Friday, November 19, 2010

Plot Holes: Dude, Grab a Shovel

Get a shovel.  You can ask questions later.

This week has been a crusher, but between  home life, fringe duties, and preparations for the coming holidays, I've still managed to get a little writing done.

Some of the hours have been admittedly brutal, but after last night, I'm grateful for the mind-out-of-body-at-1AM writing experience. Why?  Because in the middle of back tracking to check over a scene, my tired, rambling mind discovered - or fell, rather - into a huge plot hole.

I've gone over this section at least a dozen times. I've rewritten it, stripped out scenes. Wrote new scenes. Felt those were worse than the first ones, so rinse and repeat.

This one was so glaring, I'm not sure how I missed it. The evil bad guys are searching for a character they intend to kill. Um, they have the character's home address, so why aren't they looking there for him first?  How obvious is that?

Well, not obvious enough for me, I guess, because that's the plot hole I fell in last night. I walked right off into that sucker and nearly broke my neck. In retrospect, it makes me think of that guy from Home Alone. The one who falls through the floor trying to get Kevin. He lies there in shock after he hits the bottom. A minute later he looks up, amazed, and says, "Wow. What a hole!"

So it's one in the morning, and now I have this plot hole to deal with. It's massive. It's ugly. It's gotta be fixed. Time to grab a shovel. First things first, I have to assess what needs to be changed. In this case, I need to get at least one of my bad guys to check the protagonist's apartment, or at least hint that they have already done this. I prefer the first option, since it fits the story better.

Now that I know what the hole filler is going to be, I go back to the last "whole" chapter - the last chapter I can detect with no plot problems - and start working from there. I assess the problem sections, looking for either a place to patch that hole with a brand new scene (one that takes us to character's apartment), or a place where I can expand an existing scene to absorb the information necessary to plug the hole.

It's doable. It's fixable. It's a headache, but that's a given.

I acquired my target, but since it was late, I had to go on to bed. Before I did, I wrote a dozen notes to myself, reminders and tips to fix my goof. Today, my goal is to get that new scene in there and smooth it along the edges. Now that I know what I need to fix and how to fix it, (factor in a few hours of sleep for clarity) it doesn't seem like the massive undertaking I thought it would be when I did the initial damage check.

Patching up a plot isn't my favorite part of writing, but you have to do what you have to do. On the bright side, I caught a glaring issue that might have made an editor laugh at me, and the scene I use to fix the problem will add to my word count. So, whew, disaster averted. I think I'll grin and bear it.

6 comments:

  1. Hey, at least it's fixable. I've been in that terrible situation of finding myself about 30k words into a project and realizing I'd dug myself a hole I could not climb out of.

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  2. It happens, J.L. :0) I plotted this book from beginning to end before I started writing the 2nd draft, so this plot hole took me completely by surprise. I thought I'd worked out all the knots. Ah well. Like you said, it's fixable.

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  3. ha..good that you found that...plot hole of evil???

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  4. True, so very true, Danielle. Plot hole of evil - that is a very good way to describe it!

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  5. I'm sure you'll get it fixed and you'll love what you did with the story. :)

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  6. Thanks bunches, Mary! This book is coming together one piece at a time, and fighting me all the way. LOL

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