An author will inevitably come across the dreaded plot hole–or two–while editing their newly finished novel. Plot holes are inconsistencies in the story. They are gaps that cause the reader to either question its logic or develop better, alternative options to resolve the conflict at hand. Basically, they are elements of the story that simply fail to make sense. Here’s how to fix plot holes in your novel.
There are many reasons why you, as an author, should strive to eliminate plot holes. For one thing, there’s a huge chance that it will take away from the main storyline. Besides sowing confusion and rendering it senseless, plot holes also indicate poor writing and the inability to create realistic characters and a believable fictional world.
More importantly, plot holes are bound to leave your readers frustrated and dissatisfied. For instance, millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide continue to be annoyed by the introduction of Time-Turners, despite it having been a decade since the final book in the series was released.
It’s clear that novels have to be free from plot holes, as much as possible. But how exactly do you go about filling them in?
Hire a Professional Editor
Hiring a professional to edit and proofread your novel is one of the best ways to catch plot holes. Having a fresh pair of eyes is a great way to identify any inconsistencies and gaps in the story.
Understandably, hiring a professional editor can get pretty expensive, especially if you have a brick of a novel! If you’re looking to save a quick buck, then make use of beta readers instead. These individuals are willing to go through the entire book, leaving valuable feedback regarding elements that they don’t quite understand. You can use them to determine and resolve any plot holes that your story may have.
Create a Character and World-Building List
When it comes to fixing plot holes, it helps to be fully aware of everything going on in your novel. Everything—from the geography of the world that you built to what your characters are wearing—should be noted. After all, you don’t want your protagonist to be outfitted in shorts, despite the story taking place in the middle of winter!
Creating a glossary of all the characters and world-building elements you’ve written into the novel allows you to keep track of its various events. This can help you spot plot holes in the story and parts where things don’t exactly line up with each other. Keep in mind that continuity is key in a well-written book. One way to ensure this is by having a complete list of everything that is going on, right down to the minutest detail.
Constantly Ask ‘Why’
This is a trick recommended by many bestselling authors. Constantly asking “why” is an effective way to identify inconsistencies and illogical gaps in the story. More than that, though, this also helps keep your plot and characters grounded in reality.
So, keep asking yourself, why are your characters doing what they are doing? Why did the detectives speak to this eyewitness? Why did they take the train instead of the bus? Not being able to come up with a good and rational answer to such questions indicates a plot hole that needs to be filled up.
It may be a slog to go through your story, again and again, just to identify and resolve all its plot holes. However, this is undoubtedly a crucial stage when writing a novel. Not only will it guarantee an excellent and unforgettable story, but it will also help ensure that your readers are nothing but satisfied.