The one thing that I’ve been repeatedly praised for by those in the know about the intricacies of my current fiction project is this: “You’ve thought of everything!” This is my short guide full of tips for avoiding those annoying plotholes in your fiction writing.
Connections Are The Key
Get very accustomed to asking yourself the question: “Why?” on a very regular basis. Make sure you know your characters’ motivations first of all, too. If something happens that is outside of their realm of control, you need to know the answer to that why as well. My personal remedy for this is often to make sure I have ordered lists! I recommend notebooks as I have found that putting pen to paper is a better environment for critical thinking than the keyboard is.
Now in the business of making connections: If you have a significant event occur, make sure you find a connection to draw between it and another later on– if it isn’t already drawing a conclusion from something earlier in the story.
A List For Continuity
Keep a few pages in your notebook for the sake of continuity. When you dream up an event, small or otherwise, jot down a summary or description that relates to it so you don’t forget about it later. I’ve found that this is one of my best tools for keeping myself on track and not losing sight of important plot points or easily lost sub plots. Use those notes on your pages to draw connections and conclusions between important events. The act of using one event to draw attention back to an earlier one is a great way to give your novel that all-important feeling of continuity.
Writing Styles Differ
Remember that everyone writes differently. While my best ideas come to me with pen and paper to be translated in to type, you might be someone who thinks more clearly into your word processor. If you’re one of those people, I suggest checking out my recent article about the uses of Yarny, an online word processor with cloud storage and a section in the user interface for organizing snippets about people, places, and things in your story. Also bear in mind that there is a lot of bad advice out there too, and if something doesn’t sit right with you then it probably isn’t right. The most important thing to do is to write the book that you want to read! People write for any number of reasons, but I’d suggest aiming for that thing that covers what you always wished you’d find on the bookshelf and never did.
Fiction writing is a wide open world full of new possibilities for people looking to self publish or aim for the support of the well known publishing houses of the world. Don’t give up, and keep refining your techniques and your style. You’ll find your niche with perseverance and practice!