#IWSG: What throws you out of a story?

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. It’s an opportunity to talk about doubts and fears you have conquered. To discuss your struggles and triumphs and to offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.


January 6 question – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

In one word – inaccuracies. I’ve heard of people giving up on books because they’re written in the present, or due to being written from too many points of view, because of an unusual writing style, or an incomprehensible dialect. Personally, I can (usually) accommodate all of the above, but inaccuracies are like nails on a blackboard.

Even before I became a writer, an inaccuracy would bring me up short, especially when a somewhat fantastical tale (if not actually fantasy), it’s important that a reader believes… and when any single inaccuracy can start the process of doubt, the entire story can be poisoned by that one inaccuracy.

As a writer, I do try to be understanding of how easy it is to make a mistake. For example, if it’s an arcane fact, I can persuade myself to forgive it, but when it’s something widely known and/or easily available to check, it smacks of… well, let’s just say unflattering adjectives.

My co-written WIP takes place in relatively recent history (post WWII). We’re not attempting to include historical figures in any significant manner, but we do refer to real people from time-to-time, and to historical events. While our tale does have elements of fantasy, we both feel it’s critical that we don’t get the factual aspects wrong, or it’ll sow that seed of doubt and so lose our readers.

What throws you? Do you share my view, or is it something else entirely for you?

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6th posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue – do take a moment to visit them.


While you’re here, can I tempt you with a #FlashFiction prompt?

Every month, we run a different #FF prompt and this month it’s Food Glorious Food! With the festive season just behind us, there should be inspiration aplenty. Write a story, any story, but include in it a description of the most satisfying meal you’ve ever eaten, in glorious detail.

If you’re inspired to give this a go, you can get full details here.


© Debra Carey, 2021

Author: debscarey

Tweets @debsdespatches My personal blog is Debs Despatches, where I ramble on a variety of topics. I write fiction on co-hosted site Fiction Can Be Fun, where my #IWSG reflections can be found; and my Life Coaching business is Caring Coaching.

9 thoughts on “#IWSG: What throws you out of a story?”

  1. Little inaccuracies can throw me out of a story too. For me, it’s usually sciency things. I’m 100% willing to accept that some little scientific fact might be different in your story world. That’s fine. But generally, if one scientifically impossible thing is now possible, that implies to me that other closely-related things should be possible too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi, Debs! Inaccuracies certainly make me grit my teeth when reading a book, fiction or nonfiction. That really motivates me to write with accuracy. I check and check and verify and verify. Wishing you a healthy and happy new year filled with writing and reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi mlouise 🙂 It’s a rod we make for our backs that’s for sure, but a worthwhile one. Thanks for your wishes & I wish you likewise.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello from another IWSG follower. Yes, many of us are pushed away from reading a story that has ‘inaccuracies,’ though from what other IWSG folks have posted, those inaccuracies function at many levels. For me, that very obvious grammatical error on those first few pages makes me stop reading. But I have enjoyed how generous and kind others are. Maybe because I’m OTA (older than average), if the book hasn’t truly grabbed me (whether characters, story, conflict, setting) by about page 30, I now simply let go. Now the other issue is how do we support other writers? By writing reviews? I try to write 1-2 reviews each month . . . but like Bambi, I don’t want to write negative reviews. So sometimes, that’s just 1 a month. Thanks for including that writing challenge . . . Meanwhile, stay safe, healthy, happy, and nurture that creativity!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Beth, lovely to see you here. I’m impressed by your discipline in making a call by page 30. I don’t have a fixed point, but I’ve been leaving more books unfinished of late for that being old reason. I agree with review writing, but generally have only done so on Goodreads to date. It’s something I’m having a bit of a think about, hence why I suggested we add an #IndieSpotlight feature here. We’ll be reviewing an indie published trilogy in a couple of weeks, so do drop by to check it out.

      Many thanks for your kind wishes & I wish you likewise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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