1. Playingpandora

    Playingpandora New Member

    Feb 5, 2017
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    Questions about subplots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Playingpandora, Feb 5, 2017.

    So, in my research into writing books and reading books something you notice, hear, or see a lot of is the plot, the monomyth, the climax all of that. What I'm interested today is not in THE plot, but rather how to install and use subplots effectively.
    I'm really a beginner when it comes to subplots in stories really. I actually only really came to the idea because I was playing one of my favorite games, soul nomad and the world eaters, and in the beginning they introduce this character, that character, this idea, that reference, which play out much later in the game. This is what lead me to want to include sub plots in my stories, though they did already exist they weren't as fleshed out and full as I was making the overarching plot of the story and I really couldn't find much on writing subplots. So, I'd like to pose a few questions and ideas and get your responses on them.
    What is a subplot other than a smaller story within a larger narrative?
    How many subplots are too many for say a three hundred page book or even just a two hundred page book?
    Do they follow the same structure of plots, IE can I distill the hero's journey or plot diagram into the subplots?
    If I install a subplot about a side character, how will I be able to make it important enough to draw away from the main story, and take away attention from the MC?
    If I plan to write a sequel, is it okay to leave subplots open ended or will this dissatisfy readers?
    Some stories start after the introduction of the crisis and the struggle, can this be true with subplots?
    When will I know that a subplot is over with and to move on?
    Can a suboplot not involve the MCs, IE, if I want a subplot to revolve around an event that happened well before the time of the MC's birth, but it directly affects the MC's journey?
    jannert likes this.
  2. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    This article from Writers' Digest might help get you started. This quote from the article is about as good an illustration of how subplots work as I've come across:

    "For example, in my novel Damn Straight, I wanted to beset my heroine, Lillian Byrd, with so much trouble she can’t evade all of it. So, aside from the main plot—a mystery she sets out to solve involving a professional golfer—I wove in a friend who urgently needs Lillian’s help; a rival on the golf course who will stop at nothing to win; a coach who wants Lillian to stop playing detective; a rural bumpkin with terrorist tendencies; and a neighborhood cur who threatens Lillian’s pet rabbit. And it all happens during tournament week."

  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 1, 2016
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    East devon/somerset border
    Personally rather than thinking of it as main plot and sub plot 1, 2, 3 etc I tend to think of it as life ... you are showing a window on your MC's life and no real or realistic person has just one thing going on at once.

    I also think this is a weakness in the sort of framing the says step 1 introduction of crisis, step 2 struggle etc , as most people will have multiple crisis and struggles etc going on at different times.
    Rosacrvx and IHaveNoName like this.

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