So this is eight hours late, but better that than never??
So a while back I noticed some people posting their top ten book turn-offs (a Top-Ten Tuesday?), and wrote up this list.
So here it goes:
1) The line often seen in YA literature: “she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding”. Why are so many teen girls holding their breath all the time? Is this a part of teenage development that I missed out on? Perhaps it’s just because almost EVERY teen book I’ve read has some variation of this line in it, but it’s an immediate eye-roller for me now. You’ll notice it too, from now on. I’ve ruined it for you. Sorry! (not really :p)
2) Characters losing weapons by accident, just to make sure their situation is more dire than it already was when they had one. Repeatedly in one book. So clumsy, guys… and yet these characters are also equally skilled with every weapon/tool you put in their hand. Incredible, but clumsy fighters? I am trying to extend my sense of belief here.
3) The character who is only in a book to give important information at the “right time”, even though the right time is really about two-hundred pages too late, cause the protagonist could have really used this info before everything went to hell.
I LOVE putting obstacles in my characters way, it’s what makes a story interesting, but I want to have a believable and intelligent plot line, that won’t make me go “BUT YOU COULD HAVE SAVED THEM FROM ALL THIS TROUBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE. NOW I MUST THROW THIS BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM”. The usual suspects: best friends, lost but found parents, wise old wizards…
4) The word “quest” in any title. Just no. I will judge this book by its cover. I’m sure many of the books out there with the word quest in the title are very well written, but when I see it, I just don’t even want to try. So let me know if you have any good recommendations! Free me of my prejudice!!
5) A POV that only shifts once or twice in a book because there was no way to communicate what happened through your protagonist. I’ve seem this done well, but more often than not, it’s done badly. Disjointed and sometimes even giving away important information about the antagonist that should have been given another way!
6) Long run on sentences that become paragraphs and that don’t end for over a page, and continue in this fashion for the entire novel, communicating a lot of unreliable nonsense and sometimes even describing things to death and all because stream of consciousness is so edgy that we absolutely need to forget the use of punctuation and refuse to give the reader a break because the mind doesn’t take breaks, now does it? I tried to make that sentence much longer, but just couldn’t. Hopefully you know what I mean!!
(Not referring to Woolf or Joyce. I bow down to their mastery of stream of consciousness. There are however, several classics that are written in this way. I can’t say it’s wrong. I just personally find it irritating. )
7) Endings that magically tie together all plot lines, often forgetting certain obstacles or character traits so that it can all be resolved in a way that was made clear to be impossible 200 pages before.
8) The too happy, happy endings. Unrealistic. I like when characters have reached their goal, become better people, fallen in love, sure. I just don’t want it to be “and they lived happily ever after, with all evil gone forever, and magical resolutions to all world problems.” I can just watch a classic Disney movie for that.
9) Flat, boring, unimaginative love interests. Can they not be more than what’s on the surface? And I mean more than just angsty boys with only sarcasm and brooding to offer.
10) This character never met one of their parents?! This parent is going to resurface at the climax of the novel!?! They’re evil too!?! Omg.
Okay. Stop. This totally easy to see coming plot line is overused. To be clear, I’ve enjoyed books that use this, but I definitely wish it came up less. Every time I hear a character never knew a parent, I get an anxious annoyed feeling that I’m about to read a book filled with all the other typical plot twists out there as well.
TO BE CLEAR, I’m not bashing the authors who choose to use some of these in their books. I have loved many a novel/series that have one, if not more of these used. Even my favourite books have things that can get on my nerves. I think as a writer though, these will be the things I look out for in my own writing, as things I don’t want to do.
So that’s it.
What are your biggest book turn-offs?
Let me know in the comments.
Have a great week!