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Things you hate to read


CassieQ

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These are just what I can think of now. They're from listening to books rather than reading but I don't think that changes anything really.

A token attempt at queer diversity which fails to disguise an utterly pedestrian (and predictable) story.

The use of 1st person, present tense. Some people can make it work; others can't. Either way, I'm not keen.

Unthinking overuse of common tropes: everyone's fit, handsome; they all live perfect, monied lives (except for the wrinkle needed for the plot); locations are rarely industrial or otherwise unphotogenic. It's nice sometimes, but I as a reader would like more variety. And that goes for the characters. Why is it assumed everyone's white? Novels set in London in the 2010s and 2020s and yet, somehow, there's no diversity?

Spending too much time in characters' heads. Yes, I like that connection but not at the expense of anything happening.

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I'm generally not a fan of mirror descriptions, although I have seen them done so they fit naturally in the story.  So I may roll my eyes, but not necessarily stop reading. 

Stories that get bogged down in detail. I don't need to know every single thing the person does in a day from waking up to going to sleep unless it moves the story forward or serves an actual purpose.  

I also can't stand it when children sound like adults.  A kindergartner shouldn't sound like your middle-aged best friend.  They're still learning language and have very limited life experience.  Teens don't generally use proper English or use vernacular from decades ago (unless the story is set in that particular decade, but I'm talking about stories set in the present). 

I'm sure there's more, but these are what I can think of off the top of my head.  

 

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17 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

 

I also can't stand it when children sound like adults.  A kindergartner shouldn't sound like your middle-aged best friend.  They're still learning language and have very limited life experience. 

 

I will say, it's hard to get children's voices to sound authentic. I know I've failed 😂

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Certain tropes regarding depictions of sex are vastly overused.  I've inveighed against them before, so will refrain from further venting on the subject.

One topic that never fails to make me grit my teeth Is when gay characters sit around congratulating one another on being indistinguishable from heterosexual manly men (except for that one difference, of course), and bemoaning the existence of the type of swishy gay men who gave rise to the stereotype.  I cringe when they go on to boast about not marching in the parade or wearing a rainbow pin.  It's easy to say okay, that's how that one character thinks, but when every character thinks that way. . . .

As far as narration goes, I find it extremely jarring and mentally unsettling when the ”I” changes from one person to another, even if the shift occurs at the beginning of a new chapter.

Moreover, while I can usually cope with a flashback or two, I get really antsy when the first one begins in the second paragraph.  And nested flashbacks usually make my head hurt badly enough that I can't continue reading.  Beginning in medias res is a technique as old as Homer, but his way off doing that was to carry the story far enough along to get us really interested in how the current situation came to be, before going back and filling in.

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