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

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 00:30:05

I hate it when a considerable part of a plot was only a dream. angry

PolkaDotsandPumpkin Sun 30-Dec-12 00:30:53

I really dislike the term "a shock of blonde/red/brown/grey hair".
I don't know why but it instantly makes me think less of any writer who uses it to describe a character's appearance.

LineRunner Sun 30-Dec-12 00:32:27

I can't be doing with wind cutting through people like a frozen scimitar.

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 00:34:09

Yes, and the dry wind hissing in the rushes. What, again?

Also, the word 'surrender' must be banned.

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Sun 30-Dec-12 00:34:55

A heroine who is physically perfect - except for the meaningful scar.

Any Mary Sue stuff actually.

IsawFoofyShmoofingSantaClaus Sun 30-Dec-12 00:44:39

Anyone who describes a cup of tea in the terms "he drank the hot sweet liquid" angry
I know what a fecking cup of tea is. You don't need to spell it out.

IsawFoofyShmoofingSantaClaus Sun 30-Dec-12 00:46:26

Not a cliche, I know. Just bloody irritates and it's everywhere.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 00:50:43

I'm with bunty about dreams.

I hate when halfway through it becomes all magical and woo.

And where someone does something shitty you'd be sacked for in RL/dumped and categorised as a wanker by your boyfriend or girlfriend, and everyone in the book thinks it's amazing.

The usual "we fancy each other but we are going to get our wires crossed and fall out until the last chapter."

Oh and the unsaid shit. If you have feelings or an opinion just bloody say it. Thats more in soaps and films though.

LineRunner Sun 30-Dec-12 00:55:04

'Her eyes darkened'. How? Just how?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 00:56:52


I am a sucker for the crossed-wires stuff.

It has to be reasonably subtle though. None of this 'Sheila snuggled up to Paul thinking what a good friend he was ... and how sexy his gorgeous tall, muscular body, square jaw, and 'unconventional' good looks were ... she hoped he would find someone to love the way she loved that total wanker Derek whose paunch was beginning to show ...'.

I really hate when there's a conversation in a book just to help the audience keep up, where the whole of it is characters in the middle of something really busy reminding each other what has just happened.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 00:58:49

line - pupils expanding to cover more of the iris? Not very sexy really.

I don't get the 'feeling hot' or 'tremors' though. I have met a lot of sexy, sexy people and never felt hot. confused

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Dec-12 01:01:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReinDearPrudence Sun 30-Dec-12 01:04:14

My son hates stories where ' it was all just a dream. Or was it....??'

I have no idea why.

Foofy, yes!

CaseyShraeger Sun 30-Dec-12 01:13:52

Your pupils do expand when you're attracted to someone, though (or so several decades of popular science documentaries have told me. And also we find people more attractive when they have slightly enlarged pupils) so there's at least a sensible basis for that one.

LineRunner Sun 30-Dec-12 01:23:28

I don't mean the sexy lusty thing. I mean when for example Lisbeth Salander in TGWKTHN gets some grief from her doctor and 'her eyes darkened'.

BalthierBunansa Sun 30-Dec-12 01:25:43

Metaphors that DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE. Like the classic from The Lovely Bones "She buttered her bread with her tears". Author obviously trying to be clever, but failing.

DeWe Sun 30-Dec-12 02:16:34

I agree with Bunty about dreams. Particularly "The Box of Delights". Most of the magical kind of stuff happened similarly in the first one of the series "The Midnight folk" so why did that have to be a dream confused. Ruined a good book for me there.

Also two things that drove me crazy in children's books growing up. Firstly where the characters go "ooh this might happen" (as one possibility of several) and make preparations for that one event, which just happens to be the one that does happen.
Also books that have the hero/heroine just about to be in danger and every time that is the moment where something happens to stop the danger. I preferred to miraculously escape the danger.
Famous Five was particularly bad at that-madman waving a whip around, and the police happen to turn up at that moment and madman decides to sit down calmly. Hang on, you've just said he's lost his reason, I think he'd probably go more spare when the police arrived? Interestingly EB didn't really do that with the adventure series.

twigsinajug Sun 30-Dec-12 02:42:20

When someone drinks "scalding" tea or coffee. (he sipped the scalding liquid...) wouldn't would you?

same goes for showers

Also can't stand product placement, as in constant reference to make and model of cars in storyline. Jolts me right out of the flow.

Please delete following plot cliches as applicable.

Beautiful, gorgeous, perfect (but doesn't know it, natch) female breaks up with horrible boyfriend and leaves rat race moving to darling country cottage/remote highland village/other country-sidey cliche place.

Opens own business, cupcake cafe, chocolate shop, book shop, antique shop.

Meets curmudgeonly local singleton vet/doctor/ex rock star.

Argues with them a bit.

Gets stuck in mud/rainstorm/snowstorm etc.

Rescued by above curmudgeon, sees softer side. E.g, wife cheated on/dog died etc.

Has misunderstanding with above.

Nearly gets back with ex.

Attends village fete/nativity/barn dance/harvest festival/other village hall cliche. (which she has naturally been involved in all the prep for).

Finally!! ends up thrown together with love interest, perhaps helped by aunt of love interest whom main character has happened to become good friends with.

Hilarious misunderstanding.

He makes big declaration of lurve, she realises he's all twinkly and wonderful and strong underneath.

The End.

Those sort of books.

"I really hate when there's a conversation in a book just to help the audience keep up, where the whole of it is characters in the middle of something really busy reminding each other what has just happened."

Oh yes I know exactly what you mean. The phone rang. It was her friend Anne. "How are you feeling since you lost your job due to your boss trying to kiss you at the Christmas party and you turning him down? Are you upset about being jilted at the altar a year ago?"

Has no one else noticed the coffee thing? Detectives drink so much more of it than the rest of us, it's so much stronger than we'd have it. If its from the works machine, it is the worst coffee ever but they still drink it. Sometimes they call it 'java' and at that point I stop reading.

eyes that lengthen or having an 'adorably short upper lip'. What ends even mean? people 'storming' anywhere.

do you mean coffee so strong you can stand a spoon up in it? Or when its made disdainfully with 2 spoons of instant and topped up with cold water? <well hard coffee>

Adorably short upper lip? How strange

Hesterton Sun 30-Dec-12 08:41:02

Shards of light, shards of light.

big dry pieces of historical fact randomly scattered amongst the story. Bo-ring.

Shakey1500 Sun 30-Dec-12 08:52:06

Where everything metaphorically lands in the female characters lap. Whether it be...

Money or a property-via an inheritance from aged aunt.

An impossibly handsome and stupidly rich/successful man.

A fantastic job, in a fantastic company where despite being a total klutz, through amazing stokes of luck she does fantastically well..

OneHandFlapping Sun 30-Dec-12 09:00:54

Any heroine who "nibbles" food. I immediately imagine her with big Bugs Bunny teeth.

Anyway, give me a heroine who has a healthy appetite.

Steala Sun 30-Dec-12 09:04:38

I've never understood "Their bed hasn't been slept in". It comes up all the time. How do they know? You get up, make the bed. It looks exactly as it did before. Yet it is an aha moment all the time.confused

Any "chick-litty" heroine who is usually a size 12 (so constantly watching her weight) and always has a "willowy" friend, who is gorgeous and gets all the men (apart from the one reserved for the protagonist.
Also heroine usually works in some random office job, generally publishing, that she's generally a bit crap at because she spends all her time emailing people or shopping in her massive lunch breaks, but still usually catches a break managing an important account or entertaining an international client.
I don't read them any more smile

thegreylady Sun 30-Dec-12 09:34:48

I really hate it when an author has the same detailed sex scene several times in a book and often in several books. I really enjoy Nora Roberts but every flaming book has the same scene-only the names are changed. I know its escapist rubbish and better written than the ubiquitous 50 shades of knickers but variety would be good.

MoleyMick Sun 30-Dec-12 09:55:19

AlexReid grin grin

Yy to any historical novel with dangling historical events. "Shall we go to the Great Exhibition, dear?" No, fuck off.

Any historical novel with lovingly described anachronisms. "She sat in the breakfast room in her crinoline sipping freshly squeezed orange juice and eating blueberry pancakes." No she fucking didn't.

Anyone, anywhere, ever, "munching" chocolate. Happens in books, but particularly in magazines. If you are "munching" your chocolate, you are Doing It Wrong.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Dec-12 10:07:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plantsitter Sun 30-Dec-12 10:21:58

I hate it when the love interest or heroine is going out with a really one-dimensionally horrible person (the women always have painted nails, the harlots). Then when they get chucked for the heroine/love interest they always thoroughly deserve it, as if the other person had nothing to do with the relationship and was just a victim of their horribleness.

LilyVonSchtupp Sun 30-Dec-12 10:34:27

YY AlexReid on the beautiful-but-doesn't-know-it heroine. See One Day, 50 Shades etc.

LineRunner Sun 30-Dec-12 16:38:58

Lisabeth Salander's whole face has darkened now. <near end of book.>

Blackberryinoperative Sun 30-Dec-12 16:45:18

I DETEST bookes featuring former ladette Irish journalists/tv newsreaders/fashion editors come over all motherly after being dumped by their caddish bedfellows and embark toute suite to a remote cottage where the nearest neighbours are bog dwellers - her parents are frantic rosary twitchers. Her friends are kerrrrazy and swear and smoke a lot.

She mopes about in arran knits swearing and her car inevitably dies. It's called Martha or Bertha or some such kooky funny name.

She eventually hooks up with really fit kind Irish hunk who lives with the bog dwellers in yonder village. They have tame but over breathy sex and she does indeed fall preggers. Kerrrrrazy mates turn up for a wedding in the bog.

So,,,,,, all of Marian Keyes books then.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 16:46:34


You've not actually read any Marian Keyes, have you?

Blackberryinoperative Sun 30-Dec-12 16:47:20


soontobeburns Sun 30-Dec-12 16:53:57

alexreid and inItToWinIt sounds like all of Sophie Kinsellas books. I love her and have them all but they also really piss me off.

And yes the girl who thinks she is ugly but really is gorgeous. See all Katie Price books which I also love it.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 16:54:16

Oh. You must be describing about the only one I haven't read, then.

Blackberryinoperative Sun 30-Dec-12 16:58:04

Perhaps I mean someone else. All I know is there is some shit Irish chick lit out there. And I seem to read it a lot!

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 17:01:04

grin I read shit chick lit a lot too. Especially when I pick it up in the train station.

I just don't think it's a Marian Keyes plot and it's going to bug me now while I work out which book it is (very trivial!).

With 'Sophie Kinsella as Madeleine Wickham' books, what bugs me is the totally implausible poshness of random people. I'm not sure if that's a cliche.

Blackberryinoperative Sun 30-Dec-12 17:03:29

It's definitely someone Irish with dark hair who looks like colleen Nolan a bit.

I have made up my mind not to read chick lit ever again. I just don't care enough whether they should get pregnant or fly to dohar to meet the bastard who only wants them for sex.

It's bring up the bodies or bust for me from now on.

MrsMaryCooper Sun 30-Dec-12 17:05:53

Where heroines are inexplicably irresistible to all the male characters - yes Sookie Stackhouse I'm looking at you..

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 17:08:10

DeWe - I might be misremembering, but I think that the Box of Delights is a magical 'resetting' of time, rather than a dream as such, and it all really happened. Don't you think?

I agree on the body parts coming into contact with scalding liquids. In real life, the detective would be leaping around screeching and their partner would be making vague noises of concern.

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:

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'.

bran Sun 30-Dec-12 18:25:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 30-Dec-12 18:32:52

Bran: or, even more irritating, identical cousins...

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 18:36:51

Bran and SGB: with the exception of one of Ngaio Marsh's detective stories where two distant cousins have a freakish resemblance but it doesn't come across as at all contrived, more as 'isn't genetics funny'.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 18:38:04

Oh, yes. And where sisters and brothers resemble each other so much they're mistaken for each other, even as adults. hmm

Tanith Sun 30-Dec-12 18:45:26

Blueraincoat: Dennis Wheatley actually namedropped himself in at least one of his novels!

Ephiny Sun 30-Dec-12 18:48:46

I don't mind the name dropping too much. I like it when Jilly Cooper references Jackie Collins's novels, it makes me smile. Like when they used to mention Neighbours on Home and Away.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 18:48:55

I can't be doing with "impossibly blue eyes".

Clearly if the character has them they can't be impossible can they?

Or people drowning in other people's eyes. Grinds my gears that does.

Greythorne Sun 30-Dec-12 18:52:56

I won't have it! The Three Detectives story where Jupiter Jones has a double is ace! 'The mystery of the deadly double' IIRC.

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 18:55:25

I hate it when central femalE character loses weight without trying due to all that's been going on in the plot and as a result ends up being much happier/ finally nabs the bloke etc...!They never pile it on due to emotional eating their way through entire boxes of Thorntons do they?

add to that amazing emerald or, more improbably, huge violet eyes.

complexnumber Sun 30-Dec-12 18:59:11

As soon as I read blackberry's post I thought, "I've read that Marian Keyes book", which added cliche number two of the stupid misunderstanding with sexy man when female character thinks he already has a girlfriend because sexy man is a transvestite. I think it's This Charming Man.

Much as I love the Ruth Galloway books she frets about her weight but she has an affair with a man who likes her curviness more than his wife's gym-toned body, so bingo for another cliche.

Having just chucked a book yesterday I am weary of plucky colonial types and cold upper class Brits in the 1920s.

and whats with the sliding of skirts over peoples hips. I have never slid a clothe in my life.

ItsaTIARA Sun 30-Dec-12 19:08:00

TV rather than novels, but I hate the fact that in detective stories, if someone looks the cop in the eyes and says "I swear I didn't do it! I know I look incredibly guilty and I hated the victim but I'm innocent I promise!" they are always innocent. No matter how fiendishly cunning the murderer, they are never able to tell a flat out lie.

NaiceDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:08:39

What Ephiny said grin grin

I just do so hate Mary Sues in general. They are so yawny, and the only people that invent them are men who are only capable of seeing women as fantasy beings, or hideously vain female writers who long to point out to everyone that they're stunning really, in the right light and all hmm

NaiceDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:09:58

Oh, and yes to Sookie Stackhouse.

Also, nobody ever needs a wee. In spite of the endless coffee drinking. They can live off black coffee and whisky and still spend hours sitting in a small canoe, or keeping watch in a car, or tied up in a chamber, and never need a wee. I always need a wee.

NaiceDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:11:10

I never got violet eyes either. Violet is purple confused

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:13:58

Apologies LRD ..just spotted your previous post re heroine weight loss!Wasnt plagiarising honest!! The other thing I hate is plots about people finding letters/ trinkets from their grandma and then realising how much they had in common and stumbling across a secret that they can't rest until they've solved it...This usually involves travel and they have no problem getting the necessary time off work!

MonaLotte Sun 30-Dec-12 19:14:00

I hate overstuffed sofas! They seem to pop up in a lot of books. What are they?!?!?

I've spotted them too! I imagine bits of spring and stuffing stivking out of tears all over

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:18:49

And"widows peak"..what's them when theyre at home? !!

CurlyKiwiControl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:19:45

Ah I love the Skokie Stackhouse books ...

She is irtisistable because she is part fairy same as her brother smile

Apparently we can't help but love a fairy

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:23:23

And I've never met anyone who actually tosses their hair.

Or has flashing eyes. That would be just plain weird.

Or a square jaw. That would also be weird.

letsgomaths Sun 30-Dec-12 19:24:44

Not a book I know, but when the first half hour of a film is all about making sure you are in no doubt about how ordinary the characters are; endless scenes of them arguing, etc.

FloweryDrawers Sun 30-Dec-12 19:26:16

Male writers attempting to write from a female character's point of view and managing only to have them engage in a weird sort of self-pervery. Afraid I can't remember concrete examples but I have vague memories from my teenage years of James Herbert/Stephen King doing it. Stuff like: "Susan put on the green sweater, feeling the thin material rub pleasantly against her small, apple-shaped breasts as she walked towards the door."

No you arsehole - that's not a woman's POV. That's the POV of a creepy bloke with his nose pressed up against the window.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:26:42

Before I read this thread I'd like to recommend website called TV Tropes.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.

For example (from the OP) novels describing the weather and landscape could be an example of Empathetic environment, where the weather/landscape reflects the mood of the protagonist.

NaiceDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:26:55

Sal grin your post made me snort

people forgetting to eat, they are so busy and/or in love. People who have not slept for 2 days and are able to function and not be a weepy mess.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:30:41

when the love interest or heroine is going out with a really one-dimensionally horrible person

I'll take that as "love interest OF the heroine" and give you The Paolo.

<apparently they changed the title but never mind>

ImperialBlether Sun 30-Dec-12 19:31:51

A widow's peak is a little pointy thing on your hairline, Primadonnagirl. Like this.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:32:04

I'm here all week Naice grin

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:32:20

Where heroines are inexplicably irresistible to all the male characters - yes Sookie Stackhouse I'm looking at you..

It's not inexplicable, it's her <spoiler removed> super special specialness

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:32:39

This is my favourite thread for such a long time.

ImperialBlether Sun 30-Dec-12 19:33:58

Mine too, Trills. I'm too tired to join in but I love everyone's posts.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:34:47

In Jilly Cooper when someone is unhappy in love they get very thin because they stop eating and drink gin from a tooth mug.

It took me ages to work out what a tooth mug is - it's the mug you keep your toothbrush in. Because you are too depressed to wash up anything else.

Minty gin. Minging.

tinselahohoho Sun 30-Dec-12 19:36:01

Oooh ooooh ooooh - this one! When, in a crime book, there's a serial killer who has committed about a dozen murders and everyone is on the case. Then the author throws in a comment about a burglary or something insignificant but YOU JUST KNOW it will be linked, and the key to everything! They think they're being really smart but it flashes like a beacon.

And 'yes' to whoever mentioned cars with kooky names.

And diabetic characters who never seem to have to worry about eating on time, but if they do go hypo, a glass of milk sorts them out no problem grin

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:37:00

Thanks Imperial!Never would have noticed that before but now I shall be staring at people trying to find one! Have already checked in mirror..I don't have them but I do have alabaster skin and a cupids bow mouth! Ha!

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:37:04

Boy-girl twins (and often siblings in general) always look soooooo alike.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:38:48

prima - glad to know there are several of us gritting our teeth over the weightloss thing!

I quite fancy minty gin, though.

flowery - yup, absolutely.

If I may lower the tone significantly, I also hate implausible sex scenes. There's a bit in The Bronze Horseman which I read aged about 12, which had me mightily confused about sex as apparently it was all about 'giant members' and her moaning when he was only halfway in.

Note to budding authors: if it's only halfway in, we're not moaning. No-one has a penis that big!

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:38:59

They are ridiculous in many ways, but the Clan of the Cave Bear and sequels make me happy because they describe prehistoric life and don't omit details like weeing and having periods.

I have no idea whether this has been mentioned or not BUT...

ANY fecking chick-lit that inevitably involves some high-flying woman living in London who can't find love until some low-life twonk comes along and repairs her damaged, single soul.

Any book where the woman ends up dating and/or marrying an utter loser as he has a soft and fuzzy side. HE IS STILL A LOSER.

Also, would love to point out to any authors out there, is that there are places other than sodding london to live. Yes, thousands and thousands of people DO live there, but there's a good chunk of the population who don't, so if you are going to write some hackneyed chick-lit, don't write about Hackney. Even sodding PRESTON would be a refreshing change.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:40:12

True, Jean Auel does have that going for her.

OTOH .... !

TheLightPassenger Sun 30-Dec-12 19:40:20

The remarkable irresistibility of the late fifties, dysfunctional workaholic alcoholic detective to young females. He will also like jazz or opera. Strangely never into old school or techno.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:41:18

If it's halfway in and the woman is moaning there is probably something going wrong, you should stop and ask her if she is OK.

EuphemiaInExcelsis Sun 30-Dec-12 19:41:40

Stories where the central characters are independently wealthy, meaning they don't gave to do tedious things like go to work or clean the toilet.

Orphans, for similar reasons. They can wander the world at will without having to do their homework or answer to their parents.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Dec-12 19:42:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:43:21

Oh Lordy.
I had Fred about Clan of The Cave bear a few months back.

It's full of throbbing members.

And impossibly blue eyes.

the 'borrowing an amazing party dress' device which suddenly makes various male characters realised what a stunningly beautiful person the heroine is, especially if she has long coltish legs normally hidden in jeans, and a mop of curls hmm

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:44:17

I had a Fred.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:45:18

Show us your Fred! I will rip the piss out of it with the best of them, I was just saying that they do wee and poo and have periods and go wash themselves after having their ridiculous perfect-person throbbing member sex.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:45:24

Good point trills.

I'm also fed up with the ones where woman, down on her luck, suddenly starts a successful business from her quaint hobby, which is invariably something 'girlie' like cooking or baking cupcakes or producing really A1 cosmetics. It's never a spot of light car mechanics or particle physics.

For this reason I give points to Joanna Trollope, who does write some formulaic stuff (that many books, who wouldn't?!), but also remembers that women can work in labs as well as bakeries.

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:45:25

Oh and as I'm the central character in my own life can I have "tumbling locks too"?!and can I start up a business using grans old recipes for jam or some such and by the end of the book have orders tumbling in so I now e mploy staff?

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:45:39

I had long coltish legs once ... <sigh>

MrsMaryCooper Sun 30-Dec-12 19:46:26

But she is only a tiny bit special!

And surely everyone would find her irrestistible but clearly some think that she is horrible! Debbie & Sandra Pelt for two.The specialness should trump gender but it doesn't.

i need to read the clan of the cave bear thread. I have much to say about huge members.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:46:49

They never get health and safety certificates for their cupcakes either.

Primadonnagirl Sun 30-Dec-12 19:47:53

My god LRD !!!! I've done it again...are we twins separated at birth???,,

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:48:27

I'd love to show the thread but I haven't work out how to do links yet on the iPad. <wail>

I think if you searched "Clan of The Cave Bear" back in about June (ish) you might find it?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:49:25

I do hope so prima - though I pity you if you're identical to me, since I have Strong Family Resemblance (phrasing courtesy of Trills's link) to my own brother, so you really don't want to look like me ...

I'm up for a good clan of the cave bearing too, please link, if someone has it?

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:49:36

To be fair it wasn't a particularly long or thrilling thread ...

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:53:50

I can't find it - if it was in Chat it will have disappeared.

PatFenis Sun 30-Dec-12 19:53:52

The use of 'sardonic smile' makes me irrationally angry grin

<I clearly read too much shitely written horror>

MorrisZapp Sun 30-Dec-12 19:54:50

University lecturers staying away from home 'at conference' must have adulterous sex in their hotel room.

Actually, I don't hate that at all, it makes me want to go 'to conference' myself.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:56:14

Ah! Of course ... It was Chat.


Never mind.

Ayala would just invent something to make it all better.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:57:16

Ayala bloody well invented everything.

Apart from Jondalar's Spear Thrower.

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 19:58:19

LRD - Although bizarrely enough I do know a beautiful young woman with flowing hair and long legs who sold the cosmetics business she ran from the kitchen table from her country cottage for a sizeable sum of money. She might have flowing chestnut locks, but she negotiated with the lawyers like a tiger on steroids. They didn't know what had hit them.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 19:58:31

Ayla fgs!

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 19:59:36

morris - I hear Kalamazoo is good for that. wink

Ayla was irritatingly perfect. I think she fits the 'ugly duckling' cliche, right? Woman who is very beautiful but the ugly, violent, and (oh-so coincidentally) swarthy folks she's with just aren't enlightened enough to see it. hmm

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 19:59:53

Jondalar's spear...

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 20:00:06

grendel - wow. Goes to show we shouldn't mock, I guess!

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 20:00:32

I also hate the incredibly stupid hero/heroine who absolutely must enter the creepy old building alone.

Stupid feckers.

carlywurly Sun 30-Dec-12 20:00:54

Anyone being jolted from a reverie makes my teeth itch..confused

GrendelsMum Sun 30-Dec-12 20:01:02

LRD - yes, I thought you'd like to hear about that!

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 20:03:18

Yes, "jolted" suggests they have had 240 volts passed through them.

Ayla had a magic fanjo, she gave birth at 11 to a massive headed child and yet IIRC it did that milkmaid squeezing of Jondalars giant penis.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 20:04:58

<snorts out wine through nose>

MsNobodyAgain Sun 30-Dec-12 20:07:16

Crime fiction. There is always one bent policeman, another that is a sexist rude idiot and a female that everybody lusts after but is a bit 'damaged'.

And most pathologists are women who live alone apart from having a cat or dog.

carovioletfizz Sun 30-Dec-12 20:08:19

stupid plots where the heroine accidentally gets caught naked or in her underwear, after spilling food over herself/spraying herself with a tap in the hero's bedroom/ knocking over a paint pot and covering herself in paint then 'having' to strip off and forgetting to lock the door so the hero/his mother/her boss walk in on her standing there.

tigerdriverII Sun 30-Dec-12 20:13:49

Anyone padding about (as freepeacesweet said) - they just don't have their shoes on, so nbu for 50% of MN and bu for the other 50%

Anyone who guns the engine of their car. Gun is not a verb. They started it up, quickly.

However I am fairly partial to the alcoholic fifties tec, even if he's into jazz.

nkf Sun 30-Dec-12 20:28:06

How about, "I'll have your badge for this" and detectives who eat doughnuts.

Am pmsl at the techno loving, alco pop drinking middl aged detective
Also the tooth mug - if you're going to be mingling and not wash your glass a tooth mug is as nasty as a normal glass

BillyBollyBrandy Sun 30-Dec-12 20:38:18

40 something male cop, divorced, bit of a maverick, narrows his eyes a lot as the smoke from his cigarette curls into them. Needs a shave and probably reeks of gin

Always just a hair breadth from flipping out and shooting someone in the US or getting frightfully angry and shouting loudly at someone if based in the UK. Thumps desks often.

Comes across as slightly unbalanced and metaphorically shoots from the hip and follows hunches.

Just who I want in charge of my muder investigations

Don't forget the frequent sex and inability to commit

LineRunner Sun 30-Dec-12 20:42:03

In US cop lit, when they 'work' on a piece of pizza. Or 'snag' a donut.

Why can't just fucking eat normally?

CaseyShraeger Sun 30-Dec-12 20:42:12

I like the way that post juxtaposition makes it look as though LRD is opining that the one saving grace of the Clan of the Cave Bear series was that at least it wasn't set in London...

tigerdriverII Sun 30-Dec-12 20:45:32

Oh yessss. Snag a donut. Why?

Bundlejoycosysweet Sun 30-Dec-12 20:49:38

I hate it when male authors underwrite female characters but expect you to understand why another character loves in Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Loved the book but just could not see what was so great about Patty.

Hum, that's not really a cliche is it?

Bundlejoycosysweet Sun 30-Dec-12 20:52:10

Ok more of a cliche would be how in books everyone is miraculously way more articulate, especially teenagers and children. Every conversation gets to the point.

Oh, in books children are amazingly articulate, and precocious, and sometimes called Ptomely. They often act like hideous knowing preschool cupids by cleverly bringing together compatible adults

'Oh, miss, can you just help Mr Matthews with his dog, please?'

Cue Mr Matthews appearance, all broad shoulders in a checked shirt wrestling with a lead and a comical mongrel...

FloweryDrawers Sun 30-Dec-12 20:57:04

Books where the characters have almost supernatural powers of perception. "She understood, from the slight quirk of his left eyebrow, that he was still processing the events of that morning and wanted her to know that, despite everything, the game was still on."

BillyBollyBrandy Sun 30-Dec-12 20:58:43

Dogs!!! Where heroine meets hero through walking dogs at the same time.

That was acceptable in 101 Dalamations but that is where it should have ended!

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 20:59:08

Realistic diction is unrealistic (and crap to read/watch)

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sun 30-Dec-12 21:02:34

Chick lit - heroine splits up with leading man, discovers she's pregnant, misunderstanding resolved and they all live happily ever after in a matter of pages.

Boring, lazy and just a bit crap really.

Dozer Sun 30-Dec-12 21:06:25

"ANY fecking chick-lit that inevitably involves some high-flying woman living in London who can't find love until some low-life twonk comes along and repairs her damaged, single soul.

Any book where the woman ends up dating and/or marrying an utter loser as he has a soft and fuzzy side. HE IS STILL A LOSER."

Agree keema. TV and film is the worst for this, women being rescued and / or rescuing losers and putting up with abusive behaviour, but then it turns out fine because the man is saved by lurve. Urgh.

FruitOwl Sun 30-Dec-12 21:10:38

I hate it when the main female character is referred to by her first name but the main male character is always referred to by his surname. The Da Vinci Code is terrible for this (among other things!)

However I am a sucker for badly written 'erotic' scenes eg. "With trembling hands, he undid her bra."


Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 21:15:19

In Homeland even Brody's wife calls him "Brody".

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sun 30-Dec-12 21:22:07

Trills - I was saying that to my DH in 'wtf' fashion last week!

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Dec-12 21:23:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mu1berryBush Sun 30-Dec-12 21:24:11

trills, that struck me as odd though. is it more normal in america to call your husban by his sur name??

MadCap Sun 30-Dec-12 21:25:00

Trills My mom calls my dad by his (their) surname.

I hate, in crime thrillers, how the main character's career is always put in jeopardy when they are close to solving the crime. Kathy Reichs, I'm looking at you.

MadCap Sun 30-Dec-12 21:28:43

And the word irrevocably should be banned. I mean who actually uses that word!

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 21:33:30

I don't think it's America, it might be a military thing.

Then again Morena Baccarin was 31 when they were filming the first series (and the daughter was at least 16) so there are more problems here and maybe they met while at school...?

DollySistersBrothersFatherXmas Sun 30-Dec-12 21:36:39

In chick lit when they have the impromptu sex scene. Why does she never have her period? Never ever ever. Surely that can't be possible.

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 21:43:05

AlexReids still snortling at your post grin

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 21:49:23

shouty openings (crime) where the heroine (usually) is tied up and blindfolded in a dark scary place waiting to be murdered and then you have to read another six chapters of backstory before she miraculously notices a draught on her left elbow and scrapes off her manacles and crawls down secret escape hatch into a pine forest

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 21:50:07

oh, and she is feisty

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 21:52:13

sundaywriter and does her hair still look good although a bit mucky from the dungeon?

Oh yes, there's never a period, action is always possible.

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 21:55:46

yay that's the one (high fives bunty)
it may well be a shock of hair, that she has to keep brushing back impatiently - though never a widow's peak

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 21:57:38

Oh yes, impatiently. She doesn't know how good it looks, obviously.

Its a hair thing. Why do heroines always have big hair that needs 'taming'? Never dull mousey bob.

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 21:59:58

is a sign of their feist

BuntyPenfold Sun 30-Dec-12 22:03:02


Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:07:47

One of my very very favourite authors (sadly now extinct) had the bestest descriptions:

Heroines hair "like oxblood" and eyes like "pond jelly". Absolutely loved her books.

WTF pond jelly? You mean shy yellow eyes speckled like a pear?

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:13:35

grin No!

Very pale almost colourless - like frog spawn. That's why I loved that author.

Her descriptions stopped you in your tracks.

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 22:14:45

go on, salmo - who was it? I'd read her!

Oh you mean gooseberry eyes.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:16:23

She described mail aids face leaning against the side of a cow "like a coin on Byzantine velvet" <sobs>

I'm paraphrasing a bit but that's the gist.

Therefore my eyes are sludgy green. Can I have alabaster skin too, and full coral lips please.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:16:50

milk maids face ffs

mail...aids face? <tries to keep up, runs fatly not lithely like leaping gazelle>

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:20:15

Dorothy Dunnett.

The Lymond Series or Niccolo Series.

Or King Hereafter.

Absolutely stinking historical novelist, but needs concentration. I keep rereading her books and still find something new.

But she is a bit marmite - I know many who love her but you need to get into it.

Her research was utterly awesome.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:21:27

milk maids face Stairs grin.
Blame the iPad!

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:23:16

stonking. NOT stinking. blush

She was a lovely writer. I adore her books.

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 22:27:33

thanks, I'll have a decko on amazon, is always good to find a new author

CaseyShraeger Sun 30-Dec-12 22:28:29

I think the Brodys were supposed to have met at school if you ignore the age gap between the actors so if there were at of Nicks she could feasibly have known him as Brody.

I have been assured that "feisty" comes from the same root as "fart" and always enjoy that image when a heroine is described as feisty.

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 22:29:38

yes, I did wonder about that, I was thinking now is stinking the new 'baaad'
top cliche book I read a while ago was by Elizabeth Haynes, she did quite a good stalker boyfriend book which was always recommended on here - well the follow up's a top turkey
heroine is ex lap dancer who has retired to the country to live on a houseboat

sundaywriter Sun 30-Dec-12 22:30:28

you'll enjoy the singer-songwriter Feist too then grin

Bessie123 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:32:51

Can I move the thread back to cliches? I hate books with loads of 's/he said, simply'

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:35:44

Instead of saying it complicatedly.

GreenyEyes Sun 30-Dec-12 22:38:34

Male characters who have been working all night (poring over law papers or unsolved missing persons cases usually) who run their fingers over their stubble, with bleary eyes.

Female characters who 'jut out their jaw' defiantly. That can't be a good look, surely? Piss off she said, doing her best Jimmy Hill impression confused

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 22:54:21

I'm not especially fond of people who narrow their eyes.

That's an anatomical impossibility actually.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 22:56:57

I think they mean from top to bottom, not side to side.

Wheresmypopcorn Sun 30-Dec-12 23:01:14

In fiction, the dippy girl who has a crap career and is slightly overweight always lands up with a rich intelligent man who everyone else is listing after.

Wheresmypopcorn Sun 30-Dec-12 23:01:29

Sorry - lusting after

now i am thinking of goat slot narrowed eyes. snurk grin

grin Bunty, they're all so bloody formulaic aren't they? My five year old has more imagination.

BOFingSanta Sun 30-Dec-12 23:11:46

Any over-described outfits, especially if it involves the use of brand names- "She slipped on her Marc Jacobs cardigan and fiddled with the buttons on her Alice Temperley blouse" etc.

It really irritates me.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 23:18:12
Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 23:18:22

Brand names just make things date horribly.

Oh yes,
'She adjusted her Alexander McQueen scarf and closed the clasp on her vintage Chloe handbag, mussed up her long red mane, and applied her favourite Chanel lipstick. Pouting she surveyed herself (insert self depreciating description of obviously stunning person here), sigh, she'd have to do'.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 23:30:24

But trills your eyeballs cannot narrow in any direction.


So all that narrowing eyes is actual anatomical shit.

Salmotrutta Sun 30-Dec-12 23:32:56

And when the heroine's breath comes in shallow gasps because Mr Fantastic has ripped her bodice she should probably seek medical help.

Babies are never born in hospital. Always an unplanned home delivery, no midwife in attendance, just the male character with whom the mother has been having an ongoing misunderstanding/unrequited love interest. An unplanned homebirth guarantees to resolve all this swiftly.

Startail Sun 30-Dec-12 23:51:28

The brother/sister looking identical is the main plot device in Twelfth Night and DH can't get why I don't like Shakespeare.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 30-Dec-12 23:53:36

And Comedy of Errors.

I still like him though.

Babies being born by the waters breaking theatrically as a first sign of labour is my pet hate cliche from TV at the moment.

Startail Mon 31-Dec-12 00:00:35

And I'm lead to believe, by *DH that non of Shakespeare's plots were totally original, so this cliche business has been going on a long time.

(I'm inclined to believe him as FIL was a serious English scholar)

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 00:03:13

Um ... not that I can think of. Macbeth might be? Dunno. Most of them aren't.

CaseyShraeger Mon 31-Dec-12 00:06:26

Is one of them a girl in Comedy of Errors? I really haven't been paying attention, then... grin

My waters breaking theatrically was my first sign of labour first time around - - although it does seem to happen with more than strictly statistical likelihood on the telly.

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 00:10:06

Two sets of boys, sorry ... ignore me! blush

poncypony Mon 31-Dec-12 00:59:27

I hate it when everything is solved through the power of love. Obviously it's mainly used in children's fiction, but that's no excuse!

HaleAndHeartyYuletideAges Mon 31-Dec-12 01:25:51

Oh God, I just remembered being completely sold on the 'feisty jaw jut' when a teenager and practicing it while being flirty with a lad I liked.

He eventually said 'will you stop doing that with your face, you look weird.'

Reader, I did not date marry him.

Themilkybarisonme Mon 31-Dec-12 01:29:41

Haha @ "will you stop doing that with your face". Harsh but fair.

HaleAndHeartyYuletideAges Mon 31-Dec-12 01:34:24

Agreed. I thought I looked feisty. I actually looked like a twat Bruce Forsyth.

LilyVonSchtupp Mon 31-Dec-12 01:56:46

Female detective cliches US style,
Addicted to junk food and spend half the novel talking about the food they are eating even though it's usually McDs, hotdogs, donuts, coffee, grandmas pineapple upside down cake and therefore hardly the stuff of Nigel Slater's dreams.

Yet slim, athletic and hot to trot.

Despite wearing clothes along the lines of "turtlenecks", "my one good skirt" or "sweatpants and a scrunchy"

Big hair.

Lives alone, with an eccentric animal.

Torn between two men, one's a hurt but rugged cop with Mother Issues and a needy ex wife, the other is a mysterious criminal with dark but not too dark skin. Both are HOT!

No female friends. Unless they are hugely overweight / unattractive and Sassy! With a capital S.

Often has to pretend to be a prostitute to secure information. Or visit an Irish bar where her good looks and streetwise mien will elicit a hint or two from the twinkly barkeep.

Occasionally drinks a Chardonnay. Or a Miller Light if in the Irish bar. For show.

Hates smoking. Loves animals. And jogging. And old people. There must be a wise yet crazy oldster.

See Stephanie Plum, Kinsey Millhone, Temperance Brennan, Carlotta Carlyle etc.

the jimmy hill impression and "stop doing that thing with your face" have me in tears

Tanith Mon 31-Dec-12 11:16:46

I hate women being called girls. Especially when the male of the same age, and often younger, is a man.

Terry Brooks: I'm looking at you with your "valegirl" and "valeman"!

Mu1berryBush Mon 31-Dec-12 11:17:56

I hate in American books the british have terrible teeth chesnut. ofgs. People who can afford braces for their children make sure they get them and people who can't afford them don't. Same both sides of the atlantic. 80 million americans can't afford healthcare.

also hate the drunken irish. irish drink about the same per head as any other northern european nation.

lazy non thinking, and worse, it's just so BORING to read.

I offer you 'peat soft Oirish brogue that has all women on their backs'

Salmotrutta Mon 31-Dec-12 11:44:39

Just for something to fill a grey Hogmanay ...

Page 7 of Penny Vincenzi's "Absolute Scandal":

"... Tried to see herself through HIS eyes: long-ish full-ish skirt (Laura Ashley), blue shirt with turned up collar (Thomas Pink), and her twenty-first-birthday pearls, of course; blah bla blah"


Salmotrutta Mon 31-Dec-12 11:47:42

So yes, never mind a plot eh?

Just chuck in something that reads like a page out of a fashion mag.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Mon 31-Dec-12 11:50:18

True, Shakespeare's plots were pretty much all based on existing stories - the Roman stuff was cribbed from a Roman playwright (whose name I have forgotten as it's 30 years since I studied him) and a lot of the others on what was regarded as true history in his time (the Henry plays, RIchard III etc).

But a lot of writers take an old plot and redo it. West Side Story is Romeo and Juliet. Etc.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 11:51:52

Bookmarking this thread to enjoy later! Agree with nearly everybody so far, and awestruck by witty erudition smile

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 12:53:15

bessie - Rowling does a lot of that 's/he said, simply' bollocks, doesn't he? I've noticed if a character is good and pure of heart, they're allowed to speak 'simply'. It takes real evil to be a bit complicated. hmm

SGB - lots of it is Plutarch. We had to do it for Antony and Cleopatra for A level.

I agree there's redoing an old plot, which lots of people do, and there's cliche. I reckon cliche is different because it makes you groan when you see it, whereas some people get away with an old plot because you're interested to see how it happens, even if you know what happens.

I find the 'action heroine in a corset/heels' thing annoying. I can run in heels but it's not something anyone chooses to do, and there is a limit to how althetic anyone can be in a corset! (This is why I like the bit in Brave where it actually shows she can't pull her arm back to draw her bow wearing her restrictive dress).

Ephiny Mon 31-Dec-12 13:07:09

Tbh I think 'said + adverb' should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Especially when they're cliches like 'simply' or just redundant. I see some that are bordering on Swifties and they always make me giggle.

Bessie123 Mon 31-Dec-12 13:33:30

I have never read Rowling. I shan't bother now, it sounds like I would find it annoying (thanks for the tip) I usually let 1 instance of saying things simply pass but more than one and the author is on my naughty list.

I did actually read an author with pretty much no annoying habits. She is called Mari Strachan but unfortunately she has only written 2 books.

LadyBeagleBaublesandBells Mon 31-Dec-12 13:39:34

Jilly Cooper repeats everything in her books.
Everybody always "screams with laughter", she's the one with the fat woman getting slim through a broken heart, (in every book) and her descriptions of characters are all the same.
I loved her first few books but they never change.

yy LadyBeagle and "fat" means 11st or more, even if she is 5'9" hmm

YY to Jilly repeating. There's often a scene where the dark, rugged DP/DH comes with a face like thunder so everyone knows its the worst news, then he breaks into a wicked smile and says 'It's ok my darlings etc etc.'

Horatia at just under 5'9 and just over 11st you have made my day grin (since you feel it is ridiculous to describe someone that way)

I've just read an awful book. Was very entertaining but basically about a man who shags around, cheats on his wife, treats the women he's sleeping with really badly, then has a bad dream about what a shit he's been and leaves his wife for the woman who's pregnant with his child. While they're having their lovey dovey conversation he basically ssays that if his wife forgave him he'd be off back to her like a shot and then they clasp hands and gaze into each others eyes.
I don't think it was ironic.

Salmotrutta Mon 31-Dec-12 14:01:16

And laughter does not " bubble up" .

If it did that you'd either be salivating or vomiting whilst laughing hmm

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 14:04:50

LRD and complexnumber -
As soon as I read blackberry's post I thought, "I've read that Marian Keyes book", as well! It is This Charming Man, which I actually thought was a satire until I realised it isn't.

NotAChocolateRaisin Mon 31-Dec-12 14:05:28

Really long "misunderstandings" between characters which normally take up the majority of the book and usually result in them sleeping with another person who is portrayed as "bad" without really any good call. Then the enviable discovery of the truth, usually through a friend or relative, and this kiss and make up with absolutely no consequences regarding the behaviour during the "misunderstanding".

Ie. the plot of most chic-lit

NotAChocolateRaisin Mon 31-Dec-12 14:08:10

And the baddie catching the hero/ine and explaining their whole plan to them before leaving them to be killed in an empty room or a useless third party.

NotAChocolateRaisin Mon 31-Dec-12 14:08:41

*by a useless third party blush

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 31-Dec-12 14:09:31

Ahhhh, thanks garlic. That genuinely is one I've not read. I thought it sounded vaguely like Watermelon, which I read and loved for its piss-taking of all the daft chick-lit cliches.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 14:14:23

Grendel - Interlinked fox troll chicken shed crime GENIUS! grin

I have shuddered with desire. Ooh, that was long ago. I must admit I thought it was a cliché until it happened.

Bloodybridget Mon 31-Dec-12 14:17:27

Fictional people wake after a Night of Luurve and immediately start shagging again. Real people have bursting bladders and bed breath.

stubbornstains Mon 31-Dec-12 14:42:09

Unmarried Victorian women who get seduced by an unprincipled bounder, and then die. Of what?? Frequently, there is also an "innocent babe" involved, who also dies and gets buried in the cold hard earth etc.etc.

If they don't die, they seem to have to spend the rest of their lives lying on the carpet, clasping peoples' knees and begging for forgiveness for being so unspeakably wicked as to have had sex.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 15:20:21

The pale light cast deep shadows into his craggy face, emphasising the glint of his hard brown eyes beneath a dark, jutting brow. The lines etched around his sardonic lips tightened. "Let's go," he growled, tensing strong hands on the wheel.

This character is a high-flying lawyer whose urbane charm is a complete mystery, given that he appears to be a cross between a Cro-Magnon and a broken pavement.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 15:22:10

an unprincipled bounder - Oh, stubborn, whatever happened to unprincipled bounders? They should be brought back immediately, along with cheeky rogues!

GrendelsMum Mon 31-Dec-12 16:08:17

I think nowadays unprincipled bounders are just absent fathers who don't pay their child support.

Salmotrutta Mon 31-Dec-12 16:12:51

Unprincipled blunders are in the same place as cads, buffoons and impudent young whippersnappers.

Salmotrutta Mon 31-Dec-12 16:13:14


garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 16:19:50

grin The buffoons commit unprincipled blunders, though, don't they.

Absent bounder + blundering buffoon + impudent whippersnapper = Nick Hornby millions?

TheSmallClanger Mon 31-Dec-12 17:48:01

People in crime fiction and time-trotting historical dramas never throw incriminating things in the bin. They always burn them or bury them in the garden, or else handily hoard the evidence somewhere in their house. No-one does this.

People with mental illness are either murderous avenging angels like Lisbeth Salander, or fragile waify creatures who never go out, like all those Victorian attic-dwellers. No-one ever muddles along, takes pills and remains under the care of the community nurse.

Tanith Mon 31-Dec-12 18:24:41

I thought the whole point about Lisbeth Salander was that she didn't have a mental illness: the dominant men in her life were making out that she did because of her actions.

LadyBeagleBaublesandBells Mon 31-Dec-12 18:35:40

I love bounders and cads.
Georgette Heyer does them wonderfully, and so many writers tried to copy her and failed miserably.
I agree Tanith, Lisbeth is one of my favourite characters in recent fiction.

LadyBeagle today I have been perusing my audiobook copy of The Convenient Marriage and vastly enjoying Robert Lethbridge who is an unrepentant fight-picking, heroine-kidnapping Cad of the First Water.

TheOriginalLadyFT Mon 31-Dec-12 19:09:09

Jilly Cooper is a repeat offender for the following: fat woman has unhappy marriage, finally gets arse in gear and loses weight via unhappiness diet (have tried this is RL and does not effing work), scales fall from husband's eyes when he sees wife is now thin and waif-like and stops philandering etc

Very annoying. She regularly spouts the whole "losing weight will solve your problems" mantra - or did in her Riders, Rivals, Polo phase

Can anyone recommend any new authors I like crime, thriller, particularly psychological thriller
I like them when they're cheap on itunes

LadyBeagleBaublesandBells Mon 31-Dec-12 19:13:41

Ah, by your nn I can tell your'e a GH fan Horatia.
When I got my kindle, I bought all my old favourites again.
My favourite was Damarel in Venetia.
He was a bounder, no mistake.

TheOriginalLadyFT Mon 31-Dec-12 19:14:54

Jilly Cooper also serial offender when it comes to anthropomorphising animals - thus the lurched that cried big fat tears which rolled down its cheeks and the racehorse that stopped to admire itself on the giant screen as it cantered past. Seriously?!

TheOriginalLadyFT Mon 31-Dec-12 19:15:40

Tut - lurcher. Bloody autocorrect

GrendelsMum Mon 31-Dec-12 19:27:21

Yes, but we all know that Roberth Lethbridge is actually more interested in getting the Earl sweaty and in his shirt sleeves than in Honoria. It's all an elaborate plot to be wounded so he can have his arm bandaged.

CaseyShraeger Mon 31-Dec-12 20:19:59

TheSmallClanger, you should read The Cauldron by Colin Forbes. It is deeply, DEEPLY shit, but the whole plot centers around Henchman #1's being told by Arch-Villain to carefully destroy a piece of evidence but instead just throwing it in the bin. Then Our Plucky Heroes launch a raid against Evil HQ where they are beaten back with only time enoigh to grab a single piece of paper from the top of the bin...

TheSmallClanger Mon 31-Dec-12 20:36:47

Re: Lisbeth Salander - I've only read the first book. She's the sort of character that people with certain mental illnesses are often portrayed as, I think.

Something else I've noticed in crime fiction, mainly - anyone who is fanatical about cleaning and related tasks is a potential murderer. Any person who was raised by a domineering older woman, preferably not their birth mother, is also a murderer. Yes, Ruth Rendell, I am looking at you.

greencolorpack Mon 31-Dec-12 20:49:17

I never liked "an ear piercing shriek" because I didn't know if it meant a shriek that goes right through you or the shriek you make when someone makes an earring hole in your ear.

Any cliche involving women's intuition, "she just knew she was pregnant, she just knew her time had come" having had a bleed during my first pregnancy and all my pregnancy symptoms disappeared and then I was late a few weeks later and eventually ascertained that no I hadn't had a miscarriage, but had just had a bleed and was still pregnant, and then having found false starts many times during labour, I realise that the idea of a woman "just knowing" is bullshit. Or it is for me anyway, I am a crap woman, I never seem to "just know" anything.

me neither!

LineRunner Mon 31-Dec-12 20:59:41

Well by the end of the 3rd book, Lisbeth Salander's whole head and body had gone dark.

Neat trick.

Primadonnagirl Tue 01-Jan-13 10:45:49

First post of 2013 for me! What about heroines who love their children with all the heart no matter how wicked they are and just want to hold them in their arms even though they are serial killers...Jodie opposed to those of us who would cheerfully kill them if they leave the fridge door open ONE MORE TIME!!

NaiceDude Tue 01-Jan-13 17:29:05

I've never nominated a fred for Classix but I just might have to with this one, it's absolutely spot on and I haven't laughed so hard in ages!

This character is a high-flying lawyer whose urbane charm is a complete mystery, given that he appears to be a cross between a Cro-Magnon and a broken pavement.

grin grin grin

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Tue 01-Jan-13 19:38:09

Oh and 'collective' children, who are no more than props for the adult characters' tangled lovelives - so they have to hop out from between the sticky sheets and go and collect 'the children', or when the knock comes at the door from the plod/bailiff/axe murderer they have to make 'the children' hide...

montage Tue 01-Jan-13 20:10:58

Authors who feel the need to drop pointless and senseless "twists" into their books, because their books are renowned for having twists.

Jodi Picoult and Melissa Hill in particular.

montage Tue 01-Jan-13 20:13:32

Bad research. Very specifically Anita Shreve in "The Pilot's Wife." : "The world exclusive broke the next day in "The Belfast Telegraph""

Yes, that's the type of paper the "Belfast Telegraph" is. It breaks world exclusives hmm

StuffezLaBouche Tue 01-Jan-13 20:19:54

I like crime fiction but cannot bear the mini, one-page chapters in italics that are supposed to be from the psycho's POV. So unbelievably clichéd.

His breathing grew shallow as he peered through the window at the young, slim woman undressing. She would be his finest prize. What would her insides look like?


Mu1berryBush Wed 02-Jan-13 09:23:39

Re anita shreve, far less annnoying than that writing in the present tense thing she does. dreadful. couldn't read another.

montage Wed 02-Jan-13 21:06:10

I came to the limits of my patience with her a year ago and donated all the books I had of hers to the charity shop. I think she could have produced a few very good books rather than a dozen increasingly irritating ones.

Its very annoying when a writer's later books turn you off ever rereading their earlier ones (i.e. Jodi Picoult).

NaicePig Sun 20-Jan-13 10:01:21

Can I just bump this because it's possibly my favourite MN fred ever and I don't want it to go poof grin

Trills Sun 20-Jan-13 10:32:12

Oh bugger it's in Chat!

We should do something about that.

Heleeeeeeeeen? Oliviiaaaaaaaaa? Someoooooooooooone?

Trills Sun 20-Jan-13 10:33:20

I watched Life of Pi last night.

At the very end we see his wife and children, and there is no suggestion whatsoever that he went back to India to find the girl that he had a crush on when he was 15. Which is good, because the trope of "first true love" is bollocks.

Nancy66 Sun 20-Jan-13 10:36:06

I don't like heroines 'padding' along hallways and corridors....why can't they just walk?

carbondated Sun 20-Jan-13 10:41:50

It surprises me that so many people go to creepy remote houses/villages/islands to get over or get through a terrible event in their life. Their child has gone missing/been murdered/kidnapped etc so they leave their semi in Watford and rent a derelict former orphanage (usually haunted) halfway up a mountain to get their heads round it all? So if the police/social workers/police support person/family/friends needs to pop over and fill them in/check something out or see how their managing, they have to be airlifted in (usually in the middle of the worst flood since records began).

Trills Sun 20-Jan-13 12:09:04

Thanks to the very lovely Rowan we are now in Adult Fiction and will not be deleted (unless this thread takes a turn in a very strange direction!)

Yes, the retreat to an isolated cottage by the sea. In winter. hmm

YAY to thread saving. Well done Trills.

NicknameTaken Sun 20-Jan-13 16:12:21

Pretty much all chicklit could be produced by a Random Chicklit Generator TM.

Group of women meet a bookclub/diet club/evening class. A chapter each with miserable backstory leading up to unsatisfactory present. They laugh, they cry, they given each other insights. 260 pages later they are thinner (an occasional character will have been previously anorexic but now looks healthier and fleshed out), with better jobs, and happily shacked up with the perfect new partner. Oh, the pointlessness.

NaicePig Sun 20-Jan-13 19:31:33

Oh hurrah! Thanks Trills thanks

I mean, I had Classix in mind, but y'know... grin

You missed out the bit where woman goes to a random remote place in order to fall in love with a tall dark handsome farmer/artist/writer who also lives in remote place with unsatisfactory family/by self broodingly/ with older insightful friend. Although at first the sparks will fly their dogs will soon bring them together.

Trills Mon 21-Jan-13 09:30:17

Main characters are often writers who go off into remote places to focus on their book - as if that wouldn't drive them stir-crazy. I guess this is because the actual writer realises that anyone with a job where you have to actually go there every day won't have time for the adventures that they have planned.

Women whose boyfriends cheat on/dump them, then they take up some improbable career (setting up organic markets/listed building restoration/boat building) because it's what they've always wanted to do and ex has been holding them back.

Yes, Katie Fforde, I'm looking at you!

Worksitoutwithapencil Mon 21-Jan-13 20:45:28

Cliche pet hates include red soles of louboutin's flashing as she walked, perfectly manicured fingernails being tapped on the table, and tossing her long blond subtly/expensively highlighted hair.

Samu2 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:33:44

Describing seamen as "His warm liquid"

NaicePig Mon 21-Jan-13 21:41:02

Oh God I just hate ANY love affair which starts with seething hatred that is secretly concealing a secret burning passion on both sides, and a blazing row suddenly leads to ferocioius snogging and knobbing.

Usually with that ^ volume of irritating interspersed adjectives.

helpyourself Mon 21-Jan-13 21:59:51

grin that it won't be deleted.
But shock at what you're all reading. I don't recognise much of this except the protracted Scandinavian weather as character/ pathetic fallacy and big reveal of child sexual abuse hmm
I hate makeover scenes in movies.

chipmonkey Mon 21-Jan-13 22:42:38

Any book where the hero is "moody" and controlling but the heroine ends up with him anyway.
I want to shout "Red Flag, Red Flag, don't you read the Mumsnet Relationships section?"

chipmonkey grin none of her friends ever tell her to leave the bastard either

chipmonkey Mon 21-Jan-13 23:19:03

No, they don't, feckin' eejits just stand there and catch the bouquet!

Trills Tue 22-Jan-13 08:30:54

They don't just catch the bouquet, they fight over who catches it.

sieglinde Thu 24-Jan-13 20:14:27

Adverbs, especially in relation to speech. 'She said softly.' 'He said sternly.' I hate

'Suddenly', as in 'suddenly, she knew..'

Any word for speech except 'said'. I hate it when people 'return' and 'admonish' and 'demand'. Puts the author too much int eh foreground.

Brandnames - usually either showing off or showing lack of class aspired to

Describing the POV character by having her look in a mirror or at a photo of herself.

Loathe any children's book where they wake up in their little white beds, and it's all a dream - agree. Dreams should be weird and scary, like in Arthur Schnizler.

'Scooting' in a sex scene. 'She scooted close to him'. Urgh.

Euphemisms for body parts. 'His plunging member...' 'her centre'.

YY, I hate MarySues, but also GarryStus. If anyone likes both, look no further than the novels of Deborah Harkness.

Interesting about "said".

"said, adverbly" is indeed annoying. But just "said" can be clumpy in long exchanges, and doesn't give a hint as to tone, whereas "retorted" or "murmured" or "spat" absolutely do.

The expression "very well", as in an acknowledgement:

"Very well, have it your way", he said, standing to leave.

It looks OK on paper but it's an expression I swear I have never heard actually spoken in a sentence in real life. But I don't get out much.

I don't like people 'storming' about. Gets on my wick.

pamish Thu 24-Jan-13 23:19:13

That V I Warshawski can never get to the end of a book without going through deadly peril and a bit of torture. But I like the Venetian glasses that have hardly been broken in several apartment-smashings/burnings.

sieglinde Fri 25-Jan-13 10:02:26

Horatia, gritted, and spat, and hissed, also show us the author standing by the characters, taking notes. Show, don't tell.

It's especially grinding when it's obvious that the character's words must be said in a certain way. If she says 'Piss off,' she's likely to be spitting.

From the mistress of many adverbs, J K Rowling:

'Gather round, gather round,' Hagrid encouraged.

This works like a tautology. You'd ne unlikely to say those words in any other way. 'Gather round', Hagrid screamed. 'Gather round,' Hagrid gritted. 'Gather round,' Hagrid snivelled...

So a new speech verb is only needed if there's a disconnection between what is said and tone of voice - if Hagrid, losing patience, actually HAD gritted. 'Gather round,' prior to draw a pistol and gunning them down. Otherwise Rowling is hitting me on the head with the bleeding obvious.

Even in the above case, it's telling, not showing. Better just to have him say 'gather round,' and have him move his hands in a wide welcoming arc - or draw his pistol, or fumble with it, or have the pov character notice his eyes narrow to dark slits.

Adverbs and specific speech verbs show a lack of trust in the reader. They weigh a text down. 'Said' was good enough for Hemingway, and Alan Garner doesn't even bother with 'said'. If we know the characters well enough, we shouldn't have any problem knowing who is speaking.

Rowling's status as a "writer" (as opposed to Thinker-Up of Stories) is rightly challenged.

I agree with you. Mostly.

In contrast to your Hagrid example, ' "Come in," he murmured/grinned/growled/whimpered' - the spoken words don't give you a clue but the verb can. It is nearer than "said, verbly" which is unimaginative.

megandraper Fri 25-Jan-13 10:17:08

Read my novel. I don't do any of these cliches <pages through to check> grin

sieglinde Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:24

Yep, the Mistress of Adverbs is indeed no great shakes as a maker of sentences.

And I see what you mean about 'come in', though it would depend on whether we needed to know the mod at that moment. I'm not sure it's realistic, either. 'come in,' he murmured. What does that convey? A dread of being overheard? Maybe suspense might be better?

congrats to bedhopper. Most of us have to go over our writing and remove all this...

StephaniePowers Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:29

Any of the following:
- child abuse, only revealed for what it is in the last 1/6th of the novel.
- alcoholic hero who has no bother at all in getting it up whenever he wants to, and despite years of alcohol abuse, is desperately attractive to a variety of women who could naturally do ten times better without even trying.
- 'getting away from it all' usually some sort of man trouble, only to instantly take up with the handsome local yokel. IME handsome local yokels always have 13-yr-old girlfriends and a warning that they'll be done next time for statutory rape, that never appears in such novels.

Corygal Fri 25-Jan-13 10:31:32

When the worthy and poor heroine escapes her meagre circs through a scholarship to Oxford.

FGS - what about the worthy people who aren't the next Nobel/Booker candidates? And the only people I know who got one had rich parents.

Trills Fri 25-Jan-13 10:36:05

You don't need a scholarship to go to Oxford - it costs just the same as any other university (which is "no money up front").

sieglinde Fri 25-Jan-13 10:51:32

Stephanie, total agreement about child abuse as the only motivator for anything at all. So so done to death.

Children's books about the Holocaust where the POV child doesn't realise what's going on in the nearby camp. Timeslip novels where the child POV character doesn't realise it's the nineteenth century for many chapters despite the steam trains and grime.

Dark fayries or fays or feyries or fairys? FFS.

Corygal, what books are you thinking of re a scholarship?

NicknameTaken Fri 25-Jan-13 10:59:11

Any description of a dream. Not even the "then he woke up and found the entire plot to date was a dream" type, but any description of a dream whatsoever. It's boring when someone tells you in real life, and it's boring in a novel.

I will grudgingly accept "He woke, heart still pounding from nightmares that hovered just beyond his recall" but keep them beyond recall. Please, please, keep them beyond recall.

MardyArsedMidlander Fri 25-Jan-13 13:12:14

Any romantic novel where he 'crushes his lips to her'- isn't that bloody uncomfortable? What if you are half way through chewing a sandwich?

NicknameTaken Fri 25-Jan-13 13:56:41

Mardy, that reminds me of my first kiss, which featured the memorable words "Why don't you spit out that gum?"

Have never been able to chew banana-flavoured bubble gum since.

sieglinde Fri 25-Jan-13 17:25:35

Or 'he crushed her to him'. GBH, I think. Ouch.

Or kisses that taste of heaven, or some other such nonexistent substance.

sieglinde Fri 25-Jan-13 17:26:21

and come to think of it, he shouldn't kiss her lips, unless he is her blood relative. Mouths kiss, not lips.

hackmum Fri 25-Jan-13 18:07:26

What a great thread. Haven't read it all, so apologies if some of these have been mentioned, but in crime fiction (this applies to both tv and books), there are certain things that always give the game away, e.g. if it begins with "and the body was never found", you know that the person is still alive. If there are identical twins, it was the other twin who was murdered/is the murderer, not the one you think. If a character is mentioned early on but appears to have no obvious role in the plot, then later on they will turn out to be really significant, ie they will be the murderer or lead to the murderer.

Stropzilla Fri 25-Jan-13 18:16:53

Over describing something. I don't care what everyone in the room is wearing or how their hair is styled. Or the feel, weight, colour and entire history of the gun being used taking 2 pages to talk about.

Repetitive use of phrases. I'm looking at Terry Goodkinds Sword of Truth series. Being reminded every page of Richards "raptor gaze" made DH and I very stabby.

RosyRoo Fri 25-Jan-13 22:26:08

There is an overwhelming tendency for the main protagonist to be either a writer or to work in publishing. Have authors got so little imagination that they cannot imagine a life outside of the very narrow world they operate in. Also, everyone seems to have loads of spare cash, even if they say they don't. They never seem to consider the cost before catching the train to Devon, or taking a taxi across town for an urgent romantic tryst.

Thewhingingdefective Fri 25-Jan-13 23:02:24

Just about every cliched convention of any genre annoys me, but mainly detectives living alone in an apartment with an empty fridge, a cat and a coffee pot.

lainiekazan Sun 03-Feb-13 19:43:17

Agree, RosyRoo. You know that these crap writers have only had their book considered because they have mates in the industry.

Agree too about the "local yokels". The bloke the girl meets back in their home town (why is it always somewhere quaint, too, and not Swindon?) may be a mechanic/tree surgeon/boat builder - but really he's a disillusioned human rights lawyer or surgeon erroneously blamed for a botched operation. Girls can't make a match for life with a thicko can they?

And may I suggest "the letter". How many times has the average person discovered a letter hidden inside a book containing a buried secret? Anyone?

I hate all these + the Cute Kid Subplot (especially if it becomes Meaningful). Not Scout in To Kill a MB. Those little ducks who innocently remark Why Don't You Snuggle Aunty GreyPants you know she called her teddy Big Bear after you?
I particularly loathed that little boy in Love Actually. Him with the drumkit and the notices on his bedroom door. If ever a child needed an XBox.

LaQueen Tue 05-Feb-13 14:23:11

Can't bear any of the Candy Floss, chick-lit.

They just merge into one pastel coloured miasma of when...Libby (the quirkily pretty, but ditzy) heroine, inherits a picture-postcard perfect cottage on the Cornish coast - so she packs in her vaguely glam PR job, and packs up her belongings in her characterful, original VW Beetle (typically called Mini, because that's like so quirky) and heads to Cornwall.

Naturally, her cottage needs doing up and Libby happens to have a real flair for interior design, and renovates said cottage in shabby chic style. She befriends a cute stray dog - which just so happens to be owned by the local, rugged vet (typically called Tom, or possibly Sam). Tom/Sam isn't conventionally good-looking, but has 'a cheeky grin and broad shoulders and kind eyes^.

There follows some trite denoument where Libby & Tom/Sam disagree over nothing remotely, I dunno...Tom/Sam sees a pair of Libby's old Jimmy Choos in the back of her car, and thinks she's really a city gal at heart, and isn't ever going to settle in the country.

Then...oh, actually it's so fuckingly mindlessly inane that I can't be arsed to finish the plot...but we all know how it ends, don't we girls angry

LaQueen Tue 05-Feb-13 14:40:10

It's only a matter of time before someone writes a book titled The Bad Bride's Secret Summer Wedding At The Cupcake Bakery thereby covering all possible known chick-lit narratives angry

LaQueen Tue 05-Feb-13 14:58:22

Oh God, yes flippin Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth series...I had to give up on it, when I was 4 books in...

Got so utterly sick and tied of Righteous Richard and Wholesome Kahlan, never actually having hot monkey sex...and, even when they finally did it turned out that it didn't count 'because it happened in the Spirit World'

Just shag each other FFS - you'll soon realise that it really isn't all that.

I like this, a sort of chick lit axis of evil. The book would get more and more twee, there would be more descriptions of clothes, more clumsy heroines, angst over fuck all and misunderstanding and knowing kids until BOOM it just explodes into a mass of pink feathers and you would NEVER get to read again as a punishment from god.

LaQueen Tue 05-Feb-13 21:25:53

I particularly detest Jane Green's style of CandyFloss Lit...

"Bella scooped her heavy mane of golden ringlets off her slender neck - the early Summer heat in New York was already sultry. She grabbed a mocha latte from a street seller, and realised that she'd forgotten to eat breakfast yet again - but, that was no bad thing, and she slid her hand appreciatively down her slender hips. This new Chloe dress fitted her like the proverbial glove, and her recent long sessions at the stylish new gym downtown was really giving results. Her legs had never looked so long and colt-like. She caught sight of her reflection in the glass window of Marni and wondered anew how she, shy, awkward Bella Ross, with the dusting of freckles across her nose and the over large feet, who was always skulking in the school library, had morphed into the glamorous sub-editor of Venus the hottest new women's glossy on the block..."

Oh do fuck off Jane, see we can all do what you do...look I just did it. Took me about 2 minutes flat to churn out such drivel angry

grin That made me feel a bit rancid. But thanks.

Jane Green... I'm sure she did a transforming one where the heroine lost half her bodyweight in about 3 months, and was wicked toned too, and went off to America to meet an utter arse and did the gym and stuff. There was a buttery yellow suede skirt involved too IIRC. It was dreadful shite.

LaQueen Wed 06-Feb-13 13:35:49

Yep, that would be flippin Jemima J...only when you are super slim and toned can you possibly find happiness...except, of course Jane is slightly more clever than her heronie shagged the stud muffin to death, but then realised that looks aren't everything and instead opted to marry the nice bloke back home, and allowed herself to become a size, whoopee do hmm

Jux Wed 13-Feb-13 14:24:02

Thank goodness the only chick lit I read is the stuff quoted or parodied on here! LaQueen, you could make a living - if it didn't make you ill!

I hate those conversations which take place merely to let the reader know what's going on, what the background is etc. I know it was said upthread, but it is such lazy, crap writing. Good writers manage to do it properly so you barely notice what they are doing. The current batch of editors are, imo, absolutely appalling and almost as bad as most of the writers on sale.

EllieCook Fri 15-Feb-13 07:43:31

I can't stand it when two characters hate each other at first and then after a series of misunderstandings bla bla, it ends in a big, passionate love affair. If he (or she) is an arrogant jerk, that ought to tell you all you need to know. We women do more damage to ourselves by buying into that stuff....

Terpsichore Sat 16-Feb-13 14:08:25

Have been reading these with great amusement, though haven't managed the whole thread. I'm sure someone must have mentioned the mania for writing in the present tense, which drives me insane - I hate, hate, hate it.
Actually Jane Green is a major offender, and I'm sure other people copy her because they think she's so successful, thus perpetuating the whole thing.

But my other hate is crime novels that open with a supposedly 'creepy' opening section narrated by the villain....usually in italics and full of meaningful spaces. E.g.

I watch her. She is unaware of my presence, and I exult as I stand, unseen, in the shadows.

Today is the day she will......die

Then it usually cuts to Chapter 1 and gritty banter in a police station somewhere, with a downtrodden 'tec chain-smoking and eating bacon sandwiches.

Oh FFS. Give us a break.

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