone in Alabama was stupid and married their cousins, well that was the end of the book for me) I happen to live in Alabama and we have a higher portion of engineers and scientists than most of the country and the Space & Rocket Center is here because this is where most of the mental work was done, Bottom Line: Do your research.

    Make your characters consistent: We all change our minds a bit but major personality changes are a killer (check out what happened at the below link for Shadowflame by Diana Sylvan, worst author betrayal of her readers in my history). Hint: Most popular review is titled “God, I hated this book” that means you have really screwed up.


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