Monday, February 1, 2010

Where's Your Breaking Point?

So it's getting closer and closer to Mardi Gras day and the city is charged, electric. Add in the fact that Louisianians from outside Orleans parish and football fans from everywhere else are coming in to watch the Superbowl this weekend, and it's getting a bit congested in my little city.

The party atmosphere is pervasive-- everywhere but the roads, where tensions run as high as they always do, only there are twice as many of us. And I'd need to get on the streetcar at 7:45 to get to Canal St. before the Griswolds* slow everything down. The closer it gets to Fat Tuesday, the harder it gets to cross Bourbon, and if I want to get home quickly, I have to. It's enough to make you want to scream.

So I understand the people who decide that staying in town through Mardi Gras isn't worth it. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who live in the French Quarter, and frankly, if I did, I'd seriously think of leaving town, too. A lot of Griswolds treat the Quarter like it's their own personal toilet, or whore-house, or sleazy motel-room--during carnival and the rest of the year--which would definitely drive me crazy if I had to come out of my house to find someone passed out in their own vomit on my sidewalk. That would be the straw that broke the camel's back.

This and my recent post about Hush, Hush got me thinking about a topic that's been pretty popular on writing blogs lately--

Where is your breaking point? As in, what makes you quit reading a book? How much will you put up with just to find out how a book ends? Will lackluster plot/characters/style keep you from even caring how it ends at all?

I don't care if the reasons are shallow or profound, because there are plenty of shallow reasons that I've left books unfinished. I used to hate to read the classics because my dad had old versions with very small print that very close together. Honestly, typeface is one of the biggest detractors. Second is wimpy heroines, and third would be that nothing of interest is going on. I've never actually thrown a book across the room, but I've definitely wanted to.

So tell me, my dear bloggers. Where's your breaking point?

Tune in tomorrow for my Fight Scene Blogfest Offering!

*slang for tourists, alternatively called "tourons" by some, as in Clark W. Griswold, the most famous touron of them all


Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh, how I'm desperate to go to New Orleans...although the way you describe it, I think I'll do it sometime other than Mardi Gras ;) As for my breaking point with a book, I generally stop reading if the story is downright boring. I need to feel emotionally tied to the characters--so they have to have some depth to them. I don't like reading books that are strictly plot driven with shallow characters.

Looking forward to your fight scene!

Voidwalker said...

Breaking point for me would probably be the mention of capri pants... yep I said it. :o)

MG Higgins said...

Big plot holes, the kind you can drive a truck through. And contrivance, where an action happens that's so obviously written to make the plot work. And I'm with Carolina about boring. If in two chapters I'm still plodding through lengthy description and nothing is happening plot-wise, I'll put the book down and not come back.

jdcoughlin said...

Mine differs book to book. I read one recently where the story was wonderful, but the dialog was terrible. It was so annoying I had to stop. But other times, it's been a faulty storyline, too many descriptive passages, too many characters, too much of nothing happening.
But I've only stopped reading a handful of books. Most of the time I at least have the courtesy to skip to the end.

Susan R. Mills said...

I think if I can't get through ten pages without wanting to throw it across the room, that would be my breaking point. I missed your post on Hush, Hush. I'll have to go read it now.

V. S said...

I would love to go to New Orleans one day!

L.T. Elliot said...

My breaking point? Bad writing, for one. Super cheesy writing or characters doing completely ridiculous things. The smaller stuff? When everything gets wrapped up too pretty or when characters just don't act in believable way (even as simple as the thoughts they have.) I sound like a tough reader to please and in some ways, I am, but I do read most everything I start out with. I just don't love everything I read.

Shelby said...

I'm just about there. breaking point. but there's always new orleans to look forward to.. maybe.



Daisy Whitney said...

My breaking point is boredom. When I am distracted and surfing for other books and not eager to pick it up, I move on!

Abby Annis said...

So now would be a bad time to come for a visit? Dang! ;)

I will usually finish a book, even if I'm not absolutely loving it. I've already committed my time to it, might as well see how it ends. There are a few I haven't finished, but that's mainly because I couldn't really get into the story in the beginning for a variety of reasons. Nothing particular I can think of right now.

I hope your world gets a little less crazy soon. :)

Elana Johnson said...

I give every book 100 pages to hook me. I'm hugely character driven, so even if much isn't happening by then, if I like the character, I'll keep reading.

I just closed forever a book that is wildly popular. Won awards. Huge author. I hated it. HATED IT. I was skimming on page three, and that's bad. I hated the MC. But I wanted to find out what was going to happen. So I skimmed, skimmed, skimmed the first 100. And yes, something happened.

And then some other really weird stuff started happening that I thought was even lamer than a very unlikeable MC. And I decided that I didn't care how many awards this book won, I was not going to read it.

I HATED IT because I hated the MC. And the weird plot. So I closed it on page 127. And you know what? I don't even care to know what happens next.