Peeve of the Day

Today’s peeve falls into the Annoying Plot Developments category.

Say you’ve got a character who has been told by the bad guys, “Don’t go to the police or else very bad things will happen.”  Or a character who is being pressured or blackmailed by the bad guys into doing something that will jeopardize their relationship with their one true (and presumably competent) love.

Do they, at that point, go straight to the authorities or the one true love and say:

Sirs/My Darling [as appropriate]–

The villainous kidnappers/my wicked uncle [as appropriate]

Want/wants me to steal government secrets/hide him in the hayloft [as appropriate]

Which will naturally cause you to believe that I am a spy/am meeting a secret lover [as appropriate]

No, they do not.  And a goodly chunk of the middle of the novel is taken up with the resulting unnecessary running-around — which may have been the reason for the annoying plot development in the first place.  But it is a sloppy and clichéd way to handle the problem, and your readers deserve better.

One thought on “Peeve of the Day

  1. A great many novels would be a lot shorter if the main character, somewhere in chapter one, simply dialed 9-1-1.

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