It happened yesterday while I was driving to the grocery store. Thinking about the ol’ novel and what was going to happen next, I remembered a minor plot thread from the first book. One that’d slunk into the back of my mind and insidiously kept itself hidden while I’d plunged through to the finish line and onto the next work.
After a few choice expletives that the novel I’d sent out to some readers contained a lapse, a plot hole (if a small one), I started to calm down. None of the readers that’d sent feedback so far had caught it. Maybe I’d make out successfully, a tiny heist of the mind, getting away with that bit of dangling plot. But I would know, and that made all the difference.
There were a number of options. I could go back and edit the original novel, throw an extra chapter or a few pages devoted to wrapping up the missing moment. Or, I could leave it unresolved until the second book, bring it back and reference what happened to this thing that I, and the characters, forgot about. Play with it a little. Maybe it could have ramifications, or set up a plot development moving forward that I hadn’t thought about.
For now, I’ve decided to leave the missing piece, well, uh, missing. I’m dealing with it in the second book, using it as a narrative device to spur some choices that otherwise might have seemed forced, or may not have come up at all. Now I’ve got some new toys, narratively-speaking, to play with.
Lesson being, I suppose, that what, at first glance, looks like a mistake could in fact turn out to be a twist in a new direction. Not something to be corrected, but to be used instead. Enjoyed, even.
The only consequence was, thinking about the possibilities, I totally forgot the milk.