What Causes Me To Be Uninterested In A Story?

These past few weeks I’ve been on a bit of a Sarah J Maas binge. After I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses and LOVED A Court of Mist and Fury, it was while reading A Court of Wings and Ruin and Throne of Glass that I started noticing some trends I wasn’t a fan of… Fear not, I won’t be spoiling any of the books previously mentioned, but I will be discussing some issues I’ve found in them and other similar books and shows.

As someone who LOVES action-packed novels that constantly have me on the edge of my seat, I cannot stress enough the importance of STAKES in a novel. The characters must have something to lose and we must fear the characters might actually lose it. Something that seriously hinders my investment in a character and their safety is when resurrection is cannon within a universe. It kills off all future tension and leaves me no longer fearing for a character’s life, since they could simply be brought back. This issue can be found in a lot of media lately, but is almost the sole reason that I stopped watching the show Arrow. I’m sorry, but I can’t take your novel/show as seriously as you want me to, when I honestly no longer care what happens to the characters. The one instance I can think of resurrection working okay as a plot point is in the show Supernatural, and that is only because the show has become SO self-aware and is more for laughs than actual tension these days.

Recently there has been a push for more and more badass heroes and heroines; and, while a part of me loves these characters, they just aren’t as interesting. I would much rather read about a character who has to fight every day to survive and eventually works their way up to being badass than one who kicks butt from page one. This is my major issue with Throne of Glass. Yes, Celaena is a strong heroine who could kick my butt in .2 seconds but she feels too invincible. Her one “flaw” that mostly shows itself in the prequel novellas and not in the main story (so far) is her pride, if she overcame that, she’d be invincible. And I’m sorry but NEAR INVINCIBLE CHARACTERS JUST AREN’T INTERESTING. This is a major flaw for a novel because it leaves me highly uninterested in the plot since I never really fear for the main character’s life. Physically strong and badass leads can be great! But if done improperly, they are REALLY BORING. I want the main character to FIGHT for whatever they need. I want to go through highs and lows with the main character. Call me cruel, but I want the main character to SUFFER as I fear for their life, if it gives the novel stakes and investment, and me more of a reason to continue reading.

Both of these are major issues that have either caused me to become apathetic to series, or stop reading them entirely. If you can’t tell, I’m the type of person who likes to feel a connection with the main character, and like I’m truly going on a journey with them. I want to be worried when they’re worried, nervous when they’re nervous, and most of all I want to hope for their safety. I actually love getting my heart broken by a novel because it means I CARED! It means I loved the story/characters so much, that when bad things happened it gave me REAL EMOTIONS, as if the novel was real or something.

Do you have any thoughts on the topics of resurrection or badass leads in novels or TV? What is the biggest factor in keeping you reading? What makes you really want to give up on a novel/show?

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3 thoughts on “What Causes Me To Be Uninterested In A Story?

  1. Here I am, visiting as promised 🙂 you raise good points here! You know, I think you are totally right, because ultimately? That’s why I stopped watching Doctor Who, which was a total love of mine for a solid 5 years or so (it’s really the only show I have ever consistently watched). But then they started doing the deus ex machina thing, especially in terms of saving characters who had been dead thrice over, pretty much. And the invincibility. Lack of any sort of plot logic. And you just get disappointed and don’t want to follow anymore…
    I can’t say if it’s the same for me with books though, cause unlike you, I don’t read a lot of fast-paced books. I like slow going books or just books about thinking and feeling as well. So I don’t mind nothing much happened. But it’s still true that there’s no suspense if the laws of the world allow for anything of the author’s fancy to happen. You can’t just pull new physics out of the hat like that. It upsets any reader/watcher who is older than 10 😀

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    1. HELLLOOOO!
      I used to watch Doctor Who but haven’t watched since Capaldi became the doctor (nothing against him, I just stopped watching). Deus ex machina can be SOOOOOO annoying. It really bothers me when people write themselves into a corner so *poof* characters are magically saved. It makes me wonder why I ever cared. The easiest way to get me to stop watching something is to make me not care about the fate of the characters. Are there any other shows you watch? (Supernatural, Flash, Orphan Black, The 100, American Horror Story, random Netflix shows <- that's most of what I watch)
      My preference in plot based books VS character based books always changes. Slower character based novels with always have a special place in my heart, but sometimes I need a faster plot based novel to bring me out of a slump. My favorite thing about reading is when I'm reading a slower novel but I can't put it down because I just love the characters that much and I want to keep reading about them (The beginning of both The Diviners and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Archived<- all of Victoria Schwab novels, Six of Crows isn't totally character based but OMG THOSE CHARACTERS! K I'll shut up now 🙂
      Can I say that I HATE in mystery novels when there is ZERO foreshadowing before something is revealed. I should be able to reread the book and see where you planted the hints for that reveal (see We Were Liars! Everything is so brilliantly done and omg I could write an essay on the ending of that book. No spoilers bc if you haven't read it, you TOTALLY should!) But the point of that mini rant was to say that authors shouldn't just pull random plot points/twists out of thin air XD

      Like

      1. That’s EXACTLY what happened to me. I just stopped watching, but for no particular reason. Capaldi is not a bad Doctor at all! But it’s just the show. I guess it lost its charm? It’s definitely a different show than it was with Eccleston and Tennant. Nope, I actually don’t watch anything else 🙂 my job and my blog (+reading) take up all my time. I have no such luxury to spend time watching things 😀 I’d rather read, because it’s already hard catching up to everything I need to do! But that’s alright, I don’t really care for watching shows that much. I am an ultimate bookworm 😀

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