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This is a repost from my old blog that I am working on transferring over and updating. If you notice any issues, feel free to reach out.

If there’s anything writers hate more then writer’s block, it might actually be plot holes. Especially the ones that you never seem to notice.

So today, I’m going to share my advice on how to stop plot holes and fix them before your story becomes too tattered to read.

Ways to keep track of plot holes or things to remember.

#1 Lists!
Who doesn’t like lists and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can’t use them for! But when you’re talking about plot holes, its a good idea to use lists to keep track of things. For example;

  • In which chapters what time and/or season it is. 
  • (sci fi) If a gadget can do something in one chapter, why can’t it do it again in another (or magic).
  • Those pesky subcharacters that only appear once or a couple times. 
  • All the places mentioned or gone to in your story.

#2 Highlights
If you’re not crazy about making lists, highlights are a great way to keep track of things. For example, you can choose any color and highlight whenever a certain subcharacter appears, what season it is, what time it is, and so on, so forth.

#3 Notes!
Whether if you want to use notes on your computer or sticky notes in real life, it doesn’t matter, but keeping little notes of all the things to keep out for when you go back to revise can be very helpful.

#4 Critique Partners
Another set of eyes is always a great way to find plot holes. And so think about finding a critique partner who’s willing to help you with your manuscript and look for things besides just grammar and spelling. You’ll want to find someone who can give the critique you’ll need (for example, someone who doesn’t sugar coat problems, yet at the same time, doesn’t make you feel like crap.)

What kinds of things count as polt holes?
A plot hole is basically, anything in your novel that doesn’t make sense, doesn’t add anything to the story, doesn’t make the story move forward and in the way you want it to, or is a contradiction (for example, something that can’t happen within the rules of the story or goes against logic, characters who randomly disappear, or things that happen without explanation).

How to look and spot plotholes.

  1. Once your story is done and finished, go through it and get rid of anything you don’t need. 
    1. Smart Tip: Anything you don’t need/want anymore, cut it out and paste it into a seperate document with where you found it and why you cut it out. This way, if you come back and need it again, you’ll know where to find it. 
  2. Keep track of your scenes: As you go through each scene and chapter, make a note of 
    1. Which characters are involved
    2. The purpose of the scene/chapter
    3. What the main character’s motivation in each scene/chapter is
    4. Conflict
    5. If the scene/chapter moves the story in the way you want it to go
    6. How the scene/chapter affects the character/story
  3. Think about things like:
    1. Have all of your subplots/character arcs been fulfilled or concluded?
    2. Are any of your character jumping into excessive monologues? (If so, can this information be put in a different place or broken up into several pieces?)
    3. Do the events in your novel happen logically, chronologically, and as you want them to?

With these simple tips, you should be able to discover most plot holes. Note also that its a good idea to not correct plot holes when you’re writing the first draft. Just make a note of it, and keep writing. Save the plot holes for the second draft, when you’ve taken a bit of time away from that first draft and are ready to start the second draft. 

So, have you ever discovered a glaring plot hole or a subtle one? If so, how did you correct it?

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