Recently I read a book everyone has been raving over for months. I expected to be waving my pennants and cheering by the end.
I barely cared if the main character lived or not.
After a few minutes of melodramatic sighs, I decided to think about what did or didn't work for me.
I didn't like the main character.
We've talked before about character likability and how they relatable they are. I think that's really essential. If a character feels too distant from me, the whole book feels that way.
Too much of the story was told, but not shown or explained.
Don't tell me how horrible the evil mother is. Show me. More than once. Once can be a fluke. Twice could be coincidence. For a villain to be truly awful, I need to feel it with every ounce of me. In said novel that I shall not name, I was left wondering for ages whether the MC was just whining or if she really was mistreated - which certainly didn't help me connect to her character more!
The male interest was perfect.
Admittedly, I swooned. In fact, he was the only reason I stuck with the book. He also could do everything, survive everything, be everything. His few flaws were of course, told to the readers but seldom shown or explained in depth When reading a novel (especially a YA novel), I want to feel as if I'm part of the story - not to have to be constantly told what is happening and why that is important.
Is there a popular book you haven't liked? Could you break that book down into specific things to look for in your own writing?