Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 223086 times)

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Margo

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1935 on: April 11, 2014, 08:50:01 AM »
It's worse if it the same character who starts out as Elaine and suddenly become Ellen a few chapters further on!

I was reading a book recently where the characters suddenly started talking about 'Peter'. I was puzzled, as I didn't recall any previous mention of a character called Peter. Then eventually from context it became clear that they were actually talking about 'Philip', who has been Philip up to that point in the book and went back to being Philip again in the following chapters!

The same book had a couple of glaring continuity issues, too. If you have a book set in 2012 and a character who is now 85, you can't have that same character being a serving police officer in 1995, when he would have been 68. Particularly in a branch which has a mandatory  retirement age of 55.



Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1936 on: April 11, 2014, 03:52:28 PM »
It's worse if it the same character who starts out as Elaine and suddenly become Ellen a few chapters further on!

I was reading a book recently where the characters suddenly started talking about 'Peter'. I was puzzled, as I didn't recall any previous mention of a character called Peter. Then eventually from context it became clear that they were actually talking about 'Philip', who has been Philip up to that point in the book and went back to being Philip again in the following chapters!

The same book had a couple of glaring continuity issues, too. If you have a book set in 2012 and a character who is now 85, you can't have that same character being a serving police officer in 1995, when he would have been 68. Particularly in a branch which has a mandatory  retirement age of 55.
I wonder if the continuity errors were a factor of an editor's demands.   Sometimes an editor will want changes made, and the author may or may not be careful to make those chages match the rest of the story.  "OK, so Sue wants to see more character development in Sgt. Friday.  Now what did I name him....I know it began with P.  Was it Peter?  Yeah, I think it was."  So she writes a scene about Peter Friday, completely forgetting that in the rest of the manuscript she called him Philip.  She doesn't go back and check to see what she named him because she's in the middle of the next book already, and she doesn't want to give it that much time. 
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Margo

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1937 on: April 11, 2014, 04:13:49 PM »
It's worse if it the same character who starts out as Elaine and suddenly become Ellen a few chapters further on!

I was reading a book recently where the characters suddenly started talking about 'Peter'. I was puzzled, as I didn't recall any previous mention of a character called Peter. Then eventually from context it became clear that they were actually talking about 'Philip', who has been Philip up to that point in the book and went back to being Philip again in the following chapters!

The same book had a couple of glaring continuity issues, too. If you have a book set in 2012 and a character who is now 85, you can't have that same character being a serving police officer in 1995, when he would have been 68. Particularly in a branch which has a mandatory  retirement age of 55.
I wonder if the continuity errors were a factor of an editor's demands.   Sometimes an editor will want changes made, and the author may or may not be careful to make those chages match the rest of the story.  "OK, so Sue wants to see more character development in Sgt. Friday.  Now what did I name him....I know it began with P.  Was it Peter?  Yeah, I think it was."  So she writes a scene about Peter Friday, completely forgetting that in the rest of the manuscript she called him Philip.  She doesn't go back and check to see what she named him because she's in the middle of the next book already, and she doesn't want to give it that much time.

In this specific case, I think the continuity errors are *probably* down to writing up an old outline as a new novel. \the name thing - the character in question was the protagonist's father.
the writer is normally very very good - this specific book was written at the request of an editor with  view to breaking into a new genre - I suspect his heart wasn't in it, and that the editing was not good. I was reading the kindle version. Don't know whether the dead tree one was any better.

EllenS

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1938 on: April 11, 2014, 09:38:41 PM »
Here's a new one. I'm reading a bedtime story to my kids, from a series they love. (I can't stand it anyway, but that's a different issue...) The book is all about fairies. And a significant portion takes place on a ferry.

They kept stopping me, and I had to explain that they didn't board the fairy, the fairy wasn't tossing up and down in the rough water, and the ferry was not sending out glittery beams of magic. Grr.

Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1939 on: April 11, 2014, 09:50:15 PM »
Here's a new one. I'm reading a bedtime story to my kids, from a series they love. (I can't stand it anyway, but that's a different issue...) The book is all about fairies. And a significant portion takes place on a ferry.

They kept stopping me, and I had to explain that they didn't board the fairy, the fairy wasn't tossing up and down in the rough water, and the ferry was not sending out glittery beams of magic. Grr.
Every time the story says "ferry" lengthen it to "ferryboat".
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EllenS

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1940 on: April 12, 2014, 01:05:33 AM »
Here's a new one. I'm reading a bedtime story to my kids, from a series they love. (I can't stand it anyway, but that's a different issue...) The book is all about fairies. And a significant portion takes place on a ferry.

They kept stopping me, and I had to explain that they didn't board the fairy, the fairy wasn't tossing up and down in the rough water, and the ferry was not sending out glittery beams of magic. Grr.
Every time the story says "ferry" lengthen it to "ferryboat".

Yes, we do but that's what the editor should have done. Or maybe just set it on a boat

starry diadem

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1941 on: April 12, 2014, 01:45:49 AM »
Here's a new one. I'm reading a bedtime story to my kids, from a series they love. (I can't stand it anyway, but that's a different issue...) The book is all about fairies. And a significant portion takes place on a ferry.

They kept stopping me, and I had to explain that they didn't board the fairy, the fairy wasn't tossing up and down in the rough water, and the ferry was not sending out glittery beams of magic. Grr.
Every time the story says "ferry" lengthen it to "ferryboat".

Yes, we do but that's what the editor should have done. Or maybe just set it on a boat

Grins. The two words don't sound exactly alike to me - UK here, where there's a subtle, but distinct difference in the vowel sounds  - but are close enough that I can see the author milking 'fairy ferry' to amuse  his/her young readers, since kids tend find assonance funny.
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shadowfox79

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1942 on: April 12, 2014, 04:39:42 AM »

I wonder if the continuity errors were a factor of an editor's demands.   Sometimes an editor will want changes made, and the author may or may not be careful to make those chages match the rest of the story.  "OK, so Sue wants to see more character development in Sgt. Friday.  Now what did I name him....I know it began with P.  Was it Peter?  Yeah, I think it was."  So she writes a scene about Peter Friday, completely forgetting that in the rest of the manuscript she called him Philip.  She doesn't go back and check to see what she named him because she's in the middle of the next book already, and she doesn't want to give it that much time.

In one of mine, my editor made me change a character's name from Will to Liam, as I had already had another Will in an earlier book. I did a universal search and replace, but as "will" is also a word, I had a few moments with sentences such as "Liam you be coming out?" Luckily my editor was paying attention and caught them.  ;)

Tea Drinker

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1943 on: April 12, 2014, 12:38:37 PM »
Not sure if I've mentioned it or not, but one thing that annoys me is characters with names that are too similar.  Eileen, Ellen, and Elena do not belong in the same story.  Yes, even if they're triplets!  :P

Especially if they're triplets, because that leads not only to confusion but to a "what were the parents thinking?" reaction. In the real world, three unrelated women named Ellen, Eileen, and Elena might wind up working at the same company, or be in the same class at school. (I once worked in a seven-person department that had two Carols and a Carolyn.) We hope writers will spare us that confusion unless it's going to be part of the plot, at least in a minor way: a scene where someone says "be sure to invite Ellen to the party" and is surprised when Elena turns up instead, or Eileen is told something that she shouldn't have been, because someone heard "Ellen knows about that."
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Corvid

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1944 on: April 12, 2014, 01:21:44 PM »
The written word is different than the moving picture.  Yes, I know that's obvious, but apparently some authors need to be reminded.  No matter how funny a slapstick scene seems in the author's imagination, it doesn't usually translate well to the written word.  "Then Moe tripped over the rake and fell into Larry.  Larry landed on his rump and the lemon meringue pie he was holding flew into the air and hit Curly in the face.  Curly gasped, wiped the meringue, out of his eyes and picked up a blueberry pie to throw at Larry, but Larry ducked and the pie hit Shemp instead."  That's not a real paragraph but it isn't far off.  I read a few books of one cozy mystery series that I finally had to drop because the good things were outweighed by frequent tedious scenes like this one among the protagonist and her sisters and I finally couldn't stand it any longer.

Then there are the children and/or animals that an author writes in a way that is obviously supposed to be lovable or endearing but I find off-putting.  I recently read a couple of books in a new light little cozy mystery series that features the protagonist's cats.  (I say mystery but actually the guilty party in both books turns out to be exactly who was suspected from the beginning with no twists or turns, which is a bit of a twist in itself!  But I digress.)  I grew up around cats, dogs, and other animals and have had a few cats of my own in the past.  I know cats, and I like cats.  The cats in these books are utter horrors.  The author obviously thinks she is writing them as adorable, but if someone who never had a cat but was considering getting one read one of these books first, they would back off in terror and never think of it again.


daen

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1945 on: April 12, 2014, 02:13:23 PM »
<snipped>

Then there are the children and/or animals that an author writes in a way that is obviously supposed to be lovable or endearing but I find off-putting.  I recently read a couple of books in a new light little cozy mystery series that features the protagonist's cats.  (I say mystery but actually the guilty party in both books turns out to be exactly who was suspected from the beginning with no twists or turns, which is a bit of a twist in itself!  But I digress.)  I grew up around cats, dogs, and other animals and have had a few cats of my own in the past.  I know cats, and I like cats.  The cats in these books are utter horrors.  The author obviously thinks she is writing them as adorable, but if someone who never had a cat but was considering getting one read one of these books first, they would back off in terror and never think of it again.

Bad: the mystery is written from the cat's point of view.
Worse: the cat solves the mystery.
Worst: the cat gets co-author credit.

I have yet to find a good mystery written in any of these ways.

Library Dragon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1946 on: April 12, 2014, 03:27:22 PM »
I started reading Game of Thrones. It is pretty good but Martin has some writing quirks that are irritating to me. First, armour is "boiled leather". Ok, the first time, it is a throw away fact: not important but it can add a little colour. But it doesn't have to be mentioned every single time after that! It is fine to just say "leather armour", really. We will either remember it is boiled (no danger of forgetting that by now) or not care.

Second, if you say a character is on a specific horse, you don't have to mention that again in the very same paragraph. We really weren't thinking the character had dismounted, got on a different horse and started riding again in those 3 sentences of description. "She wrote her silver horse [blablablabla] She passed through the gate riding her silver horse." Really?

I've whined about this often.  Not Martin specifically, but many writers.  Yes, I remember the hero is an alcoholic. I don't need to be reminded multiple times per chapter if it's not integral to the plot. Yes, I know the heroine is a redhead. I can remember from one paragraph to the next.

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Elisabunny

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1947 on: April 12, 2014, 03:30:30 PM »
<snipped>

Then there are the children and/or animals that an author writes in a way that is obviously supposed to be lovable or endearing but I find off-putting.  I recently read a couple of books in a new light little cozy mystery series that features the protagonist's cats.  (I say mystery but actually the guilty party in both books turns out to be exactly who was suspected from the beginning with no twists or turns, which is a bit of a twist in itself!  But I digress.)  I grew up around cats, dogs, and other animals and have had a few cats of my own in the past.  I know cats, and I like cats.  The cats in these books are utter horrors.  The author obviously thinks she is writing them as adorable, but if someone who never had a cat but was considering getting one read one of these books first, they would back off in terror and never think of it again.

Bad: the mystery is written from the cat's point of view.
Worse: the cat solves the mystery.
Worst: the cat gets co-author credit.

I have yet to find a good mystery written in any of these ways.

I've pretty much given up on cat mysteries.  Every one I've read has been annoying. And I like cats.  Dog mysteries are usually better; it depends on how enamored with dogs the writer (or maybe the character is).
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daen

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1948 on: April 12, 2014, 06:24:38 PM »
<snipped>

Then there are the children and/or animals that an author writes in a way that is obviously supposed to be lovable or endearing but I find off-putting.  I recently read a couple of books in a new light little cozy mystery series that features the protagonist's cats.  (I say mystery but actually the guilty party in both books turns out to be exactly who was suspected from the beginning with no twists or turns, which is a bit of a twist in itself!  But I digress.)  I grew up around cats, dogs, and other animals and have had a few cats of my own in the past.  I know cats, and I like cats.  The cats in these books are utter horrors.  The author obviously thinks she is writing them as adorable, but if someone who never had a cat but was considering getting one read one of these books first, they would back off in terror and never think of it again.

Bad: the mystery is written from the cat's point of view.
Worse: the cat solves the mystery.
Worst: the cat gets co-author credit.

I have yet to find a good mystery written in any of these ways.

I've pretty much given up on cat mysteries.  Every one I've read has been annoying. And I like cats.  Dog mysteries are usually better; it depends on how enamored with dogs the writer (or maybe the character is).

I think it comes down to the idea of a cat as a crime-solver (or playing that much attention to the humans' antics) stretch my suspension of disbelief to the point where it snaps. Then I put down the book, with varying degrees of force, and find something worthwhile to read.

(Although there is now a tiny part of me that pictures a mystery from a cat POV where the cat gets annoyed with the disruption to her schedule and sets things up so that her life is returned to status quo. She would have complete disregard for proper solution of mystery or justice being served, as long as the humans returned to their proper roles of servitude.)

magicdomino

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1949 on: April 12, 2014, 07:11:32 PM »

(Although there is now a tiny part of me that pictures a mystery from a cat POV where the cat gets annoyed with the disruption to her schedule and sets things up so that her life is returned to status quo. She would have complete disregard for proper solution of mystery or justice being served, as long as the humans returned to their proper roles of servitude.)

I recently read a science fiction short story about a cat who reveals an alien invasion, destroying one of the scouts.  Because she is a Princess, and these things will not take over her people, and invade her territory, and might even take over her!