Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spackle the Loopy Holes


I mentioned recently that my 9 year-old is reading Harry Potter.

Kidlet: "If you can only see thestrals (skeletal-like winged horses, invisible to most people) if you've witnesssed the death of someone, then how come Harry can't see them his whole life if he saw his mom and dad killed when he was a little kid?

Mom: "Uhhhhhh." (Long pause). "Oh, he probably didn't remember. He was too young."

Kidlet:
"Well, he saw Quirrell die in the Sorcerer's Stone, right?"

Mom: (whispers to self) "Dang, JK Rowling! Close yer loopholes!"

So anyway. This brings me back to plotting. I've got about a hundred holes in my plot. It's very much like a fine slice of Jarlsberg right now.

When you write, how to you make sure you've spackled your loopholes?

53 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lydia...currently I am seeing several loopholes in my WIP. But instead of getting angry with myself, for a change I am enjoying plugging and closing these horrible loopholes.

We can only cover those loopholes during revisions.

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Candyland said...

Ahaha! Smart kid!!!

Have a happy holiday!

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Good question. Probably best not to ask JK Rowling though. By the sound of it, your best bet is to get kidlet to check it for you, and work from there :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Maybe there weren't any thestrals around for Harry to see. They're kinda secretive, aren't they? ;o)

LOL, your kidlet is sharp. I never saw that hole in the story. Loopholes of my own? I hope like heck that I get them somewhere along the way or that some brighter person catches them during a beta read.

Magan said...

When I was nine I didn't ask such profound questions, BRAVO.

To spackle my loop holes I have some amazing critique partners and a husband who will ask me questions to the death of the project till there is an explanation for everything.

Lord Gwydion said...

Having a writing partner is working for me. If I don't catch something, he's likely to catch it, and vice versa.

If I make a change to a scene in our screenplay, I try to find all the places that will alter both before and after, but I usually miss a few. Paul will catch them for me.

It's slow going, but our screenplay will be better for it.

Matthew Rush said...

Lovely new picture!

This is what crit groups are for I think. Sometimes I get to closely connected to my story to see the forest for the trees, and only a third, fourth and fifth pair of eyes can spot this kind of stuff.

Anne Gallagher said...

Wow, Kidlit is pretty good with loopholes. You should keep him around!

I just found one of mine and I've spent the last 3 days on research to close it. ugh

mshatch said...

that's what crit partners are for; they find my loopholes and I spot theirs. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Angela Felsted said...

Wow, you're good! I didn't even notice that plot hole.

How do I close my loopholes? Well, I try to catch them all. But if I didn't catch them all, how would I know?

BECKY said...

Don't you just love it when your child asks such great questions? Talk about the word (and world!)being his oyster...!!
Fortunately, I don't write fiction, so I don't have loopholes to deal with...just writers block, etc! :)
Happy Holidays, Lydia!

ciaraknight said...

LOL, I was so mesmerized by JK's plot I never caught her loopholes. Leave it to a 9 y/o to notice. :)
Oh, I have the craziest manuscript I've ever worked on. I don't have any loopholes. I've got some loopcraters. :)

Amy said...

To thwart those pesky plotholes I employ a strategy of reading the story until I hate it - so I'm no longer interested in what happens and can see the bumps and bruises.

Also, a gaggle of beta readers helps.

Carol Kilgore said...

Observant kidlet! Critique partners are wonderful at sniffing out all those plot holes. So are multiple drafts.

MT said...

I'm afraid I rely heavily on my crit partners to spot whatever I don't.
Have a lovely Christmas, Lydia. :)

The Red Angel said...

One of my pet peeves as a writer is to end up having a loophole that I didn't see before! I constantly go back to previous chapters to make sure everything makes sense.

And I thought Harry didn't see any thestrals until, what, the 5th book when he was hanging out with Luna?

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Bathwater said...

I have to agree with the others you need critical readers to take a look at your work ahead of publishing.

storyqueen said...

Your nine-year old and I need to sit down and talk some serious HP! Finally, someone who asks the same questions I do!!

Of course, at 9, I couldn't have gotten past the first chapter myself......

Shelley

Heather said...

LOL! Leave it to kids, they'll find the holes every single time! A great way to fill those might be to have young beta readers. ;)

Sarah said...

I've thought about forcing my students to read my book in order to get feedback from a younger demographic. But, yeah, other readers are an absolutely blessing in sniffing out holes and inconsistencies. My hubby is an absolute bloodhound.

Though, a bit of an aside, sometimes those plot holes can lead to unexpected and interesting plot elements if you figure out a unique way to address them.

Talli Roland said...

The only way I find holes is by examining the plot from every angle, and going through it over and over and over...

Have a great Christmas!

Holly Ruggiero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly Ruggiero said...

I think rereading your work with a skeptical eye helps.

lbdiamond said...

Yeah, so I've wondered about the Thestrals thing, LOL!

Loop holes are tough for me, cuz I tend to forget details unless I read the whole MS in one sitting. That's why I count on my crit buds to help! :D

Faith said...

Oh, good grief. When you figure out the magic formula for closing loopholes, let me know! This is something I'm working at as well...

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss lydia! mostly i put it down for a while and go back and read it and find those holes and get them fixed. and i got a really good cp!
...hugs from lenny

Krispy said...

Observant kidlet! I wondered about that too, and I feel like I've also read an explanation or something for at least the FIRST part of it (about seeing his parents' death) but I can't remember what it was.

Plot holes are tricky. I think you definitely need another pair of eyes to catch them all. Good luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Smart kid!
If I don't catch them, my test readers have a field day with the plotholes.

Old Kitty said...

Wow!! What a fabulous kidlet!! Yay!!! Takes after mum!! :-)

There's nothing like a complete stranger reading my story and flagging up the plotholes for me - it's disheartening but necessary!!!

Take care
x

Deb Salisbury said...

ROFL! JK needed a tougher crit group!

Merry Christmas!

Scare Sarah said...

From a reader and viewer's point of view, we almost expect a loophole or two. It's part of the fun finding them! You'll never catch em all!

M Pax said...

What draft are you on? On first, I make notes and move on.

Set the WIP down for at least a month - possibly longer. I usually let it sit at least 2 months. Then read it cover to cover resisting the urge to edit.

Many of the 'holes' will become a lot more evident to you.

Getting a beta reader or two or more is another way to make sure they're plugged. I also hope my crit partners will catch them.

The Words Crafter said...

Well, dang! I never thought of either of those! I suppose very careful editing....and the loaning out of Kidlet....?

Shellie said...

My WIP has a nagging little loop hole. It's not that I don't know it's there, I just can't figure out how to close it. But maybe no one will notice.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I know, it bothers me that Hermione and Harry don't use the time traveling thingy to go back in time and kill Tom Riddle BEFORE he becomes Voldermort...Hello!

They do it to stop a Hippogriph from dying but not his parents?

Still a fun read though. =)

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Carol Riggs said...

Kidlet--haha, I had to laugh at that description/word. It's great! Good post. We don't want Swiss Cheese plots. Sometimes we're too close to it, though. A good critique partner sure helps!

L'Aussie said...

Loopholes! Hard to fill them in! Often needs a fresh pair of eyes! Clever kidlet!

Ariel said...

Very observant child!

Gosh, I've used a variety of things to help me close any gaps in my plots. Sometimes I web things out, chart them out, but usually I write chapter synopses that hit all the major things that are covered. Sometimes these things get color coded by character, setting, etc. I'm very visual and organized, so I need something like this to organize my details at times.

Olga said...

LOL!
This kid is very thoughtful and observing. And he is only 9 year-old ?!

Vicki Rocho said...

Kudos to the little one for spotting that plot hole! I'd never thought of that before!

I'm making notes in the text to remind myself I have a hole that needs to be addressed later. Because don't have a strict outline, I'm winging things as I write, so I punch holes in my story without realizing it.

Katie Gates said...

Interesting question, and I bet "kidlets" are better at spotting loopholes than we adultlets! I wonder how many letters Rowling has received regarding that very instance? I don't worry about loopholes while I'm writing, but when I share a completed manuscript with a select group of readers, I ask them if they found any plotlines dangling. It's a tricky thing, and I don't think one should worry about it during the first draft. The first draft should be about flow, and flow and worry don't mix.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Aren't you glad you don't have to go too far to get good plot critique?

One smart kid you have.

Merry Christmas.

CailinMarie said...

ha! go 9 yr old. way to catch the details!
I should think that is why writers need people to read pre publishing - hopefully those readers will catch more than ackward grammar.

CailinMarie said...

oh - I also meant to say - thanks for stopping by last week and the follow. I returned the favor.

Linda Kage said...

Wow, can I borrow your 9-year-old to find the loopholes in my story??

I hadn't even thought of Professor's Quirrel's death, but I did assume Harry was too young to remember his parents or maybe he wasn't actually in the same room when they died. Don't know.

DL Hammons said...

My problem isn't so much plot holes but believability issues. I spend a good portion of my time after my CP's get through with my manuscript going back and building in explanations that smooth over the rough edges. :)

Slamdunk said...

Ha, I am finding out that answering non-stop kid inquiries makes for great attorney training--as if all parents wanted to be lawyers someday.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Leave it to a child to find the loophole in something like HP!!!! That's awesome. :D Smart kid.

Jonene Ficklin said...

Thank heavens for smart friends willing to read my stuff, because as a writer, I'm blind. I know all the stuff in my head, but whether it comes out in the story remains to be seen, and my good friends do the seeing for me. Then I can go and close those silly and embarrasing loopholes.

By the way, you have a very bright son! I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Emy Shin said...

It's very difficult to keep atop of every single detail when what you write spans a series -- but knowing that didn't prevent me from nitpicking all the plot holes in Harry Potter (especially all the number inconstancies!).

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kids have such great memories, don't they? At my age, authors can leave all kinds of loopholes and I don't notice. Luckily, for my own writing, there's a wonderful member of my critique group who catches all my timeline goofs and other inconsistencies. Bless her heart!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm in the process of spackling now... and I think I need another tub of the stuff!

ed pilolla said...

great catch, these loopholes. your kidlet has the same good vision for story you do. i'm eager to read your book when it's done. if i'm wrongly thinking this wip you are working away at isn't your first, please let me know where i can get a copy of a completed piece.

my first guess is it's easier to cement loopholes shut the shorter the piece. and when one continues a story perhaps a little further than it ought to have progressed, the chances of loopholes multiply, perhaps considerably.

 
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