I've decided that long, boring chapters make for bad reading. Nothing makes reading feel more like a chore than a bunch of long, descriptive chapters that go on FOREVER! I know I'm not the fastest reader in the world, but a chapter really shouldn't take me an hour to read. And it doesn't help when (like I said in this post) it's just a bunch of scenery descriptions without character involvement.
So I've decided that I am going to keep my chapters short and sweet. They'll all have a point to them that drives the characters closer to the climax, challenges them, and makes them grow. I like the idea of making characters fight, too. It makes for entertaining drama.
On a side note, one of the books I'm reading right now has a problem that I just noticed yesterday: none of the characters are consistent. They behave unpredictably almost all the time, and I can't tell if their actions are "in character" or not because every time they show up on the page, they behave in a different way.
In the books that I find intriguing, the characters may do something that surprises me, but when I look at their actions, I can see that it's consistent with how the author developed the character. Even if the character does something they normally wouldn't (like a pacifist killing someone) there are OBVIOUS circumstances that lead up to that sudden shift in personality. Yes, it comes as a shock when I read it, but it isn't contradictory to how I perceive the character.
Back to this book: each character behaves how the author seems to think they should in order to move the plot forward. As a result, their actions are unnatural and forced. The progression from point A to point B is overly contrived, and I don't believe that any of these people are human. It's like watching a five different actors trying to play the same person.
If I didn't think that I could learn something of my own writing through these books, I would just stop reading them. However, the plot itself is intriguing, and I want to see how it ends. Even though it feels like homework :P