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Sense of Subplots

August 23, 2021– Publishers want a lot of things from authors, and those things include a great manuscript, a positive author attitude, and an excellent work ethic. We’re almost done with our theme this month, which publishers want, but we still have more to cover, so let’s get to it!

A subplot is a side story that runs parallel to the main plot. There are three main types of subplots which are romantic, conflict, and expository. The subplot is always connected to the main story but never takes over. The purpose of the subplot is to strengthen the main story, character, and conflict.

Publishers want to see strong subplots (no more than two or three) that are timed and paced well to move the story forward. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Growth. Subplots reveal additional, new, or fascinating information about the main character that lends to their growth as a person. The main character should transform from who they were at the beginning of the book to who they are at the end of the book. The subplot also gives depth to secondary characters who would otherwise be one-dimensional.
  2. Motivation. Subplots give the reader a glimpse into the why behind a character’s actions. It shows why the characters are so determined about reaching their goals, sometimes no matter the cost.
  3. Struggle. Quite simply, subplots intensify conflict. They can heighten the tension and add new plot points that put obstacles in your character’s way that prevent them from reaching their goals easily. This results in a more dramatic climax which is what publishers are looking for.

When publishers receive manuscripts, we expect to see a compelling story and the story as a whole. How does the character grow? What are the obstacles that stand in their way? Why do they want what they want? Who is going to help them get there? Who is going to prevent them from getting there? If you can answer all of these questions and write a subplot that is intriguing and adds to the story, then you’ve got a good chance of being published!

For more info on what publishers want, check out my number 1 best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

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This Type of Publisher

Some of the magazines I've been published in.

August 20, 2021– We’re approaching the end of August quickly, but we still have lots of time to focus on what publishers want! Next month, we’ll be switching topics; first, let’s wrap things up with our current theme.

Publishers come in all types and mediums, but what remains the same is their commitment to the written word. We all want stories that are character-driven and that readers care about! Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, publishers want audiences and authors to be invested. Today we’ll focus on Magazine Publishers and what they are looking for specifically, so let’s go through the list:

  1. This type of story-They want stories and features that their regular readers will enjoy. The magazine’s regular readership consists of particular target markets, and your work will not be published if the story isn’t a good fit or doesn’t resonate with their audience. Regular readers and subscribers are a magazine’s bread and butter, so publishers do everything with their wants and needs in mind.
  2. This type of author-One who is familiar with the publication and understands what the magazine is looking for in terms of content is the type of author that magazine publishers want. It goes back to the same old thing, know who to submit to and what they publish. A Haunted Ontario piece won’t sell well in the United States (and won’t be considered), and a Tool-Shed Tips submission won’t fly with a magazine that focuses on high fashion. Know what the publisher is looking for and submit accordingly. Do your homework and buy a few copies of the magazine you want to send your work to so you can familiarize yourself with the story style and narrative.
  3. This type of word count-They want stories that are the right length that only have to be edited for minor things and don’t need a complete overhaul. Let’s face it, time is money, and the less editing required, the better. Check with the magazine before submitting your article to know exactly what they want when it comes to word count and guidelines. Most pieces (depending on the publication) are between 600-1200 words. Magazine submission guides can most likely be found on their website.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to be published in all kinds of magazines dozens of times internationally. My secret? I only submit my work to the magazines that I love to read and that I’ve been reading for years.  You can check out my writing credits here: About Pandamonium – Pandamonium Publishing House.

    (Main photo- Some of the magazines’ Lacey has been published in)