I know it’s not real, as the clue is in the name, but there should be an element of realism in a book. I’m mainly talking about how the characters talk, respond to events and relate to each other. Here is the main list of things that annoy me that I’ve tried to either avoid or include.
I think it was one of David Edgings books I read as a boy when he mentioned how much men in armour stink. Until then I’ve not really thought about it. In some book characters will travel for months, sleeping rough without a hint of B.O. one can only assume it’s the Lynx effect.
There is one thing that really turns me off a book is unrealistic forms of speech. It tends to go two ways it’s either so stilted and formal even Jayne Aye would reject it. The other extremes are usually nobles from pre-industrial societies using ghetto slang. I do know from experience how hard it is to make your characters sound authentic, I think I’ve managed it with my main characters but some of the minor ones make me cringe, another job I’ve left for the next re-write.
This might be because I work with kids but when you have scenes that go on for ages and no one eats, sleeps or relives themselves I do start to wonder….
4.Races, species and orientation
I’ve been a coward and only have one species in my book, humans. If you are going to have dwarfs, elves, orc etc. then like then please don’t make them all carbon copies with the same personality. Tolkien was the master at this with his dwarfs and elves all having very individual personalities. Even if you stick to humans try to vary it a bit. Not all heroes have to be chiseled, heterosexual, blond Adonis’s, they are a tad boring. Books with teenagers should have a few spots and a bit gangly and not just the poor sidekick!
I’m hoping I have avoided stereo types but I’m expecting to be blushing with embarrassment about a few of my minor characters.
I’ve read a lot about this recently, characters who recover from physical injuries in the turn of a page. But there are also physiological injuries, for example when somebody kills there first person and yet doesn’t particularly affect them despite them being quite sensitive. The one that happens a lot is they witness the death of a loved one, usually a relative that has brought them up instead of missing parents. You would have thought this would be fairly traumatic yet they are hardly mention it in the whole book.
Well there it is, I suspect I will have this quoted back at me when my book eventually comes out because I’m guess I gave fallen foul of at least one of these. What are the thing that ruin a book for you?