The cheese around here is Swiss

Earlier last week I posted a snippet of my WIP Woven. It’s a historical fiction novel that spans multiple centuries all in one English Manor. It’s by far the most developed of all my WIPs and one that I’m proud to say, was written during NaNoWriMo last November.

But Woven isn’t the only novel I’m working on. Last December I unwittingly embarked on a epic fantasy series (and I use the word Epic as it’s the first fantasy I’ve ever written) that includes scores of characters, invented realms, good vs evil and other creations from my twisted mind. There’s just one thing it doesn’t have.

When I started writing this fantasy novel I had no clue what I was in for. In my post Padded White Walls for One I mentioned how Eudora strutted her way into my mind and started telling her story – mid way through what would be book 2. Good grief!

But now that we’ve sorted out that little hiccup I’ve been plugging away at capturing the BEGINNING of her tale. It’s been a wonderful journey so far and though I love stepping into her life, one thing troubles me….the plot.

Or should I say the Swiss cheese that passes as a plot. Yes my friends, I’m plagued with holes. The general idea is there, it’s just that I’m missing the point. Kind of a big hole right? I know it’s there, it’s at the tip of my brain just stretched out past my grasp.

So I’m re-reading my notes, stepping back to that original drawing board and spending more time thinking. It seemed to work for Woven, why not Eudora?

How do you deal with plot holes?

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2 thoughts on “The cheese around here is Swiss

  1. I used to just let my characters do whatever they wanted to. The result was a first novel with no real antagonist and no real erm…spine. At all. And no climactic final showdown, nothing for my protagonist to vanquish. Yeah, that didn’t work out.

    Now my solution is to combine my traditional pantsing with a pretty long, hard look at structure before I sit down to write. I let the story unfold in my mind and see if there are natural plot points, pinch points, and an organic midpoint. I think of the story structure as the poles that hold up telephone lines (yeah, yeah, Margie uses that analogy in regards to the words themselves). If I’m missing my midpoint or either plot point or even a slightly-less vital pinch point, my cable sags. I need to get my power from the beginning to the end, so if I notice it’s sagging in the middle and lolling on the ground, I know it’s time for me to smack my characters around a bit.

    The Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook has some GREAT exercises for this, but the gist of it is this: What’s would make this situation worse? Make it worse. What would make it even worse than that? Make it so. What would make it even more awful? MAKE IT AWFUL. Whatever could throw in that proverbial monkey wrench (what IS a monkey wrench, anyway?), use it. It might involve a lot of rewriting if the draft is already done, but figure out how you can push your characters, introduce new conflict, and deepen the conflict that already exists, and pretty soon those holes will be filling themselves in. But first always look at the structure. If you haven’t read Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, do. Some people hate him, but what he says about structure is dead on. I think most plot holes stem from a lack of structure.

    1. Yeah, my experience is similar to Emmie’s. Letting my characters do whatever they want usually results in them going buck wild. I try to at least fit them in a framework of a character arc — where they begin, how they change, where they end up. They can do whatever crazy crap they like, within those boundaries.

      Glad to see the Epic Fantasy is coming along Angie!

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