People Pick Apart Plots (Say That 5 Time Fast)

Have you ever noticed how easy it can be to pick apart someone else’s plot? You watch a movie or read a book, and there it is. A big gaping plot hole that makes you laugh in a how-did-you-miss-that kind of way. If the movie/book comes up in conversation, you point out the flaw to your friends with gleeful superiority.

Which is kind of terrifying from a writer’s perspective.

Do you how many works have plot holes? It’s a lot. Some are big, some are small, and some have rickety bridges built over them, but they exist. And they can be hard to avoid (if you can’t find any, you know it’s a really good piece). When you’re writing a novel or a full script, there’s so much information to keep track of that it’s easy to get focused on a micro scale and miss something that would be more visible if you stepped back and looked at the whole.

And even then, you can simply be too close to the project to see the gaps.

So what do you do? Well, getting other people to read it helps. Whether it’s a writing circle, an editor, or a friend, other people who don’t know the story as intimately can see gaps and logical fallacies more easily. On the other hand, more detailed plotting might help avoid the gaps in the first place, so doing both could double your chances of avoiding major problems.

And, to be honest, picking apart other people’s plots can help, too. If you see a problem that someone else had and remember it, you can consciously try to avoid doing the same thing.

It’s not a perfect system, so you might realize later that you missed something or never thought about a scene from a different perspective. Someone else might even point it out for you (even fans love to do it). When/if you’ve found that people have picked apart your plot and found problems, well, I hope they’re nicer about it than most of us are alone with our books and movies because (let’s be honest) we’re pretty rude.

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