Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF! Feature, and Follow Friday (16)

It's Friday, again, Pretties!

Who's ready for some very bookish hop-a-long fun from Feature, and Follow Friday (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and TGIF (GReads!)?!  This week is all about or Processes and Pet Peeves. Should be interesting, to say the least. :)

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don’t like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

JesseThe one that popped into my head immediately is the insta-love between characters that a lot of books try to use instead of character development. If I'm going to like a character I need to know that character. I need to see them learn and grow and make brutal mistakes that bring tears to my eyes. The characters I love the most in books are always the broken ones. The ones that just can't seem to not screw up a good thing because they're afraid or angry or just being pig-headed. Those kinds of characters will always steal my heart before a character that walks onto the page for the first time and the heroine is already head over heels for him before she even learns his name. It just annoys me. I mean, not all insta-love is bad, if it works with the storyline. If two characters were connected by magic or something before they met and then they meet and feel "a connection" to one another, that could make sense. But every heroine in every book can't feel that kind of connection to a male character just because the author doesn't feel like writing their love story. If you're writing a romance then actually WRITE the romance! Otherwise the character's love story just seems more like a whiny, like story.

Kira: I agree with Jesse, insta-loves can be annoying and a bit repetitive when they don't fit into the story. On the other hand, they can also work splendidly if the concept fits (like the Night World concept of soulmates that we've been MBB-ing about for the past few weeks).

I think that's how it is with most of my pet peeves. I can be very contradictory. I can love something in one book, and be thoroughly annoyed by another author who, it seems, added the concept in because it worked elsewhere.

Like the seemingly ever-present love triangle. Don't get me wrong, I do love me a good love triangle. but the majority of the time it's just enough is enough already. It's overused, and half the time it's not even done that well.

Two-dimensional characters is another big one for me. I can forgive it with some secondary characters, but my hero/heroine, their love interest, the villian, and anyone who has a large enough part that we see them through about half the book (at least) needs to have more depth to their character. When I get immersed in a story, I like to view characters sort of like real people. Two-dimensional does not equal real people. Not even close. Give me back-story; show me reasons why they are the way they are; show me they are human (hell, even inhumans should have these traits), and that they aren't perfectly bad, or perfectly good. That they do feel other things. If they don't feel other things, show what damaged them, so that we might understand them better.

Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews? Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?

Jesse: When I'm writing a review, I like to make notes as I'm reading.
I used to just read through the book (whatever it may be) and when I was finished I'd sit down and spend the next forty minutes trying to remember all of the details from the beginning of the book. Now, I usually just write things down (things I liked, things I hated, just general ideas for the review) as I'm reading. It ends up saving me so much time when I'm ready to write the full review, because I already have half of it written. Then all I really need to do is go back and tie all my previously written thoughts together.

Kira's Five-to-Six Step Process for Writing a Book Review:

  • Step 1 - Read the Book. You might think this one ridiculous. Funny, even, since it's so obvious. I can't tell you how many times I've come across a review when you could just tell the author of said review never read more than the back synopsis. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine. Read the book, then tell me what you think. Otherwise, you're uselessly manipulating how the book stands up for itself, and might steer someone who would love the book away. Or, the other way around.

    Anyway, to make this more about me and my process, I read the book. Sometimes I take notes and highlight, depends on if I find anything in particular I want to remember. Generally, if I go into a book with the thinking that I'm going to review this, I'm more likely to remember key points without the need for highlights.
  • Step 2 - Collect My Thoughts. I'm weird. I like to collect my thoughts by reading through other people's thoughts. Some people read reviews before deciding to read a book, I  read them while I try to figure out where I stand. It may sound like cheating, but to me, it's sort of like debating a book while it's still fresh in my head. When I debate, I get ranty. When I get ranty in a review, I write words. Lots of words.

    It's like when you're discussing a book with a friend and they say they like how such-and-such happened, and you get all, "Oh, yeah! And I also loved how they did this, etc!" Or, if they say they didn't like something, and you are like, "Oh, well, that didn't really bother me as much as this did".

    I don't know. Maybe I'm crazy, having conversations in my head with other people's reviews.
  • Step 3 - Write Down these Newly Organized Thoughts. And, maybe, my own synopsis of the book. This would be where the review actually starts to be written. And where I rant. Because ranting is fun. 
  • Step 4 - Procrastinate. Believe it or not, this actually plays a crucial role. As I said above, when I debate my thoughts with the thoughts of other's I read, I get ranty. Ranting can sometimes drive off the main point. When I procrastinate (usually to google/youtube search something (vid, pic, etc.) down to add to the review because I was reminded of it during my ranting), it serves the purpose of making me step away from the review (figuratively)  for some time. When I go back, then I have to read though my review to hop back on my train of thought, and I can eliminate any unnecessary babbling. 
  • Step 5 - Finish the Review. This could fall anywhere to making minor tweaks spotted on the after-procrastinating read through, or actually finishing writing the review (if I managed to go on my youtube/google binge when I was only half-finished). Also, making the review pretty for blog publishing (coding, linking, pics, etc.).
  •  Step 6 - Ask Jesse to Read it Trough and make Sure I'm Not Crazy(-er Than I Think) (Optional). Sometimes my babbling gets the best of me. While it makes perfect sense to me (after all, it is my babbling), sometimes I think others might not be able to follow along well enough. Not anything against the readers, of course, it's just that just because something works in my head, doesn't mean it will work in theirs. When in doubt, I pass it along in case I need to translate better (if that makes sense. - See? It happens when I'm not reviewing, too). 

(well, mainly last week)

* Our lovely Book Boyfriends for the past two weeks were Night World's own Thierry Descoudres and Jamie Rasmussen.
* We finally got our The Iron Knight review out.
* And, we also reviewed Cinder and Ella, by Melissa Lemon.

15 comments:

  1. Completely agree with both of you, but definitely with Kira. Over-abused cliches can be completely awesome when they are written JUST write. However if your version of a love triangle is when there's 3 characters and 1 of them I barely see, I'm not going to care about the third person. If it's abundantly clear who the 'hero' is to the heroine, I'm not going to put my heart behind another character. I've completely stopped reading books before because the love interest I liked didn't win - I just got too frustrated.

    Rywn

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  2. So agree about the Insta-Love. Hard to care about characters when their relationship is poorly developed.

    I love the review suggestions especially the idea of reading other reviews. I sometimes do that as well in order to help me better organize my reviews. Definitely not cheating in my mind. Old follower.

    Here's my FF: http://feministfairytalereviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/follow-friday-7.html

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  3. Ah procrastination. It's an essential part of my own review process as well, haha.

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  4. Kira - I totally agree with you on reading other people's reviews! I don't think it's cheating. I think it's looking at the book in a different light. Also, reviewers sometimes point out something that I hadn't thought about, and then when I do think about it, I realize how much it affected my take on the novel.

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  5. I definitely agree about insta-love. I mean if there's a really good reason fitting the story, then maybe yeah! Otherwise it's just annoying. I don't mind love triangles too much though, even if it's frustrating.

    Have a great weekend! New follower here. :) Find out what my pet peeves are!

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  6. Lovely blog! The insta-love seems to be a huge pet peeve, but for some reason it just doesn't bother me all the time.

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  7. It's nice to read that I'm not the only one who enjoys reading other reviews of a book prior to writing my own review. I can't see how it could ever be called cheating (unless you were to lift someone else's post word-for-word, in which case there are bigger problems afoot!), and I think knowing what other people noticed about a book can give your own review more depth and relevancy.

    Happy Friday!

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  8. Great answers, I get frustrated when I read a new creative plot by one author and find a bunch of books following suit.

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  9. Insta-love. I have three words for it: I hate it. It so unrealistic and at times really frustrating. I sometimes feel lost with the main character if they are constantly falling in love with someone they just met! It's not like you see me going around kissing some random guy I just met! It's ridiculous!
    My Follow Friday
    -Roxy

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  10. I agree with you both about insta-love. It feels fake or forced in most instances. And I agree that it seems to show a lack of either character or plot development...and then they feel in love from across the room.

    But I think that Kira makes a good point that done well it can be good--it can make a point. I just think that others have taken an idea that was done well in one instance and over done it or badly done it too many times.

    Shanan
    http://www.thebookaddictnet.blogspot.com/

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  11. Ooh I hate insta-love too!! It's so overly done nowadays too it's annoying.

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  12. Insta-love is one of my pet peeves also. I actually WANT to read about the characters getting to know each other and falling in love. Call me crazy.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    New Follower!
    Sandra
    Waiting For Wentworth

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  13. Kira made a great point! A lot of things totally depend on the book and whether or not the author makes it work for their story!

    New follower :)

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  14. Ugh, YES!
    Instalove is EVIL.

    "I'm weird. I like to collect my thoughts by reading through other people's thoughts. Some people read reviews before deciding to read a book, I read them while I try to figure out where I stand."

    I do this too! Exactly! I like to think it's not cheating. I never steal ideas or words, but it can help to organise my thoughts into something I can verbalise/articulate, if you know what I mean?

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  15. Agreed - you don't have to necessarily like a character, but their motivations have to be strongly rooted in the writing.

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