Sunday, August 3, 2014

I Don't Speak Subplot - Do I?

I'm using my mom's laptop this morning. It's kind of a longish story, but she bought this snazzy ASUS on my recommendation a couple of years ago and she just HATED it. We could never adjust the cursor to a good speed and, though I looked up solutions to the strange cursor-jumping she experienced, none seemed to definitively solve the problem. I even disable the touch pad and set her up with an external mouse. Finally, in March, we bought her a new laptop for her birthday and she is SO much happier with it.

Big win!

So, a couple of weeks ago, she gave me her ASUS. Just in time, too, since my much-beloved ASUS netbook is receiving each new Windows Update like an octogenarian being tossed in the pool to swim twenty laps.Gasping and drowning, yes. Not to mention the cramps. It remains to be seen if I have the same troubles my mom did. The damn cursor *does* randomly jump. I've turned off the precision select options, so if anyone has other ideas, please let me know!

At any rate, the point of this long story is that I now have the unexpected bonus of accessing all of my mom's photos - including ones like this that I didn't know she took. I feel all spy-ish and am fascinated by the different point-of-view - something I explored in a similar way last week on Word Whores.

All of which has little to do with this week's topic: Subplots - to compare or contrast.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure what this means. Are we meant to compare and contrast subplots or discuss how subplots can be used to compare or contrast... something?

The thing is, and you all know this about me, I'm just not Plotter Girl. Not only do I not pre-plot, I really don't think in terms of PLOT at all. Sometimes my plotter friends ask me questions like "what's the purpose of this scene?" or "how will this fit into the overall arc?" These kinds of questions fill me with panic because I simply *cannot* answer them. I don't KNOW what the purpose of the scene is - it's just what happens. (Every time someone repeats the writing advice that all scenes must have a purpose and move the plot forward, I kind of giggle to myself. How do you know?? But, so far, no one has told me to delete a scene, so I figure I'm doing okay.)

Whenever someone asks me where something fits into the overall arc, I want to say this:
Yeah, my crit partners pretty much hate me.

All of this is a long way of saying that I simply don't speak subplot. I suspect a lot of this comes from me being such a strongly character-driven writer. I mean - do you think of your life in terms of subplots? Sure, we all have to prioritize and focus energy on some tasks and goals above others, but do we think of our children's problems as subplots to our own lives? If we had a plot built, say, around a divorced woman seeking a better life, then her adult daughter's infertility issues and desperate struggle to become pregnant might be a subplot to that, but in real life, it wouldn't feel like that to the mother. It would feel to her like One More Thing to worry about.

That's as much as I can wrap my head around it. I'd be curious, though, to hear from those of you who've read my stories if you think I've used a subplot. I kind of think I don't, but I'm willing to be taught!

Hey, it could happen...


  1. Subplots? You mean where you plan to have a whole other set of stuff going on in the background? Yeah, I don't speak that either.

    (And sorry for not being around in a while. I've been lazy and trying to keep up with everything via FB - but I need to get back to being a real human being again, so I hope to stop by more often.)

    1. yay for being a real human being - nice to see you again!