The other day, I broke down my review into three main elements: voice, character, and plot. To me, these are the basics of good-storytelling. None are terribly easy to define, and there’s a whole lot of subjectivity involved. Suffice to say, if one of these falls flat for you, the odds of finishing a given book more than likely go way down. Personally, I don’t have a problem not finishing a book if it doesn’t work for me on these three basics. There are times when I can tell the writing is well done, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work for me.
Voice is the biggest factor. If the author’s voice doesn’t hit the right notes, it doesn’t matter how fabulous the characters are or how cool the plot is. If there’s a great author voice, I can put up with weaker elements, though I still have to like them. I’ll handle lackluster character development if the plot kicks ass. If the plot doesn’t interest me, voice and character won’t save it. I find it pretty rare for a book to hit it on all cylinders. Again, this is subjective. My favorite book is someone else’s recycling.
So, what is it that works or doesn’t work for you? Is character the big deciding factor? Have to have that intricate plot? Curious how readers decide these things.