My First Novel Journey

The Art of Subplots

Remember that last post where I mentioned my goal of outlining my whole book by the end of April?

Yeah…that was before I began working on my subplots.

I mean, I’ve had ideas for subplots. You know, characters with back stories, problems, etc. However, I never developed them like I probably should have until now. I’m not giving up on my self-imposed outline deadline (end of April), but I had no idea what I was in for when it came time to developing and weaving subplots.

About two days ago, while working on my chapter outline, I realized how focused the entire story was on my main character. That’s great, except for that my story lacked complexity, and I knew it was time to face the challenge I had been dreading.

On that note, I’m back to postcards and crawling/squat-hoping around my floor like a crazy lady. Yesterday, I outlined the back story, beginning and end for two of my secondary characters, when it hit me that this approach may work best for writing my subplots. I will continue writing back stories, beginnings and ends for all secondary characters first. Then I’ll write down all random scene ideas for all characters on note cards and fit them into that character’s story line and my outline like a puzzle, weaving carefully from there.

Yes, I realize there’s only one more week left of April, and that makes me nervous. Not to mention, there’s a chance John and I could be moving very soon, with little notice. (We are SO hoping this happens, because two years in the basement SUCKS. Did I mention how cold it is, even when it’s beautiful outside? Hellooo utility bills.)

Maybe the moral of this post is that the writing process, and life, are filled with curve balls. I learned how to deal with the last one (learning the best plotting method for myself), and I seem to be learning how to best handle this one faster.

Also, if anyone has any advice on how you handle creating subplots, leave your genius in the comments below, because learning from others is my specialty.


3 thoughts on “The Art of Subplots”

  1. I personally am a huge fan of color-coding. The other thing I recommend is remembering that not all subplots have to be in your novel completely–maybe they start before it does, or end afterwards. People’s lives don’t line up perfectly, after all. I would also recommend not making subplots super complicated — they should overpower or distract (too much) from the main plot. I hope this is helpful 😅

    I am also a fan of the squatting on the floor with endless notecards process, personally. But staying that way is difficult for me because I like storing things digitally too much

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reminding me I don’t have to tie up all loose ends (aka subplots) in the first book! Not sure why I was stressing over that :). Your advice is always helpful! Thank you <3!

      Liked by 1 person

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