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The Competition Bit

Every Day Fiction has a micro-flash competition (max 250 words, must use at least 4 of the ten prompts). Entries have to be in by Sunday August 16th.


The Anthology Bit

If you write Hint Fiction (a ‘story’ of 25 words or less), and have a mind to see your work appear in an anthology, follow this link for more details. Closing date for submissions is August 31st.

The Question About Plot Holes Bit

Last week, while reading through the latest draft of Waking up Jack Thunder I fell into a plot hole.


I know what you’re thinking: “How can someone who outlines everything from a 100-word drabble to his weekly shopping list not have spotted this before?”


Well, truth be told, I’ve known it was there since I changed the outline during the first draft, trusting my sub-conscious to come up with a plausible way to fill it in later – or at the very least, provide me with a ladder. That’s always worked for me in the past, but I’m getting to the stage of revision/rewriting, where I may have to sort it out another way.


I’d love to know what you guys do after you find yourself lying face-down at the bottom of a plot hole. So here’s my question: When you find yourself with a hole in your story, do you sit and stare at the ms until a solution presents itself, or do you trust your writerly sub-conscious to figure it out for you?


How do you resolve your plot problems?

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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
When I finally concede there IS a plot hole, I follow it back to that particular plotline's origins. THAT is where it went wrong, somewhere 'back there.' It's not easy to find the spot, and sometimes once you've found it, you don't want to change it because it is JUST SO COOL! And how can you delete so many words??? Ahhhhhhhhhhh! But it's the only way. Find exactly where it went wrong. Chances are it's in an unexpected place, a place where you thought everything was running along smoothly. But you'll see it. You're cool detail that you thought brought such depth to your story is actually the penny on the traintracks that derailed the whole thing.
I once cut 30K words from a manuscript because of such a derailment. Ouch. Hurt like a bastard! But it worked.
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
It's a really good plot hole. By that I mean, it has a huge (and from a storytelling pov, excellent) impact on the novel. I just need a way to explain it :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
They always work themselves out. I don't know how or why, but they do. It's as if some mystical force or gravity or God needs to fill that hole.
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Lol, that's what usually happens with me. Maybe I need to trust myself :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
I trust my subconscious to think of a logical way out.
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Me too. I need to have faith :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
I go back and slid one magical sentence in that one magical place and voila! No more plot hole. ;-)

Seriously. That often works.
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
For this particular plot hole, all I need is a believable explanation for why something kept happening, which I guess is why I haven't been too fussed about it, until now, when I need to come up with it to finish the book :)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks. My sub-conscious doesn't normally let me down, but I want to finish the rewrite of the last chapter this week, so I may have to seek help from the LJ hive mind :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
I go take a shower and talk it out.

I know, that sounds silly, but I actually talk to myself, talk outloud about the problem and come at it logically.

I've actually had Husband come into the bathroom, thinking I'm talking to him, and not remembering me calling for him. :P
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Lol, I imagine that could be embarrassing :)
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
I tend to be of the let-it-simmer-until-it-comes-to-me school of thought, but from time to time, I need to bounce ideas off someone. That or get someone who is good at asking pointed "Why" questions to quiz me on aspects of the story. Little gems usually come tumbling out in my defense, and with them, I build a sparkling wall of plot continuity. :P
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
Me too. Trouble is, this one's been simmering since December :(

I thought I had it fixed, but when I did the read through last week, I realized it needs more attention.
(no subject) - mnfaure - Aug. 12th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 12th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - Aug. 12th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 12th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 12th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Both ways.

Try rereading the story or chapter and mentally tell yourself that you are looking for the solution to the problem. Reread it a few times if you have to. Then send it to the subconcious and let it come up with some ideas on its own.

If after a few days it doesn't tell you it's found a solution, just start writing whatever needs to be changed anyway. You may have to go slow, so focus on details or dialogue or some other element.

The answer will usually present itself at some point in the new writing phase.
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That's always worked before, but for some reason, the old sub-c. isn't playing fair with this one :)

Stupid plot holes :(
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
That's actually a great question... I do a little of both. I procrastinate by writing other stories / novel bits / whatever, and if nothing bubbles up from the subconscious I spend time thinking about it until I can fix the thing.
Aug. 12th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
There've been some great answers too, but I confess I was hoping to hear a technique which I hadn't tried (and failed at) yet :(
(no subject) - bondo_ba - Aug. 12th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 12th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 12th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
I usually trust my subconscious to figure it out, but sometimes it takes a while to percolate. I'll either mentally mull it over for a while (hours or days) and do the "writing in my head" thing, or sometimes I'll open up a fresh document and just start nattering on about the problem. I've come to some good lightbulb moments that way. Occasionally I'll bounce problems off my crit group. Sometimes other peeps can brainstorm things that I would have never come up with.
Aug. 12th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I definitely see a brainstorm on the horizon :)
(no subject) - mongrelheart - Aug. 12th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
I ask the little man upstairs to go look for the answer. If I ask him at bedtime, sometimes he turns up with the answer in the morning - often in the shower. Silly little man. Still, I trust in my subconscious to work it out. And/or on the next read-through, I prepare a revision letter for myself, and that seems to work.
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)

I tried typing out the problem this morning. Hopefully it will spark something :)
Aug. 13th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Caulking plaster. Sometimes duct tape.
Aug. 13th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
Hehehehehe. It may very well come down to that :)
Aug. 14th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Brain Harvest Mag competition
Plot-holes give me head-aches, and I don't want to think about them so early on a Friedegg morning. But I thought folks might also be interested in this competition (I would have posted in on my blog but, Jon, you may be the only visitor there...oof!):


What's interesting about this one is...it actually requires the competitors to use the tropes that Strange Horizons has pilloried!

But hurry, the deadline's end of this month...
Aug. 14th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Brain Harvest Mag competition
Lol, If you post it, they will come :)
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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