by Jarad Johnson
1. Bad writing- I know it's obvious, but when a book has a great plot and is poorly written it really bugs me. Maybe the dialogue is wooden and the characters come off as really bad actors. Or maybe the descriptions are so thin and boring that I can’t picture myself in the setting. I could've been swept away by that book but if I'm too distracted by poor writing it ruins the entire experience
2. Bad plots are perhaps more common than bad writing. When you can tell an author hasn't put much work into the story of a book it makes me less motivated to read it. And some plots are so overused that they need to be left alone for the next 50 years or so (I'm looking at you, twilight).
3. Books that are too short are infuriating. It's like the plot just cuts off, and is hastily tidied up in a jumbled ending. So many authors just don’t seem to have any idea how to end a book. I was not ready to be done yet, thank you!
4. In the same vein, you can tell when a book is too long (Charles Dickens), like they're stretching each and every sentence. That might work for me when I need to meet a word count for an essay, but ask any college professor; succinct writing is a skill we should all master. This is especially a problem for authors before the twentieth century. If anyone ever invents a time machine, there are a few authors who can expect a visit from me.
5. Overly wordy or purposefully obtuse writing can be annoying. In the same way that writing shouldn't be oversimplified, you should not overly complicate it either. Also it does not make your writing academic to use so much jargon as to make it inaccessible. Julie once saw three reviewers describe a novel as “lapidary” within about a month’s time. Authors and critics, put away your word of the day calendars!
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is an English major. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!