Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fill in those Plot Holes!

Good morning, bloggers! Coming to you live from gloomy, rainy Toronto, it's the Mistress of Bitchslaps and Backhands, Sarah-Jane, here to bestow another nuggest of writerly wisdom upon you.

Remember reading Lord of the Rings and asking yourself, "Why didn't the eagles just fly them to Mount Doom in the first place?" As much as I love Tolkein, his deus ex machina ending was just too convenient. And if I think on it too much, I get rather stabby.
Let's take a page from a totally not crazy lady named Annie, who said, "My favourite was Rocketman, and once it was a no breaks chapter. The bad guy stuck him in a car on a mountain road and knocked him out and welded the door shut and tore out the brakes and started him to his death, and he woke up and tried to steer and tried to get out but the car went off a cliff before he could escape! And it crashed and burned and I was so upset and excited, and the next week, you better believe I was first in line. And they always start with the end of the last week. And there was Rocketman, trying to get out, and here comes the cliff, and just before the car went off the cliff, he jumped free! And all the kids cheered! But I didn't cheer. I stood right up and started shouting. This isn't what happened last week! Have you all got amnesia? They just cheated us! This isn't fair! HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE COCK-A-DOODIE CAR!"

So for the sake of your number one fans, fill in your plot holes. Don't rely on some gimmicky, lame-ass plot device to save the day. You created this mess, now it's up to you to fix it. And fix it properly.
This is where my oft quoted Occam's Razor comes in. From Wikipedia:
Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor, Latin lex parsimoniae) is the law of parsimony, economy, or succinctness. It is a principle stating that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Got it? Still not sure? How about K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. Ask yourself why! Why does she go into the dark room after she heard that creepy sound? Why doesn't he just call her and explain the misunderstanding? Why? How? What the fuck?

Choose the simplest explanation. And if it comes down to "She/he/they did this because the plot called for them to do it," then you suck. You suck so hard.

You have a brain. Use it. Be creative, but be consistent. Don't make your readers stabby just because you've written yourself into a corner. Fill in those plot holes properly, otherwise your whole novel will get sucked in.

End transmission.


  1. Okay, I have this trouble with Harry Potter. I never understood why she introduced the time machine Hermonie used to get to classes and save Harry Potter in an early book and NEVER brought the stupid thing back later! It sure as hell would have made a few things easier, or maybe harder for her to write... Now, that being said I did enjoy the stories.

    But some days I feel like a three year old with the, Why? Why? Why???? trying to explain everything, and not have the holes...which then drives me crazy trying to answer why's I've not gotten to yet. lol.

    But yes, I agree with filling in those plot holes!

  2. I have the same lack of understanding with Cabin in the Woods (sorry Ms Skyla), but if a trap door flew open by itself from the floor of a creepy old cabin in the middle of nowhere, I would haul arse out of there so quick, only smoke would be left in my wake. I would not, I repeat WOULD NOT go down there to investigate. Fuck that, that Nancy Drew shit is going to get you killed BIG TIME.


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