By Linda Lovely
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Like my fellow blogger, Sarah Raplee, I once felt compelled to finish any book I started. Not so much anymore. If I'm seriously annoyed, I'll quit reading. And I certainly will never pick up another book by the same offer if the ending is a huge disappointment. Here are some of this reader's pet peeves.
Scene/Time Hopscotch-It’s a mystery to me why so many mystery writers think hopscotching among time periods adds to a novel’s intrigue. When the book club I belong to rates novels, the number one complaint and reason for lowering a score is a trend toward nonlinear construction. In other words, on page 30, the reader is seeing the world through Mr. Jones’ eyes in the year 1976. Then, on page 31, we’re suddenly thrown back to the year 1945 with Mrs. Clueless. On page 33, we may well be back in 1976 but with a different character. Yikes!
There are occasions when plot development requires a seesaw between times. That said it seems as if some of the jumping around occurs because the author WANTS to keep the reader off guard and thinks this adds to the mystery. The goal seems to be to keep the reader confused. E.g. if the reader can’t figure out what’s going on, it’s a good mystery. Not in my book(s).
Unlikable Characters-Okay. I love to hate villains. Great villains make for a good read. The stronger the villain, the stronger the hero or heroine must be. But what if all the people in a book are bad guys, heroine and hero included. Sorry, not for me. I have to like SOMEONE in a book for me to enjoy it. An author who serves up a book without a likable character won’t see me buying another novel with his or her name on the cover.
Unresolved Questions-When I come to the end of a mystery or thriller, I want all the loose ends tied up. Even if the novel is part of a series, I want a resolution of the important plot points.
Preaching-It’s fine to have underlying themes that make me think (actually that’s excellent), but a fiction author shouldn’t try to use a novel to preach on issues.
Misspellings & Sloppy Grammar-Hey, we all make mistakes. Can’t remember the last time I read a book by anyone (myself included) that didn’t include one—or probably more—typos that snuck through the editing process. But there’s no excuse for dozens of mistakes. It tells me the author didn’t care. And I’ll stop reading.
Fortunately, most of the books on my nightstand entertain and delight me.
So what are your pet peeves?