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Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

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Crono91
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Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby Crono91 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:44 pm

So I'm sure this type of thread is somewhere in the buried treasure of Writer's Digest, but I thought, keeping with the motif if improving writing, that we look to published novels and point out things that annoy us, as a way to point out aspects we should consider improving in our own writing.

It can be as small or as big as you'd like.

I would like to make one small rule that doesn't have to be followed. I prefer this thread to be about less of personal preference pet peeves, as in, "I hate when authors make up weird names for characters," and more about things to improve upon pet peeves, as in,

---

My biggest pet peeves in novels is when authors do not adequately introduce characters in a way that does not elicit confusion in the readers.

I've come across this quite a few times in books. It usually happens where a main character meets a "band" of new characters at once, where the author is throwing at me a bunch of names with generic physical descriptions and then throws me into a plot, using all those names as if I'm supposed to be able to know who they are.

I've seen this in books based in reality, which is still confusing, but the highest of these mortal sins is in fantasy, where all the names are weird and unique, which makes it 10x harder to keep track of.

If you're introducing more than one character at a time, don't assume the reader is going to instantly keep track of who they are. The way I personally handle this problem is by giving the new characters a spot light for a moment, and also have them physically "do" something in the scene. Often times an author will introduce a bunch of characters and they're all just standing or sitting there in the room.

Or say you're introducing three characters: introduce two, and have the third one come into the room a few paragraphs later, which will help readers create distinctions in their mind.

---

Anyone else have pet peeves that can help us grow as writers? :D
Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

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pls
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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby pls » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:22 pm

For me, usage errors, of course. But also stories where more characters are introduced than I can handle at one time. Babbling characters - those who talk and add nothing to the story. Stories with a perfunctory setting.
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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby shadowwalker » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:38 pm

My biggest pet peeve is when characters who are supposed to be smart or savvy do stupid things. Not the normal real people do stupid things things, but stupid things because otherwise the story would end at half its length things. If the only way to keep things going is to have the characters suddenly go brain dead, wake your own brain up and do something else.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby Crono91 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:02 pm

Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

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DrG2
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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby DrG2 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:22 pm

logic errors (plot holes, etc.) are what irritate me the most, but I usually at least get pretty far into the story before they make me want to trashcan a book.
bad writing usually shows up on page one.

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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby CantankerousYouth » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:44 am


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Crono91
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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby Crono91 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:26 am

Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby CantankerousYouth » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:23 am


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shadowwalker
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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby shadowwalker » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:39 am

I don't get too wrapped up in "wise ones" - mainly because, when it comes right down to it, all they ever really do is say what they want the others to do or make the others decide for themselves ("do what your heart tells you"). If it comes to specialized knowledge, well, that's what the internet is for (I've met a great many experts in various fields and they love helping out). So basically, if I think of something I want to have happen, I research to see if it's possible first, and then how. Toss in a few platitudes and boom, "O Wise One" does it again. :lol:
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: Your Pet Peeves That You Read In Novels

Postby Kira8p » Fri May 06, 2016 9:27 am

One pet peeve I have is when characters drone on in pompous conversation that doesn't really progress the story. Its like the writer just wants to throw in as many big words as possible to help fill up a page, I run across this more and more and its just aggravating. The same characters could have said the same thing in less than half the lines.
Kira Park
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