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How To Write Stories #3: Advanced Story Structure

This is the third entry in a series on how to make your own web manga. The story structure we came up with in the previous post is good enough that we can start drawing. However, you might want to expand it more so your story will have polish. Here’s a look at our current story:  
As previously mentioned, a basic story structure is composed of a beginning, middle, and end. An advanced story structure meanwhile has a: Beginning Beginning (that’s not a typo)
Middle Beginning
End Beginning Beginning Middle
Middle Middle
End Middle Beginning End
Middle End
End End Confusing isn’t it? It will start to make sense once you realize what’s going on. We are just taking our 3 main parts (beginning, middle, end) and adding another 3 parts to each one. Beginning gets its own (beginning, middle, end) Middle also gets a (beginning, middle, end) and the same thing happens with End. Let’s see it in action.   Beginning Beginning
Takeji is a nerdy highschool boy. He’s quite tall and gets bullied for it constantly. This makes him want to quit school.   Middle Beginning
The bullies who usually give Takeji trouble are 4 boys from the school swimming club. Their leader is a boy named Kaiba. One day during gym class, Kaiba steals Takeji’s shoes without him noticing. He then hides it somewhere leaving Takeji no choice but to walk home on barefoot.   End Beginning
Because of this latest act of bullying, Tajeki no longer wants to go to school. He cries and begs his parents to let him drop out. He would start looking for work instead. His parents eventually give in and agree that in a week he would be stopping school.   Beginning Middle
On his last day, Takeji bumps into a transfer student named Hayato who is also tall. Hayato asks if he plays basketball. Takeji says he has never even heard of the sport. 
Shocked, Hayato shows him an NBA game.   Middle Middle
Lying in bed that night Takeji couldn’t sleep. He was thinking about the basketball game Hayato showed him. For reasons he didn’t know, he wanted to play basketball. The next day he shocks his parents telling them he wants to continue school. He then finds Hayato who agrees to teach him the game of basketball.   End Middle
While training, Takeji surprises Hayato by telling him he wants to try out for the school basketball team. When Hayato asks why? Takeji says he wants to make it to the NBA and play against the best players in the world.   Beginning End
Takeji and Hayato sign up for the upcoming tryout. There they meet 2 players from the school basketball team named Shinzo and Chinatsu. Shinzo is surprised as to why the nerdy Takeji wants to try out for the team. He then warns him that he would soon regret his decision.   Middle End
The tryout begins. Takeji and Hayato pass the first 3 cuts and are on the final one. The final cut pits aspiring members against the school’s basketball players. It’s an intense game as Shinzo matches up with Takeji.   End End
Takeji and Hayato make the final cut and are now official members of the team. Takeji also earns Shinzo’s respect. But deep inside Takeji knows he barely made the team and realizes he has a long way to go.

How To Write Stories #2: Story Structure

This is the second entry in a series on how to make your own web manga. Now that you have a story idea we can start expanding it. For the sake of continuity, let’s say my chosen story idea is:
We have an idea. Not a story. In its current form, it’s useless. It doesn’t give us much information. We have to take it from concept to actualization. We can do this by adding structure. Basic Story Structure
Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Think of your favorite movie, book, or anime. They all have that. It’s what separates a good story from a bad one. Stories that don’t follow this tend to be incomplete and confusing.   Beginning
Takeji is a nerdy highschool boy. He’s quite tall and gets bullied for it constantly. This makes him want to quit school.   Middle
One day he meets a transfer student named Hayato who is also tall. Hayato shows him an NBA game. This motivates Takeji to learn the sport of basketball. With Hayato’s help he gets ready to try out for his school’s basketball club.   End
Takeji makes the cut and is accepted into the club. However, he also realizes how far he is from making it into the NBA. He has a lot to improve on first. This was only the first step of his long journey.   Try reading this story again but skip the middle part. Confusing isn’t it? Club? What club? He wants to make it in the NBA? But why? I thought he wanted to quit school? Try reading it without the end part. It feels unfinished right? It makes you want to know what happened next. Was that it? That’s the whole story? Did he make his school’s basketball club?   What is the “Beginning” for?
This is where you do the introductions. Where does your story take place? Show the time period and setting. Reveal the main character and side characters. Give a taste of what people can expect.   What is the “Middle” for?
This is where you tell your story. This part will be longer than the beginning and end. The climax (highlight) of the story takes place here. The middle is the part that people find the most exciting.   What is the “End” for?
This is where you wrap things up. And provide a satisfying ending. You can also setup a sequel here. Like what I did in my example. Your story’s message should have already been delivered at this point.   Our story idea has now been transformed into a complete story. Albeit a very short story. Next stop is to flesh it out some more.

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   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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