Hey, people who are reading this!
It’s time for a second batch of things authors do that I either love or hate.
As I said in last week’s post—if you’re an author reading this, and you feel that I’m making fun of your way of writing, never mind what my opinions are. Just keep doing what you’re doing and be proud of it. So here goes…
1. I HATE WHEN MODERN DAY POETS USE OLD ENGLISH, BIBLICAL SOUNDING WORDS
Oh, here I go again, picking on the poets. I did quite a bit of that in last week’s post, but don’t get me wrong. I am NOT a poetry hater. I do enjoy poetry. I’m just a lot pickier about it than with books.
One of the things that further exacerbates this pickiness is that it really irritates me when writers in this day and age use words like, “thine” and “thee” in their poems. I’ve seen this mainly in love poems or poems that have to do with personal growth and nature, and all that soul stuff. I guess they do it because they think it sounds prettier than the modern versions of those words.
Whenever I see that, I’m like, seriously. What are you, freaking Amish? This is the 21st century!! Pleaseth stoppeth!
2. I LOVE EPILOGUES
Epilogues are awesome! They’re the ending after the ending. I especially love when they go into how each character’s life turned out years later. They’re also great for patching up lose ends. Sometimes, if well written enough, they could even redeem the offensive abrupt ending. I wish all fiction novels and novellas had an epilogue.
3. I HATE WHEN STAND-ALONES HAVE ABRUPT ENDINGS
Some months back, I once reblogged one of my sister’s Let’s Get Published posts which featured an article by our author/editor friend, Joseph Sale. His article talked about the end of the ending. How endings that don’t fully complete the story have been becoming more and more common. **One of these days, dear readers, I’ll learn how to insert internal links in my posts, that lead to any past post I’m talking about.** Anyway, this article made me feel very unsettled about buying more stand-alone novels in the future. I dreaded the thought of having one compelling book blurb after another allure me into buying the books, and then I’d find out too late that I wasted money and irreplaceable hours of my life on a book with a shitty abrupt ending. As much as I love to read, I am an ending nazi. Lazy endings, abrupt endings, endings that leave behind loose ends—They all should be wiped out of existence! The only time an abrupt ending is forgivable, is if the book is in a series where the story continues on in a following book.
A few years ago, I’d read Somewhere off the Coast of Maine by Anne Hood, and it was my first encounter with the shitty abrupt ending. The dam book didn’t even end, it just stopped all of a sudden. Some of the story arcs were wrapped up in other parts of the novel, but the ending made it seem like the author DNFed her own book. This pissed me off, after I spent $11 on that unfinished jip of a book. An unimaginative ending that’s been done to death would’ve been better than the story just stopping all of a sudden. It was more like a quitting than an ending.
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville is another example of how authors shouldn’t short change their readers. This book was pure genius! Mieville’s trippy but often sick imagination, His world building, and his descriptive prose had me awestruck. I laughed, cried, and got grossed out through hundreds of pages of awesomeness. Then the ending made the book go out like a wet fart. It wasn’t as sudden and abrupt as Anne Hood’s quitting, but it was still a quitting. This book is the first in a series, which got my hopes up. But then I read the blurbs for the other books, and was disappointed to see that book 1’s story wasn’t continued.
I used to read a fellow blogger’s stories, which she serialized in her posts. Some of these stories would extend to 10 or 20 posts long. I got sucked into them, and thought they had potential to be published as real books. That is, until I got to the ending. All of her endings were quittings. Each story left me disappointed and regretting the time I’d invested in religiously following her story posts. However, I still gave them a chance.
One day, after yet another story came to a quitting, I politely and constructively pointed out to her that her ending didn’t really end the story. She responded by sticking up for her quitting. Saying how there’s no need for a complete ending when nothing ever really ends.
Jo’s article also pointed out this way of thinking, which empowers the end-of-the-ending trend. When something ends, it’s never an official ending. Not even when it’s someone’s life that ends. After their death comes a funeral, the aftermath of how their death effected others, how those others move Along with their lives, and the cycle of no official ending continues.
It’s only human nature that, in the back of my mind, I wished that blogger would’ve decided instead to abide to my way of seeing how a story should end. Then after reading Jo’s article, I realized that her abrupt-ending writing style is probably more “with the times”. So her books might do just fine on Amazon.
Despite the end-of-an-ending trend, I do see quite a lot of book reviewers complain when a book ends too abruptly. So it gives me the hope that this trend will soon die off. Maybe it has already.
Publishing companies focus so much on how much the beginning of a book should hook readers in. They should put just as much focus into making sure the ending of a book is complete and satisfying. So nobody who bought the book would feel short changed and regret investing their time and money. Or worse, be discouraged from wanting to buy any more books by the author.
That’s kind of how I feel about Anne Hood and China Mieville. As for that story serializing blogger and her quittings—I still follow her blog. I just stick to reading her cutesy poem posts.
4. I LOVE WHEN NON FICTION AUTHORS WRITE IN A CASUAL TONE
Why, oh why, oh why are non fiction books written in dry, flat, scholarly writing styles? Who in the world would really be like, “Ugh, this book sounds too much like a human wrote it. It’s putting me to sleep.”, or, “Man, I love me some collegiate jargon and repetitious conjunctive adverbs.” It amazes me how people can retain any knowledge from dully written books. I sure can’t.
That’s why I love, love, LOVE non fiction books that are written in a casual way. When the author can teach you something, while expressing their personality by mixing anecdotes and corny puns within the facts. I love to learn and am curious about nearly everything. When educational books are written in a casual, more conversational tone, it makes the subjects they teach seem even more fascinating and easy to delve into. I can retain knowledge better from such books. If it’s a teacher or College professor who shares their written expertise with color and sass and humor, it makes me wish I could take one of their classes.
I’m currently reading the audio book version of The Big Book of Mars: From Ancient Egypt to The Martian, A Deep-Space Dive into Our Obsession with the Red Planet by Marc Hartzman, which is an awesome read so far, and it’s narrated by the author himself. It’s about how the red planet influenced civilization and pop culture throughout the millennia. The author jumps back and forth through history a little much, but a lot of the history is so crazy and ridiculous, you got to laugh. That, along with his witty little remarks makes me feel like I’m listening to a presentation at some kind of quirky convention for eccentric space nerds. I could almost hear the laughing, shuffling, and coughing among the audience—And yes, I’m learning a lot.
5. I HATE WHEN MEMOIRS GO LOOP-DEE-LOOP
What I mean by this is when the memoir is not only out of chronological order, the author keeps jumping back and forth, and running rollercoaster loops through time. Like when they tell a story that happened closer to the present, and then jump back to something that happened in 1992, and then in 2011, and 1996, 2003, 2019, and back to 1992 again. Even if the stories they tell have me sucked in, this writing style drives… me… nuts. I like stories to be in order.
When a memoir goes all over the place, it reminds me of getting stuck sitting next to one of those people who are telling some rambling story, and they can’t get the order of their story strait.
“We did some site seeing on Wednesday, and Thursday we spent the day at the mall—Oh, yeah. Before we went site seeing, we went out for chicken and waffles for breakfast.—Oh, no, wait, that was on Friday. Wednesday was when we went out for old fashioned flapjacks. Our vacation technically started on Tuesday, when we arrived. So anyway, on Friday and Saturday…”
Yes, you know the type. We’ve all been stuck sitting next to one of them on a bus or a plane, or in the dentist office waiting room. Were you also screaming at them, from the inside, to either get their dam story strait or shut up.
Oh, those loop-dee-loop memoirs. As much as their stories held my attention, I wished they would’ve taken some Riddlin before writing their books.
6. I LOVE A GOOD CRAZY STRAW PLOT
I absolutely, positively love a good twisting, twirling plot. One that keeps me guessing and fools me until the end, almost every time. I especially love when there’s sub plots that intermingle with the main plot, which often makes the twists even harder to predict. Add in multiple secondary characters and more than one antagonist, and the mystery becomes one big beautiful brain-fuck. Now that’s good writing.
7. I HATE HOW AUTHORS ALLOW THEIR AUDIO BOOKS TO BE ABRIDGED
Do authors have control over this problem? If they don’t, why won’t they fight back? What the hack? It’s butchery!
It’s almost as much of an insult to a book as an abrupt ending!
The first time I came across a poor audio book that had been abridged, was back in 2001. It was superstitious by R. L. Stine. I had a paperback copy, which I’d read several chapters of, but eye surgery complications prevented me from finishing it. So I checked out the audio book version from the local library.
Back in the day, they were called talking books, and they weren’t a big thing like they are now. Mainly read by the blind, like me. They also used to come in the form of these strange ancient artifacts called cassette tapes.
I used to listen to talking books on cassette all the time, as a kid, from the Daytona Talking Book library for the blind. They never, ever abridged books because, thankfully, they couldn’t. People volunteered to read physical copies of books out loud in the library’s Recording studio.
So when I started listening to Superstitious on cassette tape, starting from the beginning, I was horrified to notice that whole sentences had been chopped from each chapter. The chapter titles were gone too. So one would have no idea what chapter they were on, if they lost their place after turning off the cassette. “What the hell did they do to this book?!” I wondered. Then once again, Superstitious was DNFed.
I won’t eat only part of a candy bar for a snack. I don’t bother watching a movie, if I tuned into it more then ten minutes past the beginning. And I most definitely will not read a book with some of the writing snipped out. Even though abridging only eliminates mere sentences and maybe a paragraph here and there, all while still allowing the listener to get the gist of the story—It’s not the author’s complete work!
Come to find out that talking books were abridged to save space. Why have a book take up ten cassettes when it could be a more compact and convenient four cassette book. seriously? People were bothered by having to listen to more cassettes? And bothered by talking books that took up a mere extra few square inches of space? I guess there was enough book listening folks out there who sweated the small stuff to make talking book editors and producers feel that abridging was necessary.
Now that talking books on cassette or CD had evolved to digital audio books that only take up invisible space, WHY is this mutilation of books still happening?! According to what I’ve seen while browsing through audio books, the mutilated versions aren’t even cheaper than the true whole ones. So what’s the point???
The only thing abridged audio books might be good for, is for kids who hate reading, but are obligated to read a novel as a school assignment.
8. I LOVE A GOOD HOLY-SHIT TWIST AT THE END
Like the crazy-straw plot, I can’t get enough of the good old big twist at the end. The bombshell. The whopper. The big jaw dropper. What book fiend doesn’t love that? Sometimes—depending on how the book is written—a simpler plot that ends with the holy-shit twist can make that twist even holy-shittier.
I love when authors have the gift of making an idiot out of me. When they drop bread crumb hints or slight foreshadowings throughout the book that go right over my head until the shocking end. Then everything adds up in my mind, and I’m like, “Duh! How did I not pick up on that?!”
The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine was one of those books that got me. Sure, it’s not the most well-written book, and not all that realistic in some parts. A lot of the dialogue is a little on the basic, generic side too, but I couldn’t help getting sucked into the feud between Piper and Joanna. Guilty pleasure. A lot of reviewers saw the twist coming, but I didn’t. Especially not the twist about Joanna. I realized that there were little hints about her, lightly sprinkled throughout the book that went right over my head. Some of these hints were disguised as plot holes. These hints went right over reviewers heads too, and they stupidly complained about what they thought were plot holes that the editor shouldn’t have overlooked. Or maybe they had zoned out, or were multitasking while reading the book. Both women had a few screws loose, and both were playing victim to the reader, through their narratives. It was weird that only one chapter of the husband’s narrative was thrown in at the end, but readers needed him there to set the record strait because he was the stable, right-minded one out of the three. Not only did that silly little book have me fooled, it kind of creeped me out. The message I got from it was—Parents better be careful how they treat their children, or else they might turn out like Piper and Joanna.
9. I HATE DARK AND DEPRESSING ENDINGS
I really don’t know what’s worse, the abrupt ending, or the depressing ending. Being one of the judges for the Let’s Get Published short story contest twice, I’ve read more than enough entries with dark endings. Endings where the characters end up dead, or evil wins, or the character fails in life. Yuck! What’s up with that?
While exploring random blogs on WordPress, I learned from one of them that there is a bad-to-worse style of storyline. I’ve read some classics before that were like that, and wondered how such awful stories ended up getting published. How much would a person hate the world and hate themselves to actually enjoy reading that type of stuff?
Sure, the doom and gloom ending may be a lot more realistic than happy endings, since our dear world is crawling with negativity. But how many of you book lovers out there would honestly want to curl up with an action packed downer, or a feel-bad romance?
When I read a book with a dark and depressing ending, it gets me bummed out for the rest of the day, and I end up ruminating about how much I hated how the book ended. Hell, it took me a whole month or two to recover from reading Chief Joseph by Bill Dugan.
10. I LOVE BIG FAT BOOKS
500 pages or more! As someone who reads for escapism, there’s no great joy like a huge feast of a book to dig into. Yummy. I consider books that are 200 pages or less to be thin.
Even better than an extremely obese novel is the blessed book bundle. Digitally, book bundles are like one massive, overweight book giant on steroids! Whether its a bundle of series starters or a series box set, I happily dive into them, like Thanksgiving dinner. Book bundles where each book is over 500 pages—Jackpot!
11. I HATE ROMANCE STORIES THAT END WITH THE COUPLE NO LONGER TOGETHER
When it comes to reading romance, I’m a happily-ever-after purest. I hate, hate, HATE those love stories where the romance isn’t the real moral. The type of romance with the tear-jerker, bittersweet ending. Where the real moral of the story is the important life lesson that the relationship taught the main character, or the lost lover. Or how much the lost lover helped the main character learn about themself, and learn how to be strong and see their true self worth, and all that noxiously sweet disappointment.
I saw the movie versions of Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe, and hated them both. After that, I don’t think I’d want to be within less than a hundred feet of a Nicolas Sparks novel. “Tis better to love and have lost, than to never have loved at all.” Oh, please. I would rather reincarnate as an asexual nun with no clitoris. My own love life has been nothing but one crappy life lesson after another. I would’ve rather found the right life-long partner, instead of learning and growing spiritually, or whatever I was supposed to get out of it. So the last thing I’d want to read is a book about someone else’s depressing “growing from love” experience.
I prefer the dreamy, happily ever after kind of romance, as cheesy and unrealistic as they sometimes are. Romances that have the couple’s names as the subtitle are usually my first pick, because it means that the couple will be together at the end.
The only exception to this personal tabu was Bittersweet by Nevada Bar. This was a lesbian love story that took place in the mid 1800’s, about how two women independently made their way out into the world together. The fascinating descriptions of how rugged and hostile life was during that time, overruled the sad ending. Most stories I’d read that took place in the pioneer days romanticized how life was back then. This book pointed out how unapologetically chauvinistic American culture was, how bad hygiene and poor sanitation was the norm, and how much more insect infested the world was. The romance part was so clean that I didn’t feel any romantic love between the two women. At one point in the book, I thought I might’ve misunderstood their relationship, and thought that maybe they were two spinster friends who were roomates instead. Not feeling the romantic connection made the ending tolerable. I cried more over the execution of their pet coyote, Moss Face.
12. I LOVE WHEN A BOOK HAS ME ENTERTAINED
Whether it’s a fast paced thriller, or a relaxed paced classic. Whether an author’s writing style is light and simple, or intense and poetic with lots of vivid detail. Whether a book is mediocre or a work of brilliance. Whether it’s fiction or non fiction, sci fi, new adult, young adult, erotic romance, clean romance, historical fiction, or a horror story anthology. The all-around, most important thing to me, as a reader is, if the book is entertaining!
I read a little of every genre, and find that most books are entertaining in one way or another. Even the ones where the author does the things that annoy me. I just love books, and love the fact that human brains had evolved enough to have created written languages that grace the world every day with millions of stories and countless wealths of knowledge.
PHEW, was this a long post! That concludes the twelve more things that authors do that I love or hate. I hope that you, as a reader, were entertained.
Love you all! Post you soon!
P S: I apologize for posting links that didn’t work, last week. Not cool. It seems I might’ve done it in a way that confused the block editor. Let’s give it another try…
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