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Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane Cleland

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Chapter Five

Layer in Two Subplots

The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.

—Douglas Horton

Subplots With Purpose

You’ll recall from chapter three that Jane’s Plotting Road Map includes two service roads: Service Road #1 and Service Road #2 (abbreviated as SR1 and SR2). In most traditionally plotted books, you want to select two subplots and insert a scene relating to one of them every forty pages or so, alternating between them. At the end, the three plotlines will come together, infusing your conclusion with layers of tantalizing complexity. Without subplots, your story may feel too simple and linear. Selecting subplots can be thorny, however. You need to ensure the subplot supports your primary plot, adding intrigue and interest without ...

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