Tag Archives: revising


The Plot Hole of Doom!

I have one MS that is mostly finished. It’s been through 3 drafts (if you can call them that — my WIPs sort of evolve and expand as they go along) and it’s kind of in the final polishing stage.

Then a couple of weeks ago I found a plot hole. Not just any plot hole, but a black hole that sucked my entire MS into its gaping maw. It was one of those things that made me think “Why doesn’t character A just XYZ right at the beginning?” And there was no good answer except that when I wrote it, it didn’t occur to me.


photo credit: chris.peplin 
via photopin cc / Text added

I didn’t spot that plot hole through all the revisions. No one else who read it (bless their little, generous, critique-giving cottons socks) spotted it either. But once I’d seen it, I couldn’t unsee it.

After a mini major freak out, I emailed my fabulous crit partner, Kelley. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. She agreed with my assessment. It was indeed the Plot Hole of Doom. But she also helped me work through the ramifications and figure out how to save it.

This was tricky, because everything I changed had a ripple effect on the rest of the plot. Change event A, and event B no longer makes sense. The overarching plot would still work, but the path the characters took to get there would require some major tweaking.

I grieved. There were scenes that would have to be cut completely. Awesome lines that would be yanked and may never see the light of day. Paragraphs I’d slaved over that would now be cast aside like week-old leftovers. Witty banter and character-defining moment would cease to be.

But I wasn’t ready to give up on it.

One night, after a few days of stewing on it, when the kids were in bed and my husband was out, I sat down at the computer.

Then I went away and watched TV. Then I came back. Then I watched more TV. Just before midnight, I decided I’d have one more look before I went to bed. (This decision may have been aided by the consumption of copious amounts of energy drink at an inappropriate time of day.)

In Scrivener, I moved all the chapters into a new folder called “Black Hole Manuscript” (so I can always go back to them if I want to). Then one chapter at a time, I started the new manuscript. I would copy the chapter back into the Manuscript folder, then open both the original and the copy in the side-by-side view. That way I could chop and change the new one, but still refer to the original to see how it used to be.

I went hard, fixing and changing things based on the new plan I’d worked out.

At 4am I started to see double, so I went to bed.

The kids woke me up at 7.

I plonked them in front of the TV, grabbed myself a cup of tea, and got back into it.

At some point my husband came home. I may have grunted at him as he walked past.

At 2pm I finished the final chapter. I had just completed a 14 hour (minus 3 for sleep) writing marathon. When I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll.

There was still work to be done. Some chapters had been decimated and needed to be expanded again. Other ones needed to be checked for flow.

But overall I was very, very happy with it. In fact, one of the underlying threads works better in the new version than it did in the old version.

Writing is hard, but I love it anyway.