A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Time For a Coffee Break!

Reading/Book Pet Peeves

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mmswm:

--- Quote from: faithlessone on January 27, 2013, 09:43:45 AM ---I think my biggest pet peeve (of fiction in general, tbh) is "Didn't Do The Research". Books that have Ancient Romans eating potatoes, or a person driving from Sydney to Perth in a matter of hours.

For books in particular, it has to be inconsistency in their writing style. I've read too many books that veered from "formal" style to a more colloquial feel and back again. A subset of that is books clearly written in a posh/formal/literary style, but including lots of slang that isn't appropriate to that style.

Ooh, and while I'm on the subject, character dialogue written with the phonetic accent. It can work, but often it's just bad.

--- End quote ---

I think the bolded part is directly linked to the first part.  If you aren't actually part of the group you're writing about, then an extraordinary amount of research is required to pull off the dialect.

BabylonSister:
And it's also very hard to read.  I once mistakenly bought a copy of a Barbara Delinsky book, not realizing it was a romance novel (I hate romance novels with everything that lives in me.)  She had some background characters speak entire sentences in a Maine accent.  It was terribly frustrating to try to decipher what they meant.


I don't like it when an author tries to create suspense with a lot of teasing.  I'm looking at you, Harlan Coben.  Segments like this (I made this one up, but it could be in any of his books):


"I couldn't tell him because..."
Her voice trailed off.
"What?" I asked, "because what?"
She stood up and walked away.
"Where are you going?"
"Follow me."

"What's going on?"
She kept walking in silence.


And the chapter ends there.  And he does a lot of that.  And yet when I have one of his books, I can't put it down. ::)


I dislike the Mary Sue/Larry Stu too. I much prefer flawed characters with realistic looks.

Thipu1:
1) There's what I call the 'potato trap' that shows up in Medieval fantasies.  Characters are always eating things like corn and potatoes that didn't exist in Europe at that time.  I lost all interest in one author when he had a market in the tenth century selling chili peppers.

2) Failure to do basic research.  Wilbour Smith lost my respect when he trotted out an ancient Egyptian obelisk with four inscribed sides, 'One for each season of the year'.  About five minutes of research would have shown that the Pharaonic Egyptians had three seasons, not four.

3) Writers who use unnecessarily elaborate language. I recall one author who never said anything was 'dark'.  It was always 'negrescent'.  Also, things were never pale.  They were always 'etiolated'.  The same author also had a character hitting a wolf on the 'nozzle' instead of the muzzle.  I thought it was a typo until it happened again and again.

Venus193:

--- Quote from: Thipu1 on January 27, 2013, 10:14:26 AM ---1) There's what I call the 'potato trap' that shows up in Medieval fantasies.  Characters are always eating things like corn and potatoes that didn't exist in Europe at that time.  I lost all interest in one author when he had a market in the tenth century selling chili peppers.

2) Failure to do basic research.  Wilbour Smith lost my respect when he trotted out an ancient Egyptian obelisk with four inscribed sides, 'One for each season of the year'.  About five minutes of research would have shown that the Pharaonic Egyptians had three seasons, not four.

3) Writers who use unnecessarily elaborate language. I recall one author who never said anything was 'dark'.  It was always 'negrescent'.  Also, things were never pale.  They were always 'etiolated'.  The same author also had a character hitting a wolf on the 'nozzle' instead of the muzzle.  I thought it was a typo until it happened again and again.

--- End quote ---

I totally gave up on an author after reading one book in which she describes the hero's clothing as "trunk hose" when the story took place 500 years before that garment existed.  That's a slap at all the authors of historical romance who do their homework because it allows people who disparage the genre to rant about how stupid they know think it is.

rose red:
When a series change midway.  For example, romance with a bit of fantasy turn into pure urban fantasy 8 books in.

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