Developing minor points into subplots

This week I had a request from an editor to add an extra scene to a short story I submitted for an anthology. It served to drive home to me how important it is to get feedback on your writing. With just a couple of questions, the editor opened up aspects of the story I hadn’t considered. 


Like me, you might reach a stage when you think the story is the best you can make it. That is the time when feedback from critique partners (or editors if you are lucky to get it) is invaluable. We are too close to our writing to notice what’s lacking and what can be improved. 


One thing I’ve realised in my work is that very often a story can be made even better by looking at the minor characters or aspects I would have included just as background, and asking questions: e.g. who are these people, what do they want, why are they in that place at that time, why is this event unusual or noteworthy, what had happened before. The answers to these questions might result in the development of a subplot which echoes and deepens the main story line.

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