1. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    Subplot starting to dominate the main plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by PeterC, Jan 30, 2012.

    My story's main plot is the reason I wanted to write the story in the first place. That's fine. However, I felt the need to generate a significant subplot as well. My main plot is rather slow moving. It's a bit intellectual and rarefied. It's a bit boring. My thought was to introduce an interesting subplot onto which I could hang some action and yet at the same time have it mesh with the main plot in a useful way.

    I had quite a bit of trouble coming up with a subplot that worked, but I think I've got one now. I've been writing scenes related to it and fitting them into the rest of my story. I like how this is going, more or less, but now I'm worried that my subplot is starting to overpower the main plot. I feel like it's becoming dominate and I'm not happy about that.

    On the other hand in some ways it's nice that my main plot is in the background. The grand themes it addresses seem appropriate as a kind of backdrop to the action of the subplot. At the end of the story the subplot is neatly resolved but the main plot is not. It is left open to invite the reader to reflect on the larger issues I'm trying to address. If it works the story could be good this way, but I am still worried that my main plot is getting eaten up by the subplot and that readers won't understand what the story is really about.

    I don't know if I have a question in all of this or not. Has anyone else had this problem before? What did you do about it, if anything?
     
  2. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Multiple themes is a good thing. It gives the writing additional depth. Just remember to nail home your main theme at or after the climax and you should be fine.
     
  3. MegTheLedge
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    MegTheLedge Member

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    I agree with the above poster. As long as all the proper points still get across, you're okay.
     
  4. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Yes, I have. Recently! I thought of a main plot, and then one of the characters sees a link in the current day's things to something that happened during his first case. I started developing that story and the link too, and I started to like that story almost more. When that happens, I wonder if you should reconsider making your sub plot your main plot and vice versa, or dare I say, dropping the main plot and working the sub plot only?

    I was also working on another idea for a novel, and it wasn't working. I mean, the subplots and characters and each backstory got so confusing, I had a headache from it. However, I picked out the thing that intrigued me the most, dropped everyone and everything else, and worked it into a whole new story! I'm very happy I did that. The other one was just irritating me after only a few days. It was spinning out of control!

    Could you think of a way to make your main plot more interesting to you and the reader? Why does it have to be so slow? Step back and think about that and what you can do to spruce it up and that may make all the difference. I'm thinking though that two competing and intertwining main plots are also interesting. I've seen that done well. I also love interplay between two main characters each with their own plot that somehow come together in unexpected ways. The possibilities here are endless!
     
  5. AMA
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    AMA New Member

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    So often my inner monologue is permanently busted!

    I always think up a main plot line that says all that I want it to say, and then when I start writing, it's like the characters take over, and all of a sudden, I have three extra subplots and side stories and mini dramas and that genius main plot I initially came up with is now morbidly drowning in sub plots... But you know what? Somehow it works! And it makes it even deeper, even closer to life's natural complexes.. I mean, stories that capture my heart are the ones that really dig in to the reality of our lives (even fantasies and fairytales speak of real truths)!

    All that to say, having such a formidable plot may actually work in your favor. It may be more challenging and time-consuming to return to that initial great idea you had, but in my opinion, it's more than worth it.

    "As much as most of the actors were kind of curious to know what their character meant in relation to the script and to the plot, they really were quite happy to be part of the adventure of not knowing." ~~ Radha Mitchell
     

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