RB: My Biggest DNF Reason

I’ve been tearing through the books on my Kindle lately, adding one after the other into my Purgatory collection. (The place books go before permanent deletion.)

Most of these books were dumped after the first ten pages.

The biggest reason: authors switching POV willy-nilly, AKA head hopping.

Head hopping  (not to be confused with multiple POVs)  has been my biggest pet peeve since I stopped reading Nora Roberts over fifteen years ago.

The most recent novel to enter Purgatory started out pretty well. The main character was decent. The POV was first person, and I didn’t mind hanging in her head. The plot reminded me of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires, which is a great series. So all in all, I was semi-invested in seeing where the story was going. Until…

The main character was sitting in her backyard, contemplating the awful turn of events her life had taken, when she heard Mom calling. As the MC focused on Mom, I suddenly knew what Mom was thinking.

No, the MC was not able to read minds. The author forced me to jump out of the MC’s head, the place I had been comfortably residing in for the past eight pages, and hop into Mom’s.

Next line down, I was back in the MC’s head.

Few more paragraphs later, Mom’s.


Each head hop threw me out of the story.

Sigh. So, I threw out the book.

Readers, what’s your biggest DNF reason?

Writers, want to learn more about POV and head hopping? Here are a few articles that helped me along the way.

View to a Skill: Understanding Point of View 

Point of View and Head Hopping

Handling Scene Transitions with Multiple POVs

3 thoughts on “RB: My Biggest DNF Reason

  1. Amateur writers may have great story ideas but the difference between a great idea and a great book is a cruise around the world.
    I get frustrated with stories that go nowhere – the same incident repeated with no change in what the main character understands. I want to see at least subtle comprehension, the dawn’s early light sharpening the edges.

  2. It’s rare that I don’t finish a book (much to my literary detriment). Ever the optimist, I always feel like it will get better. Or, it will at least redeem itself. Or, it will teach me what NOT to do. But my biggest DNF reason is overwriting. I appreciate beautiful phrasing… but it must be well-played. Authors who love their words SO MUCH that they beat me over the head with them exhaust me. To purgatory!

    • I’ve been there before, Mary. I made myself finish A Dance With Dragons because I hoped it would get better. It didn’t. I have a feeling I’ll probably read the next book thinking the same thing because I love the characters but can’t stand the overwriting.

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