1. -alex-
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    -alex- Member

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    Fixing a “were” Plot Hole?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by -alex-, Sep 3, 2012.

    Hey all,

    I’m needing some help with some ideas of how I can fix a plot hole…

    Okay, so my story revolves around “werecats”. My protag is half-werecat. Her mother (who is deceased) was a werecat and her father is human. However, my protag does not know she is half-werecat or that her mother was werecat (neither does her father know). She finds this out further into the story.

    My plot involves the protag mixing will (full) werecats, so the problem becomes, surely they’d be able to sense straight away that she is not completely human, as they can sense each other and tell their kind apart from humans.

    So, yeah, I’m a little stuck. It’s important to the storyline that she does not find out that she is a werecat when she meets the werecats (they do not know either). It’s important to the storyline that she is told by a certain character of her real heritage, and this can’t happen until a certain point--quite a way into the story.

    The only thing I’ve come up with is maybe something to do with her first transformation/shift? As in, maybe they can't sense her until that happens? But, genetics wise, that doesn’t add up, does it?

    Any ideas?
     
  2. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    Well, you did mention that she is a half, right? Maybe you could work it in that her "human blood" somehow masks her identity from her kind?
     
  3. Patrick Bade
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    Patrick Bade New Member

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    Is it a set rule that these 'full werecats' can distinguish between humans and their kind? For now I think it is. If not, you might change this.

    Either you give half-werecats a human scent like ArtWander already said, or you make her temporarily (by coincidence maybe) not distinguishable. Another option would be, like you said, that it requires a transformation or maybe a certain age to make her scent or aura (whatever you choose) adapt to those of werecats.
     
  4. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    Could there be a masking/ protection spell of some sort that her werecat mother cast or had someone else cast or an enchanted necklace to prevent her being identified until it is broken?
     
  5. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    I'm going to second Patrick on this one. If a "rule" that you created is hindering your story to the point it doesn't work, it's time to revisit that rule. I like the challenge of over coming the limitations of a fantasy race, but I won't let those stand in the way of the story. If your MC HAS to find out after interacting with the werecats and by a certain person, maybe werecats don't REALLY need to be capable of sensing their own.

    An easier option, but kind of boring, why would they even mention it to the MC if they knew? Why would they care who is and isn't a werecat?
     
  6. ...
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    ... Member

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    aren't all werecats half human? like werewolves are not exactly in wolf form all the time. they are in human form... and I suppose they don't smell until they change... so if she hasn't changed she would still smell like a human.

    she'll only smell like a werecat once changed into cat form,.
     
  7. -alex-
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    -alex- Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Yes, it is established that werecats can distinguish between humans and their kind.

    I think the transformation thing is the way to go, seeing as there is no ‘magic’, such as spells etc in my world. The only ‘magic’ if you like, is the werecats being able to transform (or, Shift) from human to black Leopard/Panther.

    The only problem is—and perhaps I’m over thinking this—if she’s half were, she has were DNA, right? As weres can sense each other, and ‘smell’ another were or a human, why would they not be able to sense/smell she’s not either were or human? Surely being half-half, she’d have the scent of both? She’d smell of something, right?

    Regarding the age thing, full werecats (who are born—not made/turned) do not transform until they are in their early-mid teens, so around 13-15. These weres, from the day they are born can be identified as weres by other weres, if that makes sense?

    Now, half-weres, I was going to make the same… BUT, perhaps I need to change this, which might solve my problem—but change to what, I have no idea.

    A half-were not being able to be sensed/smelt (or appear as human) until after the first transformation is an idea, but, genetically speaoking, would this be a plot hole? They DO have were in them, even if it’s currently dormant, so it would make sense that other werecats could sense/smell half-weres as one of thier kind—or at least sense/smell something other than human? If the ‘were’ side did remain dormant until the first transformation, making half-weres appear human and small human—this then begs the question as to ‘why’? Surely were DNA—as were’s are physically stronger etc—is going to be dominant over ‘weaker’ human DNA?

    Or, like I said, am I just over thinking this? Am I getting too genetically technical in a supernatural world? Lol. I just didn’t want the first person to read my story and say, “Huh, that doesn’t make sense, the were’s should have known she was half-were.”
     
  8. -alex-
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    -alex- Member

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    Just to add:
    Full-werecats = both parents are werecats. From a line of werecats.
    Half-werecats = one parent werecat, the other human (this is not a common thing, it happens, just not often, generally speaking most weres stick to their own kind).
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You could have the werecats be suspicious of her - this could be a good foreshadowing tool anyway. You can't just jump the readers with "Woohooo she's a werecat!" - you need to hint at it throughout the novel so that when the penny drops, the reader should be screaming at themselves for "How could I not have seen this!?" That makes for the best sort of twist. And the werecats are suspicious because they can sense she could be a werecat, but since she's half-human obviously things don't add up for the werecats, your MC doesn't act fully werecat, nor does she feel or smell like one fully. Maybe the werecats start wondering if she's were-something-else and could initially grow hostile to her.

    And then you could have your MC wanting to be a werecat so much, or wanting/needing to be accepted so badly, that she starts adapting behaviours of the werecat, trying to smell like one, walk like one - and she's a natural at it (another hint) and she's finding she quite enjoys this (another hint) but the reader shouldn't be able to guess that she's actually really half-werecat because you've given the reader a red herring of a reason for why suddenly she seems so "werecaty". Werecats accept her because she's starting to act like a werecat - but the reader will still think that's only the case cus the girl's been trying so damn hard to fit in.

    And then some clever old werecat finally realises the girl's half-werecat based on all these clues and some random knowledge he gets from ancient scrolls or however you're doing this, and "everything adds up".
     
  10. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    To be honest I think you perhaps need to do some research into DNA and genetics if you want to have a scientific basis for your plot device.

    Or you need to say 'my world, my rules' as getting too bogged down with genetics when writing a supernatural story is probably unwise unless you can back it up somehow - genes are expressd completely differently for each individual even in the same family - your parents traits are not shared 50/50 so maybe some werecat/human hybrids would not be able to transform at all while others would inherit full 'werecat-ness'???

    If a fantasy writer gets all 'and here is the science bit...' in their story it immediately makes me question all their premises much more closely - it is probably better to trust the power of your story to enable the reader to suspend disbelief and not draw attention to the elephant in the room (people cannot transform into cats!!).
    The power of illusion/ distraction - 'you don't want to look at that massive plot hole dear reader - here look at this touching romance/ exciting fight scene/ thrilling murder mystery instead!!' - it's up to you basically :)
     
  11. -alex-
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    Hettyblue, I think you're right.
    I think I'm overthinking this. Perhaps I should just go with 'my world, my rules', and have faith in the reader?
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, your rules need to be coherent - so your alternative is to device a better "rule" that actually helps you eliminate your plot hole. But if you choose to establish a rule and then you go ahead and break the rule without a good explanation, trust me when I say 90% of your readers will notice. If you've done your writing right, then your readers might love your characters so much as to remember every detail (just look at the Robsten fans) and you'll have many a reader throw your book across the room if something big like this doesn't make sense.

    So yes, your world, your rules, indeed. But you need to play by the rules you've set up, otherwise it's called cheating, and no reader likes to be cheated.
     
  13. -alex-
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    -alex- Member

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    Oh yes, I understand there needs to be rules, and I need to stick to them. What I was getting at was maybe I am trying to be too scientific in a supernatural story?

    For example, if I go with the rule “half-werecats ‘smell’ human until they transform for the first time, then thereafter they ‘small’ were”. Well, why not? Does it NEED anything to back it up? Is that acceptable the way it is? Is “Full-weres should be able to small the werecat in half-weres ‘because it’s in them’” just overkill, and something that need not be addressed?

    I guess what I’m asking is does that rule seem acceptable, or would you, as the reader want to know WHY?
     
  14. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    Mckk you are right of course being short changed as a reader by incoherence is a big nono. If you have a world where people can transform into animals, then there is so much scope for invention that a decision to make someone only identifiable as a were in particular circumstances should be possible without making the reader lose faith in the story's credibility.
     
  15. jid
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    jid Member

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    In nature at least, smell is not the only marker. Smell does give a hint but I don't think there's a cat in this world that would mistake a human for a cat just because the smell is the same (and kittens do mistake image in the mirror as another cat even if it lacks the smell completely). Your MC probably doesn't produce the same sounds, or walk the same way, looks completely different etc. Since your werecats are intelligent though, I think an important question is if they have met a halfcat before?

    Completely agree. There's nothing more annoying than following a story that fixes a plothole by ... not fixing it.
     
  16. -alex-
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    Hmm, I’m not sure if people are understanding this—perhaps I should have explained already (sorry my bad). These werecats, when not in cat form (and cat form, I mean black Panther) appear to the naked eye as human. A human would not be able to distinguish between another human and a werecat. A werecat would be able to distinguish, however, seeing as they’d be able to sense and smell out their own kind.

    So, when these werecats are in human form, they walk, and talk, and think just like humans.

    While half-weres exist, they are not common, however, it is quite possible at least some of the group would have come across one before.

    So going with the OP question... does half-weres appearing human until after their first transformation/shift seem out of the realm of possibility? Is this a rule I could just establish, which would work? Or does it just seem totally off? Would you immediately ask the question, "being ‘cats’ why wouldn’t they pick up on something?"
     
  17. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    Hmmm..

    Maybe you can add hints of foreshadowing into the story where both humans and werecats tell her she has a "unique" or "different" scent that neither recognize. It doesn't register that she might be mixed, because it's so taboo or unthinkable.

    You could make it one of her famous traits, that she has a unique, undistinguishable scent that (as a result) also makes it incredibly easy for her to be detected (by both humans and werecats). Later in the story you can reveal that this "unique" smell is a result of the gene mixing.
     
  18. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    HaHa Golden Feather I was going to say the exact same thing then saw your post. Oh well at least I can agree lol :p
     

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