While it’s the time of year to write about families, Christmas presents, travel, and (oh yeah) the birth of Jesus, I’ve been up to my elbows in wrapping presents all weekend, so I need a break from talking or even thinking about Christmas. Instead, perhaps inspired by my weekend of wrapping while listening to books on my iPod, I want to talk about books. Specifically, I want to know what plot device or element of character development or other trapping of fiction that turns you off so much that it makes you want to put the book back on the shelf or throw it across the room.
For me, the plot device I hate the most is the “not-quite-immaculate” conception. It seems that women in fiction get pregnant after one sexual encounter way, way, way more often than they do in real life. I’ve read at least three books in the last six months where this happened, and it always ruins the book for me. In one of the books (I won’t spoil it by telling you the name), the ending was a little bit ambiguous (although it strongly hinted at pregnancy) and I chose not to read it that way because it would have ruined the previous 360 delightful pages if I did.
While the fertility of fiction gets to me, I want to know what gets to you– what are your dealbreakers in fiction?