Monday, August 29, 2011

What About You?

So. . .What about you?
What do you like in a book/movie? What are you honestly sick of?

What makes you keep turning the pages?

Do you want to be able to relate to the character, or do you want him/her to be what you wish you are, so that they can inspire you?

What is, in your mind, the perfect book?

Should action scenes be gruesome, or somewhat clean? Romance, yes or no? Detail, or to the point? 

This is one of those posts where I expect EVERYONE to comment, because I really want to know what other readers look for.

By the way, the tie that you guys gave me for the "Names" Poll only made my mind scramble around more. I'm adding two new names to the mix, so please go over and vote!~Elizabeth


  1. I am sick of always figuring out the romantic side of a book from the beginning. I like it complicated enough to leave me guessing.

    I like it when the protagonist is who I wish I were - strong, smart, beautiful.

    Somewhat gruesome action scenes. Not so gross that I want to throw up, but enough stuff in it to show that the writer is willing to put her characters through situations that will toughen them and change them.

    I like the romance side to a novel. It doesn't have to be the main theme, but it makes a good subplot to spice things up.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Yay, I love talking about this!

    What do I like in a book or movie? Well, after hours upon hours of considering the question (over the last year), I have come to the conclusion that the single most important factor in books and movies to make me like or dislike it is

    wait for it...

    The characters.

    What a surprise. :)

    I actually buzzed about this recently, saying, "The main thing that makes me like or dislike a movie is whether it has good characters and relationships or not. For instance, King Arthur is filled with things I don't like: violence (both gory and traumatic), inappropriate humor, a poor view of Christianity, and immodesty (as well as a scene we skipped), but, despite those, I really enjoyed watching it and think of it most positively. The characters are deep and real (I love how true to the time Arthur is!) and their relationships are the underlying focus of the movie (not to mention that Guinevere is a surprisingly good female character--helping Arthur be who he should be).

    As a contrary example,
    The Widow's Might is Christian, shares my values, is well filmed, and has an ingenious plot that includes singing without being cheesy, all of which would make me like it, but I don't because the characters (to me) are shallow and their relationships (though actually real) come across as fake. (Again, just my opinion.)

    So, because this is what makes me like movies, I like a lot of movies other people don't and a lot that I wouldn't recommend (like
    King Arthur ). =)

    This is also reflected in my opinion about the Walden Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

    Oh dear, this won't let me post. Maybe my comment's too long. *chops it in half*

  3. *Continued*

    What makes me keep turning the pages? It being a book that I've started reading. :P
    But if I haven't "officially" started the book, then I'll read it if I'm invested in the character--which only happens if I can understand and sympathize with where their coming from (and they don't drive me crazy :).

    Violence/action? Not gruesome or dark. My brother and I have talked about this a lot (he's writing his first book, so it's relevant). While it's true that to see the light we must first be shown the dark, it is unhealthy and even (I think) wrong, to delve too deeply into evil in our books. It's a really hard line to walk, but--it'll take too long to explain in this comment. :) I can expound later if you'd like me too.

    Romance? Only if it's 100% necessary to the plot, not the main focus, and at least mostly right. For example: Pride and Prejudice is a famous romance and one of the few I like. In it, the romance is necessary to the plot, but not the focus of the plot. The focus is on the characters, their growth, and their relationships. (And on their witty conversations :). The romance takes up very little time. As a contrary example, in Love Comes Softly, the romance is both the focus and the majority of the plot.
    As a separate point, over 99% of fiction romances are overused and cliche. So, as a general rule of thumb, I say avoid romance if you can.
    (On this topic as well I could say much more and bring up several other points, if you're interested.)

    Detail or to the point? It depends on the author and on the drive of the story. R. M. Ballantyne and Charles Dickens both take a lot of time to talk about things and make sure ever little detail is hashed--and I love their books. Rosemary Sutcliff and J. R. R. Tolkien both use lavish descriptions that paint vivid pictures for the reader's mind. G. A. Henty and Ronald Bainton both spend pages giving detail about historical background and what-exactly-is-going-on-somewhere-barely-related-to-the-main-character.
    And I love the books of these six authors.
    So then, the question is: Are the books either detailed or to the point? I would argue that each of these authors are very detailed--yet their details are too the point. Ballantyne's point is the London Fire Brigade, so he stops in the middle of the action to explain how a certain tool was used. Rosemary Sutcliff's point is to make me feel with her character, so she spends chapters just sitting around the house minutely examining chess pieces. G. A. Henty's point is to teach about the Huguenots in France, so he doesn't mind having the character's explain every happening up to that point to another character who already knew it.
    Did these authors pull it off? Absolutely. Should we try the same methods in our books? I can't say. Such questions as these might be helpful, though: Why I am writing this book? Who am I writing to? What will get my meaning across best?

    So what is, to my mind, the perfect book? I don't think such a book exists. Can there be a book that addresses every reader no matter their background? No matter their age? That says exactly what every reader needs to hear? That says it in such a way that all can understand? That is meaningful to life? That is interesting? That has everything every reader wants (romance, action) without having anything anyone doesn't want (romance, action)? Can such a book exist?
    Oh, of course. There is one, and only one. Need I say more? :)

    Whew! I warned you that I love talking about this. :) I hope my answers are helpful and addressed what you wanted! If you'd like any clarifications, just ask. :)

  4. To me, it doesn't matter to much what's in the book, it's how it's written. I do like romance, just, you know, within reason. It doesn't have to make up the plot, but it can be interesting if it does. Well, the action scenes have to have some graphic-ness, but not really gory. Well, the book can be depressing when the character is like me LOL! But, sometimes it can be encouraging if they overcome their obstacles. It is always nice, though, to have the characters that are who I want to be. Beautiful. Smart. Funny. Oh and I like it when a chapter ends at a suspenseful part. It makes me keep reading. But short chapters are my favorite. You can stop at any time. Ummm, not too much detail, but some. Without it, it's dry. Oh, you can see the writing styles I like if you read The Rayne Tour series, The Golden Filly Series, and the Homelander's series. I mostly like Melody Carlson and Nancy Rue. Although, I don't like how Nancy Rue makes the moral SO pointed in her books. Like, you know, the book's all about how you're supposed to be honest. It takes away from the plot line.
    Hope this helps,