Plot Pitfalls

The other day, I met with my critique partner. Although he had some good things to say, there was one very glaringly epic fail with my draft: I had completely failed to elucidate my plot. Ugh.

Normally, this happens because the person in question doesn’t have a clear plot in mind. Perhaps they didn’t outline beforehand or the story took an unexpected turn during the writing.

In my case though, I had left out some significant details. Without them, it was hard to catch the key part of the plot — that the hero and her enemies had been tossed across the known universe and now had to work together.

This got me thinking about what else can derail a perfectly good plot. Here are some of the plot pitfalls I came up with.

  1. Lack of Character Motivation
    If your character doesn’t need or want anything, it’s hard to keep a plot going.
  2. False Suspense
    This is the topic of a whole ‘nother post, but basically it involves building suspense where no suspense needs to be. It also obscures your plot.
  3. Lack of Significant Details
    You’re plot might be there in a conceptual sense, but the reader can’t find/follow it.

What are some plot pitfalls you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below.