My Reading Quirk

I’ve talked before about my lack of detail when describing characters, and a lot of that comes from my dislike of books that over-describe people. I usually don’t care what they’re wearing, how their hair is styled, or what their makeup looks like — unless it’s crucial to the story. I form a mental image very early on, and I end up ignoring anything the author says that conflicts with what my mind comes up with.

I was vaguely aware that I do this, but never verbalized it until I was critiquing a friend’s novel a couple months ago. We were discussing something about the love interest and she said something about him having blond hair.

“He has blond hair?” I asked.

She looked at me, dumbfounded, probably wondering if I’d actually read the thing.

I rushed to explain. “I don’t like guys with blond hair so if a character is described with having blond hair, I just pretend it’s brown. I don’t even realize I’m doing it.”

I was reminded of this when she posted a picture that reminds her of her MC, and I had to ask which boy it was since, in my head, both her male characters have brown hair. Oops.

Do you have any weird reading quirks? I’m sure someone will talk about skimming long passages and I have to tell you that just hurts my head.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. If there’s a funky (unique) name that I can’t pronounce? I make up what I want it to be so that my reading isn’t stalled at all. It was a long time before I knew how to say “Hermione” after reading the first Harry Potter. Might have been when I saw the movie. :-O

  2. LOL! Well, you’ll be happy how the story is going ;o) And Max Irons can be either one ;o) I just love the dude!

    My quirk? Long amounts of descriptions and no action. I need action!

    If the writing is really good, I can get past the no action thing ;o)

    Great post!

  3. If I find myself skimming, I know its time to put the book down. I am with you on the descriptions. Fantasy or Sci-fi might be a bit of an exception if we are talking about different races. ie. Hobbits. But only a few bits of information are needed. (Short, large hairy feet.) Then I can quickly fill in the rest with my own imagination.

    (Blond guys rock!) 😉

      • I always went for the darker hair’d guys when I was young and single, but it was a blondie who swept me off my feet. Now he has gray streaking through his hair, but he won’t admit it. 😉

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