Sep 22, 2009

It makes me want to hurl...

...the book. What did you think I meant?

by Valerie Ipson

I just want to get it out in the open... I hate it when an author brings the couple together finally near the end of the story, but then one of them dies. I'm telling you, this is not what people read romances for. Authors please note: Need! Happy! Ending! I threw one such book across the room. (Apologies to the library for that. Good thing I didn't see the movie--it's hard to throw a theater.)

Yesterday, author of actual books and blogger for Cedar Fort, Jaime Theler, listed 10 pet peeves she has as a reader. (Check them out here, I'm sure you'll agree with her on all counts!)

Anyway, it reminded me of my recent lament after starting a new book and being confronted with awkward writing:

Since becoming a writer, am I ruined as a reader?

I LOOOOOOOVE to read. I've been an avid reader my entire life. See picture of me avidly reading?

But now a writer's eye has joined my reader's eye as I peruse the pages of my latest book selection. I don't just enter the story, I notice how that story is structured and the precise words chosen to tell it.

It's making me crazy! It goes beyond pet peeves to just plain being critical (in a proper, literary, critiquing kind of way, of course.;D). Sure, the sentence may be grammatically correct, but it doesn't sound right, it doesn't flow. Did the author ever read it aloud and really hear it...? These are the kind of comments I make to my husband who is required under our marriage contract to listen patiently to at least two rants per week from his wife (that's in the Utah law books somewhere). He just gets this look that is very easy to read: "So how many books have you published?")

So back to pet peeves...I guess awkward writing that sounds like the author did not read it aloud to hear how it flows is one of my major pet peeves.

What are yours?

And if you don't like this blog post, probably wise to refrain from throwing your computer. Just saying.


  1. Oh, oh! I thought you'd already read that book and got it out of your system. Maybe not.

  2. I agree. Since graduating from my nine course Creative Writing Class, I am much more critical. One of my huge pet peaves in POV changes in a chapter or scene. I just finished a book where the author jumped into everyone's head everytime they spoke. I got dizzy reading it.

  3. Actually I just wonder why these guys got published and I didnt. Seriously though I ran into this more as a proofreader. I caught nearly every mistake and it got to where I had to laugh at myself. Once I laughed at me, the anal feelings went away and I went back to reading and writing. Somehow the 2 go hand in hand don't you think?

  4. Thanks for the link back to my pet peeves. :) I find that I have to decide how I'm going to read a book before I start. If I'm doing it for enjoyment, I turn off my internal editor and just read for fun. Then, if I'm trying to see *how* an author did something or why a particular thing worked, then I turn the editor back on. So far I've been able to do it pretty well, except when there's something so horrible I can't take it anymore. (And yes, killing off the love interest would end with me throwing the book, too. Glad I'm not the only one chucking books around.)

  5. I just finished a book that was really good, but the author would make it a point of saying that the reader was being left out of the loop. Like, "there is more information, but I'm not going to tell you now, so keep reading." I don't mind subtle hints that there is more going on to the story, but you don't have to spell it out for me! Be subtle, man! And he did it four or five times. Drove me bonkers.

  6. No, Marsha, I am not talking about one of your books! I'm embarrased to admit I haven't read them yet. My husband finished them earlier this summer (and enjoyed them I might add), but they are still in my "stack of books to read."

    Now I've got to read "Ride to Raton" and see what's up with killing off one of the characters...

  7. attempt to comment number 3...Valerie, i loved your post, so no danger of throwing my computer, unless it keeps giving me trouble! While I find myself "editing" as I read, I also find that now that I know how much work it is to produce a great book, I am less judgmental about it! And I agree...killing off one of the sweethearts is just plain wrong!

  8. Marielle, that's just crazy!

    Valerie, I'm in trouble! Be that as it may, please let your husband know he can show his appreciation for my work by posting reviews on or on each book's page. If he liked Trail of Storms, I'd appreciate a nomination at the Whitney Awards. I haven't been asked for copies yet, so I can only surmise the book hasn't received five nominations yet.

    I'm reading a book that has an intriguing storyline, but it's quite jarring to have to disregard the point of view moving from one head into another in alternating paragraphs. Oy!


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