For the last several weeks, I have struggled to finish reading a book. This is a book written by someone I call a friend. A face book friend - true enough, but we have supported and encouraged each other and though I have never met this person, I consider him a friend. I was really looking forward to reading his book. The book, so far is receiving high accolades from reviewers on at least two continents. Imagine my disappointment, when after more than a month I was only on page 87. I could not finish reading this book...No - I refuse to continue to read this book. This book is dead!
What is it about books that cause a reader to lose interest, or stop reading? I don't know. I suppose that is an individual's taste and is different for everyone. For me, I can muscle through most stories. The truth is I enjoy reading, so if the story is good, and the characters are believable, I'm good. With my friend's book, the story line was excellent. The way he was developing his characters - superb. So why did I stop? There were too many of these: anywho-be-doo, hunky-doubly dory, loopy-doo, doggy doo- doo, lazy-daisy and more. On top of which there were numerous cliché, and the syntax of the cliché left me with mixed messages. It was British...it was American...it was cowboy...it was rural, poor Ohio. For me, it was confusing.
The combination of all of the above made this book, for me impossible to read. I was so distracted, I could not move forward. But that was me, and as I said before, it is highly individual. It is different for everyone.
You will probably never read a review I write that smashes another writer's work. I believe that writers, novice to master deserve credit for making the journey, and writing a story for others to enjoy. The fact that they spend months, or years writing their story for my entertainment or education is good enough for me. Still, there are books out there that for one reason or another are difficult for some of us to read.
I wish I could have ignored the distractions in this book, and enjoyed the ride his character was clearly prepared to provide. It was a great story line. For much of the first 87 pages, the writing was flawless.
So the question I throw out to the universe this morning is this: How many cliché is too many? How many - I do not even know what to call them..."any who" types of words and phrases can a manuscript have before those words and phrases become intrusive to the story?
Oh! I don’t have the answers. Just the questions. I think I will leave the answering of the questions to you.
Have a regular week every one. I figured if I said "great week", I would be raising the bar too high, and setting us all up for failure!
Brian M. Hayden
first published March 21, 2013 on my blog