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2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Friday, 3 January 2014

12 days of writing: a subplot


Subplots that feed the main plot


Sidle up to your main plot sideways by creating a subplot or two around it. If you're starting here, use this story idea: Why did the protagonist fake those maps? Your subplot's still a complete story arc, but featuring a secondary character, and wrapping around the main plot: touching its theme, affecting its outcome, intertwined.

Use these prompts to whisk up a subplot, by writing your answers to each one in turn.

  • Who is the protagonist trying to fool, with the faked maps?
  • What's going on in that person's life?
  • Why do the maps matter to that person?
  • What will happen to them if they fall for the fakes?
  • What will happen if they discover the maps aren't real?
  • How will their falling for the maps, or discovering they're fakes, affect the protagonist?

If you did yesterday's prompt on Themes, flip back through your characters' argument: is there any aspect of that which is relevant to your subplot? Can you draw on those ideas, to act out an idea from your theme through your subplot?

What have you discovered about your main plot and your protagonist through the subplot?

Tomorrow we're writing with... Detail.

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