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Melanie Jayne: My Nightly Conundrum—To DNF or Not (Contest)
Monday, June 10th, 2024

Cue “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men to play in the background.

Besides writing romance, I am an avid reader. I try to read a book every two days.

Now, before you credit me with being a speed reader, I will admit that my husband and our bossy mastiff fall asleep early, so I have about three hours to read. I usually pick out a book and start after dinner with interruptions, and after the males are quiet, I can get my reading groove on.

Eighteen months ago, I decided to clean out my Kindle. I had books from 2012 that I had never read. So, I made a deal with myself:  read one old and then two new (published in 2023 or later) to make a dent in the TBR list.

For years, I finished the book no matter what. After I started publishing, I felt like I had to hang in and finish a book as a sign of commitment to the writing community.

However, life is too short for bad books.

I felt guilty for not finishing. I’d message my friends and defend my decision not to finish as if the “Kindle Police” were going to report me for having DNFs (Do Not Finish).

Then, I started to notice more people talking about not finishing books. What once had been a somewhat taboo topic was discussed openly.

I have reasons for not finishing. The first is if I find five proofreading/editing mistakes within the first three chapters. Authors are taught that the first three should grab the reader’s attention. So, misspellings, incorrect word usage, or poor grammar causes me to stop.

Recently, I’ve come across three published books where I believe the authors forgot to tap “Accept Changes” before uploading the manuscript and pressing “Publish.” These were not intentional cross-outs—no, they were unnecessary extra words. Again—DNF.

This is a hard rule for me—if the pet dies. I won’t finish and most likely won’t read anything else by the author. True story:  I almost dumped a friendship because she sent me a book where at the end, the dog died. I still feel upset about the poisoned pet, and I never read another book by that author.

Excluding Dark Romance, another stopper for me is when a main character is written to be so ugly and hateful that I can’t believe that they are worthy of love. There are times that I think that authors intend to create a strong, outspoken character and instead, they read as a total jerk. I try to keep toxic people out of my life, so I’m not letting them in my reading.

Filler. I accept that some stories are shorter than others. What makes me quit a book is when the author stretches out the tale with multiple-page passages in another language, recounts a prior scene two or three times, and repeats the same reasons for why the couple won’t work. I have a running joke with a friend about a series that we both love. In each book, the couple has officially committed and marching to their HEA. The author adds a final kidnapping, an explosion, or a car chase. Those events don’t add anything else to the story except an action scene and another deep kiss. If I discovered the series today, I might be annoyed by the “one more” to consider DNF-ing.

That brings me to the most difficult to explain—I didn’t connect with it. There are times that I just don’t like the book. It could be that I had figured out who committed the crime too early. A character is too stupid to survive in the real world. I will admit that as my years increase, I find myself getting irritated by characters in their early twenties who run crime syndicates, are running billion-dollar, large corporations, or find the answer to a problem that people have been working on for years.

The great thing about reading is that there is always another book to read. With the explosion of Monster Romance and Alien Romance shorts, I can devour two a night, and that makes me feel accomplished.

Now, I’m curious- What causes you to DNF? A Winner will be chosen at random to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

 

Melanie/M. Jayne is the teller of tales of the Novus Pack and an Amazon Bestselling Author. See Me was a finalist for the Holt Medallion. In 2022, the Duchenne Vampire Series enriched her portfolio. She loves reading, luxury handbags, watching sports, and the Bravo Housewives. Learn more at www.readmelaniejayne.com.

9 comments to “Melanie Jayne: My Nightly Conundrum—To DNF or Not (Contest)”

  1. Cara
    Comment
    1
    · June 10th, 2024 at 10:29 am · Link

    Like you, I used to finish the book no matter what. I’m more picky now. My DNF list includes, but isn’t limited to:

    TSTL (too stupid to live) decisions. I simply cannot spend part of the book mentally yelling what amounts to, “Don’t open the door!” at a main character.

    A poorly written grump. I need a reason to like a grumpy character. So few authors are good at writing an engaging grump. If the grump Is too much of a jerk without a redeeming reason, I’ll close the book.

    Boring storyline.

    Simpering FMC. I don’t like doormats.

    Too much snark. Like the grump, adding snarky dialogue is an art form. If the author hasn’t conquered that task, I’m out. Which leads to disrespectful children’s dialogue. It’s purely personal. But I wasn’t allowed to be that way as a kid. Didn’t allow my kids (or nieces, nephews, scouts, etc) to disrespect adults. I refuse to read it in my spare leisure time.

    Surprisingly, I still finish a lot of books. I’m also surprisingly forgiving with errors which should have been caught by a good editor, or even a bad editor. Although, if it pulls me out of the story too often, I’ll reluctantly dnf.

    Btw, I binge read your werewolf books recently. Loved them.



  2. cindy
    Comment
    2
    · June 10th, 2024 at 10:35 am · Link

    Bad books are the best reason for not finishing a book. I do, however, try to finish everything I set out to read. My biggest pet peeve is investing the time to read a book–and enjoy said book– only to get to the end and discover it is a cliffhanger in a series. 99 percent of the time, that series becomes my DNF. The only exception to ‘cliffhanger’ books was the John Jakes American series. I was so invested in that series that I couldn’t read them fast enough. Unfortunately, that last book stopped the Kent family chronicles in the 1920s… and John Jakes died and will never add another.



  3. Colleen C.
    Comment
    3
    · June 10th, 2024 at 11:59 am · Link

    I will force myself to finish eventually… one book took me two years to finish, but nowadays, I mostly skim through the rest just to finish a book I dislike.



  4. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    Comment
    4
    · June 10th, 2024 at 1:13 pm · Link

    Characters that consistently act too stupid to live



  5. Mary McCoy
    Comment
    5
    · June 10th, 2024 at 5:23 pm · Link

    I think my reasons sync with yours vey well, with the addition of cliffhangers.



  6. Diane Sallans
    Comment
    6
    · June 10th, 2024 at 6:53 pm · Link

    I rarely DNF a book. Sometimes it takes me a while to get into the story, but I will persevere until finished (tho I may do a lot of skimming to get thru it). There are a couple authors I no longer read – one because they killed off one of the main characters at the end of the book – I really want an HEA. Another because their writing style devolved, and it was painful to try to make sense of their writing.



  7. Pansy Petal
    Comment
    7
    · June 10th, 2024 at 11:43 pm · Link

    Oh wow! A topic I can identify with! The last book club read! I hated it! DC and politics! Nope! And the characters, not a redeeming one in the bunch, well in the hundred pages I did force myself to read. I hear there were so twists that excited some of the other book club members, but I still wasn’t impressed. When I resort to house work so I don’t have to read a book, it’s time to find a different book. My tbr pile is epic!

    The cliffhanger! Once upon a time I read a trilogy by a well known author. I knew going in that it was a trilogy and there would be cliffhangers. I waited until all three were out and binged. At the end of the third book, you guessed it. Cliffhanger. Author had evidently gotten another three book deal. Needless to say, as far as I am concerned that couple is still on that cliff. I have not read that author since.

    I agree with most of your reasons to DNF a book, although I retitled it to Gave up On. I tried, and just couldn’t do it. There are just too many good books out there to waste my time on books I can’t get into for whatever reason.



  8. Debra Guyette
    Comment
    8
    · June 11th, 2024 at 5:57 am · Link

    I try to finish every book unless I just get too bored or annoyed.



  9. BN
    Comment
    9
    · June 11th, 2024 at 10:38 pm · Link

    bad writing, cheating



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