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SMAC! MANGA DOJO #10 – "How to scent out an 'Interesting' idea"

Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 28/05/2018 13 min read
<Characters> Penmaru Is a ninja dog who dreams of becoming the greatest manga creator in the animal world. To help achieve his dream, Mocchi gives him a mission… “Learn how to create manga at the Manga Dojo.” His favorite type of comedy is “Short Comte (Skit)” “Shihan” Manga Master The master of the dojo and Penmaru’s tutor in the ways of manga. An experienced editor who had worked in the manga industry for over 30 years. His favorite type of comedy is “Sandai-banashi, in Rakugo”   <Previously in Manga Dojo> Penmaru learned the 4 IFs that helps creators search for ideas! With the flame of inspiration burning within him, Penmaru vigorously starts working on ideas…… Can he bring an “interesting” idea to Shihan!?    

Ep.10 “How to scent out an ‘Interesting’ idea” 

  Sippppp……   Shihan: Ha, nice green tea……   Shihan:  Penmaru, that boy, he hasn’t shown up for quite a while…… is he OK……?   Thud thud thud thud……   Penmaru: Shihan!! Shihan!!!!   Shihan: Puffffff!! Wh-what’s wrong, Penmaru!? Why the hurry!?!?   Penmaru: I did it! I came up with 100 ideas!!   Shihan: What!? Great job!! That’s extremely fast… Unbeatable!   Penmaru: Hehehe!   Shihan: Now, let me see……   “WHAT IF there was no carrot in curry rice?” “WHAT IF there was a manga creator who can fly?” “WHAT IF there was a iPS cell that could cure anything?”   Shihan: ………   Penmaru: What do you think? I’m pretty confident that they’re all great!   Shihan:……   Shihan: BAKAMON!!!! I told you to come up with an interesting IF, not a list of IFs you want to happen!!   Penmaru: Eek!?!? Sumimasen!! But, didn’t you mention that a manga starts from any kind of IF, that’s based on our desire?   Shihan: Yes they do… from INTERESTING, EXCITING IFS, that is! ……Say, Penmaru, what do you think the word “INTERESTING” means?   Penmaru: Eh? Interesting is… well, something piques your curiosity, or something amusing, I guess?   Shihan: Exactly. That’s how it could be described in a dictionary……   Shihan: Now, here’s a mean question. How can you tell, if your idea is interesting or not for the readers?   Penmaru: Huh?? Well, at least I felt they were interesting, so it should be in a way……     Penmaru: !!!!! I wasn’t thinking of the reader’s mind!!   Shihan: Well realized. Exactly. Even if YOU think the idea is enjoyable, you can’t tell 100% if the readers would enjoy it as well. It would be such a pity, to keep that excitement to yourself! Manga is a media that appeals to the readers: “ISN’T THIS COOL!?”. Thus, we must express the idea in a way everyone can tell.   Penmaru: Uuuuh, now I’m starting to think that none of my ideas are interesting or fun at all……What should I dooooo!!!!   Shihan: ……Well, I’m the one who couldn’t elaborate enough. No need to despair, Penmaru. There is ONE CRITERION that can tell you if your idea is worth sharing with the world!   Penmaru: One criterion that tells if ……my idea is good enough……?   Penmaru: WHAT!!!!! IS THAT!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!! TELL!!!!!!! ME!!!!!!! SHIHAN!!!!!!! (SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE)   Shihan: OK! OK!! I understand you are desperate!! Calm Down!! I won’t run away!!!! Stop rocking my body that hard!!! My head will fall off!!!!!   Penmaru: Oh!! ……Excuse me, I couldn’t control myself. Hehehe……   Shihan:……Ahem. Now I shall tell you the CRITERION THAT TELLS IF YOUR IDEA IS INTERESTING OR NOT.  That is……   Penmaru: Is……?     Shihan: “IF THE STORY CAN SWELL – or EXPAND – OR NOT!”   Penmaru: Swell……? As in, swelling up like a balloon? Does a story swell? You mean, make the story epic??   Shihan: Here, don’t take the words literally!   Shihan: “The story swells (話が膨らむ)” is a Japanese way of saying, “digging deeper”, “have a lively conversation”, or “broadening a topic”.   Penmaru: I see…So, you mean, if my idea can liven up a conversation, it’s an interesting idea? But, what specifically is that……?   Shihan: Let’s see it from a different perspective. What do you do, when somebody shares an interesting idea?   Penmaru: ?? Well, I would be curious, ask questions, maybe try adding to it by sharing my view……   Shihan: Yes. In other words, you “ASK FOR MORE”. You would ask questions, or share your opinions, because you want to know more, right? THAT is the feeling, the readers want to experience, by reading manga. They are anticipating for MORE.   Penmaru: !!! I think you’re right……!   Shihan: Put simply, an interesting idea makes the readers say “WHY?” in an anticipating way. Something like, “How did that happen!?” “What will happen next!?” “Then!?”……a “WHY” that comes from the feeling of wanting to know more.   Shihan: Now, this “WHY” is absolutely different from the “WHY?” the readers say with a furrowed brow. Those “WHY”s happen, when the story is not making sense, emotion-wise.    Penmaru: I see!     Shihan: Ryuji Tsugihara sensei, who told us the 4 IFs in manga, shared this INTERESTING story about “INTEREST”, during a manga lecture:
“Manga creators draw manga, for those wishing to read it. We must always think, “How can the reader enjoy my manga?”, and try to make them happy. It’s a very good idea to decide the CORE element of the manga by thinking, “Can this make the readers excited by imagining what would happen next?”, when thinking of the “Wonderful Lie”, or else, you will have a hard time building the story. Conversely, if you DO stabilize the CORE, building the story will also be a lot of fun.”
  Penmaru: “Make the readers excited, by imagining what would happen next”……   Shihan: Yes! Creating a story is a tough, hard journey. But if you have a “Wonderful lie” in the foundation of the story, it will lead you along a more comfortable path. For the sake of entertaining the readers……and of course, yourself, work on this basis!   Penmaru: Yes!!     Shihan: Now, your task is, “create a Wonderful lie based on the 4 IFs”!!   Penmaru: Yes, Shihan!! I’ll do my best……   Growlllll……   Penmaru: ……right after I eat my dinner……I’m so hungry I could die……   Shihan: ……I guess you must learn the basics of managing your life cycle, first   Penmaru: Ehehehe……   Learning what it means to create something INTERESTING, Penmaru has again drawn one step closer to achieving his dreams! But it seems this energetic idea-man is fast at working, but fast at getting exhausted as well…… Penmaru’s journey still continues!!   < NEXT EPISODE…June 4 MON >   Did you enjoy reading this story? Did you find the hints and tips to improve your manga production? If YES, please share the article with your fellow creators! If NO, please let me know how we can improve Penmaru’s journey! We welcome any and all kinds of opinions and questions, requests and comments, day and night! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates 😉
Script: Mayuna Mizutani – Follow me on Twitter and Facebook Illustration: Roberto F. – Support him on Instagram, Facebook & Tweet your questions / opinions / reviews at #SMACMangaDojo, and I will answer! 😉
Mayuna Mizutani

Mayuna Mizutani