The number one reason I put down a book (and DNF)


Let me explain…

***DISCLAIMER: Some Game of Thrones spoilers if you’ve been living under a rock. Also, I’m a casual fan–not an avid reader of the series. I’m discussing the TV show here. Story is story. My “problems” apply to any story–be it novel, movie, podcast, TV.

Leading up to the Game of Thrones premiere, my husband and I decided to binge the series. He is a huge fan. He’s read the books and watched all the shows. I’m sort of casually interested but became a HUGE fan of Westworld (and devote my time to watching/re-watching and theorizing that series). With Westworld on hiatus, I gave in and started watching.

Yep, it’s violent. Yep, at times it feels excessive. (I tried to skip over the whole Ramsay Bolton part). But I was lured in by the mystery surrounding Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. I’ve gone on a deep dive of the internet because…time math.

I turned into a walking version of the Charlie Day meme with the whiteboard because I still don’t quite understand the timing. (And if you do–comment, please.)

Lyanna meets Rhaegar at the Harrenhal tournament

Some point later she is “kidnapped”

Her older brother demands her release and is instead murdered alongside their father

Her younger brother gathers forces to start a war and free her–but oh wait, at some point in here her younger brother marries dead older brother’s fiancee and they have a son and Lyanna is found dying during childbirth (her baby is younger than her nephew btw) and enough time has passed her brother can convince his wife the baby is his bastard conceived during the war?


I’m pulled out of the story because I keep searching the Internet to try to make sense of what happened when (and if it is believable).

When I’m writing a story, I sit down and try to first make sense of how much time will pass in the book. If I’m writing something that takes several months, I will fill in a calendar. Whether I’m writing, reading, or watching a TV show, if you want me invested, the time has to make sense.

I want to know three basic things every scene to orient myself: Who am I? When am I? Where am I?

After a first draft, my first pass is looking at the opening of every scene to analyze whether I noted these things–and if they make sense. Did I skip over something important to hurry up and get to the plot problem? I have to give my characters room to process and grow–I can’t be rushing them along to satisfy their external goals because if they don’t change…what’s the point?

Do you have a reason you stop reading? Is it similar for every book?




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