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Post Reply Subplots. How do I create one?
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Posted 10/22/16
So I realize that I need to make subplots for my novels but I don't know where to start. How does one create a subplot in the first place? I am confused and stupid. So bear with me.


Enjoy!!!
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Posted 10/22/16
You're not stupid.

But I think you're coming at this from the wrong angle.

You don't just create a subplot and glue it onto the plot. Subplots are, basically, what the supporting characters are doing when the main character isn't around. Or, for example, the main character is doing main-character stuff, but they also have schoolwork to do, or a friend who's suspicious of their secret identity.

But... you shouldn't worry about that yet. Unless it comes up pretty organically, just focus on finishing your thing with what you have, then expand it.
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Posted 10/22/16

LavenderMintRose wrote:

You're not stupid.

But I think you're coming at this from the wrong angle.

You don't just create a subplot and glue it onto the plot. Subplots are, basically, what the supporting characters are doing when the main character isn't around. Or, for example, the main character is doing main-character stuff, but they also have schoolwork to do, or a friend who's suspicious of their secret identity.

But... you shouldn't worry about that yet. Unless it comes up pretty organically, just focus on finishing your thing with what you have, then expand it.


Thank you.

So subplots are when you normally want to expand your story?
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Posted 10/22/16
The main point of a subplot, as I understand it, is to create a secondary character arc. This can be for the main character, supporting character, or even for the antagonist. Subplots are great because they offer a good oppurtunity for character development and worldbuilding, and they often provide a nice change of pace that keeps the story from coming off as being too one note. My guide to creating good subplots is this:

1. Think of the character(s) you want the subplot to center around. Think of where they are when starting the subplot, and where you want them to be at the end of the subplot. This development of the character(s) should of course in some way be tie into the theme of the story.

2. Male the subplot matter. This might sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many tumes I have seen characters in a story walk away from the main conflict to go and take care of a subplot that doesn't seem like it should be that important to them. Character motivations are very important to a story, and if they don't have a good reason for going through a smaller story within the story, then nobody will care about it.

3. Never drop a subplot for a long amount of time. If you don't advance your subplot often enough, it will feel clumsy and probably lead to the reader feeling like it doesn't matter at all.

4. Your subplot is, at the end of the day, still a plot. Subplots need an introduction, rising action, middle, climax, falling avtion etc. A subplot is a story of it's own, and you should not treat it as anything less.

Let me know if this helps.
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Posted 10/22/16

octorockandroll wrote:

The main point of a subplot, as I understand it, is to create a secondary character arc. This can be for the main character, supporting character, or even for the antagonist. Subplots are great because they offer a good oppurtunity for character development and worldbuilding, and they often provide a nice change of pace that keeps the story from coming off as being too one note. My guide to creating good subplots is this:

1. Think of the character(s) you want the subplot to center around. Think of where they are when starting the subplot, and where you want them to be at the end of the subplot. This development of the character(s) should of course in some way be tie into the theme of the story.

2. Male the subplot matter. This might sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many tumes I have seen characters in a story walk away from the main conflict to go and take care of a subplot that doesn't seem like it should be that important to them. Character motivations are very important to a story, and if they don't have a good reason for going through a smaller story within the story, then nobody will care about it.

3. Never drop a subplot for a long amount of time. If you don't advance your subplot often enough, it will feel clumsy and probably lead to the reader feeling like it doesn't matter at all.

4. Your subplot is, at the end of the day, still a plot. Subplots need an introduction, rising action, middle, climax, falling avtion etc. A subplot is a story of it's own, and you should not treat it as anything less.

Let me know if this helps.


Do you find your subplot before the story or after the story?
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Posted 10/22/16 , edited 10/22/16

qualeshia3 wrote:


octorockandroll wrote:

The main point of a subplot, as I understand it, is to create a secondary character arc. This can be for the main character, supporting character, or even for the antagonist. Subplots are great because they offer a good oppurtunity for character development and worldbuilding, and they often provide a nice change of pace that keeps the story from coming off as being too one note. My guide to creating good subplots is this:

1. Think of the character(s) you want the subplot to center around. Think of where they are when starting the subplot, and where you want them to be at the end of the subplot. This development of the character(s) should of course in some way be tie into the theme of the story.

2. Male the subplot matter. This might sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many tumes I have seen characters in a story walk away from the main conflict to go and take care of a subplot that doesn't seem like it should be that important to them. Character motivations are very important to a story, and if they don't have a good reason for going through a smaller story within the story, then nobody will care about it.

3. Never drop a subplot for a long amount of time. If you don't advance your subplot often enough, it will feel clumsy and probably lead to the reader feeling like it doesn't matter at all.

4. Your subplot is, at the end of the day, still a plot. Subplots need an introduction, rising action, middle, climax, falling avtion etc. A subplot is a story of it's own, and you should not treat it as anything less.

Let me know if this helps.


Do you find your subplot before the story or after the story?


I'm not sure what you mean here. The subplot should run throughout the main story . -.
qwueri 
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Posted 10/22/16

qualeshia3 wrote:

Thank you.

So subplots are when you normally want to expand your story?


In a rough sense, yes. Like LavenderMintRose said, it's bringing the actions and motivations of supporting characters to the attention of the reader. They may affect the MC's arc, other subplots, or just add a bit of extra perspective or tone that the MC was not directly involved in themselves. I'll second that the subplot needs to happen organically. If a supporting character just so happens to go out of their way to do something that winds up saving an MC, it had best be an obvious motivation important to that support character, and not just because the plot demanded it.
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Posted 10/22/16

qwueri wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:

Thank you.

So subplots are when you normally want to expand your story?


In a rough sense, yes. Like LavenderMintRose said, it's bringing the actions and motivations of supporting characters to the attention of the reader. They may affect the MC's arc, other subplots, or just add a bit of extra perspective or tone that the MC was not directly involved in themselves. I'll second that the subplot needs to happen organically. If a supporting character just so happens to go out of their way to do something that winds up saving an MC, it had best be an obvious motivation important to that support character, and not just because the plot demanded it.


How many subplots should a story normally have?
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Posted 10/22/16

octorockandroll wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:


octorockandroll wrote:

The main point of a subplot, as I understand it, is to create a secondary character arc. This can be for the main character, supporting character, or even for the antagonist. Subplots are great because they offer a good oppurtunity for character development and worldbuilding, and they often provide a nice change of pace that keeps the story from coming off as being too one note. My guide to creating good subplots is this:

1. Think of the character(s) you want the subplot to center around. Think of where they are when starting the subplot, and where you want them to be at the end of the subplot. This development of the character(s) should of course in some way be tie into the theme of the story.

2. Male the subplot matter. This might sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn't believe how many tumes I have seen characters in a story walk away from the main conflict to go and take care of a subplot that doesn't seem like it should be that important to them. Character motivations are very important to a story, and if they don't have a good reason for going through a smaller story within the story, then nobody will care about it.

3. Never drop a subplot for a long amount of time. If you don't advance your subplot often enough, it will feel clumsy and probably lead to the reader feeling like it doesn't matter at all.

4. Your subplot is, at the end of the day, still a plot. Subplots need an introduction, rising action, middle, climax, falling avtion etc. A subplot is a story of it's own, and you should not treat it as anything less.

Let me know if this helps.


Do you find your subplot before the story or after the story?


I'm not sure what you mean here. The subplot should run throughout the main story . -.


Like let's say I am making a story outline. Should I make a subplot before I start the story or after it? I get the feeling I should write a subplot before I touch the actual story.
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Posted 10/22/16

qualeshia3 wrote:


qwueri wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:

Thank you.

So subplots are when you normally want to expand your story?


In a rough sense, yes. Like LavenderMintRose said, it's bringing the actions and motivations of supporting characters to the attention of the reader. They may affect the MC's arc, other subplots, or just add a bit of extra perspective or tone that the MC was not directly involved in themselves. I'll second that the subplot needs to happen organically. If a supporting character just so happens to go out of their way to do something that winds up saving an MC, it had best be an obvious motivation important to that support character, and not just because the plot demanded it.


How many subplots should a story normally have?


I'm afraid that entirely depends on how many characters are in the story and how long it is. In one of the stories I want to write, only a few characters have their own subplots, and they're usually resolved, or left unresolved, when they die at various points throughout the story. In another much longer story with a way bigger cast however, I intend to give every primary character (~12) their own subplots that will run until the very end of the series. On the other hand, smaller characters will have shorter subplots that will be resolved more quickly.
qwueri 
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Posted 10/22/16

qualeshia3 wrote:

How many subplots should a story normally have?


The number isn't really important, although it can drastically affect the flow of the story. Depends on how much focus you want on the MC, how much the MC or others has impact on the story, and what value a subplot adds to the story.
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Posted 10/22/16


You should definitely have at least a rough idea of what the subplot will be, yes. Just write it into your notes, while making sure to follow that 4 step guide I gave you, and you can fill in the specifics later. Do that and you should be fine.
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Posted 10/22/16

qwueri wrote:


qualeshia3 wrote:

How many subplots should a story normally have?


The number isn't really important, although it can drastically affect the flow of the story. Depends on how much focus you want on the MC, how much the MC or others has impact on the story, and what value a subplot adds to the story.


Alright.

Can you please if it's not too much to ask give me an example of a subplot being use?
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Posted 10/22/16



Thanks.

Also, is there a way you can properly make an outline for a story?
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Posted 10/22/16

qualeshia3 wrote:




Thanks.

Also, is there a way you can properly make an outline for a story?


My advice to you on this is to start by writing down bios for all your characters beforehand. Afterwards write down a summary of all the major events, and some parts of subplots, that happen throughout the story in chronological order. If you are experoencing trouble with this then I suggest watching this video

https://youtu.be/o0QO7YuKKdI

It will help you understand story structure, and where different events in the story should go. After that, I guess all you can do is go and make your first draft. You can always change it later of course.
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