Title says it all. First post and typing on mobile so please excuse the lack of eloquence. We all love our subplots so it raises the question of whether or not there is a concept of too many subplots. At what point does it go from intriguing though complicated (in the good way) to a convulated mess?
Reason I ask is because I fear my plot may have become too tangled. I have several subplots and character arcs in place though I think I've managed to connect them all to the main plot. Essentially the more I think about it the more it is reminiscent of the butterfly effect, though not on such a miniscule scale of a butterfly wing flap. In other words there's very much a cause and effect.
In the novel I'm working on now, one man's ambition and desire to usurp the throne ends up being the catalyst for the main plot and main subplot (not evident initially until toward the end). MC1 and the main antagonist drive the main plot while MC2 and the secondary antagonist drive the main subplot (. These two run in parallel at first but ends up affecting each other, e.g., MC2's actions as she continues the subplot impact MC1's behavior toward remediating the main conflict. The events in the main plot or main subplot then kicks off several new subplots to develop some of the minor characters and the various character interactions. For example, MC1's inability to protect someone from the antagonist causes a falling out with his friend, which kicks off the subplot of MC1 trying to repair the relationship and his friend overcoming his own struggles. Some of the events that occur in the subplots then ends up affecting what happens in the main plot, e.g., MC1's struggle to repair his friendship causes his friend to defect to the enemy. There are lots of these situations where one character's action sets off an event to develop more character interactions that later comes back full circle, while seemingly disconnected at first sometimes.
With that said, is what I have above too messy? Maybe I'm just confusing the definition of a subplot?