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I use sub-plots as noise.

Without subplots, it's one-two-three done!

Subplots are what keeps you from writing in a straight line. The characters must now compromise. The more sub-plots, the more compromises, the longer the novel, so adjust sub-plots to your desired word count.

Start with too many and winnow them down, or have new ones rear their ugly heads at inopportune times. It's best if you do this while you're writing a chapter, so that you can integrate well with the story. You generally know if a section is too fast or slow. Myself, I always go back and trim the uninteresting sub-plots on revision.
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