What Turns You On?


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Thread: What Turns You On?

  1. #1
    Member MzSnowleopard's Avatar
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    What Turns You On?

    The opposite topic is going great. I thought it would be interesting to flip the page and learn what, as readers, keeps us from putting down a book.

    For me it's shorts scenes with a few characters, 2 maybe 3 at the most who do any of the talking. I'm okay if the writer shows that someone else is in the room but not everyone needs to talk.

    One thing that I really like I've seen only in one series- Evan Innes America 2040.

    Before chapter one begins, Mr. Innes introduces us to the main cast. It's a who's who of the primary characters in the book. The name, rank if it's there, and a few short sentences about who the character is.
    His doing this, identifying the main cast, was helpful as there is a lot that goes on and a lot of characters involved.

    This is one of the aspects that ingrained in my mind about the series. I've considered doing this with my own works.
    "Sometimes I wish I could stay asleep, not because my life is that dull and boring but because my dreams are just that good." - Mindy Dyksterhouse (MzSnowleopard)
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  2. #2
    i love when a beginning captures imagery in "flowery prose". or what some call "purple". some people can't stand this, i understand.
    but if the writer can shred my real life reality on the first page? i'm generally hooked.
    Last edited by dale; May 12th, 2019 at 11:44 PM.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  3. #3
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    I'm a sucker for romance of all kinds. If you have a well done romance plot in your story then the chances are high that I'll read it through to the end.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dale View Post
    i love when a beginning captures imagery in "flowery prose". or what some call "purple". some people can't stand this, i understand.
    but if the writer can shred my real life reality on the first page? i'm generally hooked.
    Agreed.

    When the writer can evocatively bring forth wonderful writing page after page, weaving sentences within each other that challenge me, that make me feel as if I don't understand something about life, about what it means to be human, and it's done with such grace, fervor, and passion- then I simply WILL NOT give up the book.

  5. #5
    There's this metamorphosis that happens usually between pages 1-4, where I will suddenly no longer feel as though I am Reading Words In A Book but rather that I am eating something in the grip of starvation. Once that happens, I am the best and greatest reader in the world. I will read an entire 400 novel in a night if I can get away with doing so. If that doesn't happen, I have trained myself to read-on-damn-it but my pace is slower and the process more laborious.

    It's much harder to say what makes me dislike a story than like it because the turn-offs tend to be more consistent. There are plenty of stories where there's nothing identifiable that is 'wrong' with the narrative, it just doesn't gel and what I described doesn't end up happening. Tolkien, for instance. I don't dislike Tolkien - he's brilliant - but I never enjoyed readng Lord Of The Rings in spite of loving the mythos and many aspects of the story simply because I felt the delivery overdone and impersonal "Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of theShire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpectedreturn. The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become a locallegend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the old folk might say, thatthe Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed with treasure."

    What really turned me 'off' was that the whole book is written at a kind of distance; there's no sense of growing intimacy in the way it is written. There's no real sense of getting into the character's head even when you're supposed to. It feels very traditional. On the other hand, writers like Raymond Carver and Ray Bradbury and even, dare I say it, Stephen King are generally quite good at making a narrative feel personal. There's a kind of 'warts and all' to the way things are described.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #6
    the only thing that really turns me off about my own writing? i don't have large succulent breasts. i feel like if my breasts were more large and succulent?
    i'd probably love my writing a hell of a lot more.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    There's this metamorphosis that happens usually between pages 1-4, where I will suddenly no longer feel as though I am Reading Words In A Book but rather that I am eating something in the grip of starvation. Once that happens, I am the best and greatest reader in the world. I will read an entire 400 novel in a night if I can get away with doing so. If that doesn't happen, I have trained myself to read-on-damn-it but my pace is slower and the process more laborious.

    It's much harder to say what makes me dislike a story than like it because the turn-offs tend to be more consistent. There are plenty of stories where there's nothing identifiable that is 'wrong' with the narrative, it just doesn't gel and what I described doesn't end up happening. Tolkien, for instance. I don't dislike Tolkien - he's brilliant - but I never enjoyed readng Lord Of The Rings in spite of loving the mythos and many aspects of the story simply because I felt the delivery overdone and impersonal "Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of theShire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpectedreturn. The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become a locallegend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the old folk might say, thatthe Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed with treasure."

    What really turned me 'off' was that the whole book is written at a kind of distance; there's no sense of growing intimacy in the way it is written. There's no real sense of getting into the character's head even when you're supposed to. It feels very traditional. On the other hand, writers like Raymond Carver and Ray Bradbury and even, dare I say it, Stephen King are generally quite good at making a narrative feel personal. There's a kind of 'warts and all' to the way things are described.
    Excellent post with great examples. I agree with you, but to ask a question, "Do you feel that personalizing writing, breaking that gap (that fourth wall,) between the reader and the writer is what should be aimed for? Is this the basis for great fiction?"

    Carver is good at this. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love teleports us into the scenes and makes us feel at home. King, your last example, with his good work bridges that gap as well, making us feel to know the characters intimately. We feel as if they have become people we have met, or people that we passed by on the street. The details are so revealing, and his grizzled truth, the ability to describe someone completely, for better and or worse- is something that he accomplishes with aplomb in his greatest works of fiction.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dale View Post
    the only thing that really turns me off about my own writing? i don't have large succulent breasts. i feel like if my breasts were more large and succulent?
    i'd probably love my writing a hell of a lot more.
    They'd just get in the way, more bumper car bouncing off the surfaces...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    They'd just get in the way, more bumper car bouncing off the surfaces...
    yeah. but the seat belts. i personally never wear them even though it's the law here. but if i'm with a nicely built girl?
    i be watching that seat belt strapped down between her jugs. and i be like...damn, girl. that seat belt looking mighty fine on you.....lol
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bard_Daniel View Post
    Excellent post with great examples. I agree with you, but to ask a question, "Do you feel that personalizing writing, breaking that gap (that fourth wall,) between the reader and the writer is what should be aimed for? Is this the basis for great fiction?"
    Yes.

    Look coming up with an idea is near effortless and even hammering out a functional plot and conceiving of some characters isn't usually that hard - usually we end up recycling this stuff anyway. But writing intimately AND still managing to tell the story in an efficient and effective manner while sustaining, say, a convincing point of view or authentic dialogue is really quite difficult to do well. But, speaking as a reader, that's what I care about. If I only cared about the story and didn't care about the manner in which it is told I'd have no reason to read. I'd just watch TV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bard_Daniel View Post
    Carver is good at this. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love teleports us into the scenes and makes us feel at home. King, your last example, with his good work bridges that gap as well, making us feel to know the characters intimately. We feel as if they have become people we have met, or people that we passed by on the street. The details are so revealing, and his grizzled truth, the ability to describe someone completely, for better and or worse- is something that he accomplishes with aplomb in his greatest works of fiction.
    I was shaky on King just because I have not read a ton of his work and of what I have read some of it isn't actually that great - The Tommyknockers is an entirely impersonal and shitty novel IMO - but accepting cocaine isn't always beneficial to the process and taking into account other King books are fantastic at cutting to the raw humanity of their characters via voice (The Shining, It, Misery, even Carrie) I rate King. I definitely don't think there are many modern writers who are as good at character as he is.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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