For example, if something is established early on in a story but is contradicted by something else later on, almost as if the detail was forgotten.

  • 1
    If I'm thinking of a "literary term" (e.g. that a literary critique might use), I'd suggest the most obvious answer is "inconsistency". If I'm thinking of the term writers and editors use (i.e. in terms of the craft of writing), then the accepted answer "plot hole" is probably more common. Sep 21, 2019 at 1:13
  • There's "even Homer nods," but that might be a little obscure.
    – user888379
    Sep 22, 2019 at 0:56

2 Answers 2


The term "plot hole" is an example of that, but more details are required to know if that's what you mean.

In fiction, a plot hole, plothole or plot error is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story's plot.1

  • 2
    It was not actually, but clicking on that lead me to what I was actually looking for: discontinuity/continuity. Which is more or less the same thing haha! Either way, your answer led me to the actual answer I was looking for so thanks a lot! Sep 20, 2019 at 19:55
  • @IanLundberg accepting this answer as "correct" but commenting that it isn't, makes no sense and undermines the integrity of our site. Having said that, I think Nancy's answer is a good one. Perhaps you might consider deleting your comment? Sep 21, 2019 at 1:07

If a character puts something down on a table in one scene, but picks it up again from a counter in another scene, that's a continuity error.

From Wikipedia:

In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time. It is relevant to several media.

Continuity is particularly a concern in the production of film and television due to the difficulty of rectifying an error in continuity after shooting has wrapped up. It also applies to other art forms, including novels, comics, and video games, though usually on a smaller scale. It also applies to fiction used by persons, corporations, and governments in the public eye. … 

Most continuity errors are subtle and minor, such as changes in the level of drink in a character's glass or the length of a cigarette, and can be permitted with relative indifference even to the final cut. Others can be more noticeable, such as sudden drastic changes in appearance of a character. Such errors in continuity can ruin the illusion of realism and affect suspension of disbelief. … 

The article goes on to list several specific types of continuity errors, such as visual errors, plot errors, Homeric nods, and aging discrepancies. With respect to this question specifically, it seems what you're looking for is a plot error.

Sometimes, continuity errors can be introduced deliberately, such as when a character in a piece of fiction is meant to notice something that's out of place.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.