Friday, June 18, 2021

How to Recognize and Overcome Plot Problems or Failures? #RR86 #WritingTips

 This month's topic: Recognizing and overcoming plot problems or failures.

If one writes, one deals with plot problems/plot holes/ or even failures.  It is all part of fleshing out our characters and developing a well-written story.

Is this fun? Not always.  

Do I dance for joy when I complete my novel and discover there is a very large plot hole? Of course not. I sigh, while resisting the urge give a primeval scream. Then have have a cup or coffee, or two,  I go back and rework it. 

Again. And, if I'm lucky, I don't create a problem by doing so.

How can I claim that all authors deal with this issue?

I can do so because so many plot holes remain undiscovered.

Undiscovered that is, until, after publication, a reader finds one.  

Oh, dear.

What is a plot hole?

A plot hole is an inconsistency in a story that goes against the established logic of the narrative's  universe. For instance, some people say it makes no sense that Frodo and Sam didn't fly the Ring to Mordo, that Time Turners weren't more widely used in Harry Potter

In Angels & Demons: it is said that Vittoria can't get a dial tone on her cell because they are underground. I'm not sure anyone one can get a dial tone on their cell phone.

The second book of the Twilight Series was based on a nosebleed. We understand that Edward did not trust his family to be around Bella for fear she might get hurt--but haven't they been around blood before? The do attend school...

How do I recognize there is a plot problem?  My characters stop behaving like themselves, the story stalls, or my secondary character are trying to take over the story.


1. Be objective when editing.
2.  Refuse to be influenced by your own opinions and emotions.
3.  Writing lists can be helpful.
4.  Take time to question the logic of your plot.
5.  Keep a checklist of your subplots and make sure all of them are complete.
6.  Keep notes on your revised edits.


1.  Explore alternative outcomes. Try to keep an open mind when reworking your novel.
2.  Remember that filling a plot hole is not necessarily a one-trick fix.
3.  Bring things back to basics.
4. Don't be afraid to do the work.

Please tour the blogs of  the wonderful authors participating in this month...such stories we have to share:

My Current Release

Marci Baun

Skye Taylor

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Beverley Bateman

Judith Copek

Dr. Bob Rich

Rhobin L Courtright


  1. We all work a little differently, but I liked your hints and also ideas!

  2. Not sure the cell phone with no dial tone is as much a plot hole as an error in research. I had a man taking the safety of a handgun in one book but my copy editor was married to a cop and she knew there was no safety in that particular gun. Saved !!

  3. As a pantser, my plots are often unrevealed until I write them. I know the general direction in which I want the story to go. All of them will have happy endings. That’s what I write, but I’m never truly sure how they’re going to get there. In my current WIP, I know the heroine is going home and will see her ex with his new fiancée. I know it will cause some issues for her, but what those actual issues will be and how she will react is still a mystery to me . . . Until they happen. It will be interesting. :)

    I like how you break it down with steps to fix them. Usually, I just have to delete or massage what’s written until the characters are happy and the story works itself out.

  4. Connie, this is an excellent, logical analysis of when things become illogical. Well done.

  5. Great post. I loved your definition of plot holes and your hints on how to fix them. I also enjoyed the examples of plot holes in some well-known stories.

  6. Really useful list, Connie. I'm currently tryoing to wind up the wip and one sub-plot is niggling... Anne


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