Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Annoying Devices

I hate to say it. I read an incredibly annoying book last night. (Which shall remain nameless because I don't think it's typical of the writer.)

The reason I mention it: There are certain things I don't like to do as a writer and those things mainly stem from what I don't like to read.

- Don't give me the first book in a trilogy, and make it so it doesn't have an end - leaving me to buy the next two books so I can find out what happens.

- Don't throw sexual tension in the middle of an action scene. If the building is on fire, and he's trying to stop the fire, he shouldn't have time to wonder how her skin tastes, and how big a tent his pants are turning into.

- If you're writing a suspense or a thriller or anything that seems to be driven by the plot, don't throw in a romance as an afterthought. Stick to the plot. The readers KNOW he's going to bag the babe - you made it pretty obvious with the tenting pants in the first chapter - what we don't know is if he's going to defeat the bad guy. (Because you left the answer in the next two books - which aren't even in print yet. Dammit.)

- And finally - if you have to make your MCs hate each other at the beginning, at least resolve it with some finesse. I know you only have 80-100K words to wrap this sucker up, but please find a better way of doing it than 'they have the hots for each other even though they hate each other, and then suddenly he admires her spunkiness and she admires... ' I can't even remember what it was, it was so lame.

So anyway. I try not to do any of the above. Sure, I'm writing thrillers and the book last night was a paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of lime) - but I think books should have some reason to them. Heck, the writer made me suspend my disbelief about the paranormal aspect, but she dropped the ball on the romance and the suspense.

What annoys you while you're reading? (I mean other than typos.)

P.S. I'm not saying I didn't like the book. Most of the other stuff I could forget about while I was reading, and was only mildly annoyed. The ending, though, killed the whole experience for me.


liz fenwick said...

Wuss heroines that you just want to shake and say get a life.......

B.E. Sanderson said...

Oh yeah. And wuss heroes, too. Give me someone with guts.

Tia said...

Overly beautiful heroines. Come on, make her human. Writers don't seem to have the same tendency of making the men overly handsome. Can she not be merely attractive, for once, with other qualities that might make her seem more beautiful?

I also don't like overly decorative writing. I have one particular trilogy in mind, and the third book was a chore to read.

I don't mind cliffhanger endings in series because I expect them. I actually enjoy when the writer leaves me wanting more. In A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin ended with Dany nursing the dragons. What an amazing ending!

However, the middle books in this series seem to exist only to drag out the story. I have not finished A Feast for Crows and I probably won't, and I won't be following the series any more. The same goes for Robert Jordan, who lost me after book 6.

What would have been a better strategy for these authors is to do what Tad Williams and J. V. Jones does. Write stories with endings and then move on to something else.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Interesting post (I love a good rant!). One thing that REALLY annoys me is fiction writers with characters who earn their living as... writers. Nooooooo!!!!! Writing isn't that interesting from the outside unless you are a writer, in which case you'd probably prefer to read about it in how-to books and autobiographies (and blogs of course!). It always seems like a lazy way out, a way of avoiding doing any actual research.

liz fenwick said...

I meant to say i like the new look of the blog :-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Liz. =o)