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RESEARCH is your Best Friend.

-----Original Message-----
"...for bigger fictions (maybe 10-20 chapters, or more) for a big fan fiction or OC fiction, how much do you plan out?" -- Wanna Rite Reel Gud
~~~~~~~~~~~~

How much do I plan out for one of my novels...?
-- I detail everything. Seriously. I believe in a Total Immersion style of writing. In other words, I want to know the world so well, I can simply step into the mind and skin of my main character and LIVE the story.

How do I do that...?

I start with a basic plot formula and extrapolate on certain points as needed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Romance needs extra doses of lover's angst, Gothics need psychological breakdowns, Horrors need room for monster attacks, Sci-Fi's and Fantasies need moments of wonder... This gives me a rough plot outline to work from.

Next, I break down each of the Three Main Characters: Hero/Ally/Villain.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is to make sure that they are 'psychologically' in sync with the Plot and Each Other, so their actions/reactions will mesh in the way I intend. (Ahem... That their personalities will clash nicely.) For more details on this, read: Advanced CHARACTER Creation

If I'm doing a Historical, I also look up the four years they were in High School (if it existed,) and check out what books, songs, plays, movies, and/or TV shows were popular during that time. Believe it or not, those are the most common foundational points in most people's personality.

Think I'm kidding? Look up your own high school years and check out what books, TV shows, songs and Movies were out during that time. Now consider how much those thing STILL influence you today? (If you're still in school, check out your Mom's or your Dad's high school years. The results will be shocking!)

Once I get my main characters down, I sketch out the major support characters.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I don't go into detail on them. Just names, jobs, physical descriptions, and what I've based their personality on, (Scorpio and an INTJ?) or who. (Riddick under a new name?)

Why not detail the Support characters too? Because I don't want to find myself attached to a character that ISN'T who the story is about.

Then, I map out the LOCATIONS I intend to use.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Location Research is especially important if I'm writing a Historical piece. I begin by researching the NEWS local to that area.

Did riots break out the summer my story happens? Was there a killing snowstorm that winter? Droughts? Floods? Fires, Quakes...? Weather and social conditions are vitally important because these conditions will make or break all the plot points caused by Setting. If one location won't work-- "Oops, on that day, there's a riot on that street..." --I'll have to thrash out either a way around it or find a whole new location--or a new Time Period.

Case in point, I seriously thought about writing a story that took place in Early-Industrial Japan. Then I discovered that Japan was in and out of war with Russia and China that whole period because of WWI, plus a few other less than savory--and still hotly debated--skirmishes in Korea. Then there was the Kanto Earthquake and hundreds of massive city-wide fires. Also, their Justice system was NOT Just. (If you had money, you were innocent. If you didn't--you weren't.) In short, it was waaaaaaaaay, too much work to thread my little story in the middle of that mess.

Then there's the WORLD.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If I'm using this world, it's simply a matter of taking notes on the mundane details of whatever location I plan to use, but if I'm writing a fantasy, or sci-fi...?

How many hours in a day, days in a week, or a month...? (Is there a moon on this planet--or two?) How long is a year? Then comes, an Education system, a medical system, a money system, inventions, and/or magic system, what occupations are available...etc. Also needed is a political system and history for that country or set of countries for that last 200 years--or more.

For ALL the gory details on making your own world from scratch, I suggest: Patricia C. Wrede's Worldbuilder Questions. It's frikken HUGE but it quite literally covers Everything.


Next is GENRE SPECIFIC Research.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If I'm doing a Sci-Fi or SteamPunk, I do Invention and Science research.
-- It always pays to know what actually existed during a certain time period. Did you know that the earliest computer was designed in 1837? It was called The Difference Engine and it ran without electricity. It was gear-driven. Sadly, because of the expense to make it--each gear had to be precision made--only a small model was built of it back then. A full-sized working Engine was finally built in 1991; more than a little after it's time. Could you imagine how different the world would have been if it had come into use back in the 1800's?

It also pays to know what current science says is possible in the future. Did you know that a form of anti-gravity already exists? I normally find major inspiration during these research sessions.

If I'm doing a Paranormal or Fantasy story, I do Mythology, Magic and Paranormal research.
-- Since I've got quite a home library on these subjects, this is just a matter of pulling a book from a shelf.

For those of you who don't have a ready personal library, there are a million and one sites all over the 'net on ghosts, demons, angels, and just about every mythological creature out there. There are almost as many sites on magic too: Wicca, Satanism, Shamanism, Shintoism, Buddhism... You name it, it's out there only a Google search away.

And then...?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After all that is done, I take one last look at my plot outline then set it aside and begin to write. In the course of writing, some plot points will work and some won't. Some locations won't offer quite the right atmosphere I intended for a scene. Sometimes a whole new character will step onstage and become the Ally to the main character or the Villain INSTEAD of the one I mapped out.

When that happens, I take a few moments to extrapolate how such changes will affect the story. If the ending doesn't change--or a better one suddenly crops up, I go with it. I DON'T stick that hard to the plot outline. I change as needed to make the STORY better--not my ego, or worse, my Character's ego.

And...that's pretty much it.

Enjoy!
RESEARCH is your Best Friend.

-----Original Message-----
"...for bigger fictions (maybe 10-20 chapters, or more) for a big fan fiction or OC fiction, how much do you plan out?" -- Wanna Rite Reel Gud
~~~~~~~~~~~~

How much do I plan out for one of my novels...?
-- I detail everything. Seriously. I believe in a Total Immersion style of writing. In other words, I want to know the world so well, I can simply step into the mind and skin of my main character and LIVE the story.


DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ookami Kasumi
[link]

Looking for more Writing Tips & Tricks?
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:icon1st-hashirama-senju:
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014

This is useful advice. Research always helps, no matter if you are trying to get published or writing fanfiction.

 

Since I write Naruto fanfiction, I have done a lot of reading in the Naruto wiki to get details I would need. And I double check to make sure I got things right. Since if you get the facts wrong, people might call you out on it.


There are locations and places that get named but never shown; those would need more careful attention to detail and description.

Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Writer
...if you get the facts wrong, people might call you out on it.

If you get the facts wrong, people WILL call you out on it, and probably add a few nasty names while they're at it too.
Reply
:icon1st-hashirama-senju:
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014
True.

And when it comes to more sensitive topics...readers can really let loose with anger if things are done wrong. Which is why they must be handled with care.
Reply
:iconsweetgothiclullaby:
SweetGothicLullaby Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm trying to build a world for a story I'm trying to write, and it has proven quite difficult. The names I gave my characters are actual names that are now considered archaic and I'm trying to base the names of the countries, cities, towns, government, etc off of those names so that it remains consistent.

The fantasy world's time period is similar to the 1900s in clothing fashion, but the technology is more advanced in some countries. This is the area I'm having most difficulty with, do you have any suggestions?
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Writer
Yes, search under Inventions and look at that particular period in time. Look at what actually existed: the steam car, the gear-driven computer, the washing machine, movies... then look forward to see what was invented next, and extrapolate from there.
Reply
:iconsweetgothiclullaby:
SweetGothicLullaby Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, it's nice to know that I was doing somethings right.
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Writer
Excellent!
Reply
:iconsweetgothiclullaby:
SweetGothicLullaby Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup, I did some research on the technology so now I just need to work on the rest.
Reply
:iconm0rdor:
m0rdor Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011
I really like this, only I have trouble planning out things. I get so bored easily and always want to jump right into writing, which usually gets the story unorganized and confusing. I usually don't end up finishing. Any advice?
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Professional Writer
If you're having problems planning, how about using a tool that you can Play with to help with that part, and make it less boring?

One of the tools I use for plotting out stories is Freeplane.
Reply
:iconm0rdor:
m0rdor Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011
Thank you so much! It's as if this was made for me :D
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011  Professional Writer
I'm thrilled you like Freeplane!
-- It's an especially good tool if you intend to make a visual novel.
Reply
:iconmxgirl199:
mxgirl199 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been writing fanfic lately since I'm stuck with my own work. I think I do too much research when I research and then I get carried away with a ton of stuff I don't need. Since I do a lot of white collar fanfic, I have to constantly watch it and learn more about the FBI in order to know anything. This seems like it'll help though when I start writing fiction again.
Reply
:iconnaomihansen:
NaomiHansen Featured By Owner May 19, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Hehe, love White Collar. And yeah, I can see why that'd be difficult. :O_o:
Reply
:iconmxgirl199:
mxgirl199 Featured By Owner May 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Me too! People say I'm addicted. :) I'm so excited that it's coming back on in June!!!! :D
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2011  Professional Writer
I'm glad you like the essay.
-- I like helping.
Reply
:icon15--missyme--15:
15--MissyMe--15 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2011
I'm writing a fanfic and I'm at chapter 17... I research very minor details in each chapter but i've been changing the plot line since I started (it didnt effect the story yet I had the immediate plot down) and I know some stuff that for sure happens (or HAPPENED I havet the past down more than the future - and the future is really the only part going to be in the story -_-)

I'm finding it a little overwhelming sometimes because I have so much that I HAVE to pack in because its the plot line that I'm get writer's block quite often. Like almost every chapter or every other chapter.
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011  Professional Writer
Welcome to being a Real writer!
-- We all have to do that; write a little - fix a lot, from beginning to end. That's simply how it goes. In fact, it's much worse when you're a professional. :)
Reply
:icon15--missyme--15:
15--MissyMe--15 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011
haha, I guess so.
Reply
:iconanissadeanna:
anissadeanna Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
Warning: This note is talking about prostitution in it's least vulgar manner but don't go on if you are sensitive.

I'd like to testify to your tutorial.
So just now I thought to myself, I'd like to have a prostitute in my story, but I don't know anything about prostitutes.
(I don't think this eveyday Lol)
Rather than do field work I decided to research it on the computer. I found excerpts from books and websites. First I started with the except which led me to realize that prostitutes value in society were different through out the times.
This led me to wonder, well, my story is fantasy but it would be nice to have victorian values.
This led me to research prostitutes in the victorian era.
Come to find out Victorians were crazy about them, I won't go into detail but if you would like to read more here is the [link]
Note: the above link is not affiliate with dA. It does Not have any nudity but is a reference based off sited books.

So now my whole perspective has changed on the subject. I have new ideas I'd like to explore and even more research to do.

With that being said I love your tutorials and they are helpful.
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2010  Professional Writer
Research is my favorite part of writing fiction. *grin*
-- What a wonderful testimonial!
Reply
:iconclampfan101:
clampfan101 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
my story will take place in a super futuristic world. how am I suposed to research things that don't exist yet?
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2010  Professional Writer
The same way all the other Sci-Fi authors do it. We Extrapolate on what exists currently.

Using Google to look up Sci-Fi research sites works too.
Reply
:iconwolvenkry27:
wolvenKry27 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
If I'm writing a story about pirates, what do I search then?I'm really having a hard time researching. I barely see pirates in books. I've searched pirates on the internet, I only had one good site. So, what should I search for then?
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010  Professional Writer
Go to a Library.
-- That's how I did it. Most of the really good resources on historical pirates are in books that you can ONLY find there because they are no longer in print.
Reply
:iconabsynthememoir:
absynthememoir Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
Speaking of mythological creatures, if I plan to write about a creature that is not particularly special/ has no exciting super power, can I invent all this to spice up my character? Will it make the reader unhappy/ angry on reading about stuff that do not correspond with his imagination?

Thank you so much!:smooch:
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
...if I plan to write about a creature that is not particularly special/ has no exciting super power, can I invent all this to spice up my character?

I don't see why not. Just make sure you make up a damned good mythological or legendary background for it. The movie "The Lady in the Water" [link] is a perfect example of a completely made up mythology set in an apartment complex.

Will it make the reader unhappy/ angry on reading about stuff that do not correspond with his imagination?

Not if you fill all the gaps with a plausible back-story.
Reply
:iconabsynthememoir:
absynthememoir Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
Thank you so much! :dance: I was looking forward to hearing your answer :iconcocoloveplz:
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010  Professional Writer
I'm glad I could help!
Reply
:iconttbranwen:
TTBranwen Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Hehe, this one makes me feel good to be me. I've been world-building and researching for the book I'm working on for what feels like half my life (in reality, it hasn't been much more than a year) and I've been doing all of this. I broke things up differently given the state of the world and origin of the characters, but this is yeah, pretty much it. I'm finally down to working out the major support characters--the last leg of the journey.

Granted, I also started differently: I began with a draft of the entire book just to figure out what I don't know about the world and the characters (which turned out to be a metric shit-ton of stuff), then I built the world and the characters more firmly, next I get to go back and write another draft--one that will (god willing) not suck as badly as the first one. It shouldn't though; I've world-built/researched/character-sketched the hell out of everything so I should be able to, as you say, just step into the world and live the story. :whew:

Nice tutorial, by the by!
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Writer
Glad you liked my essay!
-- Sounds like you have the writing process that works for you figured out. You GO! Now all you need is to develop a nice Obsessive streak to get you writing. *grin*
Reply
:iconttbranwen:
TTBranwen Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, I haven't quite got the obsessive streak down for my writing yet--not because I'm not an obsessive, crazy-detail-oriented lady, but because, i think, that I'm used to thinking of writing as a fun luxury instead of something I have to do. So when it comes down to it, I too frequently decide to do something else that "has" to be done even though writing is something very important to me and does need to get done.

Sigh. Priorities. Mine are all mixed up--I blame school. Not entirely sure how, but I do. :giggle:
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
School is an excellent excuse. However, I look at writing as being my favorite form of Escape.
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:iconttbranwen:
TTBranwen Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I do love it and it's certainly a great escape from "real life" but that's the problem. Since it's fun, then it can't possibly be something that should take priority over other things. Important things are boring and awful, as everyone knows. So if it's fun, it can't be important. This is what school has taught me. It's probably going to take a while before I can process and idea like "enjoying things I ought to do." Thus the school-blaming.
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
You'll get over it. *grin* I did!
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:iconttbranwen:
TTBranwen Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Hehe, it's an uphill battle, but I have faith in my abilities to eventually learn to do the things I enjoy and put off the things I don't. ;)
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010  Professional Writer
Good for you!
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:iconearthpineapple:
earthpineapple Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
i love you.
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Writer
*smooch*
Reply
:iconearthpineapple:
earthpineapple Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010
seriously, such great tips and stuff :D

i had to create a story for my english class and with your tips i went from a C to an A*
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Writer
My pleasure, I'm glad you liked them.

i had to create a story for my english class and with your tips i went from a C to an A*

F^ck Yeah! You GO!
Reply
:iconearthpineapple:
earthpineapple Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010
INNIT.
can i ask.. what are your dreams and imaginations?
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
Darlin', my brain is so twisted, my dreams would give other people nightmares. Really.
Reply
:iconearthpineapple:
earthpineapple Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010
even better. do tell me about them?
Reply
:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
Darlin', I write novels for a living and they ALL come from my brain. There's no way in hell I'd get even a fraction of that down in a Note.

I have a better idea, how about asking a Question?
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconwocketpocket99:
WocketPocket99 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010   Writer
I like research. It's the worldbuilding that's difficult for me. I've tried the questions, but then I just get bored. Looks like it's time to try them again. I'll start on a random world and try to build a story off of that. I can't generally start building on a world I've already started to write.

Nothing good, for me anyway, comes from setting out every detail so early. There are so many variables. Everything can change, and then where will I be? I can't make a world like that and then scrap it all suddenly. My characters generally come alive before I get a sense of the whole world. If I begin building a world so early, and then find out that the characters don't really fit, I get the feeling that to scrap the whole thing, I'd still have to rebuild within the limits of that world.

:shrug: Practice makes perfect. I'm sure I can change things up a bit as an experiment.
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Writer
I can't generally start building on a world I've already started to write.

Yes you can! All you need to do is figure out what you actually need for your story, then figure out a world that Fits what you need.

Case in point. I got hooked on Vampire Hunter D. For some reason, trying to figure out how that world actually worked--and what made it the way it was--really burrowed into my brain. After doing some global weather research, I discovered that all of those crazy zones he ran around in--extreme desert, mountains of skyscraper ruins, lake areas, and areas that looked like they were on the edge of a desert and never seemed to get rain--would work if the world was in the middle of an Ice Age.

In an ice age, the equator become one massive sand desert--a ring that goes all the way around the world--because all the oceans have receded (they're mostly ice.) To the north and south of the desert is a thin Green belt that gets rain in the center, but not close to the desert or the ice. On the ice sides of the green belt you get tons of meltwater which makes thousands of shallow rivers and lakes, but little or no rain happens. Close to the desert, you get those dry areas that look like Arizona--scrub desert.

See?
Reply
:iconwocketpocket99:
WocketPocket99 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010   Writer
Yes, I see. However, during an ice age, the lack of volcanic activity prevents the climate from warming. The whole planet would be subject to global cooling; the extent of this is debatable depending upon the exact amount of activity. I haven't gotten past book one yet, but it sounds as if extreme desert conditions would also require extreme heat--unless that were frozen over, too? How would the green belt be sustained at a relatively temperate climate?

We watched a movie on ice ages in class once; it discussed the possibility of an Ultimate Ice Age that may have occurred shortly after the Earth's formation. I wonder if I'm thinking too much towards that angle...maybe the climate hasn't cooled so far as to create a frigid climate within the green belt. That would probably require volcanic activity and...a lack of clouds? High pressure systems? But then how could those systems stay within the green belt, and not move to other places? Unless the weather was more temperate, with warmer-colder seasons?

Hmm...you've got me thinking. But that wasn't exactly what I meant when I asked the question. I meant that I find it doubly difficult to create a world--society, mostly--that's already in progress. I get bored, and my mind begins to wander...but that's probably me procrastinating, now that I think about it. I'll work on it, after I finish experimenting. Or before. One of the two.
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:iconookamikasumi:
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2010  Professional Writer
How would the green belt be sustained at a relatively temperate climate?

No idea. I got my info from reading geological history and Omni magazine. Supposedly, that's what happened during out last ice age.

I meant that I find it doubly difficult to create a world--society, mostly--that's already in progress. I get bored, and my mind begins to wander...but that's probably me procrastinating, now that I think about it.

Ah... I understand bordome and procrastination Very well.

I'll work on it, after I finish experimenting. Or before. One of the two.

LOL!

Reply
:iconwocketpocket99:
WocketPocket99 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010   Writer
Off I go to slog through my summer projects: What makes an ice age tick? What is the difference between the ice ages? How does one go around making a terraformed Mars?

I'm quite looking forward to this.

I started it, finally. Now that exams are over, I can begin to write consistently again. One question at a time....
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