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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Help me, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

I decided to start working again on a middle grade mystery novel I'd shelved 18 months ago because I got involved with other projects.

Today I printed out the four drafted chapters and the projected synopsis I'd written for the other twelve chapters, and took the bundle over to a coffee shop to read while I had a muffin. As I paged through, the prose was looking pretty decent, or at least salvageable, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the story. So, with great curiosity, I skimmed the synopsis.

When I got to the description of chapter 9, I laughed out loud and choked on my muffin. It said, "Something must happen to give them a clue. WHAT??? And how would they know?" And the last sentence was in red ink: "This plot ain't working."

And that's my ninth chapter! Weirdly, there's a lot of detail for chapters 10-16. But I've got a hole in the middle of my mystery, apparently. Do you plot around problems and sort them out later?

9 comments:

  1. I have this problem too, but I have a good beta reader who makes sure everything adds up.

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  2. Definitely, good beta readers are an essential step to a smooth, consistent plot.

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  3. A hole in the middle of your mystery isn't bad, it's just a challenge that will help you make it batter, right? Yes, that's what we are going with. Better! Yea! Let's celebrate.

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  4. This sounds so familiar. I have problems with plots not working, too. But now that you're looking at an old script with a refreshed mind, I think the ultimate story is going to turn out great!

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  5. Okay, in the past I never did this. I'd stop until I figured out the plot hole. Now? I will move on if I can. If the rest of the story can be written, I'll write it and then go back to fill in the hole. I'm not sure that can always be done, but I've noticed that I don't usually get too far past the hole before I find a way to fix it.

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  6. Kelly, I sure hope I can fix this hole, since I like the first half of the story and I like the second half. It would be a shame not to glue them together.

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  7. Hi Anne,
    I would work around the hole and try not to worry about it too much. I'll bet as you get on with the story the "fix" will come to you.
    I often have gaping holes in my stories that almost magically fill themselves in as I progress further with the story. Wishing you all the best. Sounds like you've put too much into this story to give up on it!

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  8. Great topic! I have gleaned much from the responses ; )

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