I’m notorious for missing the obvious. I’ll spot subtleties that most people miss, gleaning meaning from what’s not said, but if something is staring me in the face I’ll not take it in.
This peculiar trait has passed over to my writing. I was halfway through writing my recently completed fifth novel when I suddenly noticed a glaring omission. Not so much a plot hole, more something that I should have mentioned, as readers would wonder about it.
Briefly, I’ve written a series of stories about a Cornish detective. In the first novel, my protagonist has been widowed for a year after losing his wife in a freak road accident. In book two, he’s spiralling into depression and suffering from panic attacks; he clings to his work as a way of getting through. Book three sees him recovered, following counselling, and he’s in an online relationship with an attractive witness from the first story. She has returned to her native Wyoming, but by the fourth book their Skype conversations are getting more frisky. My detective’s hormones have reawakened.
In Book 5, she unexpectedly turns up at his house, having decided to move back to Cornwall to escape Trump’s America. Things soon turn sexual between them.
I’d written all of this, showing how my protagonist was coping with inner turmoil while hunting serial killers, smugglers and human traffickers when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned whether he was still wearing his wedding ring. It was only writing a scene where he had to wash his hands clean of a noxious substance, that I remembered the ring.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t worn a wedding ring for 17 years that I forgot it! I went back through my novels and slipped it onto his finger.
Have you ever forgotten to mention an obvious detail?