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*)