I also love some classics, like To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984, For Those I Loved, and Fahrenheit 451. I also enjoy plays from the Theatre of the Absurd genre. I especially love Equus with its mix of vivid history and strange.
Overall, my taste in literature runs on the odd side with some 'normal' stuff thrown in for color.
The last couple of years as I've been battling depression, I have primarily been reading romance novels. Fluffy and predictable, I don't much care about the plot or the setting. I'm guaranteed a happy ending and some feels along the way, which is important when things are so bad that I can't feel anything.
During this phase, I have purchased quite a few e-books. Most are SFF that I've shelved for when I will have the brain power to be able to think enough to enjoy the ride, the world, and the characters.
See authors?? I'm a reader. I LOVE books. I love stories. I love fun new ideas, new takes on old ideas, dreams, visions, and strange. I WANT you to take me to these places you dream about. I'd love to know about these worlds you spend months or years building.
Last night I tried to read some. It annoyed me. I'm talking crazy ANNOYED. Now, either I'm not in a place where reading is enjoyable, or these authors seriously need to pay good money to decent content and line editors. I fell back on Ole Reliable and tried some of the romance novels I had shelved for a rainy day. Those just irritated me even more.
Dammit, people, I want real dialogue. Read your freaking paragraphs OUT LOUD and see if those are words that would honestly and truly come out of your mouth.
Oh, and this is a personal preference, but STOP, for the love of Helvetica, writing in first person present tense. Unless you are Howard Tayler, don't do it. Just don't. You know that saying, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should?" Yeah, most of you can't, so quit it.
First person is cool if it's past tense and you don't give me every stupid thought and every teensy memory of every last thing they see. I want to smack half of you with a frying pan, because if you tell me something once, I promise, I know how that character feels. Reactions to future things are understandable, as long as you don't rehash the old event every. single. time. grrrrrrr
If your character is a detective? Or the victim of a crime? Can you NOT be so obvious with the foreshadowing? Can your character NOT know every last thing or have relatives or friends who have all these secret powers save the day? Or, contrarily, can your victim not be a complete airhead? The cops told them to stay where they're safe because the bad guy is ON THE STREET RIGHT THERE. So they take off running anyway? Seriously???
Oh, and fight scenes, folks. I love them, I do. A good testosterone moment or cat fight is pretty cool. However, I do not need a blow by blow account of every single fight. I get it. They whack each other. You can tell me some super cool moves, that's fine, but please, PLEAAASE, no five page fight scenes. I *will* skim and I will resent you for it. Unless you're Larry Correia, because he knows how to do fights that move the story forward and HELL YEAH, they are fun.
Yoo Hooo! Oh you lovey dovey Romance novelists? OMG do I have some rants for you folks. >:(
A - If you're going to open with a smexy hot scene, for crying out loud make it freaking believable. Having the awe inspiring double rainbow is all fine and dandy, you know, whatever, that's par for the course. But then immediately AFTER the guy has professed his love and she's thought he's THE ONE because angels sang and the heavens opened, one of them just says 'bye, it's been fun'?? Within two seconds of all the professions of "I'll love you forever"? Yeah, no. NO.
If the guy is an ass, then the sex would be quick and dirty, ***AND*** he'd have said all the sappy stuff to begin with. He would not have ended with it. I kid you not. They use that to get you IN bed, not out of it.
If he's a good guy and just leaves, it won't be immediately after the 'how can I live without this' moment. It just won't. Because he's a good guy. He'd obviously want to make the moment last forever before his incredibly good reason for taking off drives him away without an explanation or a note. Give the guy at least a few hours.
Even better? Don't open with the smexy hot scene, kay? Chances are it's not as hot as you think it is.
B- If you want to open with an 'ouchie my favorite person ever in the whole wide world left me high and dry' then use your brains and do it the right way. Don't start with the leaving scene. blech. And THEN, after ten years, the character may not have found someone else, sure, but I guarantee by then they wouldn't be all mopey and pining. If they are still crying over it, oh honey. I will throw that book at the wall and wish the character a horrible death.
C- There is more fun to it if you actually make me, your reader, feel the tension between the characters BEFORE you get to the all the rainbows and sweaty life changing moments. You know that's part of the fun with real life, right? Sometimes that's even better than the actual sweaty bit. And hey, if there's a one night stand with consequences, then STILL build up the tension before that problem is resolved. Let's be real here; there are gonna be issues to work out even if there is still some attraction.
D- Let's talk about vampires for a minute, mmkay? Most of your readers, in fact about 99% of them, know and understand vampires. Most of your readers have that same love and fear of vampires that you the writer do. If your breed of undead are different, do NOT spend pages and pages describing why and how and what. I don't care; I really don't. Give it to me in bits. I'm not even kidding.
If I read one more cafe scene where the 'in the know' character sits and explains for two hours to the 'wtf just happened' character how cool and scary these different monster are, I guarantee I'm not reading any further. Instead, it simply convinces me the author likes to hear themselves talk.
E- Anger. Yeah, I'm angry as I write this, but what's worse is when the main guy is *always* angry at the girl. Oh sure, from his point of view, he's angry with himself because he's attracted to her. And that's an excuse to take it out on her?? Trust me, there's a huge difference between being professional and being rude. From her/my point of view the guy is an ass and she's an idiot for not leaving the job or changing whatever situation she's in that requires her to be around him.
Or Are you secretly marketing the story as a BDSM? Because if so, you might want to change your freaking blurb. And also if that's the case, trust me sweety, your bedroom scenes need some massive changes. As well as the character interaction.
If you really think anger makes awesome romance tension, listen up. As someone who's married to a constantly grumpy angry dude, let me tell ya, it's not sexy and it's not a turn-on. In fact, it's a really great way to drive someone far, far, far away. K? This means that if your hero is upset with himself and is then rude to someone he likes, you MAKE THE JERK APOLOGIZE. Otherwise I want to destroy the book with fire. Lots and lots of fire. -- except that would ruin my laptop.
I swear, these authors should just let me beta read their stories. I could cut out half the crap they're throwing in that is stupid, poorly written, and completely irrelevant. THEN they can let real editors do the final polishing.