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FOR READERS: Thrown Out of the Story

Thrown Out - Pixabay


Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Aidee Ladnier:

“if you come across something that throws you out of a story, are you willing to keep reading or do you just put it down?”

I’d expand this a bit to ask – what are the things that take you out of the story? And which ones are forgivable for you, and which ones aren’t?

Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks!

Join the chat


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3 thoughts on “FOR READERS: Thrown Out of the Story”

  1. I have an odd mind. I can be halfway through a 12000 page Stephen King novel and I’ll spot a typo. I went out to dinner last night and had to tell the manager (a friend) his brand new menu spelled green beans in French (haricot vert) as “haircot vert.” So the point is that it’s things like discrete/discreet, your/you’re, or a clearly missing word (He [stood] up and walked away), and similar mistakes that pull me out.

    I usually dive right back in. But the more frequent the mistakes the less enjoyable the read, no matter how engrossing the story itself might be. Most of the time I stick with it and read the whole book. On rare occasions I’ll stop and not come back.

    This is about the only thing I can think of that “pulls me out” of a novel or shorter tale.

    Just my USD .02.

  2. I’m the same as Eric! Frequent mistakes like that make it hard to keep reading.

    I have another, mostly fanfic-specific example?

    I was reading this amazing, novel-length fic that was so beautifully written and so intriguing… It drew me in so completely but every time one of a few particular characters entered a scene the quality of the writing not only took a dramatic nosedive, they also began to write characters painfully inaccurately.

    Whether it was a deliberate attempt to make it easier to hate the characters they clearly had a problem with, or they truly had warped their characterisations in their head and felt it was actually truthful I can’t know for sure, but considering how much worse the writing got, I can only believe they were so overcome by such an overwhelming hatred for these characters they slipped half into Rant Mode and perhaps didn’t even realise their writing quality had suffered during those scenes, instead looking at it and only seeing truths that they could, frowning, aggressively nod their head at, ‘Good!’

    So, yeah. Something I just can not slog through.

    I made a valiant effort but I couldn’t force myself to continue. It was very upsetting because other than those scenes it was such an enjoyable story!

    Authors who can’t keep their (heavy) bias, good or bad, about characters or whatever else, out of their fics… Big NOPE!


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