So this has always bothered me with long running series. Does Eiichiro Oda have the entire story written down somewhere or not. This bugs me because I don't want to find out after all these years that Oda got into a car accident and we will never know what happens. Just my 2 cents on it and wondering if anyone knows if he does have it all written down even just idea's so that if he does die for whatever reason we wont all be crying because we never saw raftel.
Well, from what we know he already has planned the ending of the series. Originally he did not plan to make the manga so long (I think it was supposed to go on for about 5 or 10 years) but when he changed his mind he kept the ending. Basically, he has already planned out most of the story (heck, rereading an arc can easily result in finding references for things which came out hundreds of chapters later). However, that is not to say he has actually written any of it down anywhere in particular, it could easily all be in his head.
I doubt it's in his head only. He most likely at least wrote down crucial plot points and stuff like that, in case something bad happens. Many writers do that.
Ugh, where was it said that he keeps notes for the arcs? I think I have seen this posted somewhere, but I just could not really remember if it was a databook, SBS thing, or some regular interview. It was notes on what in the arc he plans to do. I think I have mentioned this that Jules Vern had a similar habit of keeping track for his works. Just as Razh pointed out many writes do. Maybe just surrealist ones in the early 20th century that went along as they they were writing.
I think you are talking about the green databook. My memories are a bit hazy but I think all of Oda's editors(and definitely Jean Baptiste Hattori, Oda's first editor and model for Bakuman's Hattori) know all the major plot points of the story(I think it is the interview in Green-It also mentions that Oda completed the design for all supernovae within 2 hours-the editors already knew about the future timeskip but did not know about the supernovae) . Thing is that Oda is always revising certain aspects of the story so even if the editors know the gist of the story, they won't be able to build a good story like teh one piece we know.
I think he has the main parts of the story planned, but also figures out new stuff as he draws. Chopper being able to use all his form without a Rumble Ball could be one of them, since he was shown using a rumble ball at first (post time skip). But it could also just be a mistake
If Oda dies, there is no much point in knowing what would have happened. The story would stop anyway so I wouldn't care much about the plot anymore. The more exciting thing is the pace and the discovering about One Piece world : it is the Straw Hats getting little by little towards the Pirate King seat discovering through the way islands, people, devil fruit powers, fighting battles, learning about the struggle for power and mysteries. That is this feeling of adventure and epicness which matters above all. The plot is just a means to build such a thing and give it a deeper meaning thanks to continuity and fate.
By the way, we probably already have some good ideas on what are One Piece, Raftel, the Void Century, the big war, the D. So if Oda had to die, I would go looking for other things. It's not like the world waited for Oda to run. There are a lot of things, novels, essays which are really interesting. Oda is a genius for his time but there are and there were many others in different fields.
I consider it impossible to write a book or a longer story without having some kind of notes about the key events of the storyline.
When you write yourself it is much easier to gather your thoughts with a piece of paper where you have some notes about want you want to write.
So it is very likely that ODA has a script for the complete story, but it cant be very detailed since he has to leave space for new ideas (e.g. writing a longer manga, including another arc)