My Favorite Author — You Don’t Have A Snowball’s Chance Of Making the List If. . .
By Erin Griggs on August 02, 2011
Yesterday, I wrote about how impossible it is for me to pick a favorite book. Today's prompt is "My Favorite Author." Again, a Herculean task. I don't have a favorite author; I have favorites, but that list would require a .pdf file and be an extremely boring list of "Why Erin Likes Blahdy Who and YaddaX."SNORE.
Instead, I present --
"My Favorite Author -- You Don't Have A Snowball's Chance Of Making the List If..."
Let's tweak this baby and flip it on its head -- in no particular order. . .
The Top Ten Ways To Make Your Novel A Wallbanger
1. Shoddy Research. If a large number of facts about whatever you are writing about are wrong, then you've lost me. I don't care if it's centaur legend, FTL drives or the effect of consanguinity on 17th century marriage dissolutions in England. BANG. Your book is thrown against the room.
2. Lots of Spelling Errors. If you spell "midriff" as "mid-drift" when describing a character's clothing (HI, Laurell K. Hamilton!), I get thrown out of the story a bit and my critical eagle eye is activated. If you continue to misspell words, especially conflating "its" and "it's" and other basics, then you've lost me.
Spell check or get a better copyeditor. Like me. Now.
3. Inconsistencies. So your heroine's ex-boyfriend is Dave on page 13 and Doug on page 37? Not good. Even worse are big ol' plot holes the size of Texas -- did you completely fail to tell me about HOW your gay spaceship captain got from Gamma Quadrant to Betelgeuse in time to save the day when he was last seen snogging that adorable Captain Jack Harkness lookalike in a M'jky prison? Lost me. THWAP.
4. Mary/Marty Sue. Your heroine's boobs are simply too big, her eyes are a horrid shade of amethyst and she is the nicest, smartest and red-headest debutante to ever waltz at Almack's who moonlights as an expert sword fighting Robin Hoodette who saves kittens and befriends her rivals while penning legislation about the rights of women? Yawn. Check out the definition of Mary/Marty Sues here, and stay away. Far, far away.
5. A played out plot with nothing new. Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me! I know this one!
A plucky orphan boy of undetermined heritage discovers he's a prince, and is the Fightingest Fighter in Fighterworld, has a magic talking uni-dra-grif-ataur, a wise yet ribald mentor in robes, and can stroll into palace politics having Learned A Lot About Human Nature from his youth spent as a goat-herd?
6. Too! Many! Exclamation! Points!
7. Adverb Abuse. He said mockingly "I'll get you!" She said angrily "Why won't you love me?"
If you gotta tell me, I don't care. Show me he's mocking. Show me she's angry.
8. You Didn't Pay Attention in English Class. Incorrect punctuation, tortured sentence structure, verb tenses that time-travel more than a Diana Gabaldon heroine. If I want to puzzle out confusing stuff, I'll turn on C-SPAN.
9. Beat That Hobbyhorse! So you stand for animal rights/feminism/democracy/ferret bondage play/whatever. Cool. I have no problems with that. But unless it's germane to the story and seamlessly and logically integrated into the plot, constantly knocking me upside the head with your Issue makes me want my money back.
10. Character Development. There is none. Your characters haven't believably changed in the course of your story. Or they DID change, but in such a way that is completely not supported by your plot.
There you have it. If you want to be one of my favorite authors, don't do these things.
Go. Write good books.
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