Plot holes are like caterpillars: They chew through your story and leave irregularly shaped holes that cause inconsistency about the characters and story. How can they be defeated?
By outlining, which can help fill in those holes by:
1. Creating and maintaining consistency within the plot.
True story: Last year, despite outlining during Preptober* for NaNoWriMo*, I forgot towards the end of the month that Lizzie was at the abandoned plantation while Henry was going after the bad guys. As a result, there is now a scene with them in their own house right after the scene where I left Lizzie at the plantation and sent Henry off to try and be a hero.
2. Keeps foreshadowing in tow so that there aren’t any out-of-the-blue plot twists.
With outlining, you can see where you’ve planted the foreshadowing for events in your story and make sure the clues build into each other, instead of just winging it and taking the story in a different direction without checking to see how it can be built into what you already have.
3. Keeps track of your story’s changes from idea to finished product.
It’s always a good idea to write down every change your story has undertaken because someday, the concepts that didn’t make it in could end up in another story.
4. Outlining takes the creative mess that is the ideas for your story and organizes them into something coherent with a logical cause-and-effect.
True, there are still times when I’ll write without outlines. It’s either flash fiction–of which I usually have a summary for–or I just want to write it down before I forget since I don’t have an outlining notebook for every story.
But other than that, I outline. It can be pretty beneficial.
Tell me your thoughts below in the comments! How do you get rid of plot holes in your story?
*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November and is a challenge to write 50k in one month. Preptober is October, when writers prepare for NaNo.
This post was last updated on May 12, 2020