I have a critique partner, bless her soul. She puts up with my comma splices, and my tendency to have dangling modifiers. I’m very lucky to have her in my corner, not to mention I think she’s helping me be the best writer I can be. It was a partnership that came about unexpectedly through the Muse Online Writer’s Conference and I couldn’t be happier.
The reason I’ve titled this post ‘The Cheating Hero’ is because of something I discovered while critiquing her story. No, the hero isn’t cheating, but it made me think about what makes a story more ‘real’ to me.
For the most part, I read only paranormals and historicals, and in several of them there’s that moment when the hero ‘cheats’ on the heroine. The quotes are because they haven’t technically gotten together, but you know they’re going to be together. It’s such a small device, but powerful, I think. It makes me go ‘oh boy, this is going to come back and bite him on the ass.’ And it usually does.
I’m not saying that I want to read this in every story, but it is a clever plot twist, bringing more conflict to the table. It also makes me more sympathetic to the heroine. On the other hand, if the hero and heroine have a relationship going, I do not like the cheating at all. It turns me off completely.
I remember reading one historical where the hero had to cheat because to do otherwise would expose him as a spy or something like that. I read that book, furious at him. To me, the ends didn’t justify the means. This is perhaps a pet peeve in equal irritation of the TSTL heroine.
What irks you in stories? Is there one plot line that just drives you utterly insane and you’ll put the book away without finishing it? What turns you off when you’re reading?