Relationship between plot and subplot

Subplot - Wikipedia

relationship between plot and subplot

As nouns the difference between subplot and plot is. The basic difference between story and plot was pointed out by Aristotle, of the same importance, there can be a main plot-line and one or more subplot lines. In fiction, a subplot is a secondary strand of the plot that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time.

In other words, before we weave, we must spin our threads. Begin by asking yourself: What do I want to accomplish with this subplot?

Don’t Confuse Your Subplot For Your Parallel Plots

What do I need? What do I want? What would be fun to work with? For most of us, subplots serve to make life difficult for our characters. And since most fiction starts with characters, so will your subplots. And it all happens during tournament week.

relationship between plot and subplot

In fact, the best way to start brainstorming subplots is to brainstorm characters who could populate and propel your plot.

When your threads are at the ready, how to begin the weaving itself? Try these seven techniques that reveal themselves in the fabric of the most memorably woven stories. Be assured—terrific authors have effectively used this technique for certain kinds of subplots from the time Sumerian carvers set down the pictographic exploits of their kings. One of the best examples of this can be found in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Concurrently, the episodes often serve to satirize hypocrisies of the times.

How to Do It: Forget transitions and just start a new section or chapter. Tell your story-within-a-story, and then return to your main narrative.

The Parallel Line You can also write a subplot that never touches the main plot, or that begins separately before they converge. Early in the novel we meet a nameless professional—later known as Jackal—negotiating an assassination.

relationship between plot and subplot

From then on, Forsyth cuts back and forth between the Jackal doing his work and the police inspector Lebel doing his, and the result is electrifying. The two plots converge only at the very end, when Lebel and the Jackal meet. Start your story with your main plot and get going with your chief cast of characters, especially your hero. Then insert the beginning of your second plot.

You can make your parallel plot any size and significance that suits you.

Subplot: 7 Ways to Add Subplots to Your Novel

In the above example, the two plots are very nearly equal—though we know the score by the title, which is not The Day of the Police Inspector. This is especially useful for a protagonist-antagonist story, like many thrillers, mysteries and young adult tales.

If your parallel plot is a minor subplot, simply give it less real estate relative to your main plot. The Swallowtail When you want to create suspense that pays off big, try launching two parallel plots, then weaving them together firmly at a certain point. The difference between parallel construction and swallowtail is that the two paths of the swallowtail always converge and interact with each other for a fairly lengthy part of the story.

The reader naturally wonders what, if anything, this guy and his situation will have to do with that guy and his. Which introduces suspense, just like that. Then they mesh, producing extra reader satisfaction, and both plots gain complexity going forward.

Here, in stripped-down form, is an example of a swallowtail plot: The kids arrive at the park, and the teacher and moms unpack the coolers. A man angrily drives to a bar for a drink. The kids play tag while the hot dogs cook.

The man downs five whiskeys in a row. The man gets into his pickup truck. The kids start in on the potato chips and hot dogs. Is your pulse quickening just a little? Going forward, we know that the drunk driver and the picnic will soon converge.

Alternating between two or more parallel plots though more than three risks confusing the reader makes your separate characters and their stories converge on a joint point, that is, a piece of business they have in common. In the previous example, the joint point is literally a place.

But you could also choose a person as a joint point, or a family, or an event, such as a political rally or a natural disaster—you get the idea. Both of those moments, separated by others, are parts of the Boo Radley subplot and serve to humanize Boo before we with Scout meet him. Let your subplots shuttle in and out as needed. For example, you can bring a mentor into the first or second chapter, have him dispense some advice, then send him off on a journey that may have nothing to do with your story.

Family saga - Plot deals with a mother-daughter relationship and the struggles they have to resolve their problems. Sub-plot would be the daughter's husband's business is going under adding stress to her life and their relationship.

relationship between plot and subplot

Romance - Plot deals with hero and heroine falling in love as they meet conflicts and issues that keep them from admitting the love they feel or that keep them from accepting the love that's within reach. Suspense - Plot deal with a detective who is struggling to solve a crime that keeps alluding him. The bad guy is getting more dangerous and pressure is on the detective. Subplot - The detective's wife is tired of his long hours and dangerous job.

What is the difference between subplot and main plot? | Socratic

She wants out of the marriage. Subplots helps a book's pacing by adding deeper conflicts, but too many subplots can complicate a story unless the book is the length that can handle them.

How to Find Subplot Ideas for Your Novel

Shorter novels of from 50, to 65, word count can handle one subplot well. Stories of 80, word count is open to perhaps two subplots.