I recently wrote a post about the six sub-plots writers use most often in their stories.
The most common sub-plot is the love interest. As I said, a love interest does not have to be a romantic interest. It could be a friend, a pet, or a family member that your protagonist loves. Writers use love interests to support protagonists and to thwart them by threatening their well-being.
However, if you are going to use the romantic sub-plot for your story, i.e., a love interest who represents the romantic and sexual needs of your protagonist, I want to offer suggestions for making it more interesting.
Too often, we get stuck with stereotypes. Sometimes it’s good to choose something quirky or different – maybe even a little grittier than usual. If you do choose one of these six, remember that it should suit your main character’s personality and sexuality. Don’t do it for shock value or because you are bored.
You could include one of these six less common options for your romantic sub-plot:
- A relationship that depends on a fetish or an addiction
- A non-straight relationship. Why should your hero be heterosexual?
- A friend with benefits
- An on-again off-again relationship
- A strategically chosen lover for political or business purposes
- A damaged relationship that does not improve or change, for example, a bad marriage that staggers on instead of dying
Remember that sub-plots are there to advance your story and to expose your characters to forces that could transform them. They allow the reader to see protagonists in a different light. They allow protagonists to see themselves in a different light.
I hope this post gave you a chance to think about using less ordinary romantic sub-plots.
© Amanda Patterson
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