Saturday, February 28, 2015

My New 20% Rule

As you well know (and are probably tired of hearing) I complain a lot about books. A lot of them are crap (to me, your mileage may vary). I force myself to suffer through them and do nothing but waste my time that could be better spent on better books or procrastinating editing.

I'd better clean this before I start on chapter 14...

So I've decided on a new rule based on the few books I've been trying to read for the past few months. If descriptions or reviews give me certain expectations then they'd better deliver before I'm 20% in or else I'm done. Period.

Wait I'm not THAT done.
I've really waded through some books that were considered pretty awful to me. So what was the ultimate breaking point?

It was a book called Flee by Miranda Kavi, and it was the first sentence:

"I can fly."

I waited...

And waited...

And waited...

Watching my cat proved more entertaining.
Yeah, she hovers 1/16th of an inch off her seat at her desk a couple of times for a few seconds. However, if your opening sentence is "I can fly," you'd better be flying pretty soon.

Here are some examples of what's going on 20% of the way through various other books:

In Maximum Ride, the flock are sheltering in a cavern on their way to rescue Angel. Max is separated from them and trying to escape someone who had just shot her with a shotgun. Might I mention plenty of flying has already happened?

In My Life As a White Trash Zombie, she just received an anonymous note that says "If you crave it, eat it," and she's freaking out because she's craving brains.

In Twilight, Bella fainted and had to be carried by Edward (okay bad example...)

In Divergent, Tris just got the tattoos of her birds and gets beat up to the point of landing in the hospital. They've already done extensive training.

In Starters, she wakes up from one of her times of being "rented" and has already done so several times.

Meanwhile, in Flee (which I actually made it 25% of the way through) it was instant romance of movie star, girly teenibopper talk, and "omg what to wear?"

Now, if you're into that kind of reading, more power to you. The point is, I'm not going to put up with books I don't want to. If they promise me X and deliver nothing but S (S being an unknown factor that of which equals suckitude) then I'm not going to put up with it for the entire length of book.

Of course there are some exceptions, like The Hunger Games. It doesn't launch right into the teen-filled death sport (the name of which escapes me at the moment...)  it has a lot of setup, but the important thing is that it's still interesting.

So, I have decided to implement a new rule on myself. That being if a book doesn't grab my interest 20% of the way though. Looking it up, one website says 50 pages. The problem with giving a hard and fast page number is that books vary in length so much that 50 pages could mean you've finished it (especially with ebooks being shorter than most, it seems) or it could just barely be getting into the intro.

The hardest part, however, is stopping. The first book I ever stopped reading in the middle of was really difficult, so were the other few. It becomes much easier once you realize stopping in the middle of the story isn't the end of the world. If it's bad enough, you'll forget it pretty easily.

Besides, it's much worse to agonize over it, thinking "Why did I waste my time!?"

The sooner a bad book is given up, the sooner a good one can be discovered.

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