Avis Thoughts #2
Story Pet Peeves
(aka. Small things that bug me in stories, a few of which no one seems to really talk about)
Disclaimer: Keep in mind this is all opinion and it’s okay if you disagree or find no fault with these things. 🙂
1-Only the inklings of a great idea- This is basically when a story has this very cool concept or element that doesn’t get toyed with much or is presented in ways that underwhelm. Like if a character had the ability to teleport but doesn’t or rarely uses it for an unknown reason and the power doesn’t have any significance to the plot. Despite the fact said powers could probably do a lot of things, I mean imagine what you could do if you could teleport.
Heck, the character could literally be fighting the big bad villain in a scene and won’t use said teleportation powers to one-up the antagonist. Why? Who knows because it seems like the writer couldn’t be bothered to write it in.
2-Lazy World building– Imagine if a story took place in a futuristic mars colony but that colony is just like modern day earth but dressed up with generic tech with nothing original. I mean the slang the people use in the colony is the same as it is now, the food and politics are the same as the ones we have now, the pets and pop culture are nearly the same, etc.
The only difference would be the fact it’s “dressed up” in space-like gear or the writer stuck on antennas to it and it’s on Mars. (Whee, so much fun )
What’s really a downer about this is that there are a lot of concepts with great storytelling potential and you could see how the concept could be cool and used in an interesting way, but the story falls short of using it.
But hey, if you call a spoon a “smigglesmorf” and a jet back a “thrust compactor” I’m sure the readers won’t notice you skimped out big time on world building.
3-Little payoff, effect, or quick resolve– This gripe is basically when something is built up in a story like a betrayal, secret, etc. Only for it to basically mean nothing.
That built up element doesn’t change the plot and things go back to normal rather quickly.
What worsens this is when there’s also never any future acknowledgment of said element to be seen again.
4-Nonchalance over deceit or event– Okay, this one absolutely drives me up a wall and it even gave me the idea of this list in the first place. Basically, the issue goes like this: something tragic or big happens that directly affects the protagonist and after a short period everything is fine.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why this is always a thing not just in books but visual media such as movies or shows. I’m guessing it has to do with resuming the status quo or making the protagonist seem like their bigger person and not petty, but personally, I feel it’s okay to get upset or have conflicting feelings if an individual snubs you or something life-altering happens.
Look, life experiences leave and interactions leave an effect on you, they can shape your world view, and yes can leave a skewed or darker view of the world. So why do writers keep doing this?!?
5-Immersion breaking elements– Even as a kid, I noticed this issue. When I say “immersion breaking,” I mean when something seems out of place in the story you created.
For example, in the late ’90s and early 2000s, there was a rapid influx of family animated movies starring talking animals and many of which would be laced with pop culture references. And yeah sure it can be cringe to hear a squirrel start rapping or a dog says “that’s my jam,” or spout a movie quote.
This actually doesn’t bug me as much as in visual media as it does when it’s in written form. My main gripe is mainly when in books when a character speaks a lingo or mentions something that they probably shouldn’t know about.
Example: A magic elf suddenly says a celebrity quote, or references social media or an alien references a trend name, something like that- I just find it distracting and can take me out of the story in a snap.
I mean at least for movies they have the benefit of having bright flashy colors to distract you, but in a book, it really stands out to me and makes the writing more dated.
6-Old protagonist is just a background character in a new story with “plot amnesia”– So this is basically when say a protagonist from a previous book or installation of the series is now a background character, which is fine, but that character doesn’t act like themselves or becomes a lamp character.
I don’t think there’s too much wrong with this, especially if there’s a new main face for the series, but nevertheless, it bugs me. I mean would it be too much to at least keep the character in character or have a small nod to previous events.
This especially irks me when the new protagonist is noticeably going through something similar to what the old protagonist is going through, but does not bat an eye or offer any words because this character had literally been regulated to a lifeless background character that only bears a resemblance to who we’ve been following previously in the series.
Speaking of which has there been a story where a previous protagonist turns into an opposing force or antagonist for the new protagonist, wouldn’t that cool? Just wondering.
Well, these are just a few gripes I have with a few common elements I see in stories, once more it’s fine if you see no fault with these elements, these are just things that I personally don’t like.
Is there anything that personally bugs you in stories? I’d like to know, feel free to comment.
With that being said, thanks for reading this long-winded ramble.