Saturday, April 9, 2016

My Top 10 Pet Peeves as a Reader

I usually like to focus on the positive side of things. And as a bookworm who is also a writer, I try to give my fellow authors room for occasional slip-ups because I know how hard it is to produce a book. (At the same time, as a writer I also tend to hold authors to high standards. So it goes both ways.)

I guess what I'm saying is I try to be positive, but I also try to be honest, and I appreciate quality writing. There's just not enough time to waste on a bad book, am I right? I'm here today to discuss some of my personal pet peeves as a reader.

(I have discovered that Dr. Who gifs are fun, even if I've never watched that show.)

1. Dumb parents

You know those books--often children's literature, but sometimes YA too. Mom and Dad are clueless. Their kids are ten times smarter than they are. The joke's on the parents. Events conspire to highlight their deficient intelligence, and it's usually played for laughs. Where's the respect? Those impressionable children need good examples. They need somebody other than Mom and Dad to back their parents up. To show them that Mom and Dad are wise, they're doing what's best for you, and you would be well advised to listen to them and realize how much they love you.

Let's just say I didn't read many Robert Munsch books growing up.

2. He saw/heard/felt/knew

This might be the ultimate object lesson for "show, don't tell." Many authors feel the need to spell things out explicitly for the reader, and it comes off forced and lacking in emotional punch. Please don't tell me that Bob is angry--show me. Show me the reddened face or the bulging vein at his temple or the clenched fist or the slamming door. Don't tell me Sally is feeling sad. Show her fighting tears or her downturned eyes or her shoulders quaking with silent sobs.

Likewise, telling me that Bob knows something ruins the POV intimacy. There are more creative, subtle ways to convey the main character's knowledge than: "Bob knew the enemy tribe bred small, light-footed horses for crossing the plains quickly."

And while we're at it, I like immersive sensory details. None of this, "He could see the horsemen cresting the ridge," or "She heard Granny snoring in the next room." Just say, "The horsemen crested the ridge." We should know at this point whose head we're in, and if he can't see it, neither should we. If you're writing this way, there's no need for "he could see."

For the second example, just write, "Granny's snores rumbled through the thin wall," because it should already be apparent that the point-of-view character is the one hearing this.

It's a waste of words, lazy writing, and an insult to the reader's intelligence to overuse those sensory tags.*

*Now, there are exceptions to every rule (not that this is a rule, necessarily--just my preference), and so of course there will be instances when an author just has to say "he saw/heard/felt/knew," because that really is the best way to say it. Those times, however, are few.

3. The world is falling to pieces, but let's spend all day kissing instead of saving everyone.

Looking at you, Tris and Tobias.*

This is predominantly a problem in romance, whether YA or otherwise. The world is about to crash and burn, lives are at stake, a rebellion is launching, and the couple is making out. Firstly, ew, can we cut back on the details, please? And secondly, where are your priorities? Yes, I get that life-threatening circumstances can forge a deep bond, but maybe you two can work out your relationship later on. When the fight is over and people are safe. When the world isn't ending. Save your kisses for then.

*I like the Divergent books, I do. I just have a bone to pick with this particular aspect.

(Also, don't get me started on the tendency among female protagonists to have this mindset: "Ooh, there's a tall, dark, and handsome fellow with daddy issues and anger problems. I love him!" This mindset is made even worse when you throw it into the paranormal soup. "A tall, dark, and handsome fellow who probably wants to kill me or suck my blood--I love him!")

4. Lack of emotional connection

Sometimes tied to #2. It's just . . . I find it hard to enjoy a book where I can't establish an emotional connection with the main character. Or with any character. I want the author to slip me inside that MC's skin. I want to be in their head and feel what's on their heart. I want them to react to things. Even if the character is a relatively unemotional person, I still want to make a connection of some sort. When I can't, the entire book falls flat.

5. Instantaneous transformation

You may remember my vehement thoughts on Shadowmancer back in January. In that book, Demurral (the villain) looks out over the land and is instantly overcome by greed and blackness and hunger for power. Just like that. No real motivation at all. Bleck.

This goes for all characters, by the way, whether they align themselves with the good guys or the bad guys. I love transformation, redemptive character arcs, downward spirals, etc. But not instantaneous ones. Internal change takes time. It takes strong emotion and logical motivation.

Please don't make a normal guy turn bad on a dime. Please take longer than a few paragraphs to redeem a villain. Don't chuck your soon-to-be hero headlong into his journey without setting up something to motivate that quest. And pretty please, stay away from instantaneous or miraculous conversions to Christianity. Not even we Christians like that.

6. Agendas

While we're on the topic of conversions . . . *cough* I have a problem with writers approaching their books with an agenda. Even if I agree with that agenda, I don't read to get a sermon, okay? Of course I adore strong themes, but these should arise naturally from the story instead of being shoehorned in there like propaganda.

I picked up your book because I wanted the story, not because I wanted to hear your thoughts on climate change (pfft) or homosexuality (Above, you were a waste of time) or politics or diversity or any of that. Not to say those topics can't be skillfully incorporated into a book--they certainly can--but when the story is a thinly veiled sermon on said topic, I'm very much turned off.

7. Bad grammar

There have been books that have made my fingers twitch for a red pen. This is bad. No book is perfect. No editor is perfect. But argh, it drives me up the wall to see typo after typo, or consistently bad grammar! It makes me think somebody accidentally published the wrong draft, or that the editor took a vacation. And sometimes, when it's really bad, I wonder how this person is even an author. I thought acceptable grammar was kind of in the job description?

Speaking of grammar, I'm a strong believer in the Oxford comma. I can forgive those that don't use it, but its absence always snags my attention.

8. Sluggish pacing (because we readers are desperate to spend another fifty pages watching your characters do nothing)

One word: ERAGON. I don't believe I've talked much about these books here before. Let me start out by saying that I know people who love the Inheritance Cycle hugely, and I say good for them. But I am sadly not one of them. I've read the first two books, and I plan to read the last two at some point. I have a few things to rant about, but the biggest is probably the pacing. Or lack thereof. Have you seen those books? They are massive. Again, nothing against big books, but please--if you're going to write something long, make sure that every single one of those gazillion pages does something important for the story!

As a young adult, I have less reading time than I used to. (This is a great tragedy of adulthood, one which I hope to redeem somehow. Magic would be helpful.) So when I do read, I want to be sucked in right away. I want the story to keep moving forward. Lollygagging about watching the characters accomplish very little or waiting around while the plot camps out in the same spot for a dozen chapters is . . . well, it's a little boring.

Just to clarify, not every book needs to be a thriller, either. I don't need (or want) a breakneck speed every time. I just want something to be happening.

9. Mr. Evil-to-the-bone & Mistress Strangle-you-in-your-sleep

This particular pet peeve totally depends on the context. It's when a villain comes onto the scene for the first time, and the other characters don't know who he or she is--but it is immediately obvious to the reader because of the villain's name. It's hard and guttural, or slimy, or slick and smooth in a vile way. The name might include something to do with black, night, chills, shadows, or the like. I don't mind blatantly obvious villain names (besides, Saruman sounds way more menacing than, say, Kyle). But if we're not supposed to know right away that this character is bad, then, um . . . you should've picked a less obvious name.

If, however, the story is self-aware and a little tongue-in-cheek, then I can smirk at the hero's ignorance when Sir Blackheart oh-so-innocently enters the scene, and read on.

10. Floating POV

This is when there is practically no established POV whatsoever. I can't tell if it's limited or omniscient or something else, because it waffles between them all. Whose head am I even in? Are you going for an omniscient feel, Mr. Author? Because right now it just feels like head hopping, and sporadic head hopping at that. It's so muddled up, I can't even tell which rules you're breaking. (I think maybe all of them . . . ?)

What are your pet peeves?

Do we share any? Do you disagree with any of mine? These are all preferences, so maybe what bugs me makes you the happiest bookworm to ever devour a book. Let's discuss things!

P.S. The blogoversary giveaway is still open until midnight on Sunday the 10th, so hurry and enter! The survey doesn't have a closing date, so you still have plenty of time to participate in that if you so wish.


  1. Kissing instead of saving the world, is pretty much at the top for me. That is no time for romance. The agenda one too, just no. Great list!

    1. I know, right?? The fate of the world is on your shoulders! There's no time for smooching.
      Thanks, Skye! Sometimes it's good to get this off our chests and just have our little rants. XD

  2. OH MY GOSH THIS POSTTTTT. *FLAILS* I kept saying "YESSS" to myself over and over again as I read this because WE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE, I SWEAR. (And oddly enough, I've also found Doctor Who gifs are incredibly fun to use. ^_^) Prepare for a massive comment.

    Okay, so I haven't read a lot of books with unintelligent parents, but I've heard about how common they are AND IT BUGS ME. For the ones that I have read, I wonder how on earth the parents could be that clueless. Sheesh, I want books that emphasize the importance of good family relationships. Not ones that continually make parents out to be dumb.

    SO MUCH YES TO #2. That whole telling instead of showing thing DRIVES ME CRAZY. I'm not stupid, people. You don't have to tell me EVERYTHING. Please just...just don't even go there.

    Your title for #3 = perfection. XDDD (And this bit here is hilarious: "A tall, dark, and handsome fellow who probably wants to kill me or suck my blood--I love him!" It immediately brought to mind Twilight, though I haven't read them and never intend to.)

    Lack of emotional connection, instant conversions, agendas...YUP. ALL PET PEEVES OF MINE. (Don't you just hate it when there is literally NO connection to the character?? That in and of itself will make me put a book down. >.>)

    But #7 is by far one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I'm currently reading a book right now that is chock full of run-ons. Apparently, the author thought, "Oh, I'll just add in a thousand commas to these five sentences and string them together into one." Um...NO. YOU JUST DON'T DO THAT, OKAY?! (I may or may not have felt the urge to throw the book across the room...and the use of "snuck" didn't help. :P) I'm verrry disappointed with the book because the characters, plot, and setting are SO GOOD. I had such high expectations for this book. I'm trying to push the grammar Nazi aside, but I can't seem to stop cringing over the ridiculous run-ons. (Also, THE OXFORD COMMA. THANK YOU. People don't understand my obsession over that.)

    Basically, I love this post to pieces. It had me in stitches and also made me wonder how we could ever be separate people. :O This may be one of my favorite posts you've put out. (And that's saying something, believe me.) JUST LET ME HUG YOU, OKAY? I AM BOOKMARKING THIS POST FOR ALL ETERNITY.

    1. We must be twins separated at birth. XD (That particular doctor just has the best expressions to use.) *braces for long comment*

      Exactly! Family is so important to me, and I like books to reflect that. Which is why my WIP series has given me a number of headaches over the complexities of including parents in the two protagonists' death-defying adventures. >.<

      It seems to really dumb down a book, doesn't it? Like, we readers left our brains somewhere between the cover and the first page, so please explain everything, Author.

      Confession: I was thinking of Twilight when I wrote that. XD I haven't read it yet, and I have heard of some staunch defenders of the series . . . buuuut I just can't take sparkly vampires and melodramatic romance very seriously. :P

      Preach it, sistah. (Except I have problems quitting things, even books I don't like. Unless it's due to an unsavory content issue, in which case I drop it like a hot potato.)

      Those pesky run-ons! XD They're annoying. Especially when it's like the author forgot the keyboard has a period key, and just sticks in those thousand commas you were talking about. Oh, but there was one first-person present tense series I read where the grammar was sometimes intentionally wrong. For example, when the main character was frightened out of his mind, several sentences would be strung together without punctuation. But that was okay with me because there was a REASON for it, and the author managed to pull it off.
      Which book are you currently reading, if I may ask? It's so disappointing when everything BUT the writing is good. (About the Oxford comma: YOU'RE WELCOME.)

      I just laughed straight through your whole comment, btw. And ayiyi, favorite post? That's...that is saying something. Wow. <3333

    2. I seem to be making a habit of being late to parties. >.< Let's just pretend I'm not replying to this comment a week later. XD

      Well, the book I was referring to is called Blood Ties. It's the book I won in one of the giveaways last month, and I feel really bad about not liking it. I mean, the plot and characters and setting are all good...but the writing looks like the author just published the rough draft. Like I said, I feel soooo bad about not liking it because the author evidently loves her book and characters. (Books always become a part of us, don't they?) It just...I don't know. When you cringe every couple minutes while reading a book, it really takes away from the enjoyment of reading. I FEEL SO BAD, BUT I WON'T BE FINISHING THIS BOOK. Ugh, it's times like these that I wish I could just turn off my grammar freak-out mode and enjoy the rest of the book. >.>

      Hehe, really? I had no idea my randomness amused anyone besides my cat. *glances at cat* I take that back...

    3. Oh, I wouldn't worry about that! (We shan't mention how many posts of yours I've yet to comment on. XD)

      I tried looking up Blood Ties--which sounds familiar--but it seems there are a few books with that title. :P Is it the one by Sophie McKenzie? I saw that at my library once. But ugh, I know the feeling! When there are good things about a book, and you know how deeply connected an author can be to their work, but the book is full of cringe-worthy mistakes... Yeah. Not fun. Especially when you *wanted* to like it.

      Of COURSE I find your randomness amusing, Mary! You're hilariously awesome! Your cat must love you. ;D


    But, all the yes to this post.

    1. NO KIDDING. If you're a hormonal teenager who can't think beyond the moment, do you really have any business playing with the lives of maybe millions?! I think not.

      Love the enthusiasm, Katie. XD

  4. #1- That one is annoying, along with the dead parents. Can't we please have a family story?
    #2-Sometimes I can forgive that one, if what he saw/heard/felt is interesting enough and makes me forget he saw/heard/felt it.
    #3- This one really irks me, not just because of the sappiness but also because of the overall illogical nature. This is a war, man (or woman)! Stay focused!
    #4-I usually stop reading there.
    #5- drives me mad.
    #6- They do this in kiddie books, you know. Political issues are thinly disguised and told by cute fluffy bunnies. I need to check my little brother's books before I read to him now.
    #7- I can forgive a typo if the story is good-forgive, but never forget.
    #8- I usually just put the book on hold (sometimes for years).
    #9- context is important here. I can sometimes forgive this.
    #10- I rarely seem to come across this. Whew!

    You know, sometimes it's fun to write out a list of pet peeves. But this doubles as a writing post, reminding writers that some things are best left out.

    1. #1: There are faaarrr too many orphaned main characters in books. Parents are an endangered species.
      #2: Good point! It does depend on how it's worded, the context, and yes absolutely if it's interesting enough. There are some books that I love enough to ignore those sensory tags. (Like Ranger's Apprentice.)
      #3: My thoughts exactly.
      #4: That's where I usually WANT to stop reading. Like I mentioned to Mary, I seem to have difficulty dropping books.
      #5: VERY MAD.
      #6: And that's the worst! Because it comes off so innocently, and it's aimed at children who are still forming a solid worldview, and then aaargh. *headdesk*
      #7: LOL. An occasional typo I find comforting, because that means that even the best of the best sometimes slip up.
      #8: Mmhmm.
      #9: Right, it always depends on the context. I find it's the books that take themselves very seriously, in which the big villain reveal later on is supposed to be a PLOT TWIST, but we've known since the villain appeared that they were evil--it's those that bug me a bit. XD
      #10: Good! I don't come across it all that often either, but when I do, it's maddening.

      I guess it does double as a writing post, huh? :) Thanks for the great comment, Blue!

  5. THIS. POST. <333 And DW gifs! :D

    1. Ugh, YES. Please oh please give me some respectable parents. It's not just books that do this. Over half of the kid shows do it as well! It seems like they're just trying to make kids not respect their parents. It's horrid and make me so angry! I adore when a book involves parents that are smart and good and respectable. There aren't very many!

    2. Most definitely. I feel like the author is saying I'm way too dumb to grasp what is happening, and feels the need to spell it out to me. The Maze Runner books are soooo bad about this. There are "I feels" all over the place and it drives me up the wall! Now, sometimes those are fine. There is definitely a time a place for them, but if it's used through the entire books it makes me want to stab my own eyes out. (Not to be dramatic. XD)

    3. THIS ONE THIS ONE THIS ONE. This is probably one of my biggest book pet peeves. I wail and groan through soooo many YA books due to this problem. "The world is ending and people are DYING, but who cares? We have hormones! Wheeeee." Stop. STAHP. Now, I do love a touch of romance in books. But just that, a touch. Again, there is a time and place for things. In the middle of a battlefield while people are dying is not one of them. >.>

    4. And you just hit on my other big, big pet peeve! Emotional connections to the characters is *everything* to me while reading. Even if the plot is mindblowing, if the author makes me feel nothing for the character, I just don't want to read about it. I read FOR characters. They're everything to me! That's actually why YA tends to be my favorite genre because YA seems to focus more on characters I feel like.

    5. Yes, this is a good one! I guess I don't think about this one quite as much, maybe because I haven't come across it a whole lot, thankfully! But I will turn it around and say deep, complex character arcs (whether good or bad) is my faaaaavorite! Again, I love me some deep characters.

    6. Oh yes! Please don't preach to me. Give me a good story! The "sermon" will actually come out stronger with a deep, emotional story.

    7. You're seriously hitting on all my pet peeves! Now, I'm horrendous at grammar and can never catch my own typos, so I can't say much. BUT I think it's very much in a publisher's court to assure the book they're producing is as perfected as it can be. I'm actually noticing newer books have way more typos than older ones do. Is that just me? I'm fearing this culture is getting lazier and lazier.
    Also, ALL HAIL THE OXFORD COMMA. I am so glad I'm not alone on this. It drives me up the wall when people don't use it. I guess I shouldn't be so picky's important!

    8. I've only read the first two Eragon books as well! That was yeeears ago though, but I do remember not liking them really at all. I'm shocked I even got to the second book. I actually love thick books, but when they're GOOD thick books. Those...yeah. Waaay too much nothing going on.

    9. LOL! I guess I've never even thought of this one, so I don't know if it bothers me or not. (Saruman vs. Kyle made me laugh out loud. XD)

    10. Can I just give a big fat YESSSS. Floating POVs not only make me feel detached from the story AND characters, it also is just way too confusing. Ugh. I can't stand it.

    Okay, I basically just wrote my own blog post here, but I had to comment on each point. You made such good ones! And, as Blue said, this could totally be a writing-help post as well. I think I've been guilty of ALL these. They're great reminders to keep in mind while writing!

    If you can't tell, I absolutely loved this post!!!

    1. 1. It seems to have infected most of children's media, period. Terrible. Why can't we showcase the good parents? The ones who are smart and caring and helpful? Maybe they could actually AID the main character with their goals.

      2. The Maze Runner books do that? *winces* I've been sort of wanting to read them, but... ugh, I don't know if I'll be able to get past that kind of writing. :(

      3. SO MUCH YES. In those epic plots of saving the world and fighting battles and overthrowing tyrants, romance usually shouldn't take the forefront, in my opinion. If the book's main conflict is of the romantic nature, then sure, go ahead and have all those mushy moments. That's central to the story. But NOT in all these dystopians and whatnot. :P

      4. Character is a make or break it thing for me too. They can even salvage a less-than-stellar plot, if they're engaging enough. But like you said, if the plot is great and the characters are lacking, no thanks.

      5. The most recent time I've seen that is in "Shadowmancer." (I think reading that book sparked some of the ideas for this post. XD)

      6. Right! Story first. The theme should be organic.

      7. Haha, that's because we're such braintwins. XD And say what? You're not horrendous at grammar! What are you even talking about?
      I've noticed that too, that newer books seem to have more typos. It might also be one of the downsides to the rise of indie/self publishing. (Which has many positives too, don't get me wrong.)
      "ALL HAIL THE OXFORD COMMA." I lost it at that one. XD

      8. I really had to slog through those, sadly. I did like the plot twist at the end of book 2, so hopefully book 3 is an improvement?

      9. It doesn't happen ALL that frequently, so that's no big surprise. I can't even recall one particular example... I just feel like it happens sometimes. :P

      10. *huggles big fat yes* It just makes me blink at the page, want to reach for that red pen again, but then stop because how do I even fix this mess? XD

      Ha, I LOVED your comment! You guys are ALL pitching in with such great thoughts. Rants are kinda fun, from the looks of things. XD

      And I've probably been guilty of all these things myself. It's not about beating ourselves up, just about looking at what makes us as readers tic, and then applying that to our writing. <3

  6. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POINT 2! Seriously, this irks me so much when I see it. It's really just lazy writing, and such a waste. It's the side of show don't tell that most people forget about, I think. It could just be one measly sentence, but it has so much potential if we show instead of tell with it.

    Um, I had to google what an Oxford comma was. There are so many comma rules; I didn't know some of them actually had names. I didn't realize though that the Oxford comma is "optional"? Why? The sentence looks symmetrical when it's present.

    Oh, yes sloppy POV drives me crazy too. Anything that involves poor POV tends annoy me.

    This is an awesome list! I agree with pretty much all of your points.

    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one bugged by that! It's so common that I have to wonder sometimes if I'm just being oversensitive. But that's so true: it IS a side of "show don't tell" that doesn't get taught very often.

      (To be honest, I only discovered what it was...when? A year or two ago?) Yes, apparently it's optional. You can go without it and still be grammatically correct, I just...don't like it. XD

      POV is a big deal! Slipping out of POV is jarring.

      Thanks, Ashley! Any pet peeves of yours that I missed?

  7. Hallelujah! I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!
    My family is SO sick of my ranting and raving against over-done plots, cookie-cutter characters, instant conversions, and tacky romance. Oh yes, have I let off steam.
    It seems like every other teen fantasy book I pick up has the works in it...a stunningly gorgeous teen girl with a casual-yet-dramatic sarcastic, self-pitying First POV who discovers she's the chosen one and falls desperately in love with the hot enemy prince or overly poetic thief who's just DYING for her love. Yup. And then somehow, despite the fact that she is an inexperienced, naive foreigner, she manages to save the day. *barf*
    This post was SPOT ON.
    One pet peeve of mine, which I basically described above, is the teen-girl-chosen-one who falls in love with the dark-haired brooding, mysterious, dangerous enemy (who happens to be the crown prince) with the unique or 'startlingly piercing' eyes.
    Gross. That is just gross. *blech*

    Oh yes, ranting is satisfying. Thank you for this post...I agreed with every word of it. :)

    1. My family is subjected to my rants on a regular basis too. XD Especially when I come across an unfortunate book that contains multiple pet peeves of mine... *shudders*

      Oh goodness, you just listed so many annoying tropes. Especially the "inexperienced, naïve foreigner who manages to save the day." I'm all for ordinary heroes and underdogs and all, but they need some training first, and some natural skills or talents to go along with that.

      The eyes! Enough with the abnormal eyes! Everyone has brilliant green or piercing blue ones. Or in fantasy, they're sometimes weird colors like amber or violet. Which is admittedly kind of cool, but NOT when it's been done a hundred times before. Blech is right.

      Haha, good to hear, Amy! ;D

  8. DOCTOR WHO GIFS! :D I too found them fun to use wayyy before I started watching it. XD They're just perfect! (Especially Tennant. ;))

    Yeah, the parents thing can be annoying; and don't get me started on grammar. *face-palms like the Doctor* Seriously, grammar and punctuation and spelling errors, and just... UGH. -_- The problem is, speaking as a writer, I know that I myself am guilty of several of these, often... 2, probably 8, maybe 9, and definitely 10 (KW, anyone? >.>) so... I dunno if I dislike them myself but obviously I'm kinda hypocritical if I do. :P

    I'm sure I have bookish pet peeves because I know sometimes I go "WHYYYY DO BOOKS DO THIS???" but I can't think of any right now other than character deaths and unhappy endings. >.> I'm sure I have some though. It's just that I'm such a book enjoyer instead of a book critic, so I try to enjoy things instead of analyze them, and consequently don't always have answers to these sort of questions. XD

    Great post! It's always interesting to hear peoples likes (and dislikes) about books! :)

    1. Maybe using the gifs is the first step towards being sucked into the DW fandom? XD

      Grammar and punctuation and spelling errors--UGH is right. XD
      I think we're ALL guilty of SOMEBODY'S pet peeve at one time or another. Looking back at my list, I think I've done most of those myself at some point. (And maybe that's why they bug me. XD) And hey hey, wait--I ADORE your Kedran's Wood books! Even when the characters are just hanging out and the plot's not moving very fast, I love every single hilarious line. Seriously. LOVE. So I think it also depends on how an author goes about doing these things. (Like I mentioned in an earlier comment, I can overlook #2 when the story and characters are engaging. If a book is already just "meh," and it suffers from #2 as well, THEN it just exacerbates things.)

      Can I just hug you? I feel like I should be killing off more of my characters than I am currently, but it's good to know there are readers like you who don't WANT anyone to die. XD And being a book enjoyer rather than a book critic has a definite upside! Sometimes I wish I could turn off my analytical side when I read.

      Thank you dearie! ^ ^

  9. (Oh and the Saruman vs. Kyle thing. XD This makes me think of a friend of mine who's named Kyle and happens to have the best evil-laugh ever, sooo... Kyle can be a scary name. XDDDD *gigggles* Plus I personally think that "K" names have a scarier sound? But yo do bring up a good point! :P)

    1. Seriously? Lolzy, that's perfect! XDDD
      Good point about "K" names. I myself have a villain whose name begins with a K. Maybe I should've used Bob as an example instead. :P

  10. ALL I WANT IS A T-SHIRT THAT SAYS "I SUPPORT THE OXFORD COMMA". I thought you'd appreciate this best pic ever:

    (I'm sorry that google image urls are so long. It's something we have to bear.)

    Anyway, YES TO THIS POST. Eragon put me to sleep big time. I felt (and this is one of my fantasy peeves) that it had no scope. I love a fantasy novel like LotR or Game of Thrones where you can *feel* the geographical distance, whereas Eragon just had a rubbishy map at the front, and we were told that he was on a quest, and that was that. I didn't FEEL the quest at all. And I guess that's a pacing thing. (I suppose you have both time and space pacing? If that makes sense?) Also the writing of it killed me. At one point it said -- DIRECT QUOTATION -- "the diamond sparkled dazzlingly". I'm sorry?!!

    Which leads us nicely into show don't tell! I naturally always write "I see her coming towards me" or "I feel the wind rising" and have to give myself a telling off whilst editing XD

    YES TO #3. I am definitely a hopeless romantic and can't pretend not to like kissing scenes (I'm reading Forever by Maggie Stiefvater at the moment, OTP LIKE DANG) buuut you are right. I hate too when the FMC is all like "I'm Divergent!" or "I have a bow and arrow, DOWN WITH THE CAPITOL!" and yet it's always her relationship with the boy (or boys, if it's a love triangle, which it so often is) that end up defining her.

    Great post, I loved it!

    (Although I have to admit my villain's name means "Evil King of Darkness". ALTHOUGH, you wouldn't know that unless you're really good on Greek, Russian and Welsh mythology/etymology, which I'm hoping most readers are not.)

    1. You make that T-shirt, and I just might buy it. *nods* Oh gosh, that's terrible! XD Oxford commas are crucial. (I hear ya about the long urls. Some people know how to put links in their comments. Alas, I have not figured that out yet.)

      Interesting observation on Eragon's lack of scope! I felt like Christopher Paolini tried too hard to give it scope, and it just ended up falling flat. Like he had this big map and all these overly fantasy-esque names, but that's as far as it went. (Time and space pacing... You've set my brain whirring with ideas. I want to think on this some more.) SERIOUSLY? "The diamond sparkled dazzlingly?" ARGH.

      That's my default as well, so I've had to work on it too. XD

      I hear of so much reader love for Maggie Stiefvater, but have yet to try any of her books. I think I'm just wary of teen romances in general, especially when it's paranormal. What do you think of her books?
      LOL, true. I can imagine it's a tricky thing to write, though--romance woven into a large-scale plot...

      I'm glad! :)

      (That's really cool when a name means something important like that! I, for one, am not good on Greek, Russian, and Welsh stuff, so I probably wouldn't have guessed it on my own. XD)

    2. I have actually mastered that, and by mastered I mean Cait did a tutorial which I bookmarked and return to whenever I remain to at least try and look fancy. Which isn't often. Normally my CTRL+C CTRL+V instinct takes over.

      Once the king is called Galbatarix or whatever it was it takes a lot to convince me. The one thing I liked was the magic, I remember there were three different types, the Shades and ... two other types. And Brom (was he called Brom?) was teaching Eragon about healing, and saying "the amount of energy needed to heal a wound is the same as the amount the body would use to heal itself over time." So I remember at one point Eragon fixes someone's leg wound but properly exhausts himself. I think that's really interesting and the whole idea of energy balancing etc is one I've thought about a lot for my own book. But for me that was basically Eragon's only redeeming feature.

      "What do you think of her books?" ARE YOU READY FOR THIS QUESTION.

      So, The Raven Cycle is the SERIES OF MY HEART, MY ONLY LOVE (more or less). Definitely top five fave series material. I went into it really unsure; I won The Raven Boys in a giveaway, and I too was nervous about the paranormal teen romance. The blurb of TRB doesn't do it any favours, and the tagline is "If you kiss your true love, he will die", and it's about clairvoyants, and all these things combined made me v unsure. But I entered anyway not thinking I'd win and I did.

      SO IT'S AMAZING. It sounds like what you could call a "dumb teen romance" of the Twilight bent, but it is in fact marvellous. The books are absolutely beautiful, and so clever. People, I've found, like to put books in boxes, so if it's classic it's Deep and Meaningful and Has Themes, and if it's YA romance/fantasy it's Superficial and Trivial and Has No Themes. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I was reading an amazing fan theory article the other day which brought together quotations from the entire series, theorising about book 4 (coming out in TWELVE DAYS, HOLD ME), and DANG, it is CLEVER. I hate that I have to say that -- it should not be a *surprise* that a YA romance author is actually "literary" and "clever" but because of stereotypes within the genre I feel like I should make the point.

      THE MAGIC IS AMAZING. As a Christian I was nervous about the ghost/psychic element, but I'd say it's a lot more urban fantasy than really paranormal, and it doesn't make me uncomfortable. Also, if you're a bit squiffy with overt romance (as in #3 on this list), Blue, the MC, has a prophecy that if she kisses her true love he'll day (hence the tagline), so she doesn't kiss anyway just in case. So all the romance is suggested/constrained because she knows she mustn't.

      THE ROMANCE OH MY GOSH. OTP forever and ever and ever. The characters are absolute perfection. Stiefvater's characters are all so unique and brilliant. The raven boys whom Blue meets come from the local private school, but within that we have Gansey, Noah and Ronan from rich families, and Adam who has a scholarship and works himself to the bone to pay living costs. So there's lots of themes about class, wealth, social divides etc and it's really interesting.

      IT INVOLVES A QUEST. Gansey is desperate to find this ancient Welsh king, so if you like mythology that's another plus.

      They're also really funny.

      I'm so excited for book 4 I can hardly think.

      I'm not reading through all that, so if there are typos/things that don't make sense, I'm sorry. I've got no idea how long this comment is now. Forgive me.

    3. Cait did a tutorial? Mind dropping the link to that? (Ironic. Leaving a link to a tutorial on how to make links. XD) That might come in handy...

      Close! His name is Galbatorix. But yeah...not my favorite villain name. You're right, though, the magic system was actually pretty neat. I remember liking the energy limits too. It keeps things from escalating too much, which I feel is the danger with magic. If there's nothing to stop someone from razing an army with a wave of their hand or fixing all their problems at the drop of their hat, well. There will be issues.

      *grins* I had a feeling I'd get a long response to the Stiefvater question. Looks like I was right! XD That's super helpful, though. (And that is an excellent point on boxes. You could probably write a whole post on it, if you haven't already at some point.)

      I have no problems with magic in fiction--I've never been the sort to get bent out of shape over that. Ghosts aren't much of an issue either. Clairvoyants might be where I start to proceed with more caution (maybe because it can closely resemble real world stuff), but it's good to hear that this series dealt with it nicely. :)

      (Side note: squiffy. I've never heard that word before, but I LOVE it! *files away into vocabulary*) reeeally depends on the situation! I read some books that are straight up romantic fluff, and yet there are others where it just rubs me the wrong way. For #3 on this list, it's more an issue with characters having foolish priorities (a romantic relationship over saving the world, for instance). And there are lines I prefer characters don't cross, depending on the situation and what the book is trying to do--promote their choices as good and natural and what all romances should look like OR show realistically flawed humans making flawed choices. And I have no idea if that even made a lick of sense. >.<

      So. Back to The Raven Cycle. A matter of hours ago, I was at the library, and...yes, I picked up The Raven Boys! Go ahead: dance for joy. ^_^ So you'll probably hear my thoughts on it in this month's Subplots and Storylines!

      (Nothing to forgive. Long comments are awesome.)

    4. *the drop of *a* hat, not their hat. Gosh.


      Well, it COULD be a drop of their hat, as in, a magic hat spell, so when you drop your hat something happens. That would be quite funny, actually. Hat magic. A parody of magicians with rabbits. Maybe I should write a book about-- shut up, brain, shut up!

      But yeah. I only realised stupidly recently that none of my book's magic made sense. As in, in the first draft the mage character turns a coin into a fish and some cloth into a dove when he's doing a show thing (great pitch, Emily). And it took me 2+ years to realise that if you can make fish/birds you can cure world hunger. I suddenly had a lot of thinking to do for draft three! In future: DO ALL THE WORLDBUILDING FIRST. I've learnt that the hard way XD

      Ha, I did do a post a little while ago called The Genre Problem on that very topic. As in the problem of genre stereotypes and labelling books.

      No problems at all with magic -- I'm going to do a post on that topic v soon, probably called God and Magic. Obviously with mediums etc you have to be more careful because as you say real people do do that, but Stiefvater takes it from a much more magical angle.

      I am rather partial to the word squiffy myself XD That totally makes sense. I kinda want to do a post on that too; writing about immorality; how do you write sin without condoning it, etc.

      OH MY GOSH, YOU DID?! THAT'S SO EXCITING. I look forward to S&S! (Uh, even more than I was already, obviously.)

    6. Thank you ever so much! Bookmarking that for future reference.

      Lolzy, don't you just love plot bunnies? XD (Oh. Haha. Unintentional pun. Plot bunnies...magician's rabbits...oh bother.)

      I can sympathize with belated worldbuilding! I spent several years working on my fantasy WIP before realizing a whole whack of stuff didn't make sense. Worldbuilding after the fact can be rather difficult. Especially when you're trying to write it into the existing story (and also trying to remember what's on the page and what's just in your head).

      Did you? I shall have to hunt that post down. I can't recall if I read it or not...

      Ooh, looking forward to that God & Magic post! And the possible one about writing immorality too. Both are great discussion topics.

      I DID!! :D And S&S is coming up far too fast. How is the month over halfway done already?!

  11. Heheh, loved this post! Of course, I'm searching for my own writing style in all of these, so I read with caution. LOL

    Always room to improve, I'm sure.

    I agree with all of these, except maybe 9 and 10... 9 mostly just makes me laugh when I happen upon it... and I enjoy it immensely if the author uses it to sort of "poke fun" at their own story. And I really love a shifting point of view where I get to know what the other characters are thinking/feeling about the story... it helps me know whether or not the MC is a reliable narrator or not. I don't enjoy reading a story where I am left wondering if the character telling the story was really telling it like it was or if his/her biases and emotions were coloring all of the events. (For example, the book FLIPPED does an alternating perspective where you get to read the same events from each character's POV and what happens in each scene is vastly different depending on who is telling the story... which lets me know that what REALLY happened was actually probably somewhere in between the two extremes). I dunno, I just enjoy a story that doesn't leave me with one character... that means I don't have to LOVE the MC in order to enjoy the story (that's my biggest beef (ok, maybe not my biggest beef... but one of them) with both the Hunger Games and the Twilight saga (and even a little bit in the Divergent series, though not to such an extent)... I DESPISED the main character in each series and was stuck in her awful head for the entire series. Blech.

    #1, 3, and 6 TOTALLY AGREE. Aghhhhhhhhhhh!


    1. Oh, and I love the Oxford Comma. It's my favorite and I loves it. :) Grins like an idiot, happy I'm not the only one.

    2. Thanks, Jenelle! I do the exact same thing when others talk about their pet peeves or tropes they want to burn to the ground. There's usually an "ouch" moment for me in those posts. XD I guess part of it is just readers' tastes (and thankfully there are many different kinds of readers out there!) and another part of it IS a good reminder to grow. Like you said, there's always room for improvement. :)

      Yes! I agree with you on both those points, and I'm sorry if the way I wrote that part of the post was misleading. >.< It's fun when obvious villain names are done in a joking manner, for sure. It's just those few stories that are all grave and solemn and self-important--if we're supposed to be in the dark about the villain's identity, but they tout around a super obvious name... Yeah. But if the author introduces a Dark One or a Lord Wrath or something or other in a winking manner, then I love the humor.

      And oh no! I actually love multiple POVs! My own WIP series has two main ones, with a few secondaries added in from time to time. Especially in fantasy or other stories with a big scope, it's so intriguing to get the perspective of more than one character. ^_^ I just meant that I don't like it when an author waffles around, not fully dipping into ANYONE'S head. They write in an almost cinematic style, and yet it's not even properly omniscient... I don't know. Does that even make any sense?

      (But ugh, it's the worst when you hate the MC and they're the narrator all the time! I've never read Twilight *cough* probablyneverwill *cough*, but I can see why you'd dislike Katniss and Tris. I personally liked them both, but they did have their moments of "WHYYY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!")

      We shall just mutter and growl and grind our teeth over those ones. XD

      Yay for the Oxford comma! (And yikes, this comment got long.)

    3. Ah, I totally misunderstood your multiple POV point. LOL Sorry about that. Yes, if you never get to really know any of the characters because of it, then that's a problem!!

    4. LOL, it's no fault of yours! I probably didn't explain it very well. XD

  12. I agree with all of these! I especially hate it when the parents look like bafoons. It's one reason I love the Dragons in Our Midst and Avatar: The Last Airbender series. The parents are wise and truly care about their children.It's refreshing.

    1. I haven't watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I totally agree about DIOM! Bryan Davis does such a good job with ALL character relationships, I find. Families, friendships, romantic relationships, etc. The characters respect each other. You're right, it's so refreshing to read. :)

  13. I need to stop staring at the gif of David Tennant in the rain because iT MAKES ME CRY.

    Kudos for using gifs of him. XD

    Thank you for listing #3 (kissing while the world burns) in this post because OH MAN YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY. When the characters start making out when the world is going to hell in a hand basket and one (or both of them) is probably going to get shot any second now because they weren't paying attention, by that point I'm just like, "Fine. Get shot. I don't care anymore because you deserved it for your terrible life choices. I'm going to go watch Avatar: the Last Airbender because it's an AWESOME SHOW."

    / end rant & Airbender plug.

    PRRRRRETTY MUCH ALL OF THESE are pet peeves of mine. Thank you for writing this post. And making me super conscious of all these mistakes in literature. XD

    1. You're welcome. XD

      That kind of ignore-the-disaster romance instantly discredits the characters, doesn't it? So grating. If they can't see past their emotions and hormones, how are they even capable of seeing far enough past themselves to perform any heroics in other parts of the story?

      I hear good things about Avatar: The Last Airbender, but admittedly, I've never gotten into anime and whatnot. Nor have I tried, so... :P But a lot of people talk about shows with excellent storytelling, which might be enough to grab me one day. :)

      Great minds think alike. XD But I'm not sure whether making y'all more conscious of literary flaws is a good thing or a bad thing...