Welcome to the second installment in the Thoughtful Thursday column. If you have questions you would like to see addressed in this space, feel free to contact us, and put Thoughtful Thursday in the subject line.

Last week we had a great discussion about what your fantasy sin is. I’d like to acknowledge and welcome all the recently out-of-the-closet Goodkind fans. This week, I’d like to focus on the other end of the reading relationship: the author. There was a spirited discussion last week about the use of the word “sin,” so to keep anyone from thinking I have serious issues, I’m switching to the word “error” for today’s question: What is the most egregious error an author can commit in a book? Is there something a beloved author can do that is so horrible that you will stop reading the book?

I have some pet peeves when it comes to reading – “magik” spelled with a K for example – but am willing to overlook that if the story is strong. Where I will not budge is on superfluous violence. A good author should be able to denote the villain without having them kick puppies in the street or, what is more frequently done: rape or child abuse. I understand that those elements can be essential to the story line, and do not object to them in all cases, but at times it almost feels like there is an element of prurience to the sexual violence.

Okay, readers, it’s your turn: What do you think is an author’s most egregious error?


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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