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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.