Have you ever driven down one of those winding backwood roads in a rural area and couldn’t figure out how to get back to the main highway? Well, that is the feeling a reader gets when they read your novel and get lost in a tangling subplot.
Your goal as an author is to create a little depth to your novel, maybe a little suspense, but not take away from your main plot and pull your reader out of the “Fictive Dream” you worked so hard to create in the reader’s mind.
What is a subplot?
***A subplot is a secondary plot strant that is supporting a side story for any story or main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in themeatic signaficance. Subplots often involve supporting characters, those besides the protagonist or antagonist.
***Subplots are distinguished from the main plot by taking up less of hte action, having less significant events occur, with less impact on the book. Novels comment on one thing from multiple perspectives and with side trips her eand there: This means subplots.
In a novel, you can take a side trip to give extensive back story or other reasons. However, the subplot isn’t a side trip, it’s a set of cohesive actions with its own main characters, goals, sebacks and resolutions.
Subplots are a sequence of events that parallels themai plot; it can closely resemble the main plot or it can diverge in significant ways in order to highlight themain plot.
For example from my first novel, A Brownstone in Brooklyn, Jesse Towns and the possible horrific selling of the brownstone without the tenants knowledge was an early subplot. This subplot lasted the first seven chapters, but it impacted the thematic development of the rest of the novel.
The Key for all subplots!
1. They relate to the main plot and inersect with it in some way.
2. Don’t swamp the main plot line with subplots. They must advance the story and show complexities in your characters.
Ideas for Subplots!
1. The main character can have more than one goal, usually relating to the main goal in some way.
2. Romantic subplots are common.
3. Secondary character’s concern and goal. One of the other characters is the hero of his/her own plot/?
As you craft your novel, your objective is to pick and choose when to use subplots to add depth and possible suspense to your book. Subplots are most effective in the middle of a novel as the reader moves toward the climatic ending.
Keep your readers on the main Highway, but don’t be afraid to make a detour to show a little extra scenery, fight some incredible battles and meet some new and interesting characters.
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