Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Releasing literary pet peeves

I came across this article today at HuffPost. Greg Zimmerman writes:
My literary pet peeve is readers who have pet peeves.
...a literary pet peeve becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, severely limiting your exposure to great books. That shouldn't be: There are exceptions to every rule, and every rule is made to be broken.
I've read posts lamenting all books told in first person when the main character wakes up at the very beginning of the book and has no idea where he or she is. Some people hate all first person stories in general. Some people don't like YA because they are convinced it is all full of colloquialisms and one-word sentences.

I've had my own pet peeves. Pretty much about covers. Like paperback fiction that looks like it was purchased at the grocery store. Blech, I thought. Never would I ever. But then my sister talked me into trying Twenty Wishes, by Debbie Macomber. I decided the cover was cutesy, but not embarrassing. I loved that book. I devoured it. It was my first time reading anything like it, and it opened me up to a world of chick lit that isn't necessarily romance--which I still struggle with.

Critique partners past have had such obvious pet peeves that I knew what they would comment on in my manuscript before they even spoke. This is not good. Predictability in criticism is not good, I think.

So, do you have any literary pet peeves? Are they keeping you from reading a specific genre or book? What pet peeves of yours have been broken?


  1. Books that start with dialogue instead of description. Books heavy on dialogue rather than action. Books where the writer thinks they are too cool to use standard punctuation and quotation marks for speakers.

    These are pet peeves, although I have read such books and occasionally enjoyed them. It takes a lot for me to go forward with such a book though

  2. Ahh yes! I tend to get irked when an opening is dialogue, unless it is really really interesting. Recently, I tried to read something without standard punctuation (there was a serious lack of commas) and it drove me crazy. If the story had been better, I would have finished it. I agree there has to be something else very enticing to get me to plow through something that seems, well annoying.