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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%)
 
 
 
Fran: avengers: ballsy humansbranquignole on July 28th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC)
Oh God, this was so hard to fill out. Especially the deal-breaker question because COME ON, let's face it, all of these are a deal-breaker to me if badly done. In the end, I went for the love plot because, as a hard-core feminist at heart, this is something that bugs me a lot about many books I think I could have loved otherwise; THERE IS STILL TOO MUCH RAPE CULTURE CRAP PRESENT IN ALL KINDS OF FICTION FFS.

As for my primary focus: you can draw me in with anything fantasy/worldbuilding when it's cleverly done. Worldbuilding totally turns me on, negl. I'm always on the hunt for new fantasy that will make me hold my breath in awe of the magical systems/geography/society/etc etc. Romance is always a bonus, though not a must.

I love it when a character knows what they bring to the yard, and gods help me but I have a strong competence kink, and I just really like it when people are good at things. Not the kind of 'I woke up one day and could suddenly do the most amazing spells' good but the kind of good that is a mix both of natural talent and exercise. And as important as the protagonist's motives are to the story what really drives the plot and all of the characters' actions are the antagonist's motives. Especially when they remain kind of foggy throughout the story and there is some FIGURING OUT TO BE DONE.

But anyway (this comment got a little out of hand), thing what you should keep in mind concerning polls: they're always just a generalisation of tastes. Sometimes I like things that are the exact opposite of what I ticky-boxed here. Also, the things I focus most strongly on are not always what draws me to a character in the first place. Sometimes I just feel drawn to a character because they're really ~sexy, and though physical attractiveness is definitely not enough to keep me interested over a long period of time it tends to make me notice other things about a character; like how fucking awesome they are with a bow and arrow, or how much I believe they're secretly good, y'know?