Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Critiquing Pet Peeves

It's been a couple of weeks since I have posted on my blog.   I really have no excuse except that I am currently in between YA contemporary projects and haven’t pulled the trigger on my next idea yet.  So to purposefully distract myself, I have been doing a lot of critiquing – some long standing writing friends, most new first-three-chapters type of beta reads.  So at the risk of sounding brash and a bit snarky, let me tell you a bit about my critiquing pet peeves.

            ~Please, please, PLEASE I beg you to give you manuscripts a quick read before you send it off to your critique partners, especially new ones that haven’t read for you before. There is nothing like a myriad of spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors to pull me right out of the story and irritate the crap out of me.

            ~Think creatively.  There are a thousand and one better ways to emotionally tag dialogue then a simple “he said.”  Now don’t get me wrong, the simplistic nature of that tag is highly appreciated, just not twenty seven times on the same page.

            ~Make sure the person you ask to critique actually reads your genre. You send me the first three chapters of your erotica story, and I will read it, correct your grammar and formatting, even toss in a comment or two.  But because I am not familiar with nor do I ever read that genre for fun, my comments, thoughts, and opinions probably aren’t worth much.  

            ~Lastly, (and I am throwing this one in for you Lindsay)  Description!  I love it when it pertains to word building and drives the story forward.  Wield it too heavily or inappropriately and I get peeved. For example “I sat down on my mother’s pink and green floral pattern couch, the small flower buds hanging delicately off the green vines.”  Okay, unless those flowers are going to come alive and strangle me then I don’t give a crap if the couch is floral, paisley or just plain butt-ass ugly.  I don’t need that bit of description.  I know what a couch is, no need to describe it.  

So that is it, my usually snarky self is back to blogging.  But before you go, I would love to hear some of your critiquing pet peeves.


  1. I definitely second the first point! It's really frustrating to read someone's work when they haven't bothered to clean it up at all. Punctuation is a big one here. Unless I'm really feeling like it, I'm not going to take the time to educate you on how to use a comma. You should have learned that in high school :P

  2. All valid peeves. I suppose my biggest pet peeve is not receiving a thank you when I took the time to read a full manuscript, caught errors in the text and spent valuable time giving my opinion, always is a positive way. No thank you's really irritate me.

  3. "Okay, unless those flowers are going to come alive and strangle me then I don’t give a crap if the coach is floral, paisley or just plain butt-ass ugly."

    Hah! There's the Trisha we know and love. ;)

  4. Hehe - yeah, you nailed it. The first one makes me crazy. My personal pet peeves. . . hmmm, I'd have to say that beta'ing for people who do not read in their genre is pretty frustrating. Well, you know me. Frustrating isn't really the word I would use for it, but in an attempt to be a good girl, we're going with it. Great post Trisha:)

  5. Oh man, I've had plenty of those issues when reviewing stuff for people. My biggest peeve is when they don't seem to have any idea where their plot is headed for the first twenty pages. Also, when every sentence includes a transition word OR when every sentence is in passive voice. Drives me crazy.

    <3 Gina Blechman

  6. Cliches, cliches, cliches. Also, one dimensional characters and waaay too much introspection.

  7. I must admit, I've been doing a lot of critting recently and I'm surprised you have so few peeves. Here some of mine (in addition to the ones you wrote):
    - Don't start your novel with a dream or in the middle of a fight scene.
    - Don't 'tell' me what the character's personality is.
    - Don't put backstory in the first few pages.
    - Don't repeat words ten times in one paragraph.
    - Don't explain actions in three different ways. I got it the first time.
    - Don't make the first chapter rock 'em sock 'em action, and then have nothing interesting for the next two chapters.

    I'll stop ranting now. *blush* I came here from Becky Wallace's blog, and I bet you wish I'd go back there, huh? But seriously, critting often puts me in a bad mood these days. There's so much good advice on writing out there -- why don't people read it?