LTUE 2018 Subplots

Published: February 2018

Random House - for YA.

Purpose of Good Subplots

Varies book to book and author to author.
SW Rebellion blows up the death star.

Subplot != character arc or main plot.

Adds a small amount of screen time or is very important for a small time.

A good book has a lot of progression.

The character arc might be going backwards but we can get sense of progression when subplots are resolved.

Subplot can identify motivation or explore world, or develop character arc. Always have three reasons to write a scene. If less than that it’s not accomplishing what it should be.

Favorite subplots are the romance thread of the story.

Family ties between Luke, Leia, and Vader.

Subplot != B-Story

Character driven subplots.

Subplots are the adjectives of the sentence of the story. Subplots can help a lot with pacing. They can suppor the emotional core. What does the story need that is not immeidately address in the main plot.

Factors for adding subplots

Relatinoship subplots are always great.
You learn more about characters when you allow them to be in a vulnerable place.

Crucible a closed environment. A relationship that is very difficult to excape. Family, Romance, Proximity.

What is the controlling emotions that your reader is paying for. What is the promise that you made to them. Make sure that the subplot fulfills that promise.

Subplots that add wonder.

Story that transports them to another time and place. World building subplots.

Anything that pulls them into the world instead of out of it.

Brandon Sanderson Method
When building a story don’t think in terms of subplots. Work backwards. Here is one of my goals for the book. Main character does this.

Something is unknown.

Write the outline and there will be subplots built into it. Build backwards from the goal.

Here is subplot, bullet points, ending.

Good subplot can expand the genre. You can pull romance in with subplots.

A lot of subplots humanize main characters.

Wonder Woman - Subplots maker her sympathetic. Romantic and Fish out of water subplots.

Learn to understand humaninty, fall in love, learn your place in all of this.

Character change stories (Adult). Not self-discovery stories (YA).

Main plot is what. Subplot is why.

Expand or Contract

Expand your scope of the story.

Add a subplot what is the main progress method of you story. How can you interfeer with that. Short subplot to interrupt the main plot but needs to keep the progress.

Can you dig into the why a little bit more and add a passion to them. Is what they want in the begining what they actually want. Has to be abandoned for something greater.

Make the characterization deeper. Use this to fuel subplots.

Character has overall goal but also has a B line - character deficits that they are trying to overcome.

Goal is plot. Flaws are subplot. Character can do anything as long as they are properly motivated.

Know Character arcs. These can be explored in the subplots.

If you’re underwriting as questions.
How do I make this mroe exciting
Is my villian doing enough
Is there point of view that could make things better.
Is there another genere I want to bring into it.
What secrets do the characters have and how can I torture them with it.

Subplots can really flesh out the villian.

Create story arc for every single charcter. Look for opportunties to have internal dialogue. These are good subplots.

Internal dialogue is central to best sellers. They create deeper characters.

Cross series subplots

YA - Cinder methodology - Interesting character in the main story. Then next book is a story about another character that has a minor plot in the first book.

Hang a lanter on it. Make sure the story reminds people of the subplot but they can’t get to it now.

Prommises, Progress, and Payoff.

Have to give enough pay off to keep things going.

Star Wars series has to have a certain amount of payoff.
1) Han redemption but showdown with Vader postponed.

In book one the character becomes enough to overceom some of the goals. Book two the spritiual journey. 3rd book they’ve mostly become the person that they need to bo. Then it’s about overcoming the external conflict.

1) Find out what they need to be
2) Become who they need to be
3) Overcome what they need to overcome

Danger - Readers hate it but writer thinks it’s great. Extended subplot that didn’t have a good foundation. Don’t draw them away from the main story. Setup the subplot so that it’s vital.

Bring what you love to the world. That may influence the subplots that you add. Politics, Sports, Psychology, etc.

If Subplot is too big ask if it should be the main plot.