What are your pet peeves?

Posted by at Sep 26, 2011 6:00 am

Today’s blog is pretty simple and straight-forward. As a writer, I’m curious to know what is your pet peeve as a reader when it comes to reading a book? What makes you grind your teeth or want to throw a book against the wall in frustration? :wallbanger: What are huge turn-offs for you, to the point that you can’t finish a book? I don’t want to name authors or books, just general comments about what your reading pet peeves are.

Of course, when I’m reading a book, I have pet peeves of my own and I’ll share them here.

1) I hate when the conflict between the hero and heroine is based on nothing more than a misunderstanding that can be cleared up with a single conversation – yet the conflict is somehow dragged out for 200-400 pages! :angryred:

2) Too much introspection and narration. If an author goes for pages and pages of introspection and narration (Or chapters! OY!), I get bored and usually will put the book down . . . and not pick it up again. :zzzzz: I like action and dialogue between characters with introspection sprinkled in and around those two elements.

3) A hero/heroine who smokes cigarettes. It’s just not sexy to me. :yuk:

4) A cowering heroine, or a hero who is verbally or physically abusive, and that includes any form of rape. That’s a big deal-breaker for me. :loser:

Those are the biggest issues that stand out for me as a reader. I know there’s more, and I’m sure as everyone posts today I’ll be agreeing with some of your comments.

So, let’s talk! What are your pet peeves as a reader?


29 thoughts on “What are your pet peeves?

  1. 1
    kris says:

    1. the misunderstandings that seem to take forever to resolve.
    2. when the hero appears to be borderline forcing the heroine into doing it.
    3. typos are extremely distracting to me. in the world of ebooks, it’s even worse. drives me crazy!

  2. 2
    Pat L. says:

    A Wimpy Heroine
    Too many characters – that it is hard to keep track of who is who
    Characters with similar names on one book – also hard for me to keep track
    An abusive hero

  3. 3
    Liza says:

    I’ll say ditto to all four on your list and add a couple.

    1. A writer not being consistant with the characters in a series. By this I mean changing the history of the character.
    2. Killing off a main character in a series with a cliff-hanger and not giving a good reason for the death. (I’m currently waiting for the reason in one series)

  4. 4

    A writer getting the geography wrong…like putting Costa Rica in the wrong place, or Denver for that matter!

    There’s only been one instance (in the last year) where I threw up my hands in disgust and it was from my favorite author, a reprint of a very very early novel. Wow, the errors in spelling, syntax, place, grammar, continuity…unbelievable. I didn’t hold it against her though; one stinker out of dozens I can forgive!

  5. 5
    Laurie G says:

    Repetition in the same book or in a series.

    I agree with you on the unnecessary violence and swearing

    Weird names

    Covers that don’t match the characteristics of the H/H of go with the storyline

    Back blurbs that are misleading or they have incorrect names

    Reissues that aren’t labeled as reissues or the title is changed and it is a reissue

    A book that is moving along and then suddenly ends quickly (1-2 pages) for no apparent reason (Time Limit? Word Limit?)

  6. 6
    CateS says:

    Unresolved endings…or just plain weird endings.
    Confusing names and confusing use of names…
    To resolve the reissue problem, I never buy a book w/o checking the publication date…

  7. 7
    Laney4 says:

    Yes, I realize that my list has items that are the same as others’ comments above, but they bug me too….
    Typos and poor grammar.
    Books that bring about the ending in a page or two; I would imagine that there were page constraints, but I would be willing to bet there were other pages and paragraphs earlier in the story that could be condensed instead.
    Long and/or numerous descriptions of the beautiful scenery.
    Too many characters; I have a limited memory and hate going back and forth to figure out who is who (or writing down who they are for reference).
    Character names similar to each other; confuses me. Try to keep the names starting with different letters of the alphabet please (and not rhyming each other).
    Blurbs that have nothing to do with the actual story. Isn’t there a law against misrepresentation, LOL?
    Situations that are easily resolved, yet the hero or heroine “can’t see the light”, and chapters and chapters go by without resolution. Not realistic to me.
    Instead of making out, making love, or having sex, the characters keep saying, “F me.” Do people really say that? Yick!
    Love scenes that go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. You get the point.

  8. 8
    SandyG265 says:

    One of my pet peeves is lack of continuity in the story. I read a book once where the main character hot wired a car. Several chapters later he ditches the car and leaves the keys in the ignition! What keys?

  9. 9
    readerdiane says:

    I think some of my pet peeves have been mentioned but it doesn’t hurt to re-state.
    1. The old Harlequin book where the man was rich, smart & knew everything,-female young, virginal and so unaware (kind of ditzy.)
    2. Kick-ass heroine who makes stupid decisions over & over.
    3.Heroine who keeps getting hurt-how much can a body take.
    4. Covers that don’t match the story-actually hate that!
    5. Too many similar names.
    6. Any kind of abuse.
    7. Children being abused/hurt.
    8. Too much violence.

  10. 10
    Betty says:

    My pet peeve is the total lack of proofreading. I have read over 1000 books the past 3 years and can count on one hand the number that didn’t have any errors. A very sad commentary on the status of the English language and the apparent lack of quality control in the publishing world.

  11. 11
    sherie says:

    The build up that falls flat. Really it takes you 200 pages to get to a 2 page (or less) ending. I want action not fizzle. :hissyfit:

    Names that I cannot pronounce. Since half my friends have kids with this problem, I usually let it slide.

  12. 12
    Silver James says:

    I agree with so many peeves already mentioned, even while others listed don’t even show up on my radar. Here are my definites:

    1) The author “phones in” a book in a series–the only thing changed is the names. I’ve even read books where the love scenes were verbatim from the first of the book and then repeated several chapters later. Just…no!

    2) Deus ex machina endings. ie. the author pulls a plot device out of her…uhm…out of nowhere to solve all the problems. Here’s a great explanation of how it works: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeusExMachina (That sort of fits in with a 2-page resolution at the end of the book.)

    3) Continuity. And as I’m currently working on the third book of a trilogy, that revisits characters from the first book, this is driving me crazy! I was stupid not to create a “series bible” at the beginning and now I’m paying for it. LOL Because continuity in the story/plot and for characters (descriptions, relationships, personality, etc.) is a big red flag in my reading, I’d better deliver in my own work!

    4) Boredom. If I don’t care about the characters and/or the story, the book is headed to the DNF pile. My time to read for pleasure is limited I’m not going to waste it.

  13. 13
    Donna M says:

    One of my hot issues is when heroine gets pregnant & never tells Hero then 5 years later(or any time frame) he discovers about the child. That really makes me seriously unhappy. :( I do agree with the comment about having the conversation that would clear up whatever problem there is. I get very impatient about that type of person/persons. Several others I totally agree with the complaints already mentioned! I love books that just flow, that you never want to put down. Awesome talent produces those books & I continue to buy that author. :applause: :heart: To all of the authors that have given me so much reading pleasure I applaud the hard work & the talent. :applause: :reading:

  14. 14
    Diane Sadler says:

    A heroine who doesn’t stand up to anyone including the hero.
    When the main characters can’t seem to actually talk to each other and understand each other from these non existing conversations.
    Any kind of cruelty to children, women and pets.
    How they know each others thoughts without having a conversation.( mind readers,Wow).

  15. 15
    Jen B. says:

    Your list is good and I have one more…

    Repeating yourself, repeating yourself, re—peating you—-rself…..


  16. 16
    Pamiam says:

    Pretty much all of the above. I read one book that went into so much description about the womens “things”. I think there must have been 50 pages (at least it seemed that way) that described her clothing and jewely and furnishing etc etc etc. Now I realize that you needed to know how “priviliged” she was to relate to her downfall in the story, but I didn’t need to know the name brands of all the different items she owned. I finished the book but almost tossed it to the side. Give me details but not an inventory.

  17. 17
    Carly m. says:

    Pets who are perfect. Actually most pets in books annoy me – but the perfect ones that are never exasperating or a chore really get to me.

  18. 18
    Alina D says:

    Alot of the ones that have already been mentioned bother me too. But I have to say my biggest pet peeves come to Military books.

    1. Marines are not Soldiers, they are Marines!
    2. You would never catch a military man saying something like “Oh darn”. They cuss! Thus they saying Cuss like a Sailor.
    3. While they are Alpha males, they dont have to be hard asses all the time. Some authors can make them a bit to hard, and not in a good way, lol!

    Im sure there are more, but thats all I got right now. 8)

  19. 19
    Bella says:

    pet peeves:

    -dialogue that rings so false it’s cheesy and makes me cringe

    -when the actual storyline seems rushed just to get to a sex scene!
    ugh, I hate when this happens; I’m very much into characters, even if I dislike them. I at least want to know they have a story otherwise why read it

    -when the author tries too hard to prove the heroine is a “strong woman” and it comes off like she’s a caricature; just some joke of person that would never exist because she can do everything so perfect, can do martial arts, work f/t, be a great friend, and her only supposed flaw is not being able to cook. give me a break.

    • 19.1
      Stacy P says:

      Scene rushing is a good one. I remember reading a book where the author spent many pages on the heroine getting ready for a date. Then a couple of paragraphs of the actual date and the next thing you know the couple is in bed! Sometimes they need to shorten other areas but give some background before the deed.

  20. 20
    Stacy P says:

    Ah, I’m a little late in posting and some of my pet peeves have been named already, but I will put them here anyways. :D

    1. Spelling errors (they do have proofreaders, right?)
    2. Too many characters to keep track of
    3. Jumping around alot, can be very confusing
    4. Using incorrect names throughout a story. This actually happens a lot I have noticed.
    5. Inaccurate descriptions of places

    I’m sure I could come up with more, but these are the top of my list.

  21. 21
    Elizabeth says:

    1:Hero is always some “Worldy Angry Older Man” and Heroine is always a nieve “Virgin”
    2:Story drags on taking too long to make a point. :hairpull:
    3:Too much information. :blahblah:
    4: I’ve even read a book where the hero and heroine actually fought. I mean knock down drag out :boxer: before they fell in love. Who needs that in a story?
    5. too many characters to remember.
    6. mispelled words, inacurate discription of places. I could go on and on.

  22. 22
    monica t. says:

    Thank you for this question,Janelle. I despise when the women are short and the men are these big hulks and she has to in my mind keep looking up to him for there moments of conversation. :*&#!: I hate meaness in any character. Complete turnoff. I hate when the character you are suppose to side with is an complete jackhole, will not do this for all the tea in China! I recently went through this with the latest “Dark” book from C.Feehan. The lead character I wanted to reach in the book and punch his throat so he could stop talking.I hate when the female lead is wimpy about her sexual needs. If he can be demanding so should SHE. :domainatrix: Fight for your orgasms just like him. If they don’t have the will power to leave him. Just do it and do not whine about it to others wondering if you should take him back. Leave his butt, and get on with your life. Monica T.

  23. 23
    Marcelle Cole says:

    I hate disjointed paragraphs where I have to go back & read to ensure the grammer is correct. That ” did I read that right” feeling?

    Long lists of characters: trying to match them up.

    Most irritating: Immature heros!

  24. 24
    http://fastingforweightloss.net says:

    I just wanted to thank you again for the amazing blog you have designed here. It is full of ideas for those who are really interested in this specific subject, specifically this very post. You really are all really sweet in addition to thoughtful of others plus reading your site posts is a good delight to me. And that of a generous present! Jeff and I will certainly have fun making use of your guidelines in what we need to do in a few weeks. Our record is a mile long and tips will be put to fine use.

  25. 25


    […]What are your pet peeves? | Plot Monkeys[…]…

Comments are closed.

:zip: :yuck: :yourock: :wtf: :write: :worship: :woot: :wink: :wiggleeyebrows: :whip: :waves: :wave: :violin: :vampire2: :ugh: :type: :twisted: :topsecret: :tongue: :thumbsdown: :thud: :thewinner: :thankyou: :tears: :taz: :spider: :sorry: :snowman: :snoopydance: :sleep: :sick: :scratch: :scared: :rothfl: :roll: :rofl: :ringaroundrosey: :readthebook: :reading: :rant: :present: :present3: :pray: :pan: :oops: :ohmy: :needhug: :mrgreen: :mothersday: :moon: :moon2: :monkey: :monkey2: :mickeymouse: :meditate: :loves: :love: :loser: :lol: :lips: :lightbulb: :lie: :kicking: :hug: :hot: :horn: :hidingunderchair: :heart: :heart2: :headbang: :hbday: :happybirthday3: :happybanana: :hairpull: :hahaha: :haha: :groan: :glasses: :giggle: :fume: :flowerforyou: :flamey: :flagwave: :fire: :evil: :doh: :dog: :dog2: :devilbanana: :crying: :cry: :cry2: :coffee: :cocktail: :cloud9: :clap: :cheese: :cheerleader: :cheer: :cat: :candles: :cake: :bwhip: :brokenheart: :boxking: :bored: :blahblahblah: :bite: :birthday: :birthday2: :batlash: :barf: :argue: :argue2: :angry: :angelbanana: :angel: :-| :-x :-o :-P :-D :-? :) :( :!: 8-O 8)