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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Insight: Fiction Pet Peeves (2)

What's your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?

"I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented and thoughtful editors. When they suggest changes, they always show me how they are in service to the story. I think it’s not even a question about changes, it’s a question of surrounding yourself with people who want to see you and your book succeed. That kind of trust allows me to be flexible, because I know no one is going to ask me to compromise my writing." - Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be.

"I don’t like the fact that every novel has to go through the stage of collapsing completely and having to be remade. It’s happened enough times now that I know not to be alarmed when it happens, but it really is horrible sitting in the middle of a messed-up novel trying to decide which broken bit to pick up and fix first." - Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island

"Trends. More importantly, how they develop. They make for less creative books. I don’t think people loved Hunger Games because of the dystopian aspect. People responded because it’s a great story that is hard to put down. That should be a trend. Instead we have books flooding the market that all sound the same, but are missing the core element that made the original thing great in the first place." - Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

"Every published book has readers who've loved it enough to do the work to bring it into the world. I always try to read a book and understand what is lovable about it. I do get frustrated when I see writing that could be fresher, condensed, or more delightfully specific." - Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention

"As a reader who has also spent a lot of time teaching in public high schools, I take issue with books that depict high school like it was in say, the 1980's, or that overuse the typical stereotypes of both students and teachers. Also, I'm not fond when I can clearly see a character as a device." - Joy Peble, author of Anastasia Forever

"Bad and overuse of metaphor." - Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine

"That hurrhurryhurry feeling. That we're all in a rush to get an agent, get published, get one, two, three books out a year. So many writers feel like they're behind on some arbitrary schedule. I've internalized that myself, and I think it's harmful from an emotional health standpoint -- and also a book standpoint. Rushing a book rarely results in your best book." - Kirsten Hubbard, author of Wanderlove.

"Revisions. I suck at them." - Cyn Balog, author of Touched

"Awkward word choices. Things like when a word appears too many times on a page, or a unique word that turns up three or four times in a book where I can just tell it was stuck in the author’s creative craw, or unfortunate, clearly unintentional internal rhymes. A more large-scale peeve would be with books that take themselves too seriously." - Dayna Lorentz, author of No Safety in Numbers

"I dislike it when unrealistic things happen in stories – either out of poor research or plain laziness or, even worse, a lack of respect for young readers. Once I reach one of those 'That would never happen' moments, I’m gone. The bullshit detector goes off, beep-beep-beep, and our trust is broken." - James Preller, author of Before You Go

"While I’m not a fan of over-description, I am a huge fan of great scene-setting, but I don’t need to know what every single blade of grass looks like." - Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

"The word ‘incredulously’ in dialog tags." - Sarah Tregay, author of Love and Leftovers

"We both find it frustrating when writing is lazy, when plotting isn’t worked out, or themes don’t track well. A lot of times books start out well, but by the mid-way point the plot has sagged or the characters’ inner lives haven’t been tended to with care. These are things that can be fixed and should be." - Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas, co-authors of From What I Remember

Find out the rest of the authors' fiction pet peeves on Thursday!
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