1. LexStorm

    LexStorm Member

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    How to Create Sub Plots in a Journey type Story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LexStorm, Sep 23, 2018.

    Hi, this is my first time posting on the forums board. I need help.

    I'm in the process of outlining my novel, and have developed the beginning, end goals, and overall end of the story pretty well. However I've come to find my biggest weakness is creating the middle. I know where my characters are journeying to, and I know what's going to happen when they get there, but I don't know what they'll come across on their way.

    So my question is, what should you generally aim for in creating road blocks for your heroes on their journey? All I can think of at the moment is maybe throwing a villain in to track them down, or having them run into a village going through problems and stop to help them. However both of which seem a bit boring and could get repetitive fast. I've been stuck on this for a while. Any tips?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is there a specific reason why you can't just jump to the end of the journey? Do you want the journey for character development, relationship development, seeing the setting, slowly feeding the reader with bits of information about the plot....?
     
  3. LexStorm

    LexStorm Member

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    Honestly, all of the above. My story is going to start off with two characters journeying together because their duties intertwine their fate to basically, and I want to show their relationship growing while adding more characters to the party overtime. And I do want to show off the world more during their journey as it is a fantasy world.
     
  4. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    "Sub plot" is a little story that's not the main plot. Such as a love story between the characters. What you are talking about is more like you're looking for events within the main plot. And that will depend on the plot. People going from point A to point B is not a story. A story will be when they are going too point B in order to maybe find a magic sword, or save the princess from the tower. Then you include stuff that's relevant. If your plot is about finding a magic sword, then usually there is somebody else looking for it, too (because who wouldn't like to have a magic sword!) So, you get a plot where a baddie comes and tries to stop them. Or they have to compete with the baddie and get to the sword first. Maybe they have to find a faster transport. Or a map. Etc. You don't just add stops on their journey for no particular reason. Well, you can, if you are very good, but that requires exceptional skills, like Stephen King level of plotting skills :D But it really depends on the story and the main plot.
     
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  5. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

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    My process for writing adventure stories is to start with the main conflict and follow its lead. By doing this I never force a journey arc when it isn't needed. If my character(s) require a journey to overcome the main conflict, then it's relatively clear what path and obstacles they'll need to conquer to reach the climax—at least it has been in my experience.

    Others may disagree but I would never justify a journey story to show my setting or character development. I would only include it if the main conflict justifies it.
     
  6. Andrew Vord

    Andrew Vord New Member

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    I find that adding a bit of mystery into my journey/adventuring stories works well. My MP (main party) is traveling to investigate rumors of fell things taking root again where they shouldn't. As they travel they run across scenarios where i introduce new characters who bring word of strange happenings in towns and villages in other parts of the land which conforms to the villains MO. Could this be linked or is it just coincidence? Anywhere they venture along their road has some purpose, though what it is may remain largely unknown to the reader for a while.

    I also give the villain a plot line, which has changed him much since I started this tale (natural progression of character as I write. They have a tenancy of growing on their own after all). His plot hints at some things, but leaves others in darkness for the time being.

    My suggestion is to use others in the story (i.e. the villain) to add depth to their trip and the fantasy world you've created.
     
  7. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    That works very well for series of novels. "Wheel of Time" and "The Dark Tower" do it rather well. It does feel a bit like "padding", especially when you have to wait a year or more for the next book in the series to come out, wondering how the main conflict will resolve :D. But if you like the characters a lot, you won't mind being with them for another pointless adventure, right?
     
  8. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    The person the main character was at the start of the novel should not be able to overcome the challenge they face at the novel's end. Either a certain skillset is required, or a certain epiphany is made.

    What skills are they going to need to acquire, what sort of goals need to be achieved before the ending? Think in terms of checkpoints, incidents you can manufacture in which your main characters will learn those valuable lessons that will serve them at the climax. This is something I found particularly useful to do.
     
    DeeDee likes this.

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