02 March 2022

Hijack the Subplot

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

That's an interesting question for me because while UL has a controversial subject matter, when I first started writing it, I didn't really feel conflicted about it. As I started to develop and flesh out the story more, it became more difficult to balance writing this topic while trying to maintain some level of sensitivity. That's probably why I still haven't figured it out! One of the reasons, anyway...

Speaking of UL! No, I'm not actually writing anything. But I am doing some THINKING, which is better than nothing and has really gotten me excited. 

I've been working on figuring out the third act of this book for a while now, and completely reworked it from the previous draft. Only a few scenes were kept and most of what I've written is brand new. That doesn't mean I'm satisfied with it. Is it better than before? Yes. But is it what the story really needs? Probably not. 

One of the things I've worried about is that the third act is weighed down by the subplots. They take up a lot of space, maybe even more than the main plot, which definitely isn't a good thing. I know I need to cut down a lot or the end of this book is just going to drag on forever. 

So I had a random idea that may just speed things up. Basically, I'm going to have my MC reveal something to a subplot character way earlier than he previously did. I have two subplots in this book, and this is the less important one, so speeding things up will definitely help the book overall. I think I can wrap this subplot up earlier, and also this particular idea helped make certain things about these characters more realistic to me. 

I think it might be good to have this subplot not be as complicated as it previously was. The main plot and the other subplot both end on a heavy note, and while this particular subplot always ended with an upbeat tone, it took a long time to get there and things got a bit convoluted along the way. I think this change will make the subplot end more quiet and simple, which could help support the other plots by not getting in the way, and just helping to develop the main character. 

The only downside is that I'll have to rewrite part of Chapter 18, which is my favorite chapter in the whole book. It won't change what happens in the main plot in this chapter, but I have to figure out how this change will affect the mood and tone of the scene so that I can still have it end the same way. It's not that I don't think I can do it, but I just have to take the time to figure it out. 

If I can map out this subplot and make the changes I want, I really think it could work. And if it does work, then maybe, just maybe, the rest of the book will start to fall into place. I can only hope!


  1. Thinking and figuring out things is an important part of writing. That's awesome that you've figured out how to resolve some of your subplots quicker. It'll probably increase the tension in Act III. Good luck with it.

  2. Resolving a subplot earlier sounds like it will work.

  3. That's exciting!!
    Sounds like you've got a great plan!

  4. I had a similar subplot problem in the third act of one of my current WIPs, and I ended up with a solution that sounds a lot like yours. And like you said, I'm not sure it entirely fixed the problem—there's still some finessing to do, I think—but it is better than what I had, so it's a step in the right direction.

    It's great that you're excited about the thinking! Happy thinking!!

  5. Mapping it out will better help you to see the changes you need to make.

  6. Good luck with your revisions! It sounds like you have a solid plan.

  7. The writing process is definitely not linear. Sometimes I do my best brainstorming in the shower or while washing dishes. Or while watching TV, and something I see sparks my imagination.
    You're thinking. Good for you. It is a necessary part of the writing process.

  8. One of my favourite things about writing is the puzzle - not the ones you give the reader but the ones you've described which only you can solve. Sounds like you're doing a great job with it, so good luck with the rest!

  9. Back when I was writing the fan fiction story that got me started on this whole writing business, I hit a point when I realized I had too many subplots that were making the story much too long. So I had to go back and rip some them out, while also shortening some of the others.

    I guess it's always easier to remove subplots than to have to add them to make the story long enough.

  10. I rely heavily on subplots because I write romance, so everyone knows a happily ever after there is coming. But you can drag a plot down with too many subplots. Unless you can weave them into the main story so they can just feel bulky.