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How to create a novel that has several layers
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Layering and Subplots

Most Novels have more than one layer. Naturally there will be the main story line that runs from beginning to end of a novel. However, most good novels have more than one layer or subplot. These subplots are like aircraft in a holding pattern each circling at a different altitude in your novel. As the Main Story Line (MSL) continues they descend lower and lower and eventually touch down and exert their influence.

As you put characters through the Three Part Character Development Model (TPCDM) they will introduce you to other characters and these in turn to still others. These new characters will bring their own Story Line which will attach to the MSL for a brief period of time before flying off to be replaced by another.

So, you have your characters moving in and out, and going about and doing things in a way that is a story onto itself. A subplot brings a new level of interest and provides a change of pace. As readers observe the the subplot developing they think, Hmmm, I wonder how all this is going to jive with the MSL. Your job as a writer is to show them exactly how this new layer fits in like a piece of jig saw puzzle.

A subplot can derive from a new character, a parallel stream of events, or an unexpected act of nature that's been building on the horizon like a storm cloud. They are limited only by your imagination. They will dawn on you as you talk to your characters and and put the more interesting ones through the TPCDM. Usually I catch a first glimpse of them in an exchange with an earlier character and they suggest a new thread to the story I hadn't considered earlier.

For the workshop I want you to consider developing four subplots. A part of Operational Writing is the process by which you weave them in and out of the MSL. When all this starts taking place concurrently, you know your as a writer your art is being expressed in its highest form.

George Martin - has a gift for bringing characters to life. You can't go wrong studying his technique in Game of Thrones and seeing the art of Subplots in their highest form.

Percy Goodfellow - Workshop Instructor

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