Missing Hands and Other Gaping Plot Holes

Courtesy of MC Escher

I just met with my critique group last night–it was my turn to go this week, so everyone had copies of my third and fourth chapter.  Now, I have edited, revised, edited, revised and edited the stupid thing many times over, and I was reasonably confident that all my gaping plot holes had been fixed.  At this point, I just wanted to make sure people liked it, and that the characters felt realistic.  Unfortunately, it turns out I had a few completely crazy contradictions that I had failed to notice the seventeen times I went through the thing.

There is one scene where I have a demon’s hands melt.  My exact phrase it that her hands become “a melting, mangled mess.”  Yes, I’m a fan of the occasional alliteration.  Anyways, about two pages later that same demon is holding a knife.  In her hands.  Now I’m stuck with a dilemma–I like both scenes, but neither can live while the other survives…er, sorry.  Harry Potter flashback.  FYI I finally finished the series again and I’m swearing off books for a little while so I get in some good, quality writing time.

Anyhow, the point I’m trying to make is that no matter how many times you read and re-read your work, it always helps to have a good, hairy eyeball go over it.  Several hairy eyeballs, in fact, because I’ve had a couple other test readers who missed the same thing.  And granted, one case of disappearing/reappearing hands probably isn’t going to get you rejected by an agent, but it certainly doesn’t help your credibility, either.  The real problem is that since you’re imagining it out in your head, sometimes when you read your own work you see what you meant to put, and not what’s actually there on the page.  Also, if you’ve done a number of revisions, you might forget what you’ve changed in previous drafts, and what scenes you’ve added, which I think was what happened in my story. On the plus side, my critique group seemed to really like my characters, so that’s one worry down.  Now I need to comb through the whole manuscript, again…once more, with feeling…

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Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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