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Interesting tips explaining how to build a subplot! Too important not to forget.
There is one element in plotting our story that we sometimes forget or neglect—the subplot.
The subplot is what rounds out a novel or screenplay, informing it with another shade of emotional colour to deliver a satisfying and entertaining experience.
It is the parallel narrative that allows the writer to explore theme, deepen characterisation, add tension or allow some relief. The subplot helps us understand the characters a bit better and gives a better sense of pace.
Love and other pursuits. In a thriller, the love story is often the subplot. Why? It gives breathing space for the action and shows a human side to the hero. In a romance, the subplot is used to explore the hero or heroine’s work, family or social elements. Why? It stops the love story from becoming cloying or overwhelming.
Against the grain. You can use the subplot to contradict the main plot, to show contrast or deliver irony. For example: a megalomaniac architect is building the city’s tallest building, but his relationship with his family is falling to the ground. The subplot shows how flaws affect the most powerful people.
Echo an idea. You can create a subplot that resonates with the themes inherent in the main storyline or creates subtle text. For example: a policewoman is brutally attacked and must find the assailant. In the subplot, she helps out at her daughter’s school to build paper butterflies. The subplot highlights the fragility and resilience of beauty.
Throw in an obstacle. You can use the subplot to complicate the life of your main character. For example: A top chef is preparing to open a new restaurant for a wealthy client. Instead of focusing on this success, he is lumped with a chatty and incompetent assistant. The subplot adds humour and shows the chef that he should lighten up in life.
Close threads. Of course, you can have more than one subplot, but remember a subplot should never overwhelm the main story or confuse the audience or reader. Keep the two plot threads so tightly intertwined that they flow seamlessly and coherently.
A great subplot should help you sustain your plot and illuminate the central characters. It is there to support—and never steal away—from your core story.
Found this list and thought I’d share it with you all 🙂
1. Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words. ~Apocrypha
2. Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style. ~Matthew Arnold
3. To simplify complications is the first essential of success. ~George Earle Buckle
4. When you wish to instruct, be brief. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind. ~Cicero
5. Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; in the very best styles you read page after page without noticing the medium. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
6. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo da Vinci
7. Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction. ~Albert Einstein
8. The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words. ~George Eliot
9. Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish. ~Wilson Follett
10. Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid. ~H.W. Fowler
11. The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you can’t understand them. ~Anatole France
12. The most important lesson in the writing trade is that any manuscript is improved if you cut away the fat. ~Robert Heinlein
13. The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words. ~Hippocrates
14. The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann
15. The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson
16. A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who instead of aiming a single stone at an object takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. ~Samuel Johnson
17. Use familiar words—words that your readers will understand, and not words they will have to look up. No advice is more elementary, and no advice is more difficult to accept. When we feel an impulse to use a marvellously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away. ~James J. Kilpatrick
18. Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. ~Charles Mingus
19. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms. ~George Orwell
20. The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter. ~Blaise Pascal
21. Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood. ~William Penn
22. The shorter and the plainer the better. ~Beatrix Potter
23. One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand. ~Quintilian
24. Men of few words are the best men. ~William Shakespeare
25. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. ~William Strunk and E. B. White
26. The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. ~Robert Stuberg
27. As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. ~Mark Twain
28. Use the smallest word that does the job. ~E.B. White
29. Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. ~William Butler Yeats
30. Writing improves in direct ratio to the things we can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there. ~William Zinsser