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Reading Pet Peeves

PencilsA few weeks ago, one of our members, Gus Li, posted an article on some of the biggest tropes in Fantasy – including my personal favorite, the Weapon Too Big To Carry.

It got me thinking. We all have those things that really bug us as readers – you know, where you just roll your eyes at the writer and say “Really?”

And as writers, many of us have our own nervous tics – little things we go back to again and again although we know we shouldn’t.

I know one of mine – the mirror trick, when you want to sneakily describe your character.

“Trajax looked at himself in the mirror and hated what he was. The third limb that was just a little too green, the droopy antennas, the nose holes that were just a little too large for good taste.”

Been done. Over it.

So my questions today – as a reader, what are the things that, when you read them, make you want to throw the book across the room? And as a writer, what are some of your own literary tics?

2 thoughts on “Reading Pet Peeves”

  1. I have a few small pet peeves that make me want to smack an author with a critical review, like homophones or failure to use basic dialogue punctuation. Oh, and not knowing when Dad/mom should be capitalized or not. Little things. But what turns me off an author and story completely?

    Clear lack of research.

    When an author sets a story in a real-life location and fails to even look at a map, or gives a character broken ribs and then has them giving a blow job, on their knees and bending over a person sitting on a couch, or has a police officer coming on scene and being given medical information about a dead body before the coroner even shows up… those things are such glaringly obvious mistakes that even laymen should pick up on them. Writers can write what they don’t know, but if that’s the case, the only responsible thing to do is research the subject through legitimate means.

    That does not mean read another story or basing their information on a story some other author wrote. That means finding books by reputable sources. Contacting real-life people in their character’s profession. LOOK AT A MAP BEFORE THEY SEND THE CHARACTER ON A ROAD TRIP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

    Anything else smacks of a lack of dedication to the craft and the quality of an author’s work–not to mention a disrespect to the readers who spend their money and/or time to read their work.

    Reply
    • I agree – I did a bunch of research for one of my stories that was set in England – and for one in New York – and I still worried I’d get some details wrong!

      Reply

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