Saturday, October 13, 2012


I’m not only an author, I’m an avid reader.  From time to time I stumble across things that really set my teeth on edge.

My rant is twofold. 

#1  An editor is an author’s best friend.  They want you to write the strongest book possible, so embrace them and let them edit!  With self-publishing on the rise, I see far too many books in desperate need of editing. If you go this route, please hire a professional editor.  Your readers will thank you. 

#2  I want to know what ticks you off, so my books don’t end up in the “never again” pile.

Member – No No No!  Don’t do this to the male appendage.  For some reason every time I see member, I think of the band Menudo. I have no idea why.

Flower – Do NOT under any circumstances refer your heroine’s area down there as her flower.  That warrants a book toss.

Pebbled – Really?  He kissed her neck and her breasts pebbled against him.  REWRITE!

Little (when referring to an adult)  I judged a contest recently where the author wanted to convey the heroine’s small stature. I’ll allow it once, twice, maybe even three times, but when it comes to the repetitive use of little hands, little feet…we get it.  She's small, but she’s NOT a child. 

A well-known author (name withheld) went through a "little" stage in the late 80's where every book for prattled on about the small heroine.  I stopped reading her books.

Last page character introductions  This mainly pertains to thriller/suspense books. I'm invested in the story, trying to solve the mystery, only to discover on the last page a new character is introduced and they conveniently are the villain.

Beautiful Abuse I just finished a romance where the heroine was described as “beautiful” thirty-six times in fifteen chapters.  After the first chapter, I kept score.  Despite her beauty, I found the flawless character very unbelievable. 

A page of dialogue…without tags  Sure, I leave them off too, when it’s very clear who is speaking. But when I see an entire page of tagless dialogue and I have to actually COUNT down the page, “him, her, him, her” then you have a problem. 
My friends and family chimed in with their book peeves:

Mom dislikes over descriptive filler - pages of details that don’t move the story forward and are clearly there to make page count.  

Kelli can do without the info dumps.  I’d like crime writers to stop having the cop/forensic characters describe forensic procedures to each other.  It is their job to already know that, isn’t it?”

Kimberly has trouble with pronoun abuse.  “There were so many she she she, he he he I lost track of who was who.  Put a name in there every once in a while.”

Since I'm a debut author, it's important for me to listen to my readers. After all, I’m writing for you and I don’t want to write the book you toss across the room.

Let's get down and dirty.  Tell me what you never want to see in another book again.


Scarlet Wilson said...

It's got to be the crazy head hopping. Some writers seem to go between hero and heroine POV almost seamlessly. Others? Make me flick pages back and forth to work out who is thinking what.....

Amanda Renée said...

Scarlet...I completely forgot about the head hopping. YES! That is on my list!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

My peeve is going back from the present to the past so often and with no introduction. It drives me crazy. I can't even figure out what's going on , no matter how many times I re-read that page.

linda s said...

My biggest pet peeve is repetitive introspection. Tell me once, I can take it from there. If I am skipping over twenty pages to find the story, I stop reading - buying.

My second is a character sketch disguised as a story... there is little, even no, plot. Did I really buy this book?

Looking forward to you debut novel. On my list.

Megan Kelly said...

You've named a bunch of mine already, Amanda, and the commenters nailed others. Anyone who reads me knows I like minimal description. I don't care about the dress or shoes or car, and I certainly don't want to read on and on and on. This is not only done in historicals either, which is a shame. I always think the heroine is materialistic. Shoes are for keeping glass out of your feet. Period. :)

Megan Kelly
Santa Dear