Plot Holes

Plot holes. They’re those pesky gaps or inconsistencies in the logical flow of a story.  I must confess I’ve been guilty of them. I want a story to go a certain way. I plot it all out to my satisfaction, and then someone—agent, editor, reader—asks why didn’t they just do X?  Or, if they did Y, why didn’t Z happen?

Grumble. Grumble. “Because it doesn’t work that way,” I say.

In reality, I just didn’t want it to work that way---or I didn’t have a convenient 5-year-old to read the story and point out the obvious lapses in my story logic. (Note to self: add new reader to staff.)

So I console myself with these two lists from Cracked magazine:

•    8 Classic Movies that Got Away with Gaping Plot Holes.

•    5 Gaping Plot Holes Hollywood Knows You Won’t Notice.

One of my favorite holes from the first list is the entire premise to Citizen Kane, which is arguably one of the best movies ever made.  The reporters are trying to figure out the significance of Charles Foster Kane’s final words: Rosebud.  However, no one ever heard them.  He was alone in the room when he died.  The nurse gets there after his last gasp. So how does anyone know what he uttered?

But, if your story is entertaining enough, you can get away with some astonishing lapses in story logic  (though it’s probably not a good idea to try. )

What are some of your favorite plot holes from books, movies, or TV? 


fairyhedgehog said...

Those are plot holes? They are as pinpricks compared to the cavernous pits in my Nanomuddle!

Angie Smibert said...

LOL! Did you get a whole draft done for Nano?

Lynsey Newton said...

Having just completed Nanowrimo, I've been learning A LOT about plot holes ;) New reader wanted you say? PICK ME, PICK ME!!!

Carol Riggs said...

Ha, that's really funny what people don't notice if they're caught up but not totally thinking. I know--I hate it when I miss the obvious with my plots, and my betas say well, why didn't the MC just do "x" and I'm scratching my head. Duh!

Stephanie said...

Ha ha, I always just assumed that the nurse had supersonic hearing and she heard him say 'rosebud' from the hall. You're right that we're willing to forgive plot holes in our favorite movies and books. When people talk about plot holes in Harry Potter I just tune them out. Seriously, if Hermione suddenly sprouted wings and turned into a Cornish Pixie, I would just nod my head and say "I love JK Rowling!"

Angie Smibert said...

I agree, Stephanie. Rowling has done such a good job with the characters and setting (and everything else) that we can gladly overlook a few teeny plot holes. Ditto any other book or movie where we're otherwise enjoying the ride to much to care.

Okie said...

Great post....and I love the articles over at cracked. Hilarious.

Plot holes are a difficult beast. They are so easy to create and so hard to fill. Fortunately, if a book/story is good enough, many (but not all) can be overlooked through "suspension of disbelief"...but it's still a good thing to be aware of.

Thanks for the post.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Just spent an hour reading a bunch of entertaining articles over at cracked. Thanks for the addictive link!