Friday, August 25, 2006
Thanks to those of you who responded to yesterday’s poll. At the time of writing this post, we had 26 respondents. Here are the results, with a couple explanations:
1. Some gave more than one answer to a question, so answers won’t always tally to 26. (For example, numerous respondents said they quit reading both because of poor characters and boring plot.)
2. I’ll just give major results here rather than list every answer that received at least one vote.
What is the number one reason you stop reading a novel?
Poor characters—can’t connect with them, don’t care about them: 17
Lack of plot—boring/formulaic: 10
Poor writing—head hopping, bad dialogue, etc.: 4
About how many pages will you give a novel before you stop reading?
2-3 chapters: 7
30-50 pages: 3
50-80 pages: 4
What percentage of novels do you choose not to finish?
What’s the number one reason you keep reading a novel?
Characters—like them, have to see what happens to them: 15
Good plot—hooks: 13
One interesting result to me—in question #1, poor characters outnumbered poor plot pretty significantly (17 to 10). Yet in question #4, caring about the characters and plot received almost equal answers (15 and 13, respectively), with numerous people noting that the two are hard to separate. When you think about it, this makes sense. As the book goes on, good plot and characterization do become harder to separate. But at the beginning, connecting with the characters clearly rules.
Thoughts on these results? Do they make you examine the beginning chapters of your work in progress any differently than before? We’ll pick this up next week.