|Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish|
Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top 10 Book Turn-Offs (i.e. things that will make me put a book down). Oddly enough, due to my status as YA book critic, I actually don't put books down all that often, because I feel it my duty to my Readers to finish a book and then warn them about it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of turn-offs; things that if I were not a book critic would make me put the book down, and things that since I am a book critic, make me take off a few strawberries.
- Explicit sexual content. There is never a time when graphic sexuality is necessary. Authors can convey such things without being explicit, and sometimes such things are just plain not necessary.
- Excessive profanity. I find the f-word and g--damn very offensive, and like sexual content, it is never necessary. I have heard the excuse that sometimes profanity is needed because it is realistic to a certain character. Alright, fine; but that doesn't mean you have to put the actual words in. Readers are smart; they will know that certain personality types will use bad language. So let the Reader insert as many f-words and g--damns as they like, but don't put it in. Stumbling over lots of language like that is like an electric shock to me. I'll be enjoying the story, totally immersed, and then BANG! The profanity jolts me out of it.
- Terminal illness. Life is depressing enough. I don't want to read about a person who is dying of cancer or leukemia or AIDS. Smallpox and tuberculosis are the few terminal illnesses I will read about, because they are usually in a historical setting. You won't find a smallpox or tuberculosis story that is inspirational.
- Modern vampires. Classic vampires, ones that take after Count Dracula, I can do in small doses (or should I say small sips). But modern ones - vampires that have none of the classic traits and weaknesses, that are sparkly, and portrayed as good - will turn me from a book very quickly.
- Unnecessary homosexuality. Sometimes there are characters who are simply gay. I realize that. But what I hate is when I feel like an Author has thrown in a gay character simply to make a statement about gays. If their being gay benefits the plot somehow, fine - I'll swallow that. But if it's just in there for the sake of being in there, that makes me irritated.
- Excessively pious eco-mentalism. Save the trees! Down with genetically engineered foods and medicines! Stop the evil corporations! Global warming is at hand! If we just all get along, there won't be any more wars. These are probably some of the most irritating plot points ever to exist, and I hate them. Because once these themes are introduced, the entire story falls into a big massive puddle of preaching.
- Misunderstood aliens. Okay, if aliens are going to invade, they need to be evil. No one likes an alien invasion story where the aliens have just been misunderstood; where there has been a line of miscommunication.
- Shower scenes. Showers are private things, where there should be no viewing public. This rule should also be applied to fiction, especially if the shower scene is a group of youths, because it then leads to horribly annoying fart jokes and innuendos.
- Excessive focus on lack of hygiene. Especially in romance stories. Because as soon as you mention the years' worth of dirt caking someone's hair and face and nails; their grotty teeth and soiled clothing - as soon as you mention that, when a kissing scene comes up, that is all the Reader is going to be able to think about. How much plaque build-up does that person have on their teeth? How reeky is their skin and armpits? Yeah, that totally saps are romance out of the scene.
- Detailed kissing. I do not want to read about someone else's tongue slithering into another person's mouth, and tasting their teeth and other spit and breath particles therein. I do not want to read about sore lips or strings of saliva or what one's mouth tastes like. These sort of descriptions have forever put me off of romantic inclinations for life, thank you very much.