Do I have to take tons of notes and do research to write convincingly?
Set plays in football help the team to find space on the field to be creative in goal scoring!
A set-play for writing would be to understand the 3-act structure first. It would also include an understanding that each act has its own story ARC. Whether that arc starts on a down note and goes up… or the reverse, is totally up to you the writer. Your hero might start on a high and then hit a record-breaking low in his life, but movement is essential. Have a set play in mind as you kick off your story, which means you know which way the play is going, who the characters are and what they want!
To know the opening scene of each act and to be able to write to a closing scene that you had in mind is a wonderful gift to yourself as you begin writing. You will find enough roadblocks and distractions along the way to The End – so knowing these elements in advance of starting to write means to begin the game with a ton of energy already stored up to put into play once you start the process.
Don’t worry about set plays robbing you of a chance to showcase your creativity. Does any professional footballer ever rant at his coach that set plays are robbing him of a chance to score goals? No, the other way around. Everyone on the field knows what they’re doing out there and the goal scorers really get to shine because the set-up for a spectacular goal has been established way before the first kick ever happens.
Brilliance is about making smart choices in the heat of the moment because you prepared yourself for just such a moment long before the first kick started the game.
I hope this helps you in your writing!