As a reader, I have a few pet peeves in the style of writers. I just recently read a well known best seller and almost lost my lunch a few times because it was the embodiment of most of them. For their protection I won’t reveal which book but it made me realize how much these pet peeves are affecting my own writing.
Pet peeve #1: repetition. This makes me absolutely insane when I am reading. The constant overuse of the same expression. I know, as a writer, sometimes we may need to use the same word or phrase a few times in a book because there is no other way to explain or describe something. However, when a reader begins to count the time you use it…there is a problem. We are writers and everyone has access to dictionaries and a thesaurus.
Pet peeve #2: over-the-top description. I do not nor do I believe most readers need a three page explanation of what a door knob looks like. A writer only needs to tell me it’s a brass, old-fashioned knob with a turn handle and I can imagine the knob perfectly. If they want to tell me about the tree their characters are sitting under a simple, “It was a mighty oak. By the heavy texture, graying bark and large impressive foliage you could tell it had been standing for years.” I get the picture, as I’m sure most of you do.
These two top my list and with them in mind I find myself editing my own writing for those things that annoy me as a reader. I have changed entire paragraphs to avoid repeating a phrase for the third or fourth time. I found a different way for it to work in the story. What are your pet peeves? I would be interested to find out what others find annoying when they read novels. If you are a writer, has it had an impact on your writing?