Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I hate yogurt. It's my #1 most-hated food EVER. If you put it in front of me I might just puke. I don't even buy it for my daughter at the store because I don't want to touch the containers. Sometimes I'll gulp down my disgust and put some in the cart. Grossssss....

Yes, I'm odd and unique. Most people are. I sat down with my father-in-law yesterday afternoon to discuss my novella, Cinders, that I released 6 weeks ago. He read the book and sent me a very honest email with his review. In the review he said some very nice things, but also said more in the email than he put up on his public review, and some of what he had to say seemed really harsh when I first read it. Then I read it again and again. I talked to my husband about it. I pondered and worried and read it again, then finally had the chance to sit down with my father-in-law and talk about what he had to say.

It seems everyone has their pet peeves. Some of the things that bothered my father-in-law about the book no one else would even think about or notice. Most people like yogurt. I'm not in any way bothered about what my father-in-law said now. In fact, it helps me see, once again, that you cannot completely please everyone 100%. Nor can you please 100% of readers 100% of the time. It's an impossible standard, so write what you write and love what you write and rest assured that readers who love your work as much as you do will come.

As an example, my friend Olivia shared with me how her father once pointed out she should count how many times people say the word "um" over the church pulpit. Now she says she can't listen to church speakers without counting their "ums" and it drives her nuts. It has even spread into her everyday life. There is no way I can never say "um" around her, though. It just happens.

Are there any quirks you have that keep you from fully enjoying a book? I personally can't stand list descriptions. They used to be a huge problem for me. Sometimes they still are, so I tend to notice them in books I'm reading, and they make me grit my teeth every time.


  1. Can't stand having to work for the basics, e.g., What is the plot and who are the characters and what is relevant to the afore mentioned plot and characters.

    I've tried to read Mistborn three times so far (I think), and I bail every time when after ~ 50 pages I still have nothing but context, back-story, and digression.

  2. I hate it when people repeat themselves over and over again. A couple of times chapters apart, no problem. But do you think I need that vital (or not so vital) piece of info twice in the same page, worded almost verbatim? I loved the last book I read, but the author did that a couple of times and I just shook my head.

    My pet peeve didn't keep me from loving the book though. I realize it's just a little thing and we are all unique, which is my very favorite things about people.

  3. Nisa, Kathy Reichs can be terrible at that.

  4. Nevets: That WOULD be really frustrating! I would give up on Mistborn if I were you.

    Nisa: Oh, I've done this in my writing before, and then when I stepped away from it for awhile and came back it drove me crazy! It's frustrating to read a book and feel like the author thought, "Hmmm, all my readers are stupid. I'd better repeat that AGAIN." :)

  5. If there is one thing that annoys me, it is whiny main characters. I read a story a couple months ago that had a whiny sixteen year old boy in it, and I almost put it down. If I hadn't met the author at a conference, and actually liked the guy, I probably would have, but I'm also one of those readers that once into a book, will usually stick to the end no matter what. I guess I'm optimistic that there will be a payoff in the end. It sucks when I'm wrong.

  6. Douglas: Haha! Yeah, whiny is super-annoying, I agree. I don't like whiners in real life, either. My daughter can whine a lot...but I love her anyway. :)

  7. The yogurt aversion is hilarious. I will now smile in the store as I pass the Yoplait section. Weird names in books bother me. I find myself changing the name mentally as I read, and that can slow things down a lot. Thanks for this great post, Michelle.

  8. Oh, no! List descriptions! 22 things in a row! I am guilty! *hangs head in shame*

  9. Roxy: Oh, yes! Weird names bother me, too - ones I can't pronounce, especially. Then I wrote my novella Cinders and it has the name Eolande in it...and people seem to have a hard time pronouncing that one, including myself. What was I thinking? Hah! I think it's pretty, though, and it had to be different for good reasons, I think.

    Tara: Hah! Oh, I'm sure you don't have 22-item-lists...do you?


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