Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Been there, read that

There are many things I love about books, and many things I dislike. There are, however, a few things that I used to tolerate but have become so common, so overly used, that every time I see them in a book, I can't help but roll my eyes and groan "Aw, man. Not again!'
For instance: Romantic leads that "absolutely" hate each other at first, only to fall in love by the book's end. I have read this mostly in Christian fiction. It's lighthearted, funny at times and sometimes interesting, as you can see the characters interact and get on each others nerves. But enough already. If you're a writer, I guess you're talented and creative enough to figure out a way to have your leads meet and get to know each other in a different way. I mean, disliking someone at first is fairly common, but absolutely hating or despising them... no. Please don't.
Also annoying, the phrase "Mental head slap" or its derivatives. I read three, THREE, novels back to back that included that phrase not once or twice. No. It was repeatedly and the majority of the time, unnecessary.
Oh, and one that gets on my nerves every time: When characters refer to one another using their complete name. You know, "Listen, Deborah Smith, don't do that", "What are you talking about, Mathew Jones?" Why, oh why do authors feel the need to do that? And there is a similar one, which can be seen constantly in the Hannah Swensen series (Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, and so on): characters who address each other by name repeatedly in a conversation. For example: "Andrea, can you help me with this?", "I don't know, Hannah. It looks complicated", "Nonsense, Andrea. It's a piece of cake!", "Ok, Hannah, if you say so." This not an actual dialogue from the book, but nevertheless, you get my drift.
And finally, a few things that really distract me from an otherwise interesting plot:
Too many jokes. It's nice to be funny, but when an author tries to be hilarious in every page it's just too much.
A bland male lead.
A dumb female lead.
A lead who is a know it all.
Too many descriptions, as in "I took a left on 48th street, only to realize that I should've gone to 31st street first. So I made a U turn on the corner of 48 and 52nd, passed by Cafe L'Amour, and went straight down 46th street. Later I realize that if I had taken the highway and got off at Exit 9, it would have lead me straight to 31st street through the 29th." No, thank you.
Toddlers who speak and act like 12 year olds.
Characters who have no flaws at all.
Characters who contradict themselves all the time. It's like the author cannot decide what feelings or decisions suit best, so he/she tries them all on in one character.

Well, there you have it. Some of the most common, irritating no, nos that I have come across while reading fiction. We'll see how it goes on my next venture.

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