marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

revising in a plot hole

Between one draft and another, it is wise to put away the story for a time.  Let it cool off.  (work on something else in the meantime.)   Read your prose with a cold eye, which can see what you actually wrote rather than what you thought you wrote and so smoke out lousy writing, flat scenes without sensory details, implausible plot twists.  The month lets you forget what you were doing, so you don't take it for granted that a plot twist is plausible as well as surprising.

The downside is that you forget that what you were doing in any given passage (though not, likely, the whole plot), and so you merely revise away something as flat, stale and unprofitable, and only when you reach the next passage do you realize that what you did was knock out a load-bearing wall.  You have, in fact, revised a plot hole in, not out.

Not that it didn't need revising, no doubt, but it definitely didn't need that revision.  Unless of course it needed profound structural revision, which is always ugly.  OTOH, if it's one scene lacking the support of the scene before it, it's probably not a structural revision.  And of course, there's always the question of whether you revise the revision or smooth it out by revising the next scene.

Or go back and revise three chapters earlier to provide the support in another way.

And then there's the aspect that it may require more revisions elsewhere, which is why I always revise (and write) with a blank sheet of paper by me so I can make notes.

Tags: description, exposition, revision, story structure, style, writing habits

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