In novels, there is always more happening to your characters beyond the main plot.
When the characters are encountering a problem that is not directly related to the main plot, it is called a subplot.
Often it involves the protagonist interacting with supporting characters. It also involves conflicts or problems that these characters are facing, just like in the main plot.
- When Harry Potter, among all of his other problems with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in the main plot, also participates in Hagrid's illegal dragon hatching, learns how to play quidditch to help win the Quidditch cup at school, or fights with Malfoy, he is participating in subplots.
- While Iggy's main goal is to prove himself and show everyone he can do something with his life, there is one example of a subplot when Mo gets in trouble with Freddie and has to pay him back by Christmas.
- The main goal for the kids in Lord of the Flies is survival and getting off the island, but as the kids try to survive, they encounter other problems that can be considered subplots: having to get food, choosing a leader, or even defeating "the beast."
Can you think of other examples of subplots in books or movies you've read?
What is a subplot that could happen in your novel as you keep writing?