What I’m Reading 4th March

I have a dreaded Did Not Finish (DNF) on one of the books I was reading over the last fortnight. I’ve been trying to avoid doing this with the books in this post series, but it was unavoidable this time.

[FYI: The book links are free from affiliate codes.]

The Work Read

This book is superb. It’s full of refreshers on what I’d learned on H. R. D’Costa’s course and has loads of new, beneficial information. For the longest time, I’ve worked quietly under the assumption that there is more than one inciting incident (II) in a story. I’d told myself that it was because I was writing a hybrid genre. So, one II for the romance and one for the suspense. But, HRD explains that not only are there two (sometimes more), they also occur at different points in the first act.

The first one is the closest to page one of your story; she calls it the distal inciting incident. The second is the closest to the end of Act One–basically when your story kicks into high gear and shoots down the road–she calls the proximal inciting incident. This new knowledge has made me look at my story to see if I had both of these new IIs, and there they were! My distal II is Adam and Elle meeting in the first three pages, and my proximal II is when something goes very, very wrong and the pair are stuck together–right near the end of Act One.

I can’t wait to learn more from this excellent book.

Inciting Incident on Kindle (£6.99)

Inciting Incident on Kobo (£6.99)


The Fun Read

Right. Trapped with the Secret Agent by Julie Rowe. The DNF.

Before I’d committed to sharing this book, I’d made sure it was a keeper. You see, I’d gone through several before it, but none of them was quite up to what I expected from a book. I think I’ve been spoiled rotten by the talents of Anne Stuart, Dana Marton, Trish Loye etc.

I go through the samples so that I don’t have to put a DNF up on the site–I don’t want to come down on a book someone has poured their time, energy, and money into producing.

But this one fell through the cracks. I read the first chapter or so in the sample, and it looked pretty great. I downloaded the whole book and got to reading…

I don’t know if the file failed to update when the author uploaded it. Maybe they forgot to update the Kobo file. Possibly they changed editors after the first wee bit. Whatever happened, the rest of the book doesn’t read the same as those excellent initial pages.

The things that made me want to read more of the book were the things that fell apart after the sample. The characters were distinct, but after the sample, not so much. The point-of-view (POV) switching was set up as one per scene, but then it switched to head-hopping within the scene. And, the narrative went from showing to full-on telling.

I continued reading, hoping that it would revert to the stellar writing of the first chapter or so, but it didn’t. I spent my reading time editing the lines in my head while trying to relax. Last night I finally gave up and closed the book at 33% (I’m a slow reader, but that is excruciatingly slow for me).

And then, I gave in. I opened Black Ice, the first in the Ice Series by Anne Stuart. Yay! Yes, this means Anne Stuart is back as my staple Fun Read for the foreseeable future.

Description from Amazon:

Chloe Underwood had come to Paris looking for adventure and landed up living hand-to-mouth as a children’s book translator. So when she’s offered a lucrative weekend translating at an international business conference in a remote château, she leaps at the opportunity. Then Chloe discovers her employers aren’t the boring businessmen they seem.

Suddenly, she’s running for her life from a group of international and highly illegal arms dealers – and now Chloe knows too much to be allowed to live…

Black Ice on Kobo (£3.49 on Kobo)

Black Ice on Kindle (£2.99 on Kindle)


What does it take for you to DNF a book? For me, it’s terrible writing, little-to-no editing, and the biggest is telling the story instead of showing it.

I’d love to hear your reading plans for the next week…

Until next time, take care, and happy reading!

Author: Susan T. Braithwaite

Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband,, and our squirrel army.​

8 thoughts on “What I’m Reading 4th March

  1. “Telling te story instead of showing it” – that describes it pretty much for me wrt. not wanting to finish reading a book. And shallow characters. A story can be whimsy or cliché but still a great read if the characters have depth.

    Inciting Incident sounds like another one for my non-existent reading list. Let’s say, it’s something to remember.

    Enjoy your fun-read with Anne Stuart!

    1. Oh, yes, shallow characters go on my list, too! I’m starting to think I might be a very picky reader 😅
      You’re going to have to add some more books to your memory–HRD has quite a few books that I’m going to share. Sorry 😬 🤗

      1. Us slow readers have to pick quality over quantity, I suppose… 😅
        More books to remember? 😱 Bring ’em on! 💗

      2. You may regret this! (I have all of HRD’s books!) 😂

      3. 😂 💗

  2. Chris Hall says:

    Oh there are so many reasons for a DNF. Mostly (fortunately) I’m fairly sure I’m going to enjoy the books I’ve picked. Worst worry is that I might dislike a book by someone I know, although that hasn’t happened yet. But bad writing is bad writing and I won’t waste my time on that – cardboard characters, implausible plot, clunky prose, insipid dialogue… But I even cast aside much-praised and multi-award winning books, most recently, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children “Booker of Bookers”. Three-quarters done it’s languished on my shelf for nearly a year now. Much of the story-telling is great, but there’s a whole sub-plot involving the machinations of the author which (to me) is rather self-indulgent. Maybe I’m too simple to appreciate the symbolism and its multi-textured threads, but the world is full of more enjoyable books and that’s why I read!

    1. Oh, yes, I’m adding some from your list to mine!
      I’ve got to be honest, I don’t read the big award winning books. I find them pretentious, depressing, meandering with no sign of a plot, or just so full of their own self-worth that it’s nauseating.
      Like yourself, I read fiction for enjoyment. I want escapism and entertainment. I want my Happily Ever After (HEA) dammit! 🤪

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