Sunday, February 18, 2007

Romance Readers' Pet Peeves

Just introducing myself here. I'm a new Wild Rose Press Author, new to TWRP, not to writing of course. We're all romance writers here but as well as that, we are romance readers. [At least we ought to be if we write in that genre!] I thought I'd share this article with you. I wrote it some time back-- it's regarding romance readers' pet peeves. Read the article and let me know what your pet peeves are!

Romance Readers' Pet Peeves

I thought it might be a good idea to talk about over-used phrases in romance novels and short stories. This isn't just for me to have a moan and groan, but for you writers to consider avoiding over-use.

We've all done it at some time or another -- picked up a book by a well known or even not so well known author and put it down again, wondering if it is worth carrying on reading through to the end.

Why? We've got fed up of over-used phrases. I'll give you an example. Recently, I got into the writing of a popular romance novelist. Her books excited me, I couldn't put them down. After reading 3 of them, I purchased yet another, only to be very disappointed. I got the impression this was a book she had written in haste.

Why? She used the same phrase over and over. She used it so much in her book, it's now my most hated phrase. What is it? "She rolled her eyes."

I know a lot of writers use this phrase from time to time. I think they can get away with it if it's used very sparingly. Personally, I don't like the phrase, as to me, it conjures up visions of two disembodied eyes being rolled across the floor. I rarely use it.

The author used this phrase so much, I even found it used twice in the same sentence! I got the impression the book she had written, although the plot was excellent, was written in a hurry.

Another phrase I've noticed popping up in romance novels is the 'over-stuffed armchair'. To be honest, I'm not even sure what an over-stuffed armchair looks like. Is a chair like this so bad that polyester filling oozes from its insides? Do customers have a right to complain if they have purchased an 'over-stuffed armchair'?

"Dear Sir:

The armchair I purchased from your store last week looks decidedly over-stuffed. If you do not send someone around to remove some of the stuffing, then I shall be forced to contact the 'Armchair Police', who will investigate the case.


Mrs. Couch Potato."

Other readers have their say:

* How did she manage that?

Ami Weaver says the phrase she dislikes is: "She schooled her features..." Ami goes on to say: "How do you school your features? This one is perhaps not overly common, but there is one author in the category romance arena that uses it constantly. And it makes me cringe."

* How ridiculous!

Hilary Evans from Iowa says: "I review erotica on a regular basis, and I have to say my pet peeve is any pair of 'moist panties' throughout the novel. It's the most ridiculous saying, and some authors just use it over and over and over. Ugh!"

* Was she right or was she wrong?

Heather Truett says: "I recently read Queenmaker by India Edghill, and she ended almost every chapter with ‘She thought she knew, but she was wrong.’ Now, I notice that kind of phrase everywhere. Every character always thinks they know..."

* Over-active head movements

Amie Cleghorn says: "I read this book one time where 'She tossed her head' all the time. When she wasn't tossing her head, she was shrugging her shoulders. And, yes, she could speak!"

What over-used phrases do you dislike when reading a novel or short story?

Well I'll just get back to my over-stuffed armchair, sit down for a read, toss my head and roll my eyes, thus schooling my features. Hopefully, I won't have to step over any moist panties en route!

Lynette Rees author of It Happened One Summer and Return to Winter


Sandra said...

Great article! My favorite pet peeves is: 'He plundered her mouth!' Yeuk! How gross is that?

Lynette said...

Thanks, Sandra!