Fiction cliches you hate

(338 Posts)

I read mostly crime and thriller.
Can't bear books that take the first hundred pages to describe the landscape. Thick frost, frozen lake, snowy trees, onto the action please.
Detectives that drink lots of coffee and work all night but somehow seem to actually work very little

grimbletart Sun 30-Dec-12 17:08:30

The phrase "He said thickly". How do you say anything thickly? Unless you are stupid of course.

nkf Sun 30-Dec-12 17:10:24

I hate so many things in fiction. Just for starters:

- Bits written in italics from the POV of a serial killer.
- Where the secret turns out to be child sexual abuse.
- Anything where the heroine goes to a cottage to think over her life.
- Daffy heroines whose kooky charms appeal to the rich hero;

Ephiny Sun 30-Dec-12 17:11:09

I hate when the main character looks in the mirror and muses at length about their own appearance. Especially when this involves them detailing their dreadful flaws (freckles! eyes too big, lips too full hmm) while making clear to the reader that they're actually supposed to be gorgeous. Extra points if the main character is a clumsy self-insert of the author themselves.

MadCap Sun 30-Dec-12 17:16:00

AlexReid You're describing pretty much every Katie Fforde book. Still read them though! grin

Shakey1500 Sun 30-Dec-12 17:16:59

YY Epiphany

I mean I understand that the author wants us to have an image of the character but all this "She studied her pale complexion, her bee stung lips and hair that had always been complimented on. Lowering her gaze she caught sight of her full breasts and glanced down to her long legs......"

Give it a rest! I'd rather I knew none of these things and had nothing to go on.

Shakey1500 Sun 30-Dec-12 17:17:36

Sorry Ephiny blush

Bertrude Sun 30-Dec-12 17:17:50

I would love someone to write a book with the heroine being a short arse, size 16 geek with bad skin and drinks too much, solving crimes by way of spreadsheet.

Doubt it'd sell well though.

Seriously though, all the reasons you've all stated above are the reason I will not read chick lit. I end up shouting at the books. There again, the glamorous blond multimillionaire detectives and the sickeningly sweet family set ups with the single dad raising the kids with the old grandmother also get on my wick. Yes, I'm looking at you Patricia Cornwall and James Patterson.

I think I'll stick to my 50 Sheds of Grey

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 17:21:23

bertrude - have you tried: www.amazon.com/Crossing-Places-Ruth-Galloway/dp/0547386060/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356887992&sr=1-6&keywords=ruth+galloway

The heroine fits your description apart from, IIRC, the bad skin, and the spreadsheet (but she's fairly geeky).

TheCatIsEatingIt Sun 30-Dec-12 17:21:31

50 Sheds is a work of genius!

CambridgeBlue Sun 30-Dec-12 17:22:18

Blackberry, LRD - I'd hazard a guess that you mean either Cathy Kelly or Sheila O'Flanagan - both wrote OK books at first but descended into cliche-ridden nonsense after a few.

'Adorably short upper lip' is a Jilly Cooper one I think, specifically Taggie CB.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 30-Dec-12 17:23:04

Women murderers who got that way because they did incest with their brothers when they were 12. And they can't get over the fact that their brothers have either fled from them in horror or died hideous deaths so they go round doing lots of murders.

The woman in tge Elizabeth George novels is a dumpy, plain detective. OK she is surrounded by beautiful people.

but they keep dying and she doesn't so ner

BananaBubbles Sun 30-Dec-12 17:27:19

'The phrase "He said thickly". How do you say anything thickly? Unless you are stupid of course.'

Through a mouthful of peanut butter? At least that's how I always picture it. And yes,I am weird.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 30-Dec-12 17:27:42

I like crime and thriller books but get so sick of the gun descriptions (usually in American novels).

Just say 'he fired the gun', instead of 'he cradled the .32 1989 beretta, loaded with blahblah, and considered using his semi-automatic blah blah blah'. It's boring and means NOTHING to me, just makes me feel a bit uncomfortable about the author's possible gun-fetish.

An there's often a detailed description of a dainty, silver gun belonging to one of the female characters (that they usually can't fire properly).

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 17:28:14

I love the idea of a short-arse geek solving crimes by way of a spreadsheet.

What crimes would she solve?

oh yes the obsessive gun descriptions. Like we're meant to be impressed

Bertrude Sun 30-Dec-12 17:28:46

LRD thanks! That book is now delivered to my kindle and will be started soon after 50 sheds

Have never heard of that series so will try to get past the lack of zits and spreadsheets and will give it a go

Bertrude Sun 30-Dec-12 17:32:54

grendel I have visions of the geek being a bit of an all round geek who would solve murders, which fox stole the chicken from the shed today in no way affiliated to my current reading material and of course Internet crimes such as interweb trollery based on the MN spreadsheet

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 17:35:57

Bertrude - Maybe it would be one of those novels where two separate crimes turned out to be mysteriously interlinked and the fox was trolling in order to steal chickens by getting MNers so het up that they didn't go leave their keyboards to shut the chickens up.

It would be solved through a spreadsheet combining time of sunset in various parts of the UK with times of troll posts, showed that trolling only happened 30 minutes before dusk every day.

Tanith Sun 30-Dec-12 17:42:39

I'm another that hates the "only a dream" device.
The Box of Delights being the absolute worst offender. All that imagination, excitement, terror, magic... And then he woke up?!!!! I nearly threw the book across the room (I was 9 ;) )

I also hate "her sensitive lips quivered" and "her eyes filled".

blueraincoat Sun 30-Dec-12 17:42:47

Not exactly a cliché but when authors describe a car/gun/object in such a way it feels like you are just reading the manuscripts for adverts over and over again. Or when they name drop real-life celebrities to try and ground the book in reality, don't know why just sets my teeth on edge.

FreePeaceSweet Sun 30-Dec-12 17:52:16

I hate it when someone with no shoes on "Pads" about. "She padded to the kitchen." No. She walked to the kitchen. WALKED!

When they describe a cattle station in the bush as a 'ranch.' No, it's a station. Also, a station is not within 2 hours of a major city, try two days of solid driving.
When writing about a certain era in history (say, urgency) and then BAM we have a bustle and wasp-waist corset. Do your Damn research!

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 18:16:30

Glad to be of use (erm, I think ... given the lack of zits) bertrude.

I forgot the good one.

When a woman splits up with her partner/is widowed and, miraculously, loses 20 pounds and becomes A Fox as a result of her sadness making her forget to eat. hmm

It makes me really want to write fiction where women married to sad bastards get the divorce, pile on 10 pounds over plenty of wine and pizza with their mates, look in the mirror and think 'fuck it, I still look much better without 140 pounds of useless twat husband'.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now