A few weeks ago I wrote a post about what turns me on in a protagonist, so it seems only fair to write about what turns me off.
This probably ranks as number one for a lot of readers. So hardly surprising that it makes the top of the list. I think you can forgive a protagonist a lot, but stupidity is a hard one to let go. Characters should be allowed to make mistakes it's one way in which they grow and develop. But there does come a point when (if the character is constantly making mistakes and not learning from them) you begin to question if they don't deserve all the grief they attract. At that point it's usually difficult to regain any empathy you might have had for them at the beginning of the story.
In a way this is linked to stupidity. But when a character doesn't listen to what another character is telling them, or interprets what they are being told in a completely bizarre way it can become annoying - to put it mildly. As the reader you can 'hear' what the other character is saying. And if the character is being told something logical and interpreting it in an illogical way - it's patently obvious. If I as a reader can work out what's happening, then I think the hero/heroine should be able to as well.
I think the stupidity thing and the not listening, mainly happen because the author needs the plot to go in a certain way, so the characters serve the plot rather than the plot serving the characters.
My last turn off is a little hard to describe. But another annoying trait is if a character is 'up themselves'. Lol, I'm not sure that this translates very well. But it's almost a kind of smug vanity - a sense of superiority that isn't justified.
So these are my protagonist turn-offs. What about yours? Is there anything a hero or heroine does that really annoys you? I have a copy of Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair to give to one commenter on this thread. Winner to be chosen by random number at random.org on SAturday.