1. OnesieWrites

    OnesieWrites Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    14

    Are plot holes the end of the world?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by OnesieWrites, Sep 19, 2017.

    So i'm writing a story which uses time travel and many stories i know which use this have one, two or maybe several plot holes. But are plot holes entirely bad? Will it be the end of the world if my story has a few plot holes here and there?
     
  2. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    348
    Location:
    Canada
    Depends on whether the readers notice them. If you keep the book fast-paced, they may not.
     
    jannert likes this.
  3. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,493
    Likes Received:
    2,932
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    How big is the hole?

    Generally, I'd say plot holes are always bad. They're usually a sign that something wasn't completely thought out. That said, small ones may not make your whole story come crashing down like a house of cards.
     
    Simpson17866, OurJud and izzybot like this.
  4. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,568
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    A plot hole could be telling you that you are missing a story opportunity. Plots are what moves the story along. You could be missing a character, a story twist or something that, once developed, could make your story sing.
     
    Edward M. Grant and Simpson17866 like this.
  5. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,163
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    Location:
    A Place with no History
    Plot holes are terrible.
    They're just tears in the fabric of the universe where your entire world slowly sinks down into it.
    They're literally what black holes are to reality.
     
    izzybot likes this.
  6. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    9,502
    Likes Received:
    9,749
    Location:
    England
    Like @X Equestris says, depends how big and/or noticeable.

    I've just seen one in mine and it's potentially jeopardized the whole of my draft to date (10,000 words)
     
  7. archer88i

    archer88i Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    431
    Nah. Most people don't notice most of them until they appear in a listicle.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    17,919
    Likes Received:
    27,158
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Plot holes are like continuity errors. Try to avoid them as much as possible,
    or altogether. It makes things go smoother in the long run. Also deus ex machina
    should be avoided too.

    Fast pace can work, but not if it feels to rushed and not fleshed out well enough. :)
     
  9. jay_t

    jay_t New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    I'm of the controversial opinion that plot holes are fine. Who really cares? Most of the best pieces of fiction out there are full of them. Most rational adults understand that fiction isn't real life; they're stories designed to make you forget about your pointless life for a few hours at a time. I find it amazing that people can suspend disbelief when it comes to sci-fi, fantasy and superhero stuff but when there's a minor plot hole they complain like it's the end of the world.
     
    OurJud likes this.
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,405
    Likes Received:
    2,928
    A story with a plot hole can still be good: the best readers are the ones who recognize that the writers who created their favorite works are not perfect. It's just that the same story without the same plot hole would be even better.

    How big a plot hole are we talking?
     
    Fernando.C likes this.
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,254
    Likes Received:
    13,075
    Some plot holes are a shrug. Some tear the plausibility of the story to the extent that it ceases to have any integrity as a story. I need examples.
     
  12. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    9,502
    Likes Received:
    9,749
    Location:
    England
    You know the man has a point :D
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  13. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,419
    Likes Received:
    3,883
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I think that's the real question.

    In writing my wip, I changed some details about one mc's past midway through, and it resulted in an earlier offhand line about them having never been to a place like X before being a 'lie' - turned out they'd grown up in such a place. Because their past is a pretty important part of the plot, this was a plot-breaking issue. It was internal monologue, so there was no reason for the 'lie' - it was just wrong. So I changed it for the integrity of the plot.

    Now, if I just forgot like, what color I said their shirt was, or something? That's not going to break the plot. Maybe they just changed their shirt. I still don't want this type of problem, but no, it's not the end of the world.

    That said, I think that not having plot holes is just part of having a solid, well-written plot. Plot holes mean that your plot isn't consistent and doesn't make sense. Potentially it means that your reader is going to be pulled out of the story thinking "Wait, what? That shouldn't work. This is dumb". I know I wouldn't be happy with that result.
     
  14. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    1,683
    Why did the aliens in Independence Day use human satellites when they had their own?
     
    jannert and Cave Troll like this.
  15. SnapFandango

    SnapFandango Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2017
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    24
    I never realised that my entire perception of reality could be destroyed with one simple question, but it happened.

    An internal logic is absolutely necessary. As long as you have that and stick to it, you are fine.
     
    jannert and John Calligan like this.
  16. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,405
    Likes Received:
    2,928
    I didn't think they were hacking our satellites to communicate, I thought they were hacking our satellites to stop us from communicating.

    Am I not remembering this right?
     
  17. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,493
    Likes Received:
    2,932
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but I believe they used the satellites to coordinate their initial, city destroying attack. The bigger question is "Did they have their own satellites in the original movie?" I don't remember any mention of it, but as I said, it's been a while.
     
  18. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    1,683
    They didn't mention their own satellites, but they did deploy multiple ships from the mother ship, which in turn deployed trans-atmospheric fighters. I guess it could just be against their culture to use unmanned probes.
     
  19. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,421
    Likes Received:
    1,992
    Did the aliens actually have their own satellites in Earth orbit?

    I'm sceptical that they would have done; after all, why build your own satellite infrastructure when you could simply hi-jack the existing one? So much cheaper (can you tell I'm an accountant?) and, more importantly for tactical surprise, faster.
     
  20. OnesieWrites

    OnesieWrites Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    14
    Thanks for the response and i haven't got any plot-holes yet, i was just asking because my characters are about to go back in time and i need to find a way to keep track of past, present and future events/changes so things flow smoothly.
     
  21. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,675
    Likes Received:
    19,890
    Location:
    Scotland
    Well I'm the sort of reader whose enjoyment of a story is usually dampened if I notice plot holes that actually influence the story.

    Maybe it's something the characters do that doesn't make sense. For example: we know there's a bridge nearby, and so do the characters, but instead of walking across the bridge they try to swim across the river and one of them drowns. This is fine if they consciously decide to swim RATHER than taking the bridge because there's something dangerous about the bridge, or whatever. But if the writer just forgets the bridge is there and forces them into the water? I will notice. I'll go through the rest of the story thinking: why didn't they just use the bridge?

    Or if they leave on a journey that takes them three months. They leave at the end of September and arrive 'in the spring.'

    Or, as one writer did, have their lone character leave the middle of Iran on a Vespa scooter and arrive in Scotland 6 days later, none the worse for wear.

    Or a girl is pregnant and has a full-term baby less than seven months after she first met the father.

    Yes, I'll notice this kind of thing.

    I won't care much if a person has hazel eyes at the start of the story, but when her eye colour is referred to again, she has blue eyes. That's almost like a typo. You laugh, but you move on, knowing that it doesn't matter which one it is. However, if she only has one eye at the start of the story, and later on she has two (and the acquisition is never explained, but it's significant that she has good sight in both eyes) ...there is a problem.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    10,777
    Likes Received:
    18,131
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    I had something similar to this come up for me recently. My villain sneaks a robot loaded with explosives into a elevator in order to blow up some corporate offices at the top of the skyscraper. I had the villain ride up with the robot because... well, because I wanted to do a chase scene between him and one of my MCs who was already in the building. Now unless the villain is a complete idiot or suicidal he should have sent the bomb-filled robot up in the elevator by itself and left the building before anybody saw him. Stupid, right? And what made matters worse was that I invented some reasons for him to accompany the robot, but the more I tried to explain it the more conspicuous the plot hole became. I call that "pointing at the plot hole," which can become disastrous. One of the worst things a writer can do is throw good words at a fundamentally bad idea... kind of like throwing more money at a doomed investment. Sometimes the reader won't notice the hole until you start pointing at it. Or they'll forgive it. The jury is still out as to how I'm going to handle that scene. I'm leaning toward letting it slide and see how many betas notice it. Might be much ado about nothing.
     
    jannert, John Calligan and izzybot like this.
  23. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    1,683
    lol Imagine star wars if Leia actually said, "it is really difficult to learn about the Death Star after the empire killed the 14 billion people involved in its construction and had another million sign NDAs."
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  24. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    1,568
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Could the villain build a drone duplicate of himself? That way he could there be via remote piloting.
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  25. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    10,777
    Likes Received:
    18,131
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Haha, right? And sometimes the explanation of a plot hole can spawn an entire movie and several hundred million at the box office!

    (I wasn't a fan of Rogue One... I knew what was going to happen so there wasn't much that could be revealed or move the arc of the franchise forward. Not that it was a poorly made movie or anything, but that was some low hanging fruit in my opinion.)
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice