They may induce sighs or eye-rolling. More serious offenders may cause erratic page flipping or even book slamming. Surely you have come across them: the terrible horrible no good very bad pet peeves. We’ve recounted our top five for your viewing displeasure.
1. Orphans attached to prophecies. Harry Potter is the obvious example. Lyra and the Pevensies count, too.
Comment: Can’t orphans have character arcs without “fate” aka author hand waving to explain everything?
2. Precocious kids, idiotic adults. How does a society where all the adults are less intelligent and less capable than their progeny function at all? A Series of Unfortunate Events comes to mind.
3. When authors think their main characters are more amazing than they actually are. Obviously this is subjective, so we won’t give examples.
Comment: Let readers determine whether they like a character or not. Don’t hit us over the head with a character’s amazing perfection.
4. A corollary of Pet Peeve #3. When characters are perfect, except for one teensy-weensy “flaw,” like being too noble, stubborn, or self-sacrificing. And there are no long term consequences to possessing this “flaw.” Basically, everyone Finnikin looks up to and tries to emulate. Mary Poppins counts, too, but at least we weren’t supposed to be invested in her.
5. Long fantasy names with a string of apostrophes and rarely used letters of the alphabet, like x, v, k and z.
See Prince Balthazar and Trevanion from Finnikin of the Rock and the Ra’zac and Queen Islanzadi from Eragon for a phonetic headache.
What about you? Feel free to gripe about your kidlit pet peeves in the comments below. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll feature your pet peeves in a future post.