Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Biggest peeves

I was thinking about things that annoy me as a reader, and that I'd really like to avoid as a writer.  Since all writers are readers, I thought I'd toss this out to all folks- writers, non-writers, pretty much anyone who reads books:

What bugs you and to what level?

I've noticed that the longer I write the harder it gets to read for enjoyment.  I get annoyed far to easily nowadays, and that annoyance is far more likely to result in me not finishing that book than it used to.

So what bugs me?

A character that I can't relate to.  If you have an amazing world, but I really dislike the main character- I'm outta there.  To be honest, usually this only happens with free books I get (aka- ones I didn't go out hunt down and buy ;)), simply because if I'm buying the book, I look inside to read a bit on the character.  Now, I can still be tricked, but usually that gets rid of those.

Flashbacks.  Ok, little ones might work if you can do them well-- but sometimes authors get way too into the flashback.  If the story from the past is that interesting- TELL that one!  My suggestion is use the flashbacks in small doses- let us see how the character is now, then show us bits and pieces of how they got that way.  I started reading a book years ago where I liked who I thought was the main character- only to find out two chapters in, that the rest of the book was about ANOTHER character completely in a flashback!  Yeah- that one went sailing into the giveaway book pile.

Prologues.  Not a fan, but not a book deal ender either- I just don't read them.  So, ya better hope they aren't needed for the story ;).

Stupid people.  I've raved about this before.  Making a character do something because YOU want/need them to, isn't the same as their behavior being a logical (or at least plausible) outcome of their current situation. Nuff said.

Focusing on stuff of no importance to the story.  Yes, you need to make your world real, but if you have the "book camera" pan on a vase for half a page, then don't have that vase be anything important later- I will hunt you down and pummel you.  As a writer you've just wasted valuable "reader focus" and you've also lied to your reader- both are a crime.

I know I have more, but those are mine. What are your peeves when you read?  And do you stop reading or muster on?


  1. Hmmmmm...three come to mind immediately....authors who seem to delight in killing their characters (Ex.Game of Thrones...Rick and I both started reading them...and almost stopped by the time they killed the first wolf....but by the second or third book we were done) series that go on and on and....well, you get it...and I am not a grammar nazi, but when you keep tripping over your/you're and effect/affect and it drops you right out of the story.....sigh.....I know I have more, but I think that is enough for now....*Grin* ........Deb Tindall

    1. Those are great ones, Deb! I agree about the killing and the grammar. Little things don't annoy me, but simple wrong word issues? That should have been caught by someone- author, beta reader, editor- SOMEONE! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  2. I hate rape. Sound pretty obvious, huh? But in romance it's not always clear cut. It's not as bad as in the 70s, but there are still those scenes where she said no and her body said yes. Sorta creeps me out.
    On a much lesser note, I hate word repetition. I just read a book where one page had the word 'body' six times. I may as well have highlighted it for how much they stood out to me. It pulls me out of the role of read and makes me feel I'm editing.
    I agree on prologues. Very rarely are they needed. They usually (not always) strike me as a tool the author uses to pull you into a story that starts too slow.

    1. Very good points, Erin. I, too, have problems with consent- no means no, and anything against that is rape and will make me stop reading immediately. Word repetition is another good one! Again, I think it's an issue where the author didn't have good support (friends, betas, editors) and didn't read the work aloud! That would catch those bodies! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  3. What a fun topic!

    I can handle characters I can't necessarily relate to. There's all types in the world. But I can't stand books without a single redeeming character (Wuthering Heights comes to mind). Why would I want to read about them?

    Not enough time with the MCs in the same space together. How are they supposed to fall in love if they're never together? Plus - I find their interaction is always the best part.

    On the more minor side - Taking too long to set up the romantic meeting. Sometimes this can't be avoided. I've struggled with it myself.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. OY! Stupid blogger won't let me edit my own comment!

      Good point, Abigail, and actually a better version of mine :). Redeeming characters are vital! True about the romance points as well ;). I've found that sometimes authors keep the characters separate because they don't have enough real conflict as to why they shouldn't be together!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  4. So many of my pet peeves have been covered already.

    I hate it when things happen in a book because the author always wanted to have X, Y, or Z in their stories. Beautiful, red-haired, green-eyed Zarfina is hiding from the Nazis when a fairy and a herd (gaggle - sounder) of elves rescue her and take her through time to their homeland which is being ravaged by Samurai warriors to the north, pygmies to the south, pirates from the east, and fire-breathing dragons from the sky. At night you have to be on the lookout for vampires. Full moons equal lycans and those strange blinking lights on the horizon are probably aliens, or Dous, diamonds of unusual size.

    The sad thing is that most of the time these always wanted to have them in a book things appear only in a stereotypical way. All of them could be interesting if there was a new spin put on them, but there hardly ever is. Nazis are bad. Fairies are sparkly and sweet. Elves are tall, beautiful and mysterious. Vampires only come out at night and are kinda sexy. Of course, I as the reader should know all of this ahead of time so it doesn't really need to be mentioned, does it? By using stereotypes this author doesn't think they have to work to establish atmosphere or character development.

    Thanks for the rant platform. I feel better.

    1. LOL!!! Don't you hate it when all the good peeves are taken, Sharon? ;). Ok, now I want to read the book you outlined! (Kidding- really KIDDING! ;)) I do like the DOUS's though ;). Excellent point on using stereotypes-lazy writing never works. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  5. What bugs me the most, bad editing. Do your homework! If you are writing about a specific known area, for God's sake research that area so you get it right. Distances, directions, an idiosyncrasy. Poetic license is one thing, but if you are talking about very specific places, the mileage between them doesn't change just because you are writing about it.