Posted in Editing

Plot Holes

Have you ever read a short story or a novel and somewhere along the way the story/plot didn’t make any sense? It felt as though information was missing, or there was a lack of consistency. The result of all that is you scratching your head in wonder, putting the book down, or leafing back through previously read parts to see what you missed.

That gets too distracting. So how do you as the writer avoid making those same mistakes as a writer? In your own writing, some of the inconsistencies you may be aware of and some you may not be. For the ones you know of, write them down in a plot holes log. For the ones you are not aware of, you will catch those later in your editing.

To expand on this, here is what I do. In the writing software I use, Scrivener (You can find it at Literatureandlatte.com), I create an extra file labeled Edits. Within that file folder I have various files for the different types of editing I will do later. One of those files is called Plot Holes. When I know of a plot hole that I need to address later, I write it there. When I am finished with my manuscript later, one of the things I do is go to that list and fix those plot holes one by one. THEN I start reading my manuscript from page one and go straight through to the end. Along the way I am searching for any more plot holes I may have missed. I make note of them in the manuscript with my red pen and move on. When I get to the end of the manuscript, I go back to those plot holes I made note of in red pen and fix those. Please note…..when I am reading for plot holes like this, plot holes are the only things I am searching for as I am reading. DO NOT fix anything else or make note of anything else during this process because you will lose track of what you’re doing, and you don’t want to start over. If you have to stop to run an errand or cook dinner or something, mark your spot and go back to it later. Trust me, this is the process I used and it served me well.

Posted in Editing

First Draft Woes

The first draft of your manuscript can be rather turbulent. I get it. Really I do. When it’s finished, you look it over and think, “Uh oh, I don’t like this at all.” Two things you can do here. You can either chuck it altogether, or you can use it. Whatever you do, DON’T CHUCK IT. Why? I say this because, even if you don’t use some of it, part of it you will/can use. You can also use the whole thing but polish it up some or a lot. Only you know your story, so only you know how to fix it. In the end, you will have learned more as a writer, and your story will have grown and developed in ways you would not have imagined. If need be, walk away from it for a while. Take a break, think of other things. Then, go back to it.

I remember when I lost part of my manuscript when I was transferring if from my desktop to my new laptop. I was blindsided and distraught. I put the whole thing down and vowed I wouldn’t go back to it. Eventually, I did go back to it, and I made it better. The ideas flowed, big changes were made, and the story became more clear as it relates to where I wanted to go with it. So something bad can turn into a blessing if you let it.