I read about seven books a week. Reading feeds my mind the raw materials I need to write. Without the words, phrases, ideas, and images evoked by other works I would never be able to create my own worlds. My reading list this week included a mystery, an inspirational romance, a historic horror-fantasy, and a young adult fantasy.
At least two of the books took flight across the room as I expressed, in the most grown up manner possible at the time, my displeasure. A third book didn’t exactly fly, but for the last eighty pages, I found myself checking to see how much longer it would go on, and wondering if I could skip a chapter or two and still figure things out.
What made me so angry?
- An unhappy ending for a character I loved. I understand that characters grow old and die, but I’d prefer not to see a character, the hero even, end up in a forced labor camp in Siberia or barely eeking out a living as a peasant farmer. You may think this example is extreme, it’s not. I read it just a few days ago.
- A giant plot hole. The heroine witnesses a murder but blocks it out if her memory to protect the man she loves. She knows revealing his father did the killing will crush him. Later, she meets his family for the first time and – Wait! Hold on. If she meets them for the first time after the murder, how did she know his father was the murderer?
- Ignoring medical facts. The worst is a common mistake: if you are knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, you will permanently lose your memory for a period of time. After dinner, if you get hit on the head and are unconscious for several hours, you won’t remember what hit you. You may not remember dinner. If the blow was bad enough you’ll probably forget the entire day.
There are others, of course, like historical characters who have present day values or super-powerful villains that can’t be defeated, but this week those three seem to be the worst.
Soon I’ll start judging entries in the Daphne contest for mysteries, put on by Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. When I judge a book I try to put aside my own pet peeves and think about a general audience. So I’m curious to know what annoys other readers. Anyone care to share?