Ever read a book that annoys you but you still can’t put it down?

I love reading as most other writers I know will also admit to. I think reading is the gateway to writing and visa versa. So what do I read? I read a bit of everything from sci-fi to fantasy to fiction to historical fiction and most anything in between. I do read a lot of novels for adults but because of the teacher in me and the YA writer too, I often find myself reading YA novels.

I am just as much of a vampire lover as the next person. As a teen I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephen King’s Salem’s lot, and got started on Anne Rice‘s The Vampire Chronicles. While I was at university doing my degree in teaching reading, I discovered my favourite vampire writer of the time was a teenage girl by the name of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I also read The Vampire Diaries during those years. In the past few years there seems to have been no shortage of vampire literature for me to sink my teeth into… pun slightly intended.

Only recently have I read The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. If you are not familiar with them they feature 16-year-old brainiac Claire Danvers who leaves the safety of her home behind and travels to Morganville to attend Texas Prairie University. Soon she finds out the town is crawling with vampires.

I have already read the first three books in this series and have recently purchased the next three. So what is the problem? First I would like to clarify that I know I am still a novice writer, who is still learning my craft, which will take a lifetime to master, so I am not really in a position as a writer to say anything about another writers style, choice of words or anything else for that matter.

As an avid reader however, I feel I have a little more authority. As a reader, I have found these novels slightly addictive, hence reading them beyond the first novel, the story idea is fascinating and intriguing enough that you want to carry on reading to find out what happens next. The author has done a fabulous job of hooking her readers and getting them interested in her characters.

If I read the word yelped, to describe the protagonist’s reaction to something, one more time, I may just lose it. My feeling on this is that puppies yelp. Humans like Claire Danvers, cry out in pain, they shout, they scream, they cry, they occasionally whimper but they may only once or maybe even twice in a novel at a push yelp. Poor Claire is yelping all the time and it appears to be contagious.

What has this done for my own writing? Well I have been going through my novels and making sure that there is not too much repetition in the action tags or anywhere else that may cause a reader to become annoyed by my choice or lack of variety of words.

So, how about you? What are your thoughts? Have you ever read a book that annoyed you, yet you still enjoyed it?


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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9 Responses to Ever read a book that annoys you but you still can’t put it down?

  1. noobcake says:

    And don’t forget cartoon characters that yelp too! I’ve read so many books that equally fascinate and annoy me because every so often there are words in them that just don’t fit. I’m reading Terry Brooks Jarka Ruus at the moment. His stories are pretty easy reading and he spins a good story but now and then I have to back track because he gets hooked with one word and repeats it several times in one page!

    Another book called Chasm by Stephen Laws, totally absorbing but he used the word “rubble” on what felt like every page! In regard to describing dialogue I’ve learned its not necessary to describe the way someone talks (such as yelped) because the tone or mood or scene or whatever should be able to convey how the characters are talking.

    I’m working my way through the second draft of my novel after having left it alone for a few months. I’m surprised to find a few errors like this so I’m reading it all out loud which works wonders when trying to get your head around why it doesn’t sound or read right.

    • I have certainly done the read aloud method a few times on my completed novels. I think it is a great way to pull out these little nuisances. I had several myself so I am not innocent but would hope those things are worked out before the novels ever get published.

  2. Sure have read novels that annoy me. I’ve even been known to throw a novel (paperbacks only) across the room and then rant a bit – just prior to picking it up and reading some more.
    What these writers/novels need is a good editing before publishing. Why they aren’t getting that is beyond me. Even a good writer’s group can do that for a writer’s work.
    I read all those vampire novels too, Billie Jo. (What is it with vampires, anyway? Why do we lourve em so much?)
    Kinda burned out on them now, though.
    Good post. 🙂

    • Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, angels, shape shifters, there is just a certain appeal to these creatures that makes me want to read more about them. I think it is because they are human but just not completely and therefore can do and get away things can’t.

      Editing, proofreading, editing, proofreading this is the process my completed works are undergoing right now. I would hope if they were ever picked up by a publisher they would have a good go at editing and proofreading before they are released into the world too. I don’t know why some novels are being published without having this happen but they really shouldn’t be, I have found more spelling errors in published works lately than ever as well.

  3. Gene Lempp says:

    What is interesting is that if the characters reaction is shown properly there is no need for a reaction tag. It’s visible, it’s visceral.
    I have to agree with you that humans do not yelp. If we did I think the dogs would become more confused especially given that to them, we would yelp with an accent.
    Great post, Billie Jo!

    • Thanks for the smile Gene! Yelping with an accent could be a great story idea. I agree the action itself should be enough, without a reaction tag but if an author feels they must use one, it should be more natural to the character.

  4. I once read a book that, to this day, I think is terrible. The story was weak, the characters unbelievable; there were other problems, but I’m not here to bash the book. The point is, I finished it anyway, torturous though it was. Why? Because I wanted to see what happened. As bad as it was, I just wanted to know. That’s the way I am. I even began rooting against the protag because he was so annoying.

    As for dialogue tags, I agree with the previous comments. A lot of the time, the context, mood, and punctuation are enough to tell the reader how the character is speaking. I’ve read in several articles and forums not to underestimate the simple “said Whatshisname” simply because “said” is so basic and standard that even when it’s used over and over, it just tends to become invisible.

    • Dialogue tags and action tags can be kept to a minimum. I tend to use them less and less with the more writing experience I get. I used to rely heavily on them but then got to the point where I couldn’t think of any to write and realised that it was because they simply were not needed and actually were taking something away from the story.

      There is something compelling behind these stories but the writing just has those little things that niggle me when I read them.

  5. Pingback: Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes « MAGIC OF BOOKS

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