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

7 Comments on Plot holes and patch kits

  1. TheOthers1
    February 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm (12 years ago)

    At least you caught the hole before you got to far. I’m not always good at seeing those holes. Hopefully your writing drive will still be there when you’ve done your patch work.

    • Stiven
      June 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm (12 years ago)

      What a wonderful find. I still rebmemer, from when I was a little girl:1. Reading the entire book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out loud to my mom – bit by bit every morning, while she French-braided my hair for school.2. How terrified I was of any woman wearing gloves, after reading The Witches.Thank you for sharing!

  2. Pete Denton
    February 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm (12 years ago)

    Those pesky plot holes 🙂

    Better to identify now and have a good chance of fixing it as you go rather than miss it or only pick it up later. Good luck working through it and stopping those lorries.

    • kathrynbarrett
      February 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm (12 years ago)

      Yes, I will have to put the brakes on this lorry fast! At least before my ms picks up any more speed.

    • Azeem
      June 18, 2012 at 3:43 am (12 years ago)

      Whoo! Congratulations on working! And givnig kids Matilda, possibly the only Roald Dahl book I actually like (yes, yes, children’s lit blasphemy).And MANY congratulations on finished that STORY!! Two years looks a lot more like my short story writing time than yours. Good luck submitting it!

  3. kathrynbarrett
    February 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm (12 years ago)

    Yes, it was just a random tweet someone wrote that made me realize a situation would never work. So I was lucky, I suppose.

    • Sumita
      June 18, 2012 at 7:10 am (12 years ago)

      I got it! Thanks for the great letter, Katharine! Ia0had aa0notecard pkcied out to write back to you, but then Ia0realized it’s much too small for everything Ia0want to say, so Ia0have to find something else. I’m hoping to write thisa0week.


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