One of the things that will make your readers toss your book across the room or delete it from there Kindle or phone faster than anything is a plot hole. These problems can ruin suspension of disbelief, make characters do things that make no sense for their personality, and leave plots hanging with no reasonable way forward.
How do you identify a plot hole in your own story, and how do you fix it before bad reviews start rolling in.
What Exactly Is a Plot Hole?
Plot holes come in various forms. Essentially, they are either things that are taken out or added to your story that make something not make sense. They can consist of unresolved plot lines, impossibilities, contradictions, timeline errors, and things that are simply illogical. Some examples include:
- A character acting completely opposite of their established personality
- A powerful character suddenly succumbs to a simple force
- Travel time or time between different plot points is highly unrealistic
- A blue couch in chapter one turns red in chapter four
The 3 Questions to Ask to Destroy Plot Holes Quickly
These three questions help you identify and eradicate plot holes from your story.
1 – Does this action, event, or characteristic match past examples of the same thing?
Every time a specific character shows up, they should have the same colour hair, personality, and purpose. Setting continuity also matters. Of course, some things can change over the course of the story. However, the progression of that change must be represented in your writing.
2 – Does this outcome need more explanation to make sense?
If your character suddenly escapes an exploding space station with a ship that happens to be parked outside, you should indicate that there is a docking bay with spaceships available earlier in the story. Deus ex machina is one indication you may have a plot hole that needs filling.
3 – Can I remove this plot element, character, or event without causing a ripple effect?
How to Find and Destroy Plot Holes in Your NovelNot all plot holes exist because something is missing. Some exist because you gave too much material early on and then forgot about it or it simply led nowhere. Instead of a plot hole, it is more like a plot pile. You want to get rid of these too or make them functional. For example, if a character is introduced early in the story, has some bearing on the plot, and then simply vanishes halfway through, you either have to delete them entirely or use them later.
Sign up for the Ardith newsletter which is full of tips, tricks and specials. https://ardith.ca/