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Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 04/06/2018 15 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 childhood dream was “a manga hero!” “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 childhood dream was “an Aiki-do champion!”   <Previously in Manga Dojo> “Interesting = A story with the potential to grow” Penmaru has learned yet another complicated concept from Shihan. But, after learning so much from Shihan’s valuable lessons, Penmaru is totally exhausted… As such, the two have decided to take a break and grab some dinner!  

Ep.11 Think WILD, Explain CONVINCINGLY!

  Maid-san Robot: OMU-RICE READY! OMU-RICE READY!!   Shihan: Ah, it seems the Maid-san is done preparing our dinner!   Penmaru: Yay! Omu-rice after all that hard work! Just what I needed!!   Penmaru: Got my tomato ketchup ready! Lemme see, what shall I draw……?   *Draw Draw…*   Shihan: Hahaha, not even dinner can stem your passion for drawing, huh Penmaru?   Penmaru: Of course! To be a pro manga creator, I gotta think about drawing all the time!   Shihan: That’s the spirit! Say, what’s that creature you just drew on your omelet? A gorilla?   Penmaru: Oh, Shihan! This isn’t a gorilla! It’s my original Kaiju, inspired by GODZILLA!!   Shihan: (Go……?) Ah, I see! Beg your pardon, hahahaha…… And, what kind of Kaiju is it?   Penmaru: This Kaiju is just awesome! You know Godzilla in the movies scatters radiation, right? Well, this is a Kaiju of justice, so it’s super eco-friendly! It even uses photosynthesis!   Shihan: Aha, that does indeed sound wonderful! Tell me, why and how does it do that exactly?   Penmaru: Why? How? Well…… because that’s the setting I imagined……?   Shihan: Hmm……I feel I must teach you another very important skill as a creator.   Shihan: Listen, Penmaru. For manga creators, there are some skills that are equally as important as your drawing skills.   Penmaru: ?? You mean, imagination? Or creativity??   Shihan: Yes, but there’s something more important. That is, the skill of “MAKING EXCUSES”!!   Penmaru: EXCUSES?   Penmaru:…… Oh Shihan!! Don’t be so negative! You can’t make excuses!! That’s not ethical!    Shihan: The word “excuse” may sound be a bit misleading, indeed. The thing is, you need the ability to “CREATE a logic that convinces the reader”.   Shihan: I told you the story about “the Wonderful Lie” and “the Seed of Ideas”, didn’t I?   Penmaru: Yes! You said, “A story needs an engaging idea, that makes the readers want to dig deeper, and ask ‘Why?'”!   Shihan: Correct. But, a seed of ideas is still merely a SEED at that point. To let the seed bud and blossom into a “Wonderful Lie”, you need a “plausible, convincing excuse”, and make the readers want to read more!   Penmaru: Is that so……?   Shihan: Penmaru, what was the criteria of an “Interesting” story, again?   Penmaru: “Interesting” is, “A story that can UNFOLD/EXPAND”, or “make someone ask ‘WHY?’ in a positive way” !   Shihan: Correct. Now, the keyword here is “WHY”. The readers are looking for an answer and, as their entertainer, it’s your job to SHOW them the answer. It’s as simple as that.   Penmaru: !!! I see!!   Shihan: For example, you may ask “What if you could make a person explode from the inside?” – The readers will naturally think, “How is that possible/ What made that happen!?”. However, if you can’t provide a satisfying answer to their questions, the readers won’t be interested in learning more, will they?   Penmaru: You’re right!   Shihan: So, you provide them with a “plausible, convincing excuse” – such as “When you press certain pressure points on a human’s body, it affects the ‘Qi’ flowing through him/her, which makes him/her explode”. Now, if THAT excuse can convince the readers, and make them feel entertained, then the idea has blossomed into a “Wonderful Lie”.   Penmaru: Ah, that’s the “understandable surprise” which Mocchi and Taiyo mentioned in the videos!   Shihan: Absolutely! You might get a better idea by looking at some other examples:
Why does Superman have supernatural powers? – Because he’s an alien! Why does Doraemon have lots of handy gadgets? – Because he’s a robot from the 22nd century! Why can the “Death Note” kill people? – Because it comes from the Shinigami (death god) world! Many dinosaurs living in a zoo…? How were they revived? – Because scientists cloned them from blood extracted from mosquitoes trapped in amber! Why is Luffy’s body rubbery, like it’s made out of gum? – Because he ate a Devil Fruit that changed his physical constitution!
  Penmaru: I see! Those examples momentarily make me think, “Ah, perhaps that could happen!?” whilst filling me with excitement and anticipation for what could happen next!   Shihan: Yes. And I must note, when you come to creating an excuse, it’s really important to NOT make it “TOO LOGICAL”.   Penmaru: Not too LOGICAL……? How come? Isn’t being logical a good thing?   Shihan: Any story has “plot holes” or “bad points” you can point out. Take Superman for example, you can always say things like “Just because he’s an alien, it doesn’t mean he can fly!” or “Does that planet even exist?”. Moreover, logic that makes too much sense does not give the readers the surprise or entertainment they are longing for…… Please always keep in mind that “Manga is a ‘Wonderful’ lie”.   Penmaru: Aha! After all manga itself is built on a lie, so the “possibility” doesn’t really matter, right?   Shihan: Yes. Having said that, a logical reason that doesn’t make sense to readers cannot rouse sympathy in them either. Even worse, you might just make them think you’re crazy! The important thing is to tell believable, yet entertaining lies that feel real to the readers. “THINK WILD, EXPLAIN CONVINCINGLY”, is how I put it.   Penmaru: So you mean like this……?
“WILD IDEA” “WILD EXCUSE” = Just crazy, not convincing/believable… “LOGICAL IDEA” “LOGICAL EXCUSE” = Too obvious, not entertaining…… “LOGICAL IDEA” “WILD EXCUSES” = Surprising, but might not click with readers…… “WILD IDEA” “LOGICAL EXCUSE” = Interesting, and understandable -> UNDERSTANDABLE SURPRISE!
  Shihan: Well understood, Penmaru! That is core of what I mean, yes.   Shihan: We can say that “Making excuses” is all about “expressing your logic”, rather than “explaining based on facts”. A logical idea, even if it is wild, is far more convincing than an idea without logic. Moreover, if you have a strong “excuse” established, it can give birth to even more new ideas. I strongly recommend you make a habit of “thinking of excuses” every opportunity you get!   Penmaru: Alright!!   Shihan: Now! Enough talking! Let’s have dinner!   Penmaru: Um, Shihan, about that……   Shihan: ???   Maid-san: CLEAN UP! CLEAN UP!   Penmaru: The maid robot has already cleaned the table, because the Omu-rice has gone cold while you were talking……   Shihan: Wha, whaaaaaaaaaat!?!?!?!?!?   Penmaru: Shihan……I promise I won’t be selfish anymore, so… what say we tidy away that robot, too……?   Shihan: A convincing idea indeed…… I agree……   Maid-san: TIDY AWAY! TIDY AWAY!!   And thus, the Maid-san robot’s fate has been sealed…… Yet the fate of Penmaru’s journey is still nowhere in sight!! Ganbare, Penmaru! Become the best manga creator in the world!!   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