Today, I’m pleased to host Angela Ackerman as a guest blogger! Angela Ackerman is a Canadian who writes on the darker side of Middle Grade and Young Adult. A strong believer in writers helping writers, she blogs at the award winning resource, The Bookshelf Muse and is co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression. Angela is represented by Jill Corcoran of The Herman Agency.
I’m a big fan of The Bookshelf Muse. It’s a fabulous resource for writers and includes an amazing thesaurus listing of everything from settings to character traits. So, when Angela and Becca announced they had a book coming out, I couldn’t wait to download it on my Kindle!
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression is a writer’s best friend, helping to navigate the difficult terrain of showing character emotion. This brainstorming tool explores seventy-five emotions and provides a large selection of body language, internal sensations, actions and thoughts associated with each. Written in an easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment.
You can purchase The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression at:
You can also find the book on Goodreads.
Today, Angela Ackerman is guest blogging about her Top 5 Pet Peeves in Books. I participate in a young adult book group, and I have to say, I think all of these Top 5 Pet Peeves in Books are things we talk about in the book group too!
We all know writers are the toughest critics. Yes, we completely appreciate the time and effort that it took to craft the book we’re holding in our hands, but we also know just how hard it is to get published. Most of us have been rejected times beyond number throughout our careers and so when we read a book, we have high expectations, and a very long measuring stick.
Does this mean we can’t be drawn in? Does it mean that we only read with an eye on the writing? No, not at all! Writers might be tough critics, but we are also deeply in love with a good story. We want the author to enthrall us and we’re rooting for them to succeed. And most often, these pen wielders achieve what they set out to do–weave a great story.
Unfortunately, not all books are flawless. If I were to think hard about what bugs me most, I could narrow it down to five pet peeves:
The Bait and Switch: I love the mystery element of a story. There’s nothing better than being drawn in by compelling characters, following their lives as the plot edges toward revealing the who-dun-it. So, nothing drives me more bat-smack crazy than when an author spends time and energy developing suspects, carefully revealing their storylines inch by inch, only to have the killer/thief/bad guy be a distant cousin whose name was mentioned once in passing at the 3/4 mark of the novel, or a random drifter, or the whole thing turns out to be a dream….GAH! When this happens, it leaves me so frustrated I refuse to read anything else by the author.
TMI (Too Much Information): Books with a good sense of pacing hook me hard. There’s nothing better than reaching the end of a chapter KNOWING I will be reading on (even though it’s 3 am, or the kids need dinner, or the dog has gotten lost in the laundry pile) because the events unfolding are so incredibly compelling. However, what slows…everything…to a lurching…crawl is copious backstory, internal monologue lumps or sludge piles of description. I love the characters and the setting I do, but I don’t want or need to know everything about them. I’m betting that I’m not the only reader who starts to skim when I hit bloated passages.
Head Hopping: Some things I have no forgiveness for, and head hopping is one of them. It always shocks me to find it in published books, because it’s such a writing 101 mistake. And, as I stated before, I’ve felt the heartburn of rejection too keenly to let poor writing technique slide, you know?
Bi-Polar Characters: I hold huge admiration for any author who can make characters feels so real that my chest tightens the closer I get to the end of the book, because I know I’ll have to give them up. This is magic! It takes incredible talent to create such empathy and deep understanding in the reader, and it means the author knows their character almost as well as one of their own children. Bi-Polar Characters are the opposite of this–their thoughts and actions are chaotic, their emotions are explosive and disorganized, and as a reader, I don’t understand their motivations. If I can’t identify with a character, their trials and goals become meaningless.
Plot Holes: For me, plot is like a beautiful spider’s web…a reader should be drawn along the delicate strings, see the branches & the connections until finally the author ties everything into a stunning centerpiece. If I spot a flaw in the logic or a see a situation that is never resolved, it’s like coming upon a giant hole in the web. The story is no longer complete or satisfying, and as a reader, I feel let down by the author.
Well that’s my five, so what’s yours? What peeves cause you to close the book completely? Have you ever felt so let down by a book that you left a negative review?