It’s that time again, Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Book Turn-Offs. These are the things that I see most often that I really, really hate.
1. Present Tense- present tense can be well done in novels in very, very rare exceptions. Most of the time, it’s not good enough to carry an entire novel. And it’s a huge industry trend right now, driving me absolutely bonkers.
2. Hidden short story collections- I’ve said it a billion times, slapping “A Novel” on a book does not actually make it a novel. And the “novel in stories”? Don’t get me started. If you’ve written a collection of short stories, just come out and say it.
3. New Adult- what even is this? Is it supposed to make older people not be embarrassed to be caught reading something tagged YA? It feels like such a false, desperate marketing ploy.
4. Plot Moppets- The dimpled, angelic, perfect child who dispenses wisdom beyond his or her years, often in cutesy, lisping dialect, or gets into picaresque, plot-advancing scrapes.
5. Fat hate- I’m always stunned when I come across fat hate thrown casually in otherwise okay books. It’s almost like in our society it’s the last acceptable denigration (can’t make racist jokes, can’t make gay jokes…hey, there’s always fat people to make fun of or express disgust for!)
And on the flip side:
6. The overweight/disabled/gay/persecuted minority token side character who stands up bravely in the face of all adversity and inspires the much more conventional protagonist to better behavior.
7. Head Hopping. I’m not averse to multiple POVS, but if you’re going to use them have some sort of structure in place, don’t just hop back and forth from one to another with impunity. It gives a reader whiplash.
8. “As you know, Bob…”- exposition in dialogue. There are many good ways to give readers necessary information, almost always more interesting than infodumps in awkward, clunky dialogue.
9. Pretentious/overly privileged characters- This is a tough one to explain, because sometimes pretentious or privileged characters are needed to convey a certain feeling or sense of place, and the reader isn’t necessarily supposed to like them. Where it really starts to bother me, I think, is when it’s clear that the author believes they are describing an authentic, down-to-earth, average person and instead they read as overly priveleged.
10. Automatic series. Especially when reading fantasy/sci-fi and YA, sometimes I just long for a standalone, but it feels like everything comes in threes. A lot of times, material is stretched to three books when one or two would have served just fine.