Monday, 27 August 2007

Pet Peeves

Do you have any pet peeves whilst reading.

Not those that make you want to throw a book against a wall. But those that just niggle. I have a couple, but there's one that's getting on my nerves at the moment.

I have a problem with the word 'literally'. Actually it was one particular author who gave me a dislike for this word because she used it so much. To the point where now I think it should be banned. LOL. Well maybe that's a bit extreme. But I think 99% of the time it's used when it doesn't need to be. It's the verbal equivalent of an exclamation mark. And it seems to crop up a lot on consecutive pages. It's got to the point where I may have to start mentioning this in reviews - just to get it off my chest.

It's used a lot for emphasis - "His head literally exploded."

Ouch that's got to hurt. But did his head actually explode? If it did, why not just say "His head exploded." If it didn't explode, why are you telling us it did?

"His blood literally burned."

Oh my God! He's on fire. Or did you mean he was losing his temper?

I think one 'literally' per book is enough. Thank you for listening. :)


meljean brook said...

Lesley -- this is one of my favorite sites:

Where they track the misuse of "literally" on the web. Some of them are very funny; their comments are priceless.

Naomi said...

I love Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson series. But I'm sick to death of hearing Riley's hormones "do an excited little jig/shuffle/dance," which seems to happen about twice per chapter, lol.

A lot of erotica techniques, for lack of a better term, annoy me too. Not that I don't like erotica per se, but I get fed up of hearing about women's nipples beading/peaking, or how instantly wet everyone is. I can't take it seriously.

LesleyW said...

Meljean - Yes! That's it exactly. That's what I'm talking about. LOL

Naomi - Yeah, it can be difficult to describe what's happening in erotica. And they can become unintentionally funny. Which kind of takes you out of the moment.

jepad said...

Oh, literally is one of my pet peeves as well. People need to learn the difference between literally and FIGURATIVELY.

I've gotten totally turned off by the word "spill". Okay, that might seem bizarre, but if you've read Laurell K Hamilton, it makes sense. She uses spill in every conceivable context: hair spilled, a spill of drapes, a spill of eyelashes, clothes spilled. The funny part is that she rarely uses it for blood and other liquids. I guess that's too prosaic.

I think that it's really common for authors to inadvertently overuse phrases and words. As the writer, you probably don't notice. When people speak they tend to favor certain phrases, and while it's not so noticeable in coversation, in a book it'll drive people crazy.