Compiled by Ann Bruce
I'm about to break one of the cardinal rules of authors and blogging: Do not bash other authors' books. Generally, authors who do this come across as bitter and envious. Or so that's what I assume. And you always have the other authors' rabid fan girls come out and call you names and challenge you to write something better.
First and foremost, I'm a reader and an avid one at that. I read about five to ten books at a time and I finish about three a week. More if they're comic books. When I buy a book, I think of it as a tacit agreement between myself and the author that he or she has put in a great deal of effort to spin a tale to entertain me.
There's no guarantee that I'll enjoy the book, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. That being said, if a book comes across as being written by someone who couldn't be bothered to put in a decent effort, then the agreement is in breach and I get ticked off.
Unfortunately,in the last few weeks, I came across a bad batch of books. Many of them ended up flying across the room and slamming into a much-abused wall. A couple even went back to the bookstore because I wanted my money back for time I'll never be able to recoup.
So, what drove me to violate an author's cardinal rule? Oh, so many things...
- Not everyone from Canada says "a boot"; the majority of us say "about." That's the equivalent of a non-American assuming all Americans say "y'all."
- Canadians do not say "ice hockey." There is no such thing as "ice hockey" for us. It is simply "hockey." It is the NHL, not the NIHL. An NHL player will not say "ice hockey," especially if he's a Canadian from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
- Accents in written French are NOT optional. "Bien sûr" means "of course." "Bien sur" is literally "good on" and that's gibberish. Anyone with a passing knowledge of French reading "Chere, desolee. Entrez, s'il vous plait" will find it as painful as an Anglophone reading "Its okay. It wouldve been easier if itd been hers."
- French nouns have gender. If your hero says to the heroine, "Cher, merci bien," I'm going to think your heroine is actually a man and maybe had a sex change. Really, I will and I will laugh.
- The free translation services offered in the Internet are not perfect, so please do not rely on them. For instance, "Look at me" should be "regardez-moi" or "regardes-moi," not "me regardes." The latter is very awkward and wouldn't be used.
- Kick-ass heroes and heroines are not so kick-ass when they mix up martial arts styles.
- You will not become a martial arts master in one season, despite what you saw in The Last Samurai.
- Anachronisms. *sigh* I'm not a stickler for historical accuracy, but if your Regency heroine travels to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower…well, I know you and your editor both need a refresher junior high history lesson.
- If your villain keeps his password right next to the computer and stores all his incriminating files in a folder called "Laundering" or "Private," he is so not a criminal mastermind.
- When your computer system is being attacked, don't stand there and watch a pretty visual representation of it on a really big screen. Go pull your network cable or your power cord. Really, it is that simple. And no, your servers won't explode and you won't lose data.
- 128-bit encryption is not double the encryption of 64-bit.
- RAM is not where your save all your files and it does not crash. That's your hard disk drive.
- Black is not all colours combined. White is. A rainbow is light that has been refracted, usually by water, which is why rainbows normally appear when it rains. Black is the absence of colour.
The Cranky Canadian
"A boot" is pretty much confined to a tiny part of Eastern Canada. So, if your hero is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which is in Western Canada, he will not speak with an accent and say "a boot." In fact, he'll sound more like a New Yorker because he probably watched too much Seinfeld.
The Cranky Francophone
The Cranky Martial Artist
You cannot practice kung-fu moves with a katana. Kung-fu is Chinese and a katana is a Japanese sword.
You would not address your kung-fu instructor as "sensai," but as "sifu." Once again, kung-fu and "sifu" are Chinese and "sensai" is Japanese.
You cannot be a second degree black belt in a Korean karate. Karate is Japanese. Korean martial arts include tae kwon do, hap ki do, etc.
The Cranky Geek
To access my computer, you must have the hard drive password. Without it, you cannot even get to the initial login screen and the hard drive will lock after too many failed attempts, at which point only the manufacturer will be able to unlock it. After you get past the hard drive password, you need a login ID and password. And after that, you will have to navigate through my folder system, which I named using the names of Greek and Roman deities. Good luck trying to find my bank account spreadsheets. If you persevered to this point and have found the file, you need a password to open it.
Really, so if I'm just the average computer user, imagine what a real criminal mastermind's security system is like.
Now, if anyone feels like flaming me, go right ahead. I'm wearing my big girl pants; I can take it.
If you read something I wrote and it's completely wrong, feel free to email me. I'll be the first to admit I'm far from perfect.
The Contest!So, what ruins your reading experience?
One cranky commenter will win a print copy of Fall Dead. Winner will be announced Monday, September 17, 2007.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
- Shofar, So Good
- No-Nonsense girl
- Buck Naked Politics
- Working At Home Mom
- (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)