- The moment I notice the incorrect use of a word - we all make mistakes. But I think that if your book has passed through at least two hands before being published, then a lot of the simple mistakes should have been caught. If this happens towards the middle or end of a book it doesn't bother me so much. But if it is on the first page or within the first chapter -- where interest is being built -- then that's where you lose me.
- Comma splices - I'm guilty of it too. The difference is that I write a blog and not a piece of work I'm expecting money for. A few misplaced commas will not make or break the book. But if someone had a rampant pointer finger that editor(s) didn't notice, then that is a problem.
- Those are my biggest grammar peeves. As far as general writing style goes, whining characters is at the top of my list - If you're going to give your MC a hard knock life, then give them some pride, or a backbone, or a brain. SOMETHING. I don't want to read about how much an MC hates their life and how much everyone hates them and how much everything sucks. Not saying that a character can't have downer moments. That's expected. But when 75% of a book is dealing with an MC refusing to believe that they're the MC it is a bit deflating.
- When major events are solved with "Meh." - I think we've all read that book. The one where an epic moment is building and everything is about to come to a head. You have these theories running through your head and your wondering how the character is going to react because you know that if it was you, shit would be hitting the fan. And then it's suddenly over. The MC and the villainized character interact and they never say what they want to say and just shrug it off. I notice this especially in stories with darker themes (e.g., self harm, rape, abuse). It's like the author never fully thought out how to approach it and chickened out at the end and just lets the MC fall off. Sometimes the victim gets back with their abuser, immediately forgives them, or suddenly declares their love for them. These are often the stories that are accused of taking a horrible real life situation and making light of it. While I don't necessarily think the author thinks light of it, I believe that if you can't do it some justice then you shouldn't be writing about it. Or if you do, then expect some backlash.
These are the main things that make me want to throw a book across the room. Usually within the first chapter but not always. What are yours?