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Plot Holes and Plot Convenience


Hello everyone. I've decided to start a blog, partly because it sounds amusing, and partly because I want to remind myself of everything I should be doing while writing. This blog will dispense whatever sage advice I happen to have to offer, along with the side tangents and other thoughts that come to mind while writing these things. I will have space at the end of each blog for a more condensed version of the advice, for the sake of clarity and really making sure I get all this stuff. I'm still working on making it look pretty, and I probably won't have it super fancy until sometime in January. Let's face it, I'm never going to get around to it.
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Plot Holes and Plot Convenience

Posted January 21st, 2016 at 5:38 PM by Bardothren

Hello again everyone. For my quick update, today marks the third day I've been back in school, and let me tell you, it's been rough. I had to read a whole 300 page book in two days, and after working three hours on a circuit diagram for my research group, the computer crashed and I lost all of it. But, the good news is I practically have nothing to do until next Wednesday, so woohoo!

And now for this week's topic...

Plot Convenience and Plot Holes


Have you ever thought 'gee, that worked out well for the heroes' or 'why the heck didn't they take the Eagles?' I'm addressing both of these topics at once because they're quite related. I'll break it down first.

Plot Convenience is whenever coincidence resolves the plot. Pretty straightforward. Note the word choice, though: resolves. It is perfectly okay for a coincidence to get your characters into mukloads of trouble. Lord knows it happens often in real life, and it's also compelling narrative. I've got Inside Out on the brain, so I'll roll with that for a good example. Coincidence is when the train of thought to crash with Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong in it. The events of Anger planting the idea (Inception reference anyone?) and Joy getting on the train are unrelated, yet the two happening at the same time drives the plot forward.

As for a bad example, let's go with... say... the Death Star just so happens to have a convenient weak spot for the heroes to exploit... and Death Star 2.0... and don't even get me started on the Star Destroyer or whatever it's called.

On to Plot Holes. A plot hole is any alternate route to resolve the conflict in your story. I mentioned the Eagles earlier (though some could argue that was Gandalf's plan the whole time). Inside Out actually has a pretty serious one that made me stop and think. Alright, you know how the workers in Riley's memories can send memories up to headquarters? Why not do that with the core memories?

Unlike coincidence, alternate routes can't make the story better unless you cut them off. Here's a bright idea: what if the core memories were a tiny bit bigger than your typical memory? Not only would it still make sense within the context of the movie, it would also prevent them from sending the memories straight to headquarters.

So, what do you do about plot holes and plot convenience. For plot holes, try to think like your characters. If there's an easier way to get what they want, they'll take it. Find those ways, then cut them off. For convenience, find the ways conflict resolves itself and eliminate them. If a character doesn't solve the issue through their own skills, then it's probably convenient for them.

Should I do a summary? I feel like I was pretty on the point with this one. Ah, what the heck.

Summary


Plot holes and plot convenience are bad, m'kay?

More to the point, they're two major problems with plot lines, and the best way to fix them is to live your characters' experiences in your head.

So, the big questions:

How can I make life more difficult for my characters?
What other ways can my characters get out of this situation?
How do I make the conflict more interesting for the reader?
Why would my character pick/overlook a solution to their problems?

Think about it: Breaking Bad would've gone down a lot differently if Walt had swallowed his pride and taken his friend's money, but his character prevented him from doing it. There's many ways to get around plot holes; it's up to you how you patch them up.

As for writing examples, plot holes and convenience tend to take pages rather than sentences to demonstrate... so I think I'll skip it this time.

Alright, show's over. I've got a Chipotle burrito with my name on it, and I gotta eat. I'll probably be back next Friday or Tuesday... whatever's most convenient for me. Cheers!

Oh, and please wish me luck. In addition to eight hours of lab a week, I have fifteen books to read and around a hundred pages of prose to write this semester. Fun!
it actually should be. Seventy pages in four months for me is nothing, but I'm still not going to be happy with all the reading and whatnot, not to mention the lab... hmm... idk, too early to tell and I'm rambling in this strikeout jeez what is wrong with me
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  1. Old Comment
    Salzorrah's Avatar
    Quote:
    Inside Out actually has a pretty serious one that made me stop and think. Alright, you know how the workers in Riley's memories can send memories up to headquarters? Why not do that with the core memories?
    THATS WHAT I THOUGHT WHEN I WATCHED IT BARD :(

    but wow this is a great entry :3
    Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 6:41 AM by Salzorrah Salzorrah is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Davepetasprite^2 View Comment
    THATS WHAT I THOUGHT WHEN I WATCHED IT BARD :(

    but wow this is a great entry :3
    Thanks for the compliment. :)
    Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 7:13 AM by Bardothren Bardothren is offline
 

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