Plot Holes and Other Show Stoppers

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They kissed – and then they’re sharing breakfast the following morning.  Sound familiar? Of course it does – at least to many of a certain age.  Older movies and books left a lot to our imaginations.

 

That was okay then; we were used to it and easily filled in the rest.  We never worried about the missing parts. Now, however, things are more explicit in films and books.  There are more details and we look for explanations and accuracy. We no longer find “plot holes” acceptable.

 

I recently found the following opening sentence at the beginning of a new chapter in a book I was reading: “After his trip he stopped to pick me up for dinner.”  What trip?  On prior pages, the author never bothered to let the reader know this man had taken a trip somewhere.  A minor flaw perhaps; none-the-less, it stopped the flow of my reading.

 

Similarly, there are numbers – especially, the right numbers! I am no mathematician, but I’m fanatic about matching ages and dates when I read a book.  Ages can be tricky and keeping a family tree in a novel that includes various generations is handy.  In a book written by a fairly well known author a few years ago, I was informed early on that the main character was born in the year of the Pearl Harbor attack – 1941.  This was fine until he celebrated his 40th birthday during one of the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations.  Couldn’t be – he was only 35 years old at that time!

 

While I may dismiss a few grammatical errors, and even read past them, it is hard to overlook inconsistent dates and events.  That is where a good editor comes in.  Last fall, at the North Carolina Writers Network fall conference, I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by two experienced editors.  They pointed out many common mistakes made by writers – especially new writers – and gave us a list with most of the common pitfalls. Prior to this event, and before writing my current novel, I considered the price of hiring of an editor quite high.  After listening to the presenters and looking over my own work, I decided that they were worth every penny.

 

If you cannot afford an editor, or are lucky enough to be married to one, at least have several friends or good acquaintances (preferably English teachers) look over your work; and ask them to be very honest and critical.  In return, they might just settle for a lunch out and an autographed copy of your finished book.   

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Writer’s Block – by Heidi

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It stares you in the face and whispers:

Come on, you can do it;

You’ve done it many times before

and know there’s nothing to it.

 

It’s black, it’s grey, it’s pink, it’s blue;

it’s PC or a Mac.

You swear, you curse, you yell out loud,

but words just won’t come back

 

The story won’t materialize,

you suffer your frustration;

and in the end you realize –

Your Muse is on vacation.

Magnolia in Snow

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Magnolia in Snow

We trimmed around the magnolia tree at the back of our lot last week. It was being overtaken by the surrounding flora and wisteria was beginning to attack it. It is a rare event when it is covered with snow, so I took a couple of pictures.

Rowan/Cabarrus Writer’s Night Out

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Every fourth Wednesday of the month – mark it on your calendar – the Rowan/Cabarrus Writer’s Night Out gathers at Dilworth Coffee, Poplar Tent and George Liles Blvd. in Concord.  It’s just a short hop off Exit 54 on I-85.  We will get started at 7 pm, but get there early to grab a coffee and let us know if you want to read that evening.  Poetry and short prose pieces are welcomed.

 

Coming up:

 Wednesday, March 26th: Discussion leader Chuck Thurston.  His two books of collected columns, Senior Scribbles Unearthed, and Senior Scribbles Second Dose have been published by Second Wind Publishers.  He and his wife Heidi Thurston are collaborating on a mystery series – the first of which should be out by the end of this year.

It’s possible to spend thousands of dollars getting your work edited. Chuck has written and /or edited literally 10’s of thousands of web pages and college and corporate course work on business, management and technical issues, in addition to his columns and fictional work. He will discuss self-editing your work.

Wednesday, April 23rd: Discussion leader Melinda Metz.  If you’re in interested in writing for television, you’ll want to hear Melinda describe her experiences.  This very prolific writer has written – and scripted for television – several of her young adult stories.

Who we are!

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You’ve arrived! — at our blog, at least!  We are Chuck and Heidi Thurston.  We write separately and cooperatively.  His, hers and ours, you might say.  Chuck has authored the “Senior Scribbles” series – a collection of his columns, essays and other short pieces.  Heidi follows the life and romantic adventures of The Duchess.  Together, we collaborate on the Woody Stanton Mystery series.  Follow our work and follow our journeys together.

C and H Conference