Friday, January 10, 2020

OTM 2009 Blog Tour - Subplot: A Second Rescue

CRR Blog Tour – November 2009
Host: Sandra Kay Nov.9

[This blog was originally posted at the above link. It is no longer available there.]

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Hi Sandra! It’s nice to be here today to chat with you and your readers!

I see you have a “yappy” Pomeranian. We’re animal lovers, also, and have a couple of dogs that like to make plenty of noise. They’re wonderful, aren’t they? Maybe the noise isn’t wonderful, but animals are. It’s nice during times of stress to be able to sit with or play with your pets and let them soothe your nerves. The unconditional love they give is soul-soothing.

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about Subplot and Rescue. The main plot of Off The Moon involves a rather self-centered young man who helps rescue a young woman desperately in need of unconditional love. But there’s another story in the background that involves a rescued dog. Ryan’s brother is an animal lover. Throughout his life, he’s taken in stray animals that need help, sometimes to Ryan’s consternation. His most recent is a large and intimidating dog that’s unfriendly in general. Will expects she’d been abused and does what he can to soothe her and prepare her for adoption. He has some luck, but it’s not until Kaitlyn comes to visit that the dog shows potential of rescue.

Why do writers use subplot in a story? I tend to use it to add depth. Nothing happens in a vaccuum. Whatever we’re doing throughout life, there are a myriad of things going on around us, sometimes in the background, other times in the midst of things. What we do affects more than the most obvious situation or people. It also makes waves far beyond that. One of the biggest themes that runs through all of my stories is that ripple effect. We often don’t realize how much impact we have on others, but it’s there. Always. Subplots are a way to bring out this notion of “yes, but there’s more to the story” and I often use more than one.

The major subplot in Off The Moon is Kaitlyn and Chewy, the girl Ryan rescues and the dog Will rescued. A lot of parallels are drawn between them and it not only adds depth, but it also adds possibility for character growth. Ryan isn’t much of a dog lover. Part of that comes from Will’s rescues when they were kids but also because pets take attention. Ryan doesn’t want to be bothered. Of course, what generally happens when someone extends a hand to another who needs it is that the helper ends up with a true gift. A question arises from the two rescues: do we avoid things because we honestly don’t want them or because our longing for them is too intense?

Kaitlyn understands Chewy’s aggression, although her own abusive situation had the opposite result. She withdraws. Like a magnet, Ryan is attracted to Kaitlyn but repelled by Chewy, even though he sees the “why” behind each of their personalities, and their situations are much the same. As he understands Kaitlyn more, though, and as she stands up for Chewy, Ryan has a hard time not buying into her feelings about the animal.

One of my dogs was a rescue. I had this book fully in process before we rescued him, but I have been interested in the comparison, how it happened to work as it did. We didn’t set out to find a dog that needed to be rescued. It simply happened that way, and what a gift he’s become. He isn’t like Chewy. He’s more like Kaitlyn. And our dog who had recently lost her older friend was so very glad to take him under her wing, just as Ryan was. She’s in charge, but not always. As it turns out, the rescuee has less natural fear than the rescuer in many ways. Human and animal nature are really very similar.

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