How To Hide Plot Holes
Start writing a post

How To Hide Plot Holes

Making necessary flaws work for your story

How To Hide Plot Holes

Sometimes your entire story hinges on one thing that’s just a little improbable.

You try to change it, but find the story doesn’t work without that particular element.

However, you don’t have to let it ruin your story.

With a little work, you can make that necessary flaw work within your story.

1. Make Everything Else Really Interesting

You can divert people’s attention from your story’s flaw if everything else is high quality.

Refine the other elements (such as character design and dialogue) so the overall effect is so enjoyable people don't notice the flaw.

For example, “The Terminator” tells a story about a time-traveling cyborg who tries to kill a woman before she bears a son who will become a war hero.

This robot has to pass himself off as a human being, get information about the woman’s location, then kill her.

There’s just one problem: Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the cyborg. He’s big, extremely noticeable, and doesn’t even try to behave like a normal person.

However, the audience forgives this flaw because the rest of the movie works so well.

The directing is good, and the actors give great portrayals.

The story combines elements from science fiction (time travel, robots), horror (psychotic killer, the couple who sleeps together dies first) and action (gun fights, car chases) into an exciting story.

The special effects are often still convincing thirty years later.

In short, the story excels on so many levels we’ll gladly look past the fact everyone would notice a 220-pound Austrian bodybuilder and wonder what he's doing.

2. Make It Seem Plausible Later

Go back to the flaw later and explain it so it appears reasonable.

In the first Star Wars movie, audiences learn the Death Star, a space station capable of destroying whole planets, has one weakness: an exhaust port that leads directly to the station’s core.

Not only do none of the villains know about this, but the defect lets a one-man spaceship blow up the entire space station.

This is like having a tank that a 22-caliber pistol can destroy by pointing at just the right panel.

However, the movie makes this defect seem reasonable.

We get a scene where the heroes discuss their plans and establish that hitting the exhaust port will be difficult. The port has some kind of shielding, they have to hit it exactly and the port is so small that one pilot states even a computer-guided weapon couldn’t hit it.

The recent movie “Rogue One,” which details how the heroes got the Death Star’s plans, rationalizes the flaw even further.

Here, we learn one of the Death Star’s designers chose to help the rebels and planted the fatal flaw where no one would notice it. The obvious defect becomes sabotage.

3. Play the Flaw as Freak Chance

If your flaw is something extremely unlikely, maybe the best thing to do is have your characters recognize it's weird.

Make it clear they know something abnormal has happened. Create situations where they talk about how strange it is.

This turns the flaw into something clever, an example of how weird life can be at times.

The action movie “John Wick” does this very well. The plot follows a retired hitman who goes on a revenge spree after his former employer’s son steals his car and kills his dog.

That’s right. John Wick kills a mobster's son because the son killed his pet.

The movie gives John Wick a backstory which makes the dog precious to him, so we see his perspective.

Still, it’s a strange reason to kill someone, and the characters know that.

Throughout the movie, the son and other characters protest that “it was just a dog!”

The mobster refers to his son’s actions as an act of fate or terribly bad luck. He even suggests that he and John Wick were cursed to bump into each other again.

4. Make Improbable Things Central to the Story

Instead of trying to hide or rationalize the flaw, make it seem normal.

Make the story about improbable people in improbable settings, where strange things seem typical.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” follows this formula perfectly. The main character was abducted by aliens in the 1980’s and still uses the Walkman cassette tape player he had at the time.

People who remember cassette tapes will tell you they can’t last 30 years when you play them constantly the way this guy does.

However, we ignore this because the movie is so silly.

This is a movie where planets can have fondue-yellow pools, where space aliens have corny makeup, and the hero can defeat the villain by dancing.

In other words, this is a “turn your brain off and enjoy the ride” kind of movie. A never-dying Walkman and cassette tape seem normal in it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

The Gift Of Basketball

The NBA playoffs remind me of my basketball journey through time

Syracuse Basketball

I remember that when I was very little, my dad played in an adult basketball league, and I remember cheering him on with everything in me. I also remember going to Tuscola basketball games when the old floor was still there and the bleachers were still wooden. I remember always wanting to play basketball like my dad, and that's just what I did.

Keep Reading... Show less

Plus Size Appreciation: How I Learned To Love My Body

Because it is okay to not be "skinny."


In America, we tend to stick up our noses at certain things that aren't the norm. For example, people who are overweight, or the politically correct term “obese." Men and women who are overweight get so much backlash because they are not skinny or "in shape," especially, African-American women, who are typically known for having wider hips and thicker thighs. Robert Darryl, an African-American filmmaker, explains the overall intention of the body mass index in his follow-up sequel, “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments."

Keep Reading... Show less

It's More Than Just A Month

Mental Awareness reminds you that it's always darkest before the dawn.

Odyssey recognizes that mental well-being is a huge component of physical wellness. Our mission this month is to bring about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community. Let's recognize the common symptoms and encourage the help needed without judgement or prejudice. Life's a tough journey, we are here for you and want to hear from you.

As the month of May begins, so does Mental Health Awareness Month. Anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder, eating disorders, and more affect millions of people in the United States alone every year. Out of those affected, only about one half seek some form of treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

Pop Culture Needs More Plus Size Protagonists

When almost 70% of American women are a size 14 or bigger, movies like Dumplin' are ridiculously important, while movies like I Feel Pretty just feel ridiculous.


For as long as I can remember, I've been fat. The protagonists in the movies I've watched and the books I've read, however, have not been. . .

Keep Reading... Show less
How I Met My Best Friends In College

Quarantine inspired me to write about my freshman year to keep it positive and focus on all the good things I was able to experience this year! In this article, I will be talking about how I was able to make such amazing friends by simply putting myself out there and trying new things.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments