How Toddlers Fix Plot Holes

You know when you get into a conversation with a three year old, and they start asking you a bunch of questions? Usually they begin with the word how, what or why, why, why, why, why. Well, I’ve been asking myself those questions all week.

I decided to take a break from the character profiles and check out the plot. And I found a lot of problems. Mainly because the whole plot hadn’t yet been fleshed out properly. But what was the best way to go about fixing them? The answer came in the form of one of those frustrating conversations with a toddler.

Part of my job is teaching 3-4 year olds to play the piano. As you could imagine, this comes with a lot of questions. Now, I’ve always believed that as a teacher, if I can’t explain something (even to a three year old), then I don’t fully understand it . Surely, the same should go for plots. So I approached my Plot the way a three year old would. I questioned EVERYTHING.

So I listed each plot point, then started asking questions. For every event in the story, a number of questions arose. As a result, the plot has started making much more sense. And the clearer the plot becomes, the easier the book becomes to write. (Take that, writers block!)

So that is how talking to toddlers taught me to fix the problems with my plot. They have also taught me that fire extinguishers are red, trains go ‘Choo Choo’ and the TV is not on. (I have had some very in depth conversations about all of these things.)

This week, my intention is to continue with these plot questions, but also continue with the character profiling. The sooner these two things are complete, the sooner I can get writing properly!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still need to work out why my boss hung butterflies from the roof of my music room. (Apparently ‘to make it look nice’ isn’t a good enough answer.)

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