Anonymous whispered: any tips for finding plot holes and also ways to avoid them?


Plot holes occur when

  • Characters having knowledge of something never presented to them. Character A is assassinated without any witnesses and their body is covered up. Less than an hour later, without having gone looking for Character A or hearing from the assassins, Character B knows Character A was assassinated. 
  • Characters not having knowledge of something they were either told or should know. Character A is a general who doesn’t know the troop strength of their own army OR Character A is told a murderer’s calling card is a white feather, but for most of the climax can’t figure out who’s leaving white feathers at the crime scene.
  • Characters avoiding obvious solutions to their problems. Character A is told he was smuggled out of the palace via a back door when he was a child. Instead of looking for/using this back door, Character A leads his army in a risky frontal assault on the palace.
  • The occurrence of an event that the rest of the work has deemed impossible. The rules of magic say you can’t bring people back to life. Character A brings someone back to life.
  • Events not following the logical course of the story. Character A uses a shotgun after the author stated earlier that Character A was unarmed OR despite the fact the entire humans couldn’t kill the aliens in 2014, a group of 1000 human rebels destroy the entire alien culture with revamped technology from 2014 OR out of character (OOC) actions.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, the fixes should be simple enough:

  • You need to keep track of which characters know what and when. I used Microsoft Excel for this. In the leftmost column, I have the character’s names. In the top row is a time/date of the story. In the columns to the right of the character’s name, I write what they have learned at each point in the story (and sometimes the source and their reaction). I do a lot of it in my mind, but for the more complex plots, I use Excel.
  • Simple logic. A general should know a rough estimate of how many people are in their army. A character you described as unarmed cannot be wielding a shotgun moments later, unless they appeared to be unarmed to deceive someone or picked up the shotgun on the battlefield. And obey your damn magic rules. 
  • Problem solving. Sometimes when you’re writing, you can’t see the forest for the trees. A solution that may be obvious to some people isn’t obvious to you because you need to concentrate on character development, the plot, the setting, the Big Ending, and a million other things. The easiest thing to do is recruit a sharp-eyed beta reader. Some other solutions: making a document for your Big Problem and adding information about situation surrounding the Big Problem as you write them; and re-reading your entire document, just scanning for errors (NOT editing), preferably after not looking at it for +5 days.

Some of the fixes will be simple enough, such as switching references to “shooting” and “blasting” zombies to “stabbing” and “beheading” zombies. Some of them will be harder, like when you’ve written a climax in which a normally calm character goes insane and tries to kill the protagonist for no reason whatsoever. An entire climax or arc hinging on a plot hole can’t be easily fixed and I recommend looking in the plot and planning tags for basically starting from scratch.  

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"God is stronger than you thought." - Six-Word Story (via godsradicaldaughter)

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if someone asks if youre wearing the same jeans as you wore yesterday and you are just say “have you ever heard of a washing machine” because they will think that you washed them but you are actually just assessing their knowledge of basic household appliances

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"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some devine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more."
- Alfred Tennyson (via observando)

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So freaking annoyed.
Why, parents. Why, Caleb. Why, everyone. Why, producers of The House. Why, pretty little liars.

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*comes to meet you at Starbucks 15 minutes late with Starbucks from another location*

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"You wanted smooth sailing and I’ve always been a tsunami." - 10 Word Story by c.r.  (via childoflust)

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"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person." - Audrey Hepburn (via realizes)

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come with me

and you’ll be

in a world

of image

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My Dearest Allie,
I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you.