The Literary Blog Hop is a weekly event held at The Blue Bookcase prompting book bloggers to answer a question.
What is one of your literary pet peeves? Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge?
What a difficult question! I have no idea how I am going to answer it yet. There is nothing that springs to mind immediately. Of course, there are things that might annoy me when reading, but I do not seem to find a general feature.
The first thing I can think of is bad translation. For instance, in the last book I read that was translated from English to French, there was the phrase “serviette à thé”, an obvious literal translation of “tea towel”; however, we do not have serviettes à thé in France, we have torchons. Since that day, I have avoided translations (at least, from English to French).
Another thing that annoys me is typos, when they are too numerous. I understand that these might have been errors made during the editing and publication process and are not necessarily the writer’s fault; however, if I see too many typos, I tend not to trust the writer, particularly if it is an academic text. Recently, I was getting ready to read an article by Shuli Barzilai (a scholar of Atwood) in a collection of essays; however, Shuli warned me that typos had been introduced at the copy-editing stage and offered to send me an offprint she had made of the article to read instead. It must be so frustrating to see your work messed up like that.
In her answer to the question, Christina mentions long dialogues that bear no mark of whom is speaking the line, so that you actually lose track. I also find that annoying. Actually, I am bothered when I lose track in general and have to actually go back to reread the passage. The exception is when this confusion is actually aimed for and thus becomes a literary technique. An example of this could be the conversation at the end of Carol Shields’s Larry’s Party. Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, and many other modernist works actually, would also get us lost in the dialogue and thoughts of protagonists. It might be confusing, but I believe it is part of the effect the writer wishes to create.
I am sure that as I will read other bloggers’ answers I will think how right they are, but, for now, this is all I can think of.