This post is a no-brainer in that the author understands that it is important to close plot holes in the story. However, sometimes we forget about the small tangents of different subplots that we weave that lie under the main focus of the plot. A single story can be written in the matter of days or years. We can’t always remember the subplots that are written. Those subplots need to be closed as well. That is unless it is a series and those subplots lead to a larger picture and tie together – then those subplots must be closed at the last book.
Ways to remember subplots:
- Outlines – detail your plot and subplots so that they can all build to the climax and completion of the story. If your story takes a different route from your outline, make a new outline that still includes the subplots you’ve already wrote.
- I understand outlines don’t always work – so make posts-it notes to remember.
- When you are writing, think through as to why the tangent is important – does it feed to the main plot? If not, don’t include it. Remember, your story should keep pushing towards the climax of the plot.
- Plot worksheets and books are available to help focus your story.
- In your revision – highlight &/or bold when you see a tangent that you don’t remember covering in your plot closure.
- Simple things that have been mentioned previously in stories that cause the reader to use their common sense or logic and be like “why didn’t the main character just do this?” Example: Gandolf used the eagles several times to get around Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings. Why didn’t he just use the eagles to take the ring to be destroyed in the volcano? Or in the first book of Harry Potter when there’s no place more secure than Hogwarts, but yet three eleven year olds were able to get through an obstacle course with their limited knowledge (1st year level of learning), skill, and power for Harry to get the stone and face Voldemort/Quirrell. I don’t mean to discredit either of the brilliant authors, but don’t leave your readers questioning the plot. Give a reason as to why it must happen the way it’s written.
Don’t leave the reader wondering about what happen to so and so or where something is because it wasn’t addressed in your book. I do understand that as individuals in the real world, we can’t know everything that happens to everyone on a daily bases, but if it was important to your character’s journey, then the character needs that closure as well as the reader.
L. R. Mauck