Things That Make Readers Quit A Novel

Things That Make Readers Quit A Novel

I asked my audience which things would make them quit a novel. This post shows the results of a question box from my Instagram story.
These are people’s subjective opinions.

I counted up the responses to make a numbered list. This post doesn’t attempt to provide either objective flaws.or an exhaustive list of writing blunders.


10. Second Hand Embarrassment

I don’t relate to this one at all. Personally, I love cringing. Whenever characters are corny dorks who are constantly making fools of themselves...that's the representation I need.

However, a lot of respondents said they find second hand embarrassment painful enough to quit a book midway through.


9. A Plot Device or Trope They Hate

A lot of you said you’d put down a book if it had a plot device or trope like cheating, unexpected pregnancy, or unexpected dark topics that you weren’t expecting.


8. Pacing Issues

Either the story drags on slowly without much happening (internally or externally), or the pace is too fast to connect with the characters or feel the impacts of anything that happened.

A good way to temper the pace is by using a plot outline (here's one, it’s free) and asking your beta readers.


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7. They Don’t Like the Protagonist

Personally, I love a likeable unlikeable protagonist. Someone who’s so awful that you can’t help but keep reading.

However, when a character is too perfect or too flat, I personally do also struggle to stick along for the ride. Also a lot of people specified “annoying female main characters” which... hm.


6. Spoilers

I’m actually shocked by this one! I think really amazing writing holds up even if you’ve had a twist spoiled. That’s why you re-read your favourite book even though you know the ending. Thoughts in the comments please!!


5. Some Moral Issue

The writer glorifies something (like toxic relationships, SA, prejudiced views, infidelity) that the reader morally objects to and thus feels uncomfortable reading.



4. It’s Samey

It’s not unique enough to stand out against work of the same subgenre. You’ve read a million books just like it before. “Too cliche” came up a lot.

I think some readers really love the comfort and predictability of cliches (they’re cliches for a reason), and some are bored to death by them. Tell me your stance in the comments!


3. Prose You Don’t Enjoy

Really goes to show how subjective this all is, because a lot of answers mentioned prose that was “try-hard” and “purple”, and others mentioned prose that was “bland” or “dry”.


2. Corny Dialogue

I lumped the following dialogue criticisms together:

  • Corny
  • Cheesy
  • Shoehorned to give a good quote
  • Out of character
  • Unrealistic


1. Grammar, Punctuation, Formatting Issues

I’m sorry if you were expecting a more dramatic finale, but this answer was by far the most common.


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