Kamachi Kazuma’s 10 Year Structure (6/17)

Mar 26th, 2016
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  1. Let’s Decide on a Theme
  3. A novel’s theme may sound like a tricky thing, but it only means the general theme you want as the central pillar of your story. Maybe you thought, “Eh? I just want to have the protagonist flirting with girls a whole bunch. I don’t want anything on a grand scale like world peace or saving mankind”, but don’t worry. That just means your theme is “flirting with girls”.
  4. I think there are a few ways of doing this:
  6. 1. Pointing to it with the novel’s overall world.
  7. 2. Pointing to it with the protagonist’s beliefs.
  8. 3. Pointing to it with the incident caused by the final boss.
  10. If you’ve decided on a theme in advance, you can avoid straying from your initial plans, such as starting as a battle story but all of a sudden finding it’s a horror story or finding the protagonist who should have been paired with his childhood friend is going after the young dorm manager instead.
  11. Now, a theme doesn’t have to be especially difficult or complex. In fact, I think you can make something deeper and easier to understand if you take a simple question everyone asks and then expand on it or broadly interpret it.
  12. For example, it can be something as close to home and lukewarm as “I know there are people who like blogs and SNSs, but what is it that drives people to search out material for posts because they feel they have to, not because they want to?”
  13. If you expand on that like a snowball rolling down a hill and make it an ideology that could bring about the end of the world, you might be able to come up with something deep yet understandable.
  14. Or take the “flirting with girls” I mentioned as a joke earlier. If you wanted to, you could rearrange that into “every girl on the planet wants to marry the protagonist (or the final boss), so no one else will have any descendants and the world will end”.
  15. And once you choose a theme, you need to decide whether your protagonist will support it or oppose it.
  16. Simply put, you have two options:
  18. 1. The protagonist’s beliefs are the novel’s theme.
  19. 2. The novel’s theme is some unreasonable death game or social system and the protagonist is the one that defeats it.
  21. The novel’s theme and protagonist’s beliefs do not need to match up.
  22. They can either be the same or the opposite and both can be interesting in their own way.
  23. But don’t give your protagonist some vague, unrelated beliefs. If you move toward either extreme (approval or rejection), then you can avoid the problem of having your protagonist drifting away from the novel’s worldview.
  25. Just because there is a single theme doesn’t mean every single character has to be in agreement in whether they approve of or reject that theme. Just like some people like dogs, some like cats, and some don’t like dogs but don’t particularly like cats either, every character should have their own thoughts on the issue.
  26. Once you’ve gotten all that settled, you can create a single core to your story by deciding what the protagonist will decide in the end.
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