I didn’t want to scare you back in March when we were first discussing story plots. But I think it’s high time you knew. You’re old enough now, I think.
You see, creative writers, there’s this thing called a plot hole. And you want to avoid them as much as possible.
They’re not good for your story. They’re not good for your readers. They’re not good for you.
Sometimes, plot holes do happen. We are, after all, human. So such things can be expected from time to time. In manuscripts though. Not in published novels. Never in published novels!
Now that I’ve sufficiently scared you out of trying plot holes intentionally, here’s what they are.
When a story’s timeline has a twist, turn or angle that doesn’t make sense, it’s probably a plot hole issue: a logical inconsistency that runs the risk of drawing readers out of the book and back to reality.
Plot holes come in many shapes and sizes. Some of them are obvious. Others take multiple reads to discover. And they could present as moments of illogic, contradictions or impossibilities.
Take Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove...
Have you ever seen The Emperor’s New Groove? If not, you should. It’s an awesome movie, and not just because it promotes thoughtfulness, sharing and teamwork. There’s also the laugh factor, which is stupendously constructed.
The story begins by introducing main character Kuzco, a spoiled brat of an emperor who already has more than enough and thinks he deserves more. That includes a peaceful village hilltop where he wants to put his new themed water park – with slide.
Who cares that peaceful village peasants like Pacha and his family live on that hilltop, right?
Not surprisingly then, Kuzco isn’t the most loved leader out there. One of his advisors, Yzma, even wants to kill him and take the throne herself. She almost succeeds too except for the emperor’s unlikely ally: Pacha.
Toward the end of The Emperor’s New Groove, there’s this entertainingly dramatic chase scene where Kuzco and Pacha are racing to beat Yzma and her addlebrained assistant, Kronk, back to the palace. It’s looking really close too, when, all of a sudden, a bolt of lightning shoots down from nowhere and zaps the villains while they’re flying over a gorge, sending them plummeting presumably to their deaths.
Except that they’re not dead. (They never are in cartoons, are they?) They even end up making it to the two twosome’s intended destination, Yzma’s secret lair, first!
A major plot hole if there ever was one.
To be fair to Disney, that plot hole was on purpose. The writers and animators did an amazing job of pointing it out and playing it up to the max. I highly suggest you watch the clip for your own entertainment’s sake, if nothing else.
Then, after you do, promise yourself that you’ll never, ever, ever publish a manuscript with a gaping plot hole like that.
And make sure to look out for Thursday’s post. It will cover how to keep that anti-plot hole promise at all costs – unless you’re working on the next great Disney film.