There are multiple reasons why a reader might stop reading a novel. Among those are poor writing, Unbelievable plot, unlikable main characters, and the story being too slow and or boring. Like I said, there are many different reasons, but these are the biggies when it comes to readers not finishing a novel. So, let’s take some time and dive into each one of these.
4. Avoid Poor Story Writing
This can come from not having a unique enough style in your writing or having trouble finding your voice within the novel. What you can do to help combat this is try reading stuff outside of the genre you normally write in. Doing so can help you find your own voice when it comes to writing and help develop your style.
What we highly recommend, though, is to avoid writing novel length work until you better develop your skills. It might not be what you want to do, but it’s important to develop your style, writing skills, and author’s voice before spending your energy on a full-length novel. Start with short stories and work your way up. Also, make sure to get feedback from beta readers and whatnot as your skills improve. This will let you know what you need to improve upon and what you’re already good at.
3. Don’t Create An Unbelievable Plot
This can occur more often in certain genres such as Sci-Fi and Horror. Personally, I’m a fan of sci-fi and comic books, but sometimes they just get way too far out there with the plot threads and don’t make any sense or are too far from being anywhere near plausible. You want the different plot points to have at least some realism to them or your story will suffer.
Yes, your audience reads to escape the real world, but certain plot elements need to stay grounded or the readers will get taken out of the book. For instance, having a situation getting resolved through some impossible or act of God type event almost always flops with the audience. The story might not be real, but the best ones feel real to the reader.
2. Unlikable Main Characters Ruin The Reader’s Interest
This is where your writing skills are really put to the test. You either have an unlikable main character because you have written them poorly, or you haven’t found a way to make the readers connect to your character.
The example I like to use for this is Dexter from the TV and book series. He does terrible things but we love him for it. Granted, he does those awful things to terrible people, but that doesn’t necessarily make his actions right. But the take away from that character is, if you can make an unlikable character relatable to the readers, they’ll forgive the character’s negative attributes and still root for them. Ultimately, these flawed but likable characters will make your novel much more interesting.
1. Don’t Make The Story Too Slow And Or Boring
This one is kind of self-explanatory but is probably the biggest reason for readers to not finish a novel. You must quicken the pace up a little bit if you find sections of your novel dragging. Try throwing some twist in there or have something important happen each chapter. This will help make it so the reader won’t want to stop reading your novel until they are done with it.
A few things you can do is aim to write a page turner, which is when you leave each chapter on a minor cliffhanger. You can also focus on the pace through page counting, which is when you make sure each chapter is a certain number of pages. Utilizing a 1500-2000 page chapter format will insure a faster pace read. To put it bluntly, most readers don’t like a book with ten chapters at 10,000 pages for each chapter. Attention spans just aren’t what they used to be. So remember, quick and engaging is almost always more entertaining than slow and methodical.
Hopefully these tips will help if you’re having trouble with not quite getting your novel where you want it to be. Following these simple rules should get you over the hump, but going back and working on short stories to build your skills might be the better option. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll only get better as time goes on.
If you found this helpful you might want to check out these other great writing articles, too.