Sunday, April 27, 2014

W - "Why oh Why?! A Reader Rant"

A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on.

Today's letter is W. 
Why or WHY! A Reader Rant
Warning, this post is a bit of a rant!

First let me start off by saying I am not a writer. I do not aspire to be a writer and I blog book reviews solely for my love of novels. I have read a lot of books and sometimes I can get really ranty about what I like and what I don't like in romance books. I have never ranted on my blog before about these feelings and I thought today just may be the day to kick off "W". So without further ado, here is my rant on what I really really reaaaaalllly hate in books. 

#1 - I cannot stand when a lot of conversation is written like a script for actors. Here is a made up example:

“But I don’t want to go,” Michelle said.
“You must go,” her mom replied.
“School is so boring.”
“Yes but you will learn something.”
Michelle sighed and replied, “I can’t wait until school is done.”

Having this type of conversation over and over drives me nuts. Bonkers even. Please use your writing gift and be descriptive. Describe the protagonists using hand gestures or other actions.  Something! Stir the bubbling stew if they are talking while dinner is cooking. Have the wind blow, the fire crackle….ANYTHING but a script from a TV show planted on entire page of he said & she saids.

#2 - This next one is probably my number one reason that leads me to a big DNF (do not finish) in books. Telling the reader how the protagonist is feeling over and over. "She was mad." Yes, the reader gets that she is mad because we just read the circumstance in which we have deducted that she should in fact be mad. 

Instead of 
"She was mad"- try describing the red blotches slowly creepy up her face and how her veins are about to pop. 
I get so miserable being constantly told how to feel or told that this next line was so funny that they characters are laughing so hard that they have tears running down their face and as a reader, I didn't even crack a smile or see any humour in the situation. 

#3 - I beg of you authors, on my knees even, PLEASE don't make a heroine be stupid just to advance your plot.  

I really really realllllly hate when it is obvious that the book is struggling to move further ahead and then as the story unfolds around me, I can picture a light bulb go off above an author’s head as she dives to her keyboard with the brilliant idea “I'LL WRITE HER MAKING A REALLY DUMB DECISION SO THAT I CAN CREATE CONFLICT” and then proceeds to have the poor unwittingly heroine sneak out through a window, down a vine covered trellis, run to the road and then decide to hitch-hike and wave down a mysterious black van who just happens to be the villain of the story BECAUSE she THOUGHT she’d save everyone else grief or hide a secret.

Did you just hear that? That was me throwing my book against the wall.  

#4 - Adjective Overload - There is more to being descriptive than just colours and size.
Exhibit A – The big yellow school bus quickly hydroplaned down the slippery wet road in the middle of a torrential rain storm during a record high hot hazy summer. 
Tooo much!

#5 - If you are going to write a story with numerous points of views (YUCK BTW) please please don’t re-do the same scene over. 

PLEASE don’t turn around and write the next chapter as a complete re-write of the scene before but from a different point of view. The readers don’t really NEED to know his point of view actually. Keep it a mystery on what he was thinking or just give hints as to what he was thinking as the heroine sees it. I hate flipping back and forth and when I want to move forward in the story, I am yanked back to re-read a scene I just finished. 

Okay, so that was my rant on what drives me bonkers. To each their own and some folks may love the points I've made above. Not me. 

Are there certain things that drive you nuts when reading books that lead to a DNF (did not finish) book?


Jo Kay said...

I agree so much with all of what you've said. Especially being told how to feel, what to think, which makes me feel like I'm a stupid reader who can't discern the meaning by herself. And writing heroins dumb for plot's sake makes me mad.

Anna (herding cats-burning soup) said...

::snort:: Well when you go on a rant you go on a rant! I'm with you on a lot of them though I really don't mind multiple points of view in a book. Usually works for me except like ya said when the same exact thing is gone over. I'm good with once.

TSTL heroines. I was just having a mental rant about that myself.

My big issues...lack of follow through. Like forgetting to clean up after sex. Or doing something nasty and not washing hands before moving on to eating. Drives me batty.

Cheating is a huge no-no. I hate getting a book with no warning about that. If you're gonna have cheaters it needs to be clear they're jerks on the cover.

And cliffhangers in romance. Nothing will piss me off quicker than an unannounced cliffhanger. Gah!

Sylvia Ney said...

Great points, and mistakes made sometimes even by the most prolific authors! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.


Unknown said...

Thanks Jo. Being told how I should feel just drives me crazy. It makes me think the author must think I am dumb or they are not descriptive enough to allow me to follow!

Anna - Yes I am not usually ranty. I had a good time getting this off my chest. Oh, I HATE cliffhangers too but they are tolerable if I know about them ahead of time. I really appreciate it when bloggers share in their review that it was a cliffhanger.

Sylvia, thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post for the letter 'W'-agree with every one of your points :)

Stephanie Faris said...

Great tips! I think it is important to have a good balance of dialogue and action...otherwise it does feel like a movie script.

Michelle Woods said...

To go along with your comment about dialogue - it drives me nuts when an author tries really hard to never say "said" and instead uses a bunch of synonyms that really end up just bogging down the reading. Really, said is okay. Just use it! ;)

Michelle @ In Media Res