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SMAC! Web Magazine

Rule 1 of story creation : “Put the protagonists IN TROUBLE!” – Japanese Manga 101 #017


We are often asked, “How can we create stories like those of popular series?” So today, we’ll show you what we do when we discuss storylines with Manga artists!

But before we begin, remember the “Character Imageboard” we talked about in episode #8? It may be a good time to go back and do a re-cap. Maybe after today’s episode!

 

We’ve been discussing, how “The characters” are the key to manga’s success. Well, let us show you some examples of great protagonists who will drive your manga.

 

“What does he/she want?” is the first question we ask. Many popular characters have a clear dream or a goal, like “I will be the pirate king!” or “I’ll go out with the most handsome guy in school!” etc.

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What that goal will be, may differ in a variety of ways. Remember the “character chart”?

Once you’ve made your character, let’s just imagine:

“What would he/she want?”

and

“How would he/she make it come true?”

 

That “Dream” is the foundation of the storyline. But what if the goal is easily achievable? No drama, no interest. Nobody wants to read that!

 

So, this is what we do :

 Put the Protagonist in trouble!

 

After you introduce your characters, what is required for the storyline to progress is that your protagonist is in trouble!

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There is a clear dream to achieve, but there are obstacles and hardships in the way. How your protagonist overcomes those hardships are the building blocks of the drama that will make your reader want to keep on turning the pages.

It will be even better if that “Dream” is something your reader can sympathize with, like becoming the best at something, in school or in the world or maybe, in the galaxy? 

So remember the rule 1 of story creation : “PUT YOUR PROTAGONIST IN TROUBLE!”

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GOT IT?

 

In the next episode: Now we’ve got the story rolling, we’ll show you how to rock the storyline.

See you next time!

Taiyo Nakashima