Thursday, October 05, 2006

What Drives You Crazy?

As writers, we strive for perfection, though most times we don't make it. I know I never have. Even in published books, there are mistakes that weren't caught. Sometimes, as a reader, they're easy to see and we wonder why they weren't caught before publication. Simple human error.

What about those things that were actually intended though? Those things that, for whatever reason, the author and publisher deemed fine, but as a reader, it drives you bonkers? I just read a book by one of my favorite authors. Normally, I love her writing, but her dialogue this time almost drove me to put it down and stop reading. Her characters continually said "okay". This is normal speech and I say it a lot myself. However, repeated over and over again in dialogue seemed awkward and affected. And, to make matters much worse, or at least to me, okay was spelled OK. Yikes! That's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Of course, what drives one reader crazy, is perfectly acceptable or invisible to another reader. Everyone seems to have their own hot button. And everyone seems to have their own favorite(s) in their own writing that keeps getting said over and over. I have a tendency to write, 'the fact of the matter' a lot. Weird, huh?

What about you? What's your hot button when you're reading? What do you hate to see or what pulls you from the story? Also, what about your own writing? What are your 'demon' words or phrases you have to watch out for?

3 comments:

Carla Swafford said...

I don't have certain words that bother me, but I will never forget the book (though I can't remember the title **g**) that had a list of three in nearly every sentence. "She looked for the man, the car, and the dog. Every time she turned a corner, a bend or a curve, she wanted to throw up." And I did, too. I couldn't believe it was published.

For myself, I have to watch the word "just." "She just wanted a glass of water."

Deborah Matthews said...

Oh, just is a word I want to use too often in my writing.

I don't recall a certain thing that has bothered me in books, but anything repetitive is maddening.

MaryF said...

When the characters call each other by name. Over and over. When no one else is around, so who ELSE could they be talking to?

Seriously, in a book I read recently, the hero called the heroine by her name THREE TIMES on one page.