Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 256730 times)

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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2013, 11:19:09 AM »
I have a pet peeve about people trying to write Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  There are a few authors who can manage it - Laurie King, for example - but most of the time it just doesn't work.  I picked up one such book, and got rid of it after five pages because I'd started cataloging all the ways that Holmes and Watson were misrepresented. 

I agree with the PP who said dialectical spelling.  If I have to spend half an hour reading a single page because I can't figure out what's being said, then it's too hard.  It may be authentic and genuine, but I don't think it makes for a better book. 

I hate when an author suddenly starts to include fantasy or gothic romance in the book.  I'm good at suspending my disbelief, but if the first half of the book is a "normal" mystery, romance, whatever, and suddenly the main character hits their head, wakes up and is seeing purple unicorns or sexy fairies, it's very jarring and hard to work with. 

lady_disdain

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2013, 11:31:55 AM »
Worse - made up dialetic writing. Yes, Cloud Atlas and Phillip Roth novel whose title I have forgotten - I am looking straight at you. If I have to read the dialog out loud to be able to make some sense of it, I am not reading it.

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2013, 11:42:22 AM »
I have a pet peeve about people trying to write Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  There are a few authors who can manage it - Laurie King, for example - but most of the time it just doesn't work.  I picked up one such book, and got rid of it after five pages because I'd started cataloging all the ways that Holmes and Watson were misrepresented. 

You might enjoy Barrie Roberts.

Giggity

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2013, 11:55:47 AM »
There seems to be a new thing with writers, wherein they avoid quotation marks at all. I HATE THAT.
Words mean things.

demarco

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2013, 12:18:26 PM »
I've just about given up reading fiction and here are some of the reasons why:

1. Too much time shifting.  The occasional flashback is fine but if the reader has to write out a chart to figure out what's going on, it's too much.

2. Too much description of things that don't matter. I like to know what the characters are wearing.  I don't need to know the color, size, and state of maturity of every flower growing along the road.

3. Too long. It's a book, not a doorstop. Edit accordingly.

4. Ambiguous endings. If I want to make up my own ending, I'd write my own book. 

I also have a couple of peeves about one of my favorite categories of nonfiction, the memoir.

1. If you want the reader to have a list of every book you ever read in your entire life, put it in an appendix.  Don't make it part of the narrative. It's distracting and pretentious and makes you look a little ... insecure.

2. If your memoir isn't about politics, dwelling on the subject is off putting to the reader, especially if bile drips off the page, and makes the reader feel as if she has been victimized by a bait and switch. 



Tini

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2013, 12:19:24 PM »
I do quite like fantasy novels, but if I read one more where the hero/heroine whines to themselves that having adventures is not like the stories they grew up with (Rain is wet! Snow is cold! Sleeping on the ground is unpleasant! Being chased by people is scary! Who knew?), that book is going to fly out of the window. All it is is the author shouting "Me, me, me, look at me, look how much more realistic than some old saga my writing is! Notice the quality of my story-telling!"
Coy and annoying.

mmswm

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2013, 12:58:11 PM »
This thread has made me go back and re-read my own writing.  I'm fairly decent at writing short stories, but longer works have always given me trouble.  You guys have given me a lot to think about.  Thanks!
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Thipu1

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2013, 01:10:01 PM »
Worse - made up dialetic writing. Yes, Cloud Atlas and Phillip Roth novel whose title I have forgotten - I am looking straight at you. If I have to read the dialog out loud to be able to make some sense of it, I am not reading it.

I had always heard about Artemis Ward.  He was an American humorist of the 19th century who was said to be very funny.

I tracked down a book of his work that was published during his lifetime  and was not impressed.  He wrote in such heavy dialect that I doubt readers of his time could have decoded the stuff.  It must have been horrible to write.  It was certainly a torture to read. 
 

PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2013, 01:23:52 PM »
There's also the 'look how much I know' syndrome.  There was a mystery writer I started reading because he often used our neighborhood.  It was fun to see the actual locations in my mind as I read. 

However, into his second book, it became evident that the descriptions of locations were beginning to overwhelm the story.  It got distracting to the point that I stopped reading his stuff.

A woman on a science fiction forum I used to frequent referred to this sort of thing as "I suffered for my art, now it's your turn!" Some authors don't bother to do any research, as has been mentioned already. Some authors do the necessary research but only write about what's necessary for the story, which is the correct approach. Too many others, unfortunately, do a lot of research and then want to make sure the readers know they did a lot of research, so immense amounts of completely unnecessary detail end up in the story. Bleh.

The same woman coined The Eight Deadly Words, "I don't care what happens to these people," said right before you put the book down and never pick it up again.

One of my own reading pet peeves is a publisher's decision, not a writing sin. I've got a good forty or fifty pages left in a book and I'm looking forward to a nice, drawn out resolution, and then the book ends and it turns out the last thirty or forty pages are a preview of the next book in the series, or even a completely unrelated book. I don't see that as often these days, for which I'm grateful.

Amara

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2013, 01:32:39 PM »
I wish I could remember the specific wording that put me off immediately but then all I could see was that first paragraph where it was.

I had gone to BEA (BookExpo America) in 2004 where among others I picked up a copy of a new book, a historical novel, I believe. When I got home I picked it up to try it. It opened in a late nineteenth-century ballroom where a man was flirting with a woman and she responded with a trendy phrase that didn't exist until about the time of the writing. ::) After my eyes returned to their normal position I tossed the book in the recycle bin.

How did something so wrong so early in the story get published?  >:(

Allyson

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2013, 02:27:55 PM »
Inaccurate naming conventions. If I'm reading a novel set in 1820, I don't want the main character's names to sound like a high school class list today. One unusual-for-the-time name I can buy, but all of them? Distracting.

When we're obviously supposed to think everything the main protagonist does is perfect. I am addicted to JD Robb's In Death series but I am so tired of everyone who disagrees with Eve ending up being wrong, and anyone who dislikes her ending up being evil or obviously meant to be disliked by the reader.

Bijou

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 02:29:22 PM »
What are some things you can't stand about plots, characters, or just the author's writing style?

1. Mary Sue / Larry Stu Characters: These are the "perfect" characters. No physical/character flaws, never have a hair out of place and always right about everything they say. Expect them to look like super models.
2. Too much detail: The "I must write a three page description of a lamp" type.

So what are yours?
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booklover03

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2013, 02:33:01 PM »
When a series change midway.  For example, romance with a bit of fantasy turn into pure urban fantasy 8 books in.

This is a big one for me, too. I had this happen to me in a series of books that I used to love. I even got several of my friends to read them and they loved them, too. They were paranormal romance and about 6-7 books in the author decided to change to urban fantasy. Everything that made me fall in love with the series was changed. A lot of her fans, including me, were very disappointed. I finally had to stop reading the series because rules that the author herself established for the world she created were being broken left and right. There were so many plot holes it was ridiculous. She would also put so many extra plot lines in the book that it was hard to keep everything straight. When a book is advertised to be about 2 certain people, I expect them to be the main focus of the story. Her later books were supposed to be about a certain couple, but they would only have about 1/4 of the book dedicated to them. Everything else was to keep other plot lines going or to introduce new ones. It was hard, but I finally decided not to read anymore of her books.


cicero

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2013, 02:35:01 PM »
another one i thought of:

when the author starts out with a certain pattern (e.g., odd number chapters are current time and even number chapters are flashbacks) and then messes it up halfway through the book so i don't know if this is past or present.

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Snowy Owl

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 02:49:15 PM »
Inaccurate naming conventions. If I'm reading a novel set in 1820, I don't want the main character's names to sound like a high school class list today. One unusual-for-the-time name I can buy, but all of them? Distracting.

When we're obviously supposed to think everything the main protagonist does is perfect. I am addicted to JD Robb's In Death series but I am so tired of everyone who disagrees with Eve ending up being wrong, and anyone who dislikes her ending up being evil or obviously meant to be disliked by the reader.

Can I add to this, historically inaccurate modes of address.  Nothing makes me stop reading a regency romance than having the hero and heroine on first name terms within 5 minutes.  If you're writing something set in a period then check how people in that period interacted based on gender and class.  Also check the order of peerage if you're writing something with titles in. 

I'd definitely add research fail as a major problem.  Reading 50 Shades of Grey the first thing that made me think "this is going to be terrible" was when the 21 year old university graduate in present day Seattle didn't know how to use the internet and didn't have an email address. It took me 5 minutes to google the university and find out that an email account was mandatory to receive course information and students were expected to make full use of the available technology.  If I can do that then so can the author. 
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