pippi

Has any sentence or phrase turned you off a book?

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"A week tiptoed by."

UGH!

It just seemed so precious and idiotic I shut the book and will never pick it up again.

You are right. That one is entirely off-putting. I am apparently guilty of cutesiness myself, but I don't think I would write that.

I'm not a visual reader and I can't stand long descriptive passages of the scenery, characters' appearances and so on. I always skim them now, even the sex scenes.

This is a good thread.

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It was a dark and stormy night....

Ba'al Chatzaf

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"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

I almost closed the book on that first sentence, one of the bleakest I'd ever encountered. (Not objectively so, nor by itself, but for what I felt it augured for the rest of the experience.)

Fortunately for expanding my critical faculties and understanding of what drives the world we live in, I picked up Nineteen Eighty-Four again and kept reading.

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Too picky and fussy, guys: In a long book, not every sentence is going to be a winner. Look for the diamonds not for the coal dust in your stocking.

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Too picky and fussy, guys: In a long book, not every sentence is going to be a winner. Look for the diamonds not for the coal dust in your stocking.

Occupational hazard of reading Rand. I too could not read 1984 soon after having been through her work, but also I had not heard Orwell's story which excuses a lot.

Shayne

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_was_a_dark_and_stormy_night

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_prose

"Purple prose is a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response."

With non-objective standards like that, it gives one some sense of why some novelists commit suicide. Yet another reason I can understand why Ayn Rand said that non-fiction was far easier than fiction. Who is to say that some statement is "overly extravagant"? The average-minded literary goon who is probably emotionally repressed from religion and politically repressed from government.

But yeah, "A week tiptoed by" is definitely awful.

Shayne

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"A week tiptoed by."

UGH!

It just seemed so precious and idiotic I shut the book and will never pick it up again.

I don’t get it, how are we supposed to know that this is bad writing? Is it an opening line? An omniscient narrator? A character speaking? Try these:

The stars are God's daisy chain.

Every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born.

You’ll have to trust me that these are terrific lines in context. As to opening lines, try this:

Chapter One

In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir

Sends you scrambling for your dictionary, where “apocheir” is likely not to be found.

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"A week tiptoed by."

UGH!

It just seemed so precious and idiotic I shut the book and will never pick it up again.

I don’t get it, how are we supposed to know that this is bad writing? Is it an opening line? An omniscient narrator? A character speaking? Try these:

The stars are God's daisy chain.

Every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born.

You’ll have to trust me that these are terrific lines in context. As to opening lines, try this:

Chapter One

In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir

Sends you scrambling for your dictionary, where “apocheir” is likely not to be found.

It isn't about bad writing per se. Of course, in context of a whole book, any words or phrases turn out to be bad or good as to the job they do in the book.

It's about the reaction a reader has to certain phrases, which can irrationally turn him off the whole book however worthy. We have seen good examples here already.

The first sentence of 1984, though good writing, conveyed such a bleak sense of life (it was supposed to) that Greybird was repelled from reading further.

The tiptoeing week was so twee that pippi decided she wanted no more of a writer like that, whatever he was saying.

It's about how subjective reading is, and how demanding readers are. As we should be.

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I picked up an apocalyptic sf book by a best selling author I had never read. Somewhere bout page three the protagonist mentions the complaints of his cat, who, like independent minded Democrats, objects to being kept in a cage. I closed and returned the book.

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"A week tiptoed by."

UGH!

It just seemed so precious and idiotic I shut the book and will never pick it up again.

I don't get it, how are we supposed to know that this is bad writing?

An excellent question, but one I suspect few here have a clue how to even think about, much less answer. Hint: the use of meaningless terms like "twee" will get you nowhere.

JR

Edited by Jeff Riggenbach

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On the other side of the coin, I hate it when writers have scenes during meals and don't tell you what the characters are eating. "After the waiter had cleared the table, he reached in his pocket for the Tiffany box.." cleared the table of what?

Pork chops, cobb salad, tourtiere,beer floats, what?

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It's been a while but I had to stop reading and literally drop another book by the guy who wrote "The DeVinci code," because the new book pretended that the pseudoscience of "noetics" was factual. Go to their site. Noetics is horse*&^%

I took the book to a used book store and got a buck for it.

Peter

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"A week tiptoed by."

UGH!

It just seemed so precious and idiotic I shut the book and will never pick it up again.

I don't get it, how are we supposed to know that this is bad writing?

An excellent question, but one I suspect few here have a clue how to even think about, much less answer. Hint: the use of meaningless terms like "twee" will get you nowhere.

JR

You illustrate my point. You react to the word "twee" by concluding that the writer who uses it is unthinking and going nowhere.

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I was barely able to finish Allen Drury's Pentagon because "chuckle" turns up every few pages. Crummy book anyway. Similarly Samuel Chamberlain's Bouquet de France for "plump." Otherwise it was good.

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I was barely able to finish Allen Drury's Pentagon because "chuckle" turns up every few pages. Crummy book anyway. Similarly Samuel Chamberlain's Bouquet de France for "plump." Otherwise it was good.

Chuckle is a special hate of mine too. You just feel it is the writer who is chuckling, at his own cleverness. The absolute worst is when all the characters chuckle merrily at some witticism of the hero and IT ISN'T FUNNY.

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the guy who wrote "The DeVinci code," because the new book pretended that the pseudoscience of "noetics" was factual. Go to their site. Noetics is horse*&^%

Dan Brown. I like his work. But I can sympathize with your dislike for authors who use a pseudo-anything as fact to glue their story together. I play along if it's mentioned as a foreword, as there's no surprise of being duped.

~ Shane

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Atlas Shrugged, p. 118: Francisco d'Anconia to Dagny: "I could tell you what a relief it is to see face that's intelligent though a woman's."

Pure male chauvinism! :angry:

There are quite a few more sentences in AS which have turned me off, the above is just one example.

I was barely able to finish Allen Drury's Pentagon because "chuckle" turns up every few pages. Crummy book anyway. Similarly Samuel Chamberlain's Bouquet de France for "plump." Otherwise it was good.

Chuckle is a special hate of mine too. You just feel it is the writer who is chuckling, at his own cleverness. The absolute worst is when all the characters chuckle merrily at some witticism of the hero and IT ISN'T FUNNY.

I too am allergic to "chuckle"! Somehow "chuckle" can easily get a silly touch to it when over-used.

I think Ayn Rand also uses it too often in AS, letting her heroes "chuckle" in situations where there's not much to chuckle about.

Edited by Xray

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I think the verdict is in on chuckle. No character over the age of four should be allowed to do it.

kekeke

Sound of coffee splatter on keyboard. I demand that chuckle be immediately replaced by kekeke in all lexicons. "she kekeked softly to herself at the discomfiture of her enemies..." I like it.

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Daunce and Xray,

In reading your last couple of posts, I experienced a deep chortle :)

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Hint: the use of meaningless terms like "twee" will get you nowhere.

What's "twee"? Who said "twee"?

I think the verdict is in on chuckle. No character over the age of four should be allowed to do it.

kekeke

How about cackle? Is that ok? You know what I don't like? Cockle. As in "warmed the cockle's of my heart". Mine has no cockles.

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