Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Is there any genre of books that you just can’t stand reading? How about a particular author? Time period?
Wendy Thomas – When one is a writer, one needs to tread very gently when being critical of another writer’s book. We have first hand knowledge of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into its birth. I truly hesitate to damn anyone’s work. Having said that, let me say that the books that get under my skin the most are the ones that are:
- Predictable – saw that ending coming from a mile away
- Poorly written – repetition, poor dialog, and poor editing
- Written as a script – seems to be a trend in some genres these days
- Rushed – some books come out to quickly to appease the market, you can tell that the author was rushed
Diane MacKinnon: I agree with Wendy, it’s difficult to trash a book when you know how much has gone into it, but I also have a hard time with poorly edited books. I love to read so there isn’t any genre I wouldn’t try, but I’m not a big fan of horror fiction. I think Stephen King’s books are well-written but most of them are not my idea of a good time (although I really loved Fire-Starter.) My only really complaint with any book is if the author breaks that unspoken contract with the reader and throws in something you could never have seen coming or turns everything into a dream or uses some other device to force an ending to a story. I can think of an example, but I’d spoil the story if you haven’t read it yet, so I’ll just say–Don’t do that!–when you write your book. 🙂 I won’t either. Promise.
Jamie Wallace: Ooh. Tough question. I’m not a huge fan of certain genres (horror, romance), but that doesn’t mean I detest all books that fall into those categories. I think the only books that I’ve refused to read on principle rather than any personal preference are ones that seem to have been written to exploit something or someone. From tabloidesque “biographies” that expose and sensationalize a celebrity life to coattail-riding copycats who whip up some barely publishable shlock in order to benefit from reader enthusiasm for some particular subject matter or style of story, I just can’t stand books that appear to have been “designed” around capitalizing on someone else’s pain or hard work. As Wendy and Diane have already said, we writers understand what goes into writing a book from the heart. I consider it enormously disrespectful when a faux writer mocks that passionate and Herculean effort by throwing a book together in a slapdash fashion just to make a buck. For shame, for shame.
Lisa J. Jackson: As a reviewer, I read all types of books and don’t avoid any in particular. I prefer some genres over others, but no particular one to all-out say I despise. I love time travel stories and futuristic so there’s no time period I avoid.
I won’t finish a book if the editing is poor, no matter how great the story might be. There have been a few times when I’ve been totally enthralled in a novel just to get to the end and have the ENTIRE novel turn out to be a dream and doesn’t at all relate to the protagonist’s life. I feel that’s the laziest way to conclude a book. It’s a tactic used when plot threads can’t be neatly tied up. I will avoid reading anything again from authors who do that.
Susan Nye: How about … books I steer away from rather than can’t stand. For a writer and avid reader, my list is longer than maybe it should be. Here goes, I have no interest in horror, zombies or sci fi. Likewise, I usually stay away from young adult fiction. I just can’t relate to all that teenage angst. Romance novels don’t do it for me, although, I do like chick lit and romantic stories. In other words, a good love story, tearjerker, girl defies all odds and makes good – yes; but bodice rippers – no.