Pet Peeves

We all have our pet peeves.  For editors, one is the big ones is reading a truly great story only to find it has a terrible ending.  All that time wasted.

In literature and film, one of mine is the fade to black after the hero says: “Here’s the plan.”  It is a trope to let the reader know there is a plan while keeping the reader completely in the dark as to what is going to happen.  It is like the author is taking his ball and going home.  If you’re not going to play my way you can’t play at all.

To be honest, this is used very effectively all the time.  I just don’t like it.

Similar is the “I’ll tell you later” or “there isn’t enough time to explain.”  Often one character asks, “what happened to you.” With the response, “No time, let’s get going.”

This is used so the author can keep the explanation in their pocket until it will be most dramatic when revealed.  But, the explanation would take less than a minute and they could tell it while moving.  In some cases they hop in a car and travel for hours.  Plenty of time to discuss.  But it won’t be brought up again until the exact moment the author want it.  Unrealistic.

In my novel, Lockdown, I never use these.  All of the main characters make plans.  To make it interesting for the reader, every one of those plans fail.  Some dramatically.  So the reader learns to expect the plans to fail.  That way when the final plan works the reader can be surprised, just before that plan breaks too.

What are some of your pet peeves?

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