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The SEEDS of manga: “Idea Journal” and how to use it! Japanese Manga 101 #026

Taiyo Nakashima Taiyo Nakashima 14/07/2015 6 min read
    Today, we’re gonna show your more on the NAME creation process.
What makes GREAT NAMES, stand out from okay ones.
  Let’s suppose that you’re making a name for a 45 page one-shot. We mentioned this last time, but even though every artist works a little differently, the process for creating a one-shot story generally looks like this: スクリーンショット 2015-07-14 18.12.35
-> Meeting
-> Plot / Scenario / SERIFU DASHI
-> Name
-> Final Artwork
  So it all starts from the “ideas”.  Think of these, as the “seeds” of your manga. Most manga artists and editors are constantly on the lookout for interesting ideas in their daily lives, and write down or draw out, anything worth remembering. What you see on TV, newspapers or books… reading a novel, watching a movie… perhaps interesting people that you encounter… anything that tickled your mind, jot them ALL down into a notebook! スクリーンショット 2015-07-14 18.13.28 You never known when something, will become a “seed” for your next one-shot story. In Japanese, we call these ideas Neta”. Manga artists and editors keep a “NETA-CHO”, literary, “a NETA NOTE” “Idea Journal” to carry around with them at all times, to not miss an idea, that might come your way. The word “Neta” is a reverse of word “Tane”, meaning “Seeds”. Apparently the words is the original for the word, “Neta“! To begin preparing for your NAME, you start by collecting all random ideas! Those ideas will later become the seeds, of your manga.   Next comes the “meeting”. You meet face-to-face with your editor for a chat. But the actual process here, is more precisely described as, “Sorting out the collected ideas, looking for ones that might make a great manga”. For example, let’s say you have an idea ‘A’, of a guy who is very clumsy in social situations, but very interesting as a person. You also have idea ‘B’, about a police department that has a section, dealing only with online crimes. You may not at first think, those ideas “A & B” are related.

“How about a almost sociopath like genius, awful in society but excellent at hunting down criminals online, as a cyber police agent – will this make an interesting character for Manga?”

This, is the kind of things we discuss, during these meetings. At this stage, there are several key elements to consider, like these: スクリーンショット 2015-07-14 18.15.44
What do you want to show or tell your readers?
What characters do you want to introduce?
What time or place does the story take place in?
  You construct the skeleton of your manga, filling it with various ideas you have collected. If you are in anyway unclear or unsure about the subjects you want to express at this stage, it is strongly advisable NOT to progress to drawing NAMES just yet, as you are unlikely to use time wisely, trying to draw a ghost, of vague ideas. Remember, the KEY is in preparation!   スクリーンショット 2015-07-14 18.16.31 GOT IT!?   Next time, we’re going to take a look, at none other than Hara-sensei’s draft names! Showing you, how he creates the plot, scenario and do a “SERIFU DASHI”, to come up with all those dialogues!
Taiyo Nakashima

Taiyo Nakashima