Plot holes: Watch out for these inconsistencies!

Nov 7, 201820 comments

There comes a time when every author has to put an end to their writing and start seeing their work objectively. Their objectivity would go a long away in making their manuscript, or book if I may, appealing to the masses. Of course the beta readers and editors would do their jobs but you would be glad you did your part before sending it off to the professionals. 

Much like typos and grammatical errors, a glaring plot hole would turn me off from reading the book completely. When we say plot hole we generally think of the inconsistencies in the storyline or the plot itself, but it is much more than that, don’t you think?

In fact anything that would make your readers go ‘what just happened?‘ in a not so expected way is just the plot holes we are talking about. 

As an author you are expected to have already fixed the plot holes when you send your book off to editing and critiquing, but there are some plot holes that are sneaky and may not be visible to your eyes, especially after repeated readings. This makes the use of a beta reader indispensable. 

A plot hole is a collective term to all the sneaky inconsistencies in the narrative or a character development of a book or a movie/television programme, to paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary.

This does not include those apparent inconsistencies that will be solved in the oncoming chapters or books. We can divide such inconsistencies into three heads based on where they may be found. 

Inconsistencies in the plot 

Plot holes refers to any inconsistencies in the plot or any event in the story line. Plot refers to anything from the place, time and events that take place in those places and times. 

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Inconsistencies could be illogical, contradictory or ignored. Let us examples of each of these cases.

Illogical plot hole:

A character who is terminally ill gets well miraculously just to be a part of a love triangle.

Contradictions:

A character that living 2000 km away from his lady love, drives back to her hometown in a single night to save her from the villain. 

A plot that is ignored or forgotten:

A character that goes missing (i.e forgotten) all of a sudden for no reason.

2) Inconsistencies in the character development

We are never gonna hear the end of how Lily has brown eyes, when we all knew she and Harry had the same blue eyes. Or why Buzz has to pretend freeze around humans if he thought he was a real space ranger.

And that is exactly what we are talking about. 

Anything that character does or does not do as the reader has been told to expect of him is an inconsistency and thus a plot hole. 

Some examples of such holes are:

  • A mighty super villain has a change of heart about destroying the planet just after a small setback.
  • A protagonist that never grows, changes or is affected by the plot. 

3) Inconsistencies in the world building

This is a major one, especially in the fantasy genre. The fictional world that we write for includes why things happen the way they do and why the characters react how they do. 

We need to know the reasons and motivation behind the character’s actions before we can relate to them and continue to root for them. But when these fails, the readers stop caring about what happens to the characters and the plot. 

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Some examples of issues in terms of world building:

  • An antagonist whom we fail to see as powerful enough.
  • Sub plots that are not closed. 
  • Why the lead falls for the female and why is it different from the other times?

While these plot holes may not be apparent to you, your readers are definitely going to find them out and it is critical that you should too. You could always reach to a friend, a fellow writer or a professional beta reader requesting them to give a read to weed these out. 

Aside, I am considering to write more on these series, what do you say? Should I continue these writing topics? Let me know in the comment section. 

Plot hole

Are there plot holes that do not fall in these headers? Do you plot holes turn off from reading further? What is the most annoying plot hole issue that you have read? And authors/writers, tell us about the plot hole you had and how you fixed Let us chat.

20 Comments

  1. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    So true! These types of inconsistencies can be so distracting. And sometimes they’re hard for an author to pick up on, which is why you always need a good editor!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I agree with you too!

      Reply
  2. Jenn @ Bound to Writing

    This is a fantastic post! Plot holes are something every writer needs to be aware of when editing their own work. These are some great examples.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad you like the post, Jenn.

      Reply
  3. Tasha

    Great article. You make some good points.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks!

      Reply
  4. Whispering Stories

    What a great post. Very interesting and I agree with you about plot holes. They do make a book hard to finish.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Glad we agree on that.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Glad you approve.

      Reply
  5. DJ Sakata

    I’ve noticed this issues but wasn’t always sure what to call them – thanx for the lesson – it is never too late to educate!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      These are very prominent movies as well, right?

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yay, thanks for doing that!!

      Reply
  6. Renee Guill

    As a reader and a writer(trying to be) these are excellent tips, thank you! And yes, please keep blogging about these, some of us could use all the help we can get.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you and I plan continue with these posts.

      Reply
  7. Laura Thomas

    I do some beta reading for a couple of authors and this article will come in handy! Thanks so much for sharing:)

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Glad I could be of help, Laura.

      Reply
  8. Shantala

    I cannot agree more! An glaring plot hole is a definite turnoff for me. There is really no redemption from that. None that don’t involve a miracle, and miracles are rare.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I wish some authors would get others to give it a read before they publish theirs.

      Reply

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Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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