Has it been awhile since I complained about anything literary? Books? Authors? Reviews? Well, I feel like it’s been an eternity. Nevermind that it’s only been a couple of weeks. It’s like when you go out to eat and you feel like the server has left you sitting there for 30 minutes after she took your drink order, but in reality its only been 6 minutes.
So what do I want to complain about today? So glad you asked. I want to complain about authors who bludgeon me about the noggin with a specific plot point. I’m not going to name names/titles, but I’m going to gripe a little. Here goes…
A couple of months back I read a series of books where a character had recurring dreams. That’s fine. But if the dream is recurring, I don’t need to read about exactly what happened in the dream each time the character has said dream. It was irksome. And it didn’t matter to me that later in the series the dreams actually turned out to be premonitions. I didn’t need to be walloped with the dream sequence over and over.
The book I’m currently reading is doing the same thing, but in an even more annoying fashion. It’s a YA book, written in the first person, as they all seem to be. Now I don’t have an issue with YA books. I’m starting to enjoy them. The current one? Not so much. The protagonist is a 22-year-old girl who is attracted to some supernatural guy, who happens to be immortal. Seems reasonable. Except that every single time he touches her, she explains the “heat” that spreads throughout her various body parts and how she shouldn’t feel that way because they don’t have a future together. The problem is she keeps repeating it, and repeating it, and repeating it.
I GET IT! I FRICKING GET IT!
If you guys were shrinks, you would ask me how all of this makes me feel. (Besides irate and homicidal, of course) I’ll tell you. It makes me feel like the author thinks I’m an idiot. It’s as though if I’m not told over and over about a specific plot point, I’ll forget it when it’s relevent later. Or I won’t get the book at all. Which is ridiculous, because I’m obviously brilliant.
So, have you ever been flogged by a plot point?
I don’t know. I like repetitious redundancies that repeat themselves over and over and over in order to ensure they are repeated. Actually, it’s just a sign of inexperience. Editors like to say helpful shit like “Trust your reader,” instead of “You already said that. Don’t say it again.”
Yes, I just blamed this problem on editors.
By the way, I like repetitious redundancies that repeat themselves over and over and over in order to ensure they are repeated.
Didn’t you blame another issue I had a while back on editors? Not a big fan of theirs, huh? Haha.
I can always count on you to leave an insightful and amusing comment.
I know the feeling. Rather than explaining the “heat,” why not just admit how she feels and say how she wants to jump him? Just because she feels that way doesn’t mean she has to.
Oh, she does that, too. Over and over and over and…. well, you get the point.
Haha! So I take it that was the plot? “I like him but I shouldn’t but I do but I’m not supposed to but I want to but I can’t Oh God help me!”
I’m almost done with the book and it’s turning out to not be so significant that it had to be repeated. The character is not repeating over snag over that she doesn’t feel confident in her new abilities. Ugh.
I like it when an author can explain essentially the same thing but in different ways. It gets boring when it’s done over and over and over in the exact same way time after time after time.
I totally agree. If the book I was reading had explained the physical attractions with words and phrases that didn’t include “heat” and “warmth” I don’t think it would have bothered me as much.
That reminds me of Brisingr/Inheritance by Paolini. Every time Eragon used a spell with the word ‘fire’ in it, he mentioned that Eragon went out of his way to make sure that he didn’t say ‘brisingr’ (the name for fire, also the name of his sword) so that his sword didn’t burst into flame. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Though now that I think about it, I realize that I tend to do this quite a bit… thanks for bringing this to the front of my mind.
That sounds terribly annoying also. Glad I could possibly help your writing by bringing this to your attention. One thing I love about blogs is noticing mistakes in my own work. Maybe, that way, my future beta readers and editors won’t have to work as hard. Maybe. 😉
I can’t recall any story that mentioned a plot point repeatedly over and over and over. I have, however, read/heard multiple phrases in a story numerous times. In a manga called Rurouni Kenshin, Shishio, a villain, lives by a phrase that goes, “If you’re strong, you live; if you’re weak, you die.” I read that so many times, as soon as I read the first three words, I skipped to the next sentence. It didn’t frustrate me, it just made me think, “okay, I get it; strong = live, weak = die, let’s move on.”
The other example that comes to mind is from the movie Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Ramona always corrects Scott that he has to beat her evil ex’s not just evil ex-boyfriends. Eventually (I don’t know how many times), Scott gets corrected and then asks why she keeps saying that, just in time for that evil ex-girlfriend to enter the picture. That repetition and, finally, realization by Scott, makes me laugh, but since it’s done for comedic effect, I can tolerate it. Maybe any other time, I’d just yell at the screen, “you still don’t get it?!”
And if an author wants to have a recurring dream, I’d recommend they slowly advance it each time then tell the whole thing over again. It worked pretty well in the 5th Harry Potter book, and I think I’ve seen it done that way in movies, too.
Well, now that you mention it, I’ll be watching for this type of thing in the books I read. If it ends up ruining one of my favorite stories, I’ll blame you LOL just kidding 🙂
Repetitive phrases is another pet peeve of mine. A series I read a while back kept referring to reading someone “like a book.” Not only is that a cliche (gasp), but it was repeated several times per chapter! Agghhh! The book I’m currently reading (and complained about here) also keeps referring to characters’ jaws. Clenching, tensing, grinding, tracing, etc. I just want to yell, LEAVE YOUR JAWS ALONE PEOPLE!
But anyway, thanks for stopping by and if I’ve ruined your favorite stories, by all means, come back and chastise me for it. 😉
Wow. When you comment, you COMMENT!
You’ve left a comment once before, and I appreciate you not being as polarizing as last time. 🙂
I agree with some of your points and wholeheartedly disagree with the others. That’s life. Thank you very much for your readership, though. (And why not copy and paste your comment into a blog post of your own? I bet a lot of people would gain insight from your views. Just a thought.)
One great thing about the world today, in my opinion of course, is that people are reading again. More importantly, people are writing again. All kinds of people are writing, whether they’ve had the proper education or not. The fact is, you will just not like what some people do. You will hate their style. I agree with Jordanna. I read a book series that will remain unnamed, that beat down description with a dead horse. I really didn’t need to keep reading about leaves for pages and pages, but you know what? Some people do. Some people loved her style and that’s good.
The great thing about society today is that writing is not pretentious anymore. If you look hard enough you can find a book that you love and speaks to you like no book has spoken before. Now don’t get me wrong, many of the Classics were written for the masses, but for a time in modern society, reading was something academics did, not the masses. So it’s great that you have this knowledge of writing. It’s great that you don’t like to read the mainstream fiction that comes out daily on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, that’s not your style. But, maybe we should be thankful that reading has become important again. Reading is something you see the 12 year old do and the 40 year old do. If it wasn’t for books like Twilight, I’m sure a lot of teenagers would not have found a joy in reading.
These are just my thoughts on the matter. Great post!
This is something I haven’t thought of but definitely agree with. I have always been a “reader” but now I find myself reading so much more (almost 40 books so far this year). And some of it is my taste, some of it isn’t. Some of it is main stream, some of it isn’t. I just like reading and there’s so much to choose from now. And I don’t think you have to have a master’s in fiction writing to be able to tell a good story. (You should have an editor though, no matter what your skill level.)
Whitney, it’s funny you should mention that not everyone will like everything. The book I’m talking about in my post has something like 490 reviews, 450 of them 5 star. I can’t imagine giving it 5 stars because of the repetitive themes and plot points, but I guess that’s just me.
And thank you for leaving a comment that didn’t come across as pompous or argumentative.
I read a series that had a similar number of 5 start reviews. Everyone loved it and I couldn’t stand the book by the time I finished it. So, I definitely understand how you feel!
Wow. You just have to believe you’re right don’t you.
Because I respect Jordanna, I am not going to say what I really want to say to you.
But remember, you know nothing about me, my favorite authors, or my level of education and knowledge on this subject. Not that it matters because you’ve already made up your mind that you are right.
I would like to remind you that on WordPress, at least in this writing community that you have stumbled onto, people talk each other with respect. Sure, we may have differing opinions on something, but we don’t act like jerks.
Ahhhh, yes, repetition…I HATE that lol
Luckily, I’ve not come across it often 😉
It’s really hard for me not to notice it. Probably because I read books so fast and at large chunks at a time that there’s no time for my brain to ‘forget’ that I just read something a few minutes/hours ago or last night/yesterday.
Sounds like they aren’t R.U.E. (resisting the urge to explain).
I would like to take the time to apologize to everyone in case any of the comments left by “humble” nations offended you. I have Unapproved all of his comments and if anyone knows of a way to block him, I would appreciate it, since I do not wish to have him visit my blog in the future. I’m not that hard up for readership. It’s one thing to upset me and disagree with my views, but quite another to upset my loyal readers.
If there is no way to block an individual, and you are reading this Mr “Humble” Nations, I would really love it if you would kick rocks. I hope that expression isn’t too low brow for you.
Yes! I’m not one for repetition as a reader, listener (and hopefully not as a writer). Once the point is understood is made, stop already! As a writer, from then on you can reference it without having to repeat it. “She had the same dream.” Done.
Enjoyed the post.
Amen to that! Thanks for stopping by!