Don’t Beat Me Over The Head With It

Cat yawningHow many times has this happened to you? You’re reading a book and the author continuously harps on the same point. The hero has abs you can bounce a quarter off of. The heroine is going to suffer in a dreadful way if her vampire master finds out she didn’t obey his command. Or, the heroine’s secret, if revealed, will destroy everything she’d ever worked for.

Yes, we get it. We’re readers. We probably picked up on this ever so important plot point the first time you wrote it. There is absolutely no need to repeat it three, four … okay, eleven times. This has happened to me several times in the past few months. I read a lot … probably an abnormal amount compared to most people I’m acquainted with. So I guess you can say that I’m an experienced reader. Still, I’m finding this repetition not only in new authors, but in authors who are multi-published. With a new author, this might discourage me from purchasing future books. In fact, there is one author who just had a book released which is the second in a series … and we all know how much I love series. Still … sorry, I won’t be buying that book. I found the first round of reminders too annoying.

Perhaps I’m a little sensitive to this bad habit because it used to be one of mine. Before I was published and still polishing my first manuscript, I asked one of my sisters to read a couple of chapters to see what she thought of my writing. Her first comment? “Yes, it was foggy. I know it was foggy. You don’t have to beat me over the head with the fact that it was foggy.” 😆

Looking back over that first manuscript, she was absolutely right. I was so intent on setting the atmosphere that I overdid it. A lot.  Don’t recall how many times I mentioned the fogginess of the day, but it was excessive. Needless to say, a huge portion of that first chapter was edited to within an inch of its life and “Promise for Tomorrow” was eventually published.

Do you find excessive repetition annoying, or is that just me being picky? Sure we can miss out on a hint if its done too subtle and a reminder down the road may be necessary, but beyond that I really think your readers are intelligent enough to get the picture.

About Liz Kreger

Liz Kreger writes science fiction/romances and to date, has two books published by Samhain Publishing ... FORGET ABOUT TOMORROW and PROMISE FOR TOMORROW. Liz is presently branching out to contemporary paranormals and is experimenting with urban fantasy.
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4 Responses to Don’t Beat Me Over The Head With It

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Cute kitty. 🙂 This is why I need CPs or beta readers to catch stuff like that. One reminder might be okay, depending on its importance. If something is mentioned once, and then I have to stop reading and come back to it, unless it was a major plot point, I’m likely to have forgotten. But more than that is too much.

  2. Liz Kreger says:

    Oh good. It’s not just me being picky. 😎 Yeah, I guess a reminder might be in order if the reader is in the habit of setting down the book for another and plans on getting back to it. We do forget ‘pon occasion.

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Liz! Yes, I can get annoyed at stuff like that. And because I read so much romance, I notice that sometimes there are those standard descriptions I get sick of between many authors. The ones that when you think about it are just weird. Like “he smelled like pure male.” Well, what does that really smell like? Is it the cologne they use? Their deodorant? Their soap? Because, really when did your guy last smell like evergreen trees? And when they say he smells “woodsy”? Sorry, but that is just weird. I prefer the author to say something about him smelling good because of his soap or cologne. I am also getting sick of the same descriptions in intimate scenes too. Unless you are a shifter or vampire, I am not sure being bitten on the neck (not just running your teeth over someone’s neck but when they said they bit their partner) during sex is a turn on. In fact, I think it would kill the mood. When I start getting annoyed at books it is time for me to switch genres. Read less hot and steamy and more humor or something. That usually helps. 🙂
    Amy`s last blog was …Guest Post & Giveaway: THREE DAYS ON MIMOSA LANE by Anna DeStefano

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Good examples, Amy. In fact, in the book I’m reading right now, the heroine is always thinking things like “he smelled of vanilla, cedar and smoke” or whatever. The heroine is a human. Last time I checked, most human’s sense of smell isn’t honed that sharp. Hell, I’m lucky if I can smell someone’s perfume when in a closed elevator.

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