3/27/07

Plot Traps

What are some of the common plot traps that you have noticed in LDS fiction that you wish authors would avoid?


I don't know that I find any plot traps that are specific to LDS--except for the one where the bad guy/girl needs to turn good so they can marry the good girl/guy, and so the author throws in some lightweight spiritual experience and they are converted in a matter of days. I just don't buy that--ever. (I know, I know--it happened to Alma and to Paul, but their experience involved angels. I don't believe it in a romance book.)

The most common plot traps, or holes, in fiction, LDS or otherwise are:
  • an author sends a character off to do something and then we never see or hear from them again
  • the character arrives faster or does something faster than it would take in real life (like fly across the country in an hour)
  • creating a character that is too evil or too good, then having them change too quickly (as in example above)
  • painting their protagonist into a corner that is too hard to get out of, then having someone swoop in and save them for the sole purpose of getting them out of that situation
  • bringing in characters that have nothing to do with the story, but the author needs to add more people or more pages to the book
  • forgetting to tie up loose ends (example: Premonition movie with Sandra Bullock; the whole thing with her daughter's face and when it gets cut, etc. That was never really explained.)
  • having a character really stress over something, then suddenly it doesn't bother them anymore, with no explanation
  • having characters do things that it's been set up they're incapable of doing, or wouldn't choose to do, without having some strong initiating factor or explanation
  • in fantasy, setting up the rules for the world your characters are living in, then breaking those rules

What are some of your favorite plot holes? Give specific examples if you want.

4 comments:

W.L.Elliott said...

My biggest pet plot peeve is stupidity for the sake of stupidity! Such as the dippy sidekick who is told to stay put, then does exactly the opposite, which of course gets them caught and causes the hero way more trouble than said sidekick is worth!

Or characters who do something so stupid that you want to throw the book against the nearest wall and break its spine, hopefully killing it in the process.

I just HATE stupid characters!

LDS Publisher said...

Oh, yes! I forgot about that one.

Or when the character is usually very smart and savvy, but the author needs to put them in jeopardy to advance the plot, so they have them do something extremely stupid and out of character.

Josi said...

How about novels with a message that is so overt it saturates the story (some friends of mine have been discussing this)

Or coincidences that make everything work out perfectly for the characters

Or arguments that are meant to create conflict but the dialogue doesn't' match up, making you feel like the author said "Well, they've got to fight about ...something."

There's that quote about the author that says "I try to leave out the parts they skip" good advice for any writer.

W.L.Elliott said...

"I try to leave out the parts they skip"


Oh, I'm going to have to remember that one! That's gooooood!