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Kamachi Kazuma’s 10 Year Structure (4/17)

js06 Mar 19th, 2016 255 Never
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  1. Let’s Put Together a Plot
  2.  
  3. Now it’s time for the plot.
  4. This step finally looks like actual writing and that means we’re at the point where someone else might actually see it.
  5. That said, a plot is not absolutely necessary when writing a story. In my case, I submitted a plot for A Certain Magical Index, but I wrote Heavy Object without coming up with a plot. So this part is completely unnecessary for stories that don’t require it.
  6. I’m going to be writing this assuming that you will be writing one.
  7. I think there are three main benefits of writing a plot:
  8.  
  9. 1. The author can share the information in their head with others.
  10. 2. The author has a backup to make sure they don’t forget that information.
  11. 3. They can use it for reference if they want to change the story partway through.
  12.  
  13. Just to write something, that first benefit may be unnecessary. It’s really only needed to show your editor so they will give you the green light.
  14. The second and third benefits are pretty important. The second one makes sure you don’t forget anything about the setting or about the foreshadowing you’ve set up. The third comes in handy when you think of a neat way of changing the story partway through but it ends up not working out very well. You would be in trouble if you wanted to change things back but didn’t have anything to reference.
  15. Writing a novel is a long process that takes more than a month. If you assume you can remember everything from the beginning at the end, it can come back to bite you.
  16. And there are two downsides to writing a plot:
  17.  
  18. 1. The plot adds to the work and can wear you out.
  19. 2. It gets in the way of the kind of adlibbing that lets the characters take on a life of their own.
  20.  
  21. The first defeats the entire point and even I will sometimes feel satisfied or burnt out after only writing the plot. I have a few dozen “new novels” stuffed into my plot folder. If you want to try writing a novel, but you end up burning out like that, writing a plot might just not be for you and maybe you should try writing the novel without a plot.
  22. The second doesn’t happen often, but when you end up with some characters or situations that are really easy to write, the characters can start doing things not even the author expected. This is mostly a product of coincidence, so it’s more like mixing together a bunch of drinks for fun than it is making a cocktail based on a proper recipe. In other words, you can do whatever you want in the novel if you don’t write a plot.
  23. But if you want to start by mastering the basics, I think it would be best to learn how to write a plot and only cut out that work later if you decide it isn’t necessary. Writing novels is mostly something you teach yourself, so any habits you pick up can stick with you for a long time.
  24.  
  25. I think what makes up a plot differs a lot from author to author, but in my case, I divide it up into title, theme, characters, setting, time period, terminology, and summary.
  26. I will go over each of those in more detail later, so let’s start by discussing the plot as a whole.
  27. I think the plot is necessary to gather all the information in your head and make sure nothing is missing in the setting or the story. Converting your ideas to text and submitting it to your editor all starts from here.
  28. Basically, this is taking a closer look to make sure you really do understand it all in your head.
  29. And this means you don’t have to write down anything that you don’t need to check over.
  30. For example, when writing out the terminology, you don’t have to write a full dictionary of 200 or 300 original terms. You just need the bare minimum of important terms needed to explain the story.
  31. In my case, I think it’s usually less than ten.
  32. That doesn’t mean there is only ten terms’ worth of information in the whole book. That’s just all I need to explain what kind of story I want to write. It might be similar to the landmarks used to guide someone over the phone when they’re walking around town for the first time. There is a lot there (intersections, cellphone towers, parks, statues, etc.), but if you only tell them about the major landmarks, your explanation will more smoothly bring you to a shared understanding.
  33. As I said, there is no point if you are satisfied with just the plot and burn out there, so it’s actually most important to shorten the process so it doesn’t wear you out.
  34. The plot has more to it than the list of notes, but what matters is bringing it to the point that you can remember what you wanted to write (or explain it to someone else), not writing out every little thing.
  35. The time to write every little thing is of course when you’re making the completed manuscript
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