I am overplotting my story - how can I figure out what is necessary and cut out what isn't?
I have recently discovered that the plot and cast of characters of my novel is so unbelievably complex that I am the only one who can actually understand it. I have too many characters, with too many subplots, and so many different events involved in the conflict that I can't even concisely explain the plot anymore. I don't really want to cut characters, because even though there are a few of them that aren't as important they are some of my favorites and still have important roles in the main storyline. Additionally, without understanding the histories of the characters and the subplots relating to them you can't grasp their motivations and the reasoning behind their roles in the main plot. I'm currently using a plot outline template to try and simplify the story, but all I'm doing is confusing myself.Does anyone have any advice on figuring out what _is_ necessary, and cutting out what just makes the plot hard to understand?