How I Write – Reader Pet Peeves

The question is:

List your top 3-5 pet peeves as a reader that you’ve caught yourself doing in your writing.

Answer:

1. This is the only one I’ve caught myself doing when I write. But it tends to be in the rough/first draft stage. Sometimes I tend to show rather than tell. I’ve noticed I do this more when I write faster or am struggling with a scene. So I have to remember to make a note to go back and change it.

2. I hate wandering body parts. It makes me stop reading. I used to do this a lot when I first started writing. Eyes do not wander up a body, gazes do. There are others but this is one that I noticed in a book I was reading. The image it produces in my head is a pair of eyes popping out of someone’s head and rolling on the floor and up a person’s body. I am a very visual reader and writer.

3. Stereotypes – This should go without saying. But it doesn’t take that long or rather, isn’t that hard to do a bit of research. Especially in today’s digital age. If you have a question about a particular culture or heritage then ask. I have found people very willing to help out. My biggest peeve is having the token African American friend who is always neck rolling, hands on hips and lip smacking. Or to show the person is African American they speak slang or broken English and they are supposed to be working in a professional environment. The thing that pulls me out the quickest though when encountering stereotypes in books is me questioning whether or not the author bothered to do research.

4. The other pet peeve (though this is a minor one). I have read these stories where the heroine does not annoy me and is written in a way that makes me want to read. But I hate the “rich -itch” type of heroine. I understand the woman being strong, independent, hard working, confidant, ambitious, goal 0riented or even blunt but why does she have to be a “-itch”.

5. Constrained endings – I don’t know what else to call this. But those endings where everything is wrapped up with a question, proposal or conversation. I think this goes also to having a weak black moment but that’s something else. I don’t like those endings where I’m left thinking – Huh? That was it? That’s how it’s going to end. Note: this also works with those cliff hanger endings that authors sometimes do to let readers know there is another book coming and to make or try to entice readers to read the next book to see what happens. I call this the “Dallas” or “Who shot JR?” ending.

If you want to check out how a few of my writing friends write:

* Alexia Reed * Emma G. Delaney * Kimberly Farris *Kristen Koster *

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