Avoiding Plot Holes

By Courtney L. Smith

The protagonist and the antagonist are exchanging blows on the rooftop of a very
high skyscraper. The protagonist nearly plunges to his death with each movement in his
struggle against his enemy. However, he is able to recover before both of them are
dangling from the large tower onto the structure for survival. The antagonist falls to his
death in an attempt to kill the protagonist. The protagonist is an inch away from sharing
the same fate as the tower’s rooftop is collapsing. The next chapter shows the antagonist
making an appearance and attacking the protagonist without yielding an explanation for
his survival. Sometimes, plot holes can appear in a story, regardless of how carefully it is
written; however, their presence can ruin it if too many exist, or one has too much
influence on a major aspect of it. Three major ways to reduce or eliminate plot holes are
(1) carefully organizing outlines, (2) utilizing content editing, and (3) reviewing characters’
roles.
Plot holes can be prevented in writing by carefully organizing an outline. Organizing
an outline helps put the details of any body of work into order to ensure events and
characters are appearing at the appropriate times. Furthermore, having an outline allows
one to carefully arrange the details in a logical and systemic order. All of these details will
prevent plot holes from plaguing any story with incoherence and dissonance. If new ideas
emerge, the outline will allow its inclusion without disrupting the coherence of the story.
Utilizing content editing also produces or eliminates the appearance of plot holes.
This form of editing evaluates the content of the story such as plot, characters, settings, and
other elements to ensure the story is fulfilling its purpose for its composition. It also
examines the logical sequences between the events of the story, which also prevents or
reduces the amount of plot holes a story may acquire during its creation. This also allows
the writer an opportunity to analyze the elements for other things such as entertainment,
action, humor, or moral lessons in addition to experiencing its general quality.
Analyzing characters within the story will eliminate and stop plot holes from
forming as well. Knowing one’s characters very well will prevent them from doing unlikely
things to create potential plot holes. This is done by reviewing the manuscript and reading
it in its entirety several times before releasing for publication. Knowing a character’s
capabilities will allow the story to proceed with reduced flaws. If a character is incapable
of surviving a set of given circumstances or conditions, is it very unlikely the reader will
want to continue reading if the character emerges unscathed unless a plausible explanation
of the situation is provided. Getting inside of characters’ mentalities will allow stories to
occur with the continuity that is needed to transition soundly between events without plot
holes.

Having a prudently arranged outline, utilizing stylistic editing, and inspecting
characters will undoubtedly reduce anomalies with the potential to interfere with the logic
and coherence of a story. Critiques are known for examining every molecule of a story to
exploit its flaws to influence their audiences and entertain them. Eliminating plot holes will
not necessarily prevent them from giving a story a negative review, but it will give them
less to criticize throughout the work.

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