I’m not just a writer; I’m also a reader. There are some things I hate to see in any book I’m reading. If I encounter enough of these things I won’t finish the book or read anything else by that author. Here they are:
1. A slow start. Let’s get to it; don’t make my eyes glaze over with too much back story right off the bat.
2. Difficult names. There’s a reason I don’t read books about Islamic terrorists. I like to be able to keep the characters straight. That’s very difficult if I can’t spell or pronounce the names. I realize an Islamic terrorist can’t be named John Smith. I never said this list was fair.
3. Extremely long chapters. I don’t like 300 page novels with 10 chapters. I also don’t like 300 page novels with 100 chapters. For me, the best flow comes from chapters that average 8 – 15 pages. That’s an average; I don’t mind occasional chapters that are 1 or 2 pages or 20 to 25 pages.
4. A weak premise. The main character hunts down and kills an entire family because their dog barks incessantly and keeps him awake at night. It doesn’t have to be entirely believable, but it can’t be absurd.
5. I don’t care about the main character. I like a character with flaws, but not to the point where I actively dislike the person and don’t care if he/she prevails. Nuance is fine, just don’t overdo it.
6. Too many adjectives and adverbs. Stop trying to impress me; just tell the story.
7. Poor grammar and syntax. It’s irritating and distracting.
Okay, there are more, but that’s enough for now.