This past week, I came across a major flaw with my military SciFi story–MILK RUN.  It’s one of the most dreaded things that can happen to an author.   It’s something that will require many hours of thought to correct and will result in a rewrite of certain chapters.  This could change the course of this battle story in space.  

This flub reminds me of the US Marine Corps saying “Semper Fi (fidelis)” (always faithful) and the Civil Air Patrol motto “Semper Vigilans” (always vigilant).   These are not mere mottos to be yelled out during marching drills and fancy parades but rather examples that must be applied to more mundane activities like story telling.  It’s a calling for authors to be faithful to their story and always on the lookout for the dreaded . . . story plothole.

That’s right –the story plothole . . . an inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story’s plot. It happens when a story event is contradicted, without a believable cause, by a previous or future event. 

Even my beta readers missed this blooper.   Although that’s probably understandable given that I posted the story scenes/chapters incrementally over a long period of time. No, I can’t (and I won’t) blame anyone.   It’s on me the author and no one else.   As a general aviation pilot, I’m reminded of an FAA flight regulation (91.3) that states, “The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation of that aircraft.”    One can apply that same philosophy to storytelling…. The author of a story is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the telling of that story.  Yea, I got a little too deep with that example, but nonetheless it’s true.

So, where is the story plothole in MILK RUN?   It starts in chapter scene (#21 “The Gunship”) where Captain Toby Louis and his team steal from the Telrachnid gunship the “Crowbar” device that enables the gunship to D-Jump (that’s Dimensional Jump) into a hidden dimension of space. 

That theft should have prevented the Telrachnid gunship from D-Jumping. But the gunship does just that later on in a subsequent space battle scene (# 29 “Doubt”).   That’s the inconsistency!   Can’t D-Jump without the Crowbar.    Yea, one could say the Telrachnid gunship crew used a spare Crowbar but then they would know their technology was stolen and change their battle strategy later on.   But as part of his battle strategy, Captain Toby Louis doesn’t want the Telrachnids to know about the theft.    So, as the author with final authority, I got to resolve that inconsistency. 

How will I do that?   Well, I’ve already identified the inconsistent story lines and nearly figured out how to straighten it out.  But some serious rewriting is in order.    More to come, so stay tuned.   

Meanwhile, a question for you authors out there.    Have you ever encountered the dreaded story plothole?  How did you recover from that problem?   Please share.   Thanks!

Meanwhile check out these SciFi stories that have an unusual twist—religion

Now, before you hit the delete button, I’m not talking about the preachy stuff you expect to hear in church.   But rather stories whose background or backdrop have some genesis (sorry) or reference to religion, or a cult or set of beliefs. 

So, I ask that you please encourage these authors who are brave enough to venture in these deep waters by checking out their books (including my own upside down religious SciFi- GOD GAMES). Click the image below and get your copy!  Check back weekly as I add more books.

Written by 

Pilot, geek, retired, happy, healthy, loves science/engineering and writing SciFi books!! 🤓

4 thoughts on “RED ALERT, RED ALERT!

  1. Current WIP, I realized that I was applying waterborn navy engine thrust rules (stop running the motor, you slow down and stop) on a space craft four chapters in… had to go through and fix it all.

    1. Hummmm. . . I would think the same rules apply given the momentum of both crafts. Maybe I’m missing something?

      Regardless, it’s a bummer to have to go in and tinker like that with the story and wonder if (during the process) you broke something else. That’s when you need another set of eyes.

  2. Continuity errors are like plot holes. One cost me a month of work. I always try (and sometimes fail) to remember this rule from a text book years ago: “Don’t have Aunt Tilly jumping out of airplanes until she goes to parachute school.”

    1. Yep, the problem for me is that I write in spurts with sometimes several weeks in between writing sessions. That time span can cause me to forget about a key moment earlier in the story that could conflict with some new idea to move the story forward.

      I usually catch these bloopers by rereading earlier passages as both an editing tool and for enjoyment. Most of the time I catch Aunt Tilly before she straps on that parachute. This time, however, she snuck by me.

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