A Report Back on Plot Holes

(Mega huge bonus points to you if you can get the connection between that picture and this post. It might take you a bit, but I’m almost sure some of you can do it!)

A week or two ago, I put up a (very) short survey on plot holes, asking you all to tell me how much they bugged you. There was some good discussion on my Facebook page about the topic, with most saying that it all depended on the size of the hole and the type of work it appeared in–as well as any mitigating factors (meaning, are there awesome things that make up for the plot hole).

But I also wanted to present back to you the results of the (completely non-scientific) survey. Because numbers.

If you’ll recall, the survey basically asked people to rate how much plot holes bugged them, on a scale from 1 to 9. (I chose 1-9 because that way there could be an exact middle. With 1-10, there’s no truly average option.) 36 brave souls took the time to answer. Not the world’s best sampling, I’ll admit. But we work with what we have.

The average response was 5.53, meaning plot holes appear to bug people a bit more than average, but not excessively so. Breaking it down by answers:

1 (“Not a bit”): 0

2———-: 1

3———-: 4

4———-: 4

5 (“A middling amount”): 9

6———-: 4

7———-: 12

8———-: 2

9 (“To the point I’ll stop reading/watching”): 0

What can we learn from this? (Well, besides the fact that apparently not many of you like taking surveys.) No one loathed plot holes or totally ignored them: they’re an issue for everyone, but they’re not deal breakers in and of themselves. Still, they’re a fairly significant problem for a lot of people, which is why it’s so surprising to me that Hollywood gets away with such big ones so often.

That said, I have to keep in mind my survey pool. You’re all readers of my blog, which means you’re a cut above your average Hollywood consumer (I’d like to think). So I suppose it should be no surprise that there might be a discrepancy between what you prefer and what’s acceptable with your typical movie.

That said, this all did what I hoped it would do: confirm to me that I should take plot holes seriously and do my best to eliminate them. As an author, my main goal is to tell a great story. A story that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the end. To accomplish that goal, I need to pay attention to anything that might cause you to lose interest or otherwise throw you out of a story. Plot holes definitely fall into that category.

Thanks for playing!

3 thoughts on “A Report Back on Plot Holes”

  1. My problem with your survey is I’ve never been sure what a plot hole is. It seems to be the thing people say when they want to criticize a work without actually taking the effort to actually describe story structure and talk about what’s wrong. It’s a really general term that I don’t see used to good, intelligent effect.

  2. Alisia–You are officially on the Awesome List.

    Janci–Interesting. Plot holes have always been pretty cut and dried for me. Anything in the plot that, if it were properly addressed, would break the book or movie somehow. A big plot hole can invalidate the entire work. A small one is annoying. I don’t see plot holes as being connected to story structure at all.

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