Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So, What Do You Hate?

What are five things you despise in a story?

Here are mine, in order from most despised to least:

1.) Stories with no empathetic connection to character. Don't you hate it when you find a great idea, yet find you have no connection with any of the characters? I've had this happen a couple times, where I utterly adore the idea of the story, but found that I could not be bothered to keep reading because no matter how tenderly, thoughtfully, sweetly, or sacrificially the character acted, I could not empathize. At all. It made the story go kaput. I shan't say which stories, but if anyone ever asks me about them at the library, and whether they're worth reading, I shall say NO.

2.) Stories with gratuitous crudeness. However, that is just me. I don't like crude humour. Subtle humour, yes. Dry, sarcastic humour, yes. I love the Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud, because he has a great style and a terrible sense of dry humour... terrible in a good way. But I don't really care for books that rely on crudity for laughs.

3.) Stories with a moral. I feel like I'm reading a McGuffy reader with these books. You feel the author wrote such-and-such a book because of this one meaningful point that she/he wanted to pound into your brain. Hard. Hate that. Write the book because you had a lightning-stroke of brilliance! Don't write it to preach to me. Yanno?

4.) Stories with terrible grammar. I'm afraid I get super picky when I'm reading stories, and you get "those ones" thrown in a sentence, followed by fragmented sentences littered with absolutely clunky phrasing. When words don't flow, I find myself revising the paragraphs in my head, thinking, "Now, if I had written this, I'd have passed it through my critique group at least twice more!" I'm sure I can't be the only one with this problem!

5.) Boring descriptions. I love descriptions that illuminate a moment. I'm not a huge, huge fan of totally literal description, like "The dog ran into the room, barking and wagging his tail and generally making a nuisance of himself." I prefer things like, "The dog filled the room in a chaotic flash of golden fur, his lolling tongue leaving a spatter-trail of drool and his whirling tail sending trinkets crashing to the ground." Isn't the second line more fun to read?

So what do you hate reading in a book?

(Oh, and the countdown is starting. The contest at Cat's Mathoms ends in four days. Submit! *nudge nudge*)


  1. I hate stories with descriptions that go on and on and on and on!! I get lost in too lengthy of descriptions especially if it's filled with tons of big words that I don't even know the meaning of!

    I also get unnerved from stories who have all weird, hard to pronounce names for all their characters. My tongue gets tied and I find myself spending too much time trying to figure out how to pronounce the names that I tend to get bored with it.

    And lastly, stories that don't have enough action. I don't need to read about every single detail of a characters life. Get on with it and have something happen!! This especially bothers me when the character description is so lengthy at the beginning of the book. I don't mind a little characterization description at the beginning, then some action, then you can give me more about the character because you've hooked me by then!

    I'm a hard hooken' reader as far as novels go. I love to read, but it's got to be good or I'll just give up and go on to the next book.

  2. I'm racking my brain trying to come up with something. I've read so many good books lately I can't even remember the last time I read something I didn't like.

  3. I hate poor grammar, characters who do things that isn't in character just to serve the plot, ridiculous plots, endings that aren't really endings (the ones that feel like the author just got tired of the book and stopped writing), and probably lots of other things that I could point out when I am reading, but don't recall now.

    I need to work on that Cat's Mathoms entry. Poor lil dragon - I've been neglecting her!

  4. Oh yes, me to Ellen, 'specially the "Well-I'm-done-with-this-story-let's-just-END" syndrome. :)

  5. Al, I hate that too, where the names are spelled something weird like R'dtana, Star'valter, and you're just thinking, "Why is there an apostrophe right there? What does it mean?!!" LOL

  6. Luv, one of the last books I read was by Diana Wynne Jones, so I was super satisfied. :) The one that inspired this rant... well, I don't want to name names. It snarked me a little though. Can you tell?

  7. I hate writings that draw on and on without staying on track of the author's points. I hate characters who try too hard to be funny or cute. And I hate the overly melancholy write-outs. Ick ...

  8. I know what you mean, Claudine, with those sentences that feel as though the author added them to make a certain quota for her chapter content. And overly dramaticized scenes are fairly icky. :)


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