When writing a story, when constructing a narrative, there are things to avoid or perhaps only use sparingly. Xlibris Publishing shares 5 Plot Pitfalls– mistakes, traps, and writing devices that can throw off readers and hurt a story.
Pitfall #1- Plot Holes Great and Small
We start with plot holes. A general term that can incorporate some of the Pitfalls on this list, plot holes nonetheless merit their own placement on this list. At its simplest, a plot hole is when there is a disconnect between cause and effect, a failure in a story’s established logic. Plot holes come in forms, from things she “Where did she get that weapon, while in the middle of nowhere?” to “Why did events have to unfold that specific way?” Even worse instances include, “Why is this is an problem, when we already have the solution from a previous book,” or a character suddenly forgetting a vital skill when it would be very helpful.
Plot holes are inevitable, as authors are only human and mistakes happen. What you can do is minimize plot holes. Much like potholes, small ones are minor bumps readers can ignore, while serious plot holes can derail a reader and ruin their journey, specifically their suspension of disbelief. More serious plot holes usually occur when an author is trying to force a scene, event, or plot development. Which brings us to our second Pitfall…
Pitfall #2- Forced Tension
Tension and drama are powerful tools in the writer’s arsenal. It hooks the reader and drives them to turn the page to find out what happens next. Tension becomes a pitfall when it comes from seemingly nowhere, with weak or even nonexistent explanation. The argument could even be made that if tension has to be explained in that instance instead of having been set up, is a case of Forced Tension.
Forced tension can take the form of drama that is only occurring due to a ludicrous degree of happenstance and coincidence. A more serious case of forced tension would be a plot that seems to go a specific way, even if completely contrary to what has been established of characters and a setting earlier throughout a story. As with plot holes, extremely bad cases of forced tension can occur when an author is especially trying for a very specific scene or development in their story. This is usually due to an author having said scene or development in their head for years, or even being the inspiration for their story. In such cases the author has to make a choice, either rewrite everything to match up with their desired plot point or abandon the scene and write something that fits with the story they have developed up so far.
Xlibris Publishing will return with the rest of Plot Pitfalls in Part 2.
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By Ian Smith