Was it last week when almost every book blog I follow had a list of their top ten book pet peeves? Their lists got me thinking about what annoys me about books. Don’t get me wrong, I love, LOVE all kinds of books, thick books, thin books, romance, science fiction, dystopia, mystery, autobiographies, comedy, you name it, chances are I’ve read a few, but there are things about some books that annoy me to no end.
I present to you my list of book pet peeves in no particular order:
- Telling, not Showing: Why do some authors have such an easy time getting the reader into the story in the first paragraph and others can’t seem to get the reader involved in a 100 pages? I was thinking about this the other night when I slogged through TMI by Patty Blount. She’s got pages and pages of the characters telling us about conversations with other people, but seldom does she have actual action going on. I like being a front-row spectator in a novel, not the last person in the telephone game.
- F-Bombs and other profanity: Some authors throw the F-bomb into their books for shock or to show that their characters don’t care, but this is lazy writing to me. It detracts from the story.
- Flat characters: I hate it when the cheerleader and the jock and the nerd are typical characters without depth. Or when the good guy has no flaws or the bad guy has no good qualities. That’s not how people in the real world are, so why shouldn’t characters have a bit of both? If you start with a stereotype, then make the character grow!
- Too many characters: When there are too many characters introduced quickly, I don’t have a chance to figure out who’s who and why they’re important to the story. Worse yet is when some of those characters suddenly disappear from the story. You made me waste my time and energy on them!
- Weird names/made-up words/made-up cities and countries: If I can’t pronounce the character’s name or the city they came from, chances are I won’t be as involved in their plight as you want me to be. And if you have to make up words to describe ordinary items like a chair or a tablet just to make your story interesting, then there’s probably a flaw in your plot.
- Tiny print/weird font/bad grammar/unconventional punctuation: If I have to use a magnifying glass to see the words or the font is hard to read or you don’t use conventional grammar or punctuation, then it doesn’t matter how good the story is, I probably won’t finish the book.
- Authors that stretch what should have been a standalone book into a series: If the first book ends but you’re left hanging just so that the author can call it a trilogy, then I’m going to be upset. If the book ends and leaves me satisfied but wanting to see the characters again, then that’s reason for a sequel.
- Sequels that take too long to be written: I like discovering a series once all the book are written because I can overdose on the story all at once, but when an author writes a good book and takes a year to write the sequel, then it’s torture.
- Wishy-Washy Characters: It’s a turn-off if a character can’t ever make a decision about his or her love interest or problem.
- Minimal dialogue or description: While too much description and not enough action is a turn off, so is little or no dialogue. I like to be thrown into the action and feel like I’m part of the story. So describe the setting and even some emotions, but show them to me, don’t tell me about them, and show me the conversations, don’t tell me what they said.
I could probably write another post on this subject, and maybe I will, but I think 10 pet peeves is enough for this post, don’t you? What irritates you about books? Comment below because maybe they’re things that irritate me, too.