I’ve heard this one a few times. A friend gets to a shocking scene, a tense moment, something that makes a splash in a book. Then–WOOSH!–the book flies across the room.
A lot of times, this isn’t actually a bad thing, it’s just a shock, a big shock. Sometimes, it’s something much worse.Let’s look at a few of the good things that can make a person hurl a book across a room.
- A hero you thought dead suddenly reappears to deliver a major blow to the enemy.
- A great character takes a fatal bullet out of nowhere.
- The point of view character has been dead the entire time and you realize you should have seen it.
These things all have a note in common. They are abrupt, catch you attention, and call on you embrace a turn in the status quo, not a paradigm shift, before moving on. The main thrust of the story still carries on naturally, even if there is a dramatic shift.
Now, let’s look at times where these throws aren’t a good sign:
- One character professes love for another through an entire book. It defines her to a degree. At the last second, she declares her undying love for a background character.
- A hero states protecting a young girl as his primary goal, going so far as to hire a team of assassins to protect her. Later, he randomly shows up and tries to kill the girl, his allies, and plots to kill his lover.
- It was all a dream.
These sorts of things take the storyline and insult it, by deciding everything before wasn’t worthwhile or didn’t need to be adhered to. In my personal opinion, these sorts of shifts don’t just make for bad writing, they essentially insult the reader for having read them.
That’s my thought at least. What makes you hurl a book across a room?