Tuesday, 19 February 2013

What makes a romance novel bad?

Becoming a writer has expanded my line of questioning when it comes to reading. I used to read just for the love of reading, but now I have added an educational element to my reading. I recently read a very bad book, which shall remain nameless. Let me just say that for me to think a book is bad, it has to be really really really bad. As I was reading it and praying it would get better, I wondered what made the book so bad. I’ll tell you what made it bad.

1. I never got into the characters – the writer told the story of at least six people and I didn’t get to relate to any of them, not even the main protagonist because the writer didn’t stay with him long enough to explore him

2. There were grammatical errors all over the place – enough said about that

3. The plot was weak. The story didn’t flow. I kept having to go back in the book to find out who did what when

4. The timeline was off – I spent a lot of time questioning if what was done could have happened when it was happening

5. It was a suspense novel of sorts, but the writer told us who the killer was at the beginning of the book so there was no real suspense

6. The overuse of clichés - I love a good cliché as much as the next person, but just like wearing too much jewelry, you have to take at least one piece off before leaving the house

7. The romance in the story didn't make sense. There was a connection between the two characters, but it wasn't developed and it didn't draw me into their love story

8.The GMCs (goals, motivations, and conflicts) weren't clear. In the end you never really found out why the murder had taken place or honestly, the purpose of the book

And that’s all I can think about for the bad book session.
What makes a book bad for you? I want to know.


  1. I love the comparison between cliches and jewelry. Funny & TRUE!!
    For me, the biggest book killer is a lack of underlying optimism. I can handle dark & sad, but there has to be some humor and the feeling that the good guys are gonna win. In addition to all of the stuff on your list.

    1. Underlying optimism is a good one Liv. Thanks

  2. My biggest book killer is not being able to relate, get into or have sympathy for the characters. The plot is important but it's characters from the classics that always stay with you. Nice post, Nana.

    1. Thanks Debbie. I know what you mean about the character staying in your memory- like Nat and Marc :)

  3. I read to live in another world for a short while, and to relate to people I haven't met. When I'm reading, if I start to question time line or logic, the writer has lost me as a friend of their characters. I think if we can connect with the characters the rest is window dressing.

    1. Thanks for sharing Mona. Connecting to the characters is very important.

  4. Whoa, it does sound pretty bad, Nana.


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