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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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December Blogging Meme Topics #16 & #17
Are there things that will always make you back away when reading a story?

Are there things that are guaranteed to make you keep reading a story?

On the first count, character-torture for no reason other than to be gratuitously cruel to both characters and readers turns me right off. I won't stand for it, especially not when those characters have already been through enough. If the hardship doesn't result in significant character growth or demonstrable benefit to the plot, forget it, I'm out. I have a hard time with gaslighting, but I can't remember the last time I put something down solely because it was there (again: if character and plot development result, chances are I'll stay). I have an easier time reading descriptions of certain kinds of graphic violence than I do watching depictions of same, although there are some varieties I can't even read about (bone injuries don't go over well).

The two other reliable turn-offs, I guess, are a) overwrought prose that's condescending to the reader and b) poor grasp of grammar and spelling. And, yes, I do take ability, age, education level, and experience into account. The the more clues I have that the writer in question should know better, the less I can abide glaring technical errors.

Otherwise, what will keep me reading depends entirely on how the writer handles, well, everything in a given piece. I'm aware that's probably far too open-ended an answer for anyone's taste, but I've encountered works of literature in which things that don't even generally interest me are handled in such a compelling fashion that I'm riveted!

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However, the problem is probably is really that I've read so much fiction in my lifetime it's impossible to engage me with anything. This does happen to avid readers of fiction.


For as much as I've read in my life, then, I would've expected this to happen by now - but judging by how raw my reactions are when something really hits the spot, I'm quite sure that this phenomenon is as far outside my experience as a reader as it would be possible for me to get. Do you find that it's a kind of desensitization, or...? Is this a widespread phenomenon? I am fascinated. More things in heaven and earth indeed.

Edited at 2014-12-18 03:22 am (UTC)

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