I generally write short introductions to Top Ten Tuesday posts, but I think this time my list will speak for itself.
1. Film Covers for Books.
They often tend to look dated after a few years. I’d also rather not have actors as my point of reference for how characters look. It’s more fun to imagine those things for yourself while reading the author’s descriptions in my opinion.
2. Films that Dramatically Change Themes or Endings.
Look, I totally understand why some plot twists might need to be altered so they come across more clearly on the big screen, but I don’t like it when directors change the essence of a story to appeal to a wider selection of viewers. This leads into my third point.
3. Bonus Genres Shoehorned Into Plots That Don’t Want Them.
I read a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction. The genres that tend to be shoehorned into these tales most often in my experience are romance, action/adventure, horror, and mystery. While I also enjoy reading stories that include multiple genres and have absolutely nothing against these particular genres…not every story needs to be written to appeal to multiple audiences. It really is okay to write in just one or two genres at a time, and some stories flow much more smoothly with a narrower focus.
While I appreciate content warnings for potentially triggering material, I otherwise abhor spoilers.
5. Too-Similar Character Names.
This is something I see most often in the fantasy genre. If you have an Odin, an Orin, and an Ordin* in your story, I am really going to struggle to keep those three characters apart unless the character development for all three is superb and begins happening in the first chapter. Honestly, I prefer it when most characters have names that start with totally different letters of the alphabet, are of various lengths, sound nothing alike, etc.
*Not a real example.
6. Books in a Series that Are Different Sizes or Shapes.
. Obviously, this is irrelevant for ebooks, but it feels weird to me to line up paper books in a series and have one that’s much taller, wider, or thicker than the others. I do not know why this irritates me as it doesn’t affect the storylines themselves at all. It simply feels slightly wrong.
7. Stickers on Book Covers.
If only they were easier to remove without permanently damaging the cover!
8. Unexamined Stereotypes.
It’s one thing to include a stereotype in a storyline in order to make fun of it or turn it on it’s head.
It’s quite another to include one in order to say that everyone from group X must like (or be) Y. I’d much rather meet genuine characters who are well-developed and whose hobbies, interests, and passions are not limited by what others assume someone of their sex, race, age, etc. would be like.
That is to say, maybe a woman in a story might love to sew, and that’s totally okay. But maybe the men in her life enjoy it just as much!
9. Is It Part of a Series? Must They Be Read in Order?
I like series, and I don’t mind jumping in the middle of them if the author takes the time to explain a few things. I do not like discovering that what I’m reading is #5 in a series several chapters in and that you really need to read the first several books to have any idea what’s going on. If you ask me, blurbs should always be crystal clear about both of these things.
10. Too Predictable.
Yes, there are tropes in every genre. It would be quite difficult to write a story that didn’t rely on any of them at all!
With that being said, I will lose interest in a story if I finish the first scene or even the first chapter and can already guess exactly how it’s going to end and what all of the major plot twists will be along the way.
Surprises are a good thing. I’d much rather be slightly annoyed by an unconventional plot twist than have everything figured out in advance.