I know I said we'd discuss heroines, but... well... that was a month ago. Much to my chagrin, I have been otherwise engaged. Namely in exploring and developing a plot line.

And that is where my brain is tonight.

As I wrapped up the last of a new paranormal romance, (very yummy), it occured to me I was short words. Which put me back into the scope of developing a sub-plot, only I have a resistance right now to extensive sub-plotting.

Don't get me wrong, I love sub-plots. But, I've been engrossed in completing a fantasy series with an epic sub-plot/plot and the last book is killing me. Not the romance part, but here's the part where the series ends. Therefore all the outstanding issues MUST be resolved. And they are so specific, that there's not a lot of room for letting the muse take over and just "going with the flow".

So, confronted with the need for words that didn't exist, I delved back into plotting. Plot-lines are tricky little buggers. You can't just insert things as you feel the need. In this case, I needed four additional scenes, but didn't want to get into anything that left too much hanging. Something mild is what I was after. But how?

Well, I discovered a nifty little trick that I -- the woman who gets out Excel spreadsheets and plots down to minute details -- am fascinated with. :Gasp: A sub-plot does not have to be complex!

It just has to exist.

Which means, when one is short on words, as long as the overall scope is touched on, there doesn't have to be significant name-dropping. Just enough "curiosity".

Which also led to my first attempt at creating a sub-plot that didn't particularly look like a sub-plot. Meaning, its entirely possible to create a sub-plot that no one knows about, adds character to the story, opens the possibility there may be more, but doesn't cement the book into later sequels.

For this week, I'm going to delve into this more. My plans are to cover basic plot approach, simple sub-plot, and complex sub-plot.

Come and join in on the fun! If you have comments or questions, I'd love to hear them.



2 Responses so far.

  1. Adding another character is always a good way to lengthen a story (just as taking out a character is a good way to drop word count if you need to). Each character always has their own agenda (aka, their own story plot line), so they automatically add dimension and depth... and word count.

    I've always wanted to attempt to write a FOIL character... you know those sidekick type people who are the exact opposite of the main character. You create them in order to bring out a certain characteristic in the main character without being obvious about it. Example: If you want to show that your heroine is extra smart without coming right out and saying, "Yo, she's a genius right there," you give her a best friend who's extra air-headed. And that just naturally brings out the smart feature of your main woman. It's something I've always wanted to try in a story, anyway.

    Good luck with your sub-plot planning!

  2. That's such an awesome approach, Linda. I agree with you completely, and now that you've said it, I know I've done that too -- I've just never been aware of deliberately doing it. I did that with Seduction's Stakes. The heroine's best friend is a complete dingy. (And floozy. But, that's irrelevant.)

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