Writing Subplots | Understanding and Using Subplots in your Novel


hi everyone and welcome back to my
channel my name is Kim chance and I am the author of the upcoming YA
contemporary fantasy novel keeper today we’re talking all about subplots what
they are why they’re important and how you can use and write them in your novel
are you ready to get started let’s dive in so first things first what is a
subplot a subplot is a secondary storyline that runs parallel to the main
plot or the main storyline of your book for example in Cassandra Clare’s City of
Bones the main plot of the story is Clary Fray going on this massive hunt to
find her mother and find out the truth of who she really is but there is a
subplot well there are several subplots in that book but the one that I am
thinking of it revolves around her and the character of Jace Wayland there is
some romantic tension between them and a relationship that builds between the two
of them and so that romantic tension that potential relationship thing that
they got going on that is what we would call a romantic subplot it involves our
main character it’s connected to the main plot and it runs kind of in the
undercurrent or parallel to the overall story of the book so the next question
is is why are subplots so important when used correctly subplots can make a book
more complex and more substantial by adding depth and tension to the overall
story they help in terms of developing characters and theme and they can even
assist in reader engagement and pacing think about it like this let’s say you
have a beautiful garden and that garden as a whole represents your overall main
plotline but within that garden you have several different types of flowers now
if you remove one or two of those flowers you’re still going to have a
garden and it’s still going to be beautiful but it’s having all of those
flowers together working together to create the beautiful garden that gives
it its complexity that gives it that loveliness that’s what a subplot does
they’re not entirely necessary but when used correctly when they’re connected to
the overall main plotline they add depth and substance and loveliness to your
story removing a single flower won’t exactly affect the garden nor will
removing a subplot or two but by having that flower
by having that subplot it makes the garden and your novel far more beautiful
now I know some of you are sitting out there thinking okay Kim I’m on board
I get it I want to write a subplot into my novel how do I do that well it’s
actually pretty easy the very first thing that you need to do is figure out
what type or what sort of subplot you’re going to include in your novel and the
best way to figure that out is to take a look at your main character and ask
yourself what is going on in this character’s life aside from the action
of the main plot what other situations and conflicts and potential issues are
going on that the character is dealing with that you could pull from to
really develop you can also take a look at your secondary characters there are
tons of subplots that you can pull from their reactions and actions so you just
have to kind of look at your novel look at your characters and figure out what
threads you can pull to start developing as a subplot
some common types of subplots that you might consider adding to your novel are
romantic subplots developing a relationship between two characters
psychological or physical issues that a character is trying to understand or
deal with or accept it could be something like grief or loss or
insecurity of some kind it could even come from a secondary character like I
said and maybe the main character has a friend who’s always getting into trouble
and that trouble is always spilling over to the main character you have so many
options when it comes to subplot you just have to look at what’s going to
work best within the context of your story so the next step once you’ve
chosen what type of subplot you’re going to include is to treat it just like you
do the main plot of your story you have to develop it you have to plan for it
you have to weave it in the story just like you would anything else you need to
understand where you are at the beginning with that subplot what the
middle is going to look like and what the resolution is at the end now for you
planners that basically means you’ll just need to do a little mini outline
for your subplot and how things are going to play out within the story for
you pantsers it’s a little bit trickier but you need to keep in mind beginning
middle and end or Act 1 act 2 act 3 so you know where you’re
going and what direction you’re going to give that subplot now there are some
things to consider and the golden rule when it comes to using subplots is
making sure that the subplot feels organic to the story
whatever subplot you use you have to make sure that it complements the main
plot and that it also provides contrast without overwhelming that main plot it’s
difficult to do but you don’t want your subplot to become the main focus of your
story to you know grow a life of its own and completely take over and you also
don’t want your main plot to dull in comparison to the flashiness of your
subplot there’s a healthy balance that you have to find and it really comes
down to the formula of complementing the main plot while also providing contrast
without overwhelming everything needs to be woven in and connected in order for
the subplot to feel natural in the context of the story your subplot needs
to have a direct effect on the main character and if it doesn’t then it
probably doesn’t need to be there or it’s probably not being used correctly
your subplots should feel like a natural and organic extension of the main
storyline it’s also important to mention that you can have multiple subplots
running through your novel you just want to make sure that they’re all connected
to the overall plot so how to use and write a subplot really boils down to
this figuring out what type of subplot you want to include developing it just
like you would the main plotline and then making sure it’s connected and
feels natural to the story subplots add depth to your story and can be a great
addition if used correctly so get out of notebook grab your outline figure out a
cool subplot and give it a try alrighty guys that’s all I’ve got for
you today I hope this video was helpful in terms of understanding subplots and
how to use and write them in your novel if you have any questions for me about
them or anything else writing related then you can just leave me a comment
below or you can tweet me at underscore Kim chance also please don’t forget my
debut novel keeper is up for pre-order if you’re interested in grabbing your
copy I will list the links for you below I hope you guys are all having a
fantastic week good luck to everybody doing NaNoWriMo I hope you’re hitting
your word counts and if you aren’t doing NaNoWriMo good luck to you as well I
hope you’re getting some writing done think you guys are the bee’s knees if
you liked the content that you saw today please be sure to give it a thumbs up to
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you haven’t already subscribed please do so on your way out have a great day guys
get some writing done and I will be seeing you soon bye

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