Bookish Question of the Week

rp_Quoftheweek1-300x30011-300x30011.pngProse, plot, characters, setting, pacing, dialogue, hooks, tension, conflict, surprises, twists and turns, factual accuracy, and the list goes on! All these things contribute to a story coming alive and engaging the reader. For me, out of all those things, it is the characters that make or break a story. If I connect emotionally with a character, then I’m likely to enjoy the story whether it be the perfectly written tale or not. Of course, there is a baseline quality of the other elements that need to be present but I love a character driven story and my engagement with them will often be why I love a novel or not. How about you?

What makes or breaks a story for you?

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10 Responses to Bookish Question of the Week

  1. Hmmm, for me, it’s a few things. MOSTLY I will drop kick a book if the author kills off a main character at the end.
    Cultural and factual accuracy.
    Lack of spark between MC’s.
    Lack of either chain mail, or combat boots. 😉

  2. Jennifer & Rel – – ya’ll crack me up!!! But yes, I have to agree….. if the opening line is “a man with a moat” – – then I’m all in. So ANYTHING medieval gets my attention. And I have read more medieval based novels than McDonald’s has happy meals and I’ve always either immensely enjoyed them or at least smiled – – – until a novel I just finished 2 days ago. And I found about half way through that I was not enjoying the story – I wasn’t even liking it – and I made myself finish it just because I had to and then felt like it was a total waste of time. And I had to figure out why???????? There was a handsome knight, a lovely lady, a villian, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da . . . . So what was wrong???? And your blog finally made the bells go off – – – the characters were flat, one-dimensional, BORING!!!!! There was a plot, a beginning, middle and end – and even a “happily ever-after” ending – – but there was NO depth to these characters. I couldn’t connect with them – NONE!!! And I’m a push over for a medieval setting, so there was something bad wrong here. So…. I now know – thank you Rel – – I’m a character driven reader!!! I’ll still take the chain-mail and a moat – – but come on – – give the guy some personality – please!!!!!!

  3. Chain mail … am I missing something?

    Seriously, a story is made by fantastic and likeable characters, and a plausible plot. Well, at least one that sounds plausible.

    Dislikes? I’m another one who gets irritated by factual inaccuracy. It’s the fastest way get me to show my reviewing claws.

  4. Believability! I recently read a novel (to be unnamed) set in WWII where I found the degree of kindness given to a Jew by a Nazi to be difficult to believe. While I am sure there were some kind Nazis, it was the degree of it that left me thinking this isn’t believable. I did enjoy the novel and gave it a four star, but that took away from it.

    On the flip side, you’d think I would have had a hard time with time travel in Lynne Gentry’s series, however, she makes me believe it. I get so drawn in to the story that I don’t even question is it possible.

  5. I’m pretty much the same as you Rel. If I like a character, much can be forgiven if I don’t care for other elements about the story. That being said, yes, ideally I do like to find some combination (characters + a good plot or pacing or setting) to come together and create brilliance. But characters are essential. If I like them, then there’s a high chance the rest of the story will “work.” :)

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