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In this episode, we’re talking about how to dig yourself out of a plot hole.

We’ll go through some of the causes, how to fix them, and a few extra techniques you can use to get out of one, too.

What is a plot hole?

A plot hole is when there is an issue wit your plot that causes you to stop writing. 

It sounds simple, but these issues aren’t always as black and white as you might think, and can often be a sign of bigger issues with your plot, your writing, or even your plan.

Ah, that’s another thing. There’s a difference between a plot and a plan.

A plot is a series of events that happen to your character(s). It’s how these things occur, in detail, and how your characters react to them.

A plan is all the stuff you need around that. It includes world building, settings, characters, themes, and your plot. 

Plot hole causes

This can often come from not having a clear enough idea of what you’re doing and/or not being able to keep track of it.

Say your story needs six different characters. Without a solid plan, and details on who they are/where they come from/their fears/names/age/etc, you’ll struggle to remember it all. 

If you can’t keep track of them all, what are the chances of them staying consistent?

If you have a good plan, you won’t get stuck and not know what comes next, or end up writing with inconsistencies, and your story will be easier to write. 

Once you have a good plan in place, you can properly start plotting.

Why is having a plot worked out before writing so important?

The more you know about what’s going to happen, the easier it is to write it.

Sure, there’s something to be said for pantsing (write everything as you go) but we don’t recommend it. I have found that, in my experience, if you plot your story, it will be be easier to write—and be a better story. 

The key is knowing the specifics of how things happen, not just what happens.

For instance, Kristina once tried to plot a novel that included the plot point, ‘Poppy finds out who the murderer is.’

Which, to be fair, is a key plot point.

But Kristina didn’t know who the murderer was 😱

And therefore the murderer ended up changing three times while she tried to write the book during NaNoWriMo.

Since it was for NaNoWriMo, she forced herself to keep going…only to almost give up writing fiction completely because she hated the process so much by the end. All this could’ve been avoided if she’d had a better plot in the first place!

Why is world building more important than people think?

People underestimate the power of world building when they write something set in the real world.

Of course, when writing anything with even the tiniest smidgen of fantasy, most people ensure they know their world, their magic system, their demons, or whatever else they may use, inside and out. 

But even if you set something in the real world, you’ll be taking some creative license with the setting, or people, or even the way certain practices work.

In the Rizzoli and Isles TV show, when the characters visit crime scenes or attend autopsies in early episodes, they wear protective gear. But this only lasted a couple of episodes because the producers didn’t like how it looked onscreen.

Which is fine, they took that creative license. It’s only a small thing that a lot of people wouldn’t notice.

But you need to know all of the things you’re changing and keep track of them. This will maintain consistency as well as help you to write faster as you’re not having to double check or make things up every time.

How does not knowing your characters enough cause a plot hole?

Well, if you don’t know them well enough, you may end up struggling to write them in various different scenes.

At the end of the day, a lot of what your character does is reacting to the situation that they’ve been put in.

If you don’t know them well enough to know how they’ll react, then how will you be able to effectively continue to write without getting stuck?

Or, at the very least, going more slowly as it is hard to know what they’ll do.

How to get out of a plot hole

Talk to a writer friend

Other writer friends will understand your struggles better than those who don’t.

Although there is something to be said for that non-writer friend who blindly supports you and is your biggest fan. Got a lot of love for those people <3

But other writers will be able to better understand your issue and be better equipped to help you through it.

And I do mean talk through it.

Some of the best help you can get with a plot hole is to talk through it with your writing buddies. 

Sure, sending them your work is invaluable too, but they’ll be able to help you more by asking you questions and helping you pick through the issue.

If you are in need of some writing buddies, don’t forget we hang out in our facebook group  writerscookbook.com/facebookgroup

Put it in the drawer

This really works.

Why? It gives you a more objective view of the story. You can see potential issues that you might not have seen before.

Plus, the longer you put it away for, the more you’ll have grown as a writer, reader, and person, meaning you’ll notice more when you come back to fix it.

So whether you are stuck in a plot hole, or stuck on writing your book at all, this technique can prove quite valuable.

Most importantly, keep going!

Carrying on writing is the most important skill ever.

Sometimes when you get trapped in a plot hole you’ll feel like giving up.

In fact, there are multiple obstacles in between you and your successful writing career that will make you want to stop, or deter you from carrying on down the path.

But if you push through all of that, there are rewards at the end. You can reach your goals.

Don’t forget that in video games, if you’re running into lots of enemies/obstacles, you’re going the right way.

Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off is hard. I’m not saying it’s not. But if you can learn to do that, you’re a huge step closer to that end goal.

And I believe in you.

How to dig yourself out of a plot hole