Badly written fan fiction. I read a lot of fan fics, it's my guilty pleasure. I was just reading one that seemed almost good (One seemingly worth the read, but not one you would read again, or recommend to someone else), a modern day Assassin's Creed thing (Which bugs me, bug I can get over it for the sake of the story) and all the characters were combined into the story, and knew each other personally (Bugged me A LOT, but I moved past it to see where the plot was going). They introduced the main couple of the story pretty well - They didn't seem to like each other much at first, just because of bad chemistry, but after spending a bit of time together, grew fond of one another, then the love interest suddenly had to leave for reasons that would be explained later. Cheesy, but not too bad. Here's where they lost me: The main character's (supposedly straight) best friend asked him out. The main character went on a 3 paragraph unrelated story about some OC in their mind that had nothing to do with the plot at all, then agreed to go out with this friend, after just getting out of the depression of the first love interest leaving. The main characters thoughts weren't about moving on, or getting back out there, and didn't even question his friend's new sexuality all that much, instead they did fan service and made out.
My pet peeves have a lot to do with styles. In a few books I've recently read, mostly YA (I hate them, but I love reading them 'cause of the usually happy ending and all......).
- "Don't get me wrong, she's my best friend and all, but blah blah blah." I loathe it when the narrator indirectly talks to me like that. In real life, I can deal with it, but I hate it when it's in books. Yes, I know you're BFFs, you'll die for each other, so move on. Because it's like the narrator is forcing me to like her, and see from her POV, when I'm already reading from her POV.
- When the narrator has the need to describe how perfect her BFF is. Or reveal how outgoing her BFF is, in contrast to the antisocial narrator. OMGEEEE.
I've seen them more recently, and they annoy the heck out of me. It usually doesn't bother me, but when it bugs me, I start hating the book.
Definitely a good guideline to bear in mind. And oddly, it doesn't seem to be a problem when it's not a character talking about themselves. "That is Xarkap the Enlightened, and he possesses a great power" sort of works where "I am Xarkap the Enlightened, and I possess a great power" doesn't.
I was just playing xenoblade, and getting openly embarrassed FOR the writers and voice actors for how often they're like "the monado's power." which is a magical sword they have. I'm fine with magical swords existing, but not characters not caring whether they sound like they're from power rangers with how often they act openly like it's a plot device.
oooh i have one. i keep seeing writing advice that says "hook your reader right at the beginning by starting in the middle of the action, explain things a bit later"
i hate that so much. i don't like to be suddenly thrown into action/suspense scenes when i have no idea what's going on, no idea who the characters are, and also, no reason to LIKE or CARE about the characters!! and it's so obvious that the writer is saying "LOOK, LOOK, AN INTERESTING ACTION SCENE TO GET YOUR ATTENTION!!! I'M TRYING TO HOOK YOU IN!!!" i prefer slow beginnings that explain things. not a big infodump, but explain SOME things. make it clear who the characters are and what their personalities are. make it clear what's happening in the scene. it does not have to be a suspenseful scene to hook me in!
i dislike stories where a guy and girl argue, argue, argue... fight, fight, fight... and then they're in love all of a sudden! it's a "they fight because they love each other" thing. that just seems so stupid to me. they hate each other, but actually they hate each other because they love each other? so they don't hate each other but they always act like they hate each other, for no reason? it's supposed to be cute or something but that gets on my nerves.
wait, now i have another: stories where a nice sweet girl meets a cold, rude guy, and she falls in love with him for no reason. the guy deep down has a soft heart but it's honestly so deep down that there really is no reason why the girl would fall for him! and the guy doesn't face any punishment for his rudeness, because his mean personality supposedly makes him "hot" i guess
1) Weeaboos, pretenders, haters and elitists in fandoms and in general. They're all ANNOYING AS HELL!
2) How people tend to make something that isn't even that impressive or good into the best thing since Wonder Bread and Jesus and when someone disagrees or dislikes it, it turns into an argument like it is a serious matter that needs to be debated.
3) How when something tragic or terrible happens, people tend to blow it out of proportion and blame something but the original cause of the incident.
4) In addition, my brother's ex won't LEAVE HIM THE FUCK ALONE. I wish we can get a restraining order just so she can take the hint and move on with her life.
Sorry for the vent but this has been building up and I want to get it off of my chest. Thanks for allowing me to do that!
People giving advice about publishing like it's gospel when they actually haven't done any research or had any experience themselves.
Also, people who talk about publishing and "what authors do" and "how publishing is" when it's all based on ridiculous assumptions or something someone who posted a Kindle book they wrote in a week said.
I won't speak for the editor. Maybe you misunderstood? I know some writers prefer not to, say, read or talk about fanfiction or fan works for fear of dealing with a (given, probably ridiculous) lawsuit. Or some writers (I've mostly seen this in TV) ask fans not to send in their ideas because they won't be able to use them per their lawyers. I have no idea whether this is true, or a way for them to avoid dealing with the issue altogether.
People who infodump character's, past, hobbies, description, and outfit at any given point.
I don't care that they were neglected orphaned or lost royalty/clan/race. I don't care if their best friend/enemy is related to obsessed with their crush. I don't care if they love cheeseburgers without onions. I don't care if they're five foot six with moppy curly brown hair and glittering green eyes. I don't care if they're wearing an orange button up work shirt and a pair of black cargo pants and a faded pair of converses.
I do care about what the characters DO in the story. Show me what they say and do. If their history is prominent, fine, but only address the parts, not their entire biography, when it is needed to move the story!
I think infodumps work with certain types of characters, particularly when using first person. If you have a ramble-y sort of character, it would make sense for them to go off in tangents when meeting someone new. A police officer or a detective might be very observant and would make note of even the tiniest detail. A busybody may spout his or her neighbor's entire relationship history. If a character were a former convict, he or she may list every single offense, victim, etc to some random person simply because they have been forced to repeat it to many people before.
Infodumps meaning large amounts of information (usually about characters) is revealed and laid out with little or no purpose.
I despise rambling characters and regard them as spoil-sports. Because they often kill the tension of the story by giving away too much of the story or by prattling on random tangents of meaningless fluff that do nothing for either character development or to advance the plot.
Police or detectives note details of suspects and situations that stand out when it matters. they are not going to note that the suspect's hobby is floral arrangements that it is unrelated to the crime.
A busybody may reveal their neighbor's relationship history, when it is needed. But they're unlikely to reveal their blood type is AB negative when discussing or revealing their neighbor's relationships.
Former convicts, may list every offense and victim in a court hearing or to another authority, but they are unlikely to state or acknowledge their favorite childhood memory was during such a testimony.
Prime example of an infodump: 'Kat Kitsune sat in her room watching her favorite tv show, GI Joe. She snacked on some sour cream and onion chips. she hated BBQ flavored anything besides BBQ. The open window wafted her shoulder length brown hair with blue streaks. She shivered, cuddling deeper into her turquoise blue pajamas studded with penguins then turned up the volume. She called up Helen, her best friend. They had known each other since Kat ran over Helen's foot on a tricycle in pre-school. Helen was a tomboy, all jeans and t-shirts. She'd grown since pre-school and now loomed over most of the boys at five-foot eleven without heels. She could, however, make a mean chocolate chip biegnet. Helen also loved the color orange. There was always something orange in every outfit she had.'
Yes, there is a lot of info, however with is no plot or purpose to support it being there it becomes meaningless fluff.
Timing and context. Is it appropriate for this information to be presented at this time? How much information is necessary to move the story forward or give insight to the character?
The "five foot six" thing is especially annoying. Characters can be tall. They can be short. They can be average. They can be as tall as a mountain if the story demands it, but we don't need to know their exact height. It's one of those things that I suspect comes from a) character sheets and b) not reading enough books. Just about any of the other details you've mentioned might turn up in a good book, albeit probably not as part of an infodump. "Joe was five foot six," however, is not the sort of thing you're ever likely to find.
The one exception I can see is something like "Ah, Mr. Spy! I see from your medical records that you are five foot six. The late Doctor Bad Guy was also five foot six and had similar moppy brown hair. Perhaps I have an undercover mission for you..."
Character sheets are largely the spawn of Hades. At best they should be used as a reference for character's appearance (I have had trouble with keeping track of miniscule details in character's appearances when writing. like where a tattoo/birthmark/scar is supposed to be) not a twelve paragraph inserted description to introduce the character.
I actually made sure to keep a record card (effectively a character sheet) for each and every character during NaNoWriMo: even one dead guy who was only mentioned once, and then only because he'd had his femur carved into an arrowhead that was used to shoot some other guy. I did this mostly because I was writing ridiculously fast and didn't want to get mixed up later on. I didn't get a lot of use out of those cards--they were mostly handy for checking which minor character it was who died in Chapter Whatever--and I certainly can't imagine putting something like that together before starting the story.
You know, I almost made a joke about that: "Who gives their character's exact height in feet? ...they should use centimetres!"
I find the same problem, though. It's just such an awkward system: especially when you get down into fractions of an inch. If you want to measure small things, why would you pick a unit of measurement that's so big and chunky? I can't imagine what microscopy would be like with imperial measurements.
Lucy-MerrimanFeatured By OwnerDec 29, 2012Student General Artist
1. When someone uses a hugely successful, popular work as an example of "bad" writing. 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight come to mind, but I've seen people refer to Harry Potter as example of bad writing.
Like, okay. I'm not saying popular works aren't critiquable. I've read many interesting literary and feminist critiques of Twilight. What I'm saying is, I get peeved when writers--particularly unpublished writers or ones who've never written a novel--use a hugely popular work as a go-to example of bad writing, either in general (like, "Haha, romance books are dumb, look at that 50 Shades nonsense), or specifically taking a paragraph and being like, "Obviously, this paragraph has too many adjectives, so it's horribly written" when the paragraph is from a bestselling book.
I think it's safe to assume when a book is hugely popular, financially successful, and has a plethora of passionate fans, the writing is at least average. It is probably ABOVE AVERAGE. It is definitely not bad.
2. I get annoyed when people post chapters of a novel they haven't finished yet, at least a rough draft of. I realize this makes me a hypocrite, as I have done that exact thing. But I hate getting hooked on a story only to be left off in the middle. Or, two chapters in. I generally have stopped reading multi-chapter arcing stories online now, because they seem to never get finished.
Lucy-MerrimanFeatured By OwnerDec 30, 2012Student General Artist
I mean, I don't know who the Archies are and I don't know a lot about music. And I agree, my favorite book of all time, The Sparrow, was never a NYT bestseller, so there are obviously great books that aren't popular or, like the Beatles, were ahead of their time.
The problem is, saying a work is "good" is always going to be a matter of opinion. As I said, I'm not saying popular works are beyond critique; I just dislike it when people act like, "We can all agree 50 Shades was a bad book, so don't do what E.L. James did in your writing." Because what I hear then is, "Don't do what E.L. James did. Unless, of course, you want to be a massively successful writer whose books are being made into films starring Angelina Jolie. Who would want that? Better to sit in an office making up arbitrary rules, amirite?"
I mean, the simple fact that the work is successful renders your criticism moot. Even if it's a general rule that works (like, fewer adjectives make clearer sentences), don't use 50 Shades as an example of what *not* to do, because 50 Shades is clearly a case of an exception proving the rule.
So pick a different example! Use amateur writings like My Immortal or something from FF.net, things that we actually *can* agree are bad, and have no success to speak of.
Whether any given popular work will ultimately make a mark on the literary canon is up for debate, but even if they're all lost to history, the fact remains that each popular book affected people now, and that's still important.
a theory occurs regarding 50 Shade/Twilight/any book that is popular haters: think they hate anything popular because they themselves aren't popular? and the popular people in their high school (whether they are currently enrolled or are about to go to a decade-long reunion) were pricks so the correlation has been established of "popular = bad = worthless", and to take it further, that when the worthlessness is being ascribed to something the hater really enjoys?
/damn that was a "mouthful", i hope it made sense, i sure know it isn't original, but i'm just throwing it out there //haters gonna hate
I get annoyed when people post chapters of a novel they haven't finished yet, at least a rough draft of. I realize this makes me a hypocrite, as I have done that exact thing. But I hate getting hooked on a story only to be left off in the middle.
this is a major reason why i don't read chaptered works. on the off chance it's good enough to capture my super-picky and hard to please attention, if the writer is either needing motivation to finish it or the last chapter was uploaded two years ago, that's really frustrating.
Lucy-MerrimanFeatured By OwnerDec 29, 2012Student General Artist
I *think* I get what you're saying. Some people hate on popular things because they have low self-esteem, which they only have because popular people were jerks to them? They hate well liked people, so then they begin to hate well-liked things.
When people consider their book to be their baby, personally. It's not your dad-blamed baby!
When people act like critiques are personal attacks. Well-constructed critiques aren't attacks. Simply being told you suck, yes, is an attack, but if someone gives you a constructive critique, it's a critique. Learn from it.
I keep telling myself that most of the people who are anti-critique are going through a phase, namely teen years (though, to be fair, there are plenty of people in their twenties, thirties, and even older who would rather people tell them how brilliant they are all the time and that their word-smithery will make Finnegan's Wake look like the frickin' Berenstein Bears in comparison). They'll eventually get it, I tell myself. Eventually. But sometimes it takes a couple of hits with the clue phone before the happens.