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September 10, 2013

A Book Un-Review

Normally, I post a review of a book that I enjoyed reading and can use as tips for what writers should (or should not) do while they are writing their books. Even if I use a book as a tip for what a reader shouldn’t do, all the books are ones that I like and gladly recommend to other readers. However, the book that I was going to review for today’s post, I couldn’t finish reading.

There aren’t many books that I’ve stopped reading. I can actually count them on one hand, and this book was by a best-selling author who I admire. I’m sure I’m not the only one who might have given up while reading this book. I also know plenty of people read it all the way through and enjoyed it, which is why I won’t name it. It’s only fair since I didn’t read it from cover to cover.

Before I gave up on the book, though, I read the last few pages, and I was able to conclude that nothing much actually happened from where I left off (around page 150). What did happen though, I was able to figure out in the beginning of the story.

Other than the boring factor, there were two major writing issues that nagged at me while I was reading. The first was the excessive use of run-on sentences. They were everywhere! My view on run-on sentences is that commas don’t fix them!

TIP #1: If you are tempted to add more than three commas to a sentence then that sentence may be too long. Read it aloud to see if it flows. If it sounds a little awkward, rewrite it or split it in half. Whatever you do, don’t keeping tacking on more commas and more words. A run-on sentence with a bunch of commas is still a run-on sentence!

The other problem with this book was that there were way too many perspective changes. Every single scene change was a different person’s perspective, and only a few people returned to continue their story. By the time I gave up, I was confused and a little aggravated.

TIP #2: Try to limit the multiple perspectives in your book to the key players in your story (2-5 at most), because after a certain point multiple perspectives become multiple multiple-perspectives.

TIP #3: To cut a reader’s confusion with multiple perspectives, create a sequence that a reader can follow from chapter-to-chapter (or scene-to-scene) so they will know which character’s point-of-view will be next.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this book un-review! 

Is there a book (or books) that you weren't able to finish reading? Why?
What is your view on run-on sentences and multiple perspectives?


  1. I read a book recently that head hopped all the time and it left me quite confused in places! I did finish the book but it wasn't one I would recommend because it left me feeling a little flat at the end. I also agree about long, rambling sentences.

    1. Multiple perspectives can be done successfully without ruining the story line (one author who I believe does it successfully is Sandra Brown), but if a writer isn't careful it can become confusing. Even in a few of Brown's books I still had to stop and think a moment, "Okay, now who is this again?" But mostly, it worked. And her stories are also great, so that also helps. lol

      Thank you for your comment, Suzanne!

  2. I tried to read Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety when she kept winning prizes for her more recent books, I decided to read this one because I had it on the shelf and because it is set in France where I live. It was hard going and I had to stop after 400 pages (half way) because I thought I had completely lost my ability to read, I don't really know what it was, but I slowed and slowed and then just stopped and then I needed to find a book that I could read to get me going again. I think it was way too long and needed a good edit and just not compelling enough. But I may still try and finish it, I hate to give up, I try to make wise choices and so I'm not so easily tempted in the first place.

    1. Wow, to make it to page 400 in a book of 800 pages that you don't exactly care for is something! I commend you just for that!

      I understand what you mean about hating to give up on books. There is one book . . . okay, I'll tell . . . The Shining by Stephen King that I have tried to read several times. I can never get past the first few chapters though. But I still want to read it one day. Maybe next time when I give it a go I'll start at chapter four. lol

      Thank you for sharing, Claire! :)

  3. I am almost ashamed to admit it ... but the last book I stopped reading was 50 Shades of Grey (wait for it - Book 3) I made it through 2 of the books and got 2 pages into the 3rd one before I threw it out. I didn't even want it on my bookshelf.

    Bad, bad writing .... offensively bad.

    I always try to read my work out loud - it is so helpful to get an idea of flow. Run-on sentences are so frustrating and sometimes the most effective writing is when it's short and pithy and to the point.

    Great blog btw, visiting from SheWrites:)

    1. Welcome to my blog! :) I've never read a single 50 Shades book and I've vowed to never read one. lol I did the same thing with the Twilight saga. I know many people liked them, but they aren't my cup of tea, and for some reason I don't like to go with trends. I did try to read Twilight, but after the first paragraph I said, "Nope, can't do it." lol

      I definitely agree with you about short sentences being the most effective, especially for action and suspense. :)

      Thank you for your comment!

  4. I don't mind multiple perspectives but when it shifts so much that I start to feel lost, then I just can't continue. I love it when multiple perspectives are used and I feel like the story is enriched by it. As for run-ons, I think it depends. If it's like a narrative voice thing (and it works) then I might not mind as much.

    1. I also don't mind multiple perspectives, as some of the best books have more than one perspective, but I couldn't keep up with this one. :\ And I agree, run-ons can be okay if they don't actually read as run-ons, but this book was plagued with them. Eek! I still cringe. lol

  5. Chrys, you are so funny. I love how you made it a point that commas don't fix run-on sentences. They sure don't!
    There have been a couple of books that I started to read and had to throw in the towel, however, I vaguely remember them. The one book that I had a hard time concentrating on was the first Game of Thrones series. There were so many characters and points of views that I was often confused. I like books that I can get lost in right away. But if they start off by confusing the heck out of me, I have a hard time keeping interest.
    I refused to pick up any copies of 50 Shades of Grey and never will. This series just isn't for me no matter how many people try to sell it.
    Great post! Now I might have to go back into my Stephen King archives and try to read one of his books. My dad loves him and has sent me a few in the mail but I haven't touched them yet. So many other books are in my queue!

    1. Gina, I am here to entertain. LOL! :p

      It is interesting to see how there is a great divide among the people (women?) who won't ever read a 50 Shades book, and the ones who love them. Just a couple of weeks ago I found out my two sisters both bought the first book. I thought this was bizarre because they don't read. Actually, I noticed a lot of women who don't like to read for fun were buying into these books. Maybe that's the secret behind their success. Hmm....

      Unfortunately, Stephen King is one of the authors who I can't seem to enjoy. I already mentioned The Shining. Then I tried to read Under the Dome when it first came out and I gave up because after a few chapters I was still reading about what everyone was doing when the dome came down. It bore me. But I love the show!!! lol

  6. I've been reading (and haven't been able to finish) The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea for more than 6 months! It has got good descriptions but I just can't seem to jump fully into it. Still, I hope to finish it one day because it's not one I'd want to give up on. Previously there was a book of Woody Allen essays that I gave up and didn't feel bad doing so. (Wrong tone, wrong voice, wrong timing, I guess.)