I shared a list of things readers dislike or hate in books yesterday; all readers have pet hates, but some of them such as poor editing and bad spelling are universal – although some readers are more forgiving! I think it’s interesting to find what others like and dislike, but as a writer it’s something to seriously bear in mind when thinking about your audience. We do want people to read our books and not hurl them across the room!! Some of these are a matter of taste – from yesterday’s list my personal hate is stories written in the present tense, other people don’t mind, or even like it! In the following list prologues are a controversial subjects, some people really hate them and don’t read them, others appreciate them. Whether we agree or disagree, I think it’s interesting to know what’s important to readers.
Here is another tranche:
- when the book begins with an action scene, then the narrative reverts to an earlier time
- padding, repetition, especially of storylines, long paragraphs/chapters, tedious writing, too much irrelevant detail
- too many metaphors, overuse of phrases or words
- lines in a foreign language which assumes every reader will understand
- unexpected, unwanted illustrations, especially of characters
- characters repeatedly explaining to other characters – ‘show not tell’
- changes in point of view, narration and perspective
- setting books in places authors do not know or don’t properly research (American authors trying to write books set in Scotland got a special mention!)
- completely unnecessary and unexpected sex, characters excessive drinking habit.
- lead character with too many faults, and irritating characters.
- when the end is obvious within the first few pages, rushed, slapdash endings.