A few weeks ago, I selected a book to review that admitted it was a novella, but pretended it was a stand-alone. When I opened it up, the book was fifty seven pages and was about the farthest thing from a stand-alone I could think of. Instead, I think it’s a few chapters the author cut from another book and just… embellished. There was no time to invest in the characters, and instead I was expected to believe they were obsessed enough with each other to go from dreaming of having sex with one another to marriage – in fifty seven pages.
My pet peeve radar went off.
I loathe this. First of all, fifty seven pages is not a novella. It isn’t even a short story. It’s a plot bunny that needs further unpacking. 13,000 words may sound like a lot, and writing that much is arduous, do not get me wrong, but it’s also not a story. It’s the start of one, the middle of one, or the end of one, but no. NO. I am not a crackpot, but novellas should be long enough that I at least remember the characters’ names by the time I reach the HEA. 120 pages sounds good. Shall we pass a Romancelandia law?
This got me thinking. I know this might not bother other folks like it bothers me, but I also know I’m not alone. I’m not talking about trope violations or overtly awful and offensive things. I’m more talking about the book equivalent of someone loading the dishwasher wrong. So, I’m curious, what are your pet peeves?!
Do you loathe when previews are stuffed into the back of a Kindle book and there’s no notice ahead of time? What about when the book tells you it’s a standalone, but then expects you to know an entire house-party-worth of people? Does your ire get up when a book calls itself Regency but then refers to Queen Victoria? How do you feel when people call things erotica that are actually just romance with a lot of sex? Let it allllllll out, folks. Vent away!
~ Kristen Donnelly