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What do you think? > Pet Peeves or Annoyances

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message 1: by Carol (last edited Aug 05, 2013 03:21AM) (new)

Carol   (c2br2) | 261 comments I don't see this topic addressed anywhere (sorry if it's there and I missed it), but I think this is where it belongs. Here goes: Is there something that particularly annoys or "bugs" you about certain mystery series? (or other books, too, for that matter)

For me, one thing that gets to me is when the author never lets you know WHERE the characters are located. He/she may give a general location (such as Lilian Jackson Braun's "400 miles north of everywhere" or "north central midwestern state"), but it just drives me crazy not to be a little more specific. I am quite content if a city or town is a fictional one--I can manage that, but at least tell me what STATE it's in! It just makes me feel disoriented somehow, and it definitely distracts from my enjoyment of the book. I don't care which state it is, but tell me! This has bugged me since way before I started trying to keep up with tracking what states I've read books set in, and since I did start doing that a couple of years ago, it's even more annoying! Am I alone about this, or do others feel the same way?


Kelley | 260 comments I do like to know at least the region where the mystery is set in, so I agree with you on that one. Also, I like to have very detailed descriptions of the characters, especially the ones you know will be in the series for a long time. I want to know the age, physical attributes, things like that. It seems more and more authors are getting away from that.

But, my biggest pet peeve is the way "y'all" is spelled. If the author is writing a character from the South and can't even spell "y'all" right that annoys me no end! Do not spell it "ya'll", that is not a word! Thanks for the chance to vent Carol :)


message 3: by Nancy (last edited Jul 20, 2011 07:44AM) (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 132 comments Kelley,
Y'all are right about accents,locations, and most characters needing definition, but I have been deliberately a little vague about my protagonist's age. My books are set in Santa Cruz and the characters, especially recurring characters, are specifically described, but Regan is described only as long legged and tall, (I just made her 5'9" in the latest book) hazel eyed, having dark hair long enough to pull into a ponytail, and of Irish ancestry. She married very young and had children quickly---her youngest son is twenty when he's first mentioned so that implies a minimum imagined age for her---but time is passing in the series and I want her not to get beyond her mid forties for a long time so I'm deliberately being, shall we say "discrete," about her age. Readers need to see how she thinks and understand her values but what she looks like is less important.

I think may writers do the same thing for similar reasons.


Katherine | 1268 comments I like to imagine the characters my own way and often when a book is made into a movie it destroys part of the enjoyment because now I have some actor in my mind instead of my original likeness and I can't get back my own image. As to location, I do like to know where the action takes place because, especially if I've been there, I can walk with the characters and see what they see.


message 5: by Melodie (last edited Jul 20, 2011 12:37PM) (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Kelley wrote: "I do like to know at least the region where the mystery is set in, so I agree with you on that one. Also, I like to have very detailed descriptions of the characters, especially the ones you know ..."

I was in a discussion somewhere before about "y'all". It drives me up the wall when I see it as "ya'll"! To me if that is anything it is butchered up contraction of "you will", in other words "you'll", definitely NOT "you all"! If you're a Northerner and don't speak "Southern" don't try to write it!!


Heather L (WordTrix) | 2797 comments Carol wrote: "For me, one thing that gets to me is when the author never lets you know WHERE the characters are located. I am quite content if a city or town is a fictional one--I can manage that, but at least tell me what STATE it is! It just makes me feel disoriented somehow, and it definitely distracts from my enjoyment of the book."

Definitely agre with you on this. Not meaning to point fingers, but it was one thing that bugged me about Julie Hyzy's Grace Under Pressure. She referenced other states where it wasn't set, but all we got for an actual setting was southeast coastal US. When a reader asked her on the Cozy Mystery blog where it was set she ignored the question. It makes you wonder if she even knows where the book is set.

Oh, and though I am not from the south, I agree with y'all on the correct spelling of "y'all." ; )


message 7: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ, Cozy Mysteries Group Owner (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (BriansGirlKate) | 1566 comments Mod
I know some folks have complained when some authors new to the genre will list who the killer of book 1 is, within the first chapter or two of book 2... so if you read them out of order, you've spoiled reading the first one.


Karendenice ஐ Briansgirl "Book Sale Queen"ஐ wrote: "I know some folks have complained when some authors new to the genre will list who the killer of book 1 is, within the first chapter or two of book 2... so if you read them out of order, you've spo..."

I do so agree with you. I find that extremely frustrating. I usually try to read the first book in the series although there are times when I just can't. and when they do let you know who the killer in #1 is in #2 sometimes I just don't even want to try to read the rest of that particular series, which probably means I miss out on some good books. :(


Mary:   Harry Dresden's Love Slave (HarryDresdensLoveSlave) | 99 comments I hate it when the main, recurring characters never move on with their personal lives in anyway. I don't want the personal lives to dominate the story. But I gave up reading Stephanie Plum and Hannah Swenson because they never progress in their lives. They have the same love triangle, same jobs, same friends etc.., Their lives never evolve.


Carol   (c2br2) | 261 comments ஐ Briansgirl "Book Sale Queen"ஐ wrote: "I know some folks have complained when some authors new to the genre will list who the killer of book 1 is, within the first chapter or two of book 2... so if you read them out of order, you've spo..."

Yes, I don't like that either! I usually read series in order, so it doesn't spoil anything for me, but I always wonder what the author is thinking, because if I HADN't already read the book, I certainly wouldn't go back to read it after already knowing "whodunnit"!


Dian Macnichol | 27 comments I have read the pet peeve comments and mine has not yet been mentioned but it appears that some of the newer cozy mystery authors are more interested in their own occupation then in writing a mystery. I want to read a mystery not about how to bind books, sell a house, cater a party or any other occupation that the author feels I need to know way too much information about. Also has anyone else noted that the current cozies are 290 pages long? Is this a cut off number? Sometimes I wonder if the author is counting and when 290 is reached he/she just stops..winding up the whole story as quickly as possible. Thanks for the chance to rant...


Robin Allen | 357 comments Dian wrote: "I have read the pet peeve comments and mine has not yet been mentioned but it appears that some of the newer cozy mystery authors are more interested in their own occupation then in writing a myste..."

Three parts to this answer:

- Publishers want to be able to package the series with a cute name, "A Tree-Trimmer Mystery" or "A Pole-Vaulter Mystery," so writers who want to publish have to play that game.

- Readers say they want to learn something when they read, but I agree that writers go overboard a lot of times. I think it's because...

- Writers have a lot of pages to fill, and long technical descriptions are easy ways to do that.

As for the 290 page limit, writers and publishers talk in terms of word count, and a lot of cozy mysteries are about 70,000 words, which works out to 290 pages.

-Robin Allen
If You Can't Stand the Heat


Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Dian wrote: "I have read the pet peeve comments and mine has not yet been mentioned but it appears that some of the newer cozy mystery authors are more interested in their own occupation then in writing a myste..."

I agree that some of the newer books seem to end abruptly, which could have to do with word count as Robin references. But I do enjoy reading about "professions", so to speak, that I'm not overly familiar with. In most cases I don't feel that I'm being inundated with information; however, in the instance of Gayle Trent's Murder Takes the Cake  A Daphne Martin Cake Mystery by Gayle Trent I got WAY more detailed information than I EVER wanted to know about cake decorating! I especially enjoy most of the series that are food related that have recipes. I've picked up a few good ones that way!


Kaye (momgee) | 1004 comments This may sound petty but it annoys me to no end when writers use could, should or would "of". It's not of, it's have; could have should have, etc. In contractual form it's could've or should've which granted, sounds like "of". But it is not! Another peeve is when after a preposition, authors write with so and so and I. No, it's with ME. Don't even get me started on "your welcome"!Arrrrrgh!!


Robin Allen | 357 comments Melodie wrote: "I agree that some of the newer books seem to end abruptly, which could have to do with word count as Robin references..."

Writers know the word count. A book that ends abruptly is just lazy writing. Also, series writers are under deadline and often have to deliver a completed manuscript in four, six, or eight months, which may account for quickie endings. Not an excuse, just a reason.

I will say that good endings are very difficult to write. But not impossible.


Robin Allen | 357 comments Kaye wrote: "This may sound petty but it annoys me to no end when writers use could, should or would "of". It's not of, it's have; could have should have, etc. In contractual form it's could've or should've whi..."

I'm with you on this, Kaye. I think it's okay for characters to use poor grammar and spelling in dialog, but it should be correct in exposition.

Writers aren't necessarily good spellers, so the publisher's copy editors should catch stuff like that.


Paula (pauldajo) | 72 comments I have yet to read a book and see the writer use 'your' instead of 'you're'. However, if I ever do, I will be peeved.

One of my pet peeves is when an author repeats the same descriptive word over and over again. One of my favored writers used 'ubiquitous' more than I think she should. Good word, but I don't want to read it on every other page.


Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Kaye wrote: "This may sound petty but it annoys me to no end when writers use could, should or would "of". It's not of, it's have; could have should have, etc. In contractual form it's could've or should've whi..."

Boy, do I agree on the "of" thing! That drives me absolutely up the wall! I don't seem to run across the "I" thing that much, but when I do I find it distracting.


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Carol wrote: "I don't see this topic addressed anywhere (sorry if it's there and I missed it), but I think this is where it belongs. Here goes: Is there something that particularly annoys or "bugs" you about cer..."

What timing. I attended a writers' conference last weekend, and setting was one of the topics. Believe me, you're not the only one with this pet peeve. It annoys a lot of people, and was discussed at length.


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments One of my pet peeves is when the writer doesn't take the timing of the book into account. For instance, when a character meets someone, and two days later the character talks about how she's known this person for three weeks.

Kind of along the lines of "y'all", I have a habit of saying, "Well, bless your little heart." Someone called me on that and said that if you're in the South, that translates to, "Well, bless your little heart, you idiot." I don't know if that's true or not, but I think I'll keep saying it.


message 21: by Carol (last edited Jul 21, 2011 05:40PM) (new)

Carol   (c2br2) | 261 comments Marja wrote: "Carol wrote: "I don't see this topic addressed anywhere (sorry if it's there and I missed it), but I think this is where it belongs. Here goes: Is there something that particularly annoys or "bug..."

I'm glad to know I'm not alone! As I said, it just makes me feel disoriented somehow when no clue or very, very vague references are made to where "we" are (since the reader should be able to put himself/herself into the story!)

I won't begin to go into all the different spelling and other errors that bug me. I'm just a natural proofreader (although I know sometimes I let errors slip into my own posts here; I don't always proof them!) and errors just jump out at me. There have been some books that I have never finished JUST because there were so many mistakes in grammar and other misuse of the English language!


Carol   (c2br2) | 261 comments Marja, dare I ask what the outcome was of those discussions about setting?


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Carol wrote: "Marja wrote: "Carol wrote: "I don't see this topic addressed anywhere (sorry if it's there and I missed it), but I think this is where it belongs. Here goes: Is there something that particularly ..."

Unfortunately, since I started writing, I can't read the books of others without catching every little mistake. Because of that I've learned that if it's a good story, I can ignore the errors to a great extent, unless there are just too many.


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Carol wrote: "Marja, dare I ask what the outcome was of those discussions about setting?"

That setting is important to a story and to the reader. Sometimes the setting can almost be a character in a book because it's that important. As a reader, I want to be able to relate to where the characters are, and without a setting I can't do that. Every author on the panel agreed that setting is extremely important. That's the short version.


Dian Macnichol | 27 comments Melodie, I agree that I like to learn about new things but when the mystery that I bought becomes the textbook that I didn't buy it becomes more of a chore to read then the pleasure I take in cozies. I usually give the author one more chance then I scratch them off the list and thanks to you all I have many more TBR's then time to read them :)


Kate | 168 comments My BIGGEST pet peeve is when the killer from a previous book is mentioned in a later book. I feel like it ruins that earlier book. This is why I haven't read the first book in the Southern Sewing Circle series yet- it's literally on my book shelf but I'm trying to wait until I forget about knowing whodunit. I hate that!

I also can't stand the phrases "rock the proverbial boat" (or do the "proverbial" something). I feel like I have read that in 239813 books lately.

Numerous typos are also annoying. There was one book in particular that I just hated to pieces because I felt like taking out a red pen on every single page. Very distracting!


Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments I read Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17) by Janet Evanovich last month and there was a biggie for me in there. A bartender got shot in the leg and on one page his name was one thing and on the next it was something else. Just irritated me to no end!


Karendenice Marja wrote: "One of my pet peeves is when the writer doesn't take the timing of the book into account. For instance, when a character meets someone, and two days later the character talks about how she's known ..."

Marja, I have lived most of my life in Texas. I have never heard anyone imply that 'you idiot' came after 'Bless your little heart'. But the only difference with the way I say it is that I don' normally add the 'little' in there. I'll have to check this out with some of my friends.


Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Marja wrote: "One of my pet peeves is when the writer doesn't take the timing of the book into account. For instance, when a character meets someone, and two days later the character talks about how she's known ..."

In regard to "bless your heart" (I rarely hear it with "little" in there), in most of the parts of the South where I have family, and that's most of them except LA and TX (well, I have some in TX, but they never visit the rest of us!), when you say that it's kind of like blowing someone off. Unless you're a little white-haired 75 or 80 y.o. grandma! This is even sort of mentioned in a song Miranda Lambert had out a while back called "Only Prettier".


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments LOL Out here on the west coast, all it means is Bless Your Heart. I couldn't believe that someone called me on that.


message 31: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ, Cozy Mysteries Group Owner (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ (BriansGirlKate) | 1566 comments Mod
Melodie wrote: "I read Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17) by Janet Evanovich last month and there was a biggie for me in there. A bartender got shot in the leg and on one page his name was one thing and on the next it was someth..."

I'd be tempted to stop reading the book right there. Those things bug me like nothing else. If the writer can't even remember her own characters, why should I? Not to mention, her editor and copy editor, etc didn't catch it either? (Spell check won't catch a character name change, but doesn't someone check it for content errors?).


message 32: by Carol (last edited Jul 22, 2011 06:07PM) (new)

Carol   (c2br2) | 261 comments Marja wrote: "Carol wrote: "Marja, dare I ask what the outcome was of those discussions about setting?"

That setting is important to a story and to the reader. Sometimes the setting can almost be a characte..."


And that should be obvious, I would think. The Lilian Jackson Braun "The Cat Who...." mysteries were the first ones that bugged me about the non-specific setting. But in the past few months, I've run across several newer authors/books where the setting is not really revealed. To me (as I said before), something like "New England" or "midwest" just isn't enough for me. States have individual "flavors". For example, I live in North Carolina and have also lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida, plus part of one year in Georgia. (not in that order) All of those states are in the Southeastern U.S., but they are definitely NOT all alike. Especially Florida--it doesn't seem like a "Southern" state at all to me (and I've heard many people share that thought) because so many of its residents have come from other parts of the country and world--it's pretty much a "melting pot". So it isn't fair to expect a reader to be able to "place" himself/herself by saying a book is set a "Southeastern state", for example.


message 33: by Nell (last edited Jul 23, 2011 07:04AM) (new)

Nell | 668 comments Karendenice wrote: ." But the only difference with the way I say it is that I don' normally add the 'little' in there. I'll have to check this out with some of my friends."

I've always heard it as "Bless your heart." (no little) It's an overstatement to say that it's "not a nice comment." Maybe, maybe not. So much depends on tone and context. It's often a sign of exasperation. Said by older people to younger people or to folks who just won't listen and may have to learn the hard way.


Nell | 668 comments My pet peeve is poor proofreading. It seems that they do spell check with some books and no one is proofreading them. There will be words completely out of place but spelled correctly - like 'they' instead of 'that'. I can ignore it unless the book is rife with those kinds of errors.


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Carol wrote: "Marja wrote: "Carol wrote: "Marja, dare I ask what the outcome was of those discussions about setting?"

That setting is important to a story and to the reader. Sometimes the setting can almost b..."


Old Murders Never Die just came out this month. The setting is a ghost town, and the only characters in the book are a female PI and her partner, a big brown dog, big black horse and a mysterious cowboy. The town was the scene of several unsolved murders in 1880. In a case like this, setting is everything. The ghost town is almost like an additional character. Yes, setting can be very important. Oh, the town is fictional, Wolf Creek, but the state is real--Arizona.


Caroline | 691 comments One of my biggest pet peeves is incorrect usage of lay/lie. I made myself a file card to remind me until I got it straight and now it annoys the heck out of me that books and news announcers and such all use it incorrectly!
Lay means to place or to put. Lie means to rest or recline. The confusion starts because the past tense of lie is lay (he lay on the couch for two hours). You lay something on the table but you are lying around the house - not laying around the house!


Heather L (WordTrix) | 2797 comments You lay something on the table but you are lying around the house - not laying around the house!

Unless, of course, you're a hen. ; )


Caroline | 691 comments LOL. True, Heather. At least when hens "lay" - they are placing or putting an egg somewhere.

Okay, I know I'll sound like a grouch (just call me Oscar) but I hate movies or books that include a "lecture" or what seems like the author telling me how I should feel about something or their putting their pc viewpoint on someone. (Referring to the movie "Cars 2" and the book "Skirting the Grave.") If you care to hear the details, you can check my review of the book. I read for entertainment (mostly) and do not like being preached at.


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Caroline wrote: "LOL. True, Heather. At least when hens "lay" - they are placing or putting an egg somewhere.

Okay, I know I'll sound like a grouch (just call me Oscar) but I hate movies or books that includ..."


I couldn't agree more. And I don't like to have things over-explained. It takes away from the story.


Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Caroline wrote: "LOL. True, Heather. At least when hens "lay" - they are placing or putting an egg somewhere.

Okay, I know I'll sound like a grouch (just call me Oscar) but I hate movies or books that includ..."


Me, too! That puts me off like crazy! I didn't like Old World Murder precisely for that reason. There was a scene in it that just put me off the whole book, even though it was a well written story! Also agree on the "over explaining", Marja. That irks me about the Hannah Swensen books sometimes. Fluke seems to feel the need to explain what words or phrases mean. I don't like being talked down to and if I'm not sure what something means I can look it up myself, thank you very much!


Marja McGraw (Marja1) | 552 comments Melodie wrote: "Caroline wrote: "LOL. True, Heather. At least when hens "lay" - they are placing or putting an egg somewhere.

Okay, I know I'll sound like a grouch (just call me Oscar) but I hate movies or ..."


Sometimes I almost get the feeling that the over explaining is just filler.


Heather L (WordTrix) | 2797 comments Caroline wrote: "Okay, I know I'll sound like a grouch (just call me Oscar) but I hate movies or books that include a "lecture" or what seems like the author telling me how I should feel about something or their putting their pc viewpoint on someone."

This is why I don't read Love Inspired or other "Christian" romances, though I generally love romance. If I want to be preached to I'll go to church.


Lisa | 8 comments Carol wrote: "I don't see this topic addressed anywhere (sorry if it's there and I missed it), but I think this is where it belongs. Here goes: Is there something that particularly annoys or "bugs" you about cer..."

I like to know where the characters are too. Just to help get a feeling of who the characters are and to connect them with the setting. If it is a fantasy novel then I don't mind as much because the place and/or time is most likely fictional, like in Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.


Lisa | 8 comments I don't like when a good book ends!

Okay, here are some of my real annoyances:
Characters not being fully described.
Setting is very vague.
The person whodunit is hardly ever mentioned in the book.
Easy predictable endings.
Typos. It's just natural for me to point out a typo in a book. I can't control it. Sometimes it does confuse me, though.


message 45: by Heather L (last edited Aug 03, 2011 08:25PM) (new)

Heather L (WordTrix) | 2797 comments Lisa wrote: "Typos. It's just natural for me to point out a typo in a book. I can't control it. Sometimes it does confuse me, though."

One of my friends gets a kick out of borrowing books from me because I can't resist correcting typos. I was born with an internal editor who cringes over every one.


Lisa | 8 comments Heather L wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Typos. It's just natural for me to point out a typo in a book. I can't control it. Sometimes it does confuse me, though."

One of my friends gets a kick out of borrowing books from m..."


We were meant to be editors or writers!


Robin Allen | 357 comments Part of the overexplaining may come from editors who either don't understand something or think readers won't. I recently got revision notes back on my second book and the editor questioned whether everyone knows what a dually is. We do in Texas!

So, do I keep dually without explaining, or do I explain that it's a big pickup with dual tires at the back used for hauling heavy stuff like horse trailers, or do I just change the word to pickup?


Heather L (WordTrix) | 2797 comments Hi Robin! I'm up north and had no idea what a dually was. I think it would be especially confusing to foreign readers, so would go with either explaining, or changing the word to the universal pickup. JMO. ;)


message 49: by Melodie (last edited Aug 04, 2011 09:58AM) (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 5529 comments Robin wrote: "Part of the overexplaining may come from editors who either don't understand something or think readers won't. I recently got revision notes back on my second book and the editor questioned whether..."

Probably explain it. I know what it is as my nephew & his buddies all had to have "duallys" as soon as they got jobs that let them afford the payments! But I see where people who are strictly city dwellers or not at all familiar with manual labor, where these trucks are used alot, wouldn't know what it is.


Sue T (SueTinge) | 747 comments Robin wrote: "Part of the overexplaining may come from editors who either don't understand something or think readers won't. I recently got revision notes back on my second book and the editor questioned whether..."

I wouldn't have a clue about dually, except my brother-in-law has one. He's an excavator and is the only person I know who has one, much less uses the term.


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