Today let’s talk about writing. Specifically, plots. I always find plots to be one of the hardest parts of writing. They have to be well-thought out, gripping, have no plot holes, and actually make sense. I also find that if my plot matches all of this, it’s still not very interesting. Why? Because it doesn’t have any added conflict- something under (or above) the surface that has an entire plot of its own- a sub-plot.
Sometimes there will be one big plot and a few small other problems going on at once. Sometimes they could be equally shared in the story. That’s basically what a sub-plot is- another plot happening at once. Take the Doctor Who episode “Cold War”, as an example.
The main problem- the plot you start out with- is that the submarine is sinking, only working on battery power, and running out of oxygen. The sub-plot (although it could be vice-versa, as they are equally shared) is that the crew, the Doctor, and Clara have accidentally angered an Ice Warrior from Mars who just woke up from a five thousand year long nap and wants to start a war.
Obviously, it all works out fine in the end, but it just goes to show that there will be multiple plots in almost every story you read or see.
In YA, for example, I’ve noticed one sub-plot (or vice-versa) used a lot- love. Fangirl? plot: navigating college without sister. sub-plot: falling in love. The Fault in our Stars? plot: falling in love. sub-plot: cancer. Magonia? plot: she is actually a bird-person. sub-plot: falling in love.
I think you get the picture. I mean, those are all absolutely brilliant books and I love them, but romance is one of the HUGEST SUB-PLOTS EVER IN YA FICTION.
That turned into a bit of a rant. Oopsies. Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is: a) make sure you have some sort of sub-plot b) avoid the “falling in love” one and c) don’t anger Martian Ice Warriors who just woke up from a very very long nap.
(oh, come on, you knew I’d have to end with Ten)