Thirteen things that sometimes irk me in books I’m reading
1. An author who writes series books that can’t stand alone or has continuing story lines, but then never writes the follow-up book.
2. Made up words in fantasies that are never explained.
3. Variations of the name Lucian, Lucan, Damon, Damien, and Ned. lol, sorry, couldn’t resist that last one. Now I have Nancy Drew in my head, though.
4. Introducing plot threads but never tying them up.
5. Unsympathetic characters.
6. The Big Misunderstanding (yuck, yuck, yuck, phooey).
7. Previously smart heroines who suddenly do the dumbest thing ever or act in a completely irrational manner.
8. A book that reads like a translation dictionary (this goes with #2). If you use foreign or made up words, don’t write it like: I’m giving him this, shala, key, to use. I like a little subtlety in my writing even if I want things explained so I can visualize the world.
9. 10,000 characters to keep track of and all of them with unpronouncable names. Eek.
10. Secret babies (and yet, I’ve edited two books that have “secret babies” in them).
11. A plot device used but not treated as a serious issue (death of a loved one, divorce, break-up of a marriage, rape, murder, etc). The characters seem to move on and recover in a day or two.
12. Obscure words used in an unfamiliar context. I don’t mind big words (I’m an editor, after all, I like words) but sometimes it’s nice to not have to pull out the dictionary to figure out the meaning of a sentence. If a more familiar word will work, why not use it?
13. Too many pop culture references, cliches, idioms or the like. It assumes that those things mean the same to everyone–or that everyone has grown up with/been surrounded by the uses of them. They don’t and they haven’t.
14. Sex to sell a book, not because the book demands it. I don’t want a random sex scene, please. I want a sex scene that belongs there. On the run from terrorists who are five minutes behind you in a forest and you drop into a pit filled with poisonous snakes? Please don’t stop to have a quickie–or even test how wet/hot/hard he/she is. Get the hell out of there!