Question: Having held a plot in my head for a few years now, I have got to the stage where I find myself ripping it to shreds. I'm finding plot holes and bits that don't work - despite everyone telling me they're fine and *do* work.
I was wondering: Could you provide a checklist of everything you need to proficiently answer for a plot to make sense?
That way, I'll know what what works and what doesn't, in addition to finding areas that I haven't thought of.Answer:
I've written a number of articles on this site discussing the elements of plot structure. Here are links to some you might find helpful...
Now, you can find plenty of people who will dictate more precisely what plot elements you "must" include, sometimes depending on your genre, but the danger is that their advice can become formulaic. The nice thing about the Dramatica approach is that is allows for a wide variety of sound structures.
In addition, what you are doing right now - looking for plot holes, tearing the plot apart, and (I assume) looking for whatever doesn't make sense - can be a very constructive process.
Personally, I prefer to separate the critical and creative stages. In other words, first make a list of questions about your plot, including anything missing or that doesn't make sense. Then brainstorm possible answers/solutions. Choose the solutions that work for you. Revise. Then repeat.