Two of mine are obvious cliffhangers and excessive scene setting. The former, you can probably figure out. It's the trait shown by an author who has no confidence that he or she can hold a reader's attention and thus feels compelled to end every chapter on a note of contrived suspense. This exhausts the reader and detracts from the moments when real suspense is called for.
Excessive scene setting is too many chapters that begin: "Cicely ran a comb through her thick auburn locks, completely unaware of the events transpiring half a world away." Sure, every novel is a set-up. The author manipulates the characters and situations to create the effect that he or she wants. Excessive scene setting, unless it is intended for comic effect, makes the manipulation too obvious.
But now it's your turn. What drives you nuts?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Labels: things that drive me nuts