1. The subplot must affect the hero’s main plot, or it shouldn’t be there at all. If the subplot doesn’t serve the main plot, you have two simultaneous stories that may be clinically interesting to the audience, but they make the main plot seem too long. To connect the subplot to the main plot, make sure the two dovetail neatly, usually near the end.

2. The subplot character is usually not the ally. The subplot character and the ally have two separate functions in the story. The ally helps the hero in the main plot. The subplot character drives a different but related plot that you compare to the main plot.



  • Most modern Hollywood movies preference speed over true subplots so you don’t see them much anymore.
  • If you do see one in Hollywood, it’s most likely to be in love stories. This form tends to have a thin main plot, so needs something meaty to turn it into a story.
  • True subplots aren’t as common as you might think.
  • Benefits of subplots: improves character, theme and texture of story.
  • Downsides of subplots: slows ‘the desire line’ (the narrative drive).
  • Decide whether the texture of the story or the speed is more important.

– John Truby, The Anatomy Of Story