Have you ever struggled to continue reading a book? Skip a few chapters to read ahead, go back, read a bit more, skim again. Look longingly at the next book in the TBR pile that is starting to look really, really good? It happens.
Not too long ago, I was reading just such a book. It took until page 100 or so before it really grabbed my interest. And then I got to thinking—because that’s what I do—Why was it so hard to get into the story? I like to learn for other author’s mistakes whenever possible because I make enough mistakes of my own, so I really thought about it.
The writing was good, the characters were interesting, but there was just a little too much world building. Too many details in which I was not interested. Now I realize that might be is subjective. You might be very interested in those details. For me, they just weighed down the book. Nothing was happening. That’s why I kept reading ahead. To see what happened, because I knew something had to happen sometime.
It cemented in me the importance of action in any genre. I think it’s admirable when an author plans his or her world out. I love maps, realistic means of transportation and currency, customs and sense of history… but that’s flavoring, not meat.
I don’t need to know that a fence lies between the river and the farm and that the fence still has new-looking boards from the time Uncle Pete got so drunk on ale he couldn’t see the wheel barrel until he fell in, careened down the hill, through the fence and into the river. Sure woke him up in a hurry.
Details like that add character, flavoring to a story, but too much… have you ever over salted a roast?
The salt so overpowers the taste of meat that it ruins it. And I think that’s what this author did to the first 100 pages of his novel and that leads to the next question.
Why did I keep reading? I’ll answer that one later.
Have you ever had trouble getting into a book? Why?