But the middle is important--it's the part where the characters do the most developing, meet friends, and show the readers what kind of people they are. It's so important that it's easy to do wrong. So this month I'm going to do a series of posts detailing various ways to flesh out your story's middle and make it more exciting, while (hopefully) inspiring you to have fun while writing it.
Subplots help your stories in various ways. They provide a distraction from the main story line--a distraction which is generally very welcome to a reader, particularly if your story is intense and suspenseful. It's an opportunity for the reader to relax and focus on something else for a little while before getting back to the main story. Subplots also help add depth to your character, showing how he deals with other problems.
One important type of subplot is what Blake Snyder calls the "B story". It's the part of the story the hero enters just after the catalyst moment that kicks the hero into his story journey. The B story usually involves a new world for the hero (think new school, new job, etc.) and often new characters. This is the part of the story that holds many changes for your hero and he must learn how to adapt to them.
A few words of caution: don't let a subplot take over your story. For instance, don't write a story about a guy who's trying to get right with the law and end up making the story about him getting the cute girl. Remember what the focus of the story is and stick with it. Also, make sure the subplots help your story along and don't pull it off in directions you don't want it to go.
Up next... Plot Twists!