Ryan Dave Jimenez

A Personal Blog On Creating Things

How To Write Stories #1: Story Ideas

This is the first entry in a series on how to make your own web manga.

Every creative project starts with an idea. This idea compels an artist to act. The artist then starts creating. And in the end, you get something creative.

A manga is no different. Before you can draw, you have to write, and before you write, you have to get ideas. Particularly, story ideas. But how do you get story ideas? And not just any story idea. How do you get good story ideas?

Mind Mapping

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole. It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added.

Wikipedia

Start by getting a pen and piece of paper. (Or use your computer like I did.) Write down any word that comes into your mind. It doesn’t matter what it is. Any will do.

Ball. (That’s a word that crossed my mind as I’m typing this)

Next, write down another word that is related to the first one. Basketball. (Ball was my first word)

Add a third word that is related to the second one. Lebron James. (Basketball was my second word)

Keep going until you can’t think of any related words anymore. Let’s say I got stumped at my fourth word. (LA Lakers)

Ball > Basketball > Lebron James > LA Lakers

Go back to the previous word and think of a new related word. (I go back to Lebron James)

GOAT. (A new word that relates to Lebron James)

Continue until you run out of words. Go back to the previous word if that happens. Repeat until you’re out of new words.

Ball > Basketball – Lebron James > LA Lakers > ???
Ball > Basketball > Lebron James > GOAT > beard > ???
Ball > Basketball > Slam Dunk! > ???
Ball > Volleyball > ???
Ball > ???

I can now come up with story ideas thanks to my finished mind map. Here are a few:

  • A manga where the main hero is trying to get in the NBA.
  • A great basketball player reincarnated as a goat.
  • A manga where there is a futuristic sport combining basketball and volleyball.

Mind mapping is a technique that helps you generate ideas. It’s typically used in business but I found it to be effective in creative endeavors too. However, the quality of ideas generated will depend on your ability to read between the lines. Do not look at a mind map literally! Let your creativity flow to get the best results.

Once you have selected a story idea we can now move on to the next step. Expanding that story idea.

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