Showing posts from July, 2016

Why Plot Flaws Happen – It’s About Problem Solving Part 2

Part 1 looked at the reason why plot holes occur, but how do you go about fixing them?   How do you close those holes, or glue together the edges of narrative where inconsistencies appear? How do you repair all those inconsistencies, without creating even bigger ones? Solving the Problem The key here is to identify what the plot hole is in relation to the story and recognise the cause of the problem. If you can understand the cause, then most plot problems are relatively easy to fix. With the cause known, you can then work towards a solution without creating further problems; otherwise you’ll create a ripple effect. And you also have to ensure that it’s a satisfactory and plausible solution. Most minor plot holes are easy to fix. Usually they need a few lines of explanatory narrative, an addition of a short scene or two or maybe you have a character say something to another character by way of explanation, something that doesn’t sound like contrived exposition. Complex p

Why Plot Flaws Happen – It’s About Problem Solving Part 1

Plot flaws happen for a variety of reasons, and the result can leave writers scratching their heads, trying to figure out a way around some of the huge problems they create, however, it’s how they’re solved that makes the difference. Plot holes are a by-product of any writing; they appear as inconsistencies or contradictions within the story, as gaps within the narrative, or huge holes that you can’t account for. You can’t avoid them – they happen either because we are not thorough enough, or they happen because of the way the story gradually unravels. The thing about plot flaws is that they don’t become plot flaws until you actually read the work through in its entirety, because up until then, the obvious won’t become apparent while you’re working on the story. Only when it’s finished and you’ve left it or a reasonable time to come back and do your read through will these problems manifest. Plot flaws can be gaping chasms or they can be subtle punctures in the fabric of th

Creating Dilemmas and Why They're Necessary in Fiction

When you read a good book, the one recurring thing you find is that, aside from plenty of conflict, the protagonist is always getting into some kind of trouble and yet somehow he or she manages to get out of these close situations. What you’re reading is the natural escalation of a character’s dilemma. It’s a stable ingredient of any good fiction. In other words, dilemmas, or problems, get worse as the story goes on, up until the action packed or explosive conclusion. As writers, we get to make life pretty bad for our main characters. We do that by setting them up with hard choices. This heightens conflict and tension and keeps the reader turning the page. We’ve all faced hard choices at some point. If we make one choice, it will create an outcome (which may or may not be desired). If we make the other choice, things could be vastly different. That’s why we’re often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. But that pressure we sometimes feel in real life is also the kind of pres

Active v. Passive Fiction

What do we mean by the terms passive and active? How important are they for writing fiction and should we only use one and not the other? Some people argue that there is nothing wrong with using passive fiction - they tend to think of those writers who disagree with this are purists, but there is a huge difference between using passive fiction deliberately within your writing, for effect, to using it all the while in the misconstrued belief that it actually helps the writing, when in reality, it actually does the opposite. Any worthy editor will always advise against passive writing for a very good reason, and that’s because passive sentence structures weaken the writing considerably. It just doesn’t connect with the ear when you read a passive sentence, nor does it look right. And that’s because it isn’t. In truth, passive writing is frowned upon, but it can sometimes have its place, and is most often used in academic writing and teaching, however, your creative