writing problems

We all have those things that drive us absolutely nutty when we read. Something that pulls us from the story and if it gets bad enough … causes us to throw the book against the wall, never to finish it.

As a writer I think my threshhold has gotten more sensitive. Things I didn’t know were a problem when I was just a reader now drive the writer in me insane.

Constant head-hopping between characters in a scene is one of mine. It’s a rule … don’t do it very often. And if you must … once … and DO IT WELL. Make me be in the other character’s head before I realize it. Make me go back and see exactly where and how you skillfully moved me into the thoughts of another. But for goodness sake … please don’t keep flitting in and out of heads. (Of course only NYT best selling authors seem to get away with this … which is why it drives me MORE insane.)

Also, the choice of adverbs vs a good solid verb. I’ve mentioned this before. Used sparingly adverbs are AWESOME. Overused and they pull me from the story. My other nitpic is repeating a word (unconsciously) a couple times in sentences close together. Sometimes repetition is used as a tool … I get that. But when another word could have been used so the repetition didn’t occur, it makes me crazy. Words are an authors livelihood. Use them to your full advantage.

Those are things the author can control.

Then there are those things the author can’t control. Typos or bad editing. I can forgive a few typos. They happen. I’ve had them in my books. Even after 3 sets of edits (where I read EVERY word the first two passes) and a line editor … it happens. It’s easy to read a word you expect to be there when it’s actually missing. As an author you hope it won’t happen, but it does. I’m okay with a few, but when there are several in each chapter … I’ve been known to give up.

A friend of mine actually read and enjoyed a book that had at least one typo every two pages. She mentioned it, so it bugged her, but not enough to stop reading. No. It is so not going to happen with me. That’s too many. The book will sail through the air never to be read by me.

So I guess I was just wondering … what makes a book a wall banger for you?