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An author, part of an online book group I belong to, asked for people’s bugbears when it came to books. The responses were plentiful and, surprisingly, somewhat inspiring. Yes, inspiring.

Obviously, issues such as poor editing and being billed as ‘the next [insert title of one of last year’s bestsellers here]’ aren’t particularly food-worthy for the creative juices. But other things that made the list can be useful additions for the old ideas book. Here’s the top three to get started:

1. Pink covers – because all women love pink and women’s fiction and romance is for women only. This opens so many fictional doors, from the historical (back in Victorian times, it was baby boys that got dressed in head-to-toe pink) to the dystopian (striving for a heterosexual romance in a world where men don’t fall in love).

2. Titles where women are described by their relationship to a man. Find some wholly inappropriate relationship between a man and an asset and write about it. I’m going for the greedy man and his boar. But that’s just me, and I’m hungry.

3. Over-long titles (e.g. Somebody Did Something to Someone Somewhere). Open a magazine (the less literary the better), copy a random sentence and use it as your next story’s title. Job done.

But don’t let my choices stifle your creativity. By all means, think of your pet hates when it comes to books and channel that negativity into something fresh.

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