I’m currently reading a fast-paced action mystery that is going to be impossible to solve because there are no clues. I’m interested in other elements of the story, so I’m fine with that. But I find myself skimming more and more as I progress into the story, looking for the elements that interest me. I’m skipping the sex scenes and only catching the dialogue in the action scenes. I really don’t care who boinks whom and how, any more than I care who gets shot with what caliber gun. I’m sure the book is well written and appeals to action fans, but I just don’t care enough about the characters to read for anything except the fun elements like the puzzles and the ghosts. This is not a comment on the book so much as on my reading habits.
For example—I just finished a historical mystery that had almost nothing happening except the setting and the intriguing characters. I still settled in to happily wander through another time and place. I read every word, although I easily figured out the whodunnit of the mystery, so I didn’t even have the fun of a puzzle to keep me going. Reviews have described this book as boring, and I’m certain it is for people who love action and sex. But as I’ve already shown, my preference is for character and apparently setting, although they both have to be of a sort that intrigues me. I don’t read about protagonists who are bullies, for instance, and I have little interest in China.
Is this just a character flaw of mine? How do others choose what to skim and what to read word-by-word? When I’m writing, I’m often stumped by how much information to put into my stories, probably because of my own weird reading habits. Finding a balance between my interest in entertaining bits of history, eccentric character traits, and the need to keep the action moving is a challenge. I’d love to see how other people’s reading habits correlate to mine. Any insights?
Pat Rice’s new original ebook Evil Genius can be found at