Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 256373 times)

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Kariachi

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1020 on: July 10, 2013, 09:41:02 AM »
Okay, here's something that gets me- when a book feels like a cliff notes version of itself.

I was discussing books we haven't finished with my mother, and I brought up one that I had very high hopes for when I bought it but had never picked up again after the first two-thirds.

It was astounding. Very little build-up for any of the plot, showing not telling, all the classics. It honestly felt like it should have been more fleshed out, probably at least three novels on its own. It had interesting ideas, but you don't have the main character go from a child and a nobody to a well held lord in one chapter! Especially if you don't actually show it, you just say "and then he was taken under the wing of so-and-so who raised him and left him everything when he died, we'll be coming back in several years after that".

Sad thing is, I really thought there were some interesting bits, and I'd love to read the rest of the series, but it just worked so poorly...   :'(
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Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1021 on: July 10, 2013, 04:03:37 PM »
Some authors aren't great at writing characters. They tend to be composed of a subset of the author's own attributes. There's nothing wrong in that itself; I generally don't go for character-driven plots or novels and find bildungsromans rather tedious. But I dislike it when an author decides to put in a character who is super smart or creative or whatever, but then the character is basically not super smart because the author themselves isn't. All the other characters might go "ooh" and "aah" at whatever clever thing the character said, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it very often isn't all that brilliant and it makes the reactions rather cheap and unbelievable, detracting from not just the genius-character-who-isn't, but many of the other characters as well.

POD to this! I like to write just for fun; if I have a character who's supposed to be a genius, etc., I have to be careful to show them being smart, even though *I* am not that smart! There are artful ways to do it, and then there are... other ways.  :-\

I really admire people who can come up with clever crime schemes or mystery plots or battle strategies (in fiction!) because I'm completely hopeless at those. I can never even guess who did it in Murder She Wrote or Agatha Christie stuff.  ::)
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Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1022 on: July 10, 2013, 04:12:26 PM »
Some authors aren't great at writing characters. They tend to be composed of a subset of the author's own attributes. There's nothing wrong in that itself; I generally don't go for character-driven plots or novels and find bildungsromans rather tedious. But I dislike it when an author decides to put in a character who is super smart or creative or whatever, but then the character is basically not super smart because the author themselves isn't. All the other characters might go "ooh" and "aah" at whatever clever thing the character said, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it very often isn't all that brilliant and it makes the reactions rather cheap and unbelievable, detracting from not just the genius-character-who-isn't, but many of the other characters as well.

POD to this! I like to write just for fun; if I have a character who's supposed to be a genius, etc., I have to be careful to show them being smart, even though *I* am not that smart! There are artful ways to do it, and then there are... other ways.  :-\

I really admire people who can come up with clever crime schemes or mystery plots or battle strategies (in fiction!) because I'm completely hopeless at those. I can never even guess who did it in Murder She Wrote or Agatha Christie stuff.  ::)

Related to this: I used to freeform RP (basically, text-based diceless roleplaying), and you would not *believe* the number of people who would call me out if I played a character who was, say, fluent in German when I am not.  I wanted to grab them and say "And you're not really an elf!"

So when I played a character who was a bartender, I accidentally went too far the other way.  I had an app that listed all kinds of drinks, so when they ordered them, I wrote out the entire process of making the drink.  ::Facepalm::  I look back at it, and I just want to go back in time and slap my younger self for that.
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cwm

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1023 on: July 10, 2013, 04:15:20 PM »
I suppose this is one reason why I can't read many romances. 

So many of them end without a good reason for falling in love.  Well, besides being horny.  In fact, most of them are, "Well, I really hate you BUT, I want to pork you so I will stay with you anyway."  It always makes me close the book thinking, "Six weeks after her wedding, Ambriella woke up besides Chesty, her husband, and said, "Oh dingdangity.  It's worn off."


I will admit, there's one romance eBook I have on my laptop that I will forever love simply BECAUSE of how bad it is. Our heroine gets taken back in time to the...um...not sure when, which is sad, because I'm great with time periods. The dashing knight (head of the castle, no less) is a time traveler, and he brings back women to keep in his harem. She hates him for imprisoning her, has never done anything outside of boring scrabble, and sets herself up to be the best in, erm, some more graphic pursuits. Including the woodwork to make some of the set pieces herself. Which makes no sense with her character's history, if a person with her background really tried to build things like that, they'd fall apart at best. And don't get me started on how hard it is to saw giant beams of wood to size or secure them together. Not easy.

Oh, man, I think I know which one you're referring to. Knight Moves by Jamaica Layne, yes?

Yes. I can't believe there's someone else out there who's read it.

Actually, yes I can. I subjected ALL of my friends to it so we could laugh our heads off.

EMuir

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1024 on: July 10, 2013, 04:52:59 PM »
I have to add another one here... when finding out something about an attractive man makes the main female character literally run to the bathroom and throw up, and then that man follows her to the bathroom out of concern... and the female character jumps his bones. Really?  You were barfing ONE MINUTE AGO and now are feeling all sexay? In what world does that happen?  Or am I some kind of freak that doesn't find vomit to be a turn on? :P

atirial

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1025 on: July 10, 2013, 04:53:22 PM »
Some authors aren't great at writing characters. They tend to be composed of a subset of the author's own attributes. There's nothing wrong in that itself; I generally don't go for character-driven plots or novels and find bildungsromans rather tedious. But I dislike it when an author decides to put in a character who is super smart or creative or whatever, but then the character is basically not super smart because the author themselves isn't. All the other characters might go "ooh" and "aah" at whatever clever thing the character said, but looking at it from an outside perspective, it very often isn't all that brilliant and it makes the reactions rather cheap and unbelievable, detracting from not just the genius-character-who-isn't, but many of the other characters as well.

POD to this! I like to write just for fun; if I have a character who's supposed to be a genius, etc., I have to be careful to show them being smart, even though *I* am not that smart! There are artful ways to do it, and then there are... other ways.  :-\
I believe the writer of The Saint said it best. "I can make him look smart because I have five weeks to come up with what he thinks of in five minutes."

I think informed attributes are one of my pet peeves - don't tell me a character is good, smart, kind etc., show their actions and let me make my own mind up.

lady_disdain

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1026 on: July 10, 2013, 05:57:48 PM »
How about ridiculously high speed learning? A character decides to/is forced to learned something later in life than usual and, in 6 months, is better than everyone who has dedicated their lives to the activity (swordplay seems to be the most common culprit but I have found this in all genres).

Another peeve is when an author decides to split the focus of the story between two places and, then, can't synchronize the passage of time between them. So, a month passes in one place while only a week goes by in the second. "Empire Strikes Back" is a good example. Come to think of it, it is also a good example of the "fast learner" syndrome.

Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1027 on: July 10, 2013, 06:34:17 PM »
Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

Exhibit #1 in "How to tell that this book was written by a man".
Exhibit #3 was a book with a female author's name on it, but a mention of the first-person female protagonist casually glancing down and happening to notice that she was peeing bright blue.  Now, it is entirely possible for a woman to see her own urine stream, but it takes deliberate effort (why, yes, I did try!) and not just a casual glance.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 06:40:11 PM by Elfmama »
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Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1028 on: July 10, 2013, 07:59:53 PM »
The book I mentioned earlier, the one which felt like it was being written by a committee? With the woman in 1882 Canada fearing being accused of being a witch for using willow bark tea? It's shifted again. Now it's a very ornate description of certain locations in 1882 Canada. Now, I don't know if they're accurate or not, but they seem very detailed and reasonable. But both characters are still having sudden violent emotional reactions to situations, without having any foreshadowing that they'd be afraid or distressed. Or having them talk about a situation in a social setting with apparent poise, but shaking in fear when thinking about it a few hours later.
Did I mention that the heroine gets married less than a month after delivering a child? And that it apparently is Narnia, because it's always winter, but never Christmas? It's astounding how many days there are between early November and Christmas.

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1029 on: July 10, 2013, 11:46:31 PM »
Why yes, the Upper Canadian Witch Trials of 1882 are well known, are they not?

Now, I may say, that belief in witchcraft lingered for a long time after it was no longer a legal issue, and could have resulted, say, in social ostracism. However, if you consult books on folklore like Bluenose Magic you will note that most households had various potions and cures that were used without being considered anything more than practical. I doubt willowbark tea would be seen as anything more supernatural than goose grease poultices or using spiderwebs to stop bleeding.
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1030 on: July 11, 2013, 08:56:55 AM »
I once read a book that seemed to be written by two totally different people.  The one part was mostly set in the 1940's, and was about the early career of a Harold Robbins type of writer.  This part was actually pretty decent, about a young man inexperienced in both writing and sex, and his learning about both.  It was reasonable, and made a lot of sense.

This good part was sandwiched in between parts set in the 1970's, where he is worldly famous and a major stud.  So the book starts in the 1970s, has a major flashback to the beginning of his career in the 1940s, and then returns to the 1970s.

Well, the 1970s part was just awful.  Who ever wrote this part was inexperienced in both writing and sex.  They seemed to think that great sex resulted from acrobatic contortions.  "Oh, she's great in bed - she can lay on her chest, bring her legs up over her head and fold herself in half."  Seriously, every sexual encounter was a description of the people putting themselves in these weird, convoluted positions because that is great sex!

My theory as to why the book had such a split personality was that someone had written the 1940's part, but it was too short to be published as is (maybe 125 pages), so the second person added the other sections.  I personally will never forget the image of the hero's wife bending backwards until her head went through her legs, and how sexy it was supposed to be, and all I could think of was I hope she doesn't get a cramp.
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wolfie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1031 on: July 11, 2013, 09:53:53 AM »
Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

Exhibit #1 in "How to tell that this book was written by a man".
Exhibit #3 was a book with a female author's name on it, but a mention of the first-person female protagonist casually glancing down and happening to notice that she was peeing bright blue.  Now, it is entirely possible for a woman to see her own urine stream, but it takes deliberate effort (why, yes, I did try!) and not just a casual glance.

Doesn't mean a woman wrote it. I discovered that Miranda James is actually a pen name for a man - I would suspect the same is the case for your exhibit 3.

Thipu1

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1032 on: July 11, 2013, 10:20:37 AM »
I bring this on myself but it's annoying nonetheless. 

Our neighborhood has many literary types (editors and reviewers) living here.  People will put out boxes of books for the taking and quite a few of these are 'uncorrected proofs'.  Oh boy!  Are some of them ever uncorrected!

One of the most interesting was a non-fiction book on the murder of a San Francisco journalist. Throughout, reference was made to the update in the last chapter. 

Guess what?  The copy I had was missing the last chapter.   :o 

Catananche

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1033 on: July 11, 2013, 12:36:06 PM »
My petpeeves:
-childbirth scenes. 9 times out of 10 it just like in the movies: one contraction and someone immediately starts boiling water, the husband starts wandering around like an idiot and the baby arrives in record time.

- children who either act too way to young for their age or way too old. 6 year olds barely talking in sentences or two year olds actively planning war strategies. I'm excluding child prodigies from my peeve, they are in a class of their own and normal rules don't apply to them.

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1034 on: July 11, 2013, 01:07:33 PM »
Ugh. That brought back a memory I had successfully suppressed : In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, when one of his female characters hears another woman talking about how "over endowed" her husband is , feels lust for that woman's husband, and Puzo chooses to reveal that lust by having her feel  "the flesh between her legs twitch". Just NO.

Exhibit #1 in "How to tell that this book was written by a man".
Exhibit #3 was a book with a female author's name on it, but a mention of the first-person female protagonist casually glancing down and happening to notice that she was peeing bright blue.  Now, it is entirely possible for a woman to see her own urine stream, but it takes deliberate effort (why, yes, I did try!) and not just a casual glance.

Unless you've been holding it for a while...