Many writers find themselves faced with the task of trying to fill their plot holes. Even the best writers are faced with this, at times. I thought it might be helpful to pull together a few ways to fill those dreaded plot holes in an effort to save the sanity of writers around the world.
Once you have finished your first draft, put your manuscript away for as long as you can before you move in the revision stage. The longer you leave the manuscript, the better. You will need a set of fresh eyes to not only find plot holes, but to get excited again about your story and manuscript.
Weed Them Out
Work through your manuscript and get rid of what will go for sure. Keep the removed scenes in a folder. This gives you the freedom to cut without worrying about losing material. If you do delete writing you need, you know where to go to find it. Once you get your manuscript down to just the scenes that will be included, you can uncover gaps in story or character with a bit more ease, and some gaps or holes will rise to the surface during this process.
Jot anything down on post-it notes where you see holes. Use notes pads to come back later. Don’t fix the problem then and there. Keep working in a big picture way before you drill down to writing specifics in scenes. For now, you are looking at the forest and jotting down where you need to plant trees.
Write one or two sentences on what happens in the action line of each scene so you can step away and get the big picture overview of what is happening. As you write this action line, keep in mind scene goal and outcome. Next, write a sentence on the character essence of what is happening in the scene. Is this the place where your protagonist realizes what must be done to solve her problem?
Now that you have a big picture of both the action and character lines, check your character motivations. Be sure there is a reason for everything your character is doing. You don’t need to explain it, but your character’s motivations have to make sense within the story.