Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 221007 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #510 on: March 13, 2013, 04:16:17 PM »
The stupid questions thread reminded me of this one:

Amish romances that insist on throwing Amish words into conversations.  Keep in mind, the people involved are not speaking English to outsiders, in which case it does make sense that they might interject Amish words.  No, they are Amish speaking their own language to each other!  There is no good reason to translate part of the conversation but not all of it.  And no, I don't think the author showing off that she (usually a she) knows some of the dialect is a good reason.

If I think too much about almost any "translation" convention in fiction, I start to get a headache.  :P Like, why do Russian characters in a movie, who are speaking Russian to each other, but actually English for the audience, speak with a Russian accent? They wouldn't hear each other as having an accent (unless they were from different parts of Russia, I guess).
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lilfox

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #511 on: March 13, 2013, 05:26:34 PM »
I've come across several books lately guilty of inserting foreign words into dialogue that you assume is taking place in the foreign language anyway.   My guess is that the author thinks the foreign word/phrase is more precise or means something a little different than the English translation but it's still annoying to constantly have to figure it out from context.  Particularly if the meaning being conveyed IS different than the English translation.

But then this happens: The current book takes place in Thailand (of the future, no less) and the author sticks in Thai phrases every other spoken sentence.  And I'm left thinking, okay that character is feeling "joy" or maybe "happiness" or "contentment" since I have no idea what the Thai phrase really means.  So how is that more precise to the non-Thai-speaking reader??

mandycorn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #512 on: March 13, 2013, 06:35:25 PM »
Oh, I have one. When authors write long strings of dialog without indicating who is speaking. I sometimes have to go back and count to figure out who's saying what, but then they'll throw in a second line by the same character, which messes up the count but couldn't possibly come from the other character!

Grr. I don't need "Tom said" and "Mary replied" on every line, but toss them in occasionally!
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Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #513 on: March 13, 2013, 06:42:48 PM »
The stupid questions thread reminded me of this one:

Amish romances that insist on throwing Amish words into conversations.  Keep in mind, the people involved are not speaking English to outsiders, in which case it does make sense that they might interject Amish words.  No, they are Amish speaking their own language to each other!  There is no good reason to translate part of the conversation but not all of it.  And no, I don't think the author showing off that she (usually a she) knows some of the dialect is a good reason.
I always thought, in those dialogues, that the characters were speaking in English, but including the occasional Pennsylvania Dutch word. I always thought that sort of dialogue was hokey enough, until I met a Hispanic woman who really DID include the occasional Spanish word as she was speaking English. 

rose red

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #514 on: March 13, 2013, 07:15:29 PM »
I don't like it when an author spell out a foreign word, say a Chinese or Japanese character, phonically.  Spelling in English doesn't get the pronouncation across and I have no idea what word they are trying to say. 

dawnfire

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #515 on: March 13, 2013, 07:53:34 PM »
The stupid questions thread reminded me of this one:

Amish romances that insist on throwing Amish words into conversations.  Keep in mind, the people involved are not speaking English to outsiders, in which case it does make sense that they might interject Amish words.  No, they are Amish speaking their own language to each other!  There is no good reason to translate part of the conversation but not all of it.  And no, I don't think the author showing off that she (usually a she) knows some of the dialect is a good reason.
I always thought, in those dialogues, that the characters were speaking in English, but including the occasional Pennsylvania Dutch word. I always thought that sort of dialogue was hokey enough, until I met a Hispanic woman who really DID include the occasional Spanish word as she was speaking English.

My mum used to do that when talking with her sisters. They all spoke 4 languages (2 central pacific languages, English and Cantonese) fluently and had developed a pidgin language of their own.

PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #516 on: March 14, 2013, 03:19:35 AM »
Oh, I have one. When authors write long strings of dialog without indicating who is speaking. I sometimes have to go back and count to figure out who's saying what, but then they'll throw in a second line by the same character, which messes up the count but couldn't possibly come from the other character!

Grr. I don't need "Tom said" and "Mary replied" on every line, but toss them in occasionally!

I did that once in awhile back when I was a fanfic-writin' man, but it was never anything important to the plot. Just having fun with characters shooting the breeze and busting each other's... butts. I get a kick out of that sort of writing when it's done well, but I'll surely admit it's annoying when it's not.

MariaE

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #517 on: March 14, 2013, 03:57:44 AM »
The stupid questions thread reminded me of this one:

Amish romances that insist on throwing Amish words into conversations.  Keep in mind, the people involved are not speaking English to outsiders, in which case it does make sense that they might interject Amish words.  No, they are Amish speaking their own language to each other!  There is no good reason to translate part of the conversation but not all of it.  And no, I don't think the author showing off that she (usually a she) knows some of the dialect is a good reason.
I always thought, in those dialogues, that the characters were speaking in English, but including the occasional Pennsylvania Dutch word. I always thought that sort of dialogue was hokey enough, until I met a Hispanic woman who really DID include the occasional Spanish word as she was speaking English.

My sisters and I are fluent in English and Danish, but Danish is our native language. We may speak either English or Danish when together, but almost always add the occasional word in the other language. It's just second nature to us now :)
 
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Queen of Clubs

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #518 on: March 14, 2013, 07:01:35 AM »
If I think too much about almost any "translation" convention in fiction, I start to get a headache.  :P Like, why do Russian characters in a movie, who are speaking Russian to each other, but actually English for the audience, speak with a Russian accent? They wouldn't hear each other as having an accent (unless they were from different parts of Russia, I guess).

There was a British comedy series called "'Allo, 'Allo" that played with this.  It was set during WW2, mainly in a French cafe, and featured French, German and English characters who all spoke English but with the appropriate accent.  The English characters (two airmen) couldn't understand French or German, so would profess complete ignorance of what other characters were saying.  The French Resistance leader would translate for them - using a French accent when she was talking to the other French characters, but adopting a cut glass English accent when speaking to the airmen.

Redsoil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #519 on: March 14, 2013, 07:09:33 AM »
I do like "'Allo, 'Allo" - it's a typically British spoof, and just nicely ridiculous!
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jmarvellous

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #520 on: March 14, 2013, 09:11:07 AM »
When a male author tries to write a female main character but gets bogged down with male stereotypes of women. A book I read a long time ago (another one of those amateur sleuth ones) did this. I could not work out why the main female character would suddenly start screaming at the men in her life when nothing had happened. She always apologised later and took the blame for being 'unreasonable' or something similar. The second time it happened I thought "What the heck is going on?" and that was when I noticed it was a male author. I did not try another of his books.

This is high on my list, too.

I may have mentioned it here before, but I read a book like this once, where I said to myself, "This writer is such a MAN! Can't write reasonable female characters to save his life! Why write a book with 90% women from a first-person perspective??"

The author, named Michael, was a woman. Sometimes people just can't write good characters.

Lysistrata

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #521 on: March 14, 2013, 11:20:42 AM »
When a male author tries to write a female main character but gets bogged down with male stereotypes of women. A book I read a long time ago (another one of those amateur sleuth ones) did this. I could not work out why the main female character would suddenly start screaming at the men in her life when nothing had happened. She always apologised later and took the blame for being 'unreasonable' or something similar. The second time it happened I thought "What the heck is going on?" and that was when I noticed it was a male author. I did not try another of his books.

This is high on my list, too.

I may have mentioned it here before, but I read a book like this once, where I said to myself, "This writer is such a MAN! Can't write reasonable female characters to save his life! Why write a book with 90% women from a first-person perspective??"

The author, named Michael, was a woman. Sometimes people just can't write good characters.

Would this by any chance be Mermaids In The Basement by Michael Lee West? I spent the whole time reading that thinking the same thing, only realizing the author was a woman at the end while glancing at the little "about the author" blurb. It was really difficult for me to finish that book because the characters were written so poorly that I just didn't care about any of them.

mbbored

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #522 on: March 14, 2013, 12:00:32 PM »
Along the lines of using foreign languages, I was reading a book set in the current South Carolina low country. One character was an elderly African American woman who supposedly spoke Gullah. Gullah is a real language, with strong influences from a number of African languages as well as English. This character's dialogue, however, was written phonetically in this horribly stereotypical "Mammy" language, which is NOT Gullah.

I stopped reading the book and I never do that.

jmarvellous

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #523 on: March 14, 2013, 12:35:56 PM »
When a male author tries to write a female main character but gets bogged down with male stereotypes of women. A book I read a long time ago (another one of those amateur sleuth ones) did this. I could not work out why the main female character would suddenly start screaming at the men in her life when nothing had happened. She always apologised later and took the blame for being 'unreasonable' or something similar. The second time it happened I thought "What the heck is going on?" and that was when I noticed it was a male author. I did not try another of his books.

This is high on my list, too.

I may have mentioned it here before, but I read a book like this once, where I said to myself, "This writer is such a MAN! Can't write reasonable female characters to save his life! Why write a book with 90% women from a first-person perspective??"

The author, named Michael, was a woman. Sometimes people just can't write good characters.

Would this by any chance be Mermaids In The Basement by Michael Lee West? I spent the whole time reading that thinking the same thing, only realizing the author was a woman at the end while glancing at the little "about the author" blurb. It was really difficult for me to finish that book because the characters were written so poorly that I just didn't care about any of them.

Oh my gosh! Yes!

I read a publisher's advance and spent years hoping that it never made it to the public market.
It was atrocious, but I guess now I know someone thought it was good enough to sell. Sorry!

Winterlight

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #524 on: March 14, 2013, 12:54:45 PM »
When a male author tries to write a female main character but gets bogged down with male stereotypes of women. A book I read a long time ago (another one of those amateur sleuth ones) did this. I could not work out why the main female character would suddenly start screaming at the men in her life when nothing had happened. She always apologised later and took the blame for being 'unreasonable' or something similar. The second time it happened I thought "What the heck is going on?" and that was when I noticed it was a male author. I did not try another of his books.

This is high on my list, too.

I may have mentioned it here before, but I read a book like this once, where I said to myself, "This writer is such a MAN! Can't write reasonable female characters to save his life! Why write a book with 90% women from a first-person perspective??"

The author, named Michael, was a woman. Sometimes people just can't write good characters.

Anne Bishop is the same way. Her female characters are always irrational and PMSy in the cliche way.

Another pet peeve- overuse of words. Bishop is a serial offender- her characters always speak "too softly" or "croon" as a sign of anger. Croon is especially egregious here because I end up with a Frank Sinatra earworm and a flashback to a Miss Silver mystery in which one character says, "It is nice to reflect that whatever else he has done, he has never crooned."
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls