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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Literary Turn-Offs

We all know how subjective the book industry is, right?  I mean, you would never find me in a memoir or biography section of the bookstore.  And probably the majority of "adults" don't exclusively read YA like I do.  It's all personal taste.
But today I felt like blogging about some of my personal "turn offs" in literature and find out if y'all have any similarly irrational perfectly acceptable dislikes.

1.  Starting with a Dream Sequence
We all know this is a "biggie" for agents and editors. But for me, it's "starting" that's the key.  Because I don't mind dreams in the right places and doses.  (Heck, Nikki and I have been writing plenty.)
I'll confess, when I first started DESTINED forever ago, following a pointless prologue, the book opened with a dream.  Can we say double suicide?  Thankfully, I've learned a few things since I blindly started clicking away on the keyboard and now appreciate why starting with a dream is so disorienting to the reader.

2.  Monkeys
 I know, totally random.  But I mentioned this when I did my mid-point review of TYGER, TYGER What was an otherwise well-crafted novel lost me at the start because the main character was working with a chimp.  To top it off, she liked said chimp, even though the feeling wasn't mutual.  In fact, the chimp smears chimp poop on the MC's sweater in the first chapter.  Gross.  And btw, this ---> is NOT cute.

3.  Names I Cannot Pronounce.
Perhaps another thing that bothered me about TYGER, TYGER as I got more into it was that the Gaelic names.  I can't pronounce them.  I just can't.  and when I cracked open my ARC of HUNTRESS, the first page looking back at me as a name pronunciation guide.  A whole flipping devoted to telling me how to say the names in the book.  TMW - too much work.  (Along those same lines, give your characters the normal spelling of their name, not Jyssica or Airica, or something that could be spelled normal but is now messed up just for me to stumble over.)

4. Dumb Main Characters.
Your MC doesn't have to be a rocket scientist, but if she's opening the door we all know the bad guy's hiding behind, I'm probably going to be pissed.  Likewise, if I can see the ending coming from 100 pages away and your MC is too dumb to figure it out... Me = Not Happy.
I expect a modicum of logic and common sense from my characters or I just can't read their stories.

5.  YA Chick Lit
I don't know why.  I love YA paranormal, but cannot stand chick lit.  For example, a friend gave me GEEK HIGH to read because she loved it.  While the start was  clever, it soon got redundant and impossibly boring.  Didn't finish. I think it's just the atmosphere of constant catty, snotty, stereotypical behavior directed and one, poor little main character (aside from her one friend, who's way too cool for her anyway) that drives me up the wall.  All I can say is: More Paranormal. Less Check Lit.

Phew.  That rant's off my chest now.  I feel much better.  Sorry if I offended your reading tastes and/or favorite books and/or you personally.  I didn't mean to. So tell me your quirks... what makes your skin crawl while you're reading (so I can be sure not to write that)?


LTM said...

omg--LOL on the names! ME TOO!!! :D <3

Nikki said...

I have to pretty much agree with all these!! Cannot stand horrible *cough Renesmee" names.

And yes, I had to look up again how to spell her name!

Ezmirelda said...

I have to agree, YA chick-lit is not my thing. The only exception is books written by Sarah Dessen...i'm not even sure if you'd consider it chick-lit or not.

Kulsuma said...

Dumb characters make me stop reading a book.

Mary Sues and Gary Stus annoy me! In other words, perfect characters with no flaws at all.

Melissa said...

I like names that are a little bit different... as long as I can still pronounce them. If I can't say them, they annoy me. But not enough to set me off.

The only chick lit I've ever found that I really liked is Sophie Kinsella's stand alones (never read her shopaholic books). I'm also going to give Talli Roland's book a shot because I already know I like her blog and such.

I hate stupid people. I hate meodramatic villains too. I like them to be evil and cruel but when they are stupid they annoy me.

I also never read dream sequences because I feel they are pointless. IF they feel like there is a point (and in some cases there is) they're fine but I hate when authors just put dreams in cause they want to tell me something.

Jessie said...

glad to see I'm not the only one with my fair share of quirks! :) (And that I'm not alone in mine.)

Beth said...

...I started with something similar to a dream sequence. I hope it doesnt kill me.

Roza M said...

I am definitely a YA reader, love romance, paranormal, and fantasy can't stand Sci-fi though... I have no idea what it is but aliens, different plants you can't pronounce Snooze button baby! lol.

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