Revising To Fix Plot Holes
Working On The Revision Chain Gang
A red sun swims above the horizon, reds and oranges blending with the horizon. Then the camera zooms in on a line of sweaty guys with shovels and hoes and rakes, filling in pot holes on some country road.
The chain gang. That’s me…there…at the back, trying to keep pace.
But, wait. Won’t adding words change those perfect story proportions? Yippers.
But, if I’m going to improve my story, I have to get past that. If it’s not fixing plot holes, scene structures, or characterization will upset the apple cart. But I’m too inexperienced to predict an outcome. Alas, I must wait and see.
Happily, I got the makings of a plan for free. How? Remember those red-lines I made when reading the story? My knee-jerk reactions pointed to the problems. Could I have missed some?
I did. But I can’t let that paralyze me because my list covers over 80% of the errors anyone would ever catch. As to the remaining 20%, why not let a trusted reader, alpha, or beta readers find them? With any luck, by the time scene-by-scene critters get the story, I will have fixed over 95% of the big things.
So, back to that list and where it came from. It came straight from the red-lined first draft. But I didn’t keep every comment. I tossed some because I didn’t want to deal with them. And, for simple ones, like SPaG, I fixed the problem instead of making a comment in a spreadsheet I could enter into the story later. The complex ones went into a spreadsheet.
Then I divided them into three groups, those applicable to a single scene, several scenes, or the entire story. For instance, grouping setting description apply to only that scene. Changing the city name would apply to scenes using the name. And an admonition to link each scene POV purpose to the scene struggle would apply to all scenes.
How many? One hundred sixty-one. But I dared not let the sheer number paralyze me when I sorted them into piles. The scene structure revision got four. Characterization drew fifteen. I put 45 into the multiple-scenes pile, which left 97 scattered through individual scenes.
But, that wasn’t the end of it. Those 45 multiple scene issues grew to nearly 400 when I assigned them to a scene. All tolled, I have 555 things to fix…that I’ve counted…to this point.
And I intend to fix them in the following order — multiple scene problems, single scene problems, scene structures, and characterization.
With good fortune, next time I’ll discuss fixing multiple scene issues.