Biggest Bookish Pet Peeves
I like that alliteration, y’all! The ELA teacher in me never leaves. 🙂
In general, tropes annoy me. It’s like how people complain about stereotypes in society, and some of them are true! There are stereotypes when it comes to covers and plots. It can get old. This is the main reason I stopped reading YA. I can’t take the dystopian anymore.
Can we please stop? We always know what the mix is. We always know how this ends. Good Girl, Good Boy, Bad Girl, Bad Boy. Take your pick of any combination. In 90% of cases, they choose the wrong love interest! These characters are BLIND. Blind, I tell ya! They can’t see a good thing when it’s standing right in front of their faces. And then they get all bitchy if they made the wrong choice. Stupids. We could all probably make a list of books with love triangles without even trying to think: Twilight, Hunger Games, Sucking in San Francisco…
WHINY “POOR ME” CHARACTERS
These people are annoying enough in real life. Why the hell would we want to read a book about them? I can name several people IRL who fit this description already, some in the family. I call it the self-helpless victim circle. I see it ALL the time in society, in my classroom. I’m astounded that parents allow their kids to perpetuate this circle of self-helplessness. Heaven help them out in the real world. Characters with these traits get my blood pressure raisin the roof.
NOT BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF
The older I’ve become the more I am solidified in who I am as a person, what I believe in, and what I stand for. I will not compromise myself. I do not act like someone I am not just to fit in. If I don’t like you, I don’t want to be around you. I won’t kiss ass to be on the “in” circle. If a character has made it prevalent who they are and what they stand for, and then halfway through the book they are going against every moral or value they’ve made a case for, I call hypocrite. Or liar. Either way, I don’t want to “know” that character. Case in point: Scornfully Yours.
Ever read a book that was way overdoing the description? You got the point, but the author just kept going on and on and on? Or the book is chock full of constant conversations? Too much description or too much dialogue can kill a book – or rather, my connection to it. Too much makes it unrealistic and unauthentic to me.
Primarily, grammatical errors. This is most common among indie and self-published authors. For the love of God, find the Grammar Nazi in your life and have them pore over your book for all the mistakes before you send it to publish! I can’t stand it when I get an email from my department head with gross errors, and when I see things she has sent home to parents I cringe. This is the foot you are putting forward into the world of the unknown. It is your first impression. Who wants to keep reading an author who can’t even write a sentence correctly? Or use a comma? Get outta here!
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with Unproofed Writing. It really drives me nuts when the story is underdeveloped, the characters are flat and show now growth, or there’s some erratic goings-on and you don’t know where the story is going. Or the worst: a crappy ending. UGH. There are people out there whose job it is to edit novels based on the plot and storylines. They make sure everything is up to snuff and there are no holes. They make sure the voice is consistent throughout the book, and that pacing is not off kilter. There are also other kinds of editors, too. If nothing else, you NEED a developmental editor. They still spot check the grammatical errors. That’s just not their primary focus. There are several different types of editors and they all serve a specific purpose in creating a book. If you find the right person, they could do all the various editing all on their own – saves you the hassle of time and money if you’re an author.
Passive Voice: The gun was fired in the alley by Rob. There was a ricochet off the dumpster by the bullet.
Active Voice: Rob fired the gun in the alley. The bullet ricocheted off the dumpster.
That is awful. Just awful. Combine that with way too much description, and I’m done. Quickest way to get me to DNF. It’s just unnecessary. Who wants to read like that? A developmental editor would catch that.