My unusual bookish pet peeves are well…unusual. Because, I am unusual. And I’m ok with that.
I’ve been reading a lot of these types of things lately, and everyone pretty much says the same thing. I agree with what they were saying, but it got me thinking. I have things that when I see them in a book, I roll my eyes and sigh heavily. Today, I thought I’d share. Hope you enjoy.
Now, there are the standard things I hate such as:
1.) Changing Book Covers (don’t even get me started) I mean, seriously, your lack of continuity is as lacking as it is in your plot. *shrugs* IJS
2.) Love Triangles (unless its well executed) *sigh* Have a seat, Twilight
3.) “Strong” Female Characters (Oh ho ho! This will be its own post, don’t you worry!)
And…yada yada yada! The list goes on. However, there are other things that I hate. For this, I think I need to break it down genre by genre.
If I see one more bleeping dragon, on one more bleeping page and one more bleeping cover art, I am going to bleeping puke! SERIOUSLY! Are there nooo other freaking mythological creatures? Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE dragons, they are powerful. They are cool. They are freaking dragons!
What I hate is their overdone-ness. Gimme something fresh. Gimme something original. One author, whose representation of dragons I thoroughly enjoyed, was G.A. Aiken, in her Dragon Kin Series. I’m not actually praising the books, I think there was a lot lacking, as far as plot and structure, but…I like her twist on the classic. She is technically a romance writer, and technically does not belong under this section, but it was worth noting. Ok…moving on.
2.) The Quest
Sweet honey barbeque! Seriously…every MC has to go on a quest? Every MC has to be a bumbling novice and “grow” throughout the course of their journey? Excuse me, while I roll my eyes all the way to the back of my head. The major problem I have with this trope is I know its coming. I pick up a fantasy book and I know this is what I am going to encounter; right off the bat. For me, its just a matter of ok…which page is it going to start on? Which mentor is going to “guide” them along the path of heroism? Barf.
3.) Meat and Broth
Hey, I did warn you this list was unusual. Just think about this for a second. How many fantasy books have you read and their only sources of sustenance derives from meat they caught while hunting (another yawn) or the hot broth in the tavern? I know as an author, that sometimes these minute details can feel unworthy of your skills, but dang! Why can’t we have a vegetarian/vegan fantasy hero? How cool would that be?
Bread. Ugh. For all the reasons mentioned above, bread is so overrated. Gimme more man! How cool would it be to have an MC with an autoimmune problem that limits their consumption of certain foods? Make them be carb-phobic. I think many could relate. Or how about just a fantasy character that is just like, nope! Not today, bread. Not today.
4.) The Inn/Tavern
Oh God. Not. This. Again. I get it, you want to be Tolkien-esque, homage to the great, but please. Please for the love of all good lodging. Please! Stop this. Once or twice is good, but if your character is doing nothing but roaming from one town to another and ending up in various places that resemble anything like this…go poke yourself. In the eye.
The Cave. Do you really want me to go down this road? Do ya? Do ya really?
To clarify, mountains as rebel bases *rolls eyes*. Why does every fantasy rebel reside in the dang high hills? Why can’t there be an undersea cave? Under a mole hill? Dang! Why can’t they set up shop right under the wicked ruler’s nose in the…I dunno….sewers or something? Seriously.
Le Forest. I truly, don’t have the strength to discuss this. Truly, I don’t.
6.) The Wicked Ruler
Lol, I just wanted to mention, this. I actually love the oppression and persecution. If this is a well thought out character, then it makes it all the more awesome. What I don’t like however, is the ruler that’s evil just for the sake of being evil. Seriously, are there no benevolent kings or queens in fantasy? That weren’t either killed by the bad guy or turn evil themselves? Know what I would love to see? I would love to see a the “evil” ruler actually realize the error of their ways, on their own! Like…without protagonist intervention. IJS.
Ahhh…Man’s gentlest beast of burden…is overused and (as much as I love them) so boring now! Again, this goes back to my qualms about originality in storytelling. I understand the saying “nothing is new” in literature but that doesn’t mean you can slack off and just keep revolving the same old tired wheel.
I feel a little hypocritical saying this, considering my current manuscript also incorporates heavy horse usage. To compensate for this, I include other beasts of burden as well. My advice to other writers is this, why can’t the characters ride elephants? Camels? Sabretooth tigers, domesticated lions, dolphins, heck…sea slugs! I don’t care, just give me something that is not so tired and done to death.
8.) Rickety Bridges
If I see one more damn rickety, old, wooden bridge with half the planks missing that is suspended over a lava pit, I am going to puke! Does no fantasy race know how to build sound structures capable of suspending an army over a large body of otherwise dangerous elements?
9.) Overly Descriptive Writing that goes on for pages
Gimme a damn break and skip to the point. I’m one for descriptions; I love to be totally immersed into the new world I am reading about, just like the next girl. Do I want to read 40 pages of it? Heck no! I think the true masters are the ones that can make me feel apart of the world I’m traversing by allowing my own mind to roam. Give me enough descriptions to let my mind wander, but let me fill in the blanks. If you can do that in your writing. Master level obtained.
1.) WWII Era
Sigh. Of all the eras of human existence. Why? Why are His-Fict. writers so obsessed with WWII. Is it the war? Is it the blood? The gore? The romance? Ok, sure. What about the Battle of Waterloo, the Crimean War, Peloponnese War, the fall of the…I dunno…Wall of Jericho? Was there an epic battle for the Rock of Gibraltar? I dunno. No writer has told me about it yet! Think outside the box. WWII happened, it was done. Horrible it was. Stop telling me about it now. Give me another era. Thank you.
2.) Forcing the Accent
A very good piece of advice I received when I was a wee author; never force the accent. What I mean is, I hate when I am reading a historical piece and its just obvious the author is trying to reinforce that the character is supposed to sound a certain way. Or, they’ll outright say, so-and-so spoke with a such-and-such accent. Stop it! I prefer the author let me make my own conclusions of how the character sounds.
Sigh. The modern American accent in places it just doesn’t belong. Or, the *sigh* “exotic” British accent for American characters. Pardon me, while I hold up my barf bag.
BAHAHAHA! I can feel the angry glares now but just hear me out! Is a divorce for a battered or otherwise unhappy woman plausible for Spain circa 1390? Could a young woman clearly speak her mind in the presence of men twice her age? Openly disagree with the marriage her parents chose for her and walk away unscathed? Could she openly dress in “masculine” attire and not be persecuted? Demand equal pay for equal work? Would she win that court trial? Could she even go to court? No? Then, stop putting our modern sensibilities into historical characters. Show strength in other ways, but not our modern ideals of feminism.
Prudish woman dressed in skin tight clothing that bare the “lovely rounded mounds on her chest.” Gag.
The deepest, darkest, most terrifying stories don’t require even a drop of blood. I would love to see more psychological horror books.
All of my gripes revolve around wanting to see more genre defying content. Lose the tired tropes and give me something fresh. Nothing is “new” in literature but at least give me a fresh perspective. Defy my preconceptions. Make me see things in a new light that I would have never thought of myself. That is, after all, the reason we read.
Until next time G-NATION. Genesys Out!