When is your subplot not working?
- It creates noise or is only a distraction (you can remove it and the main story will not be affected).
- it makes the reader want to skip pages because it's the main plot that keeps the reader on the edge of his seat.
- it does not add any conflict and does not up the stakes. It does not complicate things.
- it doesn't lead the main characters to think or act differently.
- the minor characters do not have any influence on the destiny of the main character.
See an example below:
“Romeo & Juliet” is a play from William Shakespeare where two lovers are kept apart . Family feuds (the major subplot) plays a major role in their death.
- Romeo wants to be with Juliet, but the world is against them.
SUBPLOTS (what separates the lovers):
- Because Romeo's friends convince Romeo to go to the Capulets's ball, Romeo meets Juliet Capulet. As a consequence, they fall in love (subplot 1: Romeo's friends try to find a mate for Romeo and deliver him in to the jaws of the enemy).
- Because Romeo goes to the Capulets's ball uninvited, he provokes Tybalt's anger and Tybalt challenges Romeo Montagues to a duel (subplot 2: family rivalries). As a consequence, one of Romeo's friends kill Tybalt and the prince exiles Romeo.
- Because Romeo is exiled, Juliet express her fears. As a consequence, her dad thinks she needs to marry Paris (subplot 3: Paris's love for Juliet).
- Because Paris is scheduled to marry Juliet, Juliet panics. As a consequence, she decides to take a potion to fake her death and ultimately elope with Romeo. She sends a messenger to Romeo (subplot 4: what happens to the messenger), but the messenger does not deliver the message to Romeo,
- Because the messenger is delayed, Romeo kills himself (end of main plot).
END OF STORY.
In the paranormal romance "Juliet Immortal" by Stacey Jay, Juliet is betrayed by her husband Romeo who kills her on their wedding night in order to gain immortality. But things do not go as planned.
For the past seven hundred years, Juliet Capulet fights with her husband for the souls of couples who have found true love. Juliet wants to keep them together, but Romeo wants to separate them.
Their latest assignment is different. Romeo tries to convince Juliet that the cycle of death for them is ending and they can be finally together.
- However, Juliet falls in love with another boy, Ben (subplot 1)
- And her best friend, Gemma, is supposed to be the true love of Ben and Juliet is about to change their fate (subplot 2)
- Mercenaries and Guardians appear late in the novel (subplot 3) to propel the plot and lead the book to its conclusion.