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Puma
09-26-2007, 01:15 AM
We've all read them - the stories that immediately grab us and pull us into the story. We've also read the ones that we could take or leave. Why? What's the difference? How would you identify or characterize what it is that grabs our attention and pulls us in? Is it mechanics, verbiage, action, story, or ... Puma

girlyswot
09-26-2007, 01:20 AM
Character. Is there someone I want to get to know better? Am I intrigued by something they say or do? Do they seem to have an unusual response to something or an interesting perspective I've not thought about before? Are they going to be fun or sympathetic or in some way real to me?

That's why I've never liked James Bond (the films - I've never even bothered to try the books) - I just don't care what happens to him at all. Though if one of those women would like to give him a good slap and tell him to get over himself, I'd watch that!

Actually, I think I'm quite a sympathetic reader. I like to read and if I pick up a book, I'm prepared to invest in it. So it's more about not doing anything to put me off. Poor grammar, spelling, punctuation. Poor characterisation. Complete disregard for things like the natural laws of physics. Complex, hard to follow sentences that don't seem to mean anything. Don't make me work for the story - tell me!

c.e.lawson
09-26-2007, 01:40 AM
I have to agree with girlyswot. It's the people in the story by far over anything else. But in addition to the characters being intriguing, or the conflict being interesting, the emotion has to ring true. I like drama, but not melodrama. On the other hand, if something warrants a fair amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth, then by all means give it to me - don't brush it under the rug. I find it so frustrating when a great personal/interpersonal conflict is set up and the payoff never comes.

(Of course, add a manly man with some scars into the mix, and it's a done deal. :) )

dgiharris
09-26-2007, 05:11 AM
For me, "the hook" is very similar to baiting a trap, leading the prey in deeper and deeper into the trap and then SNAP--you got em. Below is the best order of events that will snag me.

#1 is the "craft" of how something is written. Not to say I'm a sucker for purple prose, but moreso for good and INTERESTING writing and turns of phrase. This works for the 1st couple of paragraphs then I need...

#2 something interesting. 'The something' does not need to be an epic-original-unique-bigger than life-"thing", just something that makes my brain say hmmm. Again, this will last me for about a couple of paragraphs and by then I need....

#3 Intrigue. Taking that something interesting then hinting or showing some sort of escalation to something else. Buys the writer a couple of more paragraphs until...

#4 Characterization. By now, I'm looking to anchor myself onto "something" for this journey and that something needs to be a 3-d character. Even though it is early, the reader needs to convey a character (whether MC, antagonist, fodder, etc) that has the appearance of being real. This will buy the writer a couple of more paragraphs until I need some...

#5 CONFLICT. By now I need to step into some conflict or the beginnings of conflict. It doesn't need to be the main conflict or plot point, but it needs to be something. This will take me out to about a page and if I make it this far the writer can seal the deal with me by providing me a...

#6 Promise of a good story. If by now the writer has written in a way that shows good writing, the promise of some serious conflict, beginnings of a plot, and a world with good worldbuilding I'm hooked in.

#000 BONUS. If the writer makes me laugh or presents an interesting philisophical "thing", that will INSTANTLY buy the writer 1-2 more pages of my attention.

#666 INSTANT REJECTION: Anytime I encounter something not realistic, amatuerish, or boring I hit the ejection button.

Well that is me.

Mel...

Toothpaste
09-26-2007, 07:20 AM
I'm a sucker for humour. Or for an ingeniously worded phrase. Reading a sentence that puts something in a way I never would have thought of.

One of the things that drew me into Harry Potter was that the first chapter read a lot like Douglas Adams and it was the bit about the scar on Dumbledore's knee that was a perfect map of the underground that got me.

Puma
09-28-2007, 03:03 AM
I've been thinking about my own question and looking at some of the first chapter posts here in SYW. My opinion is that situation is what's most important to catch the reader. There has to be something very interesting, intriguing, unusual going on to catch me immediately. But there's a trade off also with setting and the way it's described. Character would place pretty far down my list for an immediate hook. Puma

JJ Cooper
09-28-2007, 01:14 PM
For me - It's got to be quick. I don't want flowery B/S ruining pacey dialogue and action.

And let me use my imagination. I don't need to know the cyclic rate of fire for a weapon or how it works. I just need to know that the person on the end of it had what it takes to pull the trigger.

The first chapter (and all after) must have a beginning, middle and end.

And it must be M/T/S genre written in third person POV.

That's what I need.

JJ

JLCwrites
10-02-2007, 08:51 AM
I don't have a problem pulling a reader in with a good character and some great action. My problem is the time following the pull. It's the "Ok, I just wrote three really cool and action packed chapters... now what do I do?" issue. That is where I am at right now in my current WIP. Ugh!

narnia
10-02-2007, 08:59 PM
Hmm, you are making me think. Ouch, that's painful.

To be honest, I don't think I ever considered the 'what' that hooks me when I pick up a book to read/buy.

I went through a phase once of reading romance novels and would read whatever by whomever as long as it was a bodice-ripper. But I usually skimmed over the naughty bits because I was more interested in the plot than the heaving bosoms. And they started getting a little boring because they all seemed the same (sincere apologies to all romance writers, this was way back in the late '70s, and I did read 100s of them before I got bored, seriously!!!) Before that it was Dad's old Westerns, never got bored with them, just did the girly romance thing when I got in HS.

SF/Fantasy (vampires/werewolves) doesn't interest me so I never pick one up, therefore I can't speak to that.

What I do love is a good suspense novel, courtroom drama, ghost story, and mystery, old (ala Agatha Cristie) or new (ala John Grisham). As to what the hook is, I am not even sure I know, even though I have been pondering it. For a new-to-me author I will pick up a book, if the back cover looks intriguing I'll check out the first few pages. If that holds my interest, well, the next thing I do is look to see what other books this person has written. This is where it gets weird. I will then pick up the first book by this person and buy that one. If I like it, I will read everything this person put out in order if possible, especially if it's a series or has common characters like those by Elizabeth George, Ann Perry, Richard North Patterson, Elizabeth Peters or Sue Grafton among many many others. I enjoy a book more when I am an 'insider', if you know what I mean. ;)

I can't recall ever starting a book and putting it down because I found issues with it. I love to read, yet I am easily bored, so perhaps I've been lucky. I know there are folks who think the DaVinci Code has issues, but I really liked it, even though there were some over the top bits. Yet the main reason I liked it was because I've been to almost every place in the book, and when I read it I was there, so to speak, because I really had been there. Maybe that's why I didn't see any glaring 'literary' issues because I did enjoy it so much, not that I feel qualified to point them out anyway. :D

So having reached no profound conclusion, I guess I would have to borrow dgiharris' 'Promise of a good story' as what hooks me (in a genre I like, of course ;)).

This is unrelated, but there is one other weird thing I do with regard to reading, something I've done forever: A few chapters in, I often read the ending before I finish. I like to see how the author constructs the journey. Yes, I am one of those people who always wanted to be a writer since I picked up my first book but am just getting around to it finally, so perhaps that desire to write was always somewhere in the background simmering. Yet I don't think I ever consciously thought, hey, some day I want to write so I am going to analyze every book I read. (I did it with any book I read, romances included.) Maybe that subconscious 'research' will help me succeed some day! :tongue

:Sun:

Azraelsbane
10-02-2007, 09:03 PM
It's all about characters for me. I've battled through some of the worst prose in the history of mankind for the sake of a beloved character. This usually happens in series, because if I'm connected to a character, that means the original prose that hooked me wasn't too bad. :)

Harper K
10-02-2007, 10:38 PM
I am all about character, as well. I love to open a book and feel like I've made a new friend by the end of the first chapter. I tend to be a pretty forgiving reader, and I'll hang on through chapter 2 or 3 of a character-driven novel if I have a hint that I'll eventually warm up to the MC. But if I get a quarter of the way through a book and am still not feeling a connection, I'll probably put the book down.

There are a few books I've read where I truly loathed the MC but went on reading. In those cases, though, I think I switched from reading as a reader to reading as a writer. I wanted, by the end, to be able to articulate to myself -- and to others, if they asked -- why I hated the MC so much, and what the writer had done, or not done, to make me feel that way.

What makes the difference between a book I like and a book I love (basically, a library rental or used paperback purchase vs. a new book purchase) is something interesting and slightly experimental happening with language, structure, or narration. I love finding common words or phrases used in surprising ways. I love narratives that jump around in time or are structured with some sort of framing device. I can certainly get on board with a novel that includes a great main character with plain language, but an extra oomph in the language department is what really pulls me in.

dgiharris
03-10-2008, 11:25 PM
:) think this is worth bumping

Bufty
03-11-2008, 10:03 PM
I think what Rowling did in the present day for the young readers, folk like Leslie Charteris, Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming did for readers some years ago.

Don't knock James Bond unless you've read - and didn't care for - the books.

I remember reading Dr No in the late 1950's, and I followed that with a whole string of books for years, including all the C S Forrester novels and Book Club monthly subscription reads too. Prior to landing on Dr No, I had not read much at all as a teenager.

And in most of these books, I think it was the situation that grabbed me every time. Plus the writing in the case of Forrester, too. Fair enough, as one reads one hopefully gets attached to the respective main characters but for me, initially, I think if I pick up the book first time, it's the unfolding situation the character is in that has to catch my attention and hold it.

DonnaDuck
03-11-2008, 10:19 PM
In terms of a novel, a good summary will hook me into actually reading the book. If, by the 100th page (or thereabouts) I haven't made any kind of connection with the character or seen any significant conflict or action, I'll abandon it. I just read all of the parts posted of a serial (currently unfinished) and while the summary was good and the topic is interesting, all those 9 parts were purely character driven which the characters (sort of gods) pretty much discussing nothing but themselves and their perfections. It got boring. I couldn't relate to the MC, felt nothing for her and since there was no supporting conflict or action, I won't be going back to it.

A lot of times I get hooked in my a catch first few words but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll keep me reading. I think, in the end, I need a good mixture of character, action and conflict to keep me reading. I need to feel something, anything for the MC and I'd like to be propelled through the story. It being well-written is also always a plus. I'm probably going to get beaten for this but I just couldn't get through Catch -22. By roughly the 100th page I wanted to throw it out the window. It was so unbelievably redundant (which was the point of the book, of course) that I just couldn't connect with anything beyond that redundancy. I ended up Spark Noting the rest of it.

DeleyanLee
03-11-2008, 10:23 PM
Story questions in the first sentence, leading me into the next sentence, through the paragraphs, questions, more questions, some answers, other questions, more answers--As long as you've got me asking and wanting answers, I'm interested and will keep reading. Stop asking questions I want answers to, or give me all the answers, and I stop reading. It's real simple.

Those questions can be surrounding characters, situation, world, relationship--whatever. Doesn't matter. Just make me interested in finding out the answers and I'm totally yours.

Jenifer
03-11-2008, 10:45 PM
As a reader, I don't ask for much- just don't disappoint me!

Tell me a story. It doesn't even need to be fascinating 100% of the time... just don't dawdle in the boring bits, shoving details down my throat. Get through it. Please leave room for my imagination to contribute. I don't need to know what color the carpet is, or what every single character in a crowded room is doing every second.

I've tried to read a certain book a couple of times, and the second time I waded in (a few nights ago) I finally hit a point where I just couldn't go any further... the author felt the need to walk the reader through every step, as if she didn't trust us to come to given conclusions on our own. I'm looking at the particular paragraph that annoyed me so badly and it's all dialogue, with the MC telling us which child is on which arm of a secondary character, that they're soaking wet (well yes, they were out in the rain a few seconds ago, weren't they?) and that the one child is wearing a pair of her pants. She tells us where to find more sweats (folded in the second drawer of the dresser in her bedroom) and what kind of sweats they are (drawstring), and also where to find her daughter's clothes (her daughter's dresser). I mean, really?

I didn't actually put the book down... I think I actually threw it across the room. Nice satisfying thunk and flutter. We writers are temperamental, y'know. Thankfully it's not one I paid for. My mother gave it to me... and having tried to read it I no longer doubt why she "doesn't have time for books".

Cav Guy
03-12-2008, 06:30 PM
I think what Rowling did in the present day for the young readers, folk like Leslie Charteris, Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming did for readers some years ago.

Don't knock James Bond unless you've read - and didn't care for - the books.

I remember reading Dr No in the late 1950's, and I followed that with a whole string of books for years, including all the C S Forrester novels and Book Club monthly subscription reads too. Prior to landing on Dr No, I had not read much at all as a teenager.

And in most of these books, I think it was the situation that grabbed me every time. Plus the writing in the case of Forrester, too. Fair enough, as one reads one hopefully gets attached to the respective main characters but for me, initially, I think if I pick up the book first time, it's the unfolding situation the character is in that has to catch my attention and hold it.

Good to see someone else remembers Fleming! Aside from the standard "Hardy Boys" stuff, "The Man with the Golden Gun" was my first serious read (at about nine, I think...).

I think this is one of those questions that's going to have a different answer for each person. I'm a character guy. If the character doesn't grab me, I find the book something of a slog. I recently started a book (one of those that later made the transition into movies), and am having a hard time getting into it. The plot's good, there's decent action, all that stuff. But the characters SUCK.

What really brought this into focus for me was, of all things, Warhammer 40k fiction. I started reading two series, both by some of Black Library's better authors, and found myself latching onto one while I really pushed the other away. It came down to characters. The one I rejected had better plots, but the characters were so bland and unmemorable that I couldn't suffer through it. Thinking back, I also had this problem with some of L'Amour's Westerns, too. I ended up going back to the old Hopalong Cassady books, and then comparing them to the updated ones Louis wrote. No real comparison...and it came down to characters.

But that's just me. Other folks get wrapped up in action or such, and that's fine. Just laying out my own preference.

nerds
03-12-2008, 07:28 PM
Good writing is first for me - by that I mean grammatically right, good sentence construction, command of language. The most intriguing of characters or story can't supersede poor writing for me. Recently I picked up a book by an author I won't name, a book belonging to a friend of mine. This author has sold bajillions and bajillions of books but I'd never had a look. The writing was so appallingly awful, so completely slapdash, I couldn't get past the third chapter despite the presence of a reasonably interesting main character. Clearly this is not an issue for the bajillions of purchasers of the books.

Next in line are character(s) and story. I don't have to be hooked within moments - good writing alone will do that for me - and I don't mind "slow" starts and buildups if they're well constructed.

ishtar'sgate
03-12-2008, 07:40 PM
An intriguing premise gets me every time. I'm not much into character. That's probably why I like most of Michael Crichton's books. He always has an unusal premise, something I hadn't considered and he always delivers a thrill ride - at least for me.
Linnea

spike
03-12-2008, 09:17 PM
A great character will keep me reading and I can overlook backstory and boring bits if I like the character and feel she is real.

However, a great story/mystery/puzzle will keep me reading even if I don't care about the characters.

If you can combine the two, I won't put the book down until I'm finished.

ZippyMagical
04-14-2008, 08:27 PM
For me, the character, the situation, and all that are what hold me in the story once I've already been pulled in. The pull itself has to come in the form of a cleverly worded phrase right at the outset... if not the first sentence, at least within the first paragraph. I have a very short attention span, and if I don't see that the author is willing to put in the effort to make his/her sentences colorful and eloquent, I'm not going to put in the effort to see where the story is going.

Even after the story is in full swing, I'm a sucker for especially apt similes and metaphors and the like. Sometimes even a bland story with dull characters can hold my interest if the author can pull off some impressive literary acrobatics in the process.

C.M.C.
04-14-2008, 10:02 PM
I assess my level of intrigue by the actual form and craft of the writing. One or two pages isn't usually enough to be able to generate a level of magnetism with the plot and characters, so I rely on the skill of the author. If the writing is overly simplistic, and seemingly places no importance on the honing of phraseology, the chances are good that I'm not going to be interested. The effort of writing on the part of the author should be greater than the effort of reading on my part.

Angelinity
04-14-2008, 10:20 PM
it's the writing. the story can be the best ever but i'll never live to know it if i get bored on the first page. sloppy uncrafted writing, 'casual' slapstick writing puts me off every time. the plot may be the hottest ever -- plots are a dime a dozen.

maybe that's just me, but i don't embark on reading a book just to pass time. when i read a book, i expect to travel to ... a different dimension of sorts, i want to take a voyage into three-dimensional lives and realities, i want to discover and wonder and i want to be haunted by that book long after i've finished it.

i want to count the days until i can allow myself to pick it up again and see what i missed on the first reading.

i can get a bull's eye story and plot and a rush watching a movie and that takes roughly 2 hours or so... reading is an investment for me, it's special. if the writing puts me off, i won't invest the time.

CaroGirl
04-14-2008, 10:36 PM
For me, the writing simply HAS to be good, if not great. I'm a reader of largely literary fiction and I want to be wowed by great language.
Then I need a character to care about, who gets put in a situation that makes me wonder what's going to happen next. However, I've continued to read plenty of books past that point simply because they were well written. Usually those are worth reading, although I've occasionally got all the way to the end and thought "so what?"

ishtar'sgate
04-15-2008, 01:08 AM
I've been thinking about my own question and looking at some of the first chapter posts here in SYW. My opinion is that situation is what's most important to catch the reader. There has to be something very interesting, intriguing, unusual going on to catch me immediately. But there's a trade off also with setting and the way it's described. Character would place pretty far down my list for an immediate hook. Puma
I'm with you on this one. I'm not all that interested in character until the storyline has me hooked. If the MC isn't going to be involved in anything interesting I won't read on long enough to find out how well developed the character may be. They must be doing something cool or there must be a hint that they will be - and soon.
Linnea

Zelenka
04-15-2008, 01:21 AM
For me I think it's voice that does it. Or style, whichever way you want to look at it. I've read some books where practically nothing happens for a while but the uniqueness of the writer's voice has drawn me in. I'd agree character though isn't so much of a pull as usually I take a while to get to know the character anyway, but I have read a couple of books where it has been the character that's kept me reading - the most recent one was a YA fantasy, 'Skulduggery Pleasant' by Derek Landy.

Plot doesn't rank very high with me for pull, as if the style is off-putting or boring it doesn't matter how fantastic the idea is, I can't get into it. I've got so many books here that sounded so promising in terms of story but I can't get past page one. George R R Martin's books are like that for me - I really wanted to get into the world and the ideas but I find his style totally characterless and therefore unreadable. (I know, that will probably make me unpopular, but that's just my opinion of it).

juggles
06-02-2008, 11:48 AM
What happened with Rowling [Harry Potter] IMO was that for three decades all the kids had been fed was robots/mutant turtles etc. Suddenly they had something new to them and exciting in wizards etc. But you know, those sort of stories were all us kids had in the 40s/50s/60s/70s/
She just went back in time and produced srories that kids had previously been fascinated with for centuries. Clever woman, but they are good books.

dgiharris
11-18-2008, 06:19 PM
Thread is worth a little bump every now and again :)

Red-Green
11-18-2008, 07:09 PM
I'll vote for voice and situation. It's certainly what I use as hooks in my stories.

Dale Emery
11-18-2008, 10:43 PM
A story pulls me in when it asks a question that I need answered. The question could be about character or situation or perhaps other things.

Elizabeth George's In the Presence of the Enemy begins with ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen waking up in an unknown dark, cramped, musty place. By page three we know she was kidnapped. That raises all kinds of questions I simply gotta know the answer to.

And how about this for raising questions (the brilliant opening sentence of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany):

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

To hook me: Make me ask a question to which I must have an answer.

Dale

Aozi
12-17-2008, 07:44 PM
For me it's a memorable character and how the plot works for them. I'll read a book I absolutely do not agree with or even like if the character is essential to the plot.

Heck, I read a book where I hated all the characters but how this main character started down the path of magic and saving the US from various evil entities with the help of other people with other faiths was entertaining. This book is by John Ringo. The main character I didn't like was stuck in my head because of how unique she was. She was a home-maker, had children and stated that the husband was the lord of the house and women should always follow their husbands. She was VERY normal in that regard. Other than the fact that she had very good weapons training due to a father in the military and wields a katana like she'd been born a samurai. How she became that way was interesting.

Being a Protestant she had very strong opinions about faith, gun rights, abortion and even her magic. All of which I disagreed with and think she was wrong about but I still respected her (even though I hate her at the same time) and how the author wrote her. I was expecting all that to just be glossed over once the action and magic started. It wasn't. Her faith is why her magic is so powerful but the author made it so that it wasn't just God who made her that way. Other people with other faiths were just as powerful.

Oh, her being a magic-user was interesting but that really wasn't what go my attention. She left me thinking of her stance on the normal things in life I have strong opinions about instead. She made no excuses about her stances and she didn't give out a why. She just had them, her God was her foundation and she was sticking to her guns. Literally in most cases. I wished I could've read more about her life and how she tackled the craziness of it through her faith. Because I'm from a different culture and religion she also taught me quite abit about Protestant life and how most conservative Republican house-wives actually like the marriage status-quo.

Captshady
12-17-2008, 07:46 PM
There's a thread asking for the first 3 sentences of "your" WIP Novel. Read that thread, and notice what hooks you. Mr MacDonald's post stands out big time (for me). Some others stand out more than most. In my opinion, it's 100% verbiage.

LaceWing
12-17-2008, 08:23 PM
I enjoy being suspended between believable and unbelievable. Something surprising happens, that we never thought could happen, but Wow, it really did, and the first thing we want to do is tell someone. And part of a good telling is to relay that surprise, to explain why we didn't see it coming, and were amazed to believe something new about the world after it happened.

Even if the story is fantastical, the author's belief in its truth can hook me.

XxDethmetalxX
12-18-2008, 03:18 AM
I am generally pulled in by the writer's voice, their distinctive writing style (Ray Bradbury is a prime example of this.) If the writing sucks, then it isn't worth my time. Once I am into the book a little ways I begin to look for a connection with the character, followed by an interesting plot. If the book lacks any of these three major components, then it is not worth my time.

Dave.C.Robinson
12-18-2008, 04:53 AM
Different things hook me in different novels; however character is very important to me. One thing that really turns me off is an opening paragraph of straight description. The only time description works for me is if it's told in a voice that illustrates character.

I love the opening sentence to Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides because it makes me ask questions about the narrator that I want answered.

"My wound is geography."

Four words, but the right four words.

Give me a character and make me care about what happens next.

Chrisla
12-18-2008, 10:48 AM
For me, it depends on the genre. For mysteries, it's plot, though I like best those series mysteries with characters that develop over time (Elizabeth George, Michael Connelly). For more mainstream fiction, it's definitely character. An author who can create a character that is real to me (Diana Gabaldon) will have me grabbing every subsequent book. Then there are books with little or no plot and little characterization, like West into the Night that I love for the lyrical writing. I loved Three Cups of Tea, too, because it taught me something about another part of the world and changed my perceptions.

I'm a patient reader, having read all my life, everything from Tarzan, Zane Gray and, yes, Louis L'Amour, to Ian Fleming and George R.R. Martin. I don't have a short attention span, and don't mind giving a story time to unfold if it is a good story. I even read all of Michener's books, including Centennial with all the descriptive material at the beginning. But, oh what a story he had to tell!

Things that will cause me to lay a book aside--an infrequent occurence--are poor sentence structure and/or punctuation or an unbelievable plot.

If any

MrWrite
12-20-2008, 09:43 PM
Seems a lot of people put character is the first thing that hooks them.
So what would you think of a book if the character you got introduced to in the first chapter gets killed off at the end of chapter one and you are introduced to the main character at the beginning of chapter 2? Would that put you off or would you continue reading to see what this new character is like?
This question is especially for those who put character as the first thing that draws them in. Though anyone can answer of course. :D

Toothpaste
12-20-2008, 09:53 PM
Many mystery/thriller authors do this. And Dan Brown. In such novels however I am expecting a twisty turny plot, and see that merely as the opening gambit, a little cliffhanger into the larger story that will be resolved eventually.

If the book is humorous, I do enjoy a huge set up, great deal of description, only to have the character be killed and never seen again. For comic effect.

I think as long as that first chapter serves a purpose for the rest of the story, as long as when it happens the reader doesn't feel like throwing the book against the wall, it is just fine.

MrWrite
12-20-2008, 09:57 PM
The opening is actually relevant to something that happens a chapter or two further on. Something the MC sees. After reading this thread I wasn't sure if a lot of people would be put off by the way chapter one ends. The story is a supernatural thriller. Thanks for replying Toothpaste it helps me know at least it can still work.

willfs
03-15-2010, 02:13 AM
Okay, I can actually understand someone not liking Bond. The movies portray using one woman after another as a lifestyle that is realistic, without consequences, and not blatently immoral. Bond movies aren't for everyone and some of them seemed about an inch deep. But there were atleast a few that were well done. The scenery/setting really grabbed me. You don't need to create a fantasy world if you are able to put together a car chase, involving a nuclear weapon, across a large part of mainland Europe. Despite his Bond's lavish sex life, he was fighting for good. There were times when he slowed down his pace. In those times you got to know the person and even see him fall in love with a woman. Not all his love trists were totally out there. Who hasn't dreamed of fighting of an evil maniac on a space station and then finishing off your adventure by being "stuck" with an attractive someone in a spaceship while orbiting earth?

blacbird
03-15-2010, 03:20 AM
An intriguing premise gets me every time. I'm not much into character.

This isn't a dichotomy. Good writers bring both good premises and good characters to the reader. That combination will get me, most every time.

And I find Crichton ultimately somewhat disappoiinting (I've read two of his novels), precisely because his characters are so wooden.

caw

jana13k
03-15-2010, 03:22 AM
Concept. Although I love to read about characters I'd like to meet, Dan Brown can still hold my attention with concept alone. "Jesus had children and his descendants are still here" is a great concept for a suspense with the right plot surrounding it. Yes, the characters were one-dimensional, but the plot was fast-paced and interesting, whether or not it was historically accurate or the least-bit true.

But then, I read mostly mystery, romantic suspense, thriller, etc.

My guess is, this answer is different for everyone. So if you want to know from a writer's standpoint what's most important, then study those who write in the genre you do and see where the concentration lies.

jana13k
03-15-2010, 03:23 AM
Okay, I can actually understand someone not liking Bond. The movies portray using one woman after another as a lifestyle that is realistic, without consequences, and not blatently immoral. Bond movies aren't for everyone and some of them seemed about an inch deep. But there were atleast a few that were well done. The scenery/setting really grabbed me. You don't need to create a fantasy world if you are able to put together a car chase, involving a nuclear weapon, across a large part of mainland Europe. Despite his Bond's lavish sex life, he was fighting for good. There were times when he slowed down his pace. In those times you got to know the person and even see him fall in love with a woman. Not all his love trists were totally out there. Who hasn't dreamed of fighting of an evil maniac on a space station and then finishing off your adventure by being "stuck" with an attractive someone in a spaceship while orbiting earth?
Actually, the new Bond movies starring Daniel Craig (ie walking sexy) are much more like the character was intended to be - dark, charming and a ruthless killer. Kinda like the newest Batman series - MUCH closer to the original feel of the comics.

Chrisla
03-15-2010, 05:02 AM
Elizabeth George's In the Presence of the Enemy begins with ten-year-old Charlotte Bowen waking up in an unknown dark, cramped, musty place. By page three we know she was kidnapped. That raises all kinds of questions I simply gotta know the answer to.

Dale

Ah, yes. I'd forgotten that one.


Okay, I can actually understand someone not liking Bond. The movies portray using one woman after another as a lifestyle that is realistic, without consequences, and not blatently immoral. Bond movies aren't for everyone and some of them seemed about an inch deep. But there were atleast a few that were well done. The scenery/setting really grabbed me. You don't need to create a fantasy world if you are able to put together a car chase, involving a nuclear weapon, across a large part of mainland Europe. Despite his Bond's lavish sex life, he was fighting for good. There were times when he slowed down his pace. In those times you got to know the person and even see him fall in love with a woman. Not all his love trists were totally out there. Who hasn't dreamed of fighting of an evil maniac on a space station and then finishing off your adventure by being "stuck" with an attractive someone in a spaceship while orbiting earth?


Actually, the new Bond movies starring Daniel Craig (ie walking sexy) are much more like the character was intended to be - dark, charming and a ruthless killer. Kinda like the newest Batman series - MUCH closer to the original feel of the comics.

The Ian Fleming books about James Bond are much better than what Hollywood did to them.