There are a lot of components to a story that an author must think about while creating their story. This week we will take a look at plot holes. First I will tell you what a plot hole is and then I will show you examples from real stories (yes, there are famous plot holes out there).
What is a Plot Hole?
A plot hole is a gap or inconsistency in the story that creates a contradiction that can’t be reconciled by any explanation. Plot holes include illogical events and statements as well as events that contradict earlier events in the story. Plot holes are usually seen as flaws in a story and authors should avoid them to make their stories as realistic as possible. However, if you want to create suspension of disbelief (common in some genres like fantasy and horror among others) plot holes are more acceptable.
Famous Examples of Plot Holes
There are many plot holes that can be found in especially movies. Below are some examples, just to give you an idea of what plot holes can be: (Note: There might be spoilers below, so beware)
Avengers When Natalia Romanoff goes to India to get Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk) to join SHIELD, she has a whole squad of fully armed soldiers with her. SHIELD obviously knows what Banner can do when he turns into the Hulk, which is why they’ve built the cage in their HeliCarrier. Yet, when Banner arrives at the HeliCarrier he is free to walk around, getting encouraged by Tony Stark to turn into the green monster, without no restraints what so ever. There are not even any guards following him.
Karate Kid This is one that I remember since I was a kid and saw the movie the first time. During the movie we are told, several times, that kicks to the face are illegal. Yet, Daniel wins over his nemesis, Johnny, by a crane kick to the face.
Independence Day This is also one I remember since I was a kid and saw it the first time. The way the heroes of this movie win over the alien invaders is by uploading a virus from a Mac into an alien spaceship. How did they accomplish that? I mean, everyone who has a Mac knows that basically only Apple produced products are compatible with a Mac.
How to Avoid Plot Holes
If you’ve written a story where a reader acknowledges an easier solution to the problems of your story, it will weaken your story. The reader might be irritated at the character’s stupidity for not seeing the easy solution (at best) or irritated at your laziness as a writer (at worst). If it’s the latter, you might lose readers, and that’s not something you want. How, then, do you avoid these things?
One easy way to solve why your characters ignores the blatantly obvious solution to their problems is to have one character propose the easy solution and another character explaining why that solution isn’t possible. Another way to solve a plot hole like this is to have your characters try out the easy solution and in that way show why it doesn’t work, which can also be a great new dimension to your story. You can also have characters make vague statements like ”I’ve tried everything I can think of…” to deflect readers asking why a particular action was not taken.
Just make sure that your dramatic solution is the only option possible by cutting all other options off. Your story will be better for it and your readers probably won’t shun your stories.
If you have many plot holes, however, and want none of them, you will have to re-write larger sections of the story, if not all of it. Having plot holes at the back of your mind while planning your story or writing it will make it easier for you to avoid them as well as not having to re-write larger sections of your story because of these holes.