Dingman's Ferry - Upper Delaware River,
oil on canvas, 1886.
Warning: I'm about to mix implied metaphors like a kid mixes paints.
Most readers of fiction are willing passengers. They pay the toll.
They trust us to scull them safely to the other side.
To paraphrase something Angie quoted over on Charles' blog: readers trust you to suspend their disbelief, not hang it by the neck until it's dead.
And most writers strive to avoid dumping their human cargo over the side at midstream.
(Of course, there are always some - usually other writers - who insist on standing up in the boat.)
But River Jordan is deep and wide.
And most boats leak.
Narrative logic holes are easy to miss in spite of careful caulking, because they are often very small.
One may set a scene that demands silence and stealth - and then have a character burble outloud at length.
One may have a character lean back in a chair, and then - by means of preternaturally long arms - manage to adjust their pant legs at the ankle.
Such slow leaks don't usually swamp a boat, but constant wet feet can certainly irritate your passengers - even those who are willing to bail for you in the interest of reaching the other side.
Enough bilge water can make travellers decide to leap overboard. And take another ferry the next time.
Groaner Q & A:
This one's for the Church Lady.
Q: What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?