08 February 2008

How to Make Me Love Your Book

I finished Gone With the Wind two nights ago, and I adored it. As I've already mentioned, I loved Rhett. Scarlett drove me nuts, and yet there were times when I thought she was wonderful. But mostly I just thought she was confused and a bit twisted.

It really got me thinking about what makes a good book for me.

First and foremost is plot. The author needs to get me where we are going, and fast. It's not that the plot needs to be necessarily exciting, but something needs to be happening. I think part of the reason I could not stand The Scarlet Letter was the lack of a really stimulating plot. In my mind, the book was not really about a series of events, and that drove me nuts.

Characters. Give me characters that are so well-written I can understand them. Even if I don't like them. I just want to be able to get why they do what they do. I want to know what drives them. If you can make me love the characters, like Marian in The Woman in White, more power to you. But if you can just make me understand what makes the characters tick, you will have my wonder and awe! One thing I didn't love about Twilight and New Moon was how I just didn't get what Bella saw in Edward. It never made any sense to me whatsoever. So, I wasn't really blown away by those books because I never fully understood the characters, and I thought they were both extraordinarily flat.

And really, that's about it. If you give me a good plot with good characters, I will pretty much be able to read your book no matter the style of the book.


You are too descriptive. Which is why I hated The Scarlet Letter and The Hobbit. For Pete's sake, I just don't care about how intricate the "A" was on Hester's dress, and I don't care one lick about Bilbo's freaking door! I guess this goes back to the plot- that I want to get there, and I want to get there fast. But really, you can have a book with only a slow-moving plot as long as I feel like we are moving. If you spend 15 pages describing Bilbo's door, you are going to lose me, and lose me fast.

Now, with that said, I can understand why some people like verbose descriptions. I guess because those readers can actually see what's being described. But I cannot see it, and that's fine with me. What I really want is PLOT! And CHARACTERS!

So, that's what flips my switch (on or off) when it comes to books. Pray, do tell about what you like when you read.

1 comment:

Bart said...

I agree. Plot and characterization are much more interesting than descriptive scenery, though I value the latter when it has a specific purpose, such as emphasizing the mood or paralleling the storyline symbolically.

I also enjoy a bit of foreshadowing to give me a chance to guess what will happen.