24 June 2015


So by now I'm sure I've talked about having to rewrite the last third of my book about a million times. But it is my main focus (except when I'm distracted by shiny sequel ideas) so what else should I talk about, right? But the whole rewriting thing isn't just about the main plot. There are some changes happening there but it basically follows the same path. I do have to rewrite pretty much everything, but there aren't a lot of major changes. Where the bigger changes are happening is in the subplots.

Subplots can be tricky. They have to make sense within a story. You'll probably have to ask yourself if the subplot you're imagining is really necessary. If it feels forced, then it may not work. It should compliment the main plot in some way, or at least make sense for the characters involved. And obviously, you don't want it to be boring. You don't want the reader to be bored while reading the subplots and just flying through the pages to get back to the main plot.

I have two subplots in Uneven Lines (because I'm a crazy person who didn't think the main plot was complicated enough, apparently). I think they work because they focus on the main character's relationships with the people he interacts with every day. So there's a subplot regarding Jordan's mother and another that involves his friends. I think you can have characters popping up now and then without having their moments evolve into an actual subplot, but in these two cases I feel enough happens that they can be called subplots.

But like I said at the beginning, I am rewriting these subplots as part of my overhaul of the end of the book. I felt like they were weak in the previous drafts and that I was forcing certain moments to where it didn't really make much sense. So I'm trying to figure that out. It's tricky trying to figure out how to make every single moment not only believable, but also relevant to the story. I've mostly figured out the mom subplot, although I do feel it ends a bit early. The friend subplot is proving more difficult. I think it's because it's becoming a lot more elaborate than I initially intended, but I think that's a good thing because it reflects the main plot more. Jordan is the type of character who always has some kind of scheme going on, or in this case, two at once. It's just tricky trying to map out that scheme so that it makes sense.

But here I go rambling again. How do you guys work subplots into your stories?


  1. The important thing to remember with subplots is that it all has to tie together somehow.

    Good luck with your subplots!

  2. I don't often do subplots. I'm a pretty linear writer. It all depends on how the story comes to me, I guess. I just write what the characters tell me.

  3. My mum always told me that a subplot (she didn't call it that - can't remember what she did call it though!) was really important to a story - the example she used was Quidditch in HP. I've never forgotten that advice, and I remember it every time I write. I like to think I include subplots in my writing, but it is difficult to tie everything together at the end. Apparently when you outline (if you outline/plan a novel in advance) using a different colour for each plot strand helps, so you can see how much of your subplot is peppered throughout the novel, and if you need to change it :)

  4. Oh I am so not the person to ask about subplots. I'm not very good at them! Not sure if I can't focus on more than one thing at a time, or if I over-complicate things (ok, that, I definitely do) or what, but I rarely have a subplot that works well without extensive edits. Sigh. Good luck on yours!

  5. I'm sitting here trying to remember if there are any subplots in my novels. Probably means there aren't.

    But I love Rachel's plot strand idea. I want to do that!

  6. Hey Sarah! This is a great topic, and one I'm struggling with myself at the moment as I write the sequel of a series I'm working on. I love not knowing every detail of the story, and discovering the challenges along with my characters (it's what keeps me writing). But it's equally challenging because I have to really rely on continuous creativity to carry me through those milestones. Mostly, I just wait for inspiration to come, and for the answers/solutions to the stickier questions to reveal themselves. It does take a lot longer to finish the draft, but for now, it's working for me. :)

  7. In my first book, the subplot came rather naturally. I've always written my stuff with a hint of nastiness bubbling under the surface, and it was relatively easy to let it boil over, so to speak. The 2nd one really didn't have a subplot as the various tangents directly revolved around the main plot. My 3rd, which is in its 3rd stage of readiness (needs a copy editor to shred it so that I can rebuild) has a couple, both of which came rather easily as well.

    Father Nature's Corner

  8. I've never really thought of Subplots as something separate from my story. I just knew this character had to deal with this, and this other character had to deal with this, and it's all related to this big thing over here. Are those subplots? I guess I would say I don't deal with subplots, they just deal with me. :)