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Old 07-06-2013, 12:58 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
If a blurb is poorly written and/or poorly formatted I generally don't bother. And I want the blurb to be descriptive of the book, not an excerpt or all about the author.
Agree.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:59 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by sky_kama View Post
My red flag: vampires, weerwolves, dragons.
Another red flag for me too.

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:31 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Hmmm. That seems a little harsh; there's absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with "writing solely to make money". And if you're writing to the expectations of your readers, that's actually pretty sensible.
I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. Life doesn't have a judge and jury, and while there are a few moral absolutes in the world, I'm pretty sure none of them cover writing quality. I'm simply saying that *I* am not interested in reading what someone is churning out for money. My experience has been that, unless people have a story they really want to tell, or a character they want to write about, they fall back on formula. I, personally, have no interest in formula. It's a red flag for me.

And by the by, maybe it's just me, but I *want* an author who's willing to show some imagination and confound/challenge the expectations of their readers. I understand there are readers who like genre and conventions and a pleasant ride from point A to point Z, but *I* am not one of them. Nothing irritates me quite as much as an ending you can see 200 pages off...and then the writer *writes* it.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:21 PM   #49
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More like a red rag to a bull than a red flag; the infuriating attempts of British publishers and critics to hail books as "hilarious" that aren't particularly so: "The Black Death and the European Catastrophe" - "hilarious" - The London Blatherer; "The Holocaust" - "hilarious" - The London Evening B*llsh*tter.
Ok, I made these up but you get my meaning.

Anything that involves American high school teenagers, Vampires, chick lit and bodice rippers.

Anything written by John Grisham.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:54 PM   #50
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From this weekend's NYT Book Review: "A novel of love, narcissism and ailing cattle"

[Idiopathy by Sam Byers - if this blurb grabbed your interest]
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:52 PM   #51
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My red flags:

Front Cover:
  • A close-up of a naked male chest
  • When all the book titles in a series start off with the same word
  • Authors who only use a single name on the book cover
  • Images of alien beings with cat-like heads

Back Cover Blurb:
  • When blurb consists of three sentences and nine author recommendations.
  • When the blurb describes what you should feel when reading the book, instead of what the book is about.
  • The male protagonist is listed as working with a beautiful and brilliant female (fill in obscure specialty) (fill in foreign nationality)scientist to solve whatever the danger is
  • The blurb includes the words "hot", "sizzling", "tantalizing", "sexy"
  • Authors who list the names of their pets in their bios

Other Red Flags:
  • The main character is a female age 16
  • The story is set in an academy for children with special paranormal talents
  • Main character is forced by circumstances to work with an ex-spouse or an ex-lover
  • When the description of the main character matches the photograph of the author
  • A young teenage boy, either orphaned or raised by relatives, who has to undertake a great quest
  • Characters who immediately fall into lust before the 25th page of the book
  • Law enforcement personnel/private investigators with a drinking/drug problem and/or a dead partner
  • Any character named after a spice or sweet
  • Any book with all characters having plain vanilla WASP first and last names
  • Misspellings on the first few pages
  • Obvious factual errors
  • Dragons
  • Family sagas involving a young woman/man coming over to the US from Ireland to work as a servant at the turn of the 19th century
  • 50-something woman, newly divorced, with adult children
  • Non-fiction books where the footnotes/citations are so numerous that they disrupt the reading experience
  • Books with either tiny type or large margins
  • Sentient ghosts
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:43 PM   #52
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Stephen King called a character in a book (a book I was thinking about reading) "spunky." I fear that's close enough to "plucky" to seriously hurt the book's chances of getting in front of my eyes. We'll see.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:53 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Stephen King called a character in a book (a book I was thinking about reading) "spunky." I fear that's close enough to "plucky" to seriously hurt the book's chances of getting in front of my eyes. We'll see.
Hmmm... In the case of Dr. Sleep, I would allow it, personally. 12-year old girls are permitted to be spunky. Any older than that, it's weird.

But not plucky. Never plucky.

At least, I hope you're talking about Dr. Sleep, because if there are more SK blurbs using the "spunky (age) (genderchild)" formula, I may have to reconsider.

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Old 07-06-2013, 07:53 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Spelling/grammar errors.

Elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, druids.
(and believe it or not ... I'm huge fan of fantasy)

Use of the word "plucky," or "sensation."

Exclamation marks.
Man, but Falkor in the Neverending Story was *such* a plucky dragon! And no, he's not a dog.

Of course you must admit that Frodo has a pluckability level of epic proportions, and that the Elves in that particular story are uncommonly endearing and certainly not aloof

Last edited by Katsunami; 07-06-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:00 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by CWatkinsNash View Post
Hmmm... In the case of Dr. Sleep, I would allow it, personally. 12-year old girls are permitted to be spunky. Any older than that, it's weird.

But not plucky. Never plucky.

At least, I hope you're talking about Dr. Sleep, because if there are more SK blurbs using the "spunky (age) (genderchild)" formula, I may have to reconsider.

No, no. Not Dr. Sleep. He was blurbing someone else's book.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
[*]Any book with all characters having plain vanilla WASP first and last names[/LIST]
Well, there goes any historical set in England from the Saxon invasion (or should that be English Reformation?) on? I love those Anglo-Saxon names like Ethelred the Unready.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #57
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I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. Life doesn't have a judge and jury, and while there are a few moral absolutes in the world, I'm pretty sure none of them cover writing quality. I'm simply saying that *I* am not interested in reading what someone is churning out for money. My experience has been that, unless people have a story they really want to tell, or a character they want to write about, they fall back on formula. I, personally, have no interest in formula. It's a red flag for me.

And by the by, maybe it's just me, but I *want* an author who's willing to show some imagination and confound/challenge the expectations of their readers. I understand there are readers who like genre and conventions and a pleasant ride from point A to point Z, but *I* am not one of them. Nothing irritates me quite as much as an ending you can see 200 pages off...and then the writer *writes* it.
Nothing wrong with your viewpoint, and that is what the thread is about, what turns you off.

Me I like challenging and different books and read as many as I can. But after something that stretches my brain, I want to read something fun or relaxing like a good kick ass adventure/mystery/thriller story, like Robert B. Parker, Rex Stout, Robert K. Tanenbaum etc. Sure I know the ending before I even start the book, but not too many books that I don't. Still I enjoy the ride in a way quite different from a book that keeps you on edge wondering if the good guys will prevail

Where do you find all of these books, with totally unexpected endings?

I read a book a year or so ago where the ending was unexpected in that most of the characters were killed in a snowstorm and all the little subplots as well as the main plot within the book were never resolved. It was indeed unexpected and kind of outraged me because I was enjoying the book till the last ten pages when the author got tired of thinking it seems. Not an Indie book either.
The moral or point of the book seemed to be always carry a flashlight.

Helen
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:08 PM   #58
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From this weekend's NYT Book Review: "A novel of love, narcissism and ailing cattle"

[Idiopathy by Sam Byers - if this blurb grabbed your interest]
It did make me laugh
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:18 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Joykins View Post
Well, there goes any historical set in England from the Saxon invasion (or should that be English Reformation?) on? I love those Anglo-Saxon names like Ethelred the Unready.
Which begs the question of what he was unready for.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #60
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Which begs the question of what he was unready for.
I think it means ill-advised rather than poorly prepared
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