Are Subplots Necessary?

I automatically include sub-plots when writing and inevitably, they are romance sub-plots. Is this just me or does anyone else find themselves doing this?

Into Another World

A subplot is a mini-story woven into your main story. It could involve your main character having two things going on at the same time (such as finding love while solving a mystery) or it can involve secondary characters having their own issues.

Now you don’t absolutely need to include a subplot into your story but there are many good reasons to include one.

  • It adds depth to your story.
  • If the subplot involves secondary characters, it can make them more rounded and complete.
  • It can help build tension. (You can leave your main story line hanging and switch to the subplot to keep your reader wondering what happens.)
  • Subplots can pile on problems for the main character or perhaps distract them from their course.
  • It can reveal information to your main character or to your reader
  • It can set up characters for multi-book series

Incorporating Subplot

Now your subplot…

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015: Day 5 & 6

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Word counts first.

Day 5: 3,358 words

Day 6: 6,643 words

As you might have guessed from my day 5 word count, very little got written, about a sentence or two so I didn’t post yesterday. Instead I focused on trying to catch up a bit and ended up discovering a lot about my story, including the nature of the organisation which owns the dragon archipelago. It actually also helped figure out one or two details from earlier in the story that I thought I would need to rewrite in its entirety.

I also had two characters admit they really liked each other. Something I did not expect considering a very lightly planned romance sub plot was going to be for emergency word count only. I do not think I am at that point but either way, it’s happened and not anywhere near what had been planned.

See, this is why I don’t plan stories too much. My characters like running off with their own ideas and I kind of just have to follow to keep up. As long as the main points and main events happen, that’s okay, right?

Know when you have those moments when things just click into place, either for the story, character(s) or both? Yesterday was one of those and it definitely helps as it leads into stuff that potentially could just write itself. Surely a good thing right when I am fairly behind at the moment!

Camp NaNoWriMo Days 12, 13 & 14

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Okay, I know I haven’t posted for a couple of days but I have been busy with madly trying to catch up my word count (still about a day and bit behind!) and I have had a couple of discoveries along the way. So before I begin, here are my word counts:

Day 12: 17,793 words

Day 13: 19,547 words

Day 14: 21,045 words

So my word counts are going up, just not hitting the daily wc’s. I think that is partly down to the section I have been writing, which has been difficult to figure out (what with the change of location as discussed in my previous post about NaNo) and just generally struggling to write much.

I have also discovered a surprising fact about a minor character, a rather shocking and vicious streak in one of my main characters and am having to fight the urge to go along with a mini sub-plot with my two detective characters.

The surprising fact was revealed during the comedy moment I discussed in the earlier NaNo post. During the infiltration mission with one of my main characters and the two minor ones who are helping him, he and a minor character, who I had always taken for straight, were forced to kiss. The minor character, indirectly, then revealed that he is quite possibly bi and have a crush on the main character he is with! I had never anticipated exploring sexuality in any way in this novel but actually this is an interesting development. It is a possible source for a flash or short story plot.

The shocking and vicious fact comes from my other main character who is incarcerated. She’s revealed that she has the blood of her uncle on her hands after she killed him in revenge of him killing her parents then abusing and putting her on the criminal road she ended up following which led to her current predicament. She was quite graphic with it and it has shocked and reminded me just how dark my brain can be when it comes with ideas, etc. for stories.

I have just started writing the trial and that led to the sub-plot issue. The trial is being manipulated by the incarcerated main characters old gang to try to get revenge on her and the detectives, who are watching, have already got deeply suspicious so one of the detectives has left the public gallery to begin investigating whilst the other is still watching it and is amused, despite her suspicions, by the fact that she seems to be rooting for the very thief she has chased and has finally caught!

If I get stuck, I might follow that sub plot up a bit. Can’t hurt my word count too much can it?

Now, I should get down to writing and catching up my word count and figuring out how, why and what I am going to do about the fact that my academic transcript has arrived and has the wrong birth date on it!