The odd mistake is fine, to be expected in fact. I can get past that. God knows, I make plenty. But if there are so many mistakes that it takes me out of the story, I’m out.
I don’t mind a bit of stylistic repeating of tone or sentence structure – even a preference for certain turns of phrase or words can be okay. But when it gets to a point that I start wondering if the author has actually heard of a thesaurus, then I start getting annoyed. This was one of the (many, many) issues I had with Fifty Shades of Grey.
If I can see the plot twist or where the story is going then what’s the point in reading it? This Is What Happy Looks Like was like that for me. Even worse when it’s a mystery.
4. Writing as if the audience should be very impressed with your cleverness.
I’ll be impressed if you, you know, impress me. But don’t come up with some plot that’s supposed to be really amazing and write it as if you’ve just revealed the location of the fountain of youth, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle and come up with a cure for cancer when all you’ve done is write a moderately entertaining and somewhat predictable novel. This was my issue with The Da Vinci Code. I would have been more impressed if Brown hadn’t written it as if he was blown away by his own cleverness.
5. Impenetrable language.
Long words are fine. A varied vocabulary is great. But when the author is contemporary and clearly throwing obscure words around to show off, I just wanna smack them.
6. Too many characters.
Oh man, War and Peace. The first five pages had more characters (all with apparently the same three names in variation) than all the Harry Potter books combined. My brain can’t keep track!
7. Unbelievable characters
Don’t decide halfway through a book that you wish you’d written a different character and just start writing that character. Don’t make your characters do things that are completely, you know, out of character because you can’t figure out another way to get the story to come out right.
8. On-again, off-again love affairs.
It’s bad enough in TV shows, but in books? Puh-lease. Zero fucks.
9. Lazy writing.
The Hunger Games series. **SPOILER** I loved the premise of these books. And for the first half of each of them, they were even decently written. But as it got to the end, it was like the author had a set number of pages and ran out of space for the climax. You know, the part of the book we have been WAITING FOR. Chapter upon chapter of Katniss hunting squirrels in the beginning, and then for the climax of each book she takes a nap. We have to find out what happened in a quick two page re-cap from another character when she wakes up? SERIOUSLY???? So annoyed.
I get that back in the day authors were paid by the word, so books like Bleak House are stupid long. I don’t like it, but I get it. But the Stephen King novels – some of them are heavier than my house. It’s just excessive. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the guy is a seriously talented writer, and the books are still worth reading, but I feel like he could have cut some of them down a bit. Just a few hundred pages or so.
I’m not going to go back and change mine, cos that would be cheating, but I can’t believe I didn’t think of the first two in The Broke and the Bookish post! Insta-love and animal cruelty. Both major turn-offs for me. I can handle people being hurt and killed (my favourite TV show is Criminal Minds) but have a puppy hit by a car and I’m in tears and putting the book back on the shelf (or throwing it out, if it’s really bad), no matter how much I want to know what happens. I’m also with them on some of the others – the super-controlling-guy-you’re-supposed-to-root-for one and the virgin-as-saint one.
Want to share some of your book turn-offs? Head over to The Broke and the Bookish and link up! //<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>