Open Book Blog Hop – What writing mistakes do I hate?

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What are your top five writing mistakes? Either mistakes you make or mistakes that make you cringe when you see them in print?

The author’s views

The one thing I have picked up about my own writing is that my characters often share my own strong opinions on a topic. I do believe many writers use their books to express opinions on certain events or political views, 1984 by George Orwell and Anthem by Ayn Rand, are two such books that come immediately to my mind.

Authors also use their writing to share ideas about things and suggest a mass psychological outcome for humanity of certain events. H.G. Wells was good at this and share a lot of his own beliefs about human psychology in his books, in particular, The Time Machine.

I definitely write with a specific agenda to share certain of my own thoughts and ideas on a subject. I don’t see this as a mistake, but I know that some readers do believe your characters should be distinct from the author’s belief system. I will leave it to my followers to make their own decision about the merits of expressing your views in your writing.

Long and confusing descriptions

I do not care for long and confusing passages of writing that are jolly hard work to read. Some books make me feel as if the author has taken a whole lot of descriptive phrases and unusual words and strung them together to describe a scene. I tend to lose concentration and interest when reading these books. I am not talking about Dickens or the Bronte sisters. They were all long winded and excessively descriptive in their books, but their writing still allowed for smooth reading and the description added to the story. I am talking about descriptive passages that seem to serve no purpose other than to illustrate the extent of the author’s vocabulary.

Blood and gore

Although I love supernatural horror stories, I do not like unnecessary blood and gore. I like books that are creepy and make me feel like I must check under the bed or look over my shoulder. I am not a fan of reading a lot of detail about ax murderers chopping people into pieces. I do enjoy dark psychology so I don’t mind reading about serial killers provided the focus is on the mental state and motivation of the murderer and not the body parts.

Books that are long to achieve word count

I can’t say I won’t read a long book because I have read many of Stephen King’s door stoppers as well as some ultra long classic reads like War and Peace. The length doesn’t put me off if it is necessary and adds value to the story. Books that ramble on and have a lot of words that don’t add to the story, don’t rank high on my reading list.

Books that are poorly written

I don’t mind a few spelling errors or even the odd missing word or similar typing and editing errors, but I cannot bear a book that is written in poor English and is full of grammatical errors. I will put such books aside and not finish them. When my boys were younger, I bought them the Disney series of books which were published in China. The language was so poor I had to correct it continuously as I read and, eventually, I gave these books away.

Which 5 writing mistakes make other blog-hoppers cringe?  Click on the link below to find out, or add your own blog or comment.

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54 thoughts on “Open Book Blog Hop – What writing mistakes do I hate?

  1. With you on all of these. My absolute turn off with a book is poor spelling, grammar and writing overall – the pedant in me lets it get in the way of enjoying the story.

    I’m not sure Charles Orwell’s brother George will be happy at him stealing the writing credit, though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you on the long descriptions with unusual words, Robbie. I enjoy reading detail descriptions which help me visualize the scenes, but I’ve read long description in one sentence. It made me feel too much. Unless the literature was written in ancient time, otherwise, usual words don’t make the book any better. Using alternative words is a good practice but some words made me feel the authors are showing off their vocabulary and it distracted me from reading.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly, Robbie. I read something long time ago that, no matter how much education we have, we write at an average of high school level as far as language and vocabulary.

        Yeah, we don’t need to write like a professor writing a textbook.í

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think many readers gravitate towards shorter books these days, because they have less time to read. So to throw in words to lengthen word count does both the readers and the author a disservice..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ugh, long descriptive paragraphs and authors’ showing off their vocabularies are the worst!
    I must admit to enjoying horror and gore in my reading, so consequently, it shows up in my writing, but I’m not into expletives for the sake of it. If my character(s) swear then it’s really needed (like someone’s just come back from the dead or something).
    And there’s no excuse at all for bad writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica. Blood and gore has its place in a book, especially a horror book, but it needs to be clever and add to the story, not just be there to make the book a horror book, if you know what I mean. The gore must be integral and not stand alone.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Profanity is never a sign of illiteracy. It is embedded in our cultures. Like Elmore Leonard said that it’s not about saying motherfucker, it’s knowing when to say motherfucker.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I once tried to read a traditionally published book where everything was described to the nth degree and there was hardly any plot, but gave up in the end out of boredom. I also agree regarding horror and also too much sex. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Norah. In many books the descriptive writing works beautifully but in some modern books, I feel like I am meandering through a maze and trying to work out what the meaning of the words and phrases it. I find that very irritating because I am not a stupid person and should be able to understand a paragraph without massive effort.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m with you on the blood and gore, Robbie. I like books that give me goosebumps and shivers. I also like dark psychology but I don’t care for overdone descriptions of carnage and death. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t like seeing obvious grammar errors, even though I am guilty of many myself. I could also do without the blood and gore, although the types of books I read generally don’t have much of that sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jim, it is the same for me, I don’t read a lot of blood and guts although I often feature ghosts in my own writing and include how the ghost died, I don’t go into copious detail on blood and gusts and people being carved up. I write my blog posts and reviews quickly as I have time restrains so I do make some grammatical errors and spelling errors too. I do try to proof read but they slip through if I am in a hurry. My books are different, I am meticulous about grammar and spelling and have them edited by a professional and two beta readers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess there is a certain percent of readers that like the blood and guts stuff. And I am like you with my blog; while it takes me a while to think of something to write about, once I start writing I am usually trying to do it as quickly as possible and sometimes errors get through. My wife has helped me find several over the years!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. If you can write a two-page description of a dirty kitchen with PD James, go for it. If you can write weather with London or scenery with Atwood, do it. But when it comes down to James Lee Burke and botany filler, or Lawrence Block, bless his heart, letting love for fine art and stamp collecting turn short stories into novels, yuk. And an agenda is fine as long the story presents the issue. Characters preaching for the author, no thanks. I wrote a feminist (PC = women’s rights) coming of age story with two lesbian fairy godmothers and a wise black man who lost his wizard robe playing saxophone. All that aside, I agree. Blood and gore are a couple of short lines, at best. Bang. The death deed, next. Slop should never make it to print. Even the big shots have typos, but a LOT of self-published suffers from a higher than acceptable slop factor. Poorly constructed content is what it is, but spelling? These days?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your comment, Phil, you do write such interesting ones. I like that you make me think. WRT spelling, the problem for me is US versus UK spelling. My computer always correct to the US spelling and sometimes I’m not sure and end up having to go and correct for Oxford English. I do make typing errors sometimes. Those can look like spelling errors.

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