Okay, it’s time for me to share my pet peeves with you, take notes because I read a lot of books, and once I’m annoyed your book no longer means anything to me.
- The most annoying thing that I have ever seen in a book (yes, more annoying than typos), is when authors use the ‘above’. “See the above photo” or “as mentioned above”, while there is nothing inherently wrong with those statements in and of themselves, there is when the above mentioned photos or statements AREN’T above, but actually 6 pages back. Yes, when we write a book everything is above to us, but when the book is printed it simply isn’t one long document anymore (well, maybe on Kindle). There are pages, and unless you are 100% sure that what you are referring to is going to be printed on the same page, you need to use a different phrase. “Previously mentioned,” “Photo 1A,” “the photo on page 86,” “see chapter 2” there are just tons of things that you can put that do not misuse the preposition above. Because I’m pretty sure that all of us learned in our toddler years that above does not equal previous, it is in fact in the upward direction in relation to another object.
- Typos. Yes, typos annoy me. Not in blogs, or even so much in self-published books. But if I get a book from a traditional publisher and it spells the word do with only a ‘d’ (true story) I will never get over it. If your book is published traditionally, it has to go through like 3 different editors, somebody really ought to catch something as serious as that!
- Alright, the two mentioned above (note the correct usage of above) are really the biggest two. However, if you are writing Christian non-fiction, it’s key to use a reliable translation. I don’t want to spend the entire book looking up the Scriptures you used because you used a paraphrase instead of an actual translation. I don’t care if the Message uses your favorite wording, I want to know what God actually said, not what one man thinks God meant. There is a time and a place for that, and it isn’t in non-fiction books where you are trying to support your theory.
I’m sure that there are more, however those are the main ones. What about you? Do you have any pet peeves that we should avoid in our writing? Please help us out and share!