Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Pet Peeves

This week, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is asking: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

In return, I wonder . . .what exactly is a peeve and why do keep them as pets?

Just kidding. Though it really is an odd phrase and I may have to look that up later. I'm a word nerd that way.

For now, though, I'm gonna take the opportunity to kvetch about some things that bug me as a reader, writer, and editor.


I'm getting pickier as I get older. Life is too short for books that aren't right for me. There's so much I WANT to read, that I won't put up for long with books that are too much work or fail to give me that immersive experience I crave.

My reading pet peeve list is topped by Basil Exposition. If you don't know Basil, he's a character
from the Austin Powers movie series, making fun of those characters in other stories that exist primary to deliver information the hero needs to move forward. At its worst, this clumsy shoehorning of exposition into dialogue is also called "As you know, Bob."

If anything will make me just put a book down and pick something else to read, that's the one.

The Runner-Up in the Reading Peeve-capades would be poorly written female characters. Actually, weak characterization or "writer convenience" moments are a deal-breaker for me regardless of the gender of said character. 

When it comes to female characters, I take it a little personally, as a woman myself. Plus, it just happens so often that I'm less patient with it. A new writer I'm trying to read is stuck with all my baggage from years of reading weak doormat women who were only there to motivate male characters. I'm unforgiving on this one.


When I'm writing, I'm impatient with myself and the world around me a lot of the time. Writing, especially new, first-draft writing, is a joy like nothing else, as exciting to me as taking an expedition to the South Seas. 

So, my pet peeve varies, translating into whatever is stopping me from writing. It might be my day job, a loud person talking, Twitter, exhaustion, illness, my own distraction, or even the people I love. 

Really, I'm always just seeking balance. Trying to get "enough" time for writing, marketing, research, etc. among all the other thing I want out of life, like love, food, exercise, relaxation, and family. That "pet peeve" feeling comes up when I'm out of balance.


"I'm not an editor, I just play one alone with my laptop." :-) I only edit myself, not others generally beyond giving critique partner feedback.  So, when I complain about editing, I'm really complaining about myself, the writer. 

Editing might mean a final round of correction/revision on my own or processing suggestions from a hired or assigned editor. 
Either way, I always wonder "what idiot wrote this"? Despite having developed a personal list of watch-words and issues to read through for, there are lazy habits I still fall into. In a recent piece, I realized that I still have a "was" addiction. Really? Have I learned nothing? 

So my pet peeve when editing is find that I made an error that I should know better about. I'm far more patient with others I'm trying to help than I ever am with myself. 

So, how about all you fine folks? What drives you over the edge when you're reading, writing or editing? 
If you're not already following #IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you should really check it out. The monthly blog hop is a panoply of insight into the writing life at all stages of hobby and career. Search the hashtag in your favorite social media venue and you'll find something interesting on the first Wednesday of every month.

Check out this month's co-hosts, too! They volunteer to check out all the posts and make sure all is on the up and up.

Christine Rains
Dolarah @ Book Lover
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Yvonne Ventresca
LG Keltner


  1. Mostly not remembering everything I need to know to write a decent story. It's a juggling act. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    1. Oh yes! When you stop mid flow because you can't remember something about a character, like how many kids they have! *so* frustrating.

  2. Distractions suck. And there are so many out there. We also create more distractions for media. I've fallen into this distraction when I'm writing.

  3. "As you know Bob" annoys me as well. Love the "Who wrote this crap" image. :)

  4. I love the neurobiology cartoon - it sums up the process perfectly :-)

  5. I think I have a bit of a "was" addiction as well. But at least I'm aware of it. This is when Ctrl+F comes in handy.

  6. Loved that cartoon! Weak characterization makes me put down books fast.

  7. I don't think its age that has made me a more critical, impatient reader. I think its being a writer. I know how much work goes into creating, editing, revising, and the long hours of staring at the screen trying to organize all those random thoughts into coherency. A writer that thinks it easy to tap out some words on the page and publish it isn't a true author. You know what I'm saying Bob?

    1. True. Since I started feeling like I was getting older at the same time that I started taking myself seriously as a writer, it's hard to differentiate for me.