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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Author Insight: Fiction Pet Peeves

What is your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?

"I can't stand anything derivative. I don't want to read an iteration of something I've already read. And trust me, I know if I've read it before. Most readers do, too. Create something original. Imitation is not the greatest form of flattery when it comes to writing. We are all inspired by other authors, but that doesn't mean imitating another author's voice, concept, universe, etc. I love to see authors breaking new ground, stretching their genres, and taking chances. Those are the books I recommend over and over." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Whiny self-involved characters we’re somehow supposed to care about." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"Whatever I say, I’ll no doubt end up doing it! I think I would have to go with obvious logic holes. I don’t look for this so much in novels, but it happens in TV and movies all the time. I can suspend disbelief, and even gladly do so, if the story makes sense." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"Cliched romantic scenes and sappiness." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

"Overuse of similes and overwrought writing. It drives me CRAZY! My style is pretty basic, though I love authors like Melissa Marr and Kristin Cashore whose styles are much more flowery. Just don’t overdo it." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons.

"For me? When I know where the story needs to go, and I just need a particular character to do a certain thing to make it happen, but I can't figure out their motivation for doing it. This is the one thing that's guaranteed to send me walking around the house, talking to myself and the houseplants and the cats, trying to get someone to demystify it for me--it's not pretty." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"I hate it when writers use the word 'indescribable' because I think our job is to describe." - Swati Avasthi, author of Split.
 "Lack of voice. It comes off as laziness on the part of the author, and I have no patience for it. " - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"Anything that feels forced or unauthentic." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

 "Mary Sue's who are just magically good at languages. Ones that are like, "Oh, my dad taught me five languages before I was ten. Everyone was so surprised when I was fluent almost immediately, but I didn't think it was hard at all. Probably because I'm so beautiful, these things just come naturally. TEE HEE." Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit, but still. Someone can't be perfect at everything, because it makes me want to punch them in the face. Languages just happen to be my pet peeve when it comes to Mary Sues. It's one thing to be good at languages, but it's another to be phenomenally good, treat it like it's nothing because they didn't have to put any effort in to learn, and then have no consequences or trade offs for being so magically good at something. UGH. " - Chelsea Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X.

"It’s not really hard for me to convey romance, but I don’t like doing it very much. I’m a tomboy at heart—I like writing fight scenes and magical showdowns and all that. I don’t mind reading other people’s romantic scenes, but I don’t like having to write it." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Definitely exposition in dialogue. Argh! It makes my skin crawl. 'I love your curly brown hair, Sarah, and the way it frames your sparkling green eyes.' 'Thanks, Em! I so love the new BMW your dad got you, after you crashed your last car into a telephone pole.' *bangs head against wall*" - Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall.

"I’m only going to speak for the YA genre, and say that I really dislike books that are dumbed down for teens, as if teens are incapable of comprehending good, robust vocabulary. I don’t see this done too often, especially as YA has expanded, but it’s definitely a peeve of mine." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder.

"Snobbery among authors (fiction, non-fiction, whatever--I do not tolerate snobs)." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf’s Tale.

"I don't like books written in the present tense... and I say this with caution, since some of my favorite books (A Great & Terrible Beauty, CandorBefore I Fall) are written in present tense. But I find it much more difficult to get into." - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"Inconsistency. It really bothers me when writers have information incorrect or contrary to what was said before." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All the Stupid Things.

Don't forget to come back Thursday to learn the rest of the author's pet peeves!
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  1. Ooo, I liked this one; AND I discovered some interesting new books that I am going to want to read from it. This feature is awesome!

  2. Chelsea Campbell's peeve made me laugh. "Teehee".

    I also agree with the comment on present tense. I sort of liked Lisa McCann's "Wake" with it, but it did distract.

    Thanks for the cool post!

  3. I like this post, great answers!

  4. Great feature ^_^ it was both amusing and insightful.

  5. Very interesting and fun to read. My biggest pet peeve, characters who describe themselves e.g. Bella in the first chapter of Twilight telling the reader what she looks like and what she's wearing. Get creative with a character's description if it's written in first person.