Hated plots

  • 11 Replies
  • 105 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Sheepy-Pie

  • Mistress of Death
  • Global Moderator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 1158
  • It lasted forever, And ended so soon.
    • View Profile
Hated plots
« on: October 10, 2017, 04:29:56 PM »
This one will be more for ones read, but I'd like to know about plots or sub-plots which you have hated. What didn't work for you, or really rub you the wrong way? Why didn't you like them? If they were a plot of yours, did you ditch it? Rework it? Tell me :D


I think my first 'novel' idea would fall under this, I wrote it as a teen. Looking back it was a mess. A mary-sue, cliches, weird names... Hell it's actually still floating around the internet somewhere... :o

As for one I've read, a book series where one of the antagonists from the previous series (set a few years back) ends up as the protag's love interest. Me and friend both agree that NOPE!
 Big Red X :P wrong wrong just wrong. It felt so out of character and so weird. However in my opinion that series left much desired :/

*

Xanxa

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 164
  • Psychedelic Purple Chicken
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 08:25:47 PM »
As for one I've read, a book series where one of the antagonists from the previous series (set a few years back) ends up as the protag's love interest.

I've read similar plots to that, whereby the MC ends up falling in love with the man who captured her, tormented her and did similar things to her friends.  Stockholm syndrome much?  Also, she had a relationship, albeit a stormy one, with another man who treated her decently.  OK, they had a bit of a shaky start, but after that they seemed to get on really well.  Then, when he suggested making it more permanent, she turned him down and went off with her old enemy, claiming to have fallen in love with him.  The enemy did claim to be possessed and later redeemed himself but it still didn't make sense to me that the MC would leave a relationship that had history to go off with someone she barely knew. 

The other plot which really annoyed me (by the same author, incidentally) was whereby the MC was supposed to be a skilled spy with fairly decent fighting skills, yet time after time she was captured by various enemies.  She'd escape easily, either by herself or with help, only to be captured again.  This pattern kept up for three (yes, THREE!) novels in the same series.  Surely one would think that she'd learned her lesson after the first capture and escape, but oh no, she kept repeating her mistake.  I liked the books for other reasons but couldn't help getting frustrated over the repetition. 

As for my own plots, there are two which I changed.  One because it simply didn't make sense that the MC would agree to marry a man she loathed, especially when she had an ongoing relationship.  I still made her marry the loathsome one, but for a specific reason.  I invented the concept of the "revenge marriage".  The loathsome man killed the MC's love interest, making it look like an accident.  MC finds out, and vows revenge on him via the "revenge marriage" which is a tradition in her culture.  It allows her to marry him and have the right to kill him.  It sounds twisted but it works. 

The other one involved me doing massive re-writes because of plot holes.  There were too many sub-plots going on and too many unnecessary side characters being introduced.  I made all the sub-plots link to one perpetrator and all the unnecessary side characters become his victims.  In the original version, the MC's lover committed suicide because he thought he'd failed her.  It seemed lame to me so I completely re-wrote him, making him into a coward who let the MC go into a dangerous situation and only reluctantly going to rescue her because her father pressured him into it.  The suicide made more sense after that, because he becomes overwhelmed with guilt that he hadn't tried harder to save her.  In the end, a gang of vagrants rescue her, thus shaming him. 
The wind turns green and the Goddess smiles.  Everything will be the right size.

*

JayLee

  • Expert
  • ****
  • 290
    • View Profile
    • Paperweight Editorial
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 10:42:03 PM »
I actually can't think of any one plot structure I hate in general.... anything can be done well, if carefully, I guess?

I'd say probably the closest thing I can think of is GoT. I don't hate the plot, so to say, I hate that so much of the plot focuses on stuff I found entirely uninteresting and unimportant on the grand scheme of things. The only important thing going on was up north with Snow. And Martin pointed it out in his own bloody book!!! I simply got bored, but I don't think I hated it. I do recognize the merit, just not my cup of tea, and not the first time I've seen something like it.
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
http://www.artbyjaylee.weebly.com/

*

Tyrannohotep

  • Master
  • *****
  • 628
    • View Profile
    • My Wordpress
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 11:08:44 PM »
I'd say probably the closest thing I can think of is GoT. I don't hate the plot, so to say, I hate that so much of the plot focuses on stuff I found entirely uninteresting and unimportant on the grand scheme of things. The only important thing going on was up north with Snow. And Martin pointed it out in his own bloody book!!! I simply got bored, but I don't think I hated it. I do recognize the merit, just not my cup of tea, and not the first time I've seen something like it.
I tried reading the first book more than once and just could never get into it. I think part of the problem was what I perceived to be the lack of an overarching storyline. Instead, the novel jumped between the PoVs of all these different characters without anything (except maybe family relations) tying these perspectives together. It felt disjointed overall.
My big art thread

Also the author of the entire Dinosaurs & Dames anthology

*

True Neutral

  • Apprentice
  • **
  • 90
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 11:56:55 PM »
I'd say probably the closest thing I can think of is GoT. I don't hate the plot, so to say, I hate that so much of the plot focuses on stuff I found entirely uninteresting and unimportant on the grand scheme of things. The only important thing going on was up north with Snow. And Martin pointed it out in his own bloody book!!! I simply got bored, but I don't think I hated it. I do recognize the merit, just not my cup of tea, and not the first time I've seen something like it.
I tried reading the first book more than once and just could never get into it. I think part of the problem was what I perceived to be the lack of an overarching storyline. Instead, the novel jumped between the PoVs of all these different characters without anything (except maybe family relations) tying these perspectives together. It felt disjointed overall.

For me, the big issue was not even the lack of overarching plot and the fact that it felt disjointed...it was that PoV jump itself and the fact that I was reading it on a Kindle. Because it's quite a long time between the same character's chapters sometimes and because sometimes, said character is nowhere near anyone who had a chapter in-between, I've sometimes lost what was going on in this arc by the time it comes back around. That necessitates flipping back to check, which isn't the easiest thing to do, considering Kindle defaults to the first page of a given chapter. Manually adding tabs or personal notes is not really feasible on my ancient gen1 Kindle, especially for books that long. In a book where the overarching plot isn't that strong to begin with, it compounds the multi-PoV issue of e-readers because you're really NOT likely to remember who did what when where and what else affected it if a whole lot of not very much is going on.



As I've said before, I'm typically not a fan of multi-PoV. Some I can tolerate. Some I can't. The smaller the jumps in geography/plot the less it's going to annoy me. It will make my day if I see that a multi-PoV author has actually thought of the e-book market and put in footnotes or a 2-sentence synopsis at the start of the new PoV's chapter in the Kindle edition (one that wouldn't really be needed in print) to remind the reader where we were when it's been 200 pages since we last heard from this guy. It's more a style thing than plot, but if I completely lose the plot because of your style, that's a dealbreaker for me.

I'm generally not big on fairytale retellings unless there's a MASSIVE twist or it's exceptionally brutal or something or it's one of the more obscure fairytales and utterly NOT something like Cinderella again and again and again. Basically, more than 9 times out of 10, I'm going to be disinterested in a fairytale retelling. That also goes for most Shakespeare retellings, or, rather, the tendency for the same few Shakespeare plots to be retold. I do NOT want to read another Romeo and Juliet, thanks. Hamlet either. (There aren't that many Titus Andronicus retellings, but the Julie Taymor movie Titus is one I'm quite fond of....it mixes ancient Rome with Mussolini's fascist Rome in aesthetics. And the one I will never get sick of is Macbeth retellings. In particular, I recommend Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. The thing is, those are the exceptions, not the rule, for me.)

The whole "Strong Female Character Action Girl With No Traditionally Feminine Traits Saves Everyone" plot, but I've gone over that more than once before as well. I don't care for the character trope. I care even less for the plot.

Generally speaking, beyond JUST A Song of Ice and Fire, I'm not big on court intrigues. I'd take a farmboy over a prince for an MC any day.

Stupidly drawn-out journeys where we stare at scenery porn. I blame Tolkien for popularizing it within the genre. It was mildly amusing the first time. The 417th, on the other hand... Just skip some of the travel and get to the conversation at the inn...if I wanted to spend six hours walking around a fantasy world, I'd go on repeatable fetch quests in an RPG video game or I'd actually just go play D&D and roll a character who is completely directionally challenged. (You move nine feet. Something spots you. You've killed it, and now you must rest for the night. Dawn breaks. You make it a whole TWELVE feet this time. Something spots you because the bard's pet wouldn't shut up. You've killed it. Looks like naptime for you. That was about three weeks of the D&D campaign my husband was playing last year because the party kept going away from the thing by mistake and just wouldn't take the hint.) I'm not the biggest LOTR fan who ever lived, if you can't tell. A mortal sin for a fantasy writer, I know. But what I don't get is why anyone would want to copy that particular aspect of walking and scenery porn. There are plenty of things to like in Tolkien's work, but I know I'm not the only person put off by that particular aspect, and it has pretty much come to define the genre.

Not big on YA/coming-of-age type stories. I'm just past that demographic. It's nothing personal, just... I'm not the intended audience, and it feels a little weird to be reading most of them at my age, so if I'm going to read one, it's going to be on the recommendation of an adult and it has to work that little bit harder to keep me from putting it down and just going "nope...not for me, thanks."

I'm not all that big on redemption arcs either. It's not really "never" so much as "it takes a lot to impress me with one."

Lawful Good hero (often flawless or nearly so) goes on a quest to save the world from...typically Chatoic Evil, but it can sometimes be Lawful Evil. Bonus if we never find out the villain's motivations or if the villain DOESN'T think they're doing the right thing in some way.  That's not to say I think everything should be gray-on-gray morality...just...throw me a curveball. Maybe the villain can think the ends justify the means, even if the rest of the world and the reader wouldn't. The actual morality doesn't have to be gray...just...maybe in the villain's head. Maybe a chaotic good instead of lawful good once in a while. Or a true neutral. My username is true neutral for a reason.

Also...any romantic plot/subplot is going to put me off. I like action stories. I don't like romance. I like romance-free action. A major romantic subplot is a deal-breaker for me.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 06:27:13 PM by True Neutral »

*

LShelby

  • Novice
  • *
  • 40
    • View Profile
    • L. Shelby's Science Fiction and Fantasy
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 11:02:03 AM »
I think my first 'novel' idea would fall under this, I wrote it as a teen. Looking back it was a mess. A mary-sue, cliches, weird names...

I resemble this remark.  The first thing I ever got up to novel length (IIRC, I was fourteen) I stopped writing at the climax, because I had realized--I think it was writing the climax that made me realize--that the heroine being better than anyone else at everything was more than a little bit lame.  I dumped the story, making a mental note never to do that again. 

(About the weird names thing, though.  If you are telling a story set in a culture that is entirely unfamiliar to the reader, how can the names possibly NOT be 'weird'?)

As an aside, am I the only one who goes through these kinds of topics and compares what people are complaining about to what I've written?

I even do it when I'm the one complaining.  For example:

I don't like it when some introduces a romantic interest just so they can kill them off .
...Oh, wait!  Does what I did in Scent of Spring count, where I knew it would be important that my heroine was a widow so I decided to just show the first relationship up front rather than revealing all the details as flashbacks and references?

That sort of thing.  ::rueful::

More things I tend not to like:

The protagonist not doing anything constructive for large parts of the book.
Watching supposedly sympathetic characters do something stupid. 
Temporary/casual "romantic" relationships.  I don't find them romantic.
Plots that involve following many different people around as they are all doing different things in different places.  (Although, I suppose technically this is a structural/pov thingy, not a plot thingy.)
Intrigue plots that are all back-stabbings and betrayals.
Plots that break the previously established rules of the world. 
Tragedies.





*

Sheepy-Pie

  • Mistress of Death
  • Global Moderator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 1158
  • It lasted forever, And ended so soon.
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 12:14:10 PM »
As an aside, am I the only one who goes through these kinds of topics and compares what people are complaining about to what I've written?
Yes, I compare all the time :P I'm like damn they won't like my novel

Quote
Plots that involve following many different people around as they are all doing different things in different places.  (Although, I suppose technically this is a structural/pov thingy, not a plot thingy.)
Tragedies.

... And bam. You won't like my novel :P a multi-POV tragedy *flail*
(Do you mean multi-POV btw?)

*

Xanxa

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 164
  • Psychedelic Purple Chicken
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 09:17:04 PM »
Stupidly drawn-out journeys where we stare at scenery porn. I blame Tolkien for popularizing it within the genre. It was mildly amusing the first time. The 417th, on the other hand... Just skip some of the travel and get to the conversation at the inn...

I find this tedious too.  In my novels, I only describe a journey if it's the first time for a character going to a particular place, or if something significant happens on that journey.  Even then, I keep the scenery descriptions to a minimum. 

Also, many of my sorcerer characters are able to transport themselves instantaneously, thus avoiding the need for long journeys.  If only we could do this in real life ...
The wind turns green and the Goddess smiles.  Everything will be the right size.

*

LShelby

  • Novice
  • *
  • 40
    • View Profile
    • L. Shelby's Science Fiction and Fantasy
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2017, 07:48:35 PM »
Quote from: LShelby on October 11, 2017, 11:02:03 AM
As an aside, am I the only one who goes through these kinds of topics and compares what people are complaining about to what I've written?
Yes, I compare all the time  I'm like damn they won't like my novel

Quote
Plots that involve following many different people around as they are all doing different things in different places.  (Although, I suppose technically this is a structural/pov thingy, not a plot thingy.)
Tragedies.

... And bam. You won't like my novel  a multi-POV tragedy *flail*
(Do you mean multi-POV btw?)

Pretty much.  I'm fine up to about 4 POVs, but anything beyond that gets harder and harder to hold my interest.  A well-written omniscient often works a little better for me, but it can be an issue there, also. 

But that's okay, you can not like the book I'm currently writing either, where I'm setting up an antagonist from a previous volume in the series to be a romantic interest for one of the leading females.  (The only thing I can say in my own defense is that she did NOT have an existing relationship with anyone else previously.)

As for everyone else's hates:  I do have a few stories whose protagonists are not young.  I do have a few that do not involve a long journey (although I really don't think I'm much given to scenery porn, not being a visual reader myself and therefor always a little shy in the visual description department),  but as soon as True Neutral bans romances I'm up a creek without my proverbial paddle.  The only things I've ever written without romances were either very short, or deliberately aimed at the juvenile market.

Also, many of my sorcerer characters are able to transport themselves instantaneously, thus avoiding the need for long journeys.  If only we could do this in real life ...

You sound like my sister, @Xanxa.  Whenever people ask what mutant/super power she wants, she responds with "long-distance teleportation".

In Racciman's World, the wizards can teleport.  But they do have to worry about landing inside something at the other end, and they are limited as to range.  In the 3rd book of my EFP a powerful but not particularly accurate wizard teleports his party out of a fight to the safety, and purposely jumps them to somewhere over water so that he can give them a soft landing without risking accidentally merging them with the terrain -- unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, most of them don't swim.  Later in the same book, he uses his teleportation ability to rescue a falling horse and rider, but they arrive up in a tree -- much to the consternation of the horse.

*

Xanxa

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 164
  • Psychedelic Purple Chicken
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2017, 08:31:46 PM »
You sound like my sister, @Xanxa.  Whenever people ask what mutant/super power she wants, she responds with "long-distance teleportation".

In Racciman's World, the wizards can teleport.  But they do have to worry about landing inside something at the other end, and they are limited as to range.  In the 3rd book of my EFP a powerful but not particularly accurate wizard teleports his party out of a fight to the safety, and purposely jumps them to somewhere over water so that he can give them a soft landing without risking accidentally merging them with the terrain -- unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, most of them don't swim.  Later in the same book, he uses his teleportation ability to rescue a falling horse and rider, but they arrive up in a tree -- much to the consternation of the horse.

LOL!  I do have limits to what my characters can do in terms of instantaneous travel.  First, they have to have a certain level of sorcery power and obviously they have to be taught how to translocate.  They have to be able to visualise their destination, so that limits them to places they know well enough to see in their mind's eye.  Some very skilled sorcerers can use a photograph or a spying crystal to fix the destination in their mind, but this is a far more risky way of doing it.  Also, some characters have a greater range than others.  The most powerful ones can travel from one planet to another without getting out of breath, but the weaker ones or the beginners can only manage short distances, like the next room or a few streets away.  I've written a few comedic scenes where beginners make mistakes when learning the art of translocation and I've had some attempts go wrong due to interference from others. 
The wind turns green and the Goddess smiles.  Everything will be the right size.

*

Sheepy-Pie

  • Mistress of Death
  • Global Moderator
  • Master
  • *****
  • 1158
  • It lasted forever, And ended so soon.
    • View Profile
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2017, 04:49:03 AM »
but as soon as True Neutral bans romances I'm up a creek without my proverbial paddle. 

Me too :D haha I can't help but have some romances.

I have older protags too, my MC is in her 30s :)

*

Ahryantah

  • Journeyman
  • ***
  • 138
    • View Profile
    • Multiple Universe Theory
Re: Hated plots
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2017, 06:28:49 PM »
This really isn't a plot so much as a trope, but a book I'm currently reading reminded me how annoying I find it: excessive lampshade hanging. For example, in the book I'm reading the female MC loves romance novels and tells the male MC (her love interest) all the tropes in romance novels that she hates. The male MC points out that pretty much all those things have happened in the course of their whirlwind romance. She agrees and is all, "lol, if this was a book I'd throw it across the room because it's too unbelievable!" Ugh, ugh, ugh. You're not clever, author. Cheekily pointing out how your own book uses tired and unrealistic romance tropes doesn't suddenly make those tropes interesting.

Lampshade hanging is fun if it's done well. But too many books, especially young adult books that try to be all modern and ironic, abuse the crap out of it.