Three Pet Peeves That Get My Goat

book tossMany of us have pet peeves when it comes to our reading habits. There are certain things that when executed just about darn get our goat. For me, I have three pet peeves that really get my ire up; I wonder if you’ll agree.

  1. Contradictions – If a character has never roller-skated don’t make the character an expert at it the first time he or she encounters a roller rink or ice skates. If a character loves classical music, don’t write that she or he never heard Mozart’s music played. If he or she is terrible with kids, don’t introduce a bundle of joy (related or unrelated to the character) and have the character create an instant rapport with the baby. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. Character growth is one thing, but instant change while possible, isn’t going to fly without some exceptional writing. Blatant disregard for the personality and background of a character is a violation of the world you, the author, are building. It pulls readers out of your story quicker than they can finish reading the contradiction.
  2. Never-Ending Pity Parties – When a character ruminates on his or her troubles to the point that it becomes repetitive information (with no growth) and excruciating to read, I back away. Worst still — is the pity party with conflicting wishy-washy-ness… “I’m always bullied/overlooked career-wise/ignored by the opposite sex; I have a thick skin from years of mistreatment, but today this minor remark really, really, hurt my feelings! And I who have never cried after that terrible time when I was six, will cry buckets today.” I love angst in my novels, don’t get me wrong, but whiny woe-is-me attitudes need to be checked. When characters want to be agreed with and coddled for their “unique troubles” I am quick to scoff. I will empathize with the character to a point and then not care anymore. Don’t overdo it!
  3. Telling Not Showing – Details please! I want to submerse myself in the story. I want to do the things the characters do and feel like I am an extended part of them or the story. When an author “tells” what is and isn’t instead of “showing” through prose, the story begins to reek of falseness and deceptively. For example, force-feeding a character’s change of heart comes across condescending and calculated. It rubs the wrong way. Less “tell” and more “show” please. I don’t need a laundry-list of items that are checked off to prove something. What I want is expansive storytelling that sweeps me up and along with the characters. Let me snuggle into my comfy couch and into your book.

When it comes to these three peeves, I try to overlook the first few instances because every story deserves a chance to shine, but once it starts piling up… it’s less about the story and more about my complaints regarding the writing. My boyfriend can attest to that! What are your pet peeves when it comes to romances or books in general?

How I Went from 1,000 Words a Day to 7,000 Words a Day

sophie hill summer girlGuest Blog by Sophie Hill, author of Summer Girl

Hi, I’m Sophie Hill, author of the New Adult romance “Summer Girl.” I’m super excited to be a featured author here! Today I’m going to write about a subject near and dear to my pocketbook, which is:

The Need For Speed

There’s a truism for authors who are struggling to market their book. It goes: What’s the best advertisement for your new book? Answer: your next book.

Or: Your front list sells your back list.

You get the idea. Readers are voracious, especially romance readers, and if they like what you’ve written, they want more. If you’re an author who’s trying to make a living with your writing – and aren’t we all – then you will want to make sure that your readers have plenty to choose from.

Now, for many years, I was a newspaper reporter, pounding out copy every single day for my voracious editors. Three to five stories a day was my average, usually on a wide variety of subjects.

So, you’d think that it would be easy for me to churn out thousands of words a day without blinking an eye, right?

Well, up until recently, not so much.

I wrote a series of BBW romances under another pen name, and it was a struggle for me to write at a pace that I found acceptable. And profitable. It was taking me a couple of months per book to write fairly short books. And as more and more authors join the self-publishing revolution and more and more books flood the Amazon marketplace every day, I found that my books would drop in ranking faster and faster. I needed to find a way to pick up the pace to maintain a decent sales ratio.

Now, I used to be firmly in the “pantser” camp. I’d avoided plotting my works out in advance for years, but I finally decided to take a stab at plotting my stories from beginning to end. It was stressful. Sometimes it made my head hurt. But, finally, desperate to increase my output, I made myself take the time to plot out the entire book from beginning to end. And the results were magic.

No more writers block, no more 300-word days, no more writing myself into a corner and then scrapping 10,000 words. I literally averaged 6,000 words a day and finished a book in a freakishly fast two weeks. (Note: this doesn’t count editing time.)

Now, “plotting out the book in advance” means different things to different people. Alexandra Sokoloff has an excellent book on plotting, which involves index cards, among other things. I do it a little differently. For me, I identify my main characters, their backgrounds and how it’s affected them and made them the person they are today, what they want to accomplish, what’s standing in the way, the “all is lost” moment of the story, and any timeline issues that I need to get straight. Then, I write at least a sentence or two for each scene of the book. When I run into an obstacle, I make myself stop and figure it out at the plotting stage, rather than realizing 30,000 words in that I’ve got a major plot hole.

Another tip: I set a time for 20 minutes, write like crazy for that 20 minutes, and always try write at least 600-700 words in that time. When the 20 minutes is up I usually get up and take a break for a few minutes, walk around, jog in place, take the dogs out…I come back refreshed, and start over. It helps keep me focused. During that 20 minutes I don’t let myself surf the internet, check email, move from my seat; I just type.

And that is how I finished “Summer Girl”, currently ranking no. 98 on the New Adult/College Romance bestsellers list on Amazon, in ten days.

Do you have any tips or tricks to get more writing done? I’d love to hear them!

Visit my website:

Book Blurb: The girls of summer never stay, and that’s just how Slade Monroe likes it. Every summer the tiny beachside town of Hidden Cove, North Carolina is flooded with wealthy tourists, with their money and their arrogance and their promise of casual flings. And to Slade, bouncer, brawler, heartbreaker, they’re the perfect way to drown his pain and quiet the demons roaring in his head.

But Heather Tremaine is different. Quietly beautiful, deeply hurt, she’s a mystery that Slade finds himself desperately needing to solve. When he realizes that she’s on a quest for the truth about her past, a quest that will take her into dangerous territory, he’s determined to protect her at all costs. But Heather not the only one with secrets…and the last time Slade tried to protect someone he loved, it cost him everything. Will he fight for his love, or will his Summer Girl fade like the seasons?

By the end of the summer, Heather will find out that the truth is more shocking than anything she’d ever anticipated…and she’ll make a choice that will change all of their lives forever.

Buy: Summer Girl