Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Subplot Blunders to Avoid

Subplots are important in a novel to create a multi-layered effect, but there are certain blunders to avoid when using them. Here’s a look at five common subplot mistakes:

-Weakening of the main story. This happens when subplots are more interesting than the main plot or when they go off into so many directions it’s hard for the reader to follow the main story.

-Competing. Subplots shouldn’t take up the same word count as the main plot, nor should the reader ever be away from the main story for too long.

-Adding word count. A subplot should never be written simply to add words to the story. There should always be a reason for the subplot and it should be tied, in some way, to the main story.

-Rising and falling. The subplot should be considered a mini story and treated as such with a rising and falling sequence which, in the end, shows some sort of growth or change.

-Resolving. With more than one subplot, it’s important not to resolve all of them simultaneously or in the climax of the main story. Resolving one subplot at a time causes a stronger focus on the remaining plots.

Are you guilty of any of these blunders? Which ones?

For the last couple of weeks, I've been gathering information on writers though a questionnaire in hopes of matchmaking some of them so they can form critique groups. Over the next week or so, I'll contact those who have sent in a questionnaire. I believe I have a match for most of you, but not all. I wish I could've helped everyone, but I simply couldn't. If the match wasn't there, I couldn't create one. Of course, I'll always keep those writers in mind when I get queries about critique group. Otherwise, good luck on your search.

Lynnette Labelle


  1. Lynnette - If you have any strays left over, would you accept a late questionnaire?

  2. I read the subplot blunders and in my mind was checking to see if I was guilty of committing any of them. Thank you for making me feel insecure >,<

  3. LD: Unfortunately, everyone has been notified. Look back at my posts on this. The questionnaires I posted on my blog belong to writers who haven't been matched up. You could contact them directly.

    Michael: Glad I could help. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle