second chances

I know, it’s Thursday, I’m supposed to be posting a review. I thought about posting about No Ordinary Family and its similarities and differences to The Incredibles, and why the tensions and conflicts — internal and external — make it not just watchable, but enjoyable. And it’s true that my husband and I do look forward to watching it, whereas the other new show we tried this season — The Event — left us cold with its false tension created by time cuts. What that’s taught me as a writer is that if I’m going to do jumps in time, I’d better have a darned good story reason for them if I don’t want readers throwing my book across the room. It has also reminded me that tastes vary — I’ve seen other people referring to The Event as good, which makes me boggle.

So, instead of talking about the superhero show that I actually like, I’m jumping off from the let’s-capture-the-Lost-crowd show that I don’t to examine when do I give something a second chance, whether it’s a show or an author or a book I just couldn’t get into. If I’m borderline on a show, but my husband likes it, I’ll generally wind up watching it. If a book is something I have to do for work or is something I’ve already agreed to review, I’ll keep pounding at it (and kvetching to my friends, most likely). Other than that, I think it takes a really phenomenal review or compelling evidence that I’ve misread something about the story itself to make me go back to it.

That’s right — second chances are scarce on the ground here.

I’ve got way too many calls on my time and too many books to read to spend my time on something I’m not enjoying. There was a time I finished everything I started reading. After that, a time when I gave every book 50 to 100 pages to prove itself. Now, not so much. If I’m not hooked by the end of the first chapter, forget it.

Which means, conversely, that I have to expect other readers to feel the same about my writing. No pressure or anything.

Oh, and it’s sort of amusing that I’m posting this today because I was just urging a friend to give an author that I like a second chance.

What about you? Do you give shows or books second chances?

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  1. I don’t like The Event either, and I gave it a second chance! I’m a second chancer. I’ve found that sometimes, if I start a book when I’m in the wrong frame of mind I will hate it. This was true of the David Eddings Belgariad series. I tried reading the first book once and was so annoyed I put it away. Then, about a year later I really needed something to read and didn’t have anything else so I tried it again and ended up loving it. Now, when I am really not into a book I will put it away for awhile and go back to it. If I go back the second time and still can’t get into it – I will just put it on the discard pile.

    However – I’ve started to make use of free sample chapters and free previews when possible before I buy to kind of eliminate the possibility that I’ll get a book I won’t care for. I’ve read one too many lemons.

    As for shows – I’ll give them 2-3 episodes to pique my interest. After that forget it.

  2. Wow, nothing else to read? I can’t imagine such a thing, although I have been in moods where nothing appealed to me — even things I’d read and reread more than once, so I knew it was the mood and not the book. So I suppose if I recognized the mood, I would be willing to try again.

    Thanks for the response!

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