Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
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Things I Hate in Books

You know those things that happen in books that just irk you? Distress you? Bother you? We all have them, and they're all different. Here's my list. Feel more than free to share yours in the comments! (Or just agree heartily with mine.)

Spoiler alert! I make references to novels such as Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc. that could spoil your reading experience. Proceed with caution.

  • Maimed characters. I'm not talking near-fatal wounds. I'm all for drama and injury and putting your characters through one heck of a ride. But it bothers me to no end when people lose teeth, hands, feet, eyes. Anything that doesn't grow back. Rapunzel's hair in the end of Tangled. Frodo's finger in Return of the King. George's ear in Harry Potter. Katniss's hearing in Hunger Games. (Okay, Suzanne did redeem that one by having it fixed.)
  • Irritating writing quirks. There are some quirks that more than one writer like to use, and they jump out at me every time. They're supposed to be cute, or establish voice, but will do the exact opposite for me. Like "yeah." One of my book pet peeves is writers that use "yeah" at the beginning of a sentence. "Yeah, I'm not too fond of spiders." "Yeah, I've been there before." "Yeah, that's me, the clutz." Yeah, you can stop doing the yeah thing now!
  • Ruined love stories. Is it awful if I confess that I love unrequited love? Provided I didn't first become way too involved in the romance. No, what I'm talking about isn't that kind of ruined love story. It's when authors kill people. Sure, sometimes it's necessary. Yes, it probably has the desired effect on me by yanking on my heartstrings until I can hardly bear it. But killing Finnick? Lupin and Tonks? Norman in Beatrix Potter [movie]? Well, maybe that last one they couldn't help, since it was a true story.
  • Wise old men. Basically, Gandalf clones. I don't like info-dumpy, know-it-all old men. They're a dime a dozen, and I generally don't care much about them (Dumbledore being the exception. He kinda grew on me.) The one that comes to mind is Brom in Eragon. Though, really, I could write a post of things I don't like about Eragon. (I'm sorry, fans!) I had another example of an info-dumpy old man (a wizard, too), but then I had a soft spot, because the book wasn't widely popular. I'll be kind.
  • Unlikeable female protagonists. This one REALLY bugs me. Maybe it's my tendency to be hard on girls in my general age range, or maybe my standard for female protagonists is really high, because boy, few things put me off in a novel more than an unlikeable female protagonist! Our definitions of 'unlikeable' are probably different, but mine is generally a girl with a bad attitude (who never redeems herself), flirty girls, overdone tomboy girls, and (especially) cookie cutter YA female protags. You can't tell one from the other when you think back. Nothing sets them apart. You know what I'm talking about, right?
  • Hot guys. Okay, this one's tougher to word, because I'm totally not anti-good-looking-guys in books. What bugs me are over-described, picture-perfect boys in books. They're generally either dark haired, or blonde haired. Usually muscles, jeans, and winning eyes are involved. (Or smiles. Lots of smiles!) Really, at the end of the day, what makes it or breaks it for me with boys in stories is character. Please, please don't give me a hundred descriptions of his cuteness. Show me how he acts. How he lives, talks, and treats others. Give me a reason to love or hate him, a reason that's deeper than his skin.
  • Abrupt endings. Ahhh, this one! I don't feel like you're supposed to finish a book, close it, say "oh", and feel deflated. I know it's a bad sign when I go on to read the acknowledgements and tiny words at the end, hoping listlessly for more story. It's one thing when it's supposed to have a dot dot dot feeling, or if there are going to be other books. But when it's a standalone novel, I feel like you should close the book and sigh in contentment, right? At least show us some of the happily ever after!
So it's your turn. What's your list? Do you agree or disagree with any on mine? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Best Part of Today: Writing, writing, WRITING.
Currently Craving: Hot tea.
Music Pick: "Fight" by Icon For Hire
I'm Reading: "Gulliver's Travles" + "Defiance" by Constance Briggs (hee!)
WIP: Aqueous (8,796 words)

23 epic comments:

Yeah, I agree. *troll grin*

I hate the ticks adult authors seem to like using for 'instant teenage voice,' when really it just makes them sound like everyone else. Which is boring and cookie-cutter, and those are two very bad things. One thing that really bugs me is snarky-snark characters—I'm sure it was fun and new the first time, but it ain't so the twentieth. It makes them sound, again, cookie-cutter. Not every teenager has a cynically witty outlook on life, and those people in real life are generally the ones who complain and don't do anything about it. And we want stories about the doers. Obviously. *unless you're reading existential lit-fic, then it's okay* XD

I'm also there with you on the hot guys! GIVE THEM FLAWS! Give me a redhead! *likes redheads* =P Make them short, make them awkward, make them REAL. I'm sick and tired of perfect pretty men. O_o) *end rant before I write an opus*

Oh, and I'm actually happier when the characters die in love, rather than going the Becoming Jane route of eternal separation. It doesn't help that Anne Hathaway was forever kept apart from James McAvoy. *not obsessed with James McAvoy* *COUGH* It left me seriously depressed for a couple days, not kidding. I'm much better dealing with other kinds of grief. O_o


Me: I know, right? "Yeah" is like instant teenage voice.
Amanda: Yeah, I know.
*facepalm* LOL (I know that's not really the irksome way to use "yeah," I just found it amusing. XD)

I agree with Amanda on everything else. I dislike the snarkity-snark heroines/heroes! It makes all the characters sound the same, because their snark is generic—none of them have their own take on it.

In recent times, I've warmed to maiming. =D Only if it fits the story, though, not just used as a random tragedy to manipulate the readers into feeling something. Same with character deaths. *cough*Finnick*cough* (I pretended he wasn't dead. XD) X-Men Origins: First Class and <redacted>(I don't want to give that one away ^_~*) are pretty much the only good examples of maiming done well that I've seen.


Ack! Hunger Games spoiler! I should really have read the spoiler alert -_-

Anyway, I agree with all your points. I especially hate maimed characters, and in my own work, if a character gets maimed then they're going to die really soon... because I don't like maimed characters.


@Amanda Well said! I totally agree on the snarky thing.

Ahaha. I didn't know this about you. Though let's be honest, James McAvoy IS very cute. =)

@Renee Hehehe. That's great. XD

Warmed to maiming?! LOL!! That sounds so sinister. Well, you're totally right, because I know that it's a very effective way of making me sad. But for the next few pages (chapters?) after an incident where someone's maimed, I tend to just keep going back and thinking it over, like: "No, that didn't happen. Nuh-uh! It's going to grow back. You'll see!"

@Matt Aww, I'm sorry! I can only say you were warned. Just try to forget it. You never read it.

Hahaha. That's great. You're still one step ahead of me, because I can't remember a time where I've ever maimed someone. O_o I don't think I can do it!


I agree with your list. :)

Although, some of my characters may eventually be maimed at some point. In one series especially, I've long-contemplated somebody losing an arm or a leg...

I may have a wise old man or two as well... But at least one of them is so out of touch with reality that he's forgotten his own name and can't info-dump them ANY information! 8D

Also, Icon for Hire. <3


@Silent Haha, woah! A whole leg!? And if he forgot everything, than he can't info-dump, so that's okay. XD

YES. Love them. <3


AAAAH. Exactly right with maiming--I totally agree. Near-fatal wounds are fine, gaping holes the size of baseballs are fine, ten arrows are fine--there's just something unusually *squick* about missing a finger, or an ear, or whatever. I have a hard time with Jane Eyre because of what happened to Mr. Rochester...

Although, now that I consider it, I *did* irreparably burn a character once. Does that count as maiming? It was a guy, though, so maybe I was instinctively trying to avoid Perfect Hot Guy syndrome...


@Rachel Oh RIGHT! For some reason I always forget about Mr. Rochester. That one bothered me too. Ahh. How could I forget??

Haha. Well... I don't know. I don't mind scarring people, particularly guys. So maybe not? Anything to avoid Perfect Hot Guy syndrome. XD


@Maggie: Not to worry. They're going to be rediscovering the forgotten art of prosthetics! XD *it's a dystopian*

I LOVE them. Like six of their songs are on the playlist for one of my novels. We saw them live and got their CD like twelve days after their CD came out. XD They. Were. AWESOME live. ^^


@Silent Oh good! LOL I actually might maim a character if it were dystopian or something set in the future. I should have specified that I don't like permanent maiming. XD

NO WAY! I'll just pretend I'm not jealous. Which are your favorite songs!?


EXTREMELY late to the party, but whatever. >.>

Oh, maimed characters...I'm okay with some maiming. I hate missing limbs. Visibly missing things, basically. But blindness, deafness, psychological damage? Things that affect them, but aren't necessarily visible, I love. Well. I am okay with. I love them if it furthers the character and is fixed later. Killing characters, though...I don't like it if they're killed without purpose, but I won't deny, I've killed a few. But it was necessary for the plot, so it wasn't JUST to tug heartstrings.

I think I have major problems with starting sentences with words. "Well", "yea" (NOT "yeah", "yea"'s a fantasy, and I have a crazy love for the word "yea"), etc. I'll probably need to fix that.

I'm with Amanda about the ruined love stories. Those can upset me. A lot.

HOT GUYS. GUH. The only time I've tried to make a specifically hot guy/point out his hotness was because the MC was in love with him at the start and hadn't seen him in years. But I hope I didn't dwell too much. O_o

If I REALLY try, I can totally see half of these in my various stories, alas. Or I'm just paranoid because Twin is reading my MS at the mo and I'm afraid she's seeing these in it and thus that is why she made the post. >.< Yes, Twin, I realize the absurdity of that. You know how I get, though. *cough*

But really, I agree with all these. I might add wise old women, because they can be just as bad as wise old men.


@Twin I HATE when characters go blind! Mary in the Little House books!? Bothered me to no end. Except that wasn't fictional. If it can be helped, don't do it!! Blindness/deafness are awful. (I love sound and color.) But yes, I suppose they're sometimes necessary.

And NO, I am NOT seeing all these things in your work. Don't be paranoid. XD I know Zierin is supposed to be hot, but it's in a different, twisted way, and I love it. He's not just Mr. Perfect sauntering in to the story to steal our MCD's heart. And she's fighting her feelings, too, which is always good. ^^ No worries there.

And I did notice you like "yea"... but you've started no sentences with it in the annoying way. O_o


@Maggie: My favorite songs, eh? Hm... Like I said, a bunch of them are on a story's playlist (because apparently they sing about disease and going insane a lot, and it fits with my plot). XD

So, probably Theater, Get Well, Iodine, Make a Move... Basically every song on their CD. XD They just rock, frankly.


YES! Haha. I usually have one or more of their songs picked to go with my novels, because they... fit. (Probably not a good thing. O_o Is it?)

Love all those songs. Particularly Iodine and Make A Move. <3 Right now "Fight" is the one I've matched with my current novel. Works beautifully.


@Twin- I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Though I'll make this amendment––I don't like it when characters go blind/deaf(or get physically maimed in any way) and then just give up on life. Unless it's part of their character development, and they have to get past it, that makes me want to throw the book at the wall. For whatever reason, I don't feel the same about psychological maiming.

Good. That was my goal when writing him. ^^


@Twin *agrees to disagree* Sure, I like when they overcome it too. But like the prince in the classic Rapunzel fairytale? His eyes are gouged out by bushes. (I think the witch pushes him off the tower.) And then he can never see his beautiful love again! To me, that's TRAGIC. And it doesn't have to happen.

Now psychological damage (and I forgot to say this before) I'm TOTALLY cool with. I love (wow, that sounds awful! O_o) when characters overcome psychological damages. I'm all for memory loss, trauma, etc. *polishes devil horns*


Hmm. Definitely agree with the old man part.....especially Brom! Seriously, his only purpose in the first book was to disperse information as needed.

I personally don't mind "yeah." Why? Because I'm a teenager, and I say "yeah" all the time. I think dialogue should be as realistic as possible. If teenagers say "yeah," then YA characters should be saying "yeah."

I'm a huuuggggeee fan of morally ambiguous protagonists. I think they're far more interesting than nice, instantly likable protagonists. My favorite books involve protagonists that are thoroughly unlikable in their actions, with small acts that redeem them. I find I have the opposite problem.....I find many YA protagonists just too likable, with not enough flaws.

I'd also have to disagree on maiming and killing, because a story needs consequences. This is one of the big reasons why Breaking Dawn one got injured, nothing changed, and Bella didn't have to give up anything to achieve happiness. When a character makes sacrifices, it makes the story more real and more emotionally engaging. I found the deaths of Tonks and Fred and Lupin absolutely necessary. Without them, Deathly Hallows would not have had the same impact. Let's face it, they're at war. People are going to die. If everyone survived, I would've felt cheated because the story wouldn't have been realistic. I think realism is the key to any good story. When you're fighting for your life, as in Harry Potter and Hunger Games, getting maimed is a very distinct possibility. I'd rather a character get maimed and have to suffer the consequences of what they've been though than have them come out of battle miraculously unscathed, with all their friends alive and well. Such an ending would be dreadfully saccharine.

I do agree when it comes to oh-so-hot guys....we get it, he's attractive! Now shut up and talk about something else!


@Kate Yeah. Totally. Never liked Brom.

Ahh. Well, when you put it that way, yes. I agree. Characters should DEFINITELY have flaws. But that's what I meant by "who never redeems herself", because I'm mainly talking about girls with attitudes. If they're going to be unlikeable, they've got to grow as a character, and grow OUT of it. If they're a jerk on the first page, okay... I'll give it a chance... but as the book goes on, they really need to NOT be unlikeable anymore. Because at some point, I need to like them enough to root for them.

True. Very true. Maybe I didn't make this clear enough, but I certainly don't mind when people DIE, it just really bugs me in a kind of "eww" way when people lose body parts. Things that don't grow back. Ears, fingers, legs, arms. I 100% agree with what you say about war and stories not being realistic without death. And sacrifices. There've got to be those.

Thanks for reading! :)

Thanks for the awesome comment!


@Maggie– Um, yeah, that wasn't okay. But gauging sorta falls under "visible" to me. I like blindness that is someone losing their sight, but their eyes look normal/only slightly different. Whole eyeballs missing blindness? Ew, no.

It's not just because I don't like the look of visibly maiming. I think I like it when people have flaws/issues, but they're hidden. A sort of "he looks normal, but he's actually a serial killer" type hidden. That's what makes psychological maiming so awesome. It brings up the question––if THIS person has this problem, who's to say these other people don't either??


@Twin Well, to be honest, that kind of blinding bugs me too. I think I'm just really attached to my vision. O_O *coughs*

YES. Totally! I love hidden flaws and psychological issues. The possibilities are endless!


@Maggie ahhh that makes sense. I agree. If a character's a total bitch at the beginning I don't mind, but there has to be at least some form of personal growth over the novel as a whole. If she's still a total bitch at the end, the author's doing something wrong.

And I can see where you might not like losing body parts. I don't really mind, but it is rather gross :)


Hahaha, I too have had to resist the urge to write a post about things wrong with Eragon. :P Brom is actually one of the old-man types I like better than most, because he's a complete jerk to Eragon and I like that.

Also, I despise perfect boys that are oh-so-obviously supposed to be the epitome of attractiveness and the main character can't help falling for.


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