Over the years, I have definitely worked out what types of writing I enjoy reading. However, there are some types of writing that drive me absolutely nuts. These are more on the technical side of writing and less about storytelling.
Repetitive Use of Words.
You can thank Sarah J. Maas for my hatred of the phrase “armed to the teeth” because she uses it so often across both of her series. One I noticed, I couldn’t stop noticing it. SJM is definitely the one that sticks out to me, but there are plenty of authors who will use the same word of phrase an unnecessary number of times. When I come across one of these while reading, I really have to put down the book for a minute and think “again?? you used this word AGAIN?”.
Repetitive Sentence Structure.
Repetitive sentence structure is different than repeating the same word, but it annoys me all the same. I was recently reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks and there was the same sentence structure used three times in a row. Hopefully, this was for emphasis, but it bothered me so much that I had to completely drop the book.
Turning a page and seeing that the entire page is just one long paragraph makes me immediately want to stop reading and do something else. When I’m reading a long paragraph, I tend to skim it, but with smaller ones, I will read the whole thing a lot more closely. When I think of long paragraphs, I think of Tolkien or Martin’s huge, unnecessarily detailed descriptive paragraphs. Being that I haven’t enjoyed either of their works, this is definitely a style that turns me off.
Somehow is my least favorite word. When characters “somehow” know something, it always really gets to me. It feels like lazy writing, like the author needs them to know this information, but doesn’t want to take the time to explain how they get it. If something somehow happened, please explain to me how it happened.
These are the big things that bother me when I am reading. I have enjoyed books that use all or some of these elements, but the story and characters really have to pull me in for me to overlook some of these things.