Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How To Build a Graphic Novel Story From Scratch, Part 3

After reading Part 1 and Part 2, you would have created the basic foundations for your graphic novel story. At this point, don't develop the story any further. Put that aside and create a new story, and another one, and another one. Try to come up with three or four story ideas over the course of a couple of weeks. When you're done, put them all aside. Go through the rest of the month not even thinking about them. In the meantime, watch a movie, catch up on your favorite series, or hang out with friends. Read comics. Anything.

You've done all the conscious work, that is, you've engaged your brain actively in the process of creation. By setting your story ideas aside and living your life normally, you're now letting your subconscious mind process all the ideas you've put down on paper. The subconscious mind works in pretty mysterious ways, making all sorts of weird connections between the story ideas you've come up with and all the other information it has stored in the past.

After two weeks or so, take out your story ideas and read through them. Which idea do you feel more attached to? Which idea gets you more excited? Which idea brings a new burst of ideas to make the original idea better? Which idea makes you say, "I think I know what will happen in the middle part." It's important to single out the idea that resonates the most with you because story development requires time and energy, so you need that one story idea that strikes you the most. It gives you a higher chance of sticking with it.

Here's an example: I came up with the idea for my play "Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady" in early 2012. I knew that I wanted to have a play about maids in the headquarters of a superhero team. (I had already been aware of Rex Navarrete's "Maritess and the Superfriends," a hilarious sketch, and I knew I wanted another direction.) I had written down bits of dialogue to jumpstart the process, but I didn't have a story yet. I didn't know what it would be about, less so where it would be going.

So, I set it aside. I didn't even think about it.

In early 2013, I revisited the concept, and wrote the entire one-act play in two weeks. (It will be staged in late-June during the 9th Virgin Labfest, a festival or original untested plays. The comics adaptation is already being drawn.)

I had lots of other story ideas shelved, but it was that story idea that resonated with me the most.

NEXT: Now that you've laid the groundwork for a beginning and an ending of a story you want to commit to, let's see how you  can begin to build the middle part of your chosen story.  That's in the next blog post. 

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