- let your hero have a disgusting habit, like smoking cigars (even if he's rich) or chewing and spitting tobacco (even if he's a cowboy)
- put today's name brands on items. I may want to reread your book 15 years from now!
- forget about your secondary characters, even if you have limited space. Try to have them all as real as possible; it takes away from the overall effect if they're all cardboard cutouts.
P.S. - after 4 years and nearly 1,000 posts, please let me clarify that this discussion thread is for readers to share what they dislike about writing styles. This is not intended to be a dialog with actual authors. Authors are welcome to express their dislikes as readers, but we would REALLY prefer if you don't self-identify as an author. All readers are created equal - we don't need to know your profession. Authors who want to discuss a similar topic should go to the Meet Our Authors forum - there's a link at the bottom of the page. Thank you all for your cooperation.
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