Basic definitions first. A sub plot is a plot that runs contiguously with the plot. It is a story within a story.

It cannot over-run your main plot, but it works in conjunction with what is going on. In romance, the main plot is always how the hero and heroine end up in a Happily Ever After. But there can be all kinds of sub plot issues.

A grand example of sub-plotting would be Tolkein (although that's really more epic plotting.) But using it as an example, you had several different factions all struggling with their own issues, that contributed to the greater whole.

So let's go back to the simple story we created yesterday.

We're going to take our poor heroine who doesn't have a belief in the supernatural, and our ghost hero and add in a little twist.

Yesterday all she had to do was admit her love, and he admit his, and they'd get their happy ever after. Not so tonight. That's not good enough.

To our heroine's frustration, not all the things that go bump in the night are the hero. And little does our heroine know... she's reincarnated and was our hero's love of his life, and he was taken captive for his love. She was also, however, married to a brutal man who killed her when he discovered he only owned her body, not her heart. Her aunt lived with them as well.

So let's give these folks some names now. Let's call our Heroine Amy, our Hero Paul, the crazy husband/ghost Edward, and the aunt Eleanor. There's also a whole passel of other souls trapped in here of servants Edward killed for various reasons.

Edward, upon seeing Amy return to this house has decided that she belongs to him. Paul... due to a lack of some disassociative issues... knows he is bound to his ghostly form by some power he cannot see. Nor does he understand.

Eleanor was attempting to do... something... so that the ill-fated lovers could be together way back when. Presently, she is aware of the fact that Edward binds Paul to his ghostly form because of his power over the souls he's held captive. Edward must be defeated, not only so that Paul can have Amy, but so that the souls can find "the light". Eleanor is trying to finegle events in the ghostly realm, to see that this happens.

So the sub plot becomes "Free the souls".

Now Amy and Paul have something affecting their plot, running simultaneously with their plot, that they cannot necessarily control. Yet, they are a part of it.

This is played out by creating a few scenes in the manuscript strictly from Eleanor and/or Edward's point of view, focusing on the plight of the souls. Separate, but equal. Good theme to apply to sub-plotting.

And in the end, as our hero and heroine are deciding they are in love, some battle (and it can be between any of the players/characters) defeats Edward and the souls are released. Both plots are resolved. Eleanor and her flock of souls go to the light. Paul joins Amy in the mortal realm as a modern, alive, man. Edward is chained/confined/dead/in hell wherever you want to put him just so he's not able to interact with the storyline at this point.

Simple Sub Plot.

But OH! How much fun it is to weave something more complex. Which we will talk about tomorrow. And this more complex can also lead into series plotting.



1 Response so far.

  1. Cool. I like how this is getting more complicated. Adding more characters really does add more twists and subplots and depth.

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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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