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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Random Ramblings—Bad Books


Bad books make me grouchy. Not just, “What is the matter? Why are you frowning?” grouchy. But, “Steer clear of Angie, she is mean!” grouchy!!!

I’ve read a few doosies this year already and bad books kill me! They make me lose a little faith in authors, agents, publishers, and editors. What could they all be thinking? How did no one catch this travesty?

So in an attempt to learn a lesson, I’m digging deep here:

What makes a book bad?

Slow starts
Slow middles
Slow ends
Cheesy dialogue
Unrealistic plot twists
Stereotyped characters
Too much world building
Too much description
Too much swearing
Not enough emotion
Characters not moving the plot forward
Unrelatable characters
No tension
No conflict
No kissing (just kidding—kind of)
Bad writing

So cheer me up :) What is your number one complaint in bad books?

-Angie


26 comments:

mooderino said...

I'd say the feeling I've heard it all before, and that I know where things are going.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Cristina said...

Not giving me a chance to care for the MC before embarking on a journey... that drives me crazy. Excessive amounts of description.

Talli Roland said...

I've read some books I've considered bad, and they're best sellers. Just goes to show that everyone's taste is different!

Jack said...

Bad writing is the one that gets me the most, considering how attentive I am to my own writing! When I see books with oodles and oodles of adverbs or passive phrases, I just put the thing down and go to another book. Thank goodness I can now complain when I'm CP'ing for someone! lol

Freya Morris said...

What annoys me is unrealistic reactions. A character did something in a book once that just got me so mad - he wouldn't have just given up and gone back with them without a fight! He'd been "caught" but instead of running away he just calmly got in the car with them, resigned. Made no sense. errrrrrrr

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I started reading this famous, best-selling book but I put it down. I just couldn't get into it. Then someones told me I had to give it the first hundred pages or so before I'd really like it. Whaaaat?!

JoLynne Lyon said...

You named 'em. If I had anything to add it would be inconsistency. Characters can be inconsistent, plots can, or sometimes the author forgets his audience and puts in elements that his readers just didn't show up for. But of the ones you listed, stereotyped characters and bad dialog bug me the most.

Tobi Summers said...

It's a toss-up between no conflict and stupid characters. And by stupid characters, I mean ones who make really, really bad decisions, even though everything and everyone is telling them not to do it. I don't know why, but even if those decisions work out in the end, that's a major turn off for me.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Writing that seems like it's main goal is to show off how smart the author is, not to really tell us the tale.

Kyra Lennon said...

I can see my WIP is gonna need a lot more polish before you see the rest! :p

I HATE slow starts. I just recently forced myself through a book that didn't really get going until chapter 5. It was torture!

elizabeth seckman said...

That I'll write one. and it will get published.

Jeff Hargett said...

I think I agree with your entire list with the possible exception of too much world building. (I'm unsure what your definition of "too much" is, I suppose.) From a fantasy perspective, where world building is crucial, I love a rich world where things are fleshed out and consistent and logical, etc.

Interesting to see your list along with the confirmations and additions mentioned in the comments.

ilima said...

I seem to get bored a lot lately. So right now I need tension, conflict, or hints of tension and conflict, otherwise I'm just floundering around, hating the author, publisher, etc.

Melissa Sarno said...

Bad books make me just as angry (that picture is PERFECT) I think I get the most angry about unbelievable characters, who just act with no real motivation or emotion. I've been fortunate in that I've been reading wonderfully, beautiful books this year. :)

Danielle B. said...

I know reading Twilight was, in some spots, hard for me to swollow. Some lines were stupid, the dialogue didn't make any sense, most of her plot bored me to death, but I read it. And I read the next book and the next book and the next book. My fav book was Breaking Dawn section 3. Jacob's part was soooo lame. I loved the talents of the vamps and I really liked the ending... you know, when it was done.

Sarah McCabe said...

I always come across books where I just can't seem to care about anything. I don't care about the characters or the world or the plot. I'm not really sure what precisely is lacking that keeps me from becoming invested in the story. Possibly that the stories seem to lack heart.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Characters who don't behave consisently with how hey've been established to be. I'm not talking about character growth/change. That can happen but it comes about because of life chaning events

Gwen said...

Lack of realism and characters who act out of character.

Leslie Rose said...

A plodding predictable plot will drive me bonkers.

Leigh Covington said...

That part about kissing cracked me up! But you DO need a little kissing, or at least some romance, right? lol. Love this list. Totally agree! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets grouchy like that!

Becky said...

Obvious plot "twists"! And characters who just give up, who are afraid of conflict...I hate when things happen in a book and instead of trying to change it or fix it, the character just accepts it. So frustrating!

Daisy Carter said...

In the early 90's, I LOVED the "tell don't show" series (usually written by a ghost writer because the author couldn't write a book a month alone). I didn't mind the cheesiness. But now...if I read a NEW book, like I did last week where the writer was stuck in the 90's, UGH! I don't know if that made any sense, but I don't know how else to explain it without naming specific series about two girls who looked VERY much alike and had all kinds of adventures in their high school in the base between hills - never mind. :)

Griffinclaw said...

For me, bad endings seem to be the top thing of things that make for a bad book. Like if it's too slow, or doesn't conclude well enough, then It always drives me insane! Ack! 'Cause I've noticed, books I tend not to like are usually the ones that ended up having crappy endings. The next biggest on my list is too much swearing, or WAY to much description of a love scene. (As in I just want to start skipping pages just to avoid reading anymore of it.) To me, those are just big turn offs if there is too much of it. It's like you're eating a sandwich that may have been DELICIOUS if they just haven't over seasoned it with salt or pepper. In moderation tastes/reads better. Though that list overall seems to sum up what typically may make a book fall flat. :D

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I have a hard time if there is too much swearing. It distracts from the story in my opinion. Also, bad endings sort of throw me for a loop. I usually don't read anything else by the author if the ending is bad. Characters I can't relate to are a bummer as well. :P I'm getting way too picky as I grow as a writer. It drives me crazy!

Imogen said...

Too much telling!I read the start of a book where the first two chapters were all telling. I couldn't read further than that. It was just too painful.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'm just not going to let your read my story. I swear there are times I see each one of those things in my writing. Eeek!

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