What are your “red flags” in books?


Agreed. Like I said, I don’t like it when people use words in the incorrect context or if they are using it like people do the word “senpai.”


Re:Zero in a nutshell


Not to mention that the vocabulary used in normal day-to-day conversation varied greatly several centuries ago compared to now. Sure, Shakespeare’s work was elegant in prose and used some advanced language at the time (even some made-up words), but it wasn’t THAT difficult to understand in the time period.

This is coming from a person who loathes Shakespeare with a burning passion, by the way.



That is the worst. I do sooo much research for anything that needs it in my stories, haha.


Actually, me too. In fact, I often get turned off by prose that comes across as too “plain” and straightforward. I’m a sucker for imagery and metaphors and long, beautiful descriptions. As long as it’s artfully done, make that prose as purple as you like.


Over dialogued descriptions. You have to trust the reader has an imagination and knows what a dark alley looks like. You don’t need too much description of the trash cans and graffiti and dripping water etc. It trips up the reader and bogs down the flow of the story.



Just use a few words and let the image paint itself in the reader’s head. I mean, look at what CS Lewis did with Narnia, and all he ever really said about it was that the snow was powdery cold.


I just remember a few more red flags aside from overchoreographed fights. Mostly found in anime-inspired books that try to emulate tropes that work well in anime but not in writing.

Fight talk. Just…no. Really, a speech in almost every single line as the fight goes on? It’s a quarrel, not a physical fight. The exception is spellcasting, in which you may need some kind of incantation.

Another annoying part in fight talk is if the fighters explain about how their powers work to each other for no good reason (other than author’s attempt to familiarize readers’ with the power/magic system) and nobody bothers to exploit the knowledge afterwards.

Big flashback in the middle of a fight. Bye-bye flow. It’s even more cringey if the heroes are already losing and after the flashback, they own the very powerful enemies.

Another asspull trope is power of sheer determination. I used to be okay with this, but some WP books took it too far and ruined it for me. All the heroes need is just losing and then screaming “I WON’T GIVE UP!!!” (having a big flashback before this is an annoying bonus) and miracles happen.

Starting out by throwing readers straight into a battle scene is a no-no as well. Maybe in a visual medium it looks epic because of flashy kabooms, but in writing it doesn’t.


On Wattpad, red flags are:

Introduces themes or content I refuse to read or feel highly uncomfortable reading. (e.g. a sex scene or something of that nature)

Romance/Teen fic vibe. If I start chapter one and I get a “it was my first day at a new school” “I woke up and …insert boring daily routine here that shows how ultra normal the MC is” or anything alluding to something shallow and cliche.

Unreadable writing. I understand making a few typos and grammar errors, but if it’s so bad that I can’t read one paragraph without feeling like I’ve suddenly become the authors editor, I won’t finish the book.

Lots of expose and very little action. If there’s no hook, I’m putting it down.

Ultra long chapters. If I’ve been reading for fifteen minutes and still haven’t finished chapter one, I’ve already lost interest. On Wattpad I struggle to read for very long without breaks due to inattention and the interaction between a screen and my brain, therefore if it’s too long I’ll lose interest usually regardless of how interesting the story is. (I always feel bad cause if it were on paper I probably wouldn’t have that issue, but I just can’t do it online)

For traditionally published books:

Cliche openings. Already touched on the topic.

Introduces subject matter I’m uncomfortable with or refrain from reading for personal reasons.

Lacks a hook in chapter one (or the prologue)

Drags on with flowery language.

Lacks clear plot and motive. If I can’t side with the MC or at least see what they’re striving for, I’m just diving in blindly and fumbling around for a story. I need to have a clear direction of where the MC is going even if they never get there.

There’s probably a lot more, but those are the big big ones for me.



Honestly, I only dislike it when I feel like a scene should go faster, lime during a car chas, or if it’s in first POV and the character isn’t supposed to be very observant or poetic or anything.


True. But, I’m just saying. As a junior in high school I truly had no idea what I was looking at or reading when it came to the movie and literature. The professor had a lot of explaining to do to the class. I think I am good now.


That’s what my English teacher called rose prose. (As in A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’)

This. So many times this …

My biggest thing, after bad grammar, is when I’ve finished the first chapter and I think of the MC and go ‘meh’ or worse ‘I hope you choke.’ Make me care in a positive way or I’m gone.


Usually, if the book has words, and also punctuation, I’m like, no

I can’t do words, man

make them pictures instead


So old-school. For gen Z, only video. A little immersive VR for the edgier stories.



Only picture


Any book that reads like an aesthetic or mood board instead of possessing an actual plot. For example, descriptions of who should play the characters, music in each chapter, descriptions of what they’re inspired by or what the “vibe” for the story should be, purple prose style descriptions of what or who the characters and countries are. They aren’t necessarily bad things by themselves but combined with the fact that the inclusion of them means the exclusion of storytelling and meaningful action, they’re a no for me. . . I guess it comes down to showing and not telling and even though it’s common advice it’s not practiced as often as it should be.

Also, any retelling of a myth placed in modern times and myth retellings or myth inspired stories reducing multifaceted Gods, supernatural being, folklore and cultures down to easy to swallow stereotypical nonsense.


Romabticised abuse. A heroine who’s annoyingly naive and bland. Or a cliche chicklit character who inatrad of being “sassy” is just gobby amd irritating.


This sounds so picky but it really is a pet peeve of mine. :see_no_evil:

I can’t read a book if the author uses a full stop instead of a comma before the dialogue tag. It’s such a minor nitpick but it’s so distracting - if it’s a one-time slip up it’s not an issue, but if it happens throughout the book it’s a dealbreaker for me. :sweat_smile:

“I like it.” She said.
instead of
“I like it,” she said.






I have so many nitpicky dealbreakers. The story has to be more interesting than the nitpick is distracting. At the end of the day, the story usually isn’t that interesting.