Paths, lines, strands, threads....
In every narrative there is a primary premise that the creator wishes to convey but a narrative is not confined to the limits of its creator. A narrative is a web of lives, individuals with their own motives, aspirations and obligations.
As a writer begins to define their piece, they reveal the individuals that are involved in the primary premise. The main individual who the audience will follow is brought forward and the writer gradually exposes the intricacies of the individual's life. Their job, aspirations, personality, psychology even their pets are introduced to give the audience a clear portrait of them.
Revealing the individual's portrait in such detail assists the audience to sympathize and ultimately identify with the individual. This may be a conscious effort on the part of the creator however, this portrait is needs to be created with such detail because it will be the foundation of the primary premise. This one individual's life is the core on which the story rests. While the primary premise will eventually consume their life it is important to note that their life is it's own unique thread.
Every individual is their own unique thread, their own life, and as each is introduced to their place in relation to the main individual their thread is woven into the whole. As the individuals are introduced and new dynamics explored, new aspects of the primary individual are revealed to paint a truer portrait. Each strand, each life that is revealed is woven together with the primary thread to strengthen the whole.
While many writers distinguish plots and sub-plots that are woven into a story it is imperative to identify that every individual, every life has it's own plot, thread, and a fate. It is the act of twining the threads of fate that drives a story forward.
In crafting a story are you 'adding sub-plots' or are you twining the fates?