What are Some of Your Plot Pet Peeves?

I’m in the middle of the second book of The Powder Mage trilogy (The Crimson Campaign, by Brian McClellan), and I’m really enjoying it. High military fantasy action and adventure, with a great sprawling plot and less incest than George RR. Highly recommended.

However, one of the plot lines is bugging me–and in a good way, I suppose. I mean, anytime an author is writing characters well enough that I start to get mad at the characters for what’s happening, you can tell the author is doing something right. But at the same time, it’s something I don’t think I could ever do as an author. Not yet, at least. It’s just too big of a pet peeve for me.

In this instance, it’s characters who are facing tons of problems because of the stupidity of other characters. This is something that got to me during the Wheel of Time series, too. Those lousy Aes Sedai would do such boneheaded things, making problems for so many other people because of their stupidity, that I just would get fed up with them. In McClellan’s book, there’s a huge contingent of the military that’s being way too . . . military. And it’s costing one of the main characters–and the entire war effort–severely.

I hates it.

At the same time, I recognize that this happens in reality all too often. Other people make mistakes, and innocent people end up having to pay the price for them. So why in reality do I just accept it and try to make the best out of it, while in fiction it sends me into a rage every time it happens? It’s a pet peeve. Who knows why? But I just can’t see myself writing a book where the main character has to go through all sorts of stupidity foisted on him by others. I couldn’t make it through writing a chapter, let alone a novel.

So I wondered if there are some plot arcs that drive other people up the wall. Something that happens in a book that you just hate whenever it happens, even while you recognize that you’re being irrational and odd for hating it. Give me some other examples, if you have any.

Or am I just strange?

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