Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 9 August, 2016 by Nikki in General / 12 Comments

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is a topic you’ve missed over the years and want to revisit… and strangely, when I did a couple of searches on my blog, I didn’t find any posts about my bookish pet peeves. So here goes!

  1. Miscommunication. I think y’all know I hate this one, but it’s especially bad when it’s a couple or something, and you know they should trust each other — they’ve even given each other countless reasons to trust in the past. It’s the most annoying plot device, even if it really does happen in real life, because I just don’t want to spend time with characters who make the same stupid mistakes over and over.
  2. “I like you just as you are… so I’ll make sure you never change.” That’s not actually love, guys. People change and grow and make free choices, and make mistakes, and you have to let them. It’s creepy as fuck when one character decides that they get to say what another character will do for the sake of their purity or whatever.
  3. Insta-love. Unless there’s a reason, like you’re the reincarnation of Guinevere and he’s the reincarnation of Arthur and when you meet you feel the weight of your history, or… whatever, just something that explains it, something that gives it weight. Else it’s just a cheap way to add drama.
  4. People are the real evil. I think this is true in many respects, but I hate it when a horror novel or something over-focuses on people being awful. I’m here for witches and ghosts and monsters, and not the human sort.
  5. Privilege flipping. It’s been done well by someone, I’m sure, but most of the time it’s really tone deaf, and in some cases just wouldn’t work — e.g. a whole world where gay relationships are the only sort allowed. If that’s the case, then you have to address the issue of procreation, and then also deal with the way that changes society. If there are artificial wombs, fine, but it changes things as well.
  6. Changing just one thing. In reality, it’d be like the first in a chain of dominoes. That’s why we have the whole ‘butterfly beating its wings’ saying; a small change here or there will change something else, which will change another thing, which will have a cascading effect. I don’t think there’s any choices we can make that don’t affect something. If I wear my purple socks today, I can’t wear them tomorrow, and I can’t have a conversation about my hedgehog socks today.
  7. Stories where women apparently don’t communicate. Like somehow there’s all these housewives who just stay in their houses the whole time and never even cross paths to borrow a cup of sugar, or… It just makes no sense. Even if all your main characters are men (why?) then the female characters in the background will still interact with each other, and if not, there’d better be a good reason.
  8. Narrators. Okay, narrators in themselves aren’t a pet peeve, but if you have someone narrating a story, I kind of want to know why they’re telling it. I love it when a story gives you context for the narrator narrating: this was an interview with x, this is y’s diary, etc. Otherwise, who the heck are they talking to? Themselves? And if they are, then why do they need to explain what their favourite colour is and how tall they are?
  9. Just one exception. A character can read everybody’s mind… except one. No reason, it just complicates their relationship. If there’s a rule in your fictional universe, every exception needs to have a purpose. How does it drive the story?
  10. Inquits. You really don’t have to look for a gazillion alternatives to “said”. They stick out like a sore thumb when you have characters yelling, bawling, crying, shouting, whispering, choking, gasping… “Said” is perfectly useful for attributing dialogue. If you’re using another word, it needs to be doing twice the work.

So there’s my somewhat random set of pet peeves! Share any? Disagree? Feel free to chip in!

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12 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday”

  1. I really dislike the miscommunication trope as well. It’s usually just used to create some sort of misunderstanding between the characters to further the plot, and I absolutely hate it. And yes to the ‘just one exception’! Why? I don’t believe that there is ever just one person for anything. It’s impossible!

    Great list, I could really relate to these pet peeves!
    Jolien @ The Fictional Reader recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Thank You For Recommending These To MeMy Profile

  2. A good list, Nikki, and I agree with all except the ‘InstaLove’ one. I’ve felt free to use it in fiction because I’ve known it to happen in real life (can’t say any more without betraying a secret), and to someone totally unromantic. ..It might be to do with reincarnation there too, of course…

    • I don’t know what I think about it in real life, to be honest — but in fiction, it has to work, you know? The reader has to be able to believe in it too.

  3. omg YES the miscommunication trope, I hate that one with all my being! It is just too easy…
    I agree with all those you listed! Except maybe narrators, I don’t really mind a narrator.
    One thing I hate is when eyes are described too much :’)

    • I don’t mind narrators in principle, but I do like them to have a reason for narrating, you know? It just feels so much more clever that way.

  4. arbieroo

    Actually you *can* wear your purple socks two days in a row, if say, it’s laundry day on day one or you don’t mind slightly smelly feet but – let’s face it – hedgie socks are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler, anyway. 😉

    • It would not be a good idea for me — I’ve had athlete’s foot and it’s an experience I do not intend to repeat, ha! But yeah, my hedgehog socks are the best.

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