All writers (and readers) have little things regarding books and writing that will never cease to bother them. Here is my list of top 10 writer pet peeves, starting with the least grievous to most grievous. Maybe drink plenty of water before reading. We’re about to get salty…
#10: Using Words That Aren’t Words
“Irregardless” is not a word.
#9: Unfunny or Error-Filled Memes
One of the woes of belonging to several writing groups is that I see many memes that are old and stale. I also cringe at memes with grammatical errors. 😦
On the bright side, there are plenty of legitimately funny memes out there.
#8: Unprofessional Covers
I really hate unprofessional book covers. By “unprofessional,” I mean those that were clearly created by the author using the KDP cover creator or something similar.
OR… When a romance novel has unattractive models on the cover that ruin my vision of the characters. 😦
#7: Abundant Cursing
I don’t mind cursing in books, but when it is used in every other sentence, and the writer could have easily left it out without changing anything, I get a bit perturbed. Minimal cursing is a personal preference of mine when I’m reading (and writing), largely as a consequence of how and where I was raised.
#6: Bad Poetry
I hate it when people post bad poetry online for attention. It gives me strong second-hand embarrassment, especially when the attention it garners is painfully fake or complimentary. I know “bad” is subjective, so obviously I’m not going to post any examples here, but I’m sure we’ve all seen it.
All forms of whining annoy me. Writers who whine, readers who whine, and characters who whine have all got to go. A little whining is okay, as everyone does it once in a while (I’m writing this post, after all), but it can easily be overdone and imbalanced against optimism and grit.
#4: Overused Cliches
Hot guys don’t need a six pack to be hot. Not every hero needs to be “chosen.” People generally possess more than one personality trait, including the protagonists’ parents. Some people might want to be a hero — not everyone would be reluctant. I could go on. When these are used well, it’s not a problem. Unfortunately, they’re not often used well these days.
#3: Blatant Political/Social Signaling
I don’t like fiction where the writer inserts political or social messages out of the blue that have little or nothing to do with the story. Like in The Queen’s Wing, where Bel finds out Jondar likes men/her love interest:
“Outdated moralities don’t have a place on my world and for that I’m grateful. But here, on Anthaeus, where court and culture and society rule, where tradition dictates clothes, marriages and position, where an individual’s standing in that hierarchy is everything… I don’t know.”The Queen’s Wing, page 229
“Outdated moralities”… “tradition”… “hierarchy”… The message is quite clear. — (Also, don’t “court and culture and society” kind of rule every society? What else would? Is she from an anarchy or is she a freaking princess? haha) — I’m not saying it is wrong to insert your political opinions in your writing. It is just something I do not particularly enjoy as a reader when I am not expecting it. You can write whatever you want, and I will not deduct stars for it in my mental ratings of your book. But it is a pet peeve of mine.
#2: Poor Grammar
It irritates me when another writer displays their lack of grammar skills on social media or in published novels. It’s actually astonishing how many people have terrible grammar in the writing groups I have joined on Facebook. Shouldn’t writers grasp at least the basics before calling themselves writers? Unless they merely write as a hobby, most people, when they hear that you’re a writer, automatically harbor certain expectations of what that might mean, for example: you know how to write. Knowing how to write includes knowing how to use punctuation and differentiate between “you’re” and “your.” Right?
I guess you could make the argument that writing is more of an art form than a trade, in which case, fine, you are a writer if you occasionally write stuff. I am an artist because I can draw a straight line on a good day.
(Another problem with my argument is the idea of calling someone a “bad writer” or depriving them of the choice to label themselves as a writer regardless of their talent, which is completely valid — after all, I couldn’t call myself a good writer. Everyone has a different measuring stick. And anyone with a desire to write can improve over time. I can’t say the same for my artistic ability, unfortunately.)
No one is going to write perfectly — ever. Typos can happen, and I misspell or misuse words on occasion. I am not a grammar expert. However, what bugs me the most is when self-proclaimed writers consistently butcher grammar and spelling, especially when English (as that is all I know) is their native language. It makes them look uneducated.
I find typos in just about every news article I read on the Internet. Why?
How can this be fixed? Proofread your post/comment BEFORE posting it! :O (You can also use extensions or apps to help you.) With all the tools we have right at our fingertips to help us improve our vocabulary and linguistics, we no longer have an excuse to be plainly terrible at our craft (unless we have some kind of disability, are young, or are just starting out). Proofreading is not going to be 100% effective, but it will reduce the number of posts with avoidable errors. I know that sounds harsh. Feel free to disagree. It’s still not my #1 pet peeve…
#1: The Writing God
There is nothing I loathe more than a writer who jumps on every opportunity to put other writers down, insist their way is the only correct way, and boast about their accomplishments on Twitter, Facebook, or in real life. I have also experienced “writers” critiquing my work without permission and messaging me everything that is wrong with something I wrote when I didn’t ask. Don’t do that.
I don’t care what your accomplishments are, or how many people admire you. A little humility goes a very long way, my friend. If you want my respect, you have to earn it.
What are your bookish pet peeves as a writer? Disagree with any of the above? Comment below! I’d like to know your thoughts. 🙂
Vote for “The Mailman”
Blurb: “The mailman delivers a peculiar package to Ginger’s door containing a book about her life… and her impending death.”