Yes, you read that title right. It was so profound when I heard it in a dream yesterday morning, that I will have to say it again. Plot holes are like wounds, they both can be stitched up. Even though this little truth about writing and revisions caught me off guard when I heard it, the real meaning of this metaphore helped me to stitch up my own plot hole and flesh out a chapter, before I went to church this morning. Let me explain how it came to me. Friday afternoon, I was revising Chapter three of Journey to the Mountaintop, the second book in my Stepping Stones mystery series. When I reached the end of the chapter, I felt as though something was missing. I spoke to my friend Jen Lowry from the Jen Lowry Writes podcast about it through texts. She asked me some questions to get me brainstorming about my plot and why I wasn’t satisfied with it. I racked my brain, while catching up on a few podcasts from earlier this past week. Although nothing jumped out at me at the time, I had a dream that stuck with me all day yesterday.
In this dream, I was relaxing in a recliner at a medical facility. I don’t know what hospital or clinic I was in, but that part isn’t as important as what took place before I woke up. A nurse gave me a pillow to put under my knees. As I got comfortable in preparation for a proceedure, she made the statement that I wrote in the title of this post and in the first paragraph. The only part of this statement that registered, the first time she said it, was “plot holes” and “stitches”. I asked her if she could run it by me one more time, and she did. That was the moment I woke up thinking “What!”
The dream setting stayed with me during the ride to pick up my daughter for her Spring break, and nearly drove me to distraction last night. I told Jen about the dream and I even tweeted the quote. In response to my texts, Jen told me something that has stayed with me all day. She said that Jesus is the great physician, and the medical center setting worked out for the dream as well as that profound quote.
This morning, I discovered the second reason for the medical center being the setting for the dream. Chapter three started with my protagonist leaving the hospital after seeing her father, who’d been hurt in an accident. Therefore, I needed to take that ending scene I wasn’t satisfied with and move it to Chapter four. Now, I need to switch a couple of scenes around and flesh that chapter out, to finish stitching up this wound in my story.
The takeaway from the dream and the puzzle pieces falling into place in my novel is this: Gaping wounds must be stitched up to save a person’s life, By the same token, plot holes must be stiched up and fleshed out to give your readers an enjoyable experience.
What profound truths have you discovered about your writing? How have these truths enhanced your craft? Please share your story in the comments below.
Until next time, may God richly bless you in your writing journey, to help you tell a better story.