re: Are Subplots Off-Limits in 1st Person POV?

in Plot/Point of View by

Dear Editor…

I was reading that subplots are told in the secondary character’s point of view. How do you manage this in a 1st person point of view novel? Can you still have subplots even though you have to see all the action through the main character’s eyes?


Dear Linda…

Sure you can! Choosing to tell your story in first person doesn’t mean forgoing subplots that don’t include your narrator. Just be sure that your narrator can know and thus mention enough of the subplot’s events for readers to follow that storyline through the book. Or, if you want your narrator to be oblivious to the subplot for most of the book, have him observe or be involved with behavior and dialogue of other characters that somehow reveals subplot clues to readers. This’ll prime readers for the subplot’s eventual full revelation.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. another one of the challenges of 1st person, but when it works, it works well. Glad to get this post because need my 2012 inspiration to write even more. No laziness tolerated next year.

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