Below are a few of my storytelling pet peeves:
1) When magic saves characters. If magic is a normal part of the world the author has created, magic rules should be explained and then not breached to save a character’s life.
2) When characters seemingly come back to life. Unless resurrection is a major theme in the story, characters should die when it is reasonable for them to do so. That is my greatest criticism of The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf should have died on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.
3) When female characters are sweet, precious angels. I am speaking to YOU, Johanna Spyri (author of Heidi), Charles Dickens, and Eleanor Porter (author of Polyanna).
4) When there is religious stereotyping. As a Catholic, this irks me to no end. Not all priests are awful people. Not all monks are assassins. Not every historical fiction novel set in Medieval Europe needs to have lovely Catholic characters, but I have met a few good Catholic priests. They exist.
5) When the Virgin can’t wait to be “sexually liberated”. This bothers me a lot. I know that sex sells, and that people have sex, but once in a while I’d like to read a book in which a female or male character chooses to be or is OK with being celibate.
6) When the single or married (but always female) secretary becomes de facto a love interest. This bothers me because I see it as a misogynistic trope. Why are secretaries always hit on by their bosses? Why do authors assume that a secretary wants to get into her boss’s pants? Why are secretaries always female? Geesh. This needs to stop.
7) When there are glaring historical inaccuracies in a historical fiction work. The word “historical” is in the name of the genre for a reason.
What are your storytelling pet peeves?