In a novel, plot holes are gaps or logical inconsistencies in the narrative that disrupt the logical progression established by the novel’s plot. Events or statements that contradict earlier facts or comments in a story fall under this category of a plot hole.
For example, in sci-fi involving time travel, the protagonist can’t go backwards in time to prevent an antagonist from being born. The earlier removal of the rascal would negate any need for future time travel in the first place (a classic time travel inconsistency).
Famous examples of plot holes in fiction involve a little-known error in the first UK edition of Harry Potter: the Philosopher’s Stone: J.K. Rowling. On page 56, a witch (an insignificant character) complains about the value of an item being ’seventeen Sickles’, yet in the financial system of Rowling’s world, there are seventeen Sickles to a Galleon. So, the witch likely says ‘one Galleon’. Although this is a minor oversight, the inconsistency was changed for subsequent editions.
To avoid creating plot holes in your story:
* Get feedback from critiquing partners and an editor who can see your arcs as a whole in your story
* Remember to keep a document of ‘true’ facts for each of your characters, mythical creatures or item of invented technology. When you bring said elements into a scene, you can browse through facts and result from key points and impossibilities
* Keep your novel’s plot as transparent as possible. The more conceptual or technical your ideas become, the higher the risk of plot holes