Thursday, March 18, 2010

In Which I Mess with Subplots

This is one of those weeks, where I wish I’d blogged earlier in the week, because I think Tracy and Maureen have pretty much said it all about subplots. I don’t know that I have anything new or interesting to add, so instead I’ll tell you about how I used subplots a little differently in my upcoming adult release, THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS.

In this novel, the main plot revolves around 33-year-old Jennifer. In the beginning of the book her judge-husband gets indicted and then her country club friends shun her, and she starts to realize that she is basically alone. Right around this time, Jennifer also starts dreaming. She dreams things about her friends, her husband, and her sister. In the dreams she is another person, doing what they would do. And eventually she realizes that the dreams aren’t dreams at all, but actual things that have happened to these other people.

And that’s how subplot and plot sort of become one in this book. All the so-called subplots come in the dreams, but since Jennifer is actually experiencing these things, they’re also sort of the main plot. Yet, the dreams function just the way that subplots should, to inform the main plot. As Jennifer sees the her husband hated life as a judge, that her best friend is longing to have an affair, that her tennis partner is severely depressed, and that her perfect older sister is overwhelmed by motherhood, she also starts to see what’s wrong with her own life, and how she should begin to change it.

I guess my point is, that I agree with everything that’s been said so far this week on the topic. Yes, subplots are necessary to give the main character a rich world and to support the central conflict in some way. But also I’ll say that I had a lot of fun writing this book because I got to deviate from the rules a little bit, to play around with the notion that subplots and the main plot can't intersect into one.


Tracy Madison said...

Wow, Jillian, I loved your post and I so cannot wait to read this book. You definitely have me hooked.

Maureen Lipinski said...

For every writing rule, there is a great book that breaks it! Sounds like you have one of those yourself!