Debate and Discussion

Plotholes
Mazoo at 8:31AM, Aug. 30, 2006
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Oh yes, we need a topic on this.

I was looking at some comics the other day, and a commenter asked a question about a certain thing didn't quite add up. The artist then came in with this whole elaborate and complicated reason to why it actually did add up. There was no traces of this reason actually in the comic, but the artist said that was just how the story went.

So here's my question: When there are plotholes in a comic, would you rather them give you a huge, long and complicated, maybe even fantastical reason for it, or just have them say, "well it's a comic. Some things aren't going to be physically possible." (Or just blame on the genre, bad art, etc.)?

Sure, just blaming the genre or that it's a cartoon is taking the easy way out, but coming up with ridiculous answers is just as bad. Poor writing is poor writing, I suppose.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
Ronson at 10:19AM, Aug. 30, 2006
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It depends on the plot hole.

If someone wants to know how someone got the Mystical Sword of Khandarini, even though this exact same sword had been destroyed five pages earlier in the Eternal Flames of Meggalinopostibulon, and explanation should have been included in the comic. Nothing the artist says outside of the story validates putting this inexplicable plot hole in there.

If someone wants to know why the main character made one decision three months ago, and decided something completely opposite of the decision they had made previously that isn't a plothole. It may be bad writing, or it might be to show the development of the character. But not a plothole.

And if a character comes across something that just happens to be exactly what they need, with no explanation of why it was there, that is also not a plothole. That is potentially bad writing again, but not necessarily.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Duck at 10:27AM, Aug. 30, 2006
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Depends on the severity. A few plot traces should be left a mystery really, but if it's something that's already happened and in effect, an explination should be made.

Coming up with “it's a comic expect plot holes” is kinda a lazy way to do it, and should only fly in gag comics. And even then VERY rarely.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
Ian Jay at 11:55AM, Aug. 30, 2006
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Mazoo
I was looking at some comics the other day, and a commenter asked a question about a certain thing didn't quite add up. The artist then came in with this whole elaborate and complicated reason to why it actually did add up. There was no traces of this reason actually in the comic, but the artist said that was just how the story went.

You're talking about me, aren't you?!

Seriously, though, sometimes I give ridiculously long explanations for small plot holes in my comic. I could say that this is because I want to give my story depth, or because I enjoy going off on tangents, and both of these excuses would be true– but mostly I do it because I just hate finding plot holes in stories. (Whenever I read one of those “valiant quest”-type books– fantasy genre or otherwise– I always end up wondering the same three things: “Where did they get food every day?”, “Where and how do they go to the bathroom?”, and “Don't they get tired of walking?”.) I just figure there are other readers out there who are as anal as I am.

Seriously, people! Let's keep things realistic here!

~IJ
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
Mazoo at 10:00AM, Aug. 31, 2006
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Ian Jay
You're talking about me, aren't you?!

Actually, I wasn't. Someone's a bit sensitive~!

I only nitpick your comic because I enjoy it. The same idea goes for movies. And maybe I do it because I'm annoying like that. Who knows?

Anyway, getting back on topic.

Ronson, you make some good points. And I like your metaphor. It made me laugh. I guess you have to decipher if the situation is just a coincidence of poor writing getting off the hook, or if it really is a plothole.

When I'm talking about the long, fantastical answer, I'm talking about this: (I'm going to use your silly metaphor) Say the Mystical Sword of Khandarini was destoryed in the Fire of Whatchamacallit, and yet the artist brings it back. When someone questions them on it, they say “well, it was actually resurrected by the Magician Hoopla but I didn't want to show it in the story yet because he's evil and it would give away the fact that he's actually Michael's cousin!” It's in those instances that the plothole drives me nuts. When the artist/author obviously did not think things out too much and has the story completely changed by one question, it just annoys me.

Maybe this is just a rant on bad writing, or maybe not.

P.S. The art that actually spurred this thought was found on DeviantArt, by a pretty well-known artist. I'm not going to name him by name, since I think he's a great artist and a great story writer, but one of his art pieces about his comic had a little issue with the plothole thing.

You don't need to feel threatened, IanJay. :wink:
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
Ian Jay at 12:47PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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Mazoo
P.S. The art that actually spurred this thought was found on DeviantArt, by a pretty well-known artist. I'm not going to name him by name, since I think he's a great artist and a great story writer, but one of his art pieces about his comic had a little issue with the plothole thing.

You don't need to feel threatened, IanJay. :wink:

So you're saying I'm not a great artist and a great story writer? I cannot BELIEVE your HURTFULNESS!!!

~IJ
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
Mazoo at 3:21PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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Ian Jay
Mazoo
P.S. The art that actually spurred this thought was found on DeviantArt, by a pretty well-known artist. I'm not going to name him by name, since I think he's a great artist and a great story writer, but one of his art pieces about his comic had a little issue with the plothole thing.

You don't need to feel threatened, IanJay. :wink:

So you're saying I'm not a great artist and a great story writer? I cannot BELIEVE your HURTFULNESS!!!

~IJ

(Insert foot in mouth)

You know what I mean.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
ccs1989 at 3:56PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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Plotholes tend to occur when an writer of any story is not completely focused on the story. In huge stories focusing on many characters, like in a Diskworld book, there will be tons of plot points. You hope that the author ties up most of the stuff in the end, but as readers you usually skip over the little things. I think an occassional plothole is okay, but it has to be the kind where you don't notice it.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
Mimarin at 4:35PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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you know what's great? Intentional plotholes, that are put there to look like plotholes, but are later revealed to make complete sense, man I love when those happen.
Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
hat at 7:59PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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Yep but it just sucks when it's all because the author doesn't know what a story is (uninentional).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
BigFishComic at 8:17PM, Aug. 31, 2006
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plotholes are the spice of life.

and intentional plotholes blow my mind.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
Frail at 9:42PM, Sept. 4, 2006
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There is no such thing as an intentional plot hole, in my opinion. (hear me out…) Only an author who is not paying attention. Things that make you go “wha?” but get resolved in the end are not plot holes because “plot hole” is just a small story-concentrated black hole. Plot goes in and doesn't come back out. (At least not in this universe. XD)

I hates it most when people explain what's going on in their AN. When you write something and get it published you can't be standing over the reader's shoulder explaining what is going on. (Or at least you shouldn't be able to. There are some people, like maybe a ninja or somewhat, that could manage it.) Some instances of this you can overlook, like maybe a person would say: “btw, he's laughing not choking to death in the eighty-third panel”. While this is still irritating, it's more or less forgiveable.

*sigh* I'm probably going to get flamed now, aren't I?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
AQua_ng at 11:55PM, Sept. 4, 2006
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I just made a plothole! On purpose!

K.A.L.A-dan! Brigade Captain :D
K.A.L.A.-dan forums!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
kyupol at 3:51PM, Sept. 5, 2006
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well… nobody's perfect. even movies like spiderman and superman had plotholes in them.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:24PM
ccs1989 at 3:52PM, Sept. 5, 2006
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Heh. Pro comics have TONS of plot holes, because writers are being switched all the time.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
jetfox at 11:15AM, Oct. 4, 2006
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i run into plotholes all the time in any story i make.

like in my one i've been working on called “The return of Xemnas” the charaters go to the world that never was and the castle that was suspended like 300 feet of an abyss fell and somehow managed to not fall down the hole. i have no idea how i'm going to explain it and i probably won't. :)

and the story is still on my computer and unless the name is stolen you will not find it.
In the immortal words of Saix “Moon shine down!!!!”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
Eirikr at 9:09PM, Oct. 4, 2006
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I've come up with a rather clever way to deal with plotholes in my comic. Since my coimc is fairly nonsensical as it is(hence the name), I decided that a plothole would be a physical object in the world, like a black hole, that sucks up all logic and cohesion.

Looking back, the first story arc needed that joke in it bigtime. Just stating it now because it might not be in a comic for a looooong time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:19PM
LIZARD_B1TE at 4:20PM, Oct. 5, 2006
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Eirikr
I've come up with a rather clever way to deal with plotholes in my comic. Since my coimc is fairly nonsensical as it is(hence the name), I decided that a plothole would be a physical object in the world, like a black hole, that sucks up all logic and cohesion.

Looking back, the first story arc needed that joke in it bigtime. Just stating it now because it might not be in a comic for a looooong time.

I think Golden Gamers beat you to that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:36PM
subcultured at 3:00PM, Oct. 13, 2006
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the biggest plot hole I've ever read was “powers”. really bad storytelling…like he just made up this plot out of his ass. it didn't make any sense to me because it was set at the begining of powers, yet it had no further repucutions as the story went on. really ost all of respect of bendis after that. and also his long ass paragraphs on almost every page.
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:00PM
Jillers at 7:16PM, Oct. 13, 2006
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It's already been said, but I do want to reiterate the idea of the “intentional plothole” which… you know…. isn't actually a plothole as much as a plot hook? (There's an actually term for these kinds of things, and I forget them… le sigh).
But writers have to be really careful not to over use them - because then it just gets rediculous. At the same time, they also have to not tell what really happens in the author notes. A simple “I know this seems weird, but trust me, there's a reason behind this. You'll find out later I promise” would be enough.

Plotholes don't bother me as much, because I'm easily entertained, and usually are small stupid things that - while they COULD impact the story, usually make it less entertaining - like in movies; "Why doesn't do ?" Becuase then you wouldn't have a movie.

Things that are badly written though - I just stop reading. I have no tolerance for it… Which could be fairly hypocritical on my part….

I dunno… I always assumed if you wanted to tell an ongoing story you would have everything plotted out… I mean, I know I do. I just need to get it all down.

…um, yes… /digression
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
kingofsnake at 2:54PM, Oct. 15, 2006
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i'm with you. When I'm critiquing comics I'm often very forgiving about bad art. I've been there, you draw as best you can and improve over time. But bad writing I'm brutal on. I've written some unintentionally very mean critiques because of bad writing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:15PM
Aussie_kid at 7:07PM, Oct. 20, 2006
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LIZARD_B1TE
Eirikr
I've come up with a rather clever way to deal with plotholes in my comic. Since my coimc is fairly nonsensical as it is(hence the name), I decided that a plothole would be a physical object in the world, like a black hole, that sucks up all logic and cohesion.

Looking back, the first story arc needed that joke in it bigtime. Just stating it now because it might not be in a comic for a looooong time.

I think Golden Gamers beat you to that.

Actually, in my comic, it's a portal that can appear at random times in order to speed along the story (Where'd the clone come from? Plothole. How did Aussie make it into the base? Plot hole)

In any case, he wants to use it, then all the best to him. Makes things a lot easier
Insanity Complex: We may not be insane, but we like to think we are
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
Juliechan at 10:29AM, Nov. 3, 2006
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Sometimes plot holes need to happen and most time ( for me anyway ) when the time comes for that plot hole to be filled in, the characters seem to do it themselves. (not physically, but it's like what writers say: The characters almost come to life and say and do things on their own) Also doodling the characters sometimes helps. even if they're in chibi form or just stick figures, I've filled PLENTY of plotholes that way.
Sometimes I think it's a matter of someone just not wanting to draw something and blaming it on the first thing that comes to mind. (Genra, art, ext) And sometimes people just cannot come up with something so they, I guess, decide to leave it to the readers imagination and hope for the best.( sometimes this works really well)
I know the feeling, when I first started really getting into comics there would be times where I said to myself: I don't want to explain that… and than never did.


But in general, I think it just depends on the comic, the story and the characters.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
Tantz Aerine at 7:31AM, Nov. 4, 2006
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I think a real plothole is when two things happen:

1. you don't know your characters well enough for them to be real to you (the writer)

2. you don't know where the story is going (as in, how it is going to end, one way or the other, and I don't mean just ‘it has a happy/sad ending’, but ‘so and so end up doing such and such in the last chapter’ even if it's a sketchy idea or just a rough plan)

Usually, if only one of the two happens, the audience will buy the story, plothole or not (at least with movies, it happens). Perhaps because such plotholes are like potholes on the road: shallow enough for the car not to hop too much… But if both happens, then there may be some mistrust from the audience or a rejection of the story line. Cos if the ‘pothole’ on the road becomes deep enough to swallow the car, the driver will simply get off the particular road.

…I have run away with myself with the pothole simile, haven't I?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Brinx at 10:59AM, Nov. 4, 2006
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I have a question. What if a plot hole is used just to fix a mistake you've made on your comic or sprite comic?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
Neilsama at 10:02PM, Nov. 4, 2006
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Mazoo
I was looking at some comics the other day, and a commenter asked a question about a certain thing didn't quite add up. The artist then came in with this whole elaborate and complicated reason to why it actually did add up. There was no traces of this reason actually in the comic, but the artist said that was just how the story went.
Thank you for reading my comic.

Mazoo
So here's my question: When there are plotholes in a comic, would you rather them give you a huge, long and complicated, maybe even fantastical reason for it, or just have them say, "well it's a comic. Some things aren't going to be physically possible." (Or just blame on the genre, bad art, etc.)?

Sure, just blaming the genre or that it's a cartoon is taking the easy way out, but coming up with ridiculous answers is just as bad. Poor writing is poor writing, I suppose.
I think you're excluding the middle. There are some alternate ways to get out of plot holes that you're not covering here. For example, there's the alternate physics explanation, which is sort of a mix of the complicated and fantastical explanations, which is to employ an astonishing degree of psychobabble to explain something that wouldn't happen realistically anyway. Sort of a, "It works this way in their universe" explanation.

For more traditional plot holes, let's say you have a character seemingly in two places at once. Instead of offering the reader a complicated explanation, offer NO explanation. And then do a flashback sequence that hooks it all together. Pretend as though you had planned it that way all along.

I do that all the time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:10PM
ozoneocean at 10:46PM, Nov. 4, 2006
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I've got this first sequence in my comic with these 70's era helicopters, and then another chopper from the 80's in the next part, even though the comic's set in the 20's. Now, that's more of an anachronism than a plot hole per-se, but the USE of such machines could be seen to invalidate a lot of the plot that goes on, if you bother to think about it. -which some readers have.

But I don't really care. My comic is all about cool, sexy looking things (as well as some serious messages), so that's why they're there. That said, I will probably redo those pages at some time and turn the copters into something more plausible (in their separate contexts), like boats and tanks.

So that's what you can do. If as a writer you find a problem, or even something you don't like, you can just go back and fix it! I do that with the art on pages all the time, and you wouldn't even know it.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
Mazoo at 7:08AM, Nov. 5, 2006
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Neilsama
Mazoo
Blah blah blah whatever I said.
Thank you for reading my comic.

Haha, this is becoming a game of “guess-who”!

Which is sort of strange because since no one has actually found out who I was talking about before, does this mean plotholes are popping up more in comics than we first thought?

I guess that's plausible since most (note the word most) webcomic artists are amateurs and wouldn't know the finesse of writing or scripting yet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
Tantz Aerine at 7:24AM, Nov. 5, 2006
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Mazoo
Neilsama
Mazoo
Blah blah blah whatever I said.
Thank you for reading my comic.

Haha, this is becoming a game of “guess-who”!

Which is sort of strange because since no one has actually found out who I was talking about before, does this mean plotholes are popping up more in comics than we first thought?

I guess that's plausible since most (note the word most) webcomic artists are amateurs and wouldn't know the finesse of writing or scripting yet.

That or many have the bugging concern that they might not be as good as they would like. Which is a good indication of many people striving for excellence!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
LIZARD_B1TE at 7:31AM, Nov. 5, 2006
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Bah, if that's their concern, they can pace it slowly, and run through new ideas for the future as they post pages that are really just preludes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:36PM

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