2. Storytelling Styles
Have you ever noticed the difference in storytelling between the East and West? Ever wonder what, how, and why they're so different?
Aside from cultural differences, there are two unique schools of thought when it comes to developing a story. Generally, Western stories have a lot of planning done ahead of time, with creators mapping the beginning, middle, and end, then filling in the gaps with a similar thought process. How the story reaches its end is the focus. But not all Western storytellers follow this process; it's just much more prevalent in Western entertainment. The book, Invisible Ink is a great reference for anyone wanting to develop a story using this kind of method. The major con of using it is that stories can easily become predictable and formulaic (I'm looking at you, Marvel Cinematic Universe!).
Generally, for Eastern storytellers, the focus is more on the journey and audience engagement. Many mangaka will write their stories as they go along, with a vague idea of how it could end. Manga series can be cancelled at almost any time, so the creators have to be flexible with how quickly they can resolve a plot line. Alternatively, a series can become wildly popular, and the creator has to add in more content to extend the series beyond what was originally planned (Dragon Ball Z, anyone?). In the book, Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga, master mangaka Hirohiko Araki of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series, discusses his process for developing successful stories. He wrote that he doesn't always know how his protagonist will fair at the start of an ordeal, so the suspense the readers feel exists because it was felt by the author. This loose kind of planning has the danger of "writing oneself into a corner", where there's no way for the protagonist to succeed/win/learn/gain anything from the situation.
There are pros and cons to both ways of developing stories, and there's no right or wrong way. It's great to find which one suits you the best, but it's also very helpful to explore the opposite style and stretch into other creative paths.
Disclaimer: I'm not being paid nor receiving any payment for the promotion or link-referral purchase of the mentioned books. I personally loved them both and highly recommend them.