Well, really, plot holes.
I was watching a rerun of “Castle” last Monday (boy do I ever covet that man’s office) and I got to thinking: They never resolved one issue in the case they dealt with.
My knee-jerk reaction to this: “It must have gotten left on the editing room floor.” Happens a lot in movies and television.
But sometimes it happens in best-sellers. *coughtwilightcough*
So that’s when you need a really good reviewer/crit buddy.
The plot hole in Castle goes like this: The case they were working on involved a woman on the lam for years following a bombing on an oil tanker that she was involved in. Said woman turns up dead in the opening scene of the episode. Eventually we come to learn that one of the accomplices, the only one ever found because the third was killed in the blast, was turned in to the FBI by a female caller. The cops that Castle shadows assume it to be the woman whose murder they’re investigating.
Then they discover that the woman presumed dead in the original explosion wasn’t so dead after all.
And then the plot hole hits. They never resolve whether it was the woman who was murdered in the beginning of the episode or the woman who was presumed dead but turned out to be the killer was the one who turned in the other accomplice.
So, how does this relate to writing a novel or to crit buddies? Well, we need them so little threads like this don’t end up on the editing room floor. Readers aren’t stupid and they will pick up on the little plot holes and things we leave dangling. If we’re writing a series, they’ll forgive us the occasional dangle because they’ll assume it will get wrapped up before the series ends.
But if we’re writing standalone works and there won’t be any crossover beyond characters from book to book then we have to make sure we plug the rabbit holes and don’t cause our readers to fall through and disbelieve anything we’ve written because of one little thing.