2. Writers who manipulate the plot to suit their ideas of what a nice scene would be, and it doesn’t logically follow the plot.
Usually this involves some clichéd love scene. Maybe after being rescued your hero and heroine are caught in a torrential downpour and find shelter in a ramshackle tenement. It’s cold, they’re both soaked, wind is whistling through the bug-sized cracks but--despite the blue tinge to their anatomy--they stop to have sex.
Like like that Seinfield episode where George yells, “I have shrinkage,” events have to contain logic. Unless you’ve laid the groundwork to establish your hero is a superhuman sex machine, sub-zero temperatures are the opposite of a turn on. So are sand, insects, reptiles, or rodents in the vicinity, and scenes where they haven’t bathed in days, but the minute they are alone and supposedly ‘safe,’ they have sex.
3. Characters not acting in character.
In Linda Seger’s book, Creating Unforgettable Characters, she explains that every character is the result of how they grew up, their background and their core personalities. We are the sum of our parts. A person’s qualities in turn imply other qualities. A former policeman can be expected to know something about guns and the law. A heroine presented as a savvy businesswoman can’t go around making one bad decision after another. Every action is filtered through experience and background. Once you create a person, you must remain true to who and what you have created.
4. Characters who stomp, stalk, clench fists and glare at each other, exhibit no self-control and are victims of their emotions, including passion.
A character who stomps around with her fists clenched, glaring at the hero until the touch of his hand makes her hot for him is two-dimensional. A well-drawn heroine has emotions that are true to her background and core personality. Nobody has only one or two emotional reactions, and as we grow, we learn to exert control over our actions. It’s all a part of growing up.
5. Writers who think bickering equals conflict.
Every word should push your story forward. Bickering is verbal quicksand. Once the snappy comebacks stop, is there anything preventing your hero and heroine from falling into each other’s arms except word count? Tell me why your hero and heroine can’t be joined, and then—put that gun on the mantelpiece.
That’s enough for today…come back next week for five more of our personal pet peeves…