5 Reasons Readers Give Up On Books… And How To Avoid Them

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People give up and put books down for any number of reasons, but if we understand the most common causes, we can intercept them during the writing process. As writers expend all their energy actually writing the book and expend all their sleep freaking out about publication routes, it’s easy to lose sight of this one pressing question: are people going to want to read this book all the way to the end?

Here are the core reasons people put books down before they’re done and how to make sure your book isn’t one of them.

1. Homogeneous reading experience

Complexity is your life support. If a book is too sad, too happy, too erratic, too predictable, too erudite, too preachy, too anything, your reader is going to hit a point where they feel like something different and give up your book in favor of variety. Even people who pick up Fifty Shades of Grey eager to read something kinky reportedly put it down because the kinkiness gets old. Complexity not only caters to the 21st century’s short attention span, it also reflects real life.

If your book only does one thing, it’s unlikely to keep your reader’s attention.Click To Tweet

The remedy

Your book may have some predominant colors. That’s fine. But add an unexpected splash of orange or a tinge of purple along the perimeters. Trace in the laughter at the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Emulate the ironic quips in Flannery O’Connor that put just enough humor in the darkness to make it palatable. Weave passion into the social commentary of Brokeback Mountain. With the right amount of texture, your readers won’t be rolling their eyes and casting your life’s work aside.

For a deeper dive into this issue, check out Your Book’s Journey Is The Secret Ingredient To Amazing Marketing.

2. Slow/confusing start

Books that are too scattered, too cryptic, or take too long to make their point will prompt readers to give up early. Catch 22 or One Hundred Years of Solitude are classic examples of books that everybody talks about but almost nobody reads to the end. They’re too disjointed. You need a user’s manual to find your way through One Hundred Years of Solitude (and I say that as someone who actually liked the book).

The beat poets had their heyday when everybody was still pretending to like them, but a more common response to Kerouac’s rambling, disseminated On the Road is reflected in Truman Capote’s famous denunciation: ‘That’s not writing, that’s typing.’

A slow opening is the easiest way to discourage hesitant readers.Click To Tweet

Other books, like Barney’s Version and Carter Beats the Devil, are so initially confusing (or even boring) that many readers never find out how good they are. If it weren’t for a glut of book clubs and a stellar audio version, I’m not sure A Gentleman in Moscow would have survived. Not because it isn’t gorgeous and charming and a breath of fresh air and everything else the reviews say it is, but because for the first third of the book, I kept thinking, ‘Well this is pretty, but is anything ever going to happen?’ If you’ve read it, you know it blossoms… it just takes its sweet time.

The remedy

Get to the action early on, be clear, and don’t show off at the expense of moving forward. For more on this advice, check out “Start With The Action!” – What It Means And When You Should Do It and Are You Killing Your Book With Too Much Detail And Explanation?

3. Lack of hook

If your readers aren’t staying up too late to find out what happens, chances are they’ll get busy or bored and give up in favor of another book.

This probably feels like a tall order. It is. Your characters need to be interesting. Your plot has to be unpredictable without being erratic and unbelievable. Your setting has to be convincing. Your stakes have to matter. There should be cliffhanger moments (but not in excess). There should be strife and respite, summit and valley. There should be something that gnaws at the reader while they’re at work or tempts them to page ahead.

What does your story do that hooks the reader’s interest? Nothing? Uh-oh…Click To Tweet

Look no further than Moby Dick for evidence of this. Granted, the book was not written for our times any more than the horse-drawn cart was made for the journey from New York to L.A., but people still read it because – despite things like Melville dedicating a whopping 3,645 words to the whiteness of the whale – there’s something for people to root for, wait for, hope for, and dread.

The remedy

If you don’t feel 100% impassioned about what’s happening in your book, set it aside. Start another one. Sometimes, authors have a good idea, but it’s not clear to them or fully absorbing. For one reason or another, they’ve decided ‘I really want to make this work.’ Yes, a book is hard work, but that shouldn’t be all it is.

Take a tough stance with yourself early on – what about your story makes the reader need to keep reading? If nothing, what can you add to fulfill this purpose?

There’s an exception to every rule, in art more than anything, but your reader is not a loyal partner. Keep them interested or risk them being wooed away by a book with a more enticing hook. For more on this, begin with Hook Your Readers: 6 Tried And Tested Tips.

4. The writing is weak

Sometimes, a certain style doesn’t jibe with a reader. That’s why it’s helpful to align your genre with as wide a target audience as possible and pepper familiarity with a few surprises. Be careful, though, not to conflate an under-developed voice with a style that ‘just doesn’t appeal’ to everyone.

If you have an amazing story, you owe it to that story to fine tune your craft. Take classes, read books on writing, read books not on writing, hire an editor, buy your friends copious amounts of their favorite food/drink/bath gel in exchange for feedback. By the time you are done editing and re-editing and having-somebody-else-do-the-editing of your book, you’re going to be sick of it. And at that point? You’re probably still not done.

True, there are times when weak writing is overridden by good marketing (we’re looking at you, Dan Brown) or sex appeal (Fifty Shades et al), but there’s a lot of luck that goes into making that happen. Relying on luck is not a good strategy.

The remedy

Honor your story. Do what it takes so that the writing showcases the story instead of distracting from it or, worse, killing it. Uninspiring writing is a step up from writing that gets in the way, but writing that actually enhances the story is the goal. This is a constant journey for any author worth their salt, but you can check out How To Improve Your Writing By Cutting Eight Words as a good place to start.

5. Misleading expectations

Sometimes, your reader opens your book and discovers that it’s not at all what they expected. Here’s the thing – you’d have been fine if they’d never picked it up, but now you’ve got an irritated anti-fan who’s eager to spread the word about how disappointing they found your work. Not only did they give up early, but they’re encouraging your target readers to not even bother.

Attracting the wrong kind of reader can easily backfire.Click To Tweet

The remedy

This one’s all about advertising – make sure your decisions relating to the cover, the blurb, and other marketing are about getting the right readers, not just pulling in as many people as possible. Want to know more? Try Do You Waste Time Marketing Your Book To The Wrong Readers?

Don’t invite the reader to give up

The internet means a saturation of almost every market and corner of society, and literature is not immune. There are millions of books. 130 million, if you asked Google eight years ago. It’s easier to quit books when there are so many to choose from, and when your e-reader allows you to discard one $1.99 book for another without any landfill guilt. You can’t just write a book and hope people will finish it. You have to write something worth reading – all the way to the end.

Pulling that off is difficult, but hey, that’s what makes being an author so amazing, and the payoff is worth it. Get a reader to happily finish your book and you’ve encouraged them to actively search out your next one. It’s a process that has built countless literary legacies, and yours could be next.

What makes you give up on a book before it’s finished, and what makes you stay up half the night just to read a little more? Let me know in the comments.


31 thoughts on “5 Reasons Readers Give Up On Books… And How To Avoid Them”

  1. One thing that puts me off from many books and movies I’m sure are very good is unrealistic plot pacing. For instance, in Star Trek: Beyond, a large amount of plot happens at the beginning of the movie and then it gets slow, then speeds up again. Plot pacing is an incredibly important part of writing.

    1. batmansbestfriend

      The three new Star Trek movies (Kelvin Universe?) are terrible pieces of non-Star Trek J. J. Abrams junk. J. J. Abrams even publicly admitted he never liked Star Trek. Seriously? I’ve seen the entire original series, TNG, and all the original movies and NONE of them suffered in any major way with pacing. In fact, pacing is one of their strongest points.

      1. Rebecca Langley

        Hey, Batmansbestfriend, thanks for chiming in! I’m afraid I’m not the resident expert on Star Trek, but I wonder if Jade would care to respond? I appreciate you adding your voice to the discussion.

        Best wishes,

      2. I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t even watch any of the other new ones, so I don’t even have an opinion. I haven’t seen the old ones in a while, but from what I remember, they were very entertaining.

  2. Hello Alex,

    very good advice! Especially about 1 (homogenous reading experience), because that’s a BIG problem for many would-be novelists, but somehow, this extremely important (and dire) flaw almost never gets discussed!

    In fact, Otfrid Preussler’s “The Little Witch”, a book that used to be a German children book classic until the mid-Nineties, suffered from exactly that fault,

    While the writing style of that book was reasonably “whimsical” (as you would expect from a book about a child-witch), and the tone was reasonably “funny” (as befits a book for small readers), the book’s “feel” remained pretty uniform throughout until the last 2 chapters.

    In every chapter, the little witch (who was never given a name, as I remember) would use her magics to help somebody in need, ocassionally using her spells to punish evil-doers.

    It wasn’t long before I was bored out of my skull, and started to wonder wether that writer was, perchance, totally overrated: For ME, good literature (that is, literature that doesn’t bore you while you are still a minor) was Michael Ende’s Neverending Story, Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the Brothers Grimm, Andersen, Swift’s Gulliver or even Arabian Nights: All books that were very imaginative and didn’t bore you.

    While “The Little Witch” was so homogeneous, it was boring, one of the most boring books I EVER read.

    Because almost every book chapter felt the same, and even things that could have been great elements of numinousity (witches and magics, and the fact that even though the little witch is considered a “young” – actually, a VERY young witch, possibly the youngest one of them all, the equevalent of a 6 years old childe -, she was actually an old, old woman, hundreds of years old and was even refered as an old crone by some humans she had encountered) amounted to nothing more than cheap “special effects” (the spells and transformations and what not) and childish jokes.

    Only in the last 2 chapters does this book actually manage to stray from its straightjacket of homogenous story-telling by varying the plot.

    And even after over 32 years, I still think “The Little Witch” is a primary example of bad writing, specifically because it is so oppressively, boringness-inspiringly homogenous throughout, except for the final 2 chapters. (Albeit that book certainly had a lot of other faults, most notably the failure of using the surreal nature of the main character’s age to full effect: Except for a single sentience, the writer never even once explores it what it actually means to be an old woman by human standards, but being barely out of infant age by which standards.)

    Okay, this “comment” became much longer than I had planned it to be.

    But I think it’s important to underscore for any writer just HOW dire and damaging it can be for them if they write up homogenous novels (novels that completely, utterly, religously and to the utter, total exclusion of ANY variations at ALL, insist of using ONE fixed genre/genre-mix, tone, writing style and “feel”) can be. They’re BORING, and at the worst, even if a readers holds out until the end and actually finishes that book, chances are great that he won’t EVER read another book from you.

    No matter HOW famous you are.

    Again, Alex, this was VERY good advice you gave. Any chance of getting additional advice? (For example, what would be the NEXT 5 reasons readers give up?)

    Also, any chance you write up an expanded advice about homogenous novel-writing? Nobody else even seems to have noticed that this is one of the bioggest reasons why readers “jump”…

  3. Hello Rebecca,

    ulp. I’m sorry. But somehow, I managed to mistake you for Alex. My apologies!


    1. Rebecca Langley

      Hi, Andreas.

      First of all, no worries… the email comes from Alex no matter the author of the article. I figured that was why you were calling me Alex. 🙂

      Thanks for expounding on my thoughts here. You’re an insightful reader. I’ll have to ponder your “next five reasons” question. Thanks for asking about homogenous writing – that’s a really important question as well. I think there are a lot of possibilities (maybe an upcoming article for me to write?), but here’s one guaranteed way to do it: ask yourself, “If I were reading this book, what would I expect to happen next?” And, “What would be the exact opposite of that?” Then, do pretty much anything BUT those two things. Here’s where most writers maybe get a little too homogenous. They follow the natural flow of their inclinations or expectations. That can definitely help you pump out a novel faster, but it won’t allow for complexity or the depth and novelty readers crave. The other mistake is doing the exact opposite of what’s expected, which can come across as cliché and – ironically – also predictable.

      Maybe watch for a future article on this topic; meanwhile, I hope this gets at your question! Again, thanks for your thoughts. I love engaging people over a good literary topic.

      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

      1. Hello Rebecca,

        thanks for your understanding. Yes, the email came from Alex, so I simply ASSUMED the article was written by Alex as well, without taking the time to check out if I was right. Next time, I’ll know better…

        Thanks for your expanding on my question about homogenous writing. However, as I understand (and experienced) that fault, it’s not only about plotting (“What happens next?”), but about everything else too:

        Genres (for example, a horror novel that is obsessed with being deeply scary and “gothic” without allowing for any other genre elements: No satire elements, no moments of humor, which could’ve delivered the neccessary moments of levivity, no action moments etc; ) tone (like in the “Little Witch”, whom I mentioned earlier), writing style and so on.

        As for future articles? How about an extended series about the possibilities, advantages, drawbacks and pitfalls of Multiple POV novels?

        Because having to get into too many POV charaters is surely one of the major reasons why some readers jump (see Kale’s reason for not finishing a book recently), yet properly done, those books tend to be true masterpieces.


  4. I’ve been a reader since 1978. This is the first year that I’ve stopped reading books before the end. So far I’ve stopped midway in three books.

    The first book had too many character POVs. This meant that I had the opportunity to disengage with over half the characters and their story arcs.

    The second book only had one POV. She talked too much and was a self-centred idiot when she was set up to be a classic hero.

    The third book was extremely well written and consisted of a story wthin a story, but it was too scary. I flicked ahead to mitigate my fear levels and realised that the external story becomes stupid and the internal story stays scary. Without finishing it I cannot ascertain whether the many times I’ve had to suspend disbelief will be explained by the end of the book. I may still finish this one, but I’m struggling.

    1. Rebecca Langley

      Hi, Kale.

      So is it liberating being able to quit books in the middle? I can still remember when I first started doing that; it was like my eyes were opened to a whole new wonderful world where I wouldn’t be less of an intellectually oriented bibliophile if I quit a lousy book midway through! It’s a good life now.

      Great insights, too, thanks! Too many POVs; that’s a good one. Personally, I’m okay with three or four. The unlikeable protagonist in your second example is also important. There are times when unlikable protagonists (or narrators, etc.) work, but it’s tough to pull off. Watch for my upcoming article on this, actually. Even when they do “work,” they come with the inherent risk that some people won’t like them. I’ve dipped into some books or TV series that people absolutely rave about and I end up bailing because I can’t stand the lead character.

      If you remember, pop back in and let me know if you end up finishing that last book you mentioned. Your struggles with it are interesting, and I appreciate your implication that it’s okay to ask readers to suspend disbelief… if the author justifies those instances. Tough to pull off!

      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

      1. Hello Rebecca,

        I just saw that you’re already planning to do an article about multiple POV novels. That’s great!

        But how about expanding that planned one article into several, covering not only the drawbacks and pitfals, but the advantages of using several POV characters for a novel? How to do it, how NOT to do it, how many POV characters are too many POV characters, how to space them over the course of a novel, how to pace their individual climaxes and so on?

        That said, multiple POVs are perfect for a continuing novel series, because once you have introduced them in your first novel, you can basically alternate between them for all future installments of your novel series, using ONE of them as any installment’s absolute main character whose tale that installment is chiefly about, while the other characters play more supportive roles in that installment.

        1. Rebecca Langley

          Hi, Andreas.

          Great thoughts, thank you.

          I should clarify: the upcoming article I referenced is on writing an unlikable protagonist, not on using multiple POVs.

          If you go to the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner of our website and type in “multiple,” you’ll see a couple articles on this topic – multiple antagonists, head-hopping, etc. One of our most recent posts speaks to this as well: //www.standoutbooks.com/ensemble-cast-part-1/. An ensemble cast is not necessarily the same as writing with multiple POVs, but reading this article in conjunction with the one on head-hopping should speak to your comment.

          I definitely appreciate your defense of the multiple POV novel (or series! I love the way The Giver Quartet handles this). If you have any thoughts on the above-referenced articles, I’d love to hear them. And let me know if there’s another article to be written reflecting on those two!

          Best wishes,
          Rebecca Langley

          1. Hello Rebecca,

            thanks for the tip, and for the two article links! I’ll certainly check them out!

            About head-hopping, however. I think it’s too maligned. Head-hopping *can* be a useful tool, especially if you have an “ensemble cast” and want to sshow what each of them thinks without having them engage in ridiculous “puplic laying bare my inner-most, most private thought”.

            For example, it’s much better (much easier, much cleaner and much more realistic) simply to take that group of characters and show their inner thought-processes and feelings, going from one to the next until either you have had all characters in question had their “say” (without them having to make dumb speeches, no matter how short, or until you revealed all character’s thoughts except for the character(s) whose thought processes you want to remain mysterious for whatever reason.

            For example, you’ve got a group of 5 characters who are all present and are deciding upon something, which in this case means voting upon something (the right direction, how to deal with a traitor in their midst, whatever) simply by virtue of the fact that they are more than 2 people together.

            You can then go from character to character, revealing first a character’s inner monologue/feelings before having that character say his decision aloud (and of course it’s completely possible that that character’s verbal decision doesn’t reflect that character’s inner monologue at all, but then you should probably have set up why before…).
            And you can then even advance the characterization , by contrasting the opinions/decisions/votes etc from several or all characters.


      2. Thanks Rebecca.
        I’m too busy to read for the next few days, but I’ve decided to cheat. I’ll skip a few chapters and then resume reading when I get closer to the end of the internal book. Once I finish the book I’ll go back and read the skipped chapters- especially if I haven’t found an explanation for the inconsistencies.

        As a matter of fact the inconsistencies revolve around head hopping. The internal book is a 500 page flashback for the main character in the external book. The problem is the internal book has multiple POVs and (at least) one of the POVs dies and three POVs are antagonists, so how does the MC know what they think and do when he’s not there? Moreover, if he is sharing this flashback with his companions in the external book, why is he sharing intimate details of his sex life (and other characters’ sex lives) with his 11 year old companion? It seems weird and creepy.

        1. Rebecca Langley

          Hi again, Kale.

          I like your “cheating” plan. Let me know how it goes! Your observations definitely make sense to me from a distance (hard to tell without the book in front of me, though). That kind of critical reading can support your work as an author. You learn what not to do and, more precisely, what mechanisms to avoid or how to correct them in your own projects.

          All my best, as ever,

          1. Thanks Rebecca.

            I finally finished the book in its entirety. On closer examination the next few chapters had a lot of narration to dial down the suspense in order to crank it up again for the climax. I actually did enjoy the book overall and was glad that I read it. It was Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass and my sole purpose in selecting it when I don’t really enjoy suspense is to learn his techniques for managing suspense, etc. So mission accomplished!


        2. Rebecca Langley

          Hi, Kale.

          Glad to know your persistence paid off and you picked up some useful techniques for building suspense. Do you feel like the multiple POVs were justified in the end?

          Best wishes,
          Rebecca Langley

          1. Hi Rebecca.

            The multiple POVs always worked well. Too well given that these intimate POVs were embedded in one character’s recollection of what happened. It seemed like inexplicable head hopping which is not what people expect from a respected author like Stephen King. However, he does explain it and it is foreshadowed, so I guess it’s ok. As a new writer I doubt I would ever get away with it so wouldn’t try it.

            The other leap of faith related to a seemingly painful execution that didn’t hurt. However, I suspect King was using the execution for its biblical symbolism. It worked well- if the reader is familiar with the Christian symbolism. Once again, I don’t think new writers can try this stuff at home.



          2. Rebecca Langley

            I’m sure Stephen King can get away with a lot that the rest of us couldn’t pull off. It sounds like you’re good at looking through a critical lens and still coming away with something of value. It’s tempting sometimes (for me) to overdo the critical and neglect the value.

            Salman Rushdie is quoted as saying, “To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.” One could take that as “don’t bother reading the book if it offends you so much” or – and I like it better this way – don’t go to all that trouble and not take away something that’s of value to you.

            Thanks for sharing your insights. 🙂

    2. Hello Kale,

      well, if a book is too scary for you, you did the right thing. After all, reading is supposed to be enjoyable.

      About the many POVs: How many would be too many POVs for you? Would 4-6 too many for you already? (Assuming one of those sixs POVs turns up mostly in the first two thirds of the book, and another of those 4-6 POVs turns up mainly in the second third of the book, for little more than one book chapter?)


      1. Hello Andreas,

        I’m sorry for the delay in replying to your interesting question. The reality is that I don’t have a set number as being too many POVs. In general I prefer a single POV with maybe brief periods from another POV, including the narrator.
        The third book that I considered abandoning had more than ten, whilst the first book that I abandoned had only seven. The difference was that in the third book I could clearly identify the MC POV and all the POVs revolved around the same plot line. Books that have too many main characters with their own POV usually have too many plot lines and I usually lose interest in one one or more characters/plot lines. When I’m bored by more than half the characters/plot lines and I can’t see the strands coming together, it’s hard to justify continuing.
        To be fair in my own manuscript I have two POVs and sometimes I worry that the story would be more engaging and coherent with only one POV. Other times I worry that it would be more suspenseful and comprehensive if I included an antagonist’s POV or maybe an omnipotent narrator.

  5. A few months ago, I read the first 3 or 4 chapters of a book, but I had to stop reading it because the 1st person narrator detailed every little thing to an unrealistic point. He described a moment in his life, 15 years ago, where he was scared more than ever in his life, yet he managed to remember the sticker on the deli’s door as he entered, and other very small details like that. Not only would he not recognize those little things in those moments, but he wouldn’t remember them 15 years later. These details didn’t have any purpose either. They had no meaning in the story. Why even mention them? Every page was like this. It was way to unrealistic. It was draining for me. I had to stop reading it.

    1. Rebecca Langley

      Hi, Franco.

      I appreciate your contribution. You’re absolutely right. This is advice I often give when I’m editing or critiquing a manuscript: don’t give too much detail. As you mentioned, it’s not realistic or necessary. Moreover, too much detail actually ends up making a scene LESS vivid. Here’s why: when you give readers a couple vivid details, those details trigger their imagination and their own minds fill in the rest of the scene. It might not look the same as the author imagined it, but that’s okay; the experience ought to be unique for each reader in order to be uniquely ALIVE to each reader. When an author gives too much detail, the reader’s imagination is disengaged. They’ll see what the author wanted them to see, but they won’t own it and – without realizing it – they won’t enjoy it as much.

      I touch on this in my article on period fiction (//www.standoutbooks.com/period-historical-fiction/). The gist of my advice would be: give a couple vital details that trigger imagination, give a framework to the scene, and are relevant to the rest of the story.

      Thanks again, Franco, it was good to hear from you.

      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

  6. Rebecca Langley

    Andreas, hi again. For some reason, the comment interface is not allowing me to reply directly to your comment, so hopefully you see this way down here!

    I won’t go into too much detail here, because the head-hopping article really digs deep into this issue (//www.standoutbooks.com/avoid-head-hopping/), but suffice it to say: you’re right. I wouldn’t call that head hopping, though. I’d say that’s omniscient narration. Head hopping is what happens when a scene is supposed to be from a certain (limited) POV and the narration slips and offers something from a different POV that the current limited perspective could not possibly have access to. (The term might also be applied to switching perspectives too frequently so that it’s hard for the reader to track whose head they’re in when, but the former is a bigger problem in my opinion; the latter can be a problem or it can simply require astute readership.)

    Thanks for the vibrant ongoing conversation. I love your insights.

    Best wishes as ever,

  7. I read the King Arthur trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, but almost didn’t. The first 100 pages of ‘The Winter King’ was long, boring, overly descriptive and did I mention boring? I put the book down for literally 3 months. I picked it up again determined to find out if it got any better and did it ever! I polished off it and the next two in a matter of a couple of weeks. Ironically, I read a Bernard Cornwell interview where he mentioned if he could go back he would re-write the first 100 pages as he found he wasn’t happy with them.

    1. Rebecca Langley

      Hi, Greg.

      Thanks for reading and adding your insights. I had a similar reading experience with the much-shorter _A Gentleman in Moscow_. Started off pretty slow, ended up being a treasure. It’s interesting that Bernard Cornwell had regrets about those pages… but I’m glad you pushed through and had an enjoyable experience.

      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

  8. Hi! I’m currently writing a book which I’m scared starts off too slowly but there’s nothing much I can do about it as its a very solid plot. Any advice?

    1. Hi, Madison.

      Great question. A slow start can definitely turn away readers, so it may be worth reconsidering your attachment to the plot as-is. You may be looking at a change in style more than a change in plot.

      For instance, can any of the early elements be woven in later instead? Maybe as flashbacks, or as a way to add intrigue by offering less at the outset? Or, can you do the opposite – bring some later, more riveting elements into the beginning pages? This isn’t a change in plot, just in the way the plot is presented chronologically.

      Another thought: cut to the chase. Save an extra copy of your book, and ruthlessly delete everything that you believe is slowing the beginning down. Ask a trusted reader or two to let you know how the book reads without those elements. From there, (a) add the deleted details back in slowly, through a very narrow gate or (b) fill in the gaps without referencing the deleted material. Sometimes we become attached to certain things, but when we remove them from our sight (literally), we see the book’s needs differently.

      Hope this helps!
      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

    1. Hi, Lee, thanks for joining the discussion. If you’ll look again, you’ll notice that my reference to 50 Shades is not complimentary: “Even people who pick up Fifty Shades of Grey, eager to read something kinky, reportedly put it down because the kinkiness gets old.”
      Best wishes,
      Rebecca Langley

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