Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 248630 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1530 on: December 12, 2013, 06:32:39 PM »
For published fiction, my current pet peeve is the Girl Who Hates Femininity. She hates makeup, but she's naturally gorgeous, and she thinks cheerleading is stupid (as opposed to a physically exacting competitive sport; I'm not a cheerleader, but there is no way the things they do don't take effort and practice), and she wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, and she thinks the popular girls are stupid, and she couldn't care less about boys and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Thinking someone else is "stupid"/"wrong" for thinking differently than you do isn't okay, regardless of what they think.


This

You know what, though?  People do think that way...and you're kind of doing the same thing.  She doesn't think the same as you do, so you're not liking it, and that's absolutely OK.  I don't like cheerleading or dance, and when I was younger, I would probably have said it was stupid.  Now that I'm older, I respect that such things take effort, but I still don't like them and I still don't understand them.
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Ereine

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1531 on: December 12, 2013, 06:54:41 PM »
I think that it's a tired stereotype because it seems to be often used to show how much better, less superficial, etc the heroine supposedly is than all those stupid traditional females. It's like the real life women who are proud because they don't have any female friends and can't get along with women, because they're so cool and drama-free and never think what it says about them that they don't get along with half of the population.

And I find reading about that sort of characters kind of boring, even if they exist (tough I would also find someone who thinks that science and art is stupid as boring). I will also avoid romance novels with heroines who are cops or soldiers, unless it seems really interesting, as it usually means that the whole book is about her conflict and power struggle with her male collegues. Or being a journalist means being really feisty, never taking advice from anyone and getting into stupid, dangerous and avoidable situations while chasing a story.

Allyson

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1532 on: December 12, 2013, 08:43:16 PM »
I find a lot of the time with the Hating Femininity Girl, it ends up being a copout. She's not interested in boys...until the right guy comes along, and then she melts! She's not interested in dresses or makeup, but still has long hair and cleans up really pretty! (Not that there's anything wrong with this, but I'd like to see a legitimately more butch woman who's totally fine with that and doesn't need to be shown the error of her ways.) I think sometimes this is a factor of having only one or two female characters in a whole work, so instead of having a few different characters with an assortment of traits, the author tries to put absolutely everything on one character. I'm also tired of the Popular People are Evil trope. Luckily, that seems to be getting subverted more often.

As for fanfic, I notice that often there'll be a few traits that are present in the main work that gets major overuse. Say a character named Sarah is mentioned as liking blueberry pie. Now in most fics, Sarah is eating blueberry pie, talking about blueberry pie, it's what she wants for her wedding cake and her first word spoken as a child. Same with overuse of jargon or nicknames where it's like the author wants to show their work, but it ends up feeling like a parody.

Elfmama

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1533 on: December 12, 2013, 09:07:00 PM »
I find a lot of the time with the Hating Femininity Girl, it ends up being a copout. She's not interested in boys...until the right guy comes along, and then she melts! She's not interested in dresses or makeup, but still has long hair and cleans up really pretty! (Not that there's anything wrong with this, but I'd like to see a legitimately more butch woman who's totally fine with that and doesn't need to be shown the error of her ways.) I think sometimes this is a factor of having only one or two female characters in a whole work, so instead of having a few different characters with an assortment of traits, the author tries to put absolutely everything on one character. I'm also tired of the Popular People are Evil trope. Luckily, that seems to be getting subverted more often.

As for fanfic, I notice that often there'll be a few traits that are present in the main work that gets major overuse. Say a character named Sarah is mentioned as liking blueberry pie. Now in most fics, Sarah is eating blueberry pie, talking about blueberry pie, it's what she wants for her wedding cake and her first word spoken as a child. Same with overuse of jargon or nicknames where it's like the author wants to show their work, but it ends up feeling like a parody.
Unless blueberry pie is somehow her Chekov's Gun, yeah. 
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Petticoats

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1534 on: December 12, 2013, 10:30:06 PM »
For published fiction, my current pet peeve is the Girl Who Hates Femininity. She hates makeup, but she's naturally gorgeous, and she thinks cheerleading is stupid (as opposed to a physically exacting competitive sport; I'm not a cheerleader, but there is no way the things they do don't take effort and practice), and she wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, and she thinks the popular girls are stupid, and she couldn't care less about boys and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Thinking someone else is "stupid"/"wrong" for thinking differently than you do isn't okay, regardless of what they think.


This

You know what, though?  People do think that way...and you're kind of doing the same thing.  She doesn't think the same as you do, so you're not liking it, and that's absolutely OK.  I don't like cheerleading or dance, and when I was younger, I would probably have said it was stupid.  Now that I'm older, I respect that such things take effort, but I still don't like them and I still don't understand them.

It seemed to me that what Rainshadows is describing is a character who lacks the maturity, intelligence, or perspective to try to give a fair chance to anything/anyone she doesn't like. Reflexively labeling something "stupid" because you don't like/understand it (or feel you wouldn't be successful at it, or won't be asked on a date by them, etc.) is a character trait that would get old to me in a biiiig hurry. Just because there are people who think that way doesn't mean I want to hang out with them in fiction.

Allyson

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1535 on: December 12, 2013, 11:45:52 PM »
It would also depend on whether the author was self-aware when writing her character's flaws. I can absolutely love a flawed character so long as the text acknowledges that the character is judgmental, jumps to conclusions etc. But when the text basically puts Main Character on a pedestal and has the text and universe justify everything the character feels, that's not so much fun to read about. Main Character-itis is a huge problem some authors have.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1536 on: December 13, 2013, 07:48:50 AM »
As for fanfic, I notice that often there'll be a few traits that are present in the main work that gets major overuse. Say a character named Sarah is mentioned as liking blueberry pie. Now in most fics, Sarah is eating blueberry pie, talking about blueberry pie, it's what she wants for her wedding cake and her first word spoken as a child. Same with overuse of jargon or nicknames where it's like the author wants to show their work, but it ends up feeling like a parody.
Unless blueberry pie is somehow her Chekov's Gun, yeah.

Sometimes, this sort of thing shows up not only in fanfic -- and not as a Chekhov's Gun, just seemingly as indulgence on the author's part.  Harry Turtledove, in his alternative history / fantasy writing, is a prominent offender as regards this matter. I like much of Turtledove's work; but he does have this way of getting obsessed with certain things, and mentioning them over and over again, ad nauseam.

The instance of this which has particularly become a byword among Turtledove fans, involves a character in one of the author's long series.  Said character is a sailor who has very fair skin, and thus undergoes a miserable time whenever his duties take him to places with hot sun.  It certainly feels as though this issue automatically gets referred to, in every single blessed one of the numerous chapters in which the character features...

RebeccainGA

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1537 on: December 13, 2013, 09:29:52 AM »
I find a lot of the time with the Hating Femininity Girl, it ends up being a copout. She's not interested in boys...until the right guy comes along, and then she melts! She's not interested in dresses or makeup, but still has long hair and cleans up really pretty! (Not that there's anything wrong with this, but I'd like to see a legitimately more butch woman who's totally fine with that and doesn't need to be shown the error of her ways.) I think sometimes this is a factor of having only one or two female characters in a whole work, so instead of having a few different characters with an assortment of traits, the author tries to put absolutely everything on one character. I'm also tired of the Popular People are Evil trope. Luckily, that seems to be getting subverted more often.

As for fanfic, I notice that often there'll be a few traits that are present in the main work that gets major overuse. Say a character named Sarah is mentioned as liking blueberry pie. Now in most fics, Sarah is eating blueberry pie, talking about blueberry pie, it's what she wants for her wedding cake and her first word spoken as a child. Same with overuse of jargon or nicknames where it's like the author wants to show their work, but it ends up feeling like a parody.
You need to read the Jane Carver of WAAR books. Immediately. She's the female version of Conan the barbarian, and has a very effete boyfriend. They turn this paradigm on its head, and she's a big butch heterosexual woman who isn't ashamed of it. Love these - very silly and campy, but well written.

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1538 on: December 13, 2013, 10:33:42 AM »
For published fiction, my current pet peeve is the Girl Who Hates Femininity. She hates makeup, but she's naturally gorgeous, and she thinks cheerleading is stupid (as opposed to a physically exacting competitive sport; I'm not a cheerleader, but there is no way the things they do don't take effort and practice), and she wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, and she thinks the popular girls are stupid, and she couldn't care less about boys and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Thinking someone else is "stupid"/"wrong" for thinking differently than you do isn't okay, regardless of what they think.


This

You know what, though?  People do think that way...and you're kind of doing the same thing.  She doesn't think the same as you do, so you're not liking it, and that's absolutely OK.  I don't like cheerleading or dance, and when I was younger, I would probably have said it was stupid.  Now that I'm older, I respect that such things take effort, but I still don't like them and I still don't understand them.

It seemed to me that what Rainshadows is describing is a character who lacks the maturity, intelligence, or perspective to try to give a fair chance to anything/anyone she doesn't like. Reflexively labeling something "stupid" because you don't like/understand it (or feel you wouldn't be successful at it, or won't be asked on a date by them, etc.) is a character trait that would get old to me in a biiiig hurry. Just because there are people who think that way doesn't mean I want to hang out with them in fiction.

It also seems to me that a lot of authors (and people in general) think that feminism and being a strong woman means eschewing anything feminine. And THAT makes me want to puke.

Winterlight

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1539 on: December 13, 2013, 10:36:38 AM »
I think that it's a tired stereotype because it seems to be often used to show how much better, less superficial, etc the heroine supposedly is than all those stupid traditional females. It's like the real life women who are proud because they don't have any female friends and can't get along with women, because they're so cool and drama-free and never think what it says about them that they don't get along with half of the population.

Exactly. Especially when the "other women are jellus of me" attitude shows up, as it so often does.

And if they're really drama-free, they wouldn't be defining their own gender as horrid mean girls.

Quote
You need to read the Jane Carver of WAAR books. Immediately. She's the female version of Conan the barbarian, and has a very effete boyfriend. They turn this paradigm on its head, and she's a big butch heterosexual woman who isn't ashamed of it. Love these - very silly and campy, but well written.

*zips off to Amazon*
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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1540 on: December 13, 2013, 10:38:06 AM »
For a well-published author, in an otherwise well-plotted, well-characterized book that hinges on a completely incorrect scientific premise. Yes, I'm looking at you, Kerry Greenwood. Just because some things change from pink to blue and vice-versa in the presence of cyanide gas does NOT mean that everything does, particularly painted wood and bird feathers.

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1541 on: December 13, 2013, 10:58:46 AM »
I'm reading this historical royal novel. I appreciate authors who do a lot of research for those. But I get irritated when the author seems to feel the need to "show off" their research. This one actually had a glossary of terms at the back--different parts of clothing and armor, household equipment, food, etc.. There's a fine line between "details that add atmosphere" and "details that confuse and distract the reader for no good reason, except the author read them somewhere and wanted to use them."

In a similar vein, these people had big families, and they pulled from a limited pool of names, and they all intermarried, and they had different titles. That is all true. But it's not necessary to mention every single kid born to every single couple, and extraneously work them into scenes, just because you know the kid existed. I'm 80% of the way through the book and at this point I can't remember whose kid is whose, who is whose brother, etc.. Or how old they're supposed to be, because the book covers something like 30 years and jumps around in time a lot. I'm like, "Wait, isn't he supposed to be the mentor to him? But he's still a kid himself? Crud monkeys, how much longer is this book going to go on?"
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Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1542 on: December 13, 2013, 11:00:51 AM »
For published fiction, my current pet peeve is the Girl Who Hates Femininity. She hates makeup, but she's naturally gorgeous, and she thinks cheerleading is stupid (as opposed to a physically exacting competitive sport; I'm not a cheerleader, but there is no way the things they do don't take effort and practice), and she wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, and she thinks the popular girls are stupid, and she couldn't care less about boys and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Thinking someone else is "stupid"/"wrong" for thinking differently than you do isn't okay, regardless of what they think.


This

You know what, though?  People do think that way...and you're kind of doing the same thing.  She doesn't think the same as you do, so you're not liking it, and that's absolutely OK.  I don't like cheerleading or dance, and when I was younger, I would probably have said it was stupid.  Now that I'm older, I respect that such things take effort, but I still don't like them and I still don't understand them.

It seemed to me that what Rainshadows is describing is a character who lacks the maturity, intelligence, or perspective to try to give a fair chance to anything/anyone she doesn't like. Reflexively labeling something "stupid" because you don't like/understand it (or feel you wouldn't be successful at it, or won't be asked on a date by them, etc.) is a character trait that would get old to me in a biiiig hurry. Just because there are people who think that way doesn't mean I want to hang out with them in fiction.

It also seems to me that a lot of authors (and people in general) think that feminism and being a strong woman means eschewing anything feminine. And THAT makes me want to puke.

I was in a bad mood yesterday, so I decided to just note my agreement to resist the urge to rant. Here is my now much calmer thoughts on the matter:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a tomboy. What is wrong is marking something as "stupid" or "bad" because you personally don't enjoy it. Also, generally a "tough" girl will be completely unfeminine. Same with a smart girl. Or any character who hopes to have any form of personality other than being pretty.

This definitely seems to be an issue with a lot of YA novels. If you like fashion or makeup you're generally a "sheep" who either needs to be woken up or defeated by the far more enlightened protagonist.

PeterM

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1543 on: December 13, 2013, 01:07:18 PM »
I'm reading this historical royal novel. I appreciate authors who do a lot of research for those. But I get irritated when the author seems to feel the need to "show off" their research. This one actually had a glossary of terms at the back--different parts of clothing and armor, household equipment, food, etc.. There's a fine line between "details that add atmosphere" and "details that confuse and distract the reader for no good reason, except the author read them somewhere and wanted to use them."

I hate this. I understand that many authors spend a lot of time researching various subjects in order to make their work better, but it doesn't actually make the work better if you shove in details no one cares about, just because you know them. A woman on a forum I frequent refers to this as "I had to suffer for my art, and now it's your turn."

Mental Magpie

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #1544 on: December 13, 2013, 01:32:06 PM »
I think that it's a tired stereotype because it seems to be often used to show how much better, less superficial, etc the heroine supposedly is than all those stupid traditional females. It's like the real life women who are proud because they don't have any female friends and can't get along with women, because they're so cool and drama-free and never think what it says about them that they don't get along with half of the population.

And I find reading about that sort of characters kind of boring, even if they exist (tough I would also find someone who thinks that science and art is stupid as boring). I will also avoid romance novels with heroines who are cops or soldiers, unless it seems really interesting, as it usually means that the whole book is about her conflict and power struggle with her male collegues. Or being a journalist means being really feisty, never taking advice from anyone and getting into stupid, dangerous and avoidable situations while chasing a story.

I'm not proud that I don't have many female friends but I'm not sad about it, either; and I generally just don't get along with women.  All that says about me is that I don't have much in common with them.  All it says about them is that they don't have much in common with me.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.



I seem to have read the original post quite different than everyone else.  Petticoats explained it quite well for me and I can see where that would indeed be quite annoying.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.