…that my head would implode!!!
I saw something yesterday in an online book excerpt (that shall remain nameless) that set my teeth on edge and it’s still bugging me, so I decided to blog about it and share my irritation with you. Maybe I’ll feel better once I get it off my chest.
As a reader, I despise being tricked or lied to.
Don’t spring a suprise in the final pages that the protagonist supposedly knew all along but kept secret from the reader. POV characters cannot keep secrets! Not if the author is writing in deep POV. It’s impossible. That particular book was made even worse because the POV was first person, and I was still supposed to believe that little “secret?” Nope. Sorry. It doesn’t work, and I refuse to read that author to this date.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Sixth Sense. I loved going back to watch the whole movie and seeing all the little clues. If you do that as an author and give me those little clues to track and decipher, then I’m one happy camper. I love tracking the trail of bread crumbs. (Don’t ask me how many Robert Jordan books I read trying to figure out which sister in the Tower was actually one of the Forsaken. Don’t even get me started about Jon Snow in George R.R. Martin’s series, because if he’s only yanking my chain, I’m going to be really pissed.)
I don’t want you to tell me the heroine is sooooo smart, only to watch her stumble around in the snowy woods with no coat in the middle of the night without so much as a flashlight even though she knows a serial killer is stalking her, all because she heard a noise. Surely we’ve learned that lesson from Scary Movie 1, 2, …10…haven’t we? At least in those movies it was FUNNY and not irritating.
My latest peeve: I despise being treated like I’m stupid. The biggest slam to a reader’s intelligence is the “little did she know” trick. Like I’m too stupid to figure out delicate foreshadowing, so I must be clubbed over the head with “little did she know, but the man she was kissing would kill her before dawn.” Or “she had absolutely no idea that he was a serial killer.”
If she doesn’t know, how can the reader know if the author is handling POV appropriately? This is author intrusion and I can. not. stand it. It absolutely drives me bat-shit crazy, even worse than blatant head hopping.
Give me the unease souring her stomach, the chill clawing down her spine, the hair crawling on her nape, something, but don’t give me “little did she know that danger approached.”
Nope, I’m still irritated. Needless to say, I won’t be buying that book. (At least it was only an excerpt–think how furious I’d be if I had actually PAID to be irritated!)
What’s one of your reader peeves?