IWSG: Pet Peeves

It’s the first Wednesday in August, which means it’s time for IWSG! Do check out the IWSG here.

I can report that the novel is plugging along. I restarted the draft in a way–there’s an inciting incident in the other copy of the draft which has now happened further in the past, to make way for more action in this copy of the draft. That sounds confusing. Anyway, on to the monthly question:

What are your pet peeves when writing/reading/editing?

Writing pet peeves: people who quote writing rules constantly. “No prologues! Too much description! (Not enough description!) Where’s the action–shouldn’t you have action? That dialogue doesn’t ring true. That dialogue is too much like how real people speak to each other.”

Go. Away. Yes, knowing creative writing rules is very useful and you should totally learn them! And once you learn them, you can pick and choose which ones to ignore based on your particular stories.

Pet peeves when reading…well, it’s annoying if the book turns out to be boring or far too detailed or preachy, of course. I don’t like contrived plots, characters who are Too Stupid To Live, romance heroes who are just…the worst human beings (fictionally) alive, or events that don’t jive with the rest of the story.

On the other hand, I’ve been sucked in by many a book that contained contrived plots and characters and go completely whack-a-doodle and loved them–and only really recognized the flaws later. Or sometimes I’ve realized as I’m reading them: “Seriously? There’s a shipwreck and they’re holding onto wreckage and there might be a shark or something? After everything else in this book? Are you nuts?”

Also, I really don’t like being told what to read. Don’t even try.

22 thoughts on “IWSG: Pet Peeves

  1. LOL! I don't like being told what to read either. If someone says, \”this is the greatest book of our generation!!\” I'm just like, \”eh.\” I was just ranting about Too Stupid To Live protagonists the other day. I'm absolutely not going to follow around a protagonist who has no sense of self-preservation. LOL!

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  2. Whoops! I edited it a bit and then noticed you made your comment! Sometimes, I will read something that's extremely popular just to see what the fuss is about–and I am trying to make an effort to not only read in my usual preferred genres (in which I'll take suggestions with more grace than general reading recommendations). TSTL characters! Oh, my God, whyyyy are these characters so stupid sometimes?

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  3. Why is it that people always suggest the worst books? I'm not even that picky, but unless I know that the person's tastes are similar to mine, too much gushing always seems to mean 'bad book'. Weird.

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  4. When I was a newbie writer, I latched on those rules. It's all I knew! It makes sense to me now why in the contests I judge for Romance Writers, the unpublished authors often have harsher critique than the published authors. We're all trying to MAKE IT and those rules drive us. But you're totally right that it's not just about writing rules. I was sucked into Twilight like half the women my age. It's not great writing, but it made me feel something and emotional experience through a book is a huge factor in what people read.Here is my IWSG post for August: Top First Pages Pet Peeves AND How to Fix Them!

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  5. The writing rules. People are different. They write, think, feel differently so rules are not a one size fits all. You do have to pick through and find what fits best for who you are as a writer. UGH the 'hero' that is anything but. That annoys me. Don't make this guy a mega jerk, the plop in a sad back story to give him an excuse for his jerkiness. Doesn't fly with me but sadly we see it more and more in romance. Those are not healthy situations.

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  6. I always saw writing rules aren't law. It does bug me when people rely on them so much and think all writers have to follow them to the letter. Books would be boring if we all followed those \”rules.\”

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  7. To quote Pirates of the Caribbean, \”They be more guidelines than rules.\”Yeah, the jerky hero…I've read plenty of them. Apparently, they're supposed to be Byronic, but really, they're just assholes.

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  8. Is dialogue that's too similar to the way people actually talk a problem? Clearly I need to learn a few more rules.I do hate those books that are so completely flawed (bad character, bad writing, whatever) and yet you just have to finish them. It's painful, but what else can you do? You have to finish. 🙂With Love,Mandy

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  9. Well, directly transcribing the way real people speak can lead to a lot of digressions, a lot of \”um\”s and \”like\”s and whatnot–but really, I don't like a *very* manufactured literary dialogue, so I tend to keep my dialogue on the realistic-but-edited-and-eloquent end of the scale.

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  10. LOL! I agree with \”contrived plots, characters who are Too Stupid To Live, romance heroes who are just…the worst human beings (fictionally) alive.\” The problem with plots boils down to knowing too much about writing though. If you've read enough, you can almost always predict what's coming next, thus feeling contrived. But characters… If a character never makes their own decisions or takes control of their fate, I get super annoyed. And when a romance isn't validated because there's no base, that bothers me too.

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  11. Books on writing rules are like research; you can always find something to support your own views on how things should be (or are). Pick and choose is my motto too.

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  12. When it comes to trad pub books, especially the Big Five, my expectations are high and I’m annoyed by unnecessary typos and grammar errors. Not fair, I suppose. But I always imagine that these books have big budgets in place, and top notch editors working on the manuscripts…am I right? Okay, maybe the 'big budget' is a misconception on my part…

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