Over the past few days, I’ve been reading a book that had been recommended on multiple sites and was so popular, it had a pilot created for a TV series (which was unfortunately not picked up.)
Unfortunately, it took me several days to finish. Usually, if I’m hooked, if I have to put it down, it’ll only take me two days to finish. This one took me five or six. And I wasn’t that upset when I had to put it down. Add to that, I ended up skimming a large portion of the story. Not because it wasn’t well written, but because it didn’t add to the plot. There was a lot of background information, a lot of narrative and not so much action.
I’m not a huge action person, but I can get impatient if I want to know what’s going on in the story and all I get is a detail of the trees standing in the yard. On some beta reads, I’ve told various people “get back to the story.”
Fortunately, I had one beta tell me the same exact thing. It’s so easy to see it in others’ writings, but sometimes it takes someone to point it out in our own.
Conflict and action is what moves the story forward. Taking long, meandering side trips can sometimes frustrate the reader. They’d better be some awesome side roads with amazing views.
What about the rest of you? What makes you skip sections of a story? What makes you put down a book?