Shannon Stacey

The Neverending Story

(Yeah, you’re welcome for the earworm.)

Every time I think I’m within a few hours of sending No Surrender (aka DG3) to my iPod Touch for a final, reader-brained read through, another plothole sucks me in.

Last night I vented my issues to my husband and the Tall Kid, who then filled two major and three minor plotholes in like twenty minutes. They are made of awesome. (The Short Kid is also made of awesome, but his is a little off-brand. He takes out of the box to a whole new level.)

That ALMOST DONE! rush returned with a vengeance, and I was so juiced to work today I didn’t even hit the snooze on my cell (which serves as my alarm clock).

Then, as I was driving the Tall Kid to school…a story sinkhole opened up and swallowed me whole.


What’s one of the cardinal rules of fiction writing?

Show, don’t tell.

Writing 101, right there.


So Carmen fills a certain role in the DG. She’s like their catburglar chick. Sexy and sneaky. And, of course, she’s very good at it. Gallagher tells her so. Rossi reminds her what a valuable asset she is to the Group. Lots of telling about how awesome she is.

Back to driving this morning—what is with writers and driving?—and the story sinkhole. Does the reader get to see how awesome Carmen is at her job?

Let’s review:

In 72 Hours, her retrieval of a nasty little chemical takes place off the page. Later she hits her head on the car and almost knocks herself out. Not an impressive debut.

She’s not really in On the Edge.

No Surrender opens with her doing her thing, but she does something naughty and gets them in trouble. There’s awesomeness from her later, but not necessarily doing her thing.

So, no. While my characters are telling the readers about Carmen’s mad skills, they don’t actually get to see her use them. Fortunately, while driving the Short Kid to school, I crafted the fix in my head, but it’s going to require some serious layering in of stuff just before the midpoint.

The moral of this rambling tale:

Watch your 101.

6 comments to “The Neverending Story”

  1. Charlene
      · March 27th, 2009 at 10:51 am · Link

    Sometimes it is the obvious that escapes you. Happy layering!

  2. Ann
      · March 27th, 2009 at 12:26 pm · Link

    I recently made the same realization, had some awesome characters and had the protag tell about them instead of showing them in all of their awesomeness. Am currently fixing. :type:

  3. Brandy W
      · March 27th, 2009 at 1:15 pm · Link

    All I can say is that you writers are crafty multi-tasking folks.

  4. Annmarie
      · March 27th, 2009 at 3:00 pm · Link

    While I’m driving I remember money that people owe me.

  5. Melani Blazer
      · March 27th, 2009 at 3:22 pm · Link

    Cool on seeing it. Usually I call mine sh*t piles and not plot holes, cuz they ain’t obvious until someone points out you’ve stepped in them and it’s stinking everything else up.

    If that made sense. I had my own realization a la 101. I am currently typing in a kazillion pages of handwritten book and realized I’m not being mean enough to my characters. They could be growing and shaping and facing adversities, and I’m only pricking their fingers instead of stabbing them in the chest (metaphorically speaking, it’s a racing themed book, nothing like your blood infested DG stuff, bwah!).

    So, got room under that editing rock for a buddy? I’ll bring Doritos…..

  6. azteclady
      · March 27th, 2009 at 8:32 pm · Link

    Show don’t tell for the win!

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