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Plot Holes



Movies have people who check for continuity. Mainly this is because they shoot out of sequence, so simple things like driving the wrong car can trip the movie up. They waste the plot. The viewer starts to look for continuity errors as well as watching the movie. Too many and they turn off.

If you're like me and you see a car arrive after a long trip on a cold day in a movie you do not want to see the exhaust pipe steaming. Cars that have come a long way have hot exhausts, and the steam at the tailpipe just does not happen. Unless, of course, you are in Siberia! I see things like that as continuity errors, too.

In stories, especially lengthy serials, we run the risk of losing the plot, literally! That means readers close your story and read something else.

One particular plot hole is losing track of who is speaking, or to whom they are speaking.

The cure?

Notes and a good editor.

Deus Ex Machina

No idea what that is? Wikipedia has a decent article. Agatha Christie was a great exponent of it, resolving the murder mystery with a sudden revelation that no-one but she knew.

When you write yourself into a corner, somewhere your heroes cannot escape from, it's very tempting to use the Batman and Robin gimmick. 'With one mighty bound, Batman was free!'. It's total bollocks. Read any Harry Potter book and you see it all over the place. For all she encouraged kids to read, Rowling was a pretty poor writer. Just think what an excellent writer could have done with the material, or a decent editor!

The solution?

You got yourself in there, you get yourself out of it, but do it with style and with plot, and with continuity and logic. Don't you dare use the Bobby Ewing Dream technique to get out of the mess. That one you can use a search engine for, especially if you're too young to have seen the Dallas TV ordure.

That goes for MacGyver Magic, too. No. Just plain no. Same applies to Swiss Family Robinson devices such as 'My wife wanted a dishwashing machine. Fritz and I paddled our canoes to the wreck. Fortunately we found a hosepipe and a sprinkler system. We were also able to manufacture a generator from an old sail and the magnets from the main compass, and an electric motor from some other unlikely and random source. yadda yadda yadda'. It's total bullshit, and you know it is!

Great untold swathes

Did you just forget about that side plot? Seriously, don't start something that doesn't add value to the tale. That bit about the enormously long camping trip (Rowling again) added nothing except pages to the text. We're not selling stories by weight! Go back and either edit it out or complete it.

But here's a hint. You got to the end without it. Thus it added nothing. Lose it.


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