I don't know about you, but there are certain sayings, turns of phrase and author tics that make my skin crawl. I guess it might be something to do with being a reviewer and getting through the number of books I read each a week... perhaps it condenses these awful moments and makes them seem even worse. Or maybe I'm just a pernickety-old-grouchy-pants! Either way- here are my top 5 current cringe-worthy reading moments.
1. The 'closed mouth smile'
Okay. I know what you're telling me. I know it's one of those smiles with the lips together- no teeth. Perhaps a little bit tight-lipped, sarcastic or mysterious. But- isn't this just the ugliest bit of English out there? Use it once, maybe I'll let you off. But one recent read had over a dozen instances of this heinous description. One even had their character saying something "through a closed mouth smile." Not physically possible people.
I just don't like this word. Sorry. I don't mind it once or twice, but used once or twice per page throughout the entire novel and you'll have me in tears.
Speaking of which...
3. Descriptions of crying
I have a bit of a thing about eyes- so maybe this is something really personal. But this need some writers have to find a new and quirky description of crying makes me shudder. Some of the worst have been "hot liquid running down her face" and "tears pushing at the back of her eyeballs". Gross. Sometimes it's fine just to use the tried and tested word for things.
4. Incessant coffee drinking
Oh you know the one. There's need for a re-group and the characters have to discuss what's happened and what's going to happen - just so that the reader doesn't get lost. And they do it over yet another cup of coffee. Seriously authors, you are going to give your characters the shakes if you carry on like this! (And I hate to say it, but show- don't tell.)
5. The late description
I'm going along, loving the book. I've made my mind up quite happily about what everyone looks like based on my own imagination and the way the characters behave, and then BOOM. I'm half way through the book, and the writer decides to drop in a description of a character that is completely different to the person I've just spend half a book hanging out with. Ah MAN! I don't even fancy the hero any more :( I'm not saying don't describe them - I'm saying don't describe them so late that it's going to derail me and pull me out of the story.
I hope you've enjoyed my first #Friday5 - tell me, what makes you cringe when you're reading?
See you soon,