Friday, June 8, 2012

Is Your Book Completely Uncalled For?

Ever read a book that seemed to be sliding along a really predictable plotline, until...

I'm a big fan of the WHAMMO surprise. Just make sure it's unexpected, rather than obnoxious.

For example: Watching Barats and Bereta slap each other makes me laugh. But if you pulled this stunt on me personally....

That got me thinking about books - and the occasional times I had thrown a book across the room. The thing is, I know COMPLETELY UNCALLED FOR plotlines are subjective - one reader's heaven is another reader's slam on the wall. But, I also know there are authors out there getting some pretty consistent feedback. That said, to be getting the feedback, people need to be reading the book, right? (Enter mind-melt of chicken-or-egg proportions....)

My goal here isn't to point fingers, but just to get a gauge on how you respond as a reader: Have you ever read a book that made you angry or really, really dissatisfied because of the direction the author took it? (Or didn't take it?). Was there a lesson to be learned for us writers? Or do you think it's just the subjectivity of a broad readership?

Tell me, writerly friends. What do you think?

Your Turn: Have you ever been slapped in the face by a Completely Uncalled For plotline? Would you write one yourself?


  1. No, not really. I mean, it's the author's story, and I'm not going to get upset about what s/he does with it. Even if he jumps the shark. I may decide I'm through reading it, but, you know, whatever. It's not for me to impose my ideas on someone else's world.

  2. Yep. I've read a book that made me furious. Threw it across the room. {Symbolically and was a library book.} Lots of other people liked it, too. Le sigh.

    As for me, I would never write it *intentionally*. I would like to think that if I got consistent critique on that one area, I would fix it...somehow. :)

  3. In my mind "completely uncalled for" is probably when a story supports an extremely harmful "Aesop" (ie, violent homophobia, blatant and constant sexism both ways), but I'm yet to read a book like that.

  4. I went through a phase of getting really irritated with lots of books I'd bought on the strength of their back covers. But I don't throw them across the room, I stick them in the charity box... without finishing them. Fortunately this was before I started reviewing them on Goodreads and my blog! My main gripe is the story jumping around too much (for my taste) especially where it also changes character point of view. My attention span is longer than five minutes, obviously. It's why Game of Thrones is currently mouldering on my half-finished pile. I wonder whether I'll ever pick it up again, since I have another 100 on my to-read list?

  5. Jodi Piccoult is a great one for completely-uncalled-for plot twists. I came very close to throwing Handle With Care across the room after reading a particular plot twist. I won't say what it was, but it honestly felt like it was a slap in the face after all the time I'd invested in the book up until that point.

    I'm a fan of surprises, but not ones that make you feel like your time reading has been for naught.

    P.S. Love the headline - very attention grabbing. :-)