What is a Plothole, you ask? I am going to give credit to my BFF Sara for coining the phrase she will have to correct me if she got it from someone else. Anyway, a plothole is exactly what it sounds like. A hole in your plot. They can form at pretty much anytime during the writing process, though they usually occur when you are making changes. If you get rid of a scene and then realize you needed some part of it so every thing makes sense later, would be a good example. Or if you decide to kill off a character in book one and then realize his spawn is the main character of book ten but he had not impregnated anyone yet, that would be a rather large plot hole.
Sometimes the fix is easy. Simply allude to the act at some point before you kill the poor guy. Devoted readers will either remember or when they reread that first book will put the pieces together. If book one is already published you may consider a flashback. Whatever method you choose, plothole filled. You could also change that character completely so he dies in a different book after falling in love. You can do whatever you need to really.
I strongly suggest before you do anything to talk to someone in your writing group or whoever your critique buddy may be. I am currently awaiting a response so I can move forward and fill a plothole. I had no idea it was there until I started loosely outlining book two. Sometimes you wont notice, so I strongly suggest, if you are writing a trilogy or series to figure out the plot from book one through the rest just so you can make sure everything fits when you look at the final product. A great example is Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series. I do not actually know that J.K Rowling did or did not plan this character from book one, (SPOILER ALERT!!) Once you know Snape was in fact one of the good guys you can go back and see why he did everything he did. He is one of Favorite character of all time BTWs. However, from the moment J.K. Rowling did know Snape’s path she was sure to drop subtle hints so when you found out the truth it was plausible. If she had made the ultimate villain because that is what he was to her, you would have been able to tell and when she flipped it on the readers they would not have been pleased. That would have been a pretty big plothole.
So to fill a plothole, converse with a trusted friend hopefully the same person you are talking about your novel with. You need someone to help you bounce ideas and keep your story well-rounded. Sara is always reminding me that not all the love birds can end up together and in the kinds of stories I write people have to die. You cannot get through these dangerous situations with everyone in tact it’s just not realistic… at all.
You really need a critique buddy. Preferably another writer. Other writers know how attached you are to your creation and how hard it can be to hear things are not as perfect as you imagined.
This has turned more into a writing over all kind of post than a plothole one but hopefully you found it helpful on both counts! Find a critique buddy!! If you take nothing else from this at least do that. Your novel will not suffer for it. I will say that just because your critique buddy or even editor says jump you can question it and think it over before committing to the leap. It is your novel so you do have veto power. If you can though come to a compromise if nothing else. There have been several times Sara has suggested changes to which I was hesitant or out right against, that after trying and trying to make it work my way I ended up doing somewhat if not completely. So make sure it is still yours at the end of the day but be open to revision. 🙂