Fixing plot holes is important no matter whether your story is plot or character driven. Holes in your plot will jump out to the reader; character holes may not.
What is a plot hole?
A plot hole is something that breaks the reader’s connection to the story because an action is out of line with the story expectations you’ve built.
For example, fixing plot holes in mysteries is about the logic of the progression of the clues. Your typical mystery will have lots of red herrings and false suspects. Your reader expects to find themselves surprised by the revelations that the person they thought was the murderer isn’t.
What will kick them out of the story is the fact that the murder isn’t linked to the actual murders by a trail of clues they may have misinterpreted.
Three tips on how to go about fixing plot holes
- to go about fixing plot holes, you need to be able to find them. Go through your manuscript and make a note of the progression of the plot. Then look at your notes and decide where you need to build plugs for the plot holes.
- starting with the last hole, work backwards filling them until you get to the beginning. Don’t worry about being elegant. This is just about building the place markers so your plot progresses smoothly – or as unevenly as you decided it need to be.
- now start really fixing plot holes in your writing. You will start at the beginning and revise the fixes. This is where you apply your magic. Take the temporary fixes that you built from the end backwards and make it all elegant.
Plot holes are natural
Don’t worry about having plot holes on the first pass of your revision. When you rush through the first draft, you’ll have problems to fix. That’s why you got it out of your head and onto the page. Plot holes, cliches, telling, and all the other bits of craft are smoothed out in the revision process.