This is a great big mess, one that I'm challenged with as I write the first of a potentially long series: how the heck do I keep tabs on all the subplots?
I mean, I don't wanna go crazy like some books, where the reader has to keep track of fourteen "main" characters having fourteen different lives, but subplots are a great way to expand a novel and keep interest in the main plot from waning.
In my book, there are several subplots brewing, one for each of the other families that know about the secret to time travel. Each of them have some form of interaction with the protagonist, as well as within themselves, but they're all in the background, obviously, to the main plot: trying to destroy the time traveling watch and prevent anyone from ever knowing how to time travel again. But I feel like I've created a massive web and I have to know the details of each strand! Where did the families start, where did they come from, who knows who, how does family A feel about family B, etc. It's a little like the diverse characters supporting Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Voldemort is obviously the bad guy, but he's got a ton of henchmen who each have backstories, characters, arcs, etc. etc.
Man. That's a lot.
So what am I gonna do? Well, for one, I'm gonna try the freeware that Stacy recommended on an earlier post.
Next, if that doesn't work, I'll try outlining the J.K. Rowling way, but boy that was a challenge. I hate outlining and prefer just to write, but I can't really get away with that with the complicated subplots.
Lastly, if nothing else works, I'll devise something of my own on my big board. That's the corkboard over my desk with a ton of notecards on it. It's messy and manual, but I'm a visual guy, so it helps me see the plot lines.
Any other suggestions or tips?
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