Magna Carta I & II

noplotnoproblem_mainChris Baty suggests in his book No Plot? No Problem! to write a list of things you love in a book and to frame it in preparation for writing your NaNoWriMo novel.

So here’s my list, in no particular order, of things I like in a book:

  • strong characterization
  • a sense of hope
  • honesty
  • a good hook
  • an economy of words
  • pastoral settings
  • first person
  • great love stories that aren’t the entire plot
  • an end that leaves me wanting more
  • dialogue that sounds like actual people talking
  • characters that are uber-normal
  • lyrical flow
  • a protag at a fork in the road or at a turning point
  • happy endings
  • a sense there could be second book

Things I don’t like so much in a book:

  • depressing, hopeless themes
  • protags that whine
  • dialogue that reminds me of Dawson’s Creek
  • marital affairs
  • vampires, demons & dragons
  • most science fiction
  • murder mysteries
  • romance novels
  • moral themes that clobber you over the head
  • poor or corny writing
  • dialogue that is written only to make a moral or political point
  • writing that is mainly the protags thoughts
  • books that use a gimmick like food, recipes, coffee or cats
  • stories about 19th century Russia
  • pets that die
  • healthcare settings
  • sex fiction

I realized that my “don’t like” list is longer than my “like” list…hmmmmm. I knew I was picky about my books, but this proves it.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. natasha
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 21:24:35

    Ah, Russian literature. Here’s some more on Russian angst from the queen of Russian angst. (That would be me.)

    I used to collect children’s picture books and I have a big collection of Russian fairy tales in both English and Russian. I am SO GLAD I can’t read the Russian ones because the ones I can read are so freaking depressing! I can’t imagine EVER reading one of these suckers to a kid.

    Fortunately I grew up during the Joe McCarthy era so my parents hid our Russian-ness and I never heard any of these stories as a kid. Now, I know lots of so-called fairy tales are bizarre and scary, but the Russian ones are just bleak, hopeless and depressing.

    Reply

  2. darksculptures
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 16:56:36

    I did my shopping yesterday, I shouldn’t have to go again for a week–I hope.

    Reply

    • kathanink
      Oct 30, 2009 @ 07:54:51

      I went shopping yesterday, and then realized I have more to buy today. I feel so unprepared! I’m trying to wrap up my life today since the hubs and I have some fun things to do tomorrow.

      Reply

      • darksculptures
        Oct 30, 2009 @ 08:08:50

        I know the feeling. It seems there are a number of things on my to do list today.

        At least it’s flash fiction friday and I already have several prepared and set to post automatically so I don’t need to worry about writing today – At least until I get my to do list cleared.

        My cucumbers were harvested a few days ago and I have a bunch of canning to get done Itomorrow. bet I end up going back to the grocery store after I check my canning supplies this morning.

        Reply

  3. dayner
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 13:15:08

    Thanks for sharing since I never got my book.
    I have to ask–stories about 19th century Russia?? I think there’s a story behind this dislike.
    By the way I suggest you stay away from everything Nicholas Sparks writes.

    Reply

    • darksculptures
      Oct 29, 2009 @ 16:44:23

      My disappointed only lasted briefly when I found out I would not get my book for 2 more weeks. So, I cancelled my order yesterday.

      Surprisingly enough, Nicholas Sparks is not on my bookshelf. However, I possess; Wm. Paul Young, King James, Leo Tolstoy, Heather Graham, Vonnegut, Machiavelli, Voltaire, Bradbury, Rosenberg, Camus, Huxley, Maimonides, Tolkien, Hawkins, King, Sartre, Poe, Homer, and many more that would land on Kathan’s don’t like list. LMAO

      Interesting, that our preferences are so diverse, yet we all landed in the same place aspiring to be writers, only writing different genres.

      Heck, now I have to go make a list.

      Reply

      • kathanink
        Oct 29, 2009 @ 17:16:24

        Interestingly, I have read most of the people on your list. I just don’t love any of them, which is why can actually say that they are on my “don’t like” list. Except Poe, I do like him, and some King stuff. And I did like the Lord of the Rings movies, but I’ve never taken the time to read the book. I think I’d like it because of the themes in it.

        I know, I was thinking the same thing…we’re all so different in what we like and what we write, and somehow we ended up together as friends! 🙂

        Reply

      • kathanink
        Oct 29, 2009 @ 17:19:47

        BTW, did you look on the Borders website for a store near you that might have Baty’s book? That’s how I found it.

        Reply

    • kathanink
      Oct 29, 2009 @ 17:19:03

      RE: 19th cent Russian books, Tolstoy is just so hard and depressing for me. I know the themes are good, it’s just hard to get through. I’ve never actually finished a book. That’s the only story.

      Baty says you should make a list of the things you like in a book and try to put as many of those things in your book as possible, and totally stay away from the ‘don’t like’ list. Another teacher said the same thing, “you should write what you like to read.” Was that Ann?

      Reply

  4. natasha
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 12:33:16

    Oh, good reminder to come up a list myself! In just glancing at yours, I definitely share a lot of the same likes/don’t likes.

    Let me go do that list. It is certainly more compelling than making a grocery list, which I also must do (and follow up on) if we intend to eat again.

    Reply

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