Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 224550 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1965 on: April 13, 2014, 06:44:33 PM »
Foreshadowing! I absolutely hate it, and it is enough to make me put aside a book in disgust if done often enough.

Authors, it is not clever, it is not a brilliant way of "breaking the fourth wall", it is bleeping annoying!!! It will always automatically make me subtract at least one star on Goodreads - more if you don't redeem yourself in other ways.

Some authors are capable of doing foreshadowing well, but with most authors they may as well write "REMEMBER THIS, IT'LL BE IMPORTANT LATER".

At least Dan Brown stopped writing "little did he know, this would save his life later" after Angels and Demons. I wonder if his editor stepped in and had a word...

That kind of foreshadowing I don't mind so much. It's more the "something awful is going to happen" kind. Like...
"If only I had acted differently, maybe things would have turned out better."
"Little did she know tragedy was about to occur."
Etc...

It's one of the main reasons I never read "Wise Man's Fear". Patrick Ruthfuss went totally overboard with it in "The Name of the Wind". Francine Rivers made me give up on "Redeeming Love" by using it, and I almost put aside "Laced with Magic" by Barbara Bretton because of her extreme use of it.
With Rothfyss I didn't mind, Kvothe was telling the story to an audience years after it had happened. He could afford to foreshadow.

twiggy

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1966 on: April 13, 2014, 11:49:54 PM »
Foreshadowing! I absolutely hate it, and it is enough to make me put aside a book in disgust if done often enough.

Authors, it is not clever, it is not a brilliant way of "breaking the fourth wall", it is bleeping annoying!!! It will always automatically make me subtract at least one star on Goodreads - more if you don't redeem yourself in other ways.

Some authors are capable of doing foreshadowing well, but with most authors they may as well write "REMEMBER THIS, IT'LL BE IMPORTANT LATER".

At least Dan Brown stopped writing "little did he know, this would save his life later" after Angels and Demons. I wonder if his editor stepped in and had a word...

That kind of foreshadowing I don't mind so much. It's more the "something awful is going to happen" kind. Like...
"If only I had acted differently, maybe things would have turned out better."
"Little did she know tragedy was about to occur."
Etc...

It's one of the main reasons I never read "Wise Man's Fear". Patrick Ruthfuss went totally overboard with it in "The Name of the Wind". Francine Rivers made me give up on "Redeeming Love" by using it, and I almost put aside "Laced with Magic" by Barbara Bretton because of her extreme use of it.
With Rothfyss I didn't mind, Kvothe was telling the story to an audience years after it had happened. He could afford to foreshadow.

I didn't mind it with Rothfuss either. We know that Kvothe faked his own death and is living in anonymity after killing a king and starting a war he blames himself for...it's pretty believable that in retelling the story of his life, he would point out where things started going downhill. I especially like the part in the second book where he argues with another character and says that if he had only found the right thing to say, everything would have turned out better. But years later, he still can't figure out what the "right thing" to say would have been.
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starry diadem

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1967 on: April 14, 2014, 01:41:10 AM »

An over use of "said", however, can be very grating if the book is recorded as an audiobook as well. This, of course, is not a problem for 95% of books.

I've put books down before for an overuse of the word "said." I think there are different, neutral words that can be included so that you don't see "said" quite so often.

"Where are we going to eat lunch?" asked William.
"I was thinking McDonalds," said Jenny.
"That's a good idea," nodded Mary.
"I'm game," agreed William.
"Me too," said Joy.

By all means, use said. But I don't want to read the above with said at the front of every name:

"Where are we going to eat lunch?" asked William.
"I was thinking McDonalds," said Jenny.
"That's a good idea," said Mary.
"I'm game," said William.
"Me too," said Joy.

It just seems to be a bit too repetitive to me. That's just my personal preference, though.

](On another note, I can't imagine I would spend much time reading a story where the characters spent very long agreeing on where to have lunch.  ;) )


But, unless the characters are just standing there like two monolithic blocks of stone, they are doing things - they move, they scratch their noses, they pick things up and put them down again, they change body posture and facial expression.  All of these things can be used as dialogue tags instead of 'said' or any of its synonyms. The reader not only understands which speech belongs to which character, they're reading a more dynamic dialogue where the character's actions, as well as the words they use, add to the characterisation.


"This science stuff's too hard. How do you manage to keep it all straight in your head?" Jack picked up one of the papers and frowned at  it.

Jill rolled her eyes. She twitched the paper from his grasp and turned it the other way up before showing it to him. "It helps to have it the right way up."


Okay, not a thought-through or polished example, but from it you know who's speaking and you might get the idea that Jack finds (or pretends to find) some things difficult to understand and that Jill doesn't have a lot of patience with him.

'Said' and its synonyms don't have to be used at all. Action dialogue tags do the job just as well, and personally, I use said/synonyms very sparingly.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1968 on: April 14, 2014, 01:44:18 AM »
But the word "said " has you focus on the dialogue, if it's underused the story can seem unnecessarily busy.

One of the criticisms of the Twilight novels is the underuse of said, not sure how true it is.

starry diadem

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1969 on: April 14, 2014, 01:55:51 AM »
But the word "said " has you focus on the dialogue, if it's underused the story can seem unnecessarily busy.

One of the criticisms of the Twilight novels is the underuse of said, not sure how true it is.

No idea, either - not a set of books I'm desperate to read!

As with all things, this is about balance. The writer has a range of tools available; the best writers will make use of all of them. Action tags, said/synonym tags and unattributed dialogue should all work together.
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MariaE

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1970 on: April 14, 2014, 03:30:47 AM »
Foreshadowing! I absolutely hate it, and it is enough to make me put aside a book in disgust if done often enough.

Authors, it is not clever, it is not a brilliant way of "breaking the fourth wall", it is bleeping annoying!!! It will always automatically make me subtract at least one star on Goodreads - more if you don't redeem yourself in other ways.

Some authors are capable of doing foreshadowing well, but with most authors they may as well write "REMEMBER THIS, IT'LL BE IMPORTANT LATER".

At least Dan Brown stopped writing "little did he know, this would save his life later" after Angels and Demons. I wonder if his editor stepped in and had a word...

That kind of foreshadowing I don't mind so much. It's more the "something awful is going to happen" kind. Like...
"If only I had acted differently, maybe things would have turned out better."
"Little did she know tragedy was about to occur."
Etc...

It's one of the main reasons I never read "Wise Man's Fear". Patrick Ruthfuss went totally overboard with it in "The Name of the Wind". Francine Rivers made me give up on "Redeeming Love" by using it, and I almost put aside "Laced with Magic" by Barbara Bretton because of her extreme use of it.
With Rothfyss I didn't mind, Kvothe was telling the story to an audience years after it had happened. He could afford to foreshadow.

Afford or not, it is still a writing fashion I despise. It bugged me enough that it's the main reason I never read the second book. Once or twice I could accept, but he went totally overboard with it.
 
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MommyPenguin

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1971 on: April 14, 2014, 09:12:02 AM »
Long sequences of dialogue with no identification of the speaker, so that I have to backtrack and count off to remember who is saying what to whom. Admittedly the author doesn't need to say, "Alice said" and "Bob said" with every line--just a reminder now and then.

How do you feel about using substitutes for "said"--"declared," "snapped," "laughed," and the like? In school I was taught to avoid "said", but I have seen exactly the opposite advice in many places.

One pet peeve particular to one author--Steven Saylor's constant "He cleared his throat" used continually before someone starts speaking.

A bit of "'Mike did that?' Mary laughed." is fine, but I don't like the ones that are just "hi, I want a synonym," and  something like "he snapped" or "she hissed"  isn't going to work with every sentence. You don't "snap" a long, complicated sentence (like the one right before this), and if someone "hissed" there need to be some sibilants there, not "'Don't move,' he hissed."

I thought it was fascinating when I was reading a C.S. Lewis book and two characters were whispering.  One of the characters lisped in the conversation (she didn't normally), and the narration said that she did so because she knew from Girl Guides, or something like that, that the "s" sound carries.  So she deliberately talked like, "Thee that tree over there?  We'll thircle around it and head to the house."

wolfie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1972 on: April 14, 2014, 09:20:49 AM »
<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.

Here is a mystery where the detectives are sheep.  Yep.  It was actually pretty good.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Bags-Full-Sheep-Detective/dp/0767927052

A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd.
Ok, I'll have to try that one!
I mean, how baaaad could it be?  ;D

I read it! It is really good! I would recommend it to anyone who likes cozy type mysteries. For people who like hard-boiled it might be a little silly.

Black Delphinium

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1973 on: April 14, 2014, 06:19:52 PM »
As a reader, I prefer the prologue, because usually I've just finished the first book(s) or I go back and read the previous book(s) again.  As a writer, I still prefer the prologue, if only to escape the dreaded "As You Know, Bob" exposition, where the characters tell each other things they already know.  "As you know, Bob, this wizard appeared on the doorstep and told me that the ring my grandfather gave me is a Magical MacGuffin."  "Yes, I remember, Jim, and then the unicorns showed up and..."

Eddings has the best prologues, IMHO, especially the ones from The Belgariad. They give you the world history/prophecy/when last we left our heroes stuff in a way I quite enjoy.
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Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1974 on: April 15, 2014, 02:41:10 PM »
Weird end-of-line hyphenation, especially on ebooks.  "Sellsword" should be hyphenated "sell-sword", not "sells-word."  "Freehold" should be "free-hold" not "fre-ehold."

A long time ago I was skim-reading a novel - not bad enough to stop but not good enough to spend a lot of time on - and got caught up in a weird end-of-line hyphenation, the word broke at the-rapist.  I stopped rather stunned and wondered how I had missed such a important event in the plot and who did it involve and why was it in a murder mystery...then my brain caught up and I realized it was therapist.  The up side is that I never misspell the word.
Although I must admit that I'm getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of 'pre-gnant.'  What horrible fate is 'gnant', and what are the ominous symptoms that tell you that you are in the pre-gnant state?   Is it like a migraine aura?  Morning sickness?  Purple spots and a mad desire to become a hermit?
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Sedorna

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1975 on: April 15, 2014, 05:34:09 PM »
Although I must admit that I'm getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of 'pre-gnant.'  What horrible fate is 'gnant', and what are the ominous symptoms that tell you that you are in the pre-gnant state?   Is it like a migraine aura?  Morning sickness?  Purple spots and a mad desire to become a hermit?

Clearly, it's a misspelling, and it's supposed to be pre-gnat. This probably refers to the pre-adult stage, so eggs, pupae, and larvae could all be described as pre-gnat. Of course, some might consider all forms of gnat to be gnat. Perhaps it could be used in a fantasy story where somebody gets transformed into a gnat. Before he becomes a gnat, he could be known as pre-gnat.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1976 on: April 15, 2014, 07:29:14 PM »
Foreshadowing! I absolutely hate it, and it is enough to make me put aside a book in disgust if done often enough.

Authors, it is not clever, it is not a brilliant way of "breaking the fourth wall", it is bleeping annoying!!! It will always automatically make me subtract at least one star on Goodreads - more if you don't redeem yourself in other ways.

One reason I really don't care for the second POTC movie. Way too much foreshadowing. Jack in a coffin, with a skeleton, then him having to escape death several times in the movie.
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Luci

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1977 on: April 15, 2014, 07:50:53 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.

Here is a mystery where the detectives are sheep.  Yep.  It was actually pretty good.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Bags-Full-Sheep-Detective/dp/0767927052

A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd.
Ok, I'll have to try that one!
I mean, how baaaad could it be?  ;D

I read it! It is really good! I would recommend it to anyone who likes cozy type mysteries. For people who like hard-boiled it might be a little silly.

Silly is good. Just bought it!

Dawse

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1978 on: April 16, 2014, 06:42:36 AM »
Although I must admit that I'm getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of 'pre-gnant.'  What horrible fate is 'gnant', and what are the ominous symptoms that tell you that you are in the pre-gnant state?   Is it like a migraine aura?  Morning sickness?  Purple spots and a mad desire to become a hermit?

Clearly, it's a misspelling, and it's supposed to be pre-gnat. This probably refers to the pre-adult stage, so eggs, pupae, and larvae could all be described as pre-gnat. Of course, some might consider all forms of gnat to be gnat. Perhaps it could be used in a fantasy story where somebody gets transformed into a gnat. Before he becomes a gnat, he could be known as pre-gnat.

 ;D ;D ;D Now I have coffee on my keyboard.
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rose red

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1979 on: April 23, 2014, 01:40:24 PM »
Foreshadowing! I absolutely hate it, and it is enough to make me put aside a book in disgust if done often enough.

Authors, it is not clever, it is not a brilliant way of "breaking the fourth wall", it is bleeping annoying!!! It will always automatically make me subtract at least one star on Goodreads - more if you don't redeem yourself in other ways.

Some authors are capable of doing foreshadowing well, but with most authors they may as well write "REMEMBER THIS, IT'LL BE IMPORTANT LATER".

At least Dan Brown stopped writing "little did he know, this would save his life later" after Angels and Demons. I wonder if his editor stepped in and had a word...

That kind of foreshadowing I don't mind so much. It's more the "something awful is going to happen" kind. Like...
"If only I had acted differently, maybe things would have turned out better."
"Little did she know tragedy was about to occur."
Etc...

It's one of the main reasons I never read "Wise Man's Fear". Patrick Ruthfuss went totally overboard with it in "The Name of the Wind". Francine Rivers made me give up on "Redeeming Love" by using it, and I almost put aside "Laced with Magic" by Barbara Bretton because of her extreme use of it.
With Rothfyss I didn't mind, Kvothe was telling the story to an audience years after it had happened. He could afford to foreshadow.

Afford or not, it is still a writing fashion I despise. It bugged me enough that it's the main reason I never read the second book. Once or twice I could accept, but he went totally overboard with it.

I just started a book that made me think of this thread. It's really good, but oy, all the foreshadowing of this type really jolted me out of the flow of the story. The book starts off with an old woman telling her story to her great granddaughter, but there's no need to hit us over the head with all the "if only I knew..." or "would she have done it differently..." etc, etc.

The book is called While Beauty Slept and I actually do recommend it so far. It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty through the eyes of a servant. I just wish the author trusts the reader more. We already know something bad is coming and who the bad guys are; no need to remind us at the end of every chapter.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 01:42:13 PM by rose red »