It’s time to get clear about plot, subplot and backstory. I’ve just picked up the first draft of the novel I’ve been writing this year with the hope of starting to revise. I’m going to focus on three areas: plot, subplot, backstory. But first I need to work out what these elements are. And tackle the question: What is the difference between plot, subplot and backstory?
Introducing conflict and tension into your writing doesn’t have to mean guns and fights or anything that overly dramatic. Tension can seethe just below the surface, brewing but contained. Whatever form your conflict comes in, it is imperative to your plot that there is conflict. Conflict brings change; change brings conflict – both are important to keep your story moving, to trigger the events that form your plot. Louise Doughty says, “A plot is about things happening. It is about change, drama, conflict.”
Lessons from my week…back up, back up, back up!
A few things have happened since I last blogged: 1) I finished my Masters degree (yay me!), and 2) I arranged my novel into chapters! Both occurrences have significant consequences.
Authors may have a commitment to writing, but inspiration and enthusiasm, it seems, come in waves. After months of writing, I am stuck and I need your help.
When I was a teacher I used to plan like mad. I would create whole unit plans that would cover 4 or 5 weeks of work, then break that down into a weekly overview and would develop detailed plans for each individual lesson. Planning really helped me work out what I wanted to include in my classes, as well as what I needed to include to reach particular teaching and learning objectives; it helped me stay on track when it was so easy to deviate or get distracted. I am a HUGE fan of planning, but I learnt really early on that the ability to throw the plan out of the window when needed is of equal importance to planning.
The idea of ‘plot’ can refer to various narrative techniques and literary devices: setting, time, point of view, focalisation, characterisation, sequencing, genre, etc. I will come to all of these in the course of ‘the year of writing my novel’, what I am interested in today is creating a bare bones list of ideas that will form the basic plot of my novel.