Fiction lovers know the importance of adding a subplot to the story. The subplot is one of the main elements that doesn’t let the audience lose interest. Even if the budding romance taking place in the story is not essential, it makes the story more entertaining. Including romance as an additional part of the story helps in the development of the characters, raises the emotional stakes, and pulls in romance-inclined readers.
Where a well-written romance subplot can construct a solid thematic premise and maintain the character-arc beat, a substandard can dilute the plot. Therefore, if your book has a subplot, make sure it is stellar.
Here is how you can create a subplot in the fantasy romance genre:
Work on the Character Dynamics
When writing fantasy romance subplots, the growth of the characters should be consistent. In one moment, the characters can be totally unknown to each other, and as the story develops, they will be madly in love.
To create a satisfying subplot, the characters should have defining traits. The evolving dynamics of the characters can depend on their shifting personalities and situations. The change in the behavioral patterns should make sense.
The dynamics of the characters naturally create movement in the plot. The actions of the characters can have the consequence that can reflect on the main and subplot. You can start writing such characters by building a character profile, including unique details, psychology, and history.
How To Create a Dynamic Character
Here are four easy steps you can follow to create a dynamic character:
- You can prepare a mock interview to discover the personality of the character in your mind. It allows you to write dialogue in the character’s voice.
- Give your character an internal conflict. For instance, the character can have acrophobia, but to save someone precious, the character has to overcome this fear.
- A character that is shown to be perfect often loses realism. Therefore, you need to add some flaws to the character. This makes the character more likable and relatable to the audience.
- The character must have motivation for something. Without a strong driving force, it won’t be possible for the character to change.
Drop a Romantic Subtext Initially
You need to hint at the chemistry between your characters at the beginning of your book. The subplot should fit with the main plot carefully and slowly. If the fantasy romance subplot scenarios appear too late in the book, they can come across as forced or a disaster.
As you start writing the subplot, you have to be subtle. You have to build it in such a way that the audience registers it. Hence, in the subsequent chapters, they won’t come as a shock. You have to pave the way to the romantic story gradually.
You can easily place a romantically charged moment in your story. For instance, you can write some sentences on the interaction of the characters. The character can notice the other character in a scene or become flustered by an event between them.
Give the Characters Something to Foster the Bond
As you define the relationship of the characters, you’ll need to incorporate some elements in the story to help the characters bond with each other emotionally. If not, then the readers will get the image that they are attracted to each other just because of their looks. Certainly, that wouldn’t be a compelling romantic subplot for fiction lovers.
When you give characters some elements in common, it is easier to establish that they bond with each other. That element can be something as little as a TV series, a similar workplace, or a mutual friend. If you intend to strengthen the emotional connection, you can give the character similar motivation, aims, or a trauma that brings them together.
In many famous novels, history can foster a bond between the couple. They can be childhood best friends or exes. The right timing kindles their old relationships as they meet again due to circumstances. These stories appear seamless because of the romance that occurred in the past. Fiction lovers have a massive interest in such stories.
However, for the characters to have a solid relationship, they don’t always need history. Apart from history, the two characters hardly know each other or share feelings of mutual dislike until they talk, which is another famous idea. This makes way for the character to see one another from different perspectives and grow an emotion of fondness.
Put the Characters in a Vulnerable Spot
A character in the fantasy romance subplot can have vulnerabilities. A layered character with secrets engenders the audience’s sympathy. The characters can be vulnerable together, whether physically, emotionally, or both. When you create such moments, it’s easier to confront each other’s feelings.
Nevertheless, every character an author writes has a different character arc. Hence, they will react based on that. The vulnerable moments always seriously impact the story no matter how the scene goes. The two characters are meant to be with each other during tough times.
The Hero of Stramica by Carson Zan Hughes is a great book that puts various characters in vulnerable moments to build the plot.
Keep the Main Plot Clear
Letting the subplot take over the main plot is a mistake many others make. Your aim should be to leave the audience with a clear vision of your story.
Don’t give too much spotlight to the subplot. Sometimes, the story of the subplot is so well-shaped that the writers get carried away while writing them. Adding too much of scenes where the characters shamelessly engage with each other often becomes cliche for fiction lovers.
If you don’t want to turn your story into a typical romance, keep the love story to an extent. When you are uncertain that there is too much romance happening in the fantasy romance book, make ratios. For example, if more than a third of your book is a romantic subplot, you need to change your focus from the subplot to the main plot.
That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge yourself in writing the subplot. The author needs to fall in love with the romance subplot they are writing. If the writer can’t feel the emotions, this angle of the story won’t shine through the book. And if you find that creating such subplots is what you are good at, you should switch to romance novels solely.
Similarly, If the characters you write are too busy with their adventure rather than investing in their relationship, you can add a twist to the story. For instance, you can frame their relationship as the reward for succeeding in the adventure.
If you want to learn how the main plot and subplot can go side by side, read the work by Carson Zan Hughes.
Writing a subplot in your fantasy romance is different from writing a book based on a single genre. You have to write characters with goals, motivation, and strengths that help them get closer to the goal and liabilities that become obstacles for them. Apart from that, there’s usually an arc with a stirring incident, some build-up, a low point, a climax, and so much more.
For romantic subplots, you can get help from beta readers. After reading your book, they will tell you if you need to add or subtract some of the parts of the subplot. If you are at the phase where you are hiring an editor, select the one who has experience in romance fantasy.