Friday, December 10, 2010

Pet Peeves of the Literary Sort

This week's writing prompt from the Literary Blog Hop
held weekly at The Blue Bookshelf:

What is one of your literary pet peeves?
Is there something that writers do that really
sets your teeth on edge?
Be specific, and give examples if you can.

For me, it's pretentiousness.
Pomposity. Grandiosity.
Call it what you will.
At its heart, it is smugness. Arrogance.

I have many, many other pet peeves.
But, for now, I will stop.

What irritates you?

18 comments:

James said...

Do you have any specific authors who you find particularly pompous?

Ellen said...

that's a good one. i'd like to grab your response and apply it to not just books but people, generally. i like smart books and i like smart people, but i don't like people or books that tell you how smart they think they are.

readerbuzz said...

Oh dear, James, now you are asking for examples....Examples, eh?...Must think about that for a bit....

Em said...

I was going to ask the same as James!

Book Bird Dog said...

I don't like it when thre are elaborate descriptions and asides that don't contribute to the atmosphere, environment, plot, feel of the story.

Grad said...

I think it would be trying to shock for shock value alone. Does one really need to throw the "F" bomb into dialogue, for instance, if it plays no useful purpose. The book that jumps to mind is Julie & Julia (or is it Julia & Julie). I can't remember. The movie I loved, the book not so much.

leeswammes said...

I'm also curious who you'd name but I do agree and I almost wrote about pomposity etc. in my ownpost! I think some of the classics suffer from it. e.g., Wilkie Collins: a bit over the top. But others find that charming! :-)

Anbolyn said...

I haven't read any pomposity laden books lately because I think I abandon ship when I detect it.

readerbuzz said...

What was I talking about when I said I did not like books that were pretentious? I was talking about those books that always seem to come out of creative writing colleges, books that seem to imitate good writing but are missing some element that gives the writing depth. (Okay, that's the best I can do in defining what I was talking about. And I cannot name a single example....except, perhaps, some of the Oprah books....)

Louise said...

I don't like that sort of thing in books either." Look what a clever writer I am annoys me most." "See how many obscure words I can drop in just to show off."

I see you're reading the HeLa book. How are you enjoying it? That's coming up in so many best of the year books. I don't think it's been released here yet, but I'll be interested in taking a look at it when I find it in the library some time. Although given my town currently has a $5 book sale, I made my third trip today, and I've bought 43 books so far, I won't need to look for another new book for a long, long time. (although I suspect this feeling of remorse may not actually last all that long)

parrish lantern said...

I think anything that doesn't promote the story being told, that has no bearing on what's being said, shouldn't be there, regardless of what it is.

PV Lundqvist said...

My pet peeve is when the main character is a writer. Come on, use your imagination!

Susan (Reading World) said...

I haven't read any books lately that have struck me as too too pompous- but that's probably because I wouldn't buy them if I was put off by the tone in the first few paragraphs.
I hope you enjoy "The Immortal Life..." I did!

Fiona said...

I agree, I hate arrogance. I like honesty and I respect that. Something doesn't have to be well written for me to find enjoyment in it.

Everyone knows a faker when they see one.

mywordlyobsessions said...

That is certainly one I never thought about. Pomposity. I tell you what I don't like though, an author who is hellbent of telling you how you should be feeling/ thinking. I can't stand that kind of psychological writing.

Here's my pet peeve: http://mywordlyobsessions.wordpress.com

Melody said...

Oh yes, arrogance gets to me. Even if the quality of writing isn't pretentious. James Joyce came through as arrogant to me while reading Dubliners, which is probably a big reason why I didn't connect with it.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Just hoppin' by and am now your newest follower. I like your point about arrogance, although I have just as big a problem enjoying a good book if I think the *writer* is an arrogant a$$hole. Can't seem to separate the work from the author in cases like that.

My pet peeve was multiple narrators when done as a lazy plot device...

Fyrefly said...

Pretentiousness is a big one for me too - I don't like books whose whole point seems to be to prove how much smarter than me the author is.

One very specific pet peeve of mine is gemstone eyes. It comes up a lot in fantasy novels, but also occasionally in historical fiction and elsewhere... but nobody's eyes look like emeralds or sapphire or whatever. You can just say "dark green"! We'll get it, I swear.