Finding Plot Holes

Plot holes are something that no writer wants to find in their manuscript. Not only can they be extremely embarrassing if you discover them after publishing, but fixing them increases the amount of rewriting that has to be done. Sometimes they are minor and easily fixed, other times they’re major and end up costing us big time in terms of having to do major revisions or deletions. No one likes to find plot holes in their work, but sometimes they will happen no matter how careful we try to be. 

But here are a few tips that might make them easier to spot:

Don’t edit before you finish. This is a hard one. It’s almost impossible not to want to edit as you write, but it’s important that you resist. You could actually end up doing more damage to your manuscript trying to fix potential plot holes along the way. If you fix a plot hole before you even finish writing your story you will inevitably end up with several more plot holes that you’ll have to fix by the time you’re finished writing. 

Notes and lists are great. While you shouldn’t edit as you go, there are other ways that you can ensure that plot holes don’t happen in your work. By making copious lists or notes related to the plot – especially before you start actually writing – you can help yourself to cut down on the potential plot holes that may arise. 

Beta readers are your new best friends. Having a second pair of eyes on your manuscript is so incredibly important. Sometimes, there are some plot holes that are so minor, they can slip through the cracks – especially when you’ve been staring at the same story for months on end. Bringing in a fresh pair of eyes from someone who has never read your story before can be wonderful for finding plot holes – particularly those that might have been overlooked. Beta readers are free and they can be so invaluable, especially since they can also make helpful suggestions as to how to fix any potential plot holes. 

Author Interview with Lincoln Reed

Dragon Soul Press took the opportunity to interview Author Lincoln Reed. Thus far, he is a featured author in DSP’s Mistletoes and Mayhem, Imperial Devices, and Valiance.


  1. What was your dream job when you were younger?

Ever since I could walk, I was passionate about baseball, playing every summer and practicing all winter. It was my dream to become a professional baseball player. The closest I came to accomplishing that goal was participating in a professional tryout with the Atlanta Braves organization. I didn’t play professionally, but I did have a fun college baseball career at Taylor University.

  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since the age of six. I have a strong memory of loving books at a young age and wanting to write one of my own.

3. How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first series of short stories at the age of nine, but didn’t develop a serious interest in a writing career until my undergraduate years. I had my first short story acceptance after completing my MFA at Miami University (Ohio). Since then, I’ve completed two full novel manuscripts and have had more than 15 short stories published in various print anthologies and online magazines. I love writing and plan to craft stories for as long as I’m able.

  1. How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

I’m always working on new plots. As a writer, I hold the perspective that nothing in life is wasted. Every experience, heartbreak, and adversity can be a source for material or inspiration. I’m currently working on an outline for a novel about one of my characters in the story “Why the Ship Burns” featured in Dragon Soul Press’s Valiance anthology. I love westerns and would love to add my voice to the genre.

  1. Who is your favorite character?

Of all the great characters in literature, it is difficult to choose a favorite. I love J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The books and films are fantastic. Aragorn and Gandalf are two of my favorite protagonists. I also enjoy any book featuring characters Jack Reacher and Walt Longmire.

6. How do you handle writer’s block?

I adhere to Jack London’s advice on writer’s block. According to London, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” I may not always know what to write, but I push myself to meet deadlines. Often inspiration comes when I am disciplined in my writing schedule.

  1. How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

I need to know the main character’s backstory and their motivation before I start writing. I believe it is important for a writer to have an understanding of their character’s journey. When writing about an unfamiliar topic, I do my best to research or speak with people who are informed. As my high school English teacher once told me, “Writer’s write what they know, and then they know more.”

  1. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I am a vigilant self-editor. During my MFA years, I had a mentor who helped me realize the importance of creating fresh writing. As a result, I often proofread my work aloud, especially the dialogue. I have a strong dislike for echoes and redundancies. As an editor and a professor, I often find writers (myself included) repeating the same word several times in a sentence or paragraph. I’m always encouraging my students to strive for crisp writing and word choice. I believe strong self-editing is crucial for literary success.

9. What is the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is spending time with my wife, Gabby. She’s my best friend. I’m thankful for each day we get to share together.

10. Where can readers learn more about you?

Readers can find more information about me at my website. I can also be found on Twitter.

Write Like It Matters

As writers we all have our moments of doubt. When starting out with a new idea, there is always a moment of hesitation where we question if our idea is “good enough.” It’s a reoccurring fear that we have throughout the whole writing process. It’s why we downplay our work, refuse to show it to certain people, try to skirt questions, and generally act secretive about our writing. We fear ridicule and rejection – having someone confirm our worst fear that the story we care so deeply about, is actually not “good enough.”

But what we have to remember is that our stories are important too. It’s so easy to look to those already published and successful authors and think, “there is no way I’d ever measure up.” Someone once said, “write like it matters and it will.” And that is all we need to keep in mind. So long as what we’re writing is something that we love and care about, it will translate to an audience. Every single one of us has at least one story to tell. And we shouldn’t let any fears or doubts get in our way. So, if you’re currently grappling with self-doubt, let me be the first to remind you that you’re not alone. And your work is most definitely good enough, which is why you need to keep going.

Keep on writing.

Developing Your WIP Without Writing

Writing is a process. And sometimes part of the process means taking a step back from writing. Besides writer’s block there is also the challenge of writer’s burnout, where you have the words and ideas, but you just can’t get them out. When you experience writer’s burnout, sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a step back.  When this happens, you can take a few steps to still develop your manuscript without necessarily having to write.

Contemplation:

It is quite simple. Sometimes just sitting and thinking about things like your character/plot and events that haven’t happened can help move forward with your WIP. 

Create Visuals:

Make things related to your story such as family trees, mood boards, or research fashion trends of specific times that might be related to your WIP – basically get creative without writing. Creating all these visuals can help you think about your world and better understand the fantastical world that you’ve created. And this will help you to better understand your story. Fully knowing your story inside and out is a great combatant to writer’s block. But taking a break from writing and doing something related to your story and creative is a great solution for writer’s burnout. 

Re-read Old Work:

Okay, this can be quite cringy and I will be the first to admit that. However, there are some benefits to going back and reading your old writing. For starters, it can be pretty motivating to see just how far you’ve come in your writing journey. But it can also provide some interesting ideas for characters or plot points. We all have a least a couple WIPs that we know are never going to be finished. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t use their bones to build up the current story that we’re working on. 

Author Interviews:

It can be helpful to watch, read, or listen to interviews of your favorite author or a famous author. They will often address how they got their inspiration or how they write, and it can be so inspiring as well as insightful to hear other writers’ writing process. 

Elements of Foreshadowing

The definition of foreshadowing in literature is a literary device that is used as an indication of events to come. It can be used to create suspense, unease, or curiosity with what is to come in the future. Personally, I love foreshadowing. It really can ramp up the tension in a story.

There are several types of foreshadowing:

Chekhov’s Gun

This comes from the playwright, Anton Chekhov, who famously said that if there is a rifle onstage in the first act then it must go off in the second or third act. Of course, this principle doesn’t just apply to firearms, but any object, skill, or idea. While it aligns itself with foreshadowing, it can also be used as a way of streamlining your plot as it gets rid of anything that isn’t relevant or useful in a story. Chekhov’s Gun is a great reminder that if you’re not going to use it, then lose it.

Prophecy

This is one of the more popular elements of foreshadowing. A prophecy is a statement made to a character or the reader that gives a clue as to what will happen in the future. Sometimes the prophecies are unclear at first, but over time they become much clearer.

Symbolism

Using symbolism – like objects, animals, or images – can be a more abstract way of adding foreshadowing to your story. 

Flashbacks

Sometimes, certain important information needs to be shared, but the events surrounding it doesn’t quite fit into the current timeline. This is where flashbacks can be handy. Of course, you can also use flashbacks as a method of giving the read hints of what could possibly happen in the future. The only thing with flashbacks is to remember to use them sparingly so as not to confuse your reader. 

Red Herrings

This is when you deliberately mislead your reader with false information through clues that trick your reader into thinking what you want them to think. Then, later when you reveal the truth, it feels like a giant plot twist to your reader. While these are mostly used in murder mysteries, red herrings can also fit nicely into other genres. 

Tips for foreshadowing:

Don’t be too obvious– show don’t tell. And don’t make it too easy for your readers to piece together the events to come, you don’t want them getting bored with the story before they’ve finished. The whole point of foreshadowing is to keep them guessing.

Keep your promises– remember Chekhov who said that if your rifle isn’t going off in a later act then get rid of it? The same idea applies to foreshadowing. Whatever little Easter eggs you plant in your story you need to do something with them at some point, otherwise they’ll just be loose ends and your reader will be disappointed they were never tied up. 

Timing– if you’re going to foreshadow, then you need to get the timing right. If it’s going to be a giant plot twist, then you need to start building it up a little earlier in the story. You don’t want your reader feeling like it came out of nowhere. But at the same time, you shouldn’t begin foreshadowing right away because you want to build it up rather than have it be a spoiler. 

Moderation– don’t overdo it on the foreshadowing devices. Keep it all subtle but effective. 

Beta readers– having someone else read over our work is always a good idea. But it can be particularly useful when working with foreshadowing. Sometimes we might think we’re being obvious with our foreshadowing but that is only because we are too close to the world we’ve created, and we know the storyline inside and out. Using beta readers can be a wonderful resource to make sure that our foreshadowing is actually as solid as we think it is.