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What throws you out of a story?

Today I've been working on my next article for The Apex Book Company's blog.  

This month's subject is short stories, and more specifically, some of the less obvious mistakes  writers make which scupper our chances of getting our work accepted at all, or (in the case of more than a few published stories) lose our readers sometime between the first and last lines.  

I have my own opinions, of course (no surprise there), but I'd love to hear what kicks other folks out of a story.  With that in mind, if you've got a minute, I'd appreciate you answering some questions.

Poll #1607218 What throws you out of a story?

From the following list, please select anything which has caused you to give up on a story before the end, or wish you hadn't bothered reading it:

Slow beginning.
41(9.3%)
Overlong (and seemingly unnecessary) descriptions.
54(12.3%)
Boring/unrealistic dialogue.
69(15.7%)
No obvious problem for the main character to overcome.
33(7.5%)
Uninteresting or unrealistic action.
44(10.0%)
The story wasn't what the title led you to believe it would be about.
21(4.8%)
Uninteresting and/or unrealistic characters.
65(14.8%)
A cheat or pointless ending.
56(12.8%)
No proper ending at all.
38(8.7%)
Something else, which I'll explain in the comments.
18(4.1%)
 



Once you've made your selections, if you could explain why those things put you off, that would be even more helpful. 

 

 



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Comments

valdary
Aug. 18th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
I don't tend to get "thrown out" of short stories because they very rarely take more than two to five minutes to read so I don't have time to get bored.

What I dislike is stories that have no discernible "tone of voice". If a story is just, this happened and then that happened, it feels very flat.

I like to have the sense that there is a real human being (or possibly intelligent space squid) who is telling me the story. That although they may withold their own comments from the text in favour of having the characters show me the story, the storyteller has opinions and emotions that they want to share with me.

Have I expressed that understandably?
jongibbs
Aug. 18th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. The narrator should be like an extra character almost, right?

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No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


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