Saturday, July 30, 2016

5 Things I Abhor in Books

Recently I did a post about 5 Things I Look for in a Good Book, and today I have 5 Things I Abhor in books.

"Chosen One" Trope

If there's one thing I can't stand in a story, it's having the main character end up being "the chosen one".  I wrote an entire article about why I dislike this trope which you can read here.

I haven't actually seen this in Star Wars yet (I've only finished the first movie so far) so I can't judge if it is truly
the annoying type of trope, or an acceptable version.  Don't spoil me!!

Wildly Vague Points of View

Authors sometimes try to be very mysterious and original by starting their book off with a ton of random descriptions of things.  I get the feeling that these authors are afraid of giving too much exposition, so they try and launch you right into the story.  What usually results is a really disorganized and confusing pile of word slop that does not make me interested in the story.

This is "best" done when there are multiple points of view.  This is an example of the beginning of a book that's going to attempt to use this strategy:

"Blood.  There was blood everywhere.  Sticky.  Red.  I felt it drip down my arm.  Everything was red.  
She'll never find me here.  I'm leaving and I won't return!
My heart beat quickly.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.
Was I in the right place?  Would they see me?  Why was I shivering so much?"

I find this a lot in YA books.  I guess I'm supposed to be intrigued and keep reading to find out what the blood is about, why someone is running away, why their heart is beating quickly, why they're shivering, etc. but really it just makes me confused and therefore disinterested.

Who is the main character?  What can I expect from this book?  What point of view is this book told from?  The setting?  Beginnings like this do not make me excited to read.

Word throw up.

Short Sentences

Why, why, why?????  Why do so many new authors refuse to formulate logical sentences?  I absolutely can not stand when authors try and describe things with one word sentences.  For example:

"The bird was on the branch.  Free.  Light.  Beautiful."

I get that sometimes this is done to make the words sound poetic and particularly important, but why does grammar have to be disgraced in such a way?  What about:

"The bird was on the branch: free; light; beautiful."

Boring Adjectives

Describing something as "beautiful" does not let me know what it/he/she actually looks like.  Try "radiant", "pure", etc.

I feel like schools don't teach very much vocabulary anymore (okay actually I know that from personal experience), but the fact is that writers are supposed to have a good vocabulary so that they can clearly and concisely describe what readers cannot see with their eyes.


Desperate Dialogue/Voice

Authors trying to imitate some other writer's voice or writing style is the worst.  You can certainly take inspiration from writers, but in the end you need to write in a way that you can do successfully.  If there's anything I can not tolerate in a book, it's pretentious writing; when authors try and match a style they obviously know nothing about.

This happens a lot when authors try and sound "medieval" (e.g. if they're writing a prophecy or excerpt from a book within their story).  Sometimes I read things like this:

"Ye who findeth the sword shall be the rightful king of England."

First of all, this is the incorrect use of the word "ye".  This happens time and time again and it almost makes me physically uncomfortable.  If this were to be translated into current English keeping the word "ye", the sentence would read "you who findeth..."  

"You who"?  

The correct medieval word is "whosoever".  Do your research, authors!


Alright, those are my nit-picky problems with books which probably no one else cares about.  It's likely that no one else takes issue with any of these things XD
What bothers you in books?


  1. cliff hangers, but then again I love them XD
    nice job!---Liah

    1. I have a love/hate relationship with cliff hangers as well XD
      Thank you!

  2. Yay! You did my idea! :)

    The Chosen One-- Ahh, yes. Personally this didn't annoy me too much, but as I was reading Harry Potter, I realized what you're talking about.

    Wait, which Star Wars movie did you watch? The Phantom Menace?

    Wildly Vague Points of View-

    Huh, this never bothered me much. But I agree that many YA novels begin that way.

    Short Sentences-

    Right?! (Yeah, this may grate on your nerves if you read the Eponine fanfiction. :D)

    Boring Adjectives-


    Desperate Dialogue/Voice-

    Have you read anything by Howard Pyle? He imitates the medieval style, but I think he does it more successfully than what you're describing.

    Ahaha, that picture though. :)

    Hmm, things that bother me in books-- main characters who make bad decisions without consequences, unnecessary content, long descriptions(looking at you, Hugo), and flat female characters.

    1. Yeah, it was a good idea!

      No, A New Hope (we're going in order of publishing).

      It only bothers me when it goes on and on, although sometimes if done well it can be okay.


      The worst X(

      No I've never read from him. It doesn't bother me if done well, but I can't stand when it's done poorly.


      Same; haha, Hugo :D