Scenes: Subplots, #Preptober Day 23

Yesterday we talked about our main plot. Today it’s time to talk about subplots.

First of all, what’s a subplot? The most basic definition is a “subordinate or secondary plot.” But why do you want or need these, and what is the purpose of subplots?

Subplots typically deal with additional elements in your story, such as a romance or conflict between two characters. These are usually diversions or tangents from the main action, but they may either help with character development or add plot elements – or both!

Subplots can also be useful for adding in a bit of backstory. Perhaps a long-lost friend or family member reappears, or an old love returns to the main character’s life. These events can prompt memories to resurface, or even create new conflicts if old issues have never been resolved between the two characters.

Subplots typically tie into the main plot, so some good subplots for a ninja story would be anything involving the history of the ninja as fighters, of the specific clan that Ara’s family belongs to, past conflicts (and accompanying enemies) that may resurface, or even the romance between Ara’s parents (who are both ninja). Ara may have to work to piece some of these things together, to get a better understanding of her current problem, and not knowing a lot of this information can be a conflict unto itself (why did her parents keep it from her, for instance).

Subplots can be a little tricky to try to plan out in advance, so you may want to save this until exercise you’ve actually begun writing your story and come back to it later on. In the writing method I typically use, you can actually write the entire story’s main plot first, then go back and add scenes to create different subplots once you’ve gone all the way through with the main plot. This allows you to create more useful subplots and related scenes, based on new information and ideas that occur to you as you’re writing out the main story.

To learn more about subplots, check out these sites:

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Want to prep with me?

Share one of YOUR subplots in the comments, or post it on your blog, and be sure to use the hashtag #Preptober on social media so we can find each other.

Don’t forget to grab a free copy of my Preptober Prompts Printable, which you can print out for personal use.

See you tomorrow with a new prompt!