Here are some of my main grievances:
The Princess Bride movie references. Once upon a time I loved that movie. It was quirky and fun with understated intelligence. But then it seemed every other book I read quoted, "Inconceivable!" or "As you wish." or some other TPB reference. Isn't it time to move on to something new? Please?
Bullet Point Prose. Here's a quick example: "She typed words on the keyboard. Read them. Erased them. Typed them again." Isn't that the same as this?
- She typed words on the keyboard.
- Read them.
- Erased them.
- Typed them again.
Modelesque/Hollywood-type Protagonists. I know, we all like to watch "beautiful" people. Our movies and books are filled with them. But, a book that can use the ordinary and make them a thing of beauty is far more interesting. It's my opinion that if your characters are modelesque, there should be a purpose behind their extraordinary beauty. Just as setting plays an important role in literature, shouldn't character appearance also play a role? Would Jane Eyre have been the same if she had exquisite beauty? Two of my favorite series' have "plain" leads: Trixie Belden, and Hadassah in Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series. I've read two authors of late who have used the unconventional lead: Kaye Dacus and Sarah Sundin. Their books prove that the definition of beauty is far broader than a Hollywood description.
Romances where the male and female leads spend precious little page time together. If the book is a romance shouldn't the leads actually spend time with each other? Shouldn't we see them getting to know each other? Show them fight? Tease? Sure, conflict can and should keep them apart emotionally, but shouldn't the book show them interacting in the midst of the conflict? Isn't that how true love grows?
The No-Good, Cheating, Dead-Beat Ex-Husband. Pick out a handful of books classified as Women's Fiction and I'll bet half of them have a female lead who's overcoming her victim hood from her lousy ex-husband. (Or at least it seems half of them use this plot device.) The ex-husband is typically a very shallow, one-dimensional character, and the wife is merely a casualty of his selfishness. I honestly can't read any more fiction with this device. It's old and way overused. I know writers are more creative than that.
Whew. I feel better getting all that off my chest.
Now, here's your opportunity to vent your irritations. What are your pet peeves in literature? What elements of story do you see overused? Do you think I'm nuts? Do you love the very things I hate? I'd love to know. Remember, this isn't about what's technically correct; it's simply about your opinion.