Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--Logic Lapses

Logic Lapses can strike at any time and anywhere in your manuscript. Some are easily missed, while others will practically whack a reader over the head.

What are they???

They're instances in your story where the facts don't add up or someone behaves in a manner completely out of character for no apparent reason. Many times, these conveniently move the plot in the direction the author wants but make the reader say, "huh?". This can lead to an only partially read book and a lost sale on the next book.

Some examples:

Scenario: Your hero and heroine are on the run from a pair of bad guys. They pay for a few hours in a cruddy motel for some much-needed rest. The bad guys bust in, but the hero manages to take out one dude with a karate move and the heroine bashes the other over the head with a lamp. Both men are unconscious. The h&h make a run for it, leaving behind their coats. They then have to make a stop to buy new coats, and the bad guys spot them again.
Problem: If the men couldn't immediately follow, why didn't the h&h grab their coats? Don't make your characters forgetful to fit in your plot points.

Scenario: Your heroine is a security specialist. The hot guy from the office next door stops by to ask her out for a drink. She forgets to lock her office and a thief steals a copy of her plans for a new client.
Problem: A security specialist would NEVER forget to secure her work area before leaving. Stupid character, angry reader. Too convenient, especially if the hot guy is in on the robbery.

Scenario: Your sexy hero is talking on his cell phone to the buddy he's meeting for a game of pool later. As he's walking along the sidewalk, he spies a trail of fresh blood leading into a dark alley. He tells his friend he has to go, follows the blood, and gets jumped by a vampire dressed like a dominatrix.
Problem: Maybe he doesn't see a problem, but I do. This is as bad as the pretty girl who goes exploring the woods at night when her friend disappears and doesn't answer her calls. Can you say Freddie, Jason, character too stupid to live???

Think through plot points for each scene, either before (plotter), during (plantser), or after (pantser) you write. Do any of them make your character seem stupid? Have you let your character do something out of character to further your plot?

Chances are if you aren't 100% certain it works, it doesn't. Find a different way to make your hero and heroine need new coats--one that makes sense and doesn't give the reader a reason to dislike the story. Don't make your sword-wielding pirate forget he has one, and your wizard better remember he has a wand when confronted by his evil nemesis.

Next up--Choreography! It's not just for dancing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. Another good one, Mellanie. It is also especially difficult when you are writing menage scenes (or scenes with lots of characters in). I find I have to choreograph who takes off what item of clothes like I am directing a broadway show!!

    1. Thanks, Jen! I agree on the choreography. That topic even gets its on post soon!