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27 July 2012 @ 02:55 pm
READABOUT: what do you like in a story?  
Hi and welcome to ReadAbout, a poll for readers of fiction of any kind.

I realize that, for a lot of these, it all depends on how well it's done - but think about your favorite books, the ones you keep coming back to again and again and again, the type of stories/characters that you look for every time you pick up a book. If there's check boxes, please try to only select two or three options. And if you have any questions, comments, or want to elaborate on any of your answers, please leave a comment!! I would love in-depth reasoning behind any of the choices, or even just spaztic "yes, this!"

Also, if you have friends who read, please post a link in your journal/on any relevant communities.

Poll #1856733 ReadAbout

What primary focus do you enjoy reading about most?

romance/relationship development
52(19.7%)
slice of life/everyday things
25(9.5%)
adventure plot/action
55(20.8%)
fantasy world/setting/society
61(23.1%)
personal growth/character development
71(26.9%)

What makes you keep turning the pages?

suspense- what's going to happen next?
76(29.2%)
character interaction
82(31.5%)
to see more of the world
35(13.5%)
beautiful writing/imagery
48(18.5%)
to see if character x and z get together or not
19(7.3%)

What character traits are you usually drawn to? (ie, That Character that's always your favorite)

relatability/normality
20(4.6%)
secret heart of gold
34(7.8%)
steady support/good friend
23(5.3%)
charisma/flamboyance
34(7.8%)
intelligence/cleverness
85(19.5%)
integrity/true to values/morals
40(9.2%)
gray/dubious morality
47(10.8%)
boneheaded bravery/awesomeness
16(3.7%)
self-confidence
25(5.7%)
shyness/social awkwardness
25(5.7%)
catty/scathing tongue
33(7.6%)
black-hearted
13(3.0%)
selflessness/kindness
21(4.8%)
physically attractive
17(3.9%)
physically unattractive
3(0.7%)

Here's some more! Try to pick only a few that you feel Really Strongly about.

wisdom/common sense
40(11.5%)
self-flagellating/pitying
7(2.0%)
competence/mastery of skills
41(11.7%)
curiosity/willingness to learn
39(11.2%)
open-hearted/loving
10(2.9%)
stone-hearted/closed off/distant
14(4.0%)
physically strong
9(2.6%)
physically weak
4(1.1%)
not entirely sane
43(12.3%)
promiscuity/sexually open
28(8.0%)
blushing virgin/innocent
6(1.7%)
artistic/creative/daydreamer
30(8.6%)
focused/determined
34(9.7%)
courageous/able to overcome fear
38(10.9%)
OTHER: will list in comments
6(1.7%)

If you had to choose, which one of these could save an otherwise terrible book?

the writing style
26(24.1%)
the main characters
39(36.1%)
the side characters
10(9.3%)
the action plot
11(10.2%)
the love plot
5(4.6%)
the concepts
7(6.5%)
the morals
0(0.0%)
the worldbuilding
10(9.3%)

And which would be a deal-breaker, if it's done wrong?

the writing style
46(43.0%)
the main characters
23(21.5%)
the side characters
0(0.0%)
the action plot
5(4.7%)
the love plot
11(10.3%)
the concepts
5(4.7%)
the morals
12(11.2%)
the worldbuilding
5(4.7%)

What's your favorite kind of PRIMARY plot?

a relationship developing (romantic or otherwise)
15(14.0%)
a quest for an object/person/action
27(25.2%)
political maneuvering
12(11.2%)
fulfulling a prophecy/destiny
7(6.5%)
personal growth/enlightenment
24(22.4%)
bad guy(s) doing bad things someone must stop it
15(14.0%)
coincidence/sequence of chance events
7(6.5%)

What's your favorite type of SECONDARY plot?

a relationship developing (romantic or otherwise)
35(32.4%)
a quest for an object/person/action
16(14.8%)
political maneuvering
10(9.3%)
fulfulling a prophecy/destiny
5(4.6%)
personal growth/enlightenment
27(25.0%)
bad guy(s) doing bad things someone must stop it
6(5.6%)
coincidence/sequence of chance events
9(8.3%)
none
0(0.0%)

What drives the best of stories?

the protagonist's motives
47(43.9%)
the antagonist's motives
19(17.8%)
outside motives - prophecy, legacy, etc
12(11.2%)
societal impact
7(6.5%)
moral consequences
12(11.2%)
random chance
10(9.3%)

What 'conquers all'?

love and friendship
48(17.6%)
justice and goodness
16(5.9%)
hard work and patience
27(9.9%)
courage and fortitude
29(10.7%)
knowledge and quick thinking
52(19.1%)
power and strength
10(3.7%)
timing and planning
28(10.3%)
money and status
5(1.8%)
forgiveness and change
36(13.2%)
truth and humility
21(7.7%)

Which issue would concern you MOST if it was badly dealt with?

Same-sex relationships
15(14.3%)
Gender identity
6(5.7%)
Race portrayal
18(17.1%)
Whitewashing
3(2.9%)
Gender portrayal
27(25.7%)
Animal rights
4(3.8%)
Slavery
1(1.0%)
Power exchange relationships
12(11.4%)
Polyamory
2(1.9%)
Ableism
3(2.9%)
Mental health
14(13.3%)

Which issue would concern you LEAST?

Same-sex relationships
8(7.7%)
Gender identity
4(3.8%)
Race portrayal
4(3.8%)
Whitewashing
4(3.8%)
Gender portrayal
1(1.0%)
Animal rights
35(33.7%)
Slavery
6(5.8%)
Power exchange relationships
11(10.6%)
Polyamory
23(22.1%)
Ableism
5(4.8%)
Mental health
3(2.9%)

Are you willing to forgive a lack of research in the name of a good story?

Sure, as long as it's entertaining
6(5.6%)
Sure, but there are one or two things that I just personally wouldn't be able to forgive
12(11.1%)
Only some, little details aren't important but it should at least make sense
34(31.5%)
Only some, little details aren't important but a concerted effort has to be made
28(25.9%)
Not really, inaccurate information takes the enjoyment out
18(16.7%)
Not really, it's unprofessional
5(4.6%)
No way. There's no excuse for a lack of research.
5(4.6%)

And lastly, what's your favorite kind of ending?

a cliffhanger!! AAAHHH!!!! where's the next book?!
4(3.7%)
a solid round-up with a gentle tease for more
54(50.5%)
mind-blowing revelation that changes the whole book
32(29.9%)
and they all lived happily ever after!
10(9.3%)
cut to black/left a mystery
7(6.5%)
...IT WAS ALL A DREAM THE WHOLE TIME.
0(0.0%)
 
 
 
pax: book vaultpax_athena on July 27th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Characters - that's really complicated! Mental strength and self-reliance are important. But then again there are other characters whom I love for the very lack of them. Fighting against the pressure from outside. Being able to change - but not changing because others want one to. Being a good leader - even though I generally fall for the second in command (whom I usually think to be a much better leader). Handicaps, physical and mental, and people living with them, finding a way to work around them and with them. Characters who struggle to get free of the influence of some higher power, whether gods or prophecies or whatever.
-- Err, you see, there are too many things I like. It highly depends on the story I'm reading (and sometimes on the gender of the character; I'm much more into strong, cold women then men as characters).

A while ago I sat down and wrote down 101 things I like in fiction. Not sure whether this is going to help, but I find it easier to write down my own ideas than to choose from a number of offered possibilities.
E.g., I went with "personal growth/enlightenment" as the favourite primary plot, since there are books I like which follow this route. But I guess usually it's more something like "changing the society" that I'm most interested in. This often does go hand in hand with personal growth, but personal growth without the big political/societal implication tends to bore me. ("political maneuvering" means something different to me - it can be part of "change the society", but does not have to.)