Digging for Plot Holes
Have you ever gotten in the middle of your book and decided OMGAH THERE'S A HOLE. RIGHT THERE. AND IT'S EXPONENTIALLY GROWING?!

Well, believe it or not. I haven't. BUT I have seen so many people do it. I've got twenty billion things I'm terrible at, but plotting is the one thing I'm actually damn good at.

So in order to help you with your plot holes, or what could become plot holes, I'm going to make you look back into your past. That's right -- to when you were three years old.

"Mommaaaaaaaa, but why does the red light turn yellow and green?"
"To tell us when to go, stop, or slow down."
"Then why is it called a red light?"
"Because... Alicia Marlene Williams, I'm about to kill you."
"But mommaaaa -- how did you know yellow means slow down? Daddy goes faster? Why are yall different?"
"Because daddy's an idiot."
"I thought you told me if you don't have something nice to say, dun say nuffin at all?"
"Why do your lips always curl when you get angry?"

You get my point. And yes, I was that annoying kid. My mother had an amazing knack of ignoring me to death. =(

The good news is that being that annoying came in handy twenty years later. Welcome to digging for holes.. plot holes.

To give you an example, let's deal with zombies.

I'm going to write a zombie book (not really, but work with me here). I've got my characters down, and now I need to think of what needs to happen to them.
Well, what happens to zombies?
Do they miss being humans?
How do they become zombies?
Did they ever kill anyone?
Do they feel any human emotion? If so, do they regret killing whoever?
What does it feel like to be a zombie physically?
Do zombies have souls?
If two zombies had sex, would they have to worry about STDs?
I bet they'd get maggots instead of crabs...
Do zombies need glasses? Or toothbrushes?
Do they even care about their appearance?
What makes them different from humans?
What would each of my characters do if they had a cure that reversed the zombie effect?
How do they express any emotion?
How do they fight?
Can then connect to anything magical?
Are there any relics in the world that a zombie would strive for like the Holy Grail?
Do zombies fear death?
Will they even die?
What is their weaknesses?
Where do they live?
How would they decorate their house?
Do they have any pets?
I wonder if they'd play fetch with a dog by snapping off their finger and throwing it >.>?
Can zombies make zombie babies?
How exactly would that work?
Do they hold a hatred against those who are not zombies?
If so, do they want to destroy the earth?
What would happen if an alien met a zombie?
Do zombies have a currency?
How could you go about bribing a zombie?


Some of these questions would never be included in a story. Usually getting maggots instead of crabs during sexual intercourse means absolutely nothing to a plot. It's probably too disgusting to even throw in there for comedic value. But I wrote down every damned question that came to mind. And that's just about the race. You can do that about your protag/antag/secondary characters. You can do that with every single thing that has to do with your plot.

For my quartet, and I'm absolutely serious, I have two thousand nine hundred seventy-three questions written in a notebook. Of course, that's been over the months and months of working on this thing. And I honestly think THAT is why I don't run into holes.

It's hard to do all of these questions, though. If you want an easy way to break it down, start with questioning your characters. Set a goal of 20 questions per character. Then move onto the bigger pieces of your story. Set a goal of fifty questions. IF you find this too hard or you want specific examples, throw your plot at me or here for extra help. It's a fun thing to do though, and I enjoy the hell out of it.
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