Bookish Question of the Week

QuoftheweekSo, reader friends, my dear blogger friend and writer, Rachel McMillan, has inspired me for this week’s bookish question, from a Facebook discussion she had while editing her own manuscript as she wanted to avoid pitfalls. We talk a lot about what we love about stories, cover art, and genres here but for a bit of fun today I want to hear about what things bother you when reading a novel. What pulls you out of a story. Just as we all have certain likes, no doubt we have different dislikes!

Here’s a few of mine (which I’ve realised are somewhat focused on the romance genre!):

 

  • The phrase “devastatingly handsome” drives me nuts ~ what does it even mean? (That’s rhetorical if you were wondering!). It’s clichéd and overused.
  • I’m not a fan of love triangles, especially when it is completely obvious from the beginning which of the love interests will triumph.  There are always exceptions to my distaste for love triangles, however ~ waving at you, Lori Benton!
  • When the leading man or woman is the only person who can’t see that the second love interest is completely selfish/deceitful/unkind/manipulative/pathetic (or insert your own adjective!) so, really what bothers me is poorly drawn characters.

What is your fiction pet peeve?

 

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78 Responses to Bookish Question of the Week

  1. a.) italicized prayers. they’re over-used to the point where in one CBA romance a heroine prayed for the feminine hygiene machine in the work bathroom to work.

    b.) heroines made clumsy so they can be endearing and subsequently rescued

    c.) in series, when a fun, spirited heroine is married off in the first book and then becomes a major bore: as if being married and moving into a domestic realm strips her of her independent streak and allure.

    d.) beefcake cowboy men. i don’t like the chiselled knights-in-shining-armour. i like brainy men or men who have some depth beyond their brawn. brainy is the new sexy, as the BBC sherlock so aptly puts it

    • What about an italicized accent? I quit reading a book because the author sounded out the character’s American southern accent and italicized those particular sentences. Every other person in the book had normal quotes around their speaking parts.

      • Sylvia M. » That’s weird, isn’t it? It would pull me out of the story, too! I’ve just thought of another one. I’ve just finished reading a novel by an acclaimed author who has an Australian character in it and his “accent” is just wrong on numerous occasions. Would have been so easy to get that right. Any Australian who reads it will be frustrated by it!

    • Rachel, C! Yes!!!!! I came across this in a book last year. Couldn’t believe the change in character. It was like she was a completely different person. Kinda ruined the book, honestly.

    • rachel » I get your a-d, dear girl. Truer words have never been spoken 😉

  2. Rel, I completely agree with you on all of those. The devastatingly handsome one doesn’t make much sense, but is not as much a bother to me as the others you mentioned. Using that phrase is telling not showing and should be avoided though.

    One pet peeve of mine is when the scenery and surroundings get described right in the middle of an important kissing scene! I hate interrupted or continually thwarted kissing scenes by other people, but to interrupt the kiss for describing the weather, the mountains in the distance or a lengthy mental run-down by the heroine on how good God has been and all the wonderful things that have happened in the couple’s relationship over the past few months is a big problem. That stuff should be included in the book, but not placed right in the middle of their kiss. It takes my mind, concentration, and emotions right out of the scene. I have to have another paragraph of kissing to get back to where I was. I just read one the other day that had a scene just like I described. Speaking of kisses I do prefer two or three really good kissing scenes in a book, rather than every time the hero and heroine are on the same page. It gets old and doesn’t have the same impact on the reader’s emotions. The kisses I remember the most are the ones that take place only once or twice in the book, but the most is made out of those scenes.

    • Sylvia M. » Yep, gotcha on that one. Have you read Jody Hedlund’s The Noble Groom? One of the best kissing scenes I’ve read 😉

      • Yes, I own that book. Jody is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. :)

      • Rel ~ You read my mind! Jody Hedlund’s scene in The Noble Groom was masterfully written! Dog-eared page, took notes. ; )

        • Kristy » Hey Kristy – thanks for dropping by. Wasn’t that scene fabulous! If you were taking notes, then I can’t wait to dive into your novel. It is calling to me 😉 Once my INSPYs reading is done, I’ll be picking up The Butterfly and the Violin!

          • Here’s every hashtag I could think of in reply: #nailbiting #sonervousIcouldpuke #Awesomeness #YeahthatRocks #cleankissscenes #readersareamazing and…. #ThankYou! :) ENJOY, my friend.

  3. My pet peeves are the heroes that are not realistic. Also love triangles, were the heroine keeps going back and forth between the two. I don’t mind two love interest as long as the middle of the book or later that you get clues to which she will choose. That’s what I like about Laura Frantz’s books.

  4. What an inspired post, Rel – and Rachel. 😉 Cool idea to chat up what we DON’T appreciate.

    Agree with all of your pet peeves Rel though on occasion – as you say, love triangles work. I think I prefer them if we get the sense that the heroine (I’m using that descriptor because usually it’s two guys, one girl that comprises the triangle) is set on which man she really loves (flip-flopping is the worst of it – hello YA genre!) and it’s the “other guy” who won’t give up the fight which in turn does nothing to endear him. (That almost lends itself to portraying the guy as uncontrollable in his emotions or “creepy.”)

    Pet peeves:

    1.) Multiple first-person POV’s. Two is okay (depending on the story) – the male / female, but when you start to mix it up with other POVs, I find it more distracting than informative and usually either have to “push” myself to finish it or set it aside.

    2.) Christianity that “feels” like it doesn’t come naturally in the writing – sometimes the way it’s presented is almost like it’s a supernatural event instead of just being a quiet moment of awe. Characters in need of saving don’t have to encounter God with bells and whistles, sometimes He works in subtlety and when there is an overdramatic moment, the scene doesn’t seem as genuine.

    3.) Romance that is all about the physical attractors.

    4.) When heroes aren’t men. As Rachel says, this doesn’t have to be defined by them being brawny – though there is nothing wrong with that and for certain characters it’s perfect, in my mind, it has to do with their character; how they behave, react and treat the heroine.

    5.) and tying into that^ thought, I cannot stress enough the importance of genuine characters which is actually sort of subject to every reader. I believe that no matter how good a book is written – and I’ve read some that were very well written just not my cup of tea, if the reader isn’t connecting or feeling anything for the leading characters, it just doesn’t work. Though this is all in a reader experience – someone may adore the characters and another reader may have found them stale.

    • Rissi » Yes, yes, yes! Genuine characters are the BEST! Not perfect, but authentic, real, and with decent qualities. That’s not so hard, surely?! Thanks for your fabulous thoughts on this topic, Rissi. I want to be able to respect the characters I read – not because they always do the right thing or make the right choices but that that try, have integrity, and acknowledge when they mess up.

      Faith matters are key, too, aren’t they? One of the most beautiful stories I have read is Denise Hunter’s Nantucket Bay where God is not mentioned overtly but the story is one of real redemption and sacrifice, and His love is imprinted within the story. It was a moving read because it was naturally a part of the storyline – a bit of a modern day parable, in a way.

      • Note to self: Read Denise’s Nantucket series! 😉 Cannot wait to get into those and how you describe the themes of faith sounds beautiful. In my reading experience it’s been the subtle that has impacted me most and often if a book comes across too “preachy,” it just doesn’t have the same effect.

        Love what you said about genuine characters, Rel. Such truth in those words. Thanks!

  5. I have to say those mentioned don’t really bother me too much. I accept I am going to know most of the time which is chosen in a triangle due to the hero having a POV. I do have a few things that really bother me, but I will add that the ladies in my writers’ group tell me most are because I’m a man and Christian fiction is generally targeted to women. With that disclaimer, I struggle with heroines who do stupid things. I want them to be smart and know their own minds. So many suspense heroines seem to fit this to me, both secular and Christian. I do not like misunderstandings for plot points, especially if they go on for a long time. I am always thinking that the problem from the misunderstanding should and could be solved with a simple conversation. I agree to a point about the cowboy hero. I would say what I really dislike is the bad boy becoming the hero because the heroine rescues him. Extremely unrealistic. Bad boys don’t change just because they get married. I always leave that story thinking there should be a sequel showing the divorce court coming in a few years. I admit I have written a couple of heroes who were somewhat bad. I always try to show a genuine heart change through the Lord before the happily ever after with the heroine. A lot a angst makes me tired. I want conflict, but I usually prefer outer conflict. When a heroine has more baggage than Delta Airlines, I struggle with finishing. As an English teacher, I can’t abide the use of second person outside of dialogue. Jerks me completely out of the story. Overdone accents or speech patterns, especially on regional characters or those of other races, I find insulting. My last one is true of almost all books and I understand why, but I still hope to be able to write one someday. I don’t like a book to end right after everything is wrapped up. I have gone through so much conflict and many problems with these characters. I want to read scenes where they are happy and content, Norman Rockwell paintings come to life. I know most people find this boring, but I love reading about people sharing happy times with others: meals, hobbies, outings, and casual conversation. My favorite writers tend to insert some of these scenes and I am fascinated by them! Thanks for the space to share and rant a bit, Rel.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you, Aaron! I’m a woman and agree with almost all of these cases you have mentioned. I like to be taken past the engagement and be given happy scenes with the hero and heroine as a couple after all the conflict and drama are over. If we love the characters then we’re happy to hear more about them.

    • Aaron » LOVED your comments, Aaron – do NOT feel alone! I agree very much with the ditzy heroine, ugh, drives me mad. I get sometimes it is a character flaw but when an otherwise smart and practical woman goes all dithery and stupid when said guy turns up – ack!

      And ongoing misunderstandings make me crazy, too. I adored a novel last year, ah, Carla Laureano’s contemporary romance. Everyone was telling the heroine what a cad the hero was, yet that wasn’t her experience with him. Instead of immediately believing what her friends/others were saying about him (as usually happens), she evaluated all she knew of him and trusted her own instincts. I LOVED that – so refreshing :)

  6. Oops, left off one very big one to me. Historicals are my favorite stories, but those who have wrong historical content make me crazy!

  7. My pet peeves are:

    1) Too much detail. I realize that authors are painting a picture for us with their words, but when every color in the 64 Crayola crayon box is used to describe a sunset, scenery, or what someone is wearing I skip it and move on.

    2) Very little dialog. I prefer LOTS of verbal interaction between characters in books. When numerous pages appear without it, I quickly lose interest.

    3) When a question/comment is made and before a response is given, the author writes so much internal dialog that by the time the person finally responds I have to flip back through the pages to remind myself what the last spoken sentence was. I sometimes picture the person who asked/stated something, just standing their twiddling their thumbs waiting for the person to speak.

    4) Beginning a book not realizing the story will not be wrapped up at the end, but is part of series that will continue in future books.

    5) Completely agree with Sylva M. and her comment about “the scenery and surroundings get described right in the middle of an important kissing scene!” I want the kiss to be enjoyed by both parties and hearing their reactions to it. Couldn’t care less about the sun shining, birds singing, etc. Also, in regards to kissing…waiting until the very end of the book for them to have their first kiss is frustrating.

    6) No happy ending. I know that in life this happens, but I read for escapism where everyone ‘lives happily ever after’. When that doesn’t happen I feel as though I’ve wasted my time.

    I’m sure there are other pet peeves that I’ll think of as soon as I hit the SUBMIT button, but these are the ones that came to mind immediately.

    • Amy I have the same issue with to much detail about clothes etc.

    • Amy » Appreciate your thoughts, Amy. Good peeves – ha! I get what you mean about a HEA but I don’t always want a bow on everything. I like resolution of sorts but am quite content with some loose ends as it seems more authentic to me. I love a happy ending, too, but I like to see some variety.

      I do get ticked off by an epilogue that tacks on a wedding and kids in a couple of paragraphs that seems added on for the sake of it, rather than because it flows from the story. Sigh….

  8. A story with poor character development definitely falls apart for me. I would also add to the list recycled plotlines, too much infatuation, shallow (annoying) love between the characters, content that is too gritty, dark, gore and /or depressing, lack of spiritual depth, a writing style that isn’t engaging and is repetitive, flowery prose, characters too ”perfect” (goes in character development, but oh well), too much character development and lack of plot development (and vice-versa), a story that drags on and on, forced humour or spirituality. When it comes to love stories, I find that few authors have the gift of drawing the reader into the story. The pace shouldn’t be too fast nor too slow. Many of the love stories I’ve counted as favourites are marriages of convenience. It took me awhile to notice that tendency. There’s something so special about seeing the characters grow and mature as they face challenges together. Can’t get more swoon-worthy than that! I’m noticing that too many romance are far-fetched. It’s enough to make a girl lose sight of what romance — or TRUE LOVE, shall I say — IS in real life and it’s not always pretty and perfect with the knight in shining armour. I guess it’s one of the reasons why I feel myself slowly losing interest in romance.

    Okay, I’m repeating myself. Good day! (And nice question).

    • Ganise » Hey girl – great comments! I hear you. One for me is the beautiful character who is always saved by a wealthy one. Really grates on me as the message is clear – good looks and money = eternal romantic happiness. Shoot me now! Seeing that so often in Christian novels really gets my dander up – LOL!

  9. A weak opening. I can never get past them. And I’m SO with you on love triangles.

  10. Great question Rel.

    My top pet peeve is bad grammar. If I have to twist my head around the phrase and analyse what is wrong with it I am completely out of the story. If the grammar problems continue I become so wary about the next one coming along suddenly reading the book is all about deciphering and not about the story at all.

    My next pet peeve is predictability. If I pick up a book and figure out which boy is going to end up with which girl in the first chapter I don’t want to read any more….although I can’t abide not finishing so I inevitably do. I have read one book recently that managed to surprise me even though the predicted two ended up together. It was worth continuing, but that doesn’t always happen.

    Final one….long ‘setting the scene’ stuff in the beginning chapters. I find this tedious. I want to just jump into the action and get going. If it takes a quarter if the book to set the scene you’ve lost me. Like I said though, I always finish the book so there is time for the story to be redeemed. I just won’t recommend the book with a gushing “You just HAVE ti read this….”

    • Tracy » Great points, Tracy – as always. Poor grammar and typos sure make for a bumpy read, especially for us..ahem..pedantic…I mean, particular folk, like us!!

      I read two books last year by a HUGELY popular author (you know who I mean!) and both spent chapters and chapters AND chapters on scene setting, tedious and repetitive detail, and miscellaneous material. I think a third of the books could have been discarded and not impacted on the story at all. Such a shame :(

  11. So many to agree with! Here’s a few I would say:
    1. As Rachel said, the clumsy heroine for the sole purpose of being rescued. On the other hand, I love seeing a heroine fighting alongside the hero.

    2. I need to preface this with saying that I heart romance, but when a love story is all love-at-first sight, but then nothing beyond that. Yes they end up together, but it’s based on the physical connection more than anything else.

    3. I feel I need to preface this one too :), but I’m not a big contemporary fan. So if it’s the story of a career woman working, then coming back to her small town and dropping everything for the hometown boy, I probably won’t read it. It’s the cliche again.

    4. I vote death to love triangles. I have yet to enjoy one.

    Great discussion Rel!

    • ” Death to love triangles”. Made me smile. Come to think of it, I’ve frequently felt a bit uncomfortable reading those. Some of them are awkward, embarrassing/weird or just wrong, others plain sad — especially when/if both of the guys have good intentions. One winner, one loser.

    • I’m so sick of #3 as well. For once can the small-town girl go to the big city, love it, and succeed? That’s why I write big-city fiction. There are Christians and good people there!

      • Sally Bradley » LOL! That’s so true, Sally :) I think Americans are often quite fixated on the small town life!

        • Not this American! How are Australians on this issue?

          • Hi Sally

            I think Aussie’s are a little more realistic about the drawbacks of small-town life. In Australia it often means living quite remotely and that presents a fair share of difficulty. This country has a strong heritage of people who have had to grit their teeth and push through significant adversity throughout the small towns of the outback. It’s not for the fainthearted!

      • I agree! I’d love to read a great story about that! You know, show that you can actually be content in the city (especially since so many of us live there and work there and have no plans on moving to a small town :).

        • Jamie, my book set in downtown Chicago will be coming out later this year. I’m on FB, if you’d like to know when it’s available. I live in a small town now, and most days I’m good with it, but I hate having to drive half an hour to shop or go to doctors or find a decent restaurant. I miss my big city! :(

    • Jamie Lapeyrolerie » Ha! “Death to love triangles.” Love it!! What I’m finding interesting is we are all feeling similar things about these well used plot points but there must be a lot of other people out there who like them! I’m with you on 1, 2, 3, and 4! Especially 2! Thanks for sharing – I think you will quote of the day…if I had such a thing!

      • haha! Glad you liked it :) But yes, as it’s been mentioned with the love triangles, how many people actually have been a part of one or know someone in real life?? I need to find out what city they live in because clearly there are more available men than where I’m from – haha! Again, great discussion points!

  12. On the subject of love triangles I agree with almost everyone here that I’m not a fan. That being said I think they work when both guys are wonderful and the guy who gets left is the hero of the next book. It speaks well of the heroine when she doesn’t date a jerk. It also makes the hero look better for marrying a woman who has decent men liking her.

    • Sylvia M. » Good thoughts, Sylvia. It can be done well but it’s a rare occurrence in my view. I’m not sure how many women in real life have more than one man pursuing them! It happens, of course, but not as often as it does in novels, I surmise!

  13. Love triangles don’t work for me in fiction, for the same reason they turn me off ‘reality shows’ like The Bachelor and The Farmer Wants A Wife.

    I don’t like to see one winner and a one loser. And in the case of reality shows, I’m not a fan of the hero or heroine two-timing (three-timing and more) in the quest for ‘true love.’

    And Rel… if the hero is ‘devastatingly handsome’ wouldn’t that mean the demise of the heroine? (wink)

    • Dorothy Adamek » Well, you know I’m with you, Dotti! I think I hate the tension that a triangle creates and yes, that knowledge that someone is going to walk away shattered – boo! There’s a little of the Aussie underdog obsession probably going on with us, too – hehe!

      Beth Vogt handled it well and wrote a novella for the jilted guy in her debut novel!

      Absolutely, a man that handsome must mean the heroine just crumbles in a pile on the ground never to rise again 😉

  14. I am so over secret baby stories. especially when the characters were Christians at the time then for some reason the father doesn’t know and then they meet up years later. SO over that.

    I agree with the to much description of clothes.

    In Historical’s I do get tired of a weak heroine who has been so pampered she is so vain. I struggle to like her and often the change happens so quick from vain to nice.

    When an author keeps repeating the reason the hero or heroine is doing something or why they have an issue with something. I know I am not being clear but its like a soap opera, each episode replays some of the previous show. Some authors do this in there books when they use different POV’s each time they change they rehash.

    One book I read about 18 months ago read like a diary in parts. It was so annoying. An example was, I was going to go for a swim today but I decided not to. I was going to go to the mall but then I decided to stay home. This book had whole passages like this and if not for the fact I had to review for a contest I would have stopped by chapter 2.

    constantly telling us details like the colour of the eyes gets annoying.

  15. I’ve never liked love triangles in a romance. They read too much like a tv soapie, and the story can come across as episodic because it tends to jump around. I also dislike vain heroines. eg. At the start of chapter one, the heroine is looking in the mirror and thinking about how gorgeous she looks in her new red dress. There are more effective and creative ways for the author to show and introduce the heroine’s physical appearance. My number one pet peeve is weak conflict in a story that is caused by misunderstandings.

  16. Ugh “devastatingly handsome.” Am I supposed to cry because his Herculean features are too much for my female sensibilities to handle? I’m supposed to be ruined for all future men? I agree with all of the above comments. Everybody has wonderful insight and reminded me of some of my pet peeves!

    1. Twinkling in a character’s eyes drives me mad. I have never encountered a person whose pupils were Pixar animated.

    2. I’m with Jamie about the jaded career woman moving back to the small town to rediscover her roots and the ‘ole faithful love interest who has been pining for her for years. It’s been done well, it’s been done poorly…the point is IT HAS BEEN DONE. So please stop doing it unless you have a fresh take on a very tired storyline. I also don’t like it when it is implied that women with careers who don’t live in a small town must alter their whole lifestyle to find happiness.

    3. I agree with you Rel about obvious love triangles. With some books you can simply read the back cover synopsis and know how it will end. There are too many good books waiting to be read to waste time on predictability.

    4. When Epilogues are utilized purely for the requisite wedding scene. Why must a wedding always be the end. Let’s throw a wedding in a few chapters earlier and see how it plays out 😉

    5. Anything Amish. I have watched several documentaries and investigative reporting pieces on Amish communities over the past few months and I don’t understand why they are so glorified and sensationalized in the CBA market. A lot of what is known about the Amish comes across as dysfunctional and oppressive. I think many books in the genre sensationalize the lifestyle or fall in to cookie-cutter storylines of young Amish person wooed by the “Englisch” world.

    6. Characters that are too perfect or too evil. They should be complex with nuanced character arcs and development.

    Who knew I had so many pet peeves?!

    • Thank you Lydia for mentioning “anything Amish”. I TOTALLY agree. I do not see why there is such a fascination with their lifestyle. I’ve only read one book in this genre and that was more than enough.

    • bahahahaha to #1! No more Pixar pupils people! I feel like we should make that a hashtag. I agree with you on the rest too! I feel bad for not liking Amish (although one I read was actually entertaining, but I think it was because most of it was in the “Englisch” world), but I just don’t.

    • Ditto on the “anything Amish,” Lydia! I don’t understand it and honestly I distrust their beliefs. Right or wrong, it’s how their faith comes across that is so unsettling.

      • I should preference this^ comment by saying that this has been my experience with the novels and I don’t in any way mean this disrespectfully, I’m simply sharing this opinion based off of the books.

        • I’ve never read an Amish novel — I’m planning to give ”The Outcast” a try but apparently, though the novel is set in an Amish community, it is not your typical Amish story. I’d have to agree with both Lydia and Rissi. I don’t think I would enjoy reading Amish stories. And wow, so many pet-peeves, readers!

          • I know, right, Ganise!? We found plenty of little things we don’t like…. though there is a lot we love about fiction, too! I’m finding so much good about the books I’ve read. :)

          • Ganise » The Outcast is brilliant – set in a Mennonite community, actually. Not too sure of the differences, though!

        • Rissi » You are a sweetheart, Rissi – we knew exactly how you meant it xo

  17. Okay, being a Down Underer one of my pet peeves is New Zealand or Australian characters (supposedly) who just aren’t. I read a book awhile ago where a secondary character, who was supposed to be Australian, spoke in such a mishmash of cliches almost nothing he said made sense. If he’d been a real person the only two possible explanations would have been he was either drunk or mentally impaired. And then in the next sentence he talked about the weather in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius.

    I also struggle with premature proposals. I read a book recently that went fight, clash, fight, deny attraction, admit attraction, proposal. I really enjoyed the book overall but that ending I just couldn’t make fit with the characters. I don’t need a proposal to be satisfied with a romance – a good kiss at the end will do me just fine 😉

    And lucky number three: I really struggle with the plot that involves the hero and heroine being best friends since kindergarten, unrequited love at one end then when they finally start moving on the other person suddenly realizes true love has been staring then in the face for the last quarter millennium.

  18. I hate it when the author does a fabulous job on the hero and he is just this amazing guy, but then they hook him up with some woman who doesn’t know her own mind. She’s hot for him one minute, cold the next, and then at the end of the novel she realizes everything he’s done for her and she suddenly loves him.

    Or
    If it’s a historical and the woman acts like some kind of 21st century woman and refuses to consider marriage because she is just above that. And yet, there is this wonderful guy who is willing to do whatever it takes to change her mind.

    Maybe it’s because I’m single, but it is just too hard to find a Godly man who is as wonderful as the author would have me to believe and then have some woman willing to walk away from it.

  19. In addition to the above comments, a couple of things that mKe me want to quit reading are:
    1. Frequent misused homonyms — grizzly for gristly, for example. Please, authors, use your dictionary.
    2. Details or expressions that are wrong for the book’s chosen time period, if it’s a historical.

    And I have to agree, way too much Amish fiction on the market.

    My grumpy opinion. :)
    Good question, Rel.

  20. I don’t enjoy a character that constantly recites to me, the reader, why she shouldn’t go ahead with a relationship with the fellow she is attracted to. Yes, he’s everything she would want in a man, but too many things against it…blah,blah, blah. Then she does it again ad nauseaum. Euukk!

  21. I have a really hard time with “made-up motivations,” so to speak. Here we’ll have a heroine who simply can’t stand the hero through the first twenty chapters and then suddenly — SHAZAM!! (It’s getting to be “that time” in the book!) — out of the blue and for no particular reason, she realizes she’s been in love with the guy the whole time. Yikes! I much prefer a character who grows through the story, maybe through an event or a struggle, and comes to have real feelings for the other character.

    I also have a problem with plotlines that don’t have a “big finish.” If I’ve been investing in a book for all these pages and chapters, I want a crescendo at the end. I recently read a book from one of my critique groups, where the big struggles took place in the middle of the book, and from that moment on, the whole thing kind of coasted to the finish. Not cool. I want an ending worthy of the rest of the book.

    • Cindy V. » I understand that, Cindy! Authenticity in a growing relationship is so important – whether it be real life or in a book :)

  22. I am in complete agreement with you concerning love triangles. I dislike them in all medias – TV, movies, books, and music. They don’t show drama or angst, but typically are proof at least one person in the triangle doesn’t respect the decision of the others in regards to who they want to be with.

    I am also not a fan of over telling/selling physical attraction. A book is an opportunity to “fall in love” with a character because of who they are and not what they look like. A lot of authors I’ve read recently have told me every other page how handsome/pretty the love interest is. I need to read about why the person is attracted to someone I can’t see. Telling me they are attractive doesn’t cause me to hope they get together. I read a book not too long ago in which I couldn’t understand why either of the romantic leads would want to be together except they were both “devastatingly” good-looking. In the end I didn’t care if they had a happily ever after or not.

    A new trend seems to be switching POVs within books. I prefer to read a consistent POV. It literally takes me out of the book as I often don’t read first person because it has to be exceptionally well-written, I’ll skip chapters written in first person and fill in the blanks with the chapters written in third person.

    A strong woman doesn’t have to be cold to be strong of character. An independent woman doesn’t have to push people away to show how independent she is. A woman can be kind and compassionate and still independent. I dislike reading about how “strong women” are “broken” in order to “fall in love.”

    A well-written book might introduce a new hobby or career which I am unfamiliar with. However, I don’t need to be able to give the history, evolution, and projection for the future so I don’t need a textbook on the subject. If I can’t understand your characters and their passions without taking a four week course, I probably won’t appreciate it being introduced in the book nor enjoy reading around the subject.

    One last annoyance. This isn’t so much with the storytelling but with the authors themselves. There is an outbreak of writers who are self-congratulating. Three books come to mind in which a writers praises the writing done by a character in their book when they are referring to a book they’ve written. It’s hard to explain without calling a writer out. I don’t go to work though and tell everyone about this awesome project which was completed when I was the one who completed the project. Especially in Christian fiction this lack of humility grates.

    • Myn » Hi Myn, thanks for your great thoughts on this topic. I really enjoyed reading them! I was particularly interested in your thoughts on the over telling of a character’s attractiveness – it gets a little too annoying for me, too. And your last paragraph – I certainly know one of the authors you are referring to, and yes, I found it a very uncomfortable read for that reason.

      • I want to thank you for asking this question and getting the hamsters to spin the wheels. I’ve found my next writing challenge. I only wish I didn’t have to work so I could start putting words on paper.

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