Pet Peeves: Story Starters

We all have them, our pet peeves that raise our blood pressure and put us on edge. Here are a few of mine: overpriced restaurants that crowd tables together so you actually feel like you’re dining with the people on your left and right, noisy restaurants where you have to shout to carry on a conversation, surveys, people who don’t return shopping carts to the corrals,  QR codes.

Pet peeves can help us start a narrative. Think about what your characters desperately want to avoid. Make it impossible for them to do that. What action will they take to try to escape a situation they find annoying? What complication will that create for them? How will each choice they make increase the pressure on them? What will be the breaking point, and how will it change them forever?

Make a list of your own pet peeves and see if there’s something that will put a narrative into motion.







  1. Rhonda on April 29, 2024 at 11:54 am

    Well that is a LONG list🤣

    • Lee Martin on April 30, 2024 at 11:19 am

      Oh, that’s only the start!

  2. Charlotte Tressler on April 30, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    One of my biggest pet peeves is people who bring dogs who are clearly NOT service dogs into businesses such as movie theaters, grocery stores, and restaurants. I love animals. I worked in the veterinary field for almost thirty years. That doesn’t mean I want a rowdy pit bull behind me at the cinema, or a dog fight in the self-checkout area at the market, or a Goldendoodle sniffing my lunch at a cafe. I’ve experiences all of these.

    • Lee Martin on May 1, 2024 at 11:01 am

      I hear you, Charlotte. I appreciate your sharing, and thank you for reading my blog.

      • Charlotte Tressler on May 2, 2024 at 3:17 pm

        Ooh, I didn’t realize how cranky I came across until I reread my comment! Yikes!
        As a literary device, I can see how exposing a protagonist to a pet peeve would definitely effective, giving the reader insight into the character and, hopefully, making that character more relatable. Unless, of course, that pet peeve is something most people find innocuous or even adorable (like dogs!). Maybe I can do something with that.

        • Lee Martin on May 4, 2024 at 11:36 am

          Not cranky at all. We all have those pet peeves.

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