Does this annoy anyone else?
Here I am reading a book that’s been recommended by oodles of people and the same word continues to pop up line after line until the author finds another favorite word a few lines or chapters later and beats that dead horse with a rod.
The handsome cowboy walked her to the door. His hand caressed her hand before her hand reached for the door. But his hand got to the door handle first. She stepped back and allowed his hand to open the door. Inside the door, he took her face in his hands and said good night, handing her safely into the comfort of her home. His hand closed the door.
Someone. Let me scream.
And I read similar scenarios all the time. Why isn’t the author catching that in a full read through? Why aren’t her crit partners? Why isn’t the preliminary reader, the editor, the final reader noticing? Does anyone else even care or is my OCD showing? I do care! It is annoying, unprofessional, and just plain ridiculous to think anyone wants to read the same word over and over. No doubt one of the first things, other than really poor grammar (the grammar has to be really poor, because I am definitely NOT the comma police) and punctuation that I notice.Now, I’m not talking about an occasional repeat, but the sentence above isn’t that out of place in a lot of books I’ve read recently. Not chapters in a proposal, not chapters for critique, but published books. And how about extraneous words like—mmmm, this one:
It doesn’t matter if it isn’t the exact right word as long as it means the same thing that it should. It isn’t the word, but how it’s used. It can be used many ways as long as it’s correct. It, it, it, it, it.
And even when the little two-letter darling isn’t needed, it’s used. And before you laugh, yes, I’ve seen it used that many times in one sentence. I’ve no doubt been guilty of the same thing before editing (hopefully not after). But why does an author allow, and yes, I say allow, his or her work to be seen by a professional before the work has had a strong read through? Any author reading her work out loud will catch most of these glitches.
What are your pet peeves when you read a book? You plunk down your hard earned cash and find you can’t really connect because the read is bogged down with small idiosyncrasies that draw you out of the story and make you crazy. Again, speaking for my eccentric self, but I don’t think I’m alone here, right?
There’s one golden opportunity to connect with an agent, editor, and especially with a reader. Make the most of that chance! Anyone care to share?