1. johnbaxter
    Offline

    johnbaxter New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sub-plot and Pitch

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by johnbaxter, Apr 6, 2012.

    I’m writing a novel that contains many elements. At its core, the story is about a naive, innocent, adolescent girl that evolves into an independent, strong, world-wise woman; as a result of working in a bar, a failed marriage, and a tragic incident that changes her forever. The book contains many characters and sub-plots. My problem, is in writing the pitch.

    I’ve considered eliminating some of the sub-plots and focusing more on her life and transition, but I’m finding that difficult to do and sustain the story for 80,000 plus word count.

    The sub-plots involve her either directly or indirectly, but they are unrelated to the central tragic event that happens at the end of the book.

    Register to remove this ad


    Have you had a similar experience in crafting your novel? Has your story been difficult to describe in a pitch due to sub-plots or diversions from the central theme?
  2. Lou Plot Point Olson
    Offline

    Lou Plot Point Olson New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    A tactic that i use for smaller projects is to actually make a map of the ideas and a flow chart of events so i can cross reference them and spot plot problems before hand. i actually have a notebook full of a flow chart that i did for a epic fantasy story. that was a great waste of time and i would use it no other way.
  3. kingzilla
    Offline

    kingzilla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Canada
    LOL, I know how you feel about doing notes on epics.
    As for the actual question, in my first attempt of writing a book, I tried to write everything at once. I failed miserably. In my first draft of my first book, I've written the central story with practically no sub plots. Now that I have the main story done, I can add in the sub plots the next couple drafts after checking for plot holes and structure errors.
    IMO, I think in a book that is so tied up with its side plots would be hard to write the way I wrote my first draft, simply because the way I read the description of your novel, it sounds like these sub plots really shape your character. If you wrote like I did, you would have to drastically change up your novel whe you add in the sub plots later in the edits. So I guess, that would make my example void.
    In the end, it is up to you to decide how to write your novel.
  4. superpsycho
    Offline

    superpsycho Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Making notes for reference is the only way to go for large pieces of work or you spend all your time trying to figure out where you are and who is who. Writing the basic story first, then going back to give the work more body is the way to go for me also. It's to easy to get side tracked or loose sight of the storyline otherwise. I try to keep subplots to the interaction of the characters as part of the main story so it's never sacrificed for the sake of a subplot.
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40,122
    Likes Received:
    1,456
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not really. It's one way to go, but not everyone works that way.

    Admittedly, I do keep some notes for easy reference, but the overwhelming majority of those is relevant information that never appears explicitly in the book. For example, for one novel I am working on, I have about a page and a half of physical and astronomical "facts" and calculations that define the planetary environment, for consistency's sake. Other than that, it's rare that I have a character or story fact that needs to be jotted down. If it matters, it's in the story text, which I probably don't even need to search because of all the thought and work I've put into it. Nearly all of the remainder is easy enough to search electronically.

    I'm not saying your recommendation is a bad one. But every writer is different. I have a mind that is flypaper for tiny flecks and curls of trivia. Other writers are more comfortable with finely detailed notes. For me, notes would get out of sync with what is actually in manuscript, because I frequently make changes on the fly.
  6. miss sunhine
    Offline

    miss sunhine New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    norwich, UK
    It depends with me. If I'm writing for fun or practise I just let my self go but if it's something I'm taking very seriously then I do a plan. It does cut editing down because there arenot so many loop holes and the characters are fairly development. Character development also helps me open the book as sometimes I find it hard to get the ball rolling. I don't find it hard working from a plan because I plan in a way that if I want to make a sudden change I still can. I usually leave my plot fairly open but do research I need as I like the little details but I go deeper into it for characters as I'm into character driven work.
  7. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    I wish I had made a plan, or a guide, or at least some form of "shooting schedule" so I knew what scenes needed to be finished or fleshed out.

    The problem for me is that I formulated this story in 1979, even started it. So while I now have more time, better tools, more real world experience and desire, the story is still the story.
  8. Dubya
    Offline

    Dubya New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
    It is interesting when reading these posts, how diverse the planning tends to be. Some people work best with very detailed preparation - a bit like an artist painting a large, complicated scene. After forming a picture in their mind, they might do a detailed sketch, perhaps involving measurements to ensure perspective and scale are spot on, and only then will they begin to paint. On the other hand, if I were to compare my own style of writing to another art form, it would probably be topiary!
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel I do not like snoopy reporter Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    3,948
    Likes Received:
    1,352
    Location:
    IoW
    Just don't feel tempted to squeeze the subplots in the pitch. Subplots are a nice surprise for the reader, but the little blurb that will be written on the back of the book (or pitched to the agent) should deal with the main plot and main character. Everyone expects there to be much more to the story than what it says in a quick description.

    I am writing a book with a few subplots. After months of planning and research, I have started, and decided it'll be best to tell the story through 4 or 5 separate storylines, that relate to each other and come together in the end. Obviously, the protagonist and the ally have the most "screen time" while others have less. So I started the book from the beginning, with protagonist's pov, then the ally. The way I am writing it is, I have a separate files for each, and there I write chunks and make sure they flow in good continuity. Then I copy/paste sections into a separate file, that is the way I envisage the final book to look like, mixing pov's the way I would like it read.
  10. johnbaxter
    Offline

    johnbaxter New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've gained much benefit from "Story Engineering" by Larry Brooks. It has helped me immensely.
Similar Threads: Sub-plot Pitch
Forum Title Date
General Writing Sub-plot Apr 7, 2012
General Writing Sub-Plots Mar 21, 2009
General Writing "Test pitching" a draft at a conference Sep 24, 2013
General Writing Script Writing for TV - Write an Entire Season or a Single Episode to Pitch? Jun 16, 2011
General Writing best pitchfest...and it's free! Nov 18, 2007

Share This Page