Below, we are presenting five plot mistakes that might sneak up in your writing and have you pulling at your hair trying to fix them. Well, any writing mistake has the potential to do that, because one aspect of writing, for example, characterization, plotting, or worldbuilding, is not isolated from the others. In other words, a characterization mistake can easily become a plotting mistake, and a plot inconsistency can easily connect to a worldbuilding inconsistency, and so on. However, separating these errors helps in resolving them and finding solutions, and as such, you should keep an eye out for them. Usually, you might notice the following mistakes (if you are writing a story in a linear manner – from chapter one consequentially through to the end) when you are in the middle of the story. Below, you will find out the most common red flags.
1. Letting characters loose
Your characters are very interesting. They have inner demons that they need to battle, they are in conflict among one another, and they keep too many secrets from each other – a fact that increases the mystery surrounding them. You are having a lot of fun writing your novel, and you do not even wish to stop and think. However, it is important to stop and think. Are there too many personal demons? What are the characters actually doing? Are they moving towards their final goal, or are they running around all over the place, causing drama after drama without end? At the midpoint of your novel, you should know what your story represents. Is the climax in sight, or is it further down the road? If you cannot see the end, if you cannot see how you can get there, it is highly possible your story has gotten off the tracks and you need to get it back.
2. Forgetting characterization
This situation is the opposite of letting characters loose – in fact, you are keeping such a leash on them, on their initial characterization, that your story does not have a character’s arc for any of your characters. They are doing what you want them to do, and that is it. You do not let what happens in the story affect them in any way in this situation. In other words, you are making the story quite irrelevant to the characters that are living in it. As such, the story will become irrelevant for your readers. Characterization is important for plot reasons as well. You need to integrate characterization into the plot. If the character had not been affected by a previous event in the story, the character would make a different choice near the end, and the resulting story would be different. Therefore, while you should not let your characters wander around the world you have built, you also should not keep them on such a tight leash. Allow them to surprise you on occasion. That way, they will also surprise your readers, and tighten the plot at the same time.
3. Correlation and causation
Correlation happens when two different events occur at the same, or one after the other. Correlation is causation when the first event is a catalyst for the second event, or a direct cause. You should not mix these two terms in your writing. In other words, make sure that your scenes flow by the rule of cause and effect. Of course, not every scene will be directly caused by the previous scene, but, remember to treat every scene as a cause scene that needs a compatible effect scene. Otherwise, your plot will be riddled with holes, unconnected events, and deus-ex-machina moments.
4. No surprises
It is very difficult to notice if the plot your story revolves around is boring. Similarly, we do not notice if we are riddling a story with cliché phrases, descriptions and moments. A cliché plot is difficult to spot because you think you have come up with it all on your own – but you probably have not. You have probably seen the plot in a movie, a video game, or read it in another book, and now you are retelling it in a different story. No, it’s not plagiarism, but even as a reader, you have probably noticed similar plots. For example, romance plots are all the same: the couple meets, falls in love, faces temptation, breaks up, one or the other apologizes, caves in, changes significantly, and the couple make up and live happily ever after. Then again, the romance genre is the most popular genre in the world today. The reason behind this is the fact that the readers are in it for the emotions romance stories evoke, for the characters, and for the surprising way the plot plays out. In other words, the readers love the romance genre for the journey, not for the final end. No matter what genre you are writing in, you need to find ways to surprise yourself as you are writing. If nothing that happens surprises you – then you are probably writing a generic plot that the readers will have read about a thousand times before.
5. Lack of a final goal
You have an amazing idea. You have amazing characters in mind. Let us assume that you are writing the novel, have reached your midpoint, and realize that your characters are enjoying the story, they manage to surprise you, the events themselves surprise you, and everything is good. However, you do not actually have a final goal in mind. Quickly, you will wrap things up, maybe even leave a few loose ends for the possibility of writing a series, and call it an ending. In other words, the lack of a final goal ensured your novel ended with a whimper instead of a bang. When you get an idea, you have a premise. When you add characters and places, you have characterization and worldbuilding. When you know where your characters end up at the end of the novel and how they get there, you have a plot. No, you do not need an outline, if you prefer to write as you go, and you can modify the plot to suit your needs and characters. But have an ending in mind because you do not have a solid plot otherwise.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.