Comments: 5

I think one of the main problems I see with people starting to write a novel, is that they don't watch for gaps in logic. Somewhere, out of the blue, a gun appears in the final chapter and the bad guy tries to use it to kill the good guy. Or worse, is a good guy who has never held a gun before, wiping out a whole brigade of highly trained infantrymen with a six-shooter, while never being hit once by their sharp-shooting bad guys, then runs 10 miles with a broken leg, to a get-away airplane and flies away, stumbling at the controls because he's never flown a plane before. Now, these things can be done. I’m not saying they can’t, but the writer better make me believe it’s possible by setting up some rational reason that it’s possible somewhere near the beginning of the novel.

In short, make sure everything you write makes sense. Even if the story is a fantasy or science fiction, it has to have some element in logic or you'll lose your reader.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Monday, July 30, 2007

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  1. Absolutely. Nothing drives me more nuts that unrealistic-or unlogical-events that you just KNOW were contrived by the writer to get them from one point to another. It's why revision is SO important, and why it's necessary to get a couple other pair of eyes on your manuscript before you send it to a publisher. Best of luck, Paul.

  2. Absolutely right. In my crit group, I try to find gaps in logic as I critique others' writing. It helps strengthen their stories. I appreicate it when someone finds a gap in my logic.

    By the way, are you related in some way to John and Julie Kilpack in Santequin?

  3. Very true, Paul. It's one of the hardest parts of writing a long piece, at least for me. I won't know how many times I did this till I reread what's written.

  4. Rats, Paul -- you just gave away the plot to my new novel. :)