Lots of Details or Plot Holes?

Do you feel it's important to go into all the little details to create a fuller, more nuanced world or do you prefer to use a single sentence that offers a hint and leaves the rest up to the reader? Are you willing to risk people pointing at part of your narrative and screaming "PLOT HOLE!" because maybe you didn't explicitly mention something even though you gave just enough of a hint about it to cover any holes?

I am the first to admit I have a rubbish attention span and I tend to tire quickly of lengthy passages that explain a lot of things, especially early on in a book when what I really want is to be caught up in the characters' lives.  I don't mind using my own imagination to fill in the gaps either.

...That being said, one of the best parts of seeing Fellowship of the Ring was how it was exactly as I imagined it.  It was such an exciting feeling! Like "wow, okay, that's my imagination on an actual screen!" That was awesome.

As a writer, my personal preference is to trust a reader and let them come to their own conclusions about small details rather than give them a ton of information.  Sometimes it works, other times it definitely backfires - my beta readers tell me so ^^; 

Also, can genre be a factor in this? If your story is set in the modern day, can you skip a boatload of detailing because you know your audience will just get it? If you're creating a sci-fi or fantasy world, is it essential that the reader understands it the way you do or is there room to leave it to the imagination? Or if you fail to properly explain an aspect of technology or the little details of how your magic system works, are you going to open a potentially fatal plot hole?

Or could it be argued that there's no such thing as a plothole and actually they're a device to create discussions for English lit students forevermore?


I'm just full of questions today!

Also, apologies for being absent over the weekend. A stomach bug took me out, but I'm mostly back on me feet now, even if those feet are a wee bit unsteady.

Comments

  1. Okay, first off: Thanks for the Loki pic. I love Tom Hiddleston. :D

    I'm with you on the less is more thing. As a reader, I don't love huge explanations or descriptions, so I try to avoid them in my writing. That being said, I think there's definitely a difference when it comes to world-building for sci-fi/fantasy and the more familiar worlds in contemporary. We need and expect more of that in the former than in the latter. Still, it's so easy to get carried away and over explain. I worry I've fallen into that trap a time or two (or more).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome. He is awesome.

      There's a fine line between too much, too little and then so little you've got a plot hole.

      Delete
  2. I have a phobia of plot holes or of anything that could even potentially be perceived as a plot hole. I guess I've encountered enough stories where things didn't make sense that I tend to pounce on plot holes when I come across them in my own writing. I admit to being a tad obsessive about this though. I think the trick is to work in explanations in creative and subtle ways without bombarding the reader, but that's easier said than done. And as you suggested, I think this is more essential in certain genres like sci-fi. I can't tell you how many times I've come across issues with the tech in my story. Probably no one else would notice them, but they drive me bonkers.

    Glad to hear you're recuperating! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can definitely understand the phobia. I don't mind people thinking it's a plot hole when actually there is a subtle explanation in there somewhere, but an actual gaping plot hole because I failed at some point? No, definitely not!

      You're right - you've definitely got to get creative to hand over a lot of information without boring the reader too much.

      Thanks ^_^ I'll be my usual bouncy self again soon :D

      Delete
  3. I think it all comes down to how much setting plays a place in your story. I just read Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard which was set in Guatemala and South America. Without all the description, I don't think it would have been all that magical. Half of the fun of reading is being swept away someone else, as long as the paragraph isn't too large. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for giving such a great example of exactly why detailing can be so important! You're right - it really adds something special to a story.

      Delete
  4. Hmm...doesn't some of it have to do with the attitude of the person watching/reading though, too? Some people will hate a movie/book/etc and proceed to pick at every possible thread and unravel the whole thing. While there is such a thing as a plot hole, they may be less frequent than we assume. I think that there is only so much that an author can do...create your world, get good beta readers, and grow a thick skin. :P
    P.S. And I <3 Loki. That gif is fantastic. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's definitely an issue too. And your advice is brilliant. I should print that out and stick it on my desk so I can see it constantly.

      Hah, it's a favourite gif for sure!

      Delete
  5. I'm a details person and plot holes, even little ones, bug the crap out of me. I also prefer that the author tell me the answer (more or less directly) to EVERY question raised by the story by the end of the book. I don't like loose ends and I don't like being made to guess. But that's just me. My husband likes to read books that are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Where you can't tell if there are any holes in the plot because while tons of questions are raised none of them are ever answered except in hints and puzzles that only the most astute reader can solve and even then you're only guessing. So to each their own. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right - it's down to the reader too. And as a writer, accepting that you'll never be able to please everyone is a fairly liberating feeling. You can let go of trying to be perfect and just be you, details or questions ;)

      Delete
  6. Great question! I find myself right in the middle as a reader. Your point about applying details differently based on the genre is spot on. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks ^_^ I guess I lean a bit more towards open-ended things.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts