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dragonmyst

Things in books that annoy you

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Is there anything that irritates you when you come across it in books? Somthing in the title, plot, cover, method of writing, character trait, or anything else? For me it is love triangles. I hate them with a passion. I am a big believer in polyamoury and seeing a pointless stupid love triangle can ruin a story for me. I will still read it but I am never happy about the added useless drama. They are way too common since the "success" of twilight and a lazy writing gimmick. And they are always with a straight woman in a middle. Never with LGBT characters. Also, It would still be dumb even with that but at least they would get points for originality. And it isn't realistic. The attraction for someone in real life is only very seldom split between two people equally. The characters typically have so many more important things to worry about. So what irritates you?

Edited by dragonmyst

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I hate it when I dislike all the characters and can't really relate to any of them. Or when the main character/s just plain annoy me. Examples are Wuthering Heights, Atonement and The Remains of the Day.

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I hate when authors modify the word 'said' with useless adverbs like loudly, sharply, gently, gleefully, etc. J.K. Rowling is especially bad with this in the first couple Harry Potter books, she almost never lets that verb stand on its own. Ideally, you shouldn't be modifying that word with adverbs ever, because the reader glosses over the word and it becomes invisible, which is what you want. If you draw too much attention to your dialogue tags, you're taking attention away from the dialogue itself, which should stand on its own. The tags are just there so that the reader knows who's speaking. To have a book that does it like 70% of the time was quite frustrating and distracting. 

 

I hate when authors kill off characters purely for shock value. Killing off a character is the easiest thing for a writer to do. Making their death feel inevitable and symbolically cathartic is hard. That's good writing. Shock value deaths that nobody saw coming are not. It's why I have no interest in actually reading Game of Thrones, and why I'm basically hate-watching the show. Martin is a hack, imo. 

 

Long descriptions of setting or of a character's appearance that serves no other purpose than the visual. If your writing is good, any description should also be imparting character, plot, or general world-building at the same time. I don't care what that meadow looks like unless the way it looks has something to do with what the dark lord did here 100 years ago and helps the hero figure out his next move. Don't spend an entire page telling me how beautiful the grass in it is for its own sake. I've seen fantastical meadows before, I get the idea. Similarly, I know what a beautiful woman looks like. Just tell me she has red hair, light skin, and is gorgeous and I know what I need to know. Don't linger on the specifics and pile on adjectives, it's just boring and awkward. Furthermore, leaving it open to interpretation means that she is, in fact, gorgeous to all your readers, regardless of taste. If you over-describe her, I might not find her as beautiful as you do, and if it's important that I find her beautiful, then you've just undermined your character and my experience. 

 

I don't mind love triangles as long as they make sense and aren't vapid and tacked on. I've found that usually if a book has a love triangle, at the very least some thought has been paid to the romantic aspect. Much worse is the book where romance was clearly a far secondary consideration and yet it was half-halfheartedly included anyway, because every book has to have a romance subplot to be marketable. Screw that. Don't put a romance in your book if it doesn't fit. I'm looking at you, J.K. Rowling. Harry and Ginny have no chemistry and he starts obsessing over her out of literally nowhere.

 

I hate when authors with an agenda who refuse to play devil's advocate with their characters. The best authors are people who you would have a hard time guessing their exact political and religious beliefs accurately just from reading their work, because they aren't afraid to write characters who are wholly unlike themselves and are capable and willing to write those characters believably and respectfully without resorting to strawmen or stereotypes. Brandon Sanderson is a mormon and yet his work never comes across as overtly religious or preachy to me, and he writes a very believable and respectable atheist that doesn't make me feel like he's misrepresenting people like me just because he believes differently.  

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Unnecessary romance, especially in crime novels.  It seems to be really common in US crime that the main character falls for the woman very quickly.  It's the main reason I stopped reading the Dan Brown books after the second one; Robert Langdon didn't seem to be able to do anything without falling for a woman within the first few pages.

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When the story doesn't flow (lack of descriptive words). When it feels like an effort to imagine the scenes instead of the scenes just flowing by like i'm a spectator. 

Edited by Michelle

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I hate it when authors use a protagonist, whose actions they never explain. I'm not very good at reading motivation from action, so those books leave me annoyed and baffled.

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When the author repeatedly uses a certain phrase.

Barbara Erskine is a favourite author of mine, but it drives me nuts how her characters will say "I gather"( i.e. I understand) again and again and ...!!

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When the author repeatedly uses a certain phrase.

Barbara Erskine is a favourite author of mine, but it drives me nuts how her characters will say "I gather"( i.e. I understand) again and again and ...!!

Yep! I can't remember the exact phrase but in Under the Dome by Stephen King he make a ridiculous number of references to people wetting themselves in fear/surprise. It was my first of his books and it drove me mad!

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Spelling mistakes this I find unforgivable if the writer has read through it a couple of times, do they not get someone to proof read it as well.  When I find a spelling mistake it throws me out in my reading because then I spend my time trying to find more and there usual are.

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Oh yes and  those little typos like an extra "is" or "as" or "a" suddenly appearing in the middle of a sentence, the book I've just finished had a lot of this - is the problem with the proof reading or type-setting?

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Yep! I can't remember the exact phrase but in Under the Dome by Stephen King he make a ridiculous number of references to people wetting themselves in fear/surprise. It was my first of his books and it drove me mad!

 

:lol: I can't remember that, but I remember Big Jim Rennie constantly pounding on his chest to keep his heart beating properly. :lol:

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I once read a book where it said the wrong character's name after speech bubbles.

 I won't have explained that very well but it was pretty embarrassing that the author made the mistake and it wasn't picked up by the editor.

 

I agree with Booknutt, about repeating phrases and words. It seems when an author finds a word they like they just go with it, over and over again. It's pretty lazy. What makes it worse for me is when I read reviews on GoodReads before I finish the book and somebody has written down my own thoughts and I seem to see it even more. 

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Another thing that's quite annoying is when there is a large section of dialogue and you're not told who is saying what. You have to keep going back to the beginning to work out which character is speaking. Also when different character's dialogue is not put on a separate line so there's some confusion over who is speaking.

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Maps in fantasy books.

 

And especially maps in fantasy books by authors who have no idea about geography or town planning.

 

And extra especially the authors who start talking about places that aren't on their flippin' maps

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I'm reading a library book at the moment where someone has corrected the grammar/spelling in places.  The writing in the book is bad enough, but also, so far, the corrections are unnecessary as the grammar is not incorrect!!! :Tantrum:

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20 hours ago, bookmonkey said:

I'm reading a library book at the moment where someone has corrected the grammar/spelling in places.  The writing in the book is bad enough, but also, so far, the corrections are unnecessary as the grammar is not incorrect!!! :Tantrum:

 

Oh wow! That's double annoying! I hate it when people write things in books, even when their corrections are correct. Send out a hitman, you reckon?:ph34r:

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In science fiction it annoys me if the SF aspect is only there to set up either a) some sort of alternative historical Earth with castles and what-not, or b) some sort of fantasy world with people resembling elves, dwarfs, etc. In both cases civiliation is recovering from nuclear war which set the date back to year zero. In the case of b) mutations caused by radioactive fall out led to the pointy ears and the short stature.

 

Postmodern books that do not have beginnings, middles and ends in the correct order, and which have parallel stories that do not go anywhere annoy me.

 

Surprisingly to me, since I am a bit of a reactionary and not a feminist, I don't like reading very macho characters in books. I really did not like How Green Was My Valley, and I disliked a SF book I read recently whihc had a rather domineering security officer.

 

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Unbelievable "romances" in books. Those particularly high octane thrillers are usually the culprits for this. Our macho hero finds himself introduced to a woman - usually the only woman in the whole book. You know they are going to end up together, and it will have no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

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1 hour ago, ian said:

Unbelievable "romances" in books. Those particularly high octane thrillers are usually the culprits for this. Our macho hero finds himself introduced to a woman - usually the only woman in the whole book. You know they are going to end up together, and it will have no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

 

 

Dan Brown is bad for this.  I gave up reading his books because as soon as a woman was introduced you knew the main character was going to end up in bed with her.

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Agreed, Ian and Bookmonkey - and what annoys me more is that such authors usually throw in a bit of "romance" to draw in female readers, who apparently can't follow a story unless there's kissy-kissy stuff in it!! 😤

 

 

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On 18/08/2017 at 7:23 AM, bookmonkey said:

I'm reading a library book at the moment where someone has corrected the grammar/spelling in places.  The writing in the book is bad enough, but also, so far, the corrections are unnecessary as the grammar is not incorrect!!! :Tantrum:

Sounds a real treat! 

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Are the corrections in text speak itsmeagain? One of my favourite nightmares is a novel produced entirely of such laziness. A true crime against the English (or any other) language.

😢😢😢

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On 05/09/2017 at 7:54 AM, Booknutt said:

Are the corrections in text speak itsmeagain? One of my favourite nightmares is a novel produced entirely of such laziness. A true crime against the English (or any other) language.

😢😢😢

It was bookmonkey who saw it, not me, Booknutt. 

Edited by itsmeagain

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On 9/5/2017 at 6:54 PM, Booknutt said:

Are the corrections in text speak itsmeagain? One of my favourite nightmares is a novel produced entirely of such laziness. A true crime against the English (or any other) language.

😢😢😢

No, they were in English, just not grammatically correct.

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