I was recently reading a blog which talked about reader pet peeves. The majority of them were very subjective (“Don’t drag out the plot too much” “Don’t make the names too complicated” “Don’t be too descriptive”). There are people who love descriptions and want their authors to paint a picture in words. There are times, especially in the realm of speculative fiction, when you can’t just jump into the action. This isn’t 1920’s New York you’re dealing with. It’s Ambergia at the turn of the 5th century of Tronime. The setting actually has to be set up or you’ll lose the readers immediately.

I also noticed that many of the pet peeves listed were genre specific. Characters that angst over the same thing throughout the story – how many “teen romance” books have that as the plot? Too many characters, characters with too many different names, Names that are ambiguous when it comes to pronunciation – those things are all over in epic fantasy (Strider turns into Aragorn, as an example).

A couple of the comments just made me chuckle. “Dragged out plots with useless stuff makes my mind tired,” said one poster. Another said that all the pet peeves were just examples of bad writing that is unprofessional.

As a fantasy writer, I took up this challenge – Write a short story that doesn’t have complicated names, draggy subplots, too many details and descriptions, too much angst or too many characters.



There was a wizard named Bob. He had a daughter named Julie. When Julie grew up, she fell in love with a knight named Sir Richard. Bob did not like Sir Richard. He turned Sir Richard into a frog. When Julie returned from picking flowers one day, she asked her father what was for dinner.

“Frogs legs,” he said with a smile.

The end