1. SunnyDays
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    SunnyDays Member

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    What's your biggest pet peeves with writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SunnyDays, Jan 25, 2012.

    To start off my biggest pet peeve is when a story is not believable.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm annoyed by increasingly pervasive usage errors. This morning, I again heard a newscaster use the word "momento" (Spanish for "moment") where he clearly meant "memento" (a keepsake). I know it was a spoken medium, not distributed in written form, but it was still scripted. It's a mistake I hear often, and from people who should know better - journalists.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    solliloquys like in shakespeare to be or not to be . It is a question and a sollilquy.
    It is distratcting when it a self -doubt/self-questioning is not actually dealt with at the end of the play/story.
    If a writer is going to bring up an issue theyhave with themselves then he or she should at the end of the story ensure that it is solved/answered.
    Playing anagrams with readers'smind like this is not interesting, for me anyway.
    It should no be the reader's responsibility to come out with an answer if the writer has not come out with one himself/themseslves.
    The writer must show the reader how the issue is solved first if the reader is to be involved in issue such as these.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm with cog on it being stupid mistakes by people who should know better... same goes for dumb goofs i come across in books and other written material...
     
  5. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I hate bad endings. I mean it, I really loath them. After investing time into reading a book and having the story really draw me in, I want a suitable ending. I'm a happy ending Star Wars ending sort of girl but the worst ending is the monster that's not been seen during the book showing up and eating all the bad guys.
     
  6. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    pet peeve is the lack of emotion in some stories. ie characters mother and father and brother die and goes to revenge them blah blah blah but never thinks about them, its as if s/he is a rock without any emotion
     
  7. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Ah, you mean the ole Deus Ex Machina trick - you're not alone in your loathing of that kind of poorly conceived ending. When something that has not previously been established in the novel suddenly turns up and solves all the heros problems, yes that is very annoying, but I'm glad to say I haven't come across many endings like that.

    My pet peeve is poorly handled expostion - where the author really lays it on thick with the backstory, and and stalls the momentum of the action to describe every little tiny piece of supporting information in excruciating detail. It's like they have a pattern to every paragraph that goes like this: 'statement - explanation of history behind said statement - significance of said history to character's motivation - next statement'. Fantasy authors are most guilty of this, in my experience.
     
  8. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Stories that waste my time. Most of the time I'm disgusted when a book is pretty decent and in the end turns ridiculous. The suspension of my disbelief is pretty fragile - if a writer messes up a small detail that shows s/he hasn't done the research, I want to ask back my money and my time. And this pet peeve transcends the written word - I just don't like my time being wasted, there's precious little as it is.
     
  9. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    I agree, I enjoy it much more when information relevant to the story is carefully woven in while the story unfolds.
     
  10. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    When a writer clearly does not understand the concept of and the difference between a word's connotation and denotation. This annoys me greatly. :mad:
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I similarly find emotional distance pretty annoying. Some people just seem to forget to mention how things are significant to a character, even if they explain how it is to the plot.

    I also find any sort of writing annoying where the writers are just clearly showing off pretending to be hip or in on popular stuff. I find it almost painful to read books written by people older than 30 which use internet slang, especially if they appropriate it rather than use it correctly. Likewise I don't like it when people are too blatant about their influences and the things they ripped off for the story. It comes to a point where if you haven't read the source material you don't understand the book... I mean, the worst is pretentious literary stuff that's so self-referential it's just a big squiggly mess of lines pointing to other things. But fantasy etc can be just as bad, particularly stuff set in the modern era, desperately trying to prove it's got links to the past and literary tradition. I got really sad reading something that promised to be a good urban fantasy because while the ideas and setting were really good, they were so desperate to point out they were part of the literary tradition it hurt. There were passages of flag-waving when they should have been telling stories and letting the details float by in the background for those who were in on the other stories.

    The worst is when a character announces a reading list at some point during the novel or has a discussion of their favourite books which is just unreserved praise. ><
     
  12. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    My biggest pet peeve is when author's drop in weird out of place dialogue or events that stand out as being very unnatural. Then at a later point something happens in the book and you realise "oh, they dropped in that weird conversation as a justification for what has just happened". It's like they wrote the whole book, realised that their "plot twist" was absurd and didn't make sense. And so they went back to an earlier place in the novel and dropped in a small passage to act as a lead up to make what happened seem less stupid. Sometimes it's "clue dumping" as well. It annoys me a lot.
     
  13. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    "Cute" conversation in which the characters (usually a man and a woman) are flirting and everything they say is "clever" to the point of either being cliche or sounding like a bad movie script. A related peeve (applies mostly to films): when a character makes a clever, humorous remark before blowing someone away. Not only is it unrealistic but it depicts a distanced, video-game type of violence that turns my stomach. Killing--even when the target is evil--is never cute.

    I'm also wary of gimmicks that place more attention on technique than story. For instance, the story(s) written with no letter 'e'. Stuff like that. I just think, "ok. fine. but what's the point?". Am I missing something?
     
  14. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    The stuff you mention there bothers the crap out of me too... Especially authors trying to be hip or characters talking about books just to seem smart. Though maybe I am guilty of it myself as I wrote a 50K story based on an Emily Dickinson poem, but I like to think that's different :p

    I once read a YA novel that was so clearly written by someone that really hadn't lived in my generation. All the slang and text speak was so out of place, it made me cringe and I had to put the book down. To be fair though, it was one of those crappy teen book club ones.
     
  15. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I hate propaganda. I want to read a story and form my own opinions about the plot and characters; I don't want it to be clear that the author has an agenda that they are advancing. Whether I agree with the author's social or political perspective or not, it's really arrogant and obnoxious.

    I never got through it, but I remember the narrator in the book Life of Pi continually bashing agnostics.
     
  16. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    All the things listed here I have to agree with, but this one. Oh man does it bother me. I can't stand when I read a story only to find out that it has a message it has to shove down my throat. It's one of the reasons I typically stay away from "tragic/heartbreaking" type stories. I don't like to feel overly manipulated to the point the story takes a backseat to whatever point the author feels they have to make.

    For me a personal pet peeve is the "ordinary normal" character. Besides the question, what is normal? It seems to be lazy way to write a character, often they just go with whatever happens plot wise and if they ever do something it is only because the plot says so. Most of the time it feels like an attempt to hook readers with the "you can put yourself in their place," gimmick. It is extremely frustrating when some of the side/secondary characters are really interesting on top of it. Often I want to yell at the book "why aren't they the main character?! They are actually interesting!" Everyone is different and we all have different goals, fears and tragedies in our past. Written right I don't think any character would seem bland no matter how "normal" they are supposed to be.
     
  17. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    This is a highly acclaimed novel, but its the only one that I got so frustrated with that I threw it across the room because what was supposed to be humor made me feel anger.

    'Catch 22' by Joseph Heller

    In this book the dialogue and comedy gets so repetitive it made me want to pull my hair out. This is not a direct quote from the book, but its an example of what made me mad.

    "Did you clean my room today Johnson?"

    "What room was I supposed to clean today?"

    "The room I told you to clean today, yesterday."

    "What room did you tell me to clean today, yesterday."

    "The room were talking in today."

    Couldn't take it anymore I threw the book as hard as I could. I guess milking the cow for every last drop is my pet peeve.
     
  18. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    I'm sure that you meant to say that the exception to this is "Army of Darkness". Of course you did. :p
     
  19. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, just shows how different people's sense of humour can be - this book made me involuntarily laugh out loud, the kind of laughter that is dangerous if you're drinking milk at the time ;)
     
  20. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    My pet peeve is when someone goes out of their way to use "advanced" words - but uses them wrongly. It combines two of my other pet peeves, "pretentiousness" and "not knowing what the heck they're talking about".
     
  21. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    LMAO!! This.
     
  22. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    "What's your biggest pet peeves with writing" <---- This

    Namely, people not using correct grammar and punctuation. In this sentence you have subject/verb diagreement (expand the contraction and you get 'what is your biggest pet peeves') and there is also a question mark missing.

    Drives me nuts, but luckily published novels have editors to catch these. Sadly the same cannot be said for writing in general - even advertising copy and signage.
     
  23. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dialogue attribution other than "he said" or "she said".

    For example...

    For a wonderful article, look here:
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001153.html
     
  24. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    Haha, really?! I happen to love using stuff like "he croaked" "he groaned" "he spat" etc. :(
     
  25. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    Meh, I use it sometimes. It can paint a more complete picture. Like, if someone sees an old friend, they might smile and say "hi!" at the same time. Or:

    "Hi!" she said, smiling.
    "Hi!" she smiled.
    She smiled. "Hi!"

    I don't see much difference between them, personally.

    As an aside, you should add quote tags around those examples. You didn't write them, and as you have it it looks like you did. Just a suggestion...
     

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