Posted in Methods, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Plotting Subplots

I’ve made up my mind on what story I’ll be working on for National Novel Writing Month this November. Unlike the other times before, I won’t be starting from scratch. Instead, I’ll be rewriting an entire novel. This novel is currently on Watford and I absolutely don’t like it. It’s terrible and I just made things up as I went and that somehow made a story.

So, since I already have the majority of it already written, I can use that to help me write. I believe I mentioned beforehand how I might have read something where it’s better to rewrite a story as opposed to editing first. I’ve found myself agreeing to this logic. Knowing myself, I know that most of the time I’ll end up rewriting whole sections of the story and calling it editing. To avoid that, I’ll just rewrite from the start then edit.

Now, I know the main plot for my story (the vampire Prince goes to high school). I might change the title later but for now, it’ll stay that way. However, I need to plot out my subplots. I use the same method as I do to figure out how to plot a novel. The first thing I do is to list my supporting characters. Then, I figure out what they want.

For example, one of my characters named  Carlos wants to  let the public know that vampires take advantage of the system because everyone is afraid to speak out and demand  justice. So, what does he do? He technically joins  ” vigilantee” organization that broadcasts messages over vampire wrongdoings, etc.

Knowing all of this, I use the information to feed conflict into the story. My main character, Rin, finds herself in a position where she needs to cooperate with the vampire Prince and this “vigilantee” group doesn’t like that. They believe vampire and humans shouldn’t mix. Run feels pressure from everyone.

That it but one subplot that runs through the story. I have plenty more to work with. The trick is to figure out the purpose your characters have in the story. What do they contribute? This is true to the characters surrounding your main character. Do they want to help or hinder? Are the rivals? What obstacles, if any, do they present? Use character motivation to your advantage. If goals conflict, that makes for perfect conflict.

Personally, I don’t fill out character sheets for anyone. They sort of tend to develop on their own. But this might not be true for everyone. Find out what works for you and stick to it. Out on a word document, on paper, online, whatever works for you. Just have it written down somewhere so you can always go back and refresh your memory.

A good trick I found was to draw a line with plot points that I know will happen in the story. Then, I add more points as my subplot surface. This method gives me something visual to look at and it’s not only in my head. I can easily erase and move around points of I have to.

As always, thanks for reading? For those  participating in NaNoWriMo, how do you prepare? Why are your methods?

Posted in NaNoWriMo, updates, Writing

Consequences and Plot

In my last post, I wrote about consequnces. In this post, I’ll expand on what I mean and what that means going forward with writing the second installment of the Half-Blood series.

I’d like to think that the ending of the first book set up the premise for the second book. Not only did an authority figure die, our heroes were saved – if you consider eternal servitude as saved. Nonetheless, their actions have drastically changed their lives and the lives of many more people. Their actions have consequences and I’m excited to write about those consequences.

Without giving too much away, a successor rises up to uncover the truth of his predecessor’s death and enact revenge if need be. He has a purpose and his investigation interrupts the main character’s lives. Now I have tension and conflict that I can build up through the story. Now, this isn’t the entire plot. This is a subplot that will run through the story.

The true plot of the story is to discover who’s behind a deadly virus infected certain people and finding a cure. For now, that’s what I’m going with. NaNoWriMo will give me the opportunity to play with this idea a bit more. Now, my main characters, Renelle and Alastair have to join forces again but they aren’t on friendly terms.

And all of this comes from all the events of the first book. Renelle saved Alastair and now they both serve the people who wanted to kill Alastair (that’s the shorten version). There’s a lot of bent-up feelings going around.

I plan to start the story by placing the characters in their new words. E.g. Renelle under servitude. The successor looking into his predecessor’s death. The term “domino effect” applies here perfectly. One action leads to an outcome and that to another so it’s all connected. You can’t really pinpoint where it all started. Because of the planning I did beforehand, this is all playing into a larger story arc that spans across the series. This is all leading towards the end.

While I forsee a lot of agony and frustration, I am excited to continue expanding the story and world that I have built.

Posted in Methods, Resources, Writing

The Romantic Subplot

 

I will never be able to write a romance novel. It won’t be for the lack of trying but I don’tthink that I can write it effectively. It involves deep characters, patience, planning, and so much more. I don’t mean to sound lazy but let’s just say that writing a romance novel is not in my near future. In part this has to do with the fact that I don’t think I can pull it off even with tons of revisions.

While I’m not going to write about “how to write a successful subplot”, I will throw my two cents in. In my humble opinion, subplots need to add depth and complexity to a story. They’re like the crew in a play. They work behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly.

Romantic subplots . . . I do tend to have these in my stories. Well, not all of them. Sometimes, the story doesn’t need it so why force it? But when I do, I use the subplot to show more of my character (their reaction, what kind of a person they are); it all has a purpose. Sure, I have some cute interactions between the characters but that cannot distract from the main plot. Sure an antogonist can use a love one to advance the plot but that turns into a cliche (IMHO).

There’s need to be a moderation. I like creating a line table of my main plot and subplots to not only  keep track of them but also to have a plan of action and to see where the main and suplots intercept. Everyone has their own method of keeping track of things and planning out events.

Romance as a subplot all depends on the type of writer you are and the kind of story you’re. I believe it’s all about balance and staying true to the story you want to write.

Posted in Methods, Writing

Plot and Subplot

Just recently, I have started working on my second book in a five part series I plan to write. My beta readers are busy reading through the first book and so it’s a good opportunity to start writing the second. Unlike most people, I don’t exactly outline the entire book. I like to let the story breathe on its own and expand toward places I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. So, I faced a dilemma.

I knew the effects I wanted to write about; the ripples of the events that happened in the first book. I made an entire list of those effects and I thought I was ready. I was on the second notebook page when I realized that I had no idea what this story was going to be about. My list of effects was beside me but it wasn’t a story. There wasn’t anything connecting these points. They were just scenes and without a connector, it wasn’t a story.

I went back to the writing board. What was my story about? I wanted to follow the themes of revenge and family but how could I incorporate this into a story? Somewhere online I read that books in a serious should more or less be a stand alone book. While they might be part of a series, it has to have its own story despite having the same cast. Thinking about my plot made me think about the overall plot of my series. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in the last book but I needed to build up to that point. How could I get to point A to point D?

The answer came to be while I was sitting at work. My effects list was in front of me and I knew that most of them were all character based. One way or another, the characters had to face that effect and deal with it. One point in particular caught my attention. The cult in my book needed more of a presence and it was in that moment that I realized that they could be the center of the story. They were the driving force.

And so, I had my plot.

It doesn’t always work that way but what helped me was that I concentrated on one detail that I could expand and luckily it worked out. This exercise, so to speak, made me realize that subplots can’t drive the story because then, without an overall connection, there is no story. If you ever have trouble coming up with a plot, shot down a few points that must happen in the story and then ask yourself: how does my character (s) get from this moment to that moment? They you fill out the details.

Take from other readings and writings that you might have done over the course of your life. The what-if game is also very helpful because it allows you freedom to think about different scenarios that you wouldn’t necessarily put into writing. Overall, it’s important to remember that each book in a series builds the plot as a whole and each piece must work together to get you to the end. But in the end, take it one chapter at a time.