[Quick Summary: Archeologist Indiana Jones must track down the lost Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't talk to me about bad B stories/subplots.
I've seen bunches of them that:
- Wander off to nowhere
- Compete with the A story for the biggest twist
- Strangle the A story in complications
I define the B story as sub-story that supports, reflects, or pushes the A story forward.
So let's check out how Kasdan setup a good B story between Indy and Marion:
ex. "[Marion] is almost on him when Indy looks up smiling. Marion stops, stares, shocked.
INDY: Hello Marion.
She hits him with a solid right to the jaw, knocking him off the barstool on the floor. He rubs his jaw and smiles up at her.
INDY: Nice to see you, too.
MARION: Get up and get out.
INDY: Take it easy. I'm looking for your father.
MARION (bitterly): Well you're two years too late."
What do we know from this 1st meeting?
- Indy left Marion on bad terms, but still likes her. [The B story complicates his journey.]
- He needs her cooperation to find the ark. [The B story pushes the A story forward to his goal.]
- Marion is a useful partner. [She has a stake in his success, which keeps us focused on the goal.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The tension between Marion and Indy (subplot) increases the fun of the hunt (main plot).
That's really all you want in a subplot.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
by Lawrence Kasdan