Caution: Plot Hole!

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This week, our Hound asked, “We all try to avoid plot holes in our own stories… but have you ever encountered one (or more) major plot holes in a book or movie that made you want to scream? Has it been serious enough to make you stop reading / viewing?” 

I watch very few movies, so I don’t feel I can comment on them. Most movies I watch are with my youngest grandkids, and I’m not really paying attention to the plot. As for books, there are three things that would make me stop reading:

  1. I don’t find it interesting enough to keep reading
  2. I’ve picked up something else that has caught my eye
  3. A fellow author asks me for a critique. 

There have been a few times when I’ve given up on a book because of problems in the story, but it’s usually because I can’t relate to any of the characters, or it’s too gory for me to handle. However, there have been several times when a book has me shaking my head wondering how the characters got from Point A to Point B.

Last year, I read and reviewed a novella in which the heroine returned to her hometown, and like in most small towns, was unable to avoid contact with the boyfriend she’d left behind. He was still interested, but she was afraid to get involved with him. When she came back, she was still hesitant, and he finally asked her why she’d broken up with him before she left for college. She gave an answer that I really thought was a flimsy excuse (her cousin married his brother and she didn’t think it was proper for her to be involved with him). He forgives her and they decide to get married. I actually emailed the author about this. She replied that the question had been addressed, and referred to the response I’d believed was a non-answer. I did finish and review the book, but didn’t give it a high rating because I didn’t feel the story was complete.

Very recently, I read a book in which the timeline was choppy. The main characters were at an event that lasted several days, but after a scene which presumably lasted only a few hours, the scene ended and the next chapter began with “The next day.” That chapter only covered a short period of time, and then the next chapter began with “The next day.” Absolutely nothing is mentioned about the progression of time between those scenes. I can’t imagine that a show like this would include only one event per day, and I wondered why all these people would attend an event that lasted only a few hours each day for several days. 

Of all the books I’ve read, I can only remember one that was so awful that I was unable to read it in its entirety. The premise of this  story was that a girl, upon learning that she was born in Texas, believes she can naturally ride a horse and work on a ranch. How can anyone be that stupid? If there was something in her past that reinforced her belief, it would have been nice to read about that. As it was, I was unable to finish the book because I can’t empathize with a heroine that clueless. I attributed it to a terrible premise. But maybe, possibly, someone who understood the importance of backstory might have been able to salvage it by filling in the blanks. There were questions that should have been answered in the story, such as WHY did she have such an implausible belief? WHY was the hero willing to hire her and keep her on when it was evident that she was in no way, shape, or form a competent cowhand? HOW could he attracted to a woman with such unrealistic expectations? And most of all, HOW did this book get published? I peeked ahead to the end (yes, they end up getting married) before I chucked the book into a box of donations.

I’ve searched online for the title to that disastrous romance, but have been unable to locate it. I guess it’s old enough that the chances of you finding it in a used book sale are slim, but if you do come across anything else by that author, let’s hope that person’s skill in setting up a book’s premise has improved!

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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8 Responses to Caution: Plot Hole!

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Maybe that Texas girl had a plausible “genetic” trait — you know, grand-dad was a bronc-buster, dad was a rodeo rider, Mom was a barrel racer — which led her to that bizarre notion.
    But, as you say, the author didn’t take the time/effort to settle her character’s motivation… and therefore, left her readers in the dark. Sloppy.

    Like

    • It kind of reminds me of when Wayne Maunder read for the role of George Custer. The casting people liked him a lot and at the very end as they were hiring him they said, “You can ride a horse, right?” He quickly answered, “I grew up on a farm”, which was the truth, but they didn’t have a horse. He went right out and got riding lessons.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      It seems like there was a reason she didn’t know some details about her birth until she was older – perhaps she was adopted or in foster care – but then she found out she was born in Texas. But learning that her parents had a history like that might have been a good explanation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, I pick up plot holes ALL THE TIME. I drive people that I am watching shows and movies with crazy, but the hopes drive ME crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’m sure I’ve read and/or watched stories with incomplete plots, but probably wasn’t invested enough to notice. Or maybe I fell asleep.

      Like

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    If I like the characters and the story I can overlook a plot hole to a certain extent, but there is a limit.

    Liked by 1 person

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