Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Love/Hate in a Novel Lists

As promised, here are the things I LOVE to see in a novel:

1. A beach or lake setting
2. Siblings
3. Perspectives of characters from different generations as they experience the same events
4. Romantic relationships in progress
5. All relationships in progress, actually (I'm not a big fan of new characters showing up in chapter thirty-six.)
6. Meaningful spirituality
7. Humor
8. Details about unique family rituals
9. Dogs
10. Heroism

And another list of things that I'm not such a fan of:

1. Hopeless settings
2. Love that seems so impossible that it hurts to watch
3. Stereotypes of beleaguered new moms
4. Plots that hinge on a character making a choice I don't think s/he'd actually make
5. Cats, hamsters, gerbils
6. One-dimensional bad guys (or girls)
7. Unbelievable careers
8. Unrelenting personal devastation
9. Characters that seem unconnected to anyone or anything
10. Sad endings

Now YOU might be just the opposite: you might hate a story about brothers who train dogs on the beach as their Uncle looks on and does tai chi...and love a story about a lonely spinster who had to give up her gerbil collection because she found a baby on the front steps and hasn't showered in three weeks but must find a way to fend off the evil mayor who is determined to take down the house that has been in her family for generations so he can build a strip club....

You get the idea. We all like different things, and that is a spectacular thing. But as we go into our book project on Saturday, I found it really helpful to think about what I like and what I don't, so I can make sure me and my characters are hanging out in a place we want to be. How about you?

I'll close with a great quote from Jeanine Mason, one of the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance:

"This whole experience has shown me that I'm capeable of so much more than I give myself credit for."

I'm believing that in 42 days, at the end of this adventure, we'll be able to say the same :)


Bayjb said...

I also hate being beaten over the head with metaphors. Trust me, I got it the first 20 times you mentioned it.

New URL:

himmiefan said...

Dog's are great, but cats rule!! I'm just saying.... : )

CopyStrands said...

I made my list since you were so brave to make one.

My loves: Young love, country, simple times, baking, friends, family, Montana, sports (rock climbing).

My dislikes: Complicated language, too many characters (gets confusing), dry prose, animals, books where a character has an illness (this is overdone right now).

LEstes65 said...

Wow...that book about the spinster/mom fending off the strip-club/mayor...THERE'S your foray into fiction novels!

Jennie said...

I'm such a sucker for stories with dogs, or even just animals in general!

I don't think I could say I really love sad endings, but I really hate endings that end happily because the author awkwardly forced the story line in that direction. Some of my favorite endings (in books and movies) are bittersweet like Casablanca, The Time Traveler's Wife, or even Romeo & Juliet.

I also hate it when the writer clearly needs a better editor to streamline the story.

Jennie said...

Oh! I forgot my biggest pet peeve in books - Dream Sequences