I wanted to start doing the Thursday Thirteen thing, but I have neither the time nor the expendable brain cells to figure out the code and the pretty graphic and all that. Hell, to be honest, I’m not even all that sure today is Thursday. So doing the “real” Thirteen thing will be on my New Years resolution list. For today, simply a list.
(As a reader, not as an author.)
1. Blatant rip-offs of popular bestsellers.
2. Porn masquerading as erotic romance.
3. Repetetive introspection. I can remember a character’s inner conflict for more than two pages. Honest.
4. Horrific dialect. Books do not come with Secret Dialogue Decoder rings.
5. Excessive use of brand names. If Starbucks, Pottery Barn, Manolo, Ikea, Chanel, and Blackberry all appear in the first two pages, I’m gone. And I ain’t coming back.
6. Choppy, unimaginative use of sentence structure. If I wanted to see Spot run, I’d kick him in the ass.
7. Being pretty sure I’ve read this same story by this same author over and over and over again, just with different titles and character names.
8. A strong, distinctive voice doesn’t mean you don’t need a plot.
9. Convoluted names beyond the ability of even those hooked on phonics to pronounce.
10. Heroines who had their hearts broken at fifteen and have sworn to never, EVAH even look at a man EVAH again.
11. Heroines in danger who call the men who broke their hearts at fifteen instead of…oh, say…the freakin’ police?
12. Plain old lack of craft.
13. The number one reason I put down a book and don’t pick it back up—it’s not the first in a series. If I pick up a book and nowhere on the cover or in the back copy or in the “also available” list does it imply it’s part of a series, and then I start reading and it becomes quickly apparent I’ve missed a book or two and that’s confirmed by a ‘net search, I will be pissed. And I will remember being pissed about that book for a long time.
(ETA: Actually #13 would be about tied with #2 for the number of times I’ve given up on a book.)