1) Canned laughs
Either a joke is funny or it isn’t. Having the author or characters pointing out that someone has just told a joke – he laughed in response to the hilarious joke – is like beating the reader over the head with the complete Get Smart box set. (insert laughs here) Laugh tracks ruin everything.
2) Street directions
I have a map book and Google Maps works pretty well, I don’t need them included in my novel.
If it doesn’t fit in chapter one it shouldn’t be there. If chapter one isn’t exciting enough then the book has failed to start at the correct spot.
I will forgive this if it adds to the story, just as long as it is not just a chapter tying up loose ends. I really don’t care about the hero receiving medals from someone very important. The final chapter should be the end of the story, not a post script of lazy story telling.
5) Purple prose
There are few authors that can get away with flowery language and overly descriptive phrases. I wish authors would stop pretending that they are one of those few authors.
6) That wise old guy character
Why don’t authors just start naming this wise old guy Obi-Wan and be done with it. Sure, there is bound to be a need for a teacher, mentor, or knowledgable character in some stories. But so often the character may as well have been a cardboard cutout, just like Obi-Wan in Star Wars episodes I, II and III.
7) Getting the details wrong
Since when does a Glock have an external safety?* Cordite smell? Racking the slide? Why am I only listing gun mistakes?
8) Including the details
This is similar to the street directions of #2. The excruciating detail that the author has researched is great….. for the author. The reader just wants a story. Accuracy is nice, but overkill is tedious.
9) Using overly common or overly obscure names for characters
Overly common names just blend into the background for me. Overly obscure names might as well be written as @#$%.
10) Having an author name that is very similar to a big name author
I’m looking at you Dale Brown. It really feels like the author has let the marketing department try to rip readers off with the mistaken identity.
* I actually understand why this one occurs. Often at some stage in editing the types of gun are changed around and ‘Glock’ has become synonymous with ‘gun’. Thus it is quite common for someone to decide that the type of gun originally referenced needs to be changed to a Glock/gun and the details around this aren’t changed to suit.