A central story has a primary focus, however, the longer the writing project, the more you can share. If you’re writing a novel, you want to have your lead story, but also a few extras. It’s like the side dishes at Thanksgiving.
On their own, they’re not the star, but you miss them when they’re not present. Take for example, the story of Beauty and the Beast. It’s not enough to tell the love story of the two primary characters. You want to know about her Dad, and the objects in the castle.
In fiction, as in real life, no man is an island. They had experiences that brought them to the starting point of your story. The question is, does the reader need to know about them, or maybe even their cousin William?
Of course, if you’re telling a short story, then you want to tell the story you have the time to tell. Don’t over detail it, or try to tell too much in a small setting. It’s like a ring my wife saw, she said the smaller size meant the diamonds looked cluttered together.
However, if you plan on filling a novel, an interesting person, event, or side plot can compliment the main event. At the very least, it can move the story along. At different points in the piece, you can, for a limited time, hand off the spotlight. This is provided the side line returns to, and enhances the spotlight of the main point.
The reason for these enhancements, whether as small as an extra character, or as large as a second story line, is adding value. It can give your story dimension. It can allow you to show different sides of your main character by the way they interact differently with other people.
One method of doing this, is to plan how the threads will weave the story together. How do these strings help you get to the finale? If they don’t, maybe you’ve got one too many threads. Perhaps one side dish needs to be left off.
Another way is to write your primary plot, then insert the others in the next draft. I’ve done both. Either way, adding to the story, if it calls for it, can enhance your writing, and the writing experience.
If you choose this double writing method, don’t concentrate on the secondary now. Make a note to bank your ideas, and then continue on with your main topic. Once it’s written, if using this tool, then do the addition.
No matter how you do it, the right details, characters, and subplots can add value. If it is truly right, it will add to your writing. The more you add to it, the more it will help others. Adding value in your work, adds to those around you, and will also add to your life.