What To Do When Sub-Plots' Take Over Your Article Writing
Have you heard of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Well as you know, Goldilocks found the Three Bears' house, broke in, and systematically ate their porridge, sat in their chairs, and then slept on their beds.
And as the story is told to two and three year old kids at bedtime, the story always runs the same way from start to finish.
But that's not the way your article runs.
In your version of Goldilocks, she suddenly wants to call in a pizza; she breaks into the Bear's computer and hacks all their websites and Facebook accounts.
And suddenly the cops turn up. And you've realised something crazy has happened to the storyline. Like wild horses, they've pulled away and you can't seem to get the story line back.
So what are you going to do to keep the storyline in check?
Here's what you need to do.
1) Always start out with an outline.
2) Then next flesh out that outline.
3) Do this before you start writing the complete article (especially when you're not an expert writer).
Always start out with an outline.
The outline will go like this
– Goldilocks goes for a walk.
– She finds a house (what?)
– She breaks in (why?)
– She eats the porridge (step one)
– She sits on their chairs (step two)
– She hacks into their computers (ooh, that's not in the steps, but let's keep going).
– Monkeys attack the house (keep going, keep going, this is just the outline).
– She goes to sleep (final step).
Step two: Flesh out that outline
So you now need to flesh out the details of that outline. And you can do so in your head, but I tend to do it on paper.
Now you can see where the sub-plot is taking over your article (Hint: It's the part where she hacked into their computer and monkeys took over the house).
And once you've seen the sub-plot take over, you can choose to do one of two things.
You can remove the sub-plot and use it in another article. Or you can incorporate it into your article to spice things up a bit.
TV Soaps do this all the time: They write with sub-plots as part of the format.
So if you were writing the very same Goldilocks story as a TV soap, the story would go like this. It would start with Goldilocks. Then after a few scenes it would go to the bears having their picnic. Then it would probably show some hospital scene with giraffes in it. And then revert back to Goldilocks.
And the way TV soaps do this is through a series of connections. They move the story away (e.g to the hacking scene), but then they always bring the story back. The main story remains the main story, and the sub-plot is meant to bring richness to the main story.
But these plots and sub-plots take a little work and experience.
And a lot of confidence.
So the best tactic when you're starting out in writing is to stay away from the sub-plot.
Take the sub-plot and move it away to a completely different article. And then continue with the flow of the article based on a natural progression of questions that answer the questions: What? Why? How? When etc.
There's only one exception to this rule of natural progression.
If you're answering a post or eagerly writing with an idea in your head, then write away. To hell with the structure! You can sit down later and you can work out how things flowed. Work out where the sub-plot is showing up, and weed it out.
And that's how you'll prevent sub-plots from rearing their head and taking over your article.
P.S. If you really, really like sub-plots then you must learn how to use connectors.
And for that you have to read https://www.psychotactics.com/artconnectors
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