BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

Stephen King on why readers stop reading — Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)

On Writing

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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9 comments on “Stephen King on why readers stop reading — Quotes for writers (and people who like quotes)

  1. The Story Reading Ape
    February 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's New (to me) Authors Blog and commented:
    Truth!

  2. nofrillswrapping
    February 16, 2014

    I totally agree. I’ve stopped reading many a Dean Koontz book for that reason.

    • bridget whelan
      February 16, 2014

      Never read any Dean Koontz – I thought popular fiction preferred dialogue to description so I’m surprised that’s one of Koontz’s failings

      • nofrillswrapping
        February 16, 2014

        He’s a good author, but there a parts in his books that go on and on with a description that it’s very boring.

  3. Ali Isaac
    February 16, 2014

    Not necessarily so…love ‘em or hate ‘em, all the old classics concentrated intensely on long, flowing, even flowery paragraphs of description, and they are as popular and well loved now as the century in which they were written!

    • bridget whelan
      February 16, 2014

      Thanks for dropping by Ali. Good point but, of course, when the classics were written they were the only show in town – no television, no radio, few libraries. A book was a precious thing and detailed descriptions served up pictures and places to a hungry readership. The ones that have survived are the ones that also have compelling stories, but I don’t think a contemporary writer could pack in as much description as Trollop or Dickens or Hardy and get away with it….readers would switch off in the way King describes. What do you think? Or have you found a modern writer able to devote pages bringing the countryside (or whatever) to life?

  4. Abby
    February 16, 2014

    Almost like he’s read my mind. So true!

  5. bridget whelan
    February 16, 2014

    Hi Abby thanks for coming over – description stops the story and tells the reader to notice the way the sunlight is playing on the water or the trembling hands of an old woman. Too much, too often and too detailed and the story never really gets going – it stalls all the time, but too little and you don’t get a sense of place and you don’t get to care what happens to the characters. Like all things, it’s a question of balance Not easy.

  6. cathum
    February 17, 2014

    I agree with you about the balance, Bridget. I don’t usually need description, but when it’s done well, I enjoy it.

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2014 by in Quotes and tagged , , , .
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