Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I Hate

I love books, but there are times I hurl books across the room. What makes me go a'hurling?
  • When every character is rich and attractive, and the author constantly tells me how rich and attractive they are;
  • Blocks and blocks of uninteresting, flat dialogue that reek of cliche and deft of wit;
  • When character descriptions read like text in Saks Fifth Avenue catalogs. Describing every stitch of clothing your rich and attractive character wears? Really?;
  • Adverb abuse coupled with 'said'. In other words: "...," she said moronically. "..." he said amusedly. "..." I said laughingly.
What are your reading pet-peeves?


  1. I get bored by endlessly dropped designer names too. Part of that might be that I have no clue what this stuff looks like, not being particularly a clotheshorse. I don't pay attention to who the big names are, much less have a mental image file in my mind of what all their clothes or shoes or whatever look like. Seeing these high-end shopping lists used makes me think that the book wasn't written for me, and that I have little or nothing in common with the character.

    Designer names can be used in a way which isn't annoying, but I find the smug assumption that of course every reader knows what a Joe Designer bag or shoes look like to be inherently annoying.

    One pet peeve I blogged about a little while back is abuse of typography. I enjoy SF, fantasy and paranormal genres, but some writers just get ridiculous with their naming, or even just the spelling of the names. Throwing in extra Ys or Hs, or adding apostrophes at random, does not make a writer look cool.

    Another peeve of mine is when a writer leaves off each chapter at a fake cliffhanger, just to manipulate the reader into turning the page right away. Something like, Ann timidly opened the door and a huge, hulking shape lunged for her! End of chapter. You turn the page and find that it was the UPS guy and his stack of boxes had slipped for a moment, but he caught them and then indicated that hers was on top before going away peacefully, so the big OMG!! was nothing at all. Once or twice I'll eyeroll at, but whatever. I've read some books, though, where the writers pull that at the end of Every Single Chapter, and argue on a forum that they want the reader to turn the page. My view is that if your story and characters aren't engaging enough to keep me turning the pages legitimately, using cheap tricks at your chapter ends isn't going to make the book any better. I might turn the page to the end of the current book, but I certainly won't buy their next one.


  2. Hey, Angie-
    Yeah, the fake cliffhanger makes me roll my eyes... or does it?

    And I love the art of typography but most times, it just distracts.

    Sometimes, you just wanna say, 'Tell the story, geez.'