Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 178288 times)

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Reika

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #420 on: February 17, 2013, 10:13:54 PM »
I may have missed this, and it often occurs in books that are in the first person POV, but the heavy handedness with foreshadowing drives me insane. Or even worse, "If only I'd realized what" x thing meant, killing a future plot point.

Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #421 on: February 17, 2013, 11:37:12 PM »
Thoughtlessly changing the names of minor characters makes me gnash, grind, and grimace.  I remember that the side-kick's wife's name is Heloise, why can't the author?  When J.T. Ellison visited our library after her first book was published I begged her not to do this.  She shared that she had binders for major and minor characters, recurring or not, so she won't make that mistake.  More authors should follow her lead.

I can remember that the protagonist is an alcoholic and don't need to be reminded in every chapter (The Strain). 
I can't help with the first (I keep the same kind of notebook, and don't like to have names too similar, to the point of not repeating the same initial letter*), but writers are advised to remind readers of key plot points like alcoholism from time to time.  "You have to remember that many readers read for only 10 minutes a day or so, and might forget from week to week." 

*Mercedes Lackey's Jouster dragon books were a particular annoyance that way.  She had 3 names that were much too similar for my taste: Kalen and Kaleth (humans) and Khaleph (dragon). She also changed the name of Kiron's brain-damaged sister twice: two different spellings only two pages apart, and a different name altogether in a subsequent book.   
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Library Dragon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #422 on: February 17, 2013, 11:56:45 PM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development. 

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Slartibartfast

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #423 on: February 18, 2013, 01:12:43 AM »
I read quite a bit and I tend to like to re-read series all back-to-back, so up until recently I thought it was silly to have the first ten pages always end up being a recap of the last book(s).  Then I started on Anne McCaffrey's "Acorna" series - which I have read before, although it's been a while - and good grief!  Every single book, I have to go back and check the order the series is in because wait, did I miss a book somewhere?  They all start quite a while out from were the previous book finished, with no acknowledgement whatsoever of what happened during that time.  Then once you get twenty pages in the narration casually mentions something like "[the main character] had really been enjoying her last few months doing whatsit in the suchandsuch place, after having done [plot of the previous book]."  It's never something trivial, either - one book ends with her gradually getting interested in a particular guy, then the next book starts out with them in a committed relationship.  One book is entirely about her search for a particular hidden planet and ends with her finally finding it, then the next book starts with her having lived there for months already.  It would have been nice to have a chapter in between as denouement, like "Yay I finally made it here; I wonder how I'll fit in?"

MariaE

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #424 on: February 18, 2013, 02:11:27 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.
 
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nuit93

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #425 on: February 18, 2013, 02:18:04 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.

Did that series *ever* end?  I remember reading them in the late 1980's-early 90's.

MariaE

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #426 on: February 18, 2013, 02:34:40 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.

Did that series *ever* end?  I remember reading them in the late 1980's-early 90's.

Yes and no. It ended with book 130 (I think), but then a spin-off series was created. I think it's called "Friends Forever"? Never read any of those though, but I think it involves many of the same characters.
 
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #427 on: February 18, 2013, 02:51:52 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.

Did that series *ever* end?  I remember reading them in the late 1980's-early 90's.

Yes and no. It ended with book 130 (I think), but then a spin-off series was created. I think it's called "Friends Forever"? Never read any of those though, but I think it involves many of the same characters.

There were at least four series - the original, the "Little Sisters" series, the "Friends" series, and some super-mystery-themed ones.  I only read a few and that was as an adult (bored at my library  ;)) and found them unimpressive, but I might have liked them better as a kid.

Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #428 on: February 18, 2013, 03:07:14 AM »
I may have missed this, and it often occurs in books that are in the first person POV, but the heavy handedness with foreshadowing drives me insane. Or even worse, "If only I'd realized what" x thing meant, killing a future plot point.

I once read a book that had a lot of foreshadowing and it was always something like "If I had only known how my life would soon shatter" and the big event would end up being on the scale of a broken nail. It was annoying.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #429 on: February 18, 2013, 04:11:48 AM »
Thoughtlessly changing the names of minor characters makes me gnash, grind and grimace.
(snip)
I can remember that the protagonist is an alcoholic and don't need to be reminded in every chapter (The Strain). 
I can't help with the first (snip)... but writers are advised to remind readers of key plot points like alcoholism from time to time.  "You have to remember that many readers read for only 10 minutes a day or so, and might forget from week to week." 
I feel that the just-quoted point does have some validity in general. I have a friend who reads fiction only for a quarter-hour or so last thing each night, just before turning in. He's pretty much exhausted from the day, and admits that his memory for the content of what he's reading, is then not at its most acute. For this reason, he loathes novels with large and complicated casts / different groups of characters and "jumping-and-cutting" between the different groups.

Nora

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #430 on: February 18, 2013, 05:15:45 AM »
I listened to an audiobook recently, (Bury your dead), which I chose because it was set in Quebec City, which I'd visited last year. I had a number peeves with it, such as finding it strange that all the Québécois were unaware that there was a Presbyterian church in the city, when I'd noticed it within half an hour, but what really put me off was that part of the book related to reinvestigating the murder from a previous book and deciding on a different murder. So that made it pointless going back to read the earlier book in the series and, honestly, if the killer was found with the same apparently arbitrary methods as were used in this book I'm not surprised the hero detective got it wrong.

That made me so angry! I loved the last book, and then she went and messed up everything with this vague do-over! I think she regretted writing out such a main character and saw it ruined the whole "three pines clique", so she scrambled for a way to write him back in. Louise Penny can go suck lemons. I'm never buying another one of her books.
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kglory

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #431 on: February 18, 2013, 05:20:11 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.

Haha, yes!  Every book would start with pages and pages describing in depth who each girl is, what she is like, how Claudia wears cool clothes but not quite as trendy as Stacey who is from (hold your breath now!) New York, etc. 

And then as they added on more of the....what do you call them, temporary babysitters?  The one boy who  was MaryAnne's boyfriend, and then a couple of the younger girls, and another wealthy girl, and then we had to learn more about them, too!

Yup, totally showing my age with this post.  I used to read these books in junior high, at the same age that I was babysitting.  I even collected them all, buying each new one as it came out, up until maybe 50 or 60 and I just gave up.

nuit93

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #432 on: February 18, 2013, 11:34:39 AM »
I understand reminding, but don't beat us over the head every chapter.   IMHO A good example of HOW to do it is Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder series.  Attending AA meetings and never saying anything was a part of continuing character development.

Exactly. Show, don't tell.

One of the worst "tellers" I've encountered was Ann M. Martin and her host of ghostwriters for the Baby-Sitter's Club Series (outing my age here, but yes, I LOVED them growing up and still reread them occasionally... they were great books to learn English from :) ). Yes, I KNOW it's a long series, but I do not need two full chapters at the start of each book describing who the girls are and how the BSC was created.

Haha, yes!  Every book would start with pages and pages describing in depth who each girl is, what she is like, how Claudia wears cool clothes but not quite as trendy as Stacey who is from (hold your breath now!) New York, etc. 

And then as they added on more of the....what do you call them, temporary babysitters?  The one boy who  was MaryAnne's boyfriend, and then a couple of the younger girls, and another wealthy girl, and then we had to learn more about them, too!

Yup, totally showing my age with this post.  I used to read these books in junior high, at the same age that I was babysitting.  I even collected them all, buying each new one as it came out, up until maybe 50 or 60 and I just gave up.

Yep, I was a big collector too.  But I *always* skipped the second chapter.  I know who these people are!

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #433 on: February 18, 2013, 11:52:09 AM »
Reading A Dance With Dragons, and this is getting to me. I understand wanting to inject realism by having your characters actually have calls of nature, but the reason that most authors ignore it is that is slows down the action. And when you only focus on one character's bathroom habits, it gets weird. 200 pages in, and I've already read about Tyrion urinating five times.

Also, to the person who complained about George R.R. discovering words and beating them to death, he's discovered "cheeks". I've read about the conditions of everyone's buttocks in detail.

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #434 on: February 18, 2013, 01:35:48 PM »
This is kind of odd, maybe... But sometimes, I guess in an attempt to be careful and inject realism, the author will over-describe what's happening. Like, a character is making themselves a snack, and another character walks in and starts a conversation. And interspersed with the conversation is the one character getting out a knife, getting down the jar of peanut butter, opening the bread bag, etc.. Okay, fine, there's a word for that in TV at least, so your characters aren't just standing there static, talking at each other.

But then before the action can move to the next room, the one character has to wrap the bread back up, put the peanut butter away, wipe the crumbs off the counter, put the dirty knife in the sink, etc.. To the point where it gets in the way of the action and doesn't flow well. I get it, the author is picturing the scene in their heads, and there's the jar of peanut butter, sitting there open on the counter. But as a reader, I don't care about the peanut butter! I am willing to suspend disbelief and take it on faith that the peanut butter will come out okay. Unless this is some kind of plot point--the character is OCD about cleaning up, for example--I think it can be glossed over for the sake of moving things along. I have noticed recently that this bothers me, and I've tried to avoid it in my own writing now.
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