Welcome to day 28 of #BookBlogWriMo! OMG only two days until we can say WE DID IT!
Even the best authors write a bad sentence now and then, and even the best books have bad parts. Nobody’s perfect…didn’t Hilary Duff or Hannah Montana or something sing that once?
It takes a lot for me to quit a book before I finish (DNF), but it’s not hard for me to “hate-read” it.
Hate-read (verb): derivative of hate-watch (which is how most people watched Sound of Music: Live! with Carrie Underwood); to read something you dislike to find pleasure in mocking it.
I can’t leave a story unfinished, so no matter how much I hate a book, I’ll probably finish it. But to make the awful book better, I will highlight the worst parts and make notes making fun of them for me to look back on later when I need a laugh. Just like my tweets from when I watched Sound of Music: Live with Carrie Underwood.
Here are some things that make me cringe:
- Awful grammar: I am a huge word nerd. Diagramming sentences is my kind of fun. So when an author, an editor, and beta readers don’t notice that there’s an entire page without a single comma used correctly, I start to fear for the future of the English language. And improper grammar, especially comma use, can really mess with the flow of a book. The writing should read like someone is talking or thinking, and I can guarantee that most people emphasis words and take pauses within sentences. Bad grammar makes a book harder to read, and I don’t want to work to understand your story.
- Poor research: Last month, I read a book that had a heavy emphasis on the characters working together on a marketing plan. Only, none of what they did could be considered marketing. Authors, do your research. I’ve also seen band names butchered, lyrics or quotes misquoted, etc.
- Unnecessary wordiness: One of my favorite quotes about writing says that it’s much harder to write short, to say something in 5 words instead of 10. Don’t make me read more than what I need to to get the picture.
- Drama for drama’s sake: I get that stories need conflict. But sometimes it seems like some authors add a pregnant ex, secret sex tap, or near-fatal car accident purely for the OMG! factor.
- Cliches without depth: I think the way that you can get away with writing an overused framework is by adding something original and giving it depth. But “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back,” without any originality is a sure way to get me snoozing.
- Insta-love: Oh, you say you felt an electric shock the first time you touched fingers? Get over yourselves. He probably rubbed his socks against the carpet right before you shook hands.
- Rushed stories: Sometimes, it feels like an author just wanted to get a book over with. What started out as a detailed and intricate story turns into what feels like a summary or Cliff’s notes version of the plot.
- Brick wall chests: Ugh! I hate when it’s the beginning of the book and the girl bumps into a brick wall. But wait! It’s not a wall, it’s pecs and abs! I know this is oddly specific, but I hate it. Sure, muscles feel hard. BUT HOW WOULD YOU NOT HAVE NOTICED A BRICK WALL WHERE YOU WERE JUST WALKING?
- Declarations of love after a near-fatal accident: Yes, I’m starting to get real nit-picky here, and these tiny things will probably be expanded upon into their own post one day, but I hate when a character doesn’t realize how much they love someone until they almost die. It should NOT take that much.