Below are some things I do not enjoy reading. I have not included fiction tropes as there are numerous articles online for the same. Instead, I have focused on the plot and the characters. Please note that these are my personal opinions as a reader.
- Not focus on character development
When I read a book with no character development, I ask myself, ‘why did the author write this story?’ When I see a novel with an unbelievable change in the character or when it’s too sudden, I can’t relate to it. I love books where the characters make mistakes, slowly learn from them, and become stronger in the process.
- Leave readers on a cliffhanger with no conclusion
I love a book that leaves its readers on a cliffhanger, but it needs to have a satisfying ending. I want to see a reasonable conclusion to the current novel before I get interested in its sequel. I’m not looking for answers to all the open questions, but I want to understand why the author wrote the book in the first place. If a book has no finishing point, I will not be motivated to read the next one.
- Start a plot point and then forget about it
I have read many books where the main character has a particular trait or a mental condition at the beginning of the story, and suddenly, the author forgets about it. The focus shifts to another plot point, and the character feels like someone else toward the end. If the trait is not integral to your novel, authors mustn’t use it. This is not character development; it’s shoddy storytelling. The best way to avoid this is to ask your readers/beta readers to point out such plot points for rewriting them.
- Write unrealistic issue resolutions
Even while writing fiction, authors need to be realistic while handling issue resolutions. For example, past trauma cannot be healed by making the character fall in love with someone. I encourage writers to research sensitive matters they are writing about in detail and talk to relevant people if possible. I cannot empathize with characters who have gone through a taxing time for years but feel fine in the next chapter.
- Too much focus on side plots
I am not a fan of side plots at all and would instead focus on the main character’s development. However, if there is a side plot in the book, it needs to propel the story forward or be relevant to it. Otherwise, as a reader, I will get confused and uninterested. I recommend authors write a separate spin-off novella/novel for the side plot.
What other points have I missed? Please let me know in the comments below.