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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Snark Week Double Down- Just STFU.



Time for round 2- today's topic!  Today is all about tired, saggy old tropes that need to be retired. What elements in books need to just go away.  It's a Sharknado of bad writing, stupid ideas, lazy plotting, corner cutting, and other things that go bump in the night.


Childhood abuse/sex abuse as a stand in for character development.  Authors everywhere- can we collectively agree that there has to be a better way to get people to empathize with your characters than by subjecting them to childhood abuse or sexual abuse?  Here's what I mean, so don't get it twisted- abuse happens, it is real, and it is terrible.  It is also not something that should ever be perceived as "everywhere" or "normal" and that's what it feels like when seemingly every book and every character has someone with this sort of back story going on that is never addressed outside of a revenge killing for the perpetrator or a magical healing through the power of glittery genitalia for the characters.  Breaking the cycle of abuse in real life is a little more complicated than three hundred pages between emotional wreckage and happily ever after.  Cheapening people's experiences by having a nebulous idea stand in for back story is just wrong.

Why should I trust you? Because you have to! This is a tricky storyline to work because it can get redundant in a hurry, and often does.  Our characters end up going in circles and the story descends into quicksand and I lose interest, which is sad.

Weird descriptions of body parts, both male and female. 

Phonetic spelling of accents.  Please.  We can trust that someone sounds British, or Scottish, or southern, or whatever, without you spelling it for us.

People who are really good at solving mysteries and really bad at everything else.  I'm in a book club where we read exclusively cozy mysteries, and this is an issue we have over and over again.  You get a detective who can look at a jar of jelly that's out of place and figure out the whole mystery, but she can't manage to notice that her milkshake brings two different boys to the yard?  Incidentally, I'm not making up the jelly jar thing, because that really happened in one of the books we read.  There's only room for one dysfunctional mystery solving gang in my heart, people.

Factual inaccuracies.  Especially if the rest of the story has been all about dropping little tidbits to prove just how many Wikipedia pages were used as research for the story.

Bad editing- spelling errors, grammar mistakes, etc.  Or oh lord, when a whole page is missing! I'm not saying I'm perfect and that my grammar and spelling always shine like the perfect angels that they are, but I'm also not charging you actual money to read what I have to say.  F7 is your friend.

I'm sure there are more, but you know what they say...

 
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