Subplots

Hello, Write Owls! Welcome to Day 26 of Storytelling 101. Today we’re talking about subplots.

Subplots are miniature plots. They follow the same structure as normal plots. Like your main plot, you will need to resolve your subplot(s) at some point in your story. Unlike your main plot, you don’t have to resolve it at the end of the story. It can resolve sooner than that if you want.

You don’t want to have more than two or three subplots in your story because they can become overwhelming to your reader. Your story doesn’t have to have subplots, either. If you choose to include subplots, they should have some effect on the outcome of the main plot. If you can cut out the subplot and the outcome of the main plot doesn’t change, you’re subplot is unnecessary. You also want to avoid letting your subplot(s) overwhelm your main plot. If this happens, it could be you’re focusing on the wrong plot, or you could be letting your subplot(s) get out of control (Maass).

There are some benefits to including subplots in your story. They can help you develop characters because you’re showing a different side to their personalities. They can add variety to your story as well by bringing in new ideas, and these ideas can help support your theme. Subplots also make your story more realistic because human lives are complicated. We usually have more than one conflict going on at any given time (Moreci).

Here are a few examples of subplots:

Main Plot: Your protagonist has to save the world.

Subplot: While saving the world, the protagonist falls in love.

Main Plot: Your protagonist has to go on a quest.

Subplot: While going on the quest, your protagonist repairs the damaged relationship they have with their brother.

These are the basics of subplots. If you have any questions about this topic, please leave them in the comments; and I’ll try to answer them either as a reply or in my Q&A on Saturday.

Discussion Questions:

Feel free to answer these in the comments if you want to chime in!

1) Do you enjoy reading about subplots? Why or why not?

2) What’s your favorite type of subplot?

Works Cited

Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel. Writer’s Digest Books, 2001.

Moreci, Jenna. “The Benefits of Writing Subplots.” YouTube, uploaded by Writing with Jenna Moreci, 16 September 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHU3E1k0HWQ

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