1. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

    Jan 21, 2018
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    Struggling with First Draft

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ITBA01, Jan 9, 2019.

    I started my first draft in November last year, and I'm probably around halfway done. However, as I've been writing, I've come up with a lot more characters and subplots which I want to include in the book. The problem is, I haven't figured out how a lot of these subplots end, as I originally didn't intend for them to take up so much. I've been struggling with this for days, and I'm barely getting any writing done. I don't know what to do, so if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it.
  2. Kalisto

    Kalisto Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2015
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    My advise is its easier to work off of something then it is to work off of nothing. So, for the first draft, I would suggest not stressing whether everything is wrapped up in a neat little package. In the first draft, just get out all your ideas, regardless of how you think they might pan out. Once that first draft is written, then you can take a look at it and see how possibly you can resolve some of these subplots. Or you might even find that those subplots aren't as interesting on paper as they were in your head. That's okay. Take them and put them in another story later.
    Stormburn, T_L_K, Malisky and 2 others like this.
  3. tapioka

    tapioka Member

    Jul 21, 2018
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    My advice would be the same as Kallisto's. You can always remove things later on. Even if you miss a few subplots/characters during your revision, I wouldn't be too concerned. Some of the alleged Great Novels of our time have hundreds of characters and some just appear and disappear, subplots seemingly start and end for no reason. There's no need for perfection.

    The only thing you should probably watch out for is to not sacrifice your main characters and the overarching plot for the 'lesser' characters and subplots. Who knows, maybe you come up with some character you just find so intruiging that you (subconsciously, of course) devote way more words to that character or his/her plot than to your main characters/the actual plot. And 20,000 words later you realize that your novel's focus shifted completely over that period of time and now you don't know what to do with it anymore :).
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    It might be worth giving your story a read from the beginning and seeing how all these subplots are really fitting in. Then you can either mold them to fit better and decide what sort of place they have in your story. Just make sure you're not derailing too much from the present narrative and main storyline. I don't think you need to figure everything out in your first draft, but sometimes taking a step back and looking at all the pieces can help solve the puzzle. Good luck with it.
  5. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

    Feb 24, 2017
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    Jot them down in outline form and see where all the points align. I wrote all mine out (yes, before I knew how they would end- some are still not finished) and kept updating them as I went. But that helped me to keep everything straight in my head and know where in the main plot I had to insert parts of Sub-Plot A or Sub-Plot B. Examples from my Story Planning Notebook: notebook5 (1).jpg notebook7 (1).jpg notebook8 (1).jpg
  6. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

    Jan 4, 2017
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    San Diego
    I try to weave them back into the story line. For instance if you have a stressful situation for your MC a character from your back story could be used to resolve it.
  7. Malisky

    Malisky Malkatorean Contributor

    Apr 11, 2012
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    I believe that subplots should be chain-linked with the basic plot of the story somehow. For example, in the animated series, Avatar The last Airbender, they had an episode that was divided into four parts. All of them where subplots. Would the story work well without them? Of course it would. So we got some extra content for a whole episode, that served nothing in pushing the story forward and delayed it. Right? Not at all. One part was dedicated to Opa's disappearance. Opa, was the Avatar's (Ang's) flying mule and beloved pet. Ang was really stressed because Opa was stolen, which changed the whole story's course of action, since Ang had to take a detour in order to find him. The most creative part about this subplot is that it's told by the pov of one of the most unlikely characters, of Momo, who's just another pet, a flying lemur or something. Momo, doesn't find Opa in this story, but he finds leads and they blend well in the continuation of the main plot, since in the end, they do find Opa. In another part, they show two main characters, Katara and Tough, bond, thus character and bond building!

    Long story short, every one of these parts (I just didn't like Sokka's story, for it served nothing at all) served something important over all. Either character building, or including leads, or further justifying why some characters were the way they were. They blended well with the main body of the story. They didn't introduce new characters that we would never see again or completely new plots that happened to be situated in the same setting.

    So, my advice would be to first see how your subplots end, because without knowing the end you can't even start writing them and then see how or if they fit in to your main story. If they do, then it should be quite easy to figure out where, since you've already written half a draft. If they don't fit there, then how about they serve as something as the second part of the draft's continuation? Just figure out how they end and everything will take its course from there I think.
    Thundair likes this.
  8. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

    Mar 28, 2017
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    Ann Arbor, MI
    I agree with @Kallisto : get the story that you have down on paper.
    Then you will have something to work off of.
    My WIP is a 5 book fantasy series. I started out with a story, and outlined it over the five books. Then, I outlined the first book, and went from there.
    Once the first draft is done, I plan to do a developmental draft (making the changes that popped up during the writing), and then do a second draft aimed to be actually readable.
    My aim is to have a focus for each draft (story, revisions, prose, etc.) so that I don't get lost, and frustrated rewriting the same thing over and over for very little gain.
    Hang in there, finding ways that work for you is half the writing!
  9. LadyErica

    LadyErica Active Member

    Nov 30, 2018
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    I think most things have been said already. My one and only advice is to focus mainly on the overal plot, and get rid of any characters and subplots that don't drive the plot forward. I don't really care if a book has a single plot or a dozen subplots, but everything has to drive the main plot in some way. That doesn't mean every subplot has to be tied to the main plot at all times, but they should preferably have to spawn from it in som way, and at least be tied to it in the ending.

    Basically, have a reason to include it in the book. If the subplot is completely irrelevant to the main plot, you might want to consider upgrading it to a main plot in the next book, or at least build a main plot in the next book that's more tied to the subplot. Otherwie, it can be too confusing. There's little as annoying as spending a lot of time reading a subplot that goes nowhere, and put the main story on hold for no real reason.
    Stormburn likes this.
  10. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

    Oct 2, 2015
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    Good to see nice penmanship. I work with a pack of 20somethings and every one of them has the handwriting of a first grader.
    Stormsong07 likes this.

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