As Messy Death maneuvers through its climax, I realize the importance of wrapping up plots and subplots. When you’re writing a series, it can be a little easier because if you don’t tie a bow in Book One you can always work it in to Book Two, but that can be tricky. Will the end of that subplot fit in your next book or will it stick out like a literary Where’s Waldo?
Jamie Salisbury, author of the soon-to-be-released Timeless Sojourn,
has agreed to lend me some knowledge. Isn’t she a doll? Not one of those creepy, porcelain ones with dead eyes, but a cute one with yarn hair and puppy dog eyes that melt your heart.
Anyway, let’s see what Jamie has to say:
Plot Points for Writing a Romance Novel
First off, I want to thank you, Jennifer for having me on your blog. I thought since you asked me to write something on plot points that as I write romance novels, I would focus on that.
What are plot points? Quite simply plot points are individual events that propel your story forward. Something that changes things, say like a first kiss. That one event now changes everything because now they must acknowledge their romantic attraction as it changes the course of their relationship.
Pretty much, all romance novels will have the same basic point plots: introduction, first acknowledgement of attraction, first love scene or first acknowledgement of the emotional commitment, a dark moment and a resolution.
The sub plot must of course support and advance the main storyline, the romance between the main characters. The integration of sub plots into the main plot should be seamless. What makes romance novels unique is the specific details to each plot point, and how each point fits into the main story.
So exactly what is a subplot? A subplot is exactly the same thing as the novel’s central plot, only it is much smaller. While the main plot should always begin and end the novel, any minor plots should happen within these.
Subplots are useful in turning what might otherwise have been a very slender novel into something more substantial. Short stories usually consist of one plot. Turn this one simple plot into a much lengthier one, and you will have something recognizable as a novel on your hands.
Most novels are a truly complex story with multiple strands running through it. But beyond merely bumping up the word count and adding complexity to the story, there are even stronger advantages to adding subplots to a novel.
They help with the characterization and can also help with the portrayal of the theme. Lastly, they add variety to the novel.
And how exactly do you handle subplots?
The key when plotting a novel with several plot lines is not becoming confused, to treat each as a plot. In other words treat the main plot and all the lesser ones as entirely separate mini novels. There will be a lot of switching and moving around and merging, but you should end up with a main plot containing as many subplots as you have written. There will be a large amount of common ground between the plot and subplots, but focusing on each in a separate story and ignoring the others, at least initially will result in a much stronger novel.
Thanks for giving me your thoughts, Jamie. If you’d like to get in touch with Jamie, here’s a place to do that. http://www.facebook.com/#!/JamieRSalisburyAuthor