After reviewing a few books now, I’ve realized that there are certain elements that writers use that can automatically make me twitch a little. They aren’t always a bad thing, but it can sometimes be my reason for not enjoying the book or give it the full five stars. It does help, though, as I work on my own writing to realize things that I don’t like and then not put those elements in my work. What are some of them you may ask? Well…I just happen to have this handy list here!
Character overload: It’s only the first chapter, but you’ve already been introduced to every single character in the story and it takes you until about chapter 20 before you can figure out who’s who.
Description dumping: It’s nice to get a picture in our head of what our character looks like or what their crush looks like, but really I don’t need paragraphs or pages describing their long blonde hair and pale eyes. Or even just pages of them doing some mindless detail, so you can get every description of their body from their yellow toe nails to the top of their dandruff-ridden head.
Current day slang: In the Seventies it was ‘groovy’ in the Nineties it was ‘cool’ and lately it’s been ‘Epic.’ If you use current terms, they can easily date a book. Some will transcend the test of time, or are used in diary style narratives, but mostly they just tend to make the text look out of date.
Pop culture: This is one that I’ve commented on A LOT when I review a book. If current day slang bothers me then it’s no wonder that mentioning things like a current song or actor just rubs me the wrong way. I remember on one #askagent someone stating, “If you have a character like the music that you did when you were a teenager it isn’t edgy. It just makes you look old.” Ouch…maybe modern day teenagers like Backstreet Boys! Anyone? Anyone?
The nice guy finishes last: Why is it that there is always the best friend or the nerdy guy that likes the main character, but she always ends up with the bad boy or the brooding jock? Why can’t she just end up with the geek?
Do these writing elements bug you? Are there any other writing elements that you see over and over that automatically rub you the wrong way in a story? (Note: Sorry if you have used any of these elements and this offends you. It’s just my opinion)