How to Make Manga – Plan your Story
I was in line for the Gallery Nucleus‘ Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition opening night the other weekend with some friends and by 9 PM, gave up on the idea I would make it to any of their advertised events. Seriously, it was like a Hall H line around the block and through the parking lot! I wasn’t too bitter though (I had a yummy dinner at Noodle World nearby) and was delighted so many people and their kids showed up and wanted to be part of the celebration.
Before I left, in the course of our conversation my friend asked me, “Wouldn’t it be great to create something this culturally relevant?”
I’m sure everyone reading this would answer a resounding, “YES! Ofcourse!” (and if you deny it, I think you’re probably not being honest with yourself XD). Everyone wants their beloved stories and creations to be appreciated. The especially fortunate few like JK Rowling have innumerable fans who not only love her books, but also everything that has to do with the world she created. They expand her established world by creating their own kinds of art (fanfics, fanart, costumes) and form communities that share their love for her stories.
I’ve always felt much respect and admiration for the storytellers whose works inspire such devotion and creative frenzy. Joss Whedon’s works (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly) and LOST, are a few more of my favorite stories with similar kinds of following. On the manga side, Hiromu Arakawa’s stellar work with Fullmetal Alchemist makes me weak in the knees and Naoki Urasawa’s handling of Pluto was very emotional.
It is somewhat intimidating to start off loving these phenomenal blockbusters and then, to ask yourself “What do I do to create something like that?” but I’m getting to the point of this post and it’s this: At the heart of each of these successful dramatic stories are characters. You may love the Harry’s wizarding world or enjoy deconstructing the Island’s mysteries but you tuned in and you stayed for the characters.
Creating compelling, sympathetic and memorable characters and giving them rich, believable and interesting stories is no easy feat. It takes time, lots of work and patience. In today’s fast-paced world, those are becoming rarities.
I’m discovering this gradual, fairly maddening process myself as I work on even more drafts for my story. As I suffer my way through rewrites this week, I take a lot of comfort in the fact that apparently, JK Rowling spent over five years planning Harry Potter’s story before she even started writing her first book. It makes me believe in the writing process and helps me be patient as I try to usher my story to be the best it can be.
Yes, my stories may never even be a fraction of the ginormous successes like Rowling’s or Whedon’s but if I plan it right, and respect the processes these creators share, no one can say I didn’t give it my best shot.
Some links I just wanted to share this week:
What if Harry Potter were an anime – a technically stunning anime illustration featuring Harry Potter characters by this PIXIV artist.
Another one equally as impressive is this Harry Potter collaborative piece by Rem and Maximo Lorenzo.
A post comparing Harry Potter, Tohru Honda and their respective villains. Fun read!
And finally, a must-read post on a now infamous SDCC panel and the questions about female DC creators/characters. Over at Comics Alliance, Laura Hudson’s response is equally fascinating and well-written.