We've all read novels where something happens to make us go, "WTF? " and I'm sure we've all written many. In reading and writing, I've come across enough to see that there seem to be different types.
1.) The "Contrived for Marketability" WTF: Maybe the editors wanted it, maybe the author guessed in advance that the editor would want it. Either way, there was a series I read in which I'm convinced the author put a love triangle in there just because love triangles have been popular in her genre. For one thing the "other guy" seemed to be just friends with the heroine until near the end of book one. For another, their few romantic incidents seemed forced. Finally, at the end, with no drama or fireworks, the character narrates that she picked the main guy, and other guy moved away to live happily ever after.I'm not a fan of love triangles but I don't mind them if they eventually have a point.
2.) The "Contrived to Please the Fans" WTF: When a series becomes really popular, there's online discussions everywhere speculating about which characters are going to do what and who next. One series I'm reading had many readers clamoring for 2 male characters to hook up. The problem was, only 1 was gay. So....all of a sudden, the straight guy turned gay. I'm sure plenty of fans are jumping for joy, but I'm just not buying it.
3.) The "Oh-Crap-I-Got-The-Characters-In-Too-Big-Of-A-Bind-And-Must-BS-My-Way-Out" WTF: We all know that action and tension is a main necessity in keeping the reader hooked, but it seems there are times where the author overdid it and had to manufacture a miracle so she may be free to move on to the next plot point...or worse, end the story. This is also known as Deus Ex Machina
4.) The "Why Did Nobody Think Of This?" WTF: Sometimes what's not there in a story is more baffling than what is. I read a novel in which a character became a political symbol and a catalyst for a revolution. The government seemed to do all they could to stop it from happening...except make the character ugly. With the people's obsession with image, it seemed an obvious solution...but then the bad guys would have won and there wouldn't be 3 books worth of awesomeness, so I'm prepared to forgive it.
5.) The Random WTF: Sometimes something happens in a story that comes out of nowhere...and I mean nowhere. Worse, it does nothing for the plot. Often those moments should be cut, but other times, they are teasers for future books. I have mixed feelings about these.
All of these WTFs have occurred at least once in books I've loved, so obviously they don't ruin the story...then again I've had some in my own writing that I know I'll have to fix.
What WTF moments have you written? In reading, which drive you closest to madness?