I recently watched the Disney movie Lightyear, which is a prequel to the Toy Story movies. It got dreadful reviews from both fans and critics. Yet, I still (mostly) enjoyed the film. What was the source of negative waves? The story depended on complex space (physics) concepts, and the movie did not correctly tie into the previous films. Oh, and that minor issue. It did not use the original Buzz Lightyear voice, Tim Allen! What the heck! That was a big mistake.
When I watched the movie, these issues did not upset me (except the wrong voice!), but a glaring problem annoyed me. Since I began my writing adventure, I have become more observant (critical) of plots. In one pivotal Lightyear scene, the commander canceled the flight program (the main plot) with a poor explanation. “I like laser shields.” This giant, poorly framed decision forced Buzz Lightyear to take reckless actions and was supposed to be funny. Unfortunately, this left the viewers asking, “Why did you do that?” The answer is that the writer made a choice (in their mind, reasonable) to make an entertaining movie. Not a brilliant move.
Such glaring story faults are called “plot holes.” A classic glaring example occurred in the Lord of the Rings movie. This epic trilogy follows a long journey where the heroes encounter many adventures. However, viewers point out that at the story's beginning, the characters could have simply flown on top of the eagles to their final destination (saving 6 hours of movie watching). The reason is partially explained in the book, but there is still a plot hole.
Am I guilty of writing plot holes? So far, I have not discovered a large plot hole, but yes, I have intentionally made a few. My biggest occurred in my third book (which is moments away from going on sale!). The heroes spray “knockout gas” into a building air conditioner intake to disable the bad guys. This is the plot apex and a critical point in the action. I know there is no such thing as knockout gas like you see in the movies. While the book explains the existence of “knockout gas,” that is not the primary issue. Most readers know that building air conditioning systems do not have open air intakes. Oops.
When writing the book, I was aware of this flaw, but I continued with the full knowledge that readers may dislike this plot hole. Why did I make this reckless choice? At the time I started, I was unfamiliar with outlines. This tool would have allowed me to see the big picture. Thus, I would have been able to see the problem in advance, evaluate the impact, and then determine a more realistic solution.
However, let us remind ourselves that life is not always realistic. People often make silly, un-logical, stupid, intentionally wrong, vindictive, or random decisions.
For example, a company I used to work for closed down an entire division (costing the company money) because the division did not make enough profit. They were about to release a new technology that customers were ready to buy. So… the division was making money and was about to make a lot more money. Plus, they had to pay even more money to shut the division down. How about selling the division (profit) or spinning it off (long-term profit without effort)? Nah!
This was an actual event that cost several people their jobs as opposed to a fictional story. Now, a bunch of imaginary eagles not flying passengers does not seem noteworthy. Yet moviegoers still complained.
Sometimes, writers get stuck in a corner. I knew that using an imaginary air vent was risky, but still took it. Now, with more experience, I would have been able to see the issue in advance and correct it.
Do my blogs contain plot holes? Fortunately, blogs do not have a plot. Instead, they contain something even better! Mistakes, oversights, poor continuity, lack of content, missed references, inconsistencies, incomplete thoughts, unnecessary (or lack of) explanations, vague connections, logical faults, and abrupt endings.
You’re the best -Bill
August 10, 2022
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