Writing Pet Peeves

If you have some randomness to share that you can't post elsewhere, this is the place to do it.
kkslider5552000
Community Villain
User avatar

Enjoys making videos that no one will watch

Posts: 7963

Contact:

Writing Pet Peeves

Postby kkslider5552000 » May 22nd, 2015, 6:02 am

Fun thread, just general story cliches and tropes that really bother you.

Characters who are shown to act exactly the same: This one's hard to describe that way so let me elaborate. I hate it when 2 characters are supposed to be their unique characters and yet its undermined by showing how they acted or said or did the exact same things. I mean, this will happen no matter what in a long running series, but when they intentionally point out the similarities, it can be awful. Sometimes it works, like when they showcase similarities you didn't expect and it isn't EXACTLY the same (Avatar immediately comes to mind). But when it's just like "Hey, you're like the other person, you have no originality!" it bothers me sometimes. Not sure if I've said this but one of least favorite cases of the series is the flashback ski case with Shinichi and Heiji. Even ignoring how BS the coincidences are, it basically exists to show that Heiji and Shinichi have no significant differences it seems. That's really all I got from it, and their parents and Ran and Kazuha were dangerously close to doing the same thing IRC. One of the first manga I ever got into was Love Hina, and I distinctly remember it threw away an entire character arc of how the main character was different from this other character...only to end up acting EXACTLY like this character. For no reason!

Twist endings: This is an easy one. I made an entire (failed) joke thread about this once. I hate when writers stupidly throw away all logical and good storytelling just to SHOCK the audience for the ending. It's just pathetic. I mean, sometimes they can be great, especially if foreshadowed. But bad twist endings are vastly worse than obvious endings. Mass Effect 3's ending still blows, for the record.

Pseudo-strong female characters: This one is less pet peeve and more me losing my patience, but I really hate it when a female character is introduced as someone really strong and that fails to be true after a while. It's happened way too frequently (though maybe less so recently?). Naruto is INCREDIBLY bad at this, which is doubly bad because if I made a top 10 list of best Naruto scenes, like 3 of them would just be unexpected strength shown by a girl...only for the follow-up to be bad or nothing at all. Kinda hurts those scenes a bit. And of course, there's adding really awful "depth" that turns strong characters into crybabies who need to be saved. I probably would've thrown my Bleach manga at something had I bothered to read the rest of Hueco Mundo for that reason. And again, it's not so much that it's inherently bad as much as it happens WAY too much and not for the right reasons.
Let's Play Bioshock Infinite: viewtopic.php?f=10&p=879594#p879594

Image

3DS friend code: 2878 - 9709 - 5054
Wii U ID: SliderGamer55
mangaluva
User avatar

Fangirl, Pokefreak, Grammar Roman, Movie Geek

Posts: 5246

Contact:

Re: Writing Pet Peeves

Postby mangaluva » June 1st, 2015, 8:39 am

^^^^all of thissssssss... a big one also is using characters as plot points instead of characters (MOFFAT). When developing characters, way too many writers focus entirely on their relevance to the main character. Every character, big and small, needs their own goals and motivations so that they can behave like a character instead of a walking plot point.

Also, overemphasis on shock value. Have something horrible happen to your characters to advance the plot or stimulate their emotional journey; don't do it for the sole purpose of making the audience go GASP (Looking at the GoT show writers and their tendency to add extra rape to EVERYTHING here)
Commi-Ninja
User avatar
Posts: 1583

Re: Writing Pet Peeves

Postby Commi-Ninja » June 1st, 2015, 1:23 pm

I agree with all of the above, but especially about the twist endings. There's nothing worse than illogical plot twists thrown in just to get a reaction. I'm one of those people who tend to figure out what's going on pretty early in a story, and I don't mind being surprised or wrong as long as it makes sense. If I'm wrong simply because the author thought, "Gee, this isn't subtle enough. I know! I'll completely throw everything I've written out the window to do this!"

On that note, foreshadowing can be extremely subtle and still work.
Spoilers for Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy follow. Don't read if you haven't read the books - trust me.
[spoiler]In the first book, Vin's earring didn't seem to be a big deal, but then it comes out while she's fighting the Lord Ruler and after that she can use the mist as an allomantic substitute. In the second, it gets ripped out again and she's able to use the mist again. She doesn't understand what's going on with the mist or if it's something unique to her (it is), and she doesn't know what causes/prevents her from using the mist. Not until nearly the end of the third book is it revealed that the earring acts as a hemalurgic spike in her ear, thus repelling the mist (as they're opposing forces - one of Ruin and one of Preservation). In the first and second books, the earring coming out occupies maybe two sentences apiece, and hemalurgy isn't explained until the beginning of the third book.

Theoretically, one could connect these dots as soon as hemalurgy is explained, but it's so subtle that that doesn't normally happen. In fact, everyone I know that has read the entire series was not able to guess this particular twist.
My point, in short: it's an absolutely brilliantly well done plot twist that didn't undermine anything in the series. Sanderson took the care to show from the beginning what was going on - even if the reader doesn't connect the dots until Vin does at the end.[/spoiler]
Conclusion: If you want well done plot twists, read anything of Brandon Sanderson's. He doesn't always use them, but when he does, it's genius.
3DS FC: 4699-5851-2068
I might wake up early and go running. I also might wake up and win the lottery. The odds are about the same.
mangaluva
User avatar

Fangirl, Pokefreak, Grammar Roman, Movie Geek

Posts: 5246

Contact:

Re: Writing Pet Peeves

Postby mangaluva » June 1st, 2015, 3:08 pm

Terry Pratchett's good at subtle foreshadowing and plot twists that make sense, too, and not the blatant kinda foreshadowing where you read a scene and go "I have no idea what just happened, what was that all about?" and understand it at the end, but the subtle kind where you don't even realize it's foreshadowing until you reread it and go "ohhhhh.... OH OKAY". Best example, I think, is Monstrous Regiment.

[spoiler]Jackrum's continual refrain of "I am not a violent/untruthful/etc man"... no, no she isn't. You can also figure out the serial plot twist if you know that the title of the book is taken from John Knox's "The First Blast Of The Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment Of Women".[/spoiler]

I think foreshadowing is better when it's stuble, rather than slapping the audience about the head with it.

On that note, characters giving an "as you already know..." type of explanation to other characters for the benefit of the audience. If you need to tell the readers something that all of the characters present already know, either add in a character who doesn't know for them to lecture at... or don't exposit, just have the characters keep doing their thing around the subject and assume that your readers are not utter muppets and able to determine what's going on from clear enough context clues.

I remember reading Never Let Me Go and actually quite enjoying it until the scene where...
[spoiler]...a teacher flips out and yells "YOU'RE ALL CLONES AND BORN TO DIE IN ORGAN TRANSPLANTS" at her class. That much information had, prior to that point, I thought, been communicated well enough in the way the kids talked about their futures and surgeries, the way they all lived in a boarding school but none of them had families or any issues about dead or missing families, things like that. That scene with the teacher just felt really clumsy, like Ishiguro was going "hmmm, what if the readers can't take context clues unless they're shoved up their collective nose?" *SHOVE*[/spoiler]
kkslider5552000
Community Villain
User avatar

Enjoys making videos that no one will watch

Posts: 7963

Contact:

Re: Writing Pet Peeves

Postby kkslider5552000 » June 1st, 2015, 4:20 pm

Honestly, I think my issue with twist endings has a lot to do with how much it just felt feels like the writer is so desperate to surprise people and not be predictable that ANYTHING worthwhile is an acceptable casualty in order for the audience to not see a thing coming.
Let's Play Bioshock Infinite: viewtopic.php?f=10&p=879594#p879594

Image

3DS friend code: 2878 - 9709 - 5054
Wii U ID: SliderGamer55

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests