Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 196780 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jocelyn

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2878
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1005 on: July 09, 2013, 02:52:23 PM »
I hate it when one of the male characters feels scared and the author emphasizes this by describing his male parts shrinking.  For one thing I'm now thinking about male parts shrinking, not what was supposedly scary.  For another thing I find myself wondering what the female counterparts had happen... did their ovaries tremble in fear?

Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

The part that stuck with me was that the wife described her own private parts as feeling like overboiled pasta at the end of her honeymoon...

Jocelyn

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2878
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1006 on: July 09, 2013, 03:04:32 PM »
I suppose this is one reason why I can't read many romances. 

So many of them end without a good reason for falling in love.  Well, besides being horny.  In fact, most of them are, "Well, I really hate you BUT, I want to pork you so I will stay with you anyway."  It always makes me close the book thinking, "Six weeks after her wedding, Ambriella woke up besides Chesty, her husband, and said, "Oh dingdangity.  It's worn off."

As a romance author myself, who has many romance author friends, I take umbrage at this.  Yes, SOME romances are thin on the character motivation (particularly self-published and small press e-books, which tend to have less of an editorial process and thus less of a gatekeeper to publication), but that's not "most" by any stretch of the imagination.  A fair portion of romances have no sex in them at all.  And those of us who really care about the craft of writing work very hard to ensure that there's more to the conflict than a misunderstanding and more to the romance than "I want to pork you."  Ideally, the sex scenes should come about because it's the only possible result of the characters' current situation and attraction for each other - plotwise, they should be inevitable.  (Exceptions to be made for erotica, but even there, the sex has to make sense for the characters - some reason they'd be particularly prone to jumping in bed with near-strangers at the beginning of the book and some reason they're NOT jumping in bed with anyone other than each other by the end.)

I think the perception of 'most' is being strongly influenced by free books for e-readers. I started one yesterday that I'm seriously considering not finishing.  Honestly, if someone told me one person wrote Chapters 1-3 and someone else wrote the next few chapters, I'd believe you. In the first chapters, the protagonist is presented as a cold-hearted manipulative jerk and the heroine as being shy and timid to the point of dysfunctionality. As I finished up yesterday, he's proposing to her about every 3 minutes (after having known her 3 weeks, and having only interacted with her on about 5 of those days) and she's suddenly got friends coming out of the woodwork, revealing her to be the kindest and most helpful woman around. And she's mentioned that her knowledge of herbs puts her at risk for charges of witchcraft. But oh, did I mention that this novel takes place in the Old West? Apparently the author doesn't know that all those cures were considered standard treatments, and were published as such, in the early 1800s in medical tomes. If anything, they would be seen as old home remedies by those around her, not witchcraft! Grandmas would remember doctors prescribing these cures in their childhoods! I'm debating reading onward, just to see if there are more dramatic and unexplained shifts in the characters, and to see if the heroine is actually accused of witchcraft.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28244
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1007 on: July 09, 2013, 03:06:51 PM »
Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

Exhibit #1 in "How to tell that this book was written by a man".
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

nuit93

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1087
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1008 on: July 09, 2013, 03:16:11 PM »
I hate it when one of the male characters feels scared and the author emphasizes this by describing his male parts shrinking.  For one thing I'm now thinking about male parts shrinking, not what was supposedly scary.  For another thing I find myself wondering what the female counterparts had happen... did their ovaries tremble in fear?

Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

The part that stuck with me was that the wife described her own private parts as feeling like overboiled pasta at the end of her honeymoon...

And here we have Exhibit #2.

snowflake

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1812
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1009 on: July 09, 2013, 04:19:08 PM »
I suppose this is one reason why I can't read many romances. 

So many of them end without a good reason for falling in love.  Well, besides being horny.  In fact, most of them are, "Well, I really hate you BUT, I want to pork you so I will stay with you anyway."  It always makes me close the book thinking, "Six weeks after her wedding, Ambriella woke up besides Chesty, her husband, and said, "Oh dingdangity.  It's worn off."

As a romance author myself, who has many romance author friends, I take umbrage at this.  Yes, SOME romances are thin on the character motivation (particularly self-published and small press e-books, which tend to have less of an editorial process and thus less of a gatekeeper to publication), but that's not "most" by any stretch of the imagination.  A fair portion of romances have no sex in them at all.  And those of us who really care about the craft of writing work very hard to ensure that there's more to the conflict than a misunderstanding and more to the romance than "I want to pork you."  Ideally, the sex scenes should come about because it's the only possible result of the characters' current situation and attraction for each other - plotwise, they should be inevitable.  (Exceptions to be made for erotica, but even there, the sex has to make sense for the characters - some reason they'd be particularly prone to jumping in bed with near-strangers at the beginning of the book and some reason they're NOT jumping in bed with anyone other than each other by the end.)

Well, I have no idea what kind of romances you and your friends write.  It's completely possible that you have written some that I have enjoyed.

Though what some authors call, "character development" and "plot" can be a whole lot of bickering.  Some people find this romantic and intense.  I don't.  The "I hate you but I love you" is a hard sell.  That's why I (and most of my friends - including those who absolutely love romances) are going to read "irresistible connection" and refer to it as "horny" when the whole mental connection seems shoe-horned.  This includes books that are very light or without the Scrabble.  It also includes many books that are best-sellers.

And to be fair, it also includes many relationships in non-romances that I have read and liked.  I have put down many a very satisfying mystery with the exact same thoughts.  This was not meant to pick on romance writers exclusively. 

(OT:  If you know some good authors, by all means I'd like to know who they are.  I like the idea of a romantic story, but I get disappointed too often.)

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11606
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1010 on: July 09, 2013, 04:25:30 PM »
(OT:  If you know some good authors, by all means I'd like to know who they are.  I like the idea of a romantic story, but I get disappointed too often.)

Try Lisa Kleypas's "Blue Eyed Devil."  I don't usually read contemporaries, I don't read cowboy romances, and I don't read women's fiction, but that book is so fantastic I don't even care.  (It's technically the second book in a series, but I think the first one isn't quite as strong.)  Seriously, give it twenty pages, even if you don't think it looks at all like your thing.  I promise you'll like it.

jedikaiti

  • Swiss Army Nerd
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2658
  • A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail.
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1011 on: July 09, 2013, 04:43:40 PM »
1. when author's styles change from 'interesting and different' to 'ewww get me out of here'. like stephen king for one. so, i end up picking up one of that author's latest books, thinking it will be just as good if not better than the previous one, and it gets... gory.

2. and i know this is my issue but typos and incorrect word choices drive me crazy. it's a book, it's published by this big publishing house, i'm sure they have plenty of editors and proof readers on staff. Use them! I know it's not possible to always find every mistake, but sometimes books are just sloppy and it's annoying.

So agree about King.  Carrie was one of the first true horror novels I read and it was so unusual in its style (the magazine and newspaper articles interspersed with the prose) that it kept you reading just to see what magazine he would include next.  Ditto Salems Lot and The Shining.

And then, somewhere down the line, I want to say the book was IT, things went from being horrific love letters to Maine and New England and turned into ruminations on people's bowel movements, gore and gore and gore, and all kinds of references to bodily fluids.  Instead of the compelling, irresistable feeling of "what happens next" I remember being treated to one character's thinking about his constipation for several pages in IT but delivered, not in that character's tone of voice (which would have been more circumspect, I think) but in King's very snotty tone, as if he was mocking the character who would ultimately prove the real hero of the story.

I haven't been able to read his new books since then.

Regards your second point:  I have a friend who is a proof reader for a couple of houses...and it's a very frustrating job for her.  She received an instruction from the editor of one rising romance star  saying "Do NOT correct the grammar or the spelling.  Do NOT point out holes in logic.   We don't have time to fix them."  She says "They pay me to read this trash, but they won't let me fix what's wrong because it'll cost them money.  If I didn't need the job, I wouldn't do it."  (Among some of these gaffes is a woman who is simultaneously putting on her high heels, while zipping up her dress AND walking out the door.  Or there is the plot in which a woman kidnaps a pilot to get her to an island where her ten year old son will be sacrificed to some evil God or other....as his father was before him, in fact, ALL first born sons of first born sons are sacrificed at the age of ten.  Sooooo, question:  how did her husband survive long enough to grow up, get interested in girls and find HER.  Corollary: if you are sacrificing these children at age ten, and each one if the first born son of the first born son of this one family line (clearly stated), uh---how do they keep begetting first born sons of first born sons if the first first born son was killed at age ten?) 

She's had me read some of these treasures and I want to scream.  And THAT is why so many books are filled with errors.  Apparently first readers are used to see if the writing makes them bleed from the eyes and when it doesn't, they send the book to the publisher.

I know I'm way behind, but your friend should start a blog with some of these. I'd totally read that. And laugh.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

"The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture

Barney girl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 323
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1012 on: July 09, 2013, 07:21:14 PM »
I found a book a while back where the publishers "corrected something" and shouldn't have.

It was in the Puffin Classics version of Little Women . There is a line in Ch. 37 that should read, "The set in which they found themselves was composed of English, and Amy was compelled to walk decorously through a cotillion, feeling all the while as if she could dance the tarantella with relish."

In this edition, she wanted to dance the Tarantula.

Now, while I'm relieved that she didn't want to dance the Black Widow or the Brown Recluse, I still laughed like a loon.

That reminds me of something I've been meaning to check. I read the later books in the series a few years back and the children often played cricket. Is that in the original or is it something a British publisher put in? I wasn't sure if cricket was a New England game at that time.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9644
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1013 on: July 09, 2013, 07:44:34 PM »
I suppose this is one reason why I can't read many romances. 

So many of them end without a good reason for falling in love.  Well, besides being horny.  In fact, most of them are, "Well, I really hate you BUT, I want to pork you so I will stay with you anyway."  It always makes me close the book thinking, "Six weeks after her wedding, Ambriella woke up besides Chesty, her husband, and said, "Oh dingdangity.  It's worn off."


I will admit, there's one romance eBook I have on my laptop that I will forever love simply BECAUSE of how bad it is. Our heroine gets taken back in time to the...um...not sure when, which is sad, because I'm great with time periods. The dashing knight (head of the castle, no less) is a time traveler, and he brings back women to keep in his harem. She hates him for imprisoning her, has never done anything outside of boring scrabble, and sets herself up to be the best in, erm, some more graphic pursuits. Including the woodwork to make some of the set pieces herself. Which makes no sense with her character's history, if a person with her background really tried to build things like that, they'd fall apart at best. And don't get me started on how hard it is to saw giant beams of wood to size or secure them together. Not easy.

Oh, man, I think I know which one you're referring to. Knight Moves by Jamaica Layne, yes?

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9644
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1014 on: July 09, 2013, 07:45:36 PM »
I found a book a while back where the publishers "corrected something" and shouldn't have.

It was in the Puffin Classics version of Little Women . There is a line in Ch. 37 that should read, "The set in which they found themselves was composed of English, and Amy was compelled to walk decorously through a cotillion, feeling all the while as if she could dance the tarantella with relish."

In this edition, she wanted to dance the Tarantula.

Now, while I'm relieved that she didn't want to dance the Black Widow or the Brown Recluse, I still laughed like a loon.

That reminds me of something I've been meaning to check. I read the later books in the series a few years back and the children often played cricket. Is that in the original or is it something a British publisher put in? I wasn't sure if cricket was a New England game at that time.

It was in the originals.  There were lots of Anglophiles in New England at that time.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Allyson

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1892
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1015 on: July 10, 2013, 03:31:48 AM »
I love romance novels, but it can be hard to find ones that are both good and to my taste, if that makes sense. I like historicals, and I am fine with historically accurate depictions of the gender roles, but *not* guys who are just jerks to women in the name of 'historical accuracy'. I would prefer *not* to read about very 'defiant' heroines because those tend to involve breaking her down, which I can find icky--whereas the ones where she starts as more insecure or quieter often are more about building her up.

iridaceae

  • Boring in real life as well
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3774
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1016 on: July 10, 2013, 04:59:01 AM »
As a romance author myself, who has many romance author friends, I take umbrage at this.  Yes, SOME romances are thin on the character motivation (particularly self-published and small press e-books, which tend to have less of an editorial process and thus less of a gatekeeper to publication), but that's not "most" by any stretch of the imagination.  A fair portion of romances have no sex in them at all. 

And the Harlequin writer who is probably their biggest all-time seller- she is stiil in print 12 years after her death- was notoriously sex-scene free: Betty Neels.

Pen^2

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1017 on: July 10, 2013, 05:25:13 AM »
Some authors aren't great at writing characters. They tend to be composed of a subset of the author's own attributes. There's nothing wrong in that itself; I generally don't go for character-driven plots or novels and find bildungsromans rather tedious. But I dislike it when an author decides to put in a character who is super smart or creative or whatever, but then the character is basically not super smart because the author themselves isn't. All the other characters might go "ooh" and "aah" at whatever clever thing the character said, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it very often isn't all that brilliant and it makes the reactions rather cheap and unbelievable, detracting from not just the genius-character-who-isn't, but many of the other characters as well.

I hated, hated, Arthur C. Clarke's novellisation of 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequels for this reason. "Oh look, this character now has near-infinite wisdom and intellect and has evolved so far beyond humanity that he is less similar to us than we are to bacteria! He is almost literally a god, having unimaginable power over time and space! So now he's going to act in a very predictable, petty, average, limited adult kind of way, and constantly forget to use his powers to solve whatever silly non-problems he faces, despite one of his powers apparently being the ability not to forget his powers. Maybe writing in that last one was a bit of a mistake?"

poundcake

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 962
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1018 on: July 10, 2013, 05:25:35 AM »
I suppose this is one reason why I can't read many romances. 

So many of them end without a good reason for falling in love.  Well, besides being horny.  In fact, most of them are, "Well, I really hate you BUT, I want to pork you so I will stay with you anyway."  It always makes me close the book thinking, "Six weeks after her wedding, Ambriella woke up besides Chesty, her husband, and said, "Oh dingdangity.  It's worn off."

Me too. Like, "You don't talk to each other, you have nothing in common, you can't discuss fears or hopes, neither of you seem to have actual hobbies, or any interests except for maybe a token horseback ride, you speak disrespectfully to each other most of the time, you flirt with others to make each other jealous, she's a teenager and he's in his thirties. But it's absolutely the lasting passion of a lifetime.  ::)

On a related note, books (usually in the "chick lit" vein) that substitute name dropping for actual character development. I just read Revenge Wears Prada. Instead of information about someone's personality, or growth over time, the author relies on "so-and-so was wearing a size 2 Tory Burch jumpsuit and Tod loafers, perfect for the Hamptons. I recognized the shade of flawless manicure as the latest special edition varnish color from Chanel, Heaving Asphalt, only available in swag bags from Sundance." Maybe twenty years ago, it wasn't such a cliche to infer character by saying "his expensive Egyptian cotton button-down stretched across his broad shoulders," but after a generation of books that are pretty much name brand shopping lists, it's tedious. Add to that list "she waved me over to the best table at Fancy New York Restaurant" or "I crunched into a bag of Organic Name Brand Only Available at Whole Foods." Even "I turned the TV on to Trashy Reality Show/Highbrow BBC Miniseries."   

Quote
But I dislike it when an author decides to put in a character who is super smart or creative or whatever, but then the character is basically not super smart because the author themselves isn't. All the other characters might go "ooh" and "aah" at whatever clever thing the character said, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it very often isn't all that brilliant and it makes the reactions rather cheap and unbelievable, detracting from not just the genius-character-who-isn't, but many of the other characters as well.

Yes! Or we're told a character is smart, yet we never see them doing anything smart at all. It's the Bella Swan thing. Not only was she never shown doing any of the "smart" reading she supposedly loved, her actions in the plot were also the epitome of stupidity. I get that you can be book-smart but life-dumb. But it angers me how many YA and "strong female" heroines are "smart" only because the author tells us that they are, and then all we see them doing is moping over a boy or shopping for shoes. Or maybe figuring out a sneaky way to get into a hot party.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 05:31:59 AM by poundcake »

Redwing

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1019 on: July 10, 2013, 09:19:43 AM »