I went to Borders with my friends last week and picked up a few books. One I grabbed without paying attention and the other I grabbed because I had the author’s debut novel and want to see the follow up. I started reading one this morning (prolonging my little game of Procrastination), but was thoroughly disappointed. Not with the plot or the characters because to be honest, I didn’t get that far into the story. The dialogue is what is annoying me. (I can’t bash the book, and wouldn’t want to, because it was published for a reason and at least five people had to have loved it before it hit print.)
However, this book showcased almost everything I hate in the technical aspects gone wrong:
– I hate when there’s dialogue with an end quote (…”), but no beginning quote. This pulls me out of the story because I was reading the sentence as the character’s thoughts only to discover it was a conversation. THEN, I have to go hunt down the missing quote.
– I hate repetitive dialogue.
“Priscilla Shay, why don’t you bring that bag over here. Priscilla Shay are you coming? Priscilla Shay, would you hurry up!”
There’s no need to repeat the first and last name of a character like that once they’re introduced. There’s also no need to repeat the character’s name once it’s clear who the character is speaking to.
“How did you find me?”
“Priscilla Shay, your secretary, Jane Smith, shared your schedule and that is how I was able to find you.”
Again, no need to state the character’s name. I’m also fairly certain the character knows the name of their secretary. I understand this is probably for the benefit of the reader who DOESN’T know the name of the secretary, but I don’t need to know the name of the secretary because the secretary isn’t an important character. (Did you like all my repetition there??) Thirdly, is it really necessary to repeat the question in the answer when the question is printed two centimeters above?
This next one is similar, but it still annoys me.
“Priscilla Shay, your father, Mr. Shay, the owner of the local bookstore…” (page 247 of a 300 page book)
This is repetitive. It’s an info dump. And it smacks of reader stupidity. The reader was introduced to the character’s father previously, and yet the author is compelled to repeat – a THOROUGH – introduction, to the character (of all people) about their own father.
There were any instances of this throughout the novel, causing me to become bored and skip ahead, scanning the pages.
Is there anything in a novel you really dislike? I’m not telling you to name these novels, simply is there an element that would cause you to stop reading?