Inspired by a book on my December TBR, I decided to write a list of all the reasons I have ever not finished a book. (If you watch my videos on YouTube, you’ll find out which book soon enough. Confession: I only made it to Chapter 5.)
As a writer, it’s important to look for these issues in my own stories, but even more important is to remember that one person’s DNF (Did Not Finish) is another’s favorite book ever. Take these 16 Reasons Why I Have DNF’d A Book with a grain of salt, but hopefully a much larger grain of amusement:
1) The language is stunted or too flowery and I can’t jive with it. (Also, this isn’t a vocab test. I don’t need a GRE word every sentence.)
2) I don’t root for the Main Character.
3) I actively dislike the Main Character.
4) I want the Antagonist to kill the Main Character and plant their head on a spike, parading them around town, ending the story and thus my misery.
5) Actually the Antagonist kind of sucks too. Weak, empty threats, and I don’t believe their reasoning? Pass. Hard pass.
6) The characters have really weird names for no earthly reason and I haven’t figured out how to pronounce them and each page is a struggle for me not to rename them to Bob or Job or Clob or Whatever-Their-First-Initial-Is-Ob.
7) Why is this one guy the best that ever was? Has he trained? No? He was just born this way? He’s never practiced his power a day in his life but is somehow the absolutely best warrior in all the land? Stop.
8) The author has not just tiptoed, but full on jumped, past the line that is my suspension of disbelief.
9) Too much is happening that is never explained. We breeze through all of the parts that would help make sense of things, and hop action scene to action scene, because that’s clearly all the audience wants.
10) Alternatively, nothing is happening. Why isn’t anything happening? Why have I been reading for ten pages about a particular type of flower in this universe that will never be referenced again except maybe in passing, maybe, and has no bearing on the outcome of the story?
11) I don’t need to know how the gun works, down to each specific mechanism. Does it shoot? Cool. Don’t add five pages explaining gun history to me.
12) If there are sequels, they don’t live up to the first book. Not just the first part of this three-part story is the most interesting, but when the author decides the world wasn’t enthralling enough and needed aliens to shake shit up in the eleventh book even though aliens have never and will never again make an appearance in this otherwise contemporary world.
13) I thought this book was going to be about something else, but it’s not.
14) There’s no character growth in this multi-book series that spans years. If someone in real-life is rehashing the same issues they have been going through for half a decade, THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM.
15) Short of a religious conversion, no character is going to do a complete 180 on any viewpoint or life philosophy in the span of two days that totally transforms their wants, needs, and actions. That’s not how humans work. I’m still reading about humans, right? Let’s get some realism up in here.
16) My TBR is calling me and I must read. This book somehow accidentally got lost in the shuffle. I’m sorry, book, you did not deserve this DNF, but you got it anyways.
What reasons have you DNF’d a book? Do you have a certain page count that you try to make it to before bailing? Let me know!