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I recently came across Kristin Lamb’s blog post about Five Common Writing Blunders that Can Annoy of Bore Our Readers.
Her biggest peeves were:
1. If Your Novel has More Characters than the Cast of Ben Hur, You Might Need Revision…
2. Painful and Alien Movement of Body Parts…
Her eyes flew to the other end of the restaurant.
His head followed her across the room.
3. Too much Physiology…
Her heart pounded. Her heart hammered. Her pulse beat in her head. Her breath came in choking sobs.
And my favorite:
5. If Your Novel Dumps the Reader Right into Major Action, You Might Need Revision…
There is a lot of conflicting advice about where to start a novel, and the consensus is that you should start it as late as possible. This helps to avoid a lot of exposition. However, the reader needs to care about your character before we see them battling ninjas or plummeting from a plane.
Lamb points out that this desire for narrative structure is hardwired into our brains. “Even three-year-olds ‘get’ narrative structure. Don’t believe me? Try to skip part of Where the Wild Things Are and see what happens.”
What are your reading turn-offs?