Dyslexic tales · Masters tales

Sub-text and sub-plot

Why do I find this SO difficult?

The sub-plot is another plot that runs along the main plot but isn’t the main plot, whilst the sub-text is the underlying meaning of the phrase or dialogue that is there but not explicitly stated…


My head hurts!!!

The other thing we looked at in the workshop was creativity – define creativity…

After this my head exploded and I went home to cry. I think it is the dyslexia but these concepts are really difficult to get my mind around. So I have my version. Here is my take on all three – please feel free to contradict me as I am having difficulty with this.


This is a secondary story that supports the first. They can either be connected or they have a theme in common. For example in ‘Jaws’ the plot is the shark but we also follow Quinn’s story and that of the marine biologists. Both of these characters support the main plot and are connected by circumstance and the shark.


This is more difficult. Say you are carrying something heavy and you see a friend. You say – man, this is heavy. But you aren’t just stating the fact, you are also saying – help, can you help me. And you are being sarcastic – why are you stood there not doing anything?

The sub-text is the implied story, the one that is there but is not shown or told about. Take ‘Harry Potter’, he is a boy going to wizard school but he is also an abused child escaping the clutches of his abusers. Or ‘The Wind in the Willows’ – Toad is prone to changing his mind and getting urges that he pursues, but the sub-plot is that if you ignore the consequences of your actions you will lose friends.


The most difficult of the three. What is creativity? I think it is the creation of something new, something different… It is difficult. Is a film creative and if it is – who is the creative person behind it? The screenwriter, the director, the producer….

If a person draws a picture it is creative. If a person writes a book is it not also creative? My lecturer seems to think that creativity can be itemised and I think it is more vague than that.

I mean it is great if you write something and it has not only a sub-plot but also a sub-text, but I’m not sure you need to worry if they are missing. If they aren’t there is the story any less creative than the one that has them? I really don’t think so. I’ve written a few things with both a sub-plot and a sub-text, but at the time I didn’t think about either as I wrote them. They were accidental.

The prospect of starting a piece trying to write both seems stifling. And terrifying…

I am just going to write and if they turn up then ‘brilliant’, but if they are missing I am not going to get into a twist about it. Just by writing I am being creative… I think… Maybe?


6 thoughts on “Sub-text and sub-plot

  1. Jup, just by writing you are creative – as long as it’s not some copy thing 😉
    But about the sub-plot and -text I also wouldn’t worry too much. I think they happen as you write your story, especially the sub-text, so I guess you’ll be fine.

  2. just off to catch the train – don’t worry so much Kate! you don’t have to plan creativity or subtext and subplots – no time to talk about it now but don’t feel stifled … Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 14:45:01 +0000 To: jeninswan@hotmail.com

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