The other day I realized, via a random tweet, that my WIP* had a big plot hole. Large enough to drive a lorry through. A lorry, for you Yanks, is what’s known as an 18-wheeler in the US. They’re every bit as big here, and yes, my plot is the size of an interstate, with sub-plots and multiple points of view criss-crossing here and there. With such a big plot, it’s not a good thing that I’ve never been a plotter—I prefer writing by the seat of my pants. Things usually work out, at least in the end. All the threads come together and miraculously, no one is injured—unless they’re supposed to be!
But this time I’d basically left the stove on. Left the baby unattended. Danger, Will Robinson. DANGER!
This plot hole needs to be fixed, and fast: I can’t wait until the end for this thread to be woven in, since, essentially, it’s a missing thread. Which means I have to go back through my WIP and figure out how to strengthen the fabric, exactly which spot needs the patch kit, before the precious baby is left on the stove. Or something like that.
This puts me off my pace, which had picked up in the last few days. I’m a slow writer, so this stinks.
But I think I have a few ideas for how to work this out—a patch here, a piece of tape there, and maybe, just maybe, the plot will hold together. At least until I hit another snag.
And I’m absolutely sure I will hit another snag: that’s how pantzers work, flying off into the wild blue yonder and then falling to earth with a thump when they hit a hole in the jetstream.
It’s an awful way to work, but I can’t seem to learn another way. I’m currently taking another online plotting class, but “goal, motivation and conflict” seem like empty words until I’ve already unconsciously built them into my characters and story. Then they take on meaning, as I realize I’ve done exactly what I was supposed to, organically. I’ve never yet had a character without a goal, it’s just that they don’t come with big thought bubbles labeling them “GOAL”.
I’ll get there, somehow, stumbling around in the dark, but there are times when I wish I had a pretty outline to work from, instead of this basket of scraps I’m determined to make into a fabulous quilt.
*Work In Progress, or, as I think of it, a fetal novel