So, we’re switching hats, in a manner of speaking. Every author is also a reader, lol. But I’ll admit, I’m picky when it comes to what I read. Maybe it’s like that old saying… doctors make the worst patients… maybe authors are the toughest readers to please, lol. Whatever the reason, here are ways to lose me if you’re an author.
10 — No research… This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I used to be a commercial pilot and honestly, helicopter fiction is some of the worst. It only takes five minutes to know what the controls are called… so don’t, for the love of God, call the cyclic a joystick. And don’t tell me you can fly from Las Vegas to New York in a chopper, or that anyone would arrange that. Do you know how much helicopters cost? Yeah, not happening.
I don’t expect you to know everything. Just do enough I don’t feel the need to fact check. And if you don’t know, don’t put it in writing. I love writing old west books, but some stuff I have to leave out because I just can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Also… and this is huge… please don’t put EVERYTHING you know into the book either. While some well-place medical jargon is great, endless paragraphs of every medical term known to man to ‘prove’ you know your stuff is equally frustrating. Just tell me enough I’m confident in your knowledge and let me enjoy the fiction part of the story.
9 — Poor grammar/too many typos… I’m not talking about the odd typo or wrong/missing word. Every book has one. I mean books wrought with them. Everyone needs an editor and a copy editor. That’s just the facts.
8 — Too many flashbacks, forwards or sideways… If I get whiplash, it’s a few too many. If I have to constantly go back to check what year I’m in… if I have no idea if this is the present, the future or the past, it’s too many. I don’t mind a few. But I think the book loses traction when you spend too much time going backwards. Stephen King did a fabulous job of dealing with this in the book IT… he actually had a bunch, but it was executed well. Flow is a huge issue and if you don’t have it, I probably won’t finish reading.
7 — Too much name dropping… Hey, I love movies, shows, songs, books, you name it, as much as the next person. And I’ve done some name dropping in here, lol. But when it’s every other page… it gets tedious. It also dates the work. So while I get you love Vampire Dairies or True Blood… please don’t show us that a dozen times over.
6 — Unrealistic dialogue… No one says a person’s name every time they address them. And people speak in contractions (unless they’re alien or robots, maybe). Even in most historical periods, I’m sure they spoke in contractions because humans are lazy about speech 🙂 And I think we all know bad dialogue when we read it. Don’t ask me to suffer through three hundred pages of that.
5 — Too stupid to live characters… One of the best lines ever is from the movie Scream… Sydney say… I hate horror movies because the bitch is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the door. But it applies to lots of other situations. So, if your book has our heroine deciding to cut through an alley in the city at night when she’s being stalked? Yeah, I probably won’t finish that one.
4 — Heroines who are weak and whinny… I think this says it all. Not all heroines need to be martial arts specialist, or boxing champions. Strength comes from within. So stop waiting for the rescue and rescue yourself. I think Dean says it best…
3 — Heroes who are controlling assholes. Do I really need to say anything else? I honestly don’t understand why so many people love stories where the guy is a controlling douche. It’s not romantic and I’ll toss that paperback across the room if your hero is a stalker jackass.
2 — No plot… I know, this could and maybe should be number 1, but…while I love some hot sex as much as the next person, please have some sort of plot. Something to keep me turning pages, because I should be able to skip the sex scenes and still enjoy the book. Obviously, it might be a short one, lol, but that’s okay. While the sex can, and often does, drive the book forward, it shouldn’t be the only thing that does. And please make sure I can’t drive a big rig through your plot. I can suspend belief a bit, but don’t ask me to go to Narnia every time I turn a page.
1 — POV switching EVERY FREAKING PARAGRAPH. People… this is not how good writing happens. Pick a head and for the love of all that’s holy on this green earth, stay in it. At least for a scene. And try not to change more than once, maybe twice in a long chapter. And I don’t want to know what the gardener is thinking, or the maid, or even the hot doctor if the hot doctor is not the hero or heroine of this book. I’m here to read your hero’s/heroine’s story. Let me learn about them. What they think, what scares them. I’m all for a hot doctor, but give that man his own book (or girl, however you write it).
And that’s it for me. Check in with the other ladies and see their lists…