Are Subplots Necessary?

Many of us are familiar with having a plot in our novels, but few of us are familiar with adding subplots. Some of us may even wonder if subplots are necessary to have a good novel. What is a subplot? How can they enhance a novel? What are some subplot mistakes to avoid? Learn this and more in the article below.

What is a subplot? The subplot is a secondary plot put in place to strengthen and enhance the plot. You can have more than one subplot in a novel, but you don't want to overwhelm your novel's central plot. Subplots aren't the basis of a story but they should have a direct effect on the plot. A good way to illustrate this is by using The Hunger Games. The main plot is about Katniss competing in the Hunger Games with the goal of winning and staying alive. The subplot would be Peeta's feelings for Katniss and him doing whatever he can to help her win. Another subplot is Katniss rebelling against the Capital through her interactions with the Mockingjay pin, her interactions with Rue, and by threatening suicide to save Peeta and herself. 

Why should you consider using a subplot? One, it keeps your novel from getting boring. Whenever events are slow to play out in your central plot, you can add a little action from a subplot and keep your readers interested. They are also useful for characterization. Often, you can show a different side of your characters, especially if you have an anti-hero or anti-villain, and this can help your readers relate to your characters on a deeper level. Subplots can also be useful if you find that you're an underwriter. You can use subplots to make your book longer without writing useless filler content. Finally, subplots make your story realistic. Oftentimes, life is full of ups, downs, and countless surprises. Life is complicated and your characters should deal with complications in their lives too. 

What should you avoid with subplots? You don't want your novel's subplot to be boring. It should be entertaining while at the same time being realistic. You should also make sure that you don't leave your novel's subplot(s) unresolved. This can frustrate readers and distract them from your novel's theme. Last, but not least, you don't want to overcomplicate the story with subplots. Make sure the subplot(s) you choose are necessary and make sense.  

I hope this blog post was helpful in helping you understand subplots and their purpose in a novel. If you have any other questions or additional tips, please leave them in the comments down below! 

Happy Writing!