What are your “red flags” in books?


What if it’s an original quote 0_0


True, but at times back stories are not needed since not everyone had that tragic past etc. (so forced back stories too)


Hunger Games was written in first, and it was written in a way that I enjoyed reading with it involved. Very rarely do books do that for me.

Third…I just can’t.


Also: I’m an old grouchy grandma who’s set in her shitty ways


I hate the word daddy used as a sexual term. I hate it. And the word smirk. Jesus they over killed that one.


A giant red flag for me when reading the blurb is when at the end of the plot description, they mention that the MC will have to choose between saving the entirety of mankind, or falling in love dramatic arm gestures
As @SaintCorvus said, it’s basically an indicator that the story will start out great with motivated characters and goals and common sense, but that all of that will be thrown out of the window because the MC spotted a bad boy that needs saving. Also for some reason the climax of the book is always the same: these characters have met three days ago and the MC is now willing to sacrifice everything, including her own life and the lives of countless others, to prove her undying love for this guy, just because he has sad eyes and a six pack. UGH.


Ah yes, I think I understand you better now. Thank you for explaining that a bit more in detail. :slight_smile:

As for quotes, now that you mention them (that statement made me wonder, too): I think they can be a valuable addition to your work if they’re original and used sparingly. I work some newspaper snippets or diary entries into one of my works because the perspective of my narrator (1st person/3rd person with close proximity to the character) doesn’t always offer the necessary insight into the world around them. Others (Sanderson, for example) use quotes of people long dead to foreshadow the events to come etc.

As is the rule with everything: done in just the right way and with just the right amount of it weaved into the work, it can do wonders.

@Causality hello fellow grandma :smiley:

I know what you mean. 3rd person in present tense is… weird. I don’t even like it that much when it’s a 1st person narrator that uses that tense. It can feel very immediate (again: if done right lol), but most of the time, authors tend to rush the story when they’re using 1st person present. As you said, it was done just right with Katniss. Collins takes her time actually narrating the damn thing all while maintaining a natural voice for Katniss. That takes skill.

As for the smirking… If a “bad boy” does it, I’m out. If it’s done by someone who rarely smiles because they’re just a sad puppy or they are someone who really cares and just sometimes teases their loved ones, I have no problem with the word. But I totally get what you mean. It is quite overused.


I think the only thing that ever puts me off is shell characters—characters that are bland and seem to just be a working figure head for the plot.


The overuse of dialog tags or exclamation points. Both become a distraction for me.

Too much description or explanations. I want to read the story, not have it paused while the writer gives info that I don’t really need all at once. Like giving me a full description of a character instead of giving me a sprinkling that becomes a part of the story.


Present Tense First Person narration - the flag that rivals China’s in hue

Teen feel special:

Book takes place in the high school or a university that is just like a high school - pass
& the MC is ‘hated’ - double pass
& but wait! She is blonde and has blue eyes and is a totally average girl or is a biatch, but there are reasons - I said forget it!
& the bully boy werewolf… or ‘older man’ of 22 yo, that ruthless billionaire - by then I had removed myself to Twitter and am looking at videos to heal the damage done

Chapter one air drops me into the midst of 5+ characters doing something, and talking, then another 3+ join in, then the scene changes to 6 more new characters— if I wanted to watch soccer, i’d watch soccer, my friend. At least in soccer they have numbers on their shirts


I have an inkling that you have a specific book in mind for the teen feel special one :stuck_out_tongue:


Oh, totally. It is called ‘Werewolf Genre’, and usually starts with ‘this is my first book’, the author gets flabbergasted by an unbeatable writer’s block by chapter 5, and thinks it is super original because… it is just like not like every other one, reasons.


That’s how my book is written too! I personally like how you’re able to build suspense with each character


Hello to you, too, fellow grandma!

Yes. That is exactly why I enjoyed her narration. Everything just…flowed. I didn’t even realize it was in present tense until I read Catching Fire.

That’s the exact context I loathe it being used in. When I read that about the love interest, I just shut the book down and delete it. I’m with it used in any other form. But with shitty-written bad-boys, I can’t.


#1 is Fan Fiction. I don’t read it. As soon as I learn that something is Fan Fiction I am automatically put off. I’m the kind of person that likes to stick with canon and believe that if an author who created something didn’t write it or approve of someone else writing it, then I don’t want to even set my eyes on it

#2 is when within the first few paragraphs I can tell, just tell, that the author is trying way too hard to either emulate or rip off a popular story by another author for the sake of getting interest in their story.


People irl usually don’t think logically


I generally don’t like characters who ‘aren’t like other girls’ unless it’s used for comedic purposes e.g ‘She wasn’t like the other girls, mainly due to the fact she had a habit of blowing things up with her mind.’

But ‘MC wasn’t like the others who wore revealing clothes and spent all day doing their makeup and chasing boys, no she only liked books and would backtrack on all her convictions by falling for the hot new guy after a few snarky interactions.’ Bleh they lost their appeal when I was 15.


The writing style. Right away from the first chapter, I can tell the author’s writing style and if I don’t like it, I’m out. Can’t really describe what I don’t like exactly, but many teen fiction and teen romance novel have writing styles that I don’t enjoy.


Rf for me is too much ‘alphamale’ and lame girl mc.

Idk. I think its bland reading it. Like every guy is a werewolf like a story trying to mark you. Too much beautiful people in there. Shallow plot/conflict.


True. Its very popular story here so i swim to its first chapter hoping to read an ‘oh so wow’ story but end up annoyed because its not fresh for me AND i read some typos. It turn me off because it said in her profile she’s a top lister author and yet her work is like a high schooler. Idk maybe she typed so fast to finish it. Lol