Author Topic: What's your DNF rule?  (Read 5761 times)

Royal Editorial (Katie)

What's your DNF rule?
« on: June 27, 2019, 12:37:06 AM »
At what point do you decide you've given a book a fair shake? First page, first chapter, first three chapters?

I have a hard time DNF'ing because there are so many books I've almost given up on, only to have them become favourites once I get past the hump. But there are also tons of books I've stubbornly stuck with only to feel extremely "meh" by the end...

What's your limit?


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Eric Thomson

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2019, 12:40:46 AM »
I have no fixed rule so it can vary.  The quickest I ever tossed away a book was a trad pubbed by a huge best selling author - I read the first paragraph, closed the book and returned it to the public library.  When the opening sentences are contenders for the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest...
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2019, 12:48:55 AM »
I have no fixed rule either.

In a sample, first bounce out makes me pause. Second bounce is troubling. Third bounce and I don't buy it. If all this happens on the first page, it doesn't get any further attention.

I've had a few second or 3rd books in a series which started generating bounce out moments. I'll forgive a couple again, but a 3rd will make me stop. I'll generally go back to it a few weeks later, but if I get bounced out again, I trash it, and usually the whole series before it.
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VanessaC

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2019, 01:00:58 AM »
Oh, interesting question.  I've actually got much worse at not finishing books as I get older - there's so much choice that I don't like to spend my limited reading time on something that's not going to grip me.

I think of the ones I haven't finished, it's definitely been before the halfway point.  I'll usually read at least the first few chapters but if I keep having the urge to check my email / do the dishes / fold laundry then that's generally a bad sign and I'll stop.

That said, I did once stop reading an otherwise well-written novel because the writer killed off the main character's horse. Definite no from me!
     



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Simon Haynes

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2019, 01:33:14 AM »
No fixed rule on which paragraph/page/etc. Probably within the first third, because I'll usually stick with something after that.

As for why, I will put up with a lot, but will DNF a book if I feel it's going nowhere.
 
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Anarchist

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2019, 01:42:22 AM »
A few thousand words.

It's like dating in college. You could sink a lot of time and effort into something that looks less than promising in the hopes of a win. But I'd rather pursue other options.

Fail fast, win fast.
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LilyBLily

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2019, 02:25:06 AM »
For me it's more like DNS, Did Not Start, after reading the blurb, the 1-star and 2-star comments, or the Look Inside. I have no patience with authors of romantic comedies who sprinkle the first few pages with f-bombs and who seem to create a high-wire dance of heroine ineptitude in those pages. Oh, she's an idiot and everyone she knows talks that way? Forget it. I'm done in a few pages.

I used to finish every book I started, but that was in a prior millennium. Now I want a book to be entertaining rather than labored or stupid. Stupid actually stops me faster than anything else. If I'm well into a book and someone does something really stupid, I start skimming. Book club books that feature not one single character to like get a good first 50 to 100 pages and then I skim to the end or even skip to the end. Supposedly important writing is a worse bore than the TSTL heroine.   
 
 
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angela

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 02:35:20 AM »
Because I'm a writer, I'll sometimes continue with some books out of curiosity about the author's choices even if I'm not enthralled by the story.

With TV shows or movies on Netflix, it's 12 minutes.
 
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Maggie Ann

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 03:14:03 AM »
If I find myself not caring what happens to the characters or who the murderer is or who ends up with who, I'll stop. That could happen at almost any point. There's no hard and fast rule as to how many pages or chapters I'll read.

           
 
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Vijaya

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2019, 04:03:04 AM »
Varies, but usually I know within the first 5-30 pages whether I care about the story-people or the world to inhabit it. But I've chucked books halfway through when the plot goes off in a stupid direction. I'll skim to get a sense of what happened.


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David VanDyke

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2019, 05:15:48 AM »
In no particular order except what comes to mind:

Booooring backstory dump up front. Even in slow-paced novels, something must be happening other than floating in a sea of atmosphere.

Repeated errors of grammar or usage. Not typos, but clear indications the author and/or editor has no clue about something.

Significant factual errors. I notice these most when they're in my own wheelhouse--the military, weaponry, and basic science (where the science is supposed to be real).

Sudden, explicit/gratuitous sex (or occasionally violence/torture) scenes. I'm no prude--I've written a few of these scenes myself--but they have to be appropriate to the material, the story, and the expectations of the reader. There's one indie author who I won't read anymore--they know who they are, I'm sure, and they sell very well--but they always seem to drop one blatant, pointless sex scene into every book--as in every chapter is PG, to even the lack of profanity, and then suddenly we're sliding fingers into warm wet love-tunnels and caressing throbbing members. (Yes, I did that deliberately--kind of gives you mental whiplash, huh?) Then back to PG for the rest of the book.

Setting up a huge emotional investment in a character only to kill them off. 99% of the time this will backfire, especially if they die pointlessly or too soon. Killing off a beloved character is a huge blow, but it has to be done correctly. Protagonist death near the end of a book or the series in order to save the world or another protagonist can be fabulous. I still get choked up thinking about Mike Havel's heroic King's Death in SM Stirling's Change series, masterfully written.

Conversely, having the reader follow the protag only to have them die in the middle of the book and another protag take over is almost always lose-lose. To me this is an instant DNF. If the death is fake or reversible in some fashion, the reader better have solid foreshadowing of that fact. Just because GRRM made it work, don't assume you can. That's like saying "if Tony Hawk can make that jump, I can too." Most of the time you're gonna splatter. For example, the way the same author, SM Stirling, in the same series, botched Signe's (I think) death scene later on. Ticked me off to no end, and I stopped reading with that book. (There were other problems with that book in the series too, but that issue was major).





« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 05:20:52 AM by David VanDyke »
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Denise

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 05:49:48 AM »
Great question. I've quit books in the first page. When it's that early it's usually because I don't like the voice/tone/prose.

Nowadays I download the sample first, so in theory I shouldn't be DNFing books, but I get some 99c and free without reading the sample.

After the first pages, if I feel that the story is going nowhere or it's boring I might quit.

Life's short and there are many good books.

I know. As an author, maybe I should be more patient... But then I'm sure some people aren't finishing my books either, so I guess it's fair.
 
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ingobernable

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 06:15:01 AM »
I'm very picky, so if I decide to read something, it's because it's very likely I'm going to enjoy it. I always try to finish the book because sometimes the ending changes everything for me. I did DNF a lot of books I tried to read for research, and it's always been about the characters. I can't with all the weak and stupid in some books.
 
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elleoco

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 06:19:57 AM »
Oh, interesting question.  I've actually got much worse at not finishing books as I get older

Me too. I once stubbornly finished anything I started but gave that up long ago. It wouldn't have survived ebooks anyway - I was able to choose a lot more carefully when I could read not just some of the beginning but also some of the middle and the ending in a bookstore.

Nowadays? I've abandoned a book anywhere from the first page (Kindle page) to next to the last. Strange as it seems, I once got that close to the ending, realized I didn't give a flying fig, and deleted the book. How soon I give up depends on how egregious I find the problem. First page abandonment means one of those books that starts with no clue as to where or when but is just a scene floating in space, crummy writing, or no editing. Later on it most often means I realize I just don't care about the story or its characters. Sometimes it's a single event that has no logic or repels.


Al Stevens

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2019, 10:32:45 AM »
The first incidence of clunky dialogue usually does it for me.
     
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2019, 11:49:26 AM »
Setting up a huge emotional investment in a character only to kill them off. 99% of the time this will backfire, especially if they die pointlessly or too soon. Killing off a beloved character is a huge blow, but it has to be done correctly.

I stopped reading Steven King because he keeps building likeable characters for several pages only to kill them.

I just finished watching the 2nd season of Westworld. Talk about jumping the shark, and then turning around and jumping it again and again and again. I got to the end and thought 'Well that was a gigantic waste of time.' For once I should have listened to the reviews which panned it. The first season hung together nicely, and even the nudity has a reason. But the nudity in season 2 is just gratuitous because viewer expectations, and whoever was the showrunner had obviously been binge watching GoT. The time shifts were so disjointed as to make you wonder wtf was going on at times. I understood the ending, but it was done so badly I wish I could un-see it.

Had it been a series of books, I'd have not completed book 1 of series 2. I'd have binned the whole thing.

Worst of all was bringing back a character you thought was dead, and then actually killing. I seriously hate that.
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Atunah

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 01:06:01 PM »
I wanna be elleoco when I grow up, but I am still more like LilyBLily right now. DNS, did not start. I like that. I rarely not finish a book. I do a lot of vetting beforehand. So most times I like what I read. Few times I have to drop a book is either that my vetting failed, which thankfully happens rarely, or that I just didn't like something about the book, even though the recommender is usually someone I can rely on. Sometimes I just don't like characters or themes. Nature of books.

Or a book is not what it promised to be. Like for example is described as a romance, but its not of that genre.

I am very much character, story and theme. And one of the biggest peeves is TSTL. I just cannot deal. I haven't gotten past Harry Dresden series 2nd book. I started the 3rd and couldn't finish. Barely finished 2nd. Because he is one of the most TSTL characters I have ever read about. So that can get me to stop reading.

But overall, my vetting is pretty solid. And I never ever judge a book by the first few pages. I don't read samples anyway and some books need a while to ripen.
 
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Writer

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2019, 02:47:38 PM »
If I've bought a book (as opposed to sampling) I pretty much never DNF. The books I read are expensive and usually research related so, even if they're boring, I can't abandon them. I just take a super long time to finish.
 
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Lysmata Debelius

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2019, 03:30:24 PM »
 Funny thing. I got flamed on this forum when I admitted stopping a book when the main character got killed early in the story. It must be a a sensitive subject for some.

I also DNF much more often nowadays. I like to try all kinds of books, and sometimes find a jewel, but mostly don't. This is at the library though so no financial risk involved for me.

Fot me it's all about how well the story is told. For example I just stopped reading a book at chapter 2 because of a horrible violent scene, and I also just read Someone Like Me by MR Carey which I absolutely loved and that's pretty horrifically violent at times. It's not the violence I object to, it's when it feels as if the scene only there to shock. Then I feel manipulated and lose my trust in the writer.

So, very subjective. I went on Goodreads out of curiosity and found hundred of 5 star reviews for the book I didn't finish, specifically praising the "game of thrones like" gritty violence.
 
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elleoco

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2019, 05:01:09 PM »
I also DNF much more often nowadays. I like to try all kinds of books, and sometimes find a jewel, but mostly don't. This is at the library though so no financial risk involved for me.

* * *

So, very subjective. I went on Goodreads out of curiosity and found hundred of 5 star reviews for the book I didn't finish, specifically praising the "game of thrones like" gritty violence.

I should say that I also have no financial investment in books I abandon. I've been burned too often by books that had decent blurbs and Look Insides and fell apart somewhere after that 10%. So new-to-me authors are either from the library or KU. Known authors can disappoint - Craig Johnson's last Walt Longmire got him put on the shaky list, but I can't remember outright discarding something by a previously entertaining author.

Yes, it's very subjective. The book that cured me of finishing what I started was Scott Turow's bestselling Presumed Innocent. I found it tedious beyond belief. I'd rather spend the hours it took to trudge through that thing watching paint dry than ever do it again. Obviously I was in the minority, but after that I vowed never again.

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ashleycapes

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2019, 08:58:47 PM »
When I'm juggling dozens of commitments - one page.

When I've got a bit more spare time, usually about one page :D

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DrewMcGunn

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2019, 02:26:45 AM »
For me, it's usually between 5-30% of the book. Most of the books I read are in KU and so, if I DNF, then I don't feel I'm out of too much. When I'm buying a book, I'm a bit more selective and usually finish reading those.
I doubt I finish more than half of the books I download through KU. There's more chaff than wheat these days.


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twicebitten

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2019, 03:13:14 AM »
Three to five pages, by which time something has to be happening. The something can be conflict or wit or a goal or interesting dialog...or in rare cases, an amazing prose style (though often that means wit as well.)

However, writers can irritate me before that and lose me. The older I get, for instance, the less I want to waste time with present tense narratives, and I'm gone in two sentences. Yes, I might be missing a few good books, but I'm also avoiding thousands of bad books. I have my own personal list of things in a narrative that I do not like and that will drive me away on page one. I'm sure most readers do.
 
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PermaStudent

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2019, 08:14:52 AM »
I rarely hit a DNF. A book has to:

- offend me to the point of insult (hard to do)
- really horrify me (enough gratuitous violence and/or cruelty that I know I'll pay for it in lost sleep--also hard to do, but I used to work in an evidence room and I've seen some stuff, so when it hits me it hits hard)
- cut me deep emotionally (usually, it's fridging, or similar involving a child; personal soft spot)

Context and how the subject was handled always matters.
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PJ Post

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2019, 08:44:57 AM »
First couple of sentences - it either works for me or it doesn't.

The only reason I'll stop reading beyond that is if the author betrays those first couple of sentences later on.

And I'm not talking about subversion. If the writer uses specific passages over the course of the narrative to establish a logical expectation, deviating from that isn't subversion, it's a betrayal. If a book has a Gotcha! moment, it's because the author doesn't understand the basic psychology of storytelling.

Subversion must be foreshadowed, just like anything else (twist endings for example), otherwise you end up with deus ex machina type stuff. Which sucks too.

I'll also stop reading if the prose becomes excessively pretentious. In fact, I usually stop reading the author altogether. Stop trying to show me just how clever you are. I already know, that's why I'm reading your f*cking book.
 
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dgcasey

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2019, 11:01:10 AM »
My DNF will usually come after reading some or all of the Look Inside. If that part doesn't grab me, I don't expect the rest of the novel to do it, so I will pass at that time. I've only had a handful that I DNF after buying them and most of them were closed before the halfway point. I have close to three hundred books in my phone, shelved on my To-Be-Read shelf and I don't have time for a book that doesn't interest me.

The last book I closed and put back on the shelf was a Dean Koontz book. I'm getting a little tired of his yellow labs that are smarter than any human in the book, can usually read their minds and can communicate with the humans in some way. Use that plot device once Dean and it's interesting. A couple of times and it's forgivable. But, when every story seems to contain that little gem it gets a little boring.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 11:10:32 AM by dgcasey »
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YouMeWe

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2019, 09:32:44 AM »
Don't have one...

I. Finish. Everything.
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Wonder

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2019, 09:48:57 AM »
One boring chapter? No big deal.
Two boring chapters in a row? I probably won't finish.

When books get boggy and dull in the middle, sometimes I cheat and skip to the last two chapters so I know how it ends. :angel:
 

Vijaya

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2019, 11:08:35 AM »
I. Finish. Everything.

When I was younger, I would finish everything. Sometime in my late 30s when I became a mother and writer, time became the most valuable commodity, so if I'm not engaged, I put the book aside. What's interesting is that there are many books, mostly nonfiction, which I put aside that I often return to with renewed interest.


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Rosie Scott

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2019, 12:12:15 PM »
Most my DNFs are from the first few sentences to about 50% of the way through. I'll DNF if the dialogue is unrealistic, if there's too much of it relative to description of body language or environments, or if it's curse-free. I'll DNF if characters are too whiny, weak, or goody-goody. I'll DNF if the action scenes aren't bloody, violent, descriptive, or long enough.

Sometimes I'll finish a book if I'm close to the end but DNF the series if there's character resurrection or no deaths (of friendly characters or innocents). Basically, I need to feel that the stakes are high and there's risk to characters I like. Otherwise, I don't care enough to continue since I figure they'll all survive.

Of course, there are always the common reasons like not liking the writing style, getting bored (lack of action and too much info-dumping are my main pet peeves), or apathy for no discernible reason. I DNF lots of books because I felt meh.

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JRTomlin

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2019, 01:23:15 PM »
I may stop at any point in the book. It depends on what the issue is. If I run into homophobia anywhere in the novel (and I don't mean just a single homophobic character) I stop reading wherever it is. I am pretty hardcore about historical accuracy, too. A major historical boo-boo is likely to make me stop reading. Some minor ones will even annoy me enough that I do. (Who'd a thunk it on either issue. 😜)

I am somewhat tolerant of typos if there aren't too many of them. A poor plot, I'll probably stop after the first couple of chapters.
 
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dgcasey

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2019, 05:03:08 PM »
I'll DNF if the action scenes aren't bloody, violent, descriptive, or long enough.

Well, then you won't like my horror stories. ;) I try to keep the blood and gore to a minimum. One person commented that my horror stories were for Goosebumps readers that had outgrown Goosebumps.  I can live with that. "Let me tell you something about Steve King. Steve King WISHES he could write like me! I've sold way more books than him, but nobody ever talks about that!"

I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
"The Tales of Garlan" title="The Tales of Garlan"
"Into The Wishing Well" title="Into The Wishing Well"
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spin52

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2019, 12:53:40 AM »
Clunky, unrealistic dialogue stops me immediately, as does an extended info dump when there's no need for it.
But what really stops me in my tracks is an error the writer or editor should have caught, and I especially notice these when it's something I know about. For example, a character steps off a train in the Cotswolds and sees a sign indicating distance in kilometers. I live in the Cotswolds and we use miles. Never kilometers. It may be a small thing, but it makes me distrust the author.


« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 11:43:24 PM by spin52 »
     


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dgcasey

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Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2019, 01:40:37 AM »
as does an extended info dump when there's no need for it.

Oh man, I know what you mean. I'm reading a book right now and I came this close --><-- to closing the book last night and putting it away. I get into chapter nine and can tell immediately it's an info dump and then look down at the bottom of my screen and it says I have just 43 more minutes and I'll be finished with the chapter. That was one of the fastest 43 minutes I ever saw go past because I was tapping the right side of the screen every three or four seconds. If the author does this again, I'll close the book and put it away.
I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
"The Tales of Garlan" title="The Tales of Garlan"
"Into The Wishing Well" title="Into The Wishing Well"
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I'm the Doctor by the way, what's your name? Rose. Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!
 

Anarchist

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2019, 01:50:49 AM »
My tolerance for less-than-great material is inversely correlated to the volume of material available.

I've never tolerated bad books. But in the old days, I'd tolerate mediocre books. There were fewer books published each year (this was before the emergence of ebooks).

Things are different today. Indie authors have flooded the market with books. So I won't even tolerate mediocre material these days. Why waste time on the middling stuff (much less the bad stuff) when there's a mountain of great stuff right around the corner?
"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” – Thomas Sowell

"The State is an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots—an institution that dirties and taints everything it touches.” - Hans Hoppe

"Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience." - Adam Smith

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The Doctor

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2019, 04:14:15 AM »
It's very rare that I don't finish a book. There's been occasions where I've put books aside to finish them another time, as I've found something else to read, but I've always returned to finish that first one.

In fact, the only book I did not finish was a Connie Wills one. I'd never read one of her books before, and the premise sounded great (involved time travel) but, my god, it just seemed to witter on and on. Maybe it needed another round of edits or something. *shrugs*
 

Genre: Weird Fiction | Science Fiction | Fantasy | Horror |
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Ros

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2019, 09:34:03 AM »
If it's really bad, the first page. But generally, assuming the book has some promise, I take stock at the end of chapter 2 or 3. Then I'll DNF anything that isn't compelling me to read on or that looks like it will be less than a 4* read. If the characters don't attract me, the plot drags, or the dialogue isn't sparkling I'll be ruthless.

Like many in this thread, I've got much pickier than I was ten years ago; every mediocre book read is a great one that I'll have to pass over. There are so many fantastic books out there, I'd need several lifetimes to get through the best of them.

Ros Jackson | author website | blog | twitter | goodreads
 

elleoco

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2019, 12:50:00 PM »
But really stops me in my tracks is an error the writer or editor should have caught, and I especially notice these when it's something I know about. For example, a character steps off a train in the Cotswolds and sees a sign indicating distance in kilometers. I live in the Cotswolds and we use miles. Never kilometers. It may be a small thing, but it makes me distrust the author.

I confess to having given up on this unless the error is really egregious. If I threw aside every mystery or thriller where some research-deficient author has someone taking the safety off a Glock or every Western where someone steers a saddled horse with his knees, I'd have to give up reading those genres. It's like movies where people who are shot do spectacular backward flips, or where the bad guys all drop dead instantly from a single shot but the good guys always have wounds they not only survive but that don't stop them from performing heroic feats, albeit with occasional groan or grimace.

Sometimes suspending belief requires suspending knowledge. I once asked a doctor if there's as much ignorant medical stuff in books. Yup. I'd bet it's true in every area where the reader has real life experience with the subject.
 
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She-la-te-da

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2019, 09:15:24 PM »
Basically, what David said.

Quote
I DNF lots of books because I felt meh.

About 96% of the books I read lately are meh. It's so sad, because some of the ideas are amazing, but the writing just isn't there.

When I'm reading something for research, mainly PA books that manage to hit the top 100 list, I'll mostly try to finish them, hoping to see why they are so popular. I often can't figure it out, though I suspect it has to do with the perfect hero with his perfect abilities in a situation that's just so horrible he has opportunities every other paragraph to show how perfect he is. I'll never make it in PA fiction. :(

Anyway, when I was young, there were far fewer books available to me in my small town, so I finished anything I got my hands on. Now, with so many books out there, and my much shorter available lifespan, why bother? Bad writing, bad story, bah. Leave it and find something else.

And it's not just indie books, it's anyone. I read a Lisa Scottoline book a while back (last year?) that was so bad I had to wonder who wrote it. I don't remember her previous books being bad, and the premise seemed interesting, but the writing was awful. Awkward, contradictory, just not up to what the gatekeepers assure us is the Height of Literature(TM). It wasn't the first time, I'd read a book by an author I'd read before, some mystical action/adventure series, and it was the same. Either phoned it in, or badly edited ghostwriting.

Also, Dean Koontz does love those golden retrievers, doesn't he? Now that I'm thinking about it, I stopped reading his books after he found religion and his stuff started reading as goofy, let the light in and rejoice kinds of crap. Um, horror, Dean. Remember that stuff? :\
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 

Kristen.s.walker

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2019, 09:06:33 AM »
I am trying to get into the habit of downloading samples and checking the writing before I buy/borrow/download (freebie) books. I'm guilty of clicking automatically if the cover/blurb hooks me, even for a dollar, and then finding myself stopping less than 5% in because the writing is terrible. I don't finish a lot of the samples now.

But I don't have a rule. I will quit a book even 80% in if something I hate happens. Like suddenly throwing in racist stereotypes. I had a book I was supposed to be reading for a book club, I think it was last year? And all of a sudden, this group of characters show up which are obviously based on g*psy stereotypes. I skimmed a few pages to confirm they were really written that poorly, then closed the book. When it came to the book club meeting, I was shocked that no one else even seemed to notice the problem. Quit the book club shortly after that.
 

lea_owens

Re: What's your DNF rule?
« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2019, 12:29:33 PM »
I start more books than I finish, but I don't leave a bad review for them because it might not be the author's or book's fault - it might just be that I don't like that sort of writing or story, so I feel I should only leave a DNF review on a page covering me, as it's more a review of my tastes than the book.

I love a book to grab me from the start, but if it's too violent, too graphically sexual, or too patronising, if it is racist, sexist, or homophobic, or if it is just too far removed from what I'm comfortable reading, I'll often drop it after a few pages and move to another book. Life is too short to spend time reading a book I'm not likely to enjoy. 

Like Kristen (above), I've quite books when 80% or more in - when I realise that I don't care what happens to the characters, I'll often shut the book. And I'm the same with unintelligent stereotyping. I think there are a lot of people writing books to a formula, but they aren't very bright themselves, and when it comes to something or someone outside their small comfort zone of knowledge, they fubar it. That annoys me.