I’ve been asked for years to do a post related to plot.
I still haven’t yet. HOWEVER…
Subplots are my jam! Most of my stories are like 80% subplot. I like them because they don’t conform to the basic rules of main plotlines; you get more creative liberty.
When I think “subplot,” I think of romantic plotlines. Which is all fine and good, of course; a lot of mine, personally, are romantic. But I don’t think that’s the only type of subplot you can use. In fact, I think there are so many that people don’t even think to use.
So, without further ado, here are 20 basic subplot ideas that are not related to romance. I tried to write them as high-stake as possible, while still conforming to most genres.
1. mystery – a “whodunnit” subplot
2. someone is keeping a secret from the main character
3. the main character is keeping a secret from someone else
4. a character is ill or injured, and their life is at stake
5. a business is failing
6. a character or organization has money problems
7. a character dislikes your main character
8. your main character dislikes someone else
9. a character is running from the law
10. a character struggles with mental illness
11. a character questions their religion
12. your main character and another character have an ongoing fight over a difference in morals
13. environmental changes threaten your characters (hurricane, flood, storms, apocalypse)
14. a character has mysteriously disappeared
15. a character has been kidnapped
16. your main character kidnaps someone else
17. your group of characters is separated
18. a character is trying in vain to meet their childhood dreams
19. a character dies, but no one knows how
20. your main character is lost in an unfamiliar place for a long period