Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plotting the Subplot

. Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Right, so subplot is the minor plot of a story, but it is no less significant than your main plot. Subplot provides you the opportunity to enhance your main plot, your characters, and your worldbuilding so that you can create a story full of details that draw your reader into your world and attach them to your characters. In short, subplot takes a story from two-dimensional to three-dimensional.

Subplot can also be used to tie a series together, foreshadowing your next novel or novels, hooking your readers so that they want to know what happens with your subplot and to your secondary characters.

Be sure that your subplot compliments / mirrors your main plot. The structure of your story should look something like this (in priority, time given in your story):

1. Characters (big)

2. Main Plot (medium)

3. World (medium)

4. Sub Plot (small)

Just one pitfall to avoid with subplots: make sure you correctly balance your plot and subplot. Too little subplot and you’re losing out on the all the aforementioned goodies. Too much subplot and you have two main plots, which takes your readers away from your main plot, characters, and world too often, distracting your readers and leaving them struggling to connect.

Peak your readers’ interest with subplot; don’t overwhelm and irritate them, focusing too much attention on other characters or storylines, while neglecting your main characters, disallowing the reader from fully experiencing the main characters’ journey (character arc).

I guess what I’m saying is don’t forget the “sub” in subplot. Use it as a tool to develop your story; don’t let it become your story. Your characters, your plot, your world, and your readers will thank you.


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