Plotting Fiction And Subplots: 3 Tips To Improve Your Novel

Plotting Fiction And Subplots: 3 Tips To Improve Your Novel

Our writers’ group met for the first time in 2017. Our discussion centered on plotting fiction and subplots. My own challenge with subplots is that they multiply like weeds. Before I know it, I’ve got half a dozen story threads which could be subplots, and my main plot’s vanished in the mayhem.

Other writers in the group said they added a subplot because someone said they had to have one.

Plotting fiction: relax and write, allow a subplot to emerge

Here’s some excellent advice if you’re unsure about subplots, from How to Add Meaningful Subplots to Your Novel:

But the best purpose for subplots is to enrich, deepen, and help advance the main plot and reveal character motivation. So with every subplot you add in (and often, the more the better), utilizing any number of secondary characters, find a way for this additional storyline to be a complication.

Every character in your novel is on his own journey. He has desires and goals for his life. Think about the goals of your minor characters. How could his or her goals impact on your main characters?

In my first draft, I’ve found it most useful just to write. Subplots will emerge from the secondary characters you most enjoy.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to use subplots to improve your novel.

1. Illuminate your main character with a subplot

In my current novel, a contemporary romance, my heroine’s sworn off men, because of bad experiences she’s had. A subplot: her sister’s husband has moved in with his mistress.

Since my main character’s oblivious to her own contributions to her relationship problems, her interference in her sister’s separation helps her to understand herself. She thinks she knows exactly what her sister should do, but her interference turns out badly.

To create a useful subplot, tie the subplot to your main character’s arc.

2. Action: force your characters to move out of their comfort zone and act

Be wary of a subplot that could be resolved with a bit of communication between characters. Have your characters do things, which affect your main characters, and cause conflict.

In your reading, look at subplots. Effective subplots not only reveal something about your main characters, but they also involve action.

In my own novel, my main character interferes, and tries to help, but she makes things worse, and this contributes to the Dark Point (the “all is lost” phase of the Hero’s Journey, if you’re using it to plot your novel.)

3. Wind up your subplot before your climax

If you’re writing a series (or think you may want to write a series, using the world of your novel) allow some subplots to be unresolved. You can tie them up in the next novel, or use them as the starting point for your next novel.

Your main subplot however should be resolved before your novel’s climax. You might need to tinker and tweak a little to get this to work out. Don’t let the subplot linger on. Resolving your main subplot after the climax is usually a mistake; it weakens your novel.

When you’re plotting fiction your subplots keep readers reading

Some genres demand subplots. In mysteries for example, the main plot is your sleuth’s sleuthing. A conventional subplot concerns your sleuth’s home life, or lack of one.

With every word you write, your primary goal is to keep your readers reading. Subplots can ensure that they do.

The Eardleys Of Gostwicke Hall
The Lady And The Rake: A Scandalous Arrangement

The Lady And The Rake: A Scandalous Arrangement

eBook: $4.99

Melisande Eardley has a temper, and that temper gets the better of her.

More info →
The Lady And The Duke: A Dangerous Season

The Lady And The Duke: A Dangerous Season

eBook: $4.99

Her sister Catherine believes that Elaine's hair tells you everything that you need to know about her. It's flame-red. When Sir Oliver Destry trifles with Elaine, she decides on revenge. Elaine soon discovers the truth of the old saying that if you want to make the gods laugh, just tell them your plans.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
The Lady And The Man Of Fortune: A Wicked Secret

The Lady And The Man Of Fortune: A Wicked Secret

eBook: $4.99

Although he's a prize on the Marriage Mart, wealthy and twice-widowed Lord Delmere thinks that nothing could ever tempt him to marry again. Until he meets the lovely Lady Kingston.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
The Lady And The Military Man: Conquer My Heart

The Lady And The Military Man: Conquer My Heart

eBook: $4.99

What happens when two people who won't consider marriage can't live without each other?

More info →
The Lady And The Adventurer: Win My Heart

The Lady And The Adventurer: Win My Heart

eBook: $4.99

Henry (Henrietta) Eardley makes a huge mistake. Then she makes it worse. She's never known a man like Lord Devernwood, and he's never met a woman like her.

More info →
The Lady And The Devil: If You Knew Me

The Lady And The Devil: If You Knew Me

eBook: $4.99

When Cerise and her sister are in danger, she relies on herself. There's no one else. Then she meets Lord Grayhurst.

 

 

More info →
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Lady Julia’s Destiny: A Love To Treasure

Lady Julia’s Destiny: A Love To Treasure

eBook: $4.99

Julia doesn't know whether to be amused or angry when Lord Lyneham decides to find her a husband. He and Julia's cousin take charge of Julia's fortunes. Suddenly, Julia's an heiress and her life changes.

More info →
His One True Passion: Everlasting Regency Romance Series

His One True Passion: Everlasting Regency Romance Series

eBook: $3.99

The relationship between scandalous Lady Hedworth and Major Lord Cambwell has teased and annoyed the gossiping mamas of the ton for years.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
247Shares

Leave a Comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.