Book Throwing Prompts

 “Oh, Mariah, let us not quarrel. We will be married within the month. At least your papa’s house contains plenty of books. You may practise throwing them.”


London Girl

London Girl

Listing the things that Prompt me to Throw a Book, is bound to cause offence, I fear. So I’ll start with a modicum of explanation.

I speak standard English. It has a decidedly Scottish intonation, but that’s accent and geography. I grew up in a Scottish industrial village and even in those primary years, I spoke standard English. I have no idea why as I mixed with everyone in the playground, street, store etc.

So, I do not react well to sloppy grammar and it will make me Throw a Book – metaphorically speaking.

Repetition is something else that flexes the muscles of my throwing arm. I am not intellectually challenged by much. I may not know what something means, but I do know how to find out. So, I do not require to be told and re-told that the heroine was never cuddled by her mother or the hero’s first wife went off with his best friend and first fortune over and over; and over again. As a reader, dear editors of popular fiction, I can do subtlety.

Book Throwing Prompt number three is swearing and cursing used to replace vocabulary. There is always a way to say what you need to say although it may take a little while to work out what that is. The more innocent cliché is in here, too. Yes, they make your piece flow and you’ll read through it without the writer’s eye tripping over anything, but equally, it’s unmemorable prose for the reader. I want to find images I haven’t thought of and descriptions I haven’t seen used before.

I could go on… You may, however, prefer to read what prompts other writers to throw books and here are a few. Start with Diane and follow on:

Heidi M. Thomas
* Anne Stenhouse at
* Diane Bator at
* Fiona McGier at
* Margaret Fieland at
* Ginger Simpson at
* Geeta Kakade at 
* Connie Vines at
* Beverley Bateman –
* Rhobin Courtright – Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


26 thoughts on “Book Throwing Prompts

  1. Yes, definitely poorly-written books get the heave-ho. As for swearing, since I write contemporary I disagree with this slightly, as long as the cursing is a part of the character’s reaction to some extreme stress. As I tell teens I sub for, EVERYONE in the world knows those same 5 words they over-use in the halls, so I don’t expect to hear them in a classroom. Please show you are a native speaker of English and be a big more creative. If you over-use them, what will you say when you drop a hammer on your toe? You’ll have no words left that have that kind of emphasis, that will ease your pain just in the saying of them!

    But I did write a romance with a biker queen as the heroine, and while she can speak eloquently during the day, while running a marketing firm, she relaxes by swearing like a Marine on weekends. That’s a part of her personality, and something she’ll obviously have to learn to control better once she has a child…as I did ! ;-D


  2. Great post, You and I share reasons why we wouldn’t finish a book. I especially hate repetitiveness as it a lack of laziness or knowledge of using a Thesaurus.


  3. Yes to all three. I don’t mind well-placed profanity or when it’s necessary because of the character, but cussing for cussing sake? No.

    It’s funny. Whenever I read one of the hop’s post, I always think how much more entertaining they are than mine. LOL Yours is fun and entertaining and succinct. I love it.


  4. Sloppy grammar and repetition have been mentioned by quite a few people, so it’s very important and writers need to pay attention to them – or we know where their books goes. 🙂
    Thanks got the post Anne.


  5. Typos and mis-spellings are probably the main reason (I do think an author/publisher should know the difference between berth and birth …. I find it hard to switch off the inner editor when reading so find myself eg calculating ages or relationships and thinking no, that would mean her mother was 54 when she was born; or hang on a minute, don’t you mean her great-grandmother?


    • Hi Kate, I do the arithmetic thing, too. My spelling is now a bit unreliable, but I do find myself tossed out of a narrative by some howlers. Berth and birth would certainly be one. Anne


  6. What a great idea! I read all the posts. The thing that makes me throw a book down is really bad writing or if it’s too fantastic. If I have to remember too many places and too many names, or too many characteristics about everyone, I lose track and therefore interest.


    • Hi Suzanne, So glad you visited all the posts, thank you. I know what you mean about over-complicating stuff. It’s off-putting and makes you think there might be an exam at the end. Anne


  7. Books which haven’t been proof-read. Especially ebooks – it’s so easy to publish them but the full copy editing and proof reading process still needs to be done. Sloppy editing makes me want to throw my kindle.


  8. Hi Anne. I enjoyed your post and I do agree. And so does my friend who is one of my editors. I tend to want to repeat things from time to time and then need to be reined back. Thank you for this helpful post.


    • Hi Susan, thanks for dropping in. I do it, too, in drafts and that’s the beauty of editing and editors. I wondered why i might do it and I suspect it’s the brain keeping the story on track. Then you need to take out that reminder. Anne


  9. Hi Anne:

    Love your blog and your interesting post. Couldn’t agree with you more.
    I read and re-read my book at least five times (could be overdoing it but it’s the British emphasis on ‘checking your work’ that was so much a part of my education in India) before I send it in to try and ‘catch’ all the mistakes and prevent readers dying of boredom.


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