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 Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book

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emilycross
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PostSubject: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:37 am

Today, in i_am_Tulsa's Blog about writing a novel in thirty days using reference book, she mentions that in chapter 4 it is recommended that you make magna carta, or list of things that you like to read in a book and a second list of things that make you want to throw a book away.

I thought it would be interesting to see what peoples likes/dislikes are? Characters vs. plot - romanace, horror is essential? Lots of description or just lots of action?

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:22 pm

I know that I am a BIG character person. I like action and plot, but I think the story needs to center around the characters. They are the heart and soul of the story, it's the chance to share their lives with the rest of the world. I find, personally, that I get angry with novels when they go all off plot and leave little to no character development.

I think anymore romance necessary, but it doesn't have to be the main thing, I mean look at Star Wars. That movie had a romantic subplot but the story doesn't have to center solely around that idea. I always like a splash of adventure and a hint of mystery. Basically I am a very hard to please reader, I like too many things and I want something new fresh and fantastic!

After that tall order, I think I'll go write such a book now!
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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:18 am

I agree with you Tepid - i hate when characters are put second to plot!! it drives me nuts, but then again i'm one of those readers that likes to read 'literary' books too. I like strange styles of writing and description and i absolutely hate HATE writing which is all 'he said' 'she said' with no description between the lines.
I also like a subplot of romance, something thats hinted at (like in Allison Croggan's books) where its a fantasy novel and you slowly over course 4 books see romance develop from friendship. its not central by no means, and wouldn't want it to either!
Personally, i like a strong female main character especially in fantasy, its stupid but i'm drawn to female characters! I blame Buffy Laughing


Now there is someone who should write a book

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Wed May 06, 2009 2:27 pm

Hey, I read this in Chris Baty's guide to NaNoWriMo, No Plot? No Problem?

I like the Magna Carta thing. I haven't written mine out yet, so I'll do it here.

What I Like in a Book:

* Power struggles
* Short to medium length chapters
* Smart-alecky secondary characters
* References to obscure movies
* Characters who are really, really odd but are still smart and funny (a la Ian McNab in JD Robb's In Death series)
* Moving death scenes that make me cry

What I Hate in a Book:

* Prophecies (which is why HP and the Order of the Phoenix ticked me off)
* Main characters who are haughty and never seem to have any self-doubt
* Characters that have no flaws to speak of (Edward Cullen, anyone?)
* Characters who are ALWAYS sorry for themselves
* Books where the main character dies

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Wed May 06, 2009 3:33 pm

Novel-Goddess wrote:

What I Hate in a Book:

* Prophecies (which is why HP and the Order of the Phoenix ticked me off)
* Main characters who are haughty and never seem to have any self-doubt
* Characters that have no flaws to speak of (Edward Cullen, anyone?)
* Characters who are ALWAYS sorry for themselves
* Books where the main character dies



Laughing i dont think you'd like my book too much then Novel Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Wed May 06, 2009 7:11 pm

Well, if it's done well I don't mind so much. But a lot of the time it's not and it irks me. And I'd love your book, anyway, because I ALWAYS love stuff written by friends. Just on principle. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Thu May 07, 2009 12:56 am

Me likes them prinicples Novel!!!

Wink

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ReNu
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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Fri May 08, 2009 12:49 pm

My 2c

What I like:
Memorable characters who last at least ten years in my memory
Strong women characters
Natural humour (comic relief, for tragedies)
Racy writing style
Writing style that makes me see and imagine everything in the book very clearly.
Inability to predict the ending correctly

What I hate:
Clingy, weepy, wimpy women
Men who deliberately overshadow the presence of women characters
Too much weeping - for the characters and for me
Too much explanation. Leave me some room for imagination!
Oh-so-perfect characters
Overdose of graphic detail of violence (although my tolerance level is fairly high)
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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Fri May 08, 2009 2:10 pm

Oh man, putting this into words is odd...

Love:
Good grabbers, I must be intrigued by chapter 3 (or thereabouts... I've been known to wait for half the book for a good grabber... usually not worth it by then)
Character quirks
Subtle humor
Outrageous humor
Interesting relationships (see: Starbuck/Apollo<-- LOVE that shiz)
Conversation
Witty banter
Real plot twists
GOOD Foreshadowing - Diana Gabaldon is my Queen for this.


Hate:
Too much slang (sorry)
Musical references that I don't know, I'd prefer to have the lyrics in the book if you do that
Stupid relationships that don't make sense character wise - read a psychology book for the gods' sake...
Unrequited love (See: Jacob)
BAD foreshadowing

I might add more... lemme think Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Sat May 09, 2009 1:02 am

You've got some good ones there, missjulie. You too, ReNu.

Let's see...I've added a few more:

Likes

Intelligent humor
Historical humor and/or references
The use of the word "anarchy." Dunno why. It just seems to work when it's in the right place.
Dark humor

Dislikes

The abuse of exclamation points. They indicate yelling, people. Don't use them unless somebody's yelling.
Plot twists that come out of nowhere and that make no sense
Overuse of parentheses

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Sat May 09, 2009 3:56 am

Ooh, I'm with you on the prophesies front, Novel.

I really hate them. It seems to me like they give away large portions of the plot, depending on how detailed the prophesy is. It also really annoys me when characters don't like something in a prophecy, and do something to try and avoid that outcome - then, of course, their actions lead to the predicted result anyway.

Another thing I don't like is books that start with the 'ending'. I can't think of a good example right now, because I often read the first couple of pages in a shop, and if it seems like it's going to do that, I'm not interested.
I guess it annoys me because I feel kind of cheated about the story.
Twilight doesn't really fall into that category for me though, because the preface is only, what, 2 pages? And there is enough vagueness in there that it doesn't really give anything away.

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Sat May 09, 2009 5:10 am

Likes:

Strong female characters
Lovable rogue character
a touch of romance - nothing too 'much/cheesy'
exiting plot - which is character driven mostly
unique writing style
something which goes beyond (e.g. book thief - POV of death; a certain slant of light)
and a supernatural/unexplainable element
Humour/scenes which lighten the mood
prophecy when done properly
happy endings after sacrifice (deserving happy)
subverting the norm/expectations

Dislikes:
Violence, rape scenes, sexual abuse, child abuse - any of that 'heavy fiction' really upsets me
present tense - i.e. 'ing' (primary example is libby brays books - wrecks my head)
sterotyped characters i.e. the villian, etc.
suspension of belief being broken (e.g. SM breaking dawn)
or breaking the rules of your own universe
Gary Stu/Mary Sue (in my mind Dan Brown's MC in the DiVinci Code - he seemed to 'know' everything - even things outside is field of expertise)
Tragic endings - when done wrong, and with no upside at all (e.g. Book thief - it was a sad ending but we find out that the MC lives on to live a full life etc, which offers closure to the book)

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Sat May 09, 2009 8:40 am

Likes:

I agree with everyone else about strong female characters
Powerful, convincing characterisation
An evocative setting is a plus, but not a necessity. I do like books with a strong sense of place (or time and place).
Endings that make me think - that keep me guessing, make me go on wondering - i.e. not EVERYTHING to neatly tied up.
the best books are the ones which make me THINK - abut issues, about people, about people in new ways.
Humour (again agreeing with everyone else). A book with no humour at all is hard going.
Writing which sings.

Dislikes:

Thin characterisation. Books peopled by cardboard cut-outs.
Over-tidy endings.
Too much blood and gore. Also long battle scenes (it's why I have up on Phillip Pullman, and LOTR).
Any book where rape (or sexual abuse/abusive sex) is portrayed in a titillating way.
Books where the author keeps telling you where the MC bought her shoes/clothes, or who designed them. I have never heard of the brands, in general, so it tells me noting, and makes me feel ignorant!

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PostSubject: Re: Magna Carta: What do YOU THINK makes a good book   Sun May 24, 2009 9:13 pm

Okay, I've got some more things to add to my lists:

Likes:

* Things that reference history, even if not by directly saying it
* Parallel/alternate universes, if done well
* Fights. Fights with a lot of emotional pull.

Dislikes:

* Things that seem unreal because the author sacrificed believability in favor of being politically correct
* Parallel/alternate universes, if done badly
* When characters are thrown into things just because the author thinks it's interesting. Stuff needs to make sense, you know?

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