Peeves?

A couple of interesting posts about pet peeves when reading made me think about it a bit. (Thank you Allison Maruska and the link she shared to A Writer’s Path!)

My pet peeves

I think these change.

Mary Sue?

I’m currently kind of unbothered by Mary Sue and I have thoughts about how much is that really a problem in the way that we hate the character, and how much is it a problem in the way we talk about women being all over badass in society. Especially looking at some of the characters who get lambasted for being Mary Sue, but they have problems and they aren’t flawless.

I also think there is a bit of learning curve. It’s ok to write Mary Sue as you are learning. Or if you feel like you have very little agency and feel shitty about your life? Write all the Mary Sue you need. Go for it. Live your life. Share with others. Not all writing is about being a giant big name author. Some of it is about learning about yourself, or escaping into a fantasy world of your own creation. I think that’s ok.

If I don’t like it I won’t read it. But that doesn’t mean people should write it.

The words the words

Grammar and spelling bug me when I can’t understand what the author mean. But right now that concern is way down the list. I care if it sounds good. If it is perfect grammar and spelling but it is stumbly and confusing to hear? I don’t care that it is perfect. I’d much rather have “ok” or even “eh” grammar and good flow. I would say writing that spends more time and focus on “correctness” than how it sounds and flows is my biggest pet peeve right now.

That could be a little bit because I have a podcast and I do audiobook narration. When I’m recording and something makes me fumble over and over? That is frustrating.

Even when you read silently to yourself you are subvocalizing (unless you are speed reading and you’ve worked specifically to try to get rid of that, but if you are doing that with fiction I don’t know why you are reading this post, seriously, I have nothing of value for you, move along) which means you are making those sounds. You are reading aloud. So having something that reads smoothly is really valuable.

Overpunctuate if you need, if it will make your sentence flow better. Throw in more commas and whatever else. I would also put things that are unintentionally alliterative in this words peeve. One or two instances can be cool and can give it a boost. But there is a big space between that and something that starts to arrive at Seussianly cool on the other side where entire blocks of text are alliterative.

POV

I feel like this might be the peeviest peeve on my list. I’ve been reading a lot of things lately that play fast and loose with the POV. One minute you can hear what Sally thinks and the next John. Even though it isn’t an omniscient narrator. Scene breaks. Expressions. Something. But stop cheating! Stop dipping into someone’s brain when it is convenient and then moving on. I have no idea why this bugs me so much but it does really crawl under my skin in an irrational way.

That said?

I make all of these errors. Frequently I’m sure. When I’m recording audio for my own work and I stumble, I have a good swear fest at myself. (Releases the frustration and – bonus – gets the wrong way of whatever was happening out of my head.) Then I rewrite it. But even though I am the one who read it, I will still listen later sometimes and get frustrated with how clunky it sounds.

I’m sure I’ve screwed up POV.

And I know I’ve both written Mary Sueier characters and bashed them.

I’m trying to be better on all the things.

Bonus

Having an arc ship or a rebuild society plan with nearly all dudes and no uterine replicators. MATH PEOPLE! 9 men + 1 woman = 10 babies in 10 years, maybe maybe. Try 9 women + 1 man… Seriously. Before you fill your apocolypse with dudes who can’t carry babies, check out the numbers for the next 100 years and how many babies you can make. I know you want something like well over 10K to not have it be a horrible disaster of inbreeding, but I’ll let you hand wave that with science. But either say you have a tech that lets you make babies outside of the female body or bring more bodies that can have babies.

2 thoughts on “Peeves?

  1. The bonus part had me smiling and nodding my head. I suppose the latest technology that just came out showing they can make babies without an egg might fill this void, but the post-apocalypse has to have that level of functioning technology still.

    Grammar and spelling is a killer for me when done badly. And i am not a grammarian, but there’s just something about the lack of flow. I keep getting pulled out of the narrative.

    As for POV . . . I just got feedback that Romance is no longer to switch POV between the hero and heroine “at will” as was allowed 5 or so years ago. Yes, the best-selling authors are still allowed to do it. Holy rewrites on my docket, Batman.

    1. Very good point about the functioning tech. I think of uterine replicators as an arc ship kind of tech. But if you are full on post-apocalypse then nope. But watching 9 men and 1 woman talk about rebuilding society makes me go WHELP you have zero idea how babies happen.

      I think that people sometimes sub in grammar for flow when they aren’t the same. I’ve seen “perfectly grammatically correct” sentences that make me want to bash my head against the microphone. Though for spelling I admit that either you haven’t run spell check or you are using the wrong actual word. That’s a problem.

      POV! Commit! It is good to get that feedback. I am still seeing it in the pieces I narrate, but yeah, I’ll admit it really frustrates me as both a reader and narrator.

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