I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Boy, I Wish Authors Would Listen


Pet peeves. Admit it. We all have them…those little things that annoy us.  If they increase in number they can push us to the boiling point.

When we find too many of them in books, they make us want to pitch the book across the room. (Usually we duly note the author’s name and refrain from choosing another one of her books.)

Here’s a list of my pet peeves in books:
   Too many characters introduced too quickly. Until we get to know them, it’s hard to keep them straight.
  • ·      Telling me how a character felt. Just let me see it!
  • ·      Use of the passive voice.
  • ·      Weak-willed characters
  • ·      Selfish characters
  • ·      Cliché characters, plots or emotions
  • ·      Purple prose (her eyes were like sapphire orbs)
  • ·      Jumping point of view with in a scene. Stay in one character’s head, please!
  • ·      Characters who get along with everyone. What? Don’t they have a backbone?
  • ·      Characters with similar names. (Jim, Tim, Slim, and Kim make my head spinl.)
  • ·      Killing off a favorite character in a series. (This happened recently. The author killed the heroine of the previous book. I’m having serious trouble liking the new heroine.)


What about you? What makes a book-lover like you want to pitch one across the room?

13 comments:

  1. Mine is the repetition of words for the same thing. I read a story once where in every scene the woman picked up her "reticule". Everywhere she went the reticule went with her. The reticule was never named anything else. The woman with the reticule apparantly did not carry a thesaurus in it!

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    1. Ha! And it's even worse when it's an unusual word like reticule!

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  2. Oh, Teri, I so agree with all of your pet peeves. And I want to add one--the heroine never acts, always just reacts. And Jennie...reticule? Isn't it maddening when an author does that...once I focus on something like that, I usually put the book down.

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    1. Absolutely, Pat! When the heroine only reacts, you begin to feel like she doesn't have a brain.

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  3. Thanks, Teri.
    I like reticules, in the appropriate age, but not more than twice. I dislike and won't read books that substitute heavy-breathing passion for thoughtful character introduction, conflict, and growth into realistic if imperfect relationships. I like to be able to trust my author's insights and purposes, not think they are merely trying to raise excitement to sell a book. I like books to include memorable characters and thoughtful phrases that leave me with substance after I finish reading. Now, I need to be sure to incorporate those preferences into everything I'm writing . . .

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    1. You put a lot of depth in this comment, Delores! And, indeed, I agree.

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  4. 1) When the character acts out in a way that's not believable. Motivation matters!

    2) When the author hasn't done his/her research and makes and error. Takes me completely out of the scene.

    3) When an author doesn't tie up her loose ends. One multi-pubbed author was a favorite until she ended the series with characters in peril. Maybe she'd planned to finish that subplot in another book but had a falling out with her publisher before it could be written. I don't know the inside scoop. But I'll never trust that author again.

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  5. Teri, you created a good list of peeves. I've seen quite a few of those in multi-published authors' novels. I may even be guilty of adding to a reader's pet peeves list.

    My biggest pet peeve is a heroine who acts stupidly, especially in the face of danger. A typical woman who knows there's an intruder in her house, but goes after him with a frying pan. Unless this woman knows martial arts and can do something dangerous with that pan, she just fell into the "too stupid to live" category.

    Many readers get engrossed in a story and will forgive writers for hitting some of their pet peeves if they really love the characters and plot.

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    1. "Too stupid to live. . ." Right. This will so date me, but "Jamie Lee Curtis, don't go into the basement!"

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  6. Like with a series I just finished. The author not only killed off several beloved characters, in a senseless way I might add, but it's as if in her last book, she was depressed or something when she wrote it. AND! The characters never GREW. They were just more of the same. A character, especially the hero and heroine, MUST GROW! I hate that.
    Sorry for the rant but thanks for the opportunity :)

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    1. That would indeed make me want to throw the book across the room, Ginger. Glad to give a place for your rant.

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