1. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    Literary pet peeves

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Twisted Inversely, Sep 8, 2009.

    We all have them. What gets on your nerves?

    Excessive technical detail in thrillers

    Why is it a gun never a gun, or a helicopter never a helicopter? Why must the author tell us the make, defining feature, what special covert force (which will, of course, be the most accomplished in the world) it is used by, rate of fire and all manor of details plagiarized from guns and ammo?

    All knowing character, often in the form of wise old mentor dude

    You know the type. The guy who knows exactly what is going on but refuses to tell our hero’s anything mumbling words to the effect of “you are not ready” or “when the time is right”. Bonus demerit points if the author kills them off just before they are about to reveal what they know thus allowing the series to be stretched out for several more books.
     
  2. KillerQueen
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    KillerQueen New Member

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    I don't think I really have any literary pet peerves. I do have to say I kinda dislike when it seems like most of the characters know something but the reader doesn't and only finds out in the end.

    Makes me think of Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter, hehe.
     
  3. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate CLAMP. I figure most of you won't get that, and for the sake of my dignity, don't google it. Just let it suffice that I hate them and all they stand for. CLAMP is my literary(ish) pet peeve.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agreed. CLAMP infuriates me to no end.

    *

    I hate flat endings--AKA the endings of all John Grisham books. :D The book is suspenseful, great build up, but then it fizzles out at the end. Booooo.
     
  5. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can anybody say Codex? It's like the author threw up his hands and said "I hate this book and I hate all of you. NO ENDING FOR YOU!"
     
  6. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hate when I read a book by an author, think "wow, this is really good! I'll have to check out his/her other books!" and then read another book by them only to discover that every book they have written is the exact same plot in a different setting.

    Grrrrr.
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    What I don't like is when the characters resemble each other so much, I can't tell them apart, and I'm halfway through the book reading names of major characters and not remembering who they are.

    That doesn't bother me.

    I know nothing about guns, but if I read "gun," I'd want a little bit better description. Is it a rifle, a handgun, a sub-machine gun, a pea shooter, a rocket launcher?

    Give me just enough detail to make me "see" (and smell and hear and taste and feel) the setting.

    And Yoda and (in some incarnations) Alfred the Butler in Batman, and the teacher in Karate Kid and about a million other characters.

    That's a classic character type. There whole are lists of them.

    The sidekick.
    The damsel in distress.
    The idiot/fool who later turns out to be wise.
    The helper. (Often, the technical guy who provides the neat gadgets or weapons.)

    I've read list of dozens and dozens of "classic character types."

    I'm rather comfortable with them, myself. They're a natural part of fiction.

    To your "bonus demerit," I've actually read something similar to that as a general complaint about Harry Potter books--not death, but a monumental event just when someone is about to reveal something.

    And then she said, "And the secret I've been trying to tell you is..."

    When suddenly, the roof caved in! Two thousand bats flew everywhere! Fifty monkeys jumped down, bearing knives! Her eyes fell out! Forteen alarm clocks started going off at once and everyone turned their heads!

    Charlie
     
  8. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    You hate CLAMP? You mean the Japanese manga team? What's there to hate? most of their comics are pretty well written and drawn.

    Back on subject, my literary pet peeves...uh...the only one that sticks out to me right now is too much exposition. Especially in sci-fi novels when explaining something like a blaster or a ship. There's really no need since with all the sci-fi out there it's hard to imagine their blasters, ships and the like will really be THAT different.
     
  9. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey, whatever happened to preserving my dignity? :mad: But yes. They are good, I'll give them that, but they have a tendency to take characters that you care about and throw them out the window.

    Exploring the possibility of relationships with robots that easily pass the Turing test? Have it confirmed in-universe that they are complicated machines and not actually sentient beings.

    Have a boy embark on a multi-verse spanning quest that connects several unconnected series together in order to return the shattered pieces of the heart of the woman he loves? He's the evil twin who's been impersonating his father and knowingly romancing an alternate universe version of his mother since he was seven.

    That and the navel-gazing, dear Lord the navel-gazing.

    Charlie, I think you would really enjoy tvtropes.org
     
  10. sapphire_chan
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    sapphire_chan Member

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    Better than when it happens with a series....n
     
  11. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or when the ending of the 4-book series is completely nonsensical and makes you want to return the book & get your $ back.
     
  12. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also hate when the writer stalls. I'm looking at you Robert Jordan.
     
  13. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    One of my pet peeves is when the writer adds swearing and sex just for the sake of swearing and sex. Totally ruins the book for me. Most of the time it is completely unrelated and I'm left thinking, "Where did that come from?"

    Edit:
    Come to think of it, another of my pet peeves is when I'm reading a book and parts seem strangly familiar. I then read the note from the author and he happens to mention that his inspiration come from author so and so. An example is the book, "Icebound" by Dean Koontz. It seemed oddly familiar and when Koontz tells the reader at the end that his inspiration came from Alistair Maclean's "Ice Station Zebra" I remember, "Oh, so that is where I read it before!" Now I just think of Dean Koontz as a cheap ripoff. Too bad. It was a decent book and he did have some original ideas.
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My literary pet peeve is the poorly written female character.

    I am a massive fan of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. So full of wonder and childlike clarity of mind as to the possibility of the future and a universe filled with amazement and the authors are pretty much all men and they had no bloody clue about women.

    I know full well that there are many golden age authors that most people assumed were men, but were in fact women who used pen names to pass as fellahs' in order to get published in that very testosteronic time, but the actual men were complete trogs when it comes to the fairer sex.

    It breaks down into three different infractions.

    1) No women at all in the story.

    At least the author had the presence of mind to know that he didn't have a clue so didn't even try to go there.

    2) Women as men with boobs.

    This author at least isn't sexist, but obviously does not understand women.

    3) Women as boobs with an ambulatory system.

    *sigh*

    This author is your classic sexist pig. He doesn't care to understand women because women are like cars to him. There for his pleasure and into the garage, please when I don't wanna' deal with you.

    One of my favorite authors from the old school is one of the worst offenders of infraction #3. James White has only one actual female character in his Sector General novels. Nurse Murchison (of course she is a nurse because women are nurses and men are big, heroic doctors) is the only main character of the female persuasion. Although there is never any sex in his books, he describes her over and over again as a curvaceous, buxom bucket-o-hotness, who is magnetically attracted to Dr. Conway, the main protag in the series, who is described more than once as being being rather average in appearance and without doubt, on his way down from average to dumpy.

    Yeah...

    Sector General is an intergalactic, inter-species hospital where the doctors are regularly tasked with saving the lives of creatures that have never been encountered before. This tells me that if Nurse Murchison is the head nurse of this hospital, that means that she is so incredibly awesome at what she does that in any Earth-side hospital she would be the head-cheif-goddess-whateveritistheycallthepersonincharge of even the most prestigious hospital.

    And she's as hot as all that? Why is she interested in dump-meister Conway?

    Sorry, James White. I love your books, but your take on women = FAIL
     
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  15. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I'll echo Wreybies post and add, all stereotyping in general.

    All forms of racial stereotyping.

    Negative portrayals of people in specific geographic areas, such as southern stereotypes or inner-city stereotypes. Drunk Irishman. Womanizer Frenchman. Etc.

    Religious stereotyping: All Muslims portrayed as evil terrorists. All atheists portrayed as snide, egotistical cynical snobs. All Christians portrayed as hypocritical, superstitious, and Republican.

    Sexual-orientation stereotyping: All homosexual men portrayed as effeminate limp-wrists with no morals, and all homosexual women portrayed as ugly masculine women who could be truck drivers or lumberjacks.

    (Now that I think of it... occupational stereotypes... such as stereotyping of truck drivers and lumberjacks.) ;)

    Political stereotyping: All liberals portrayed as effeminate self-centered idiots. All conservatives portrayed as warmongering bigots.

    It's okay for your book to have a slant. It's not okay for your book to stereotype an entire group of people.

    One can also see time-period relevance. Today, it's in vogue to stereotype Muslims, just as, during the Cold War it was in vogue to stereotype Russians.

    On the other hand, I like to see characters that break the stereotypes, or dispel myths about groups frequently stereotyped. For example, David Baldacci's "The Camel Club" actually dispelled some of the myths about Islam, and his books sometimes have Muslim characters portrayed in a positive (or neutral, normal human) light.


    Charlie
     
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  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Being gay myself, yeah... this one bugs. Strangely, it also bugs me when the author attempts to make a point and paints the person as the exact opposite. The hyper macho gay man in uniform, rippling with muscles (who seems to have a tendency towards violence in bed), or the ultra lipstick lesbian who is the very fount of femininity, but, sorry boys, no can have.

    How about the 98% of the rest of the community that falls in the middle?
     
  17. Leah Woods
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    Leah Woods Active Member

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    And I'll echo both Wreybies and Charlie. I just can't stand stereotyping. No way.

    Oh and there's one more thing that just plain bugs me. Balkan countries presented as still war-torn countries where everyone's starving, has no education, and every other woman just ends up being prostitute. Admittedly, we aren't so well-developed, but we're past that point. At least in the bigger part of the country. :D
     
  18. Aquarelle99
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    Aquarelle99 Member

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    Or a 13-book series. Has anyone read A Series of Unfortunate Events? It's a kids' series, I know, but the first few books started out really promising. Good story, educational word-play, and general awesomeness. But by the end there were so many plotlines that I didn't know what was going on, and none of them were resolved at the end. Grrr!
     
  19. olgic
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    olgic New Member

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    Where do you live??

    I also hate that........with a passion :)
     
  20. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Authors who devote more pages to secondary and tertiary characters than the MC because they like them better.
     
  21. Leah Woods
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    Leah Woods Active Member

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    I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tuzla if it means something to you :D
     
  22. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Exact same here. The biggest offender of this? Nicholas Sparks. Dreary so-called romantic plotlines, just slightly different in place and character names. Otherwise they're all the same. I don't see why his books are best-sellers, he isn't a very good romance writer and the plot to nearly every one is so hokey. I read True Believer, and it was just like the plotline of the Disney/Pixar movie Cars, except Cars had better characters and was much more endearing. The only good book he ever wrote was The Notebook, which basically makes him in my mind a one-hit wonder, basing off of plot rather than money.
     
  23. Spirit
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    Spirit Member

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    Anyone who has read Mathew Reily will know about this.

    When a character does something very improbable. Like hitting a moving object the size of a penlid while falling down an elevator shaft with a gas powered gun(yes, I've seen it).

    I don't mind if something like that is done, maybe once in a series, but when it is done about five times in every book. I really really hate it. I mean, its a book, not a child's cartoon!
     

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