Ask Boichi about Manga 7 – Writing a story


Writing a story

Hello Boichi-sensei,

My question is regarding your stories. How can you make a good script on your manga? Many people are good artists but they don’t understand how to make a good story flow.
Please any advice.

– Ulises Garcia

Hello, Ulises Garcia.

I sure know that writing the story is a difficult part of creating manga.
It’s very hard to create a good story.

I understand how much trouble you might have to write a good story and so you’re asking me for help but I’m in the same boat as you. I have the same problems you do.
In this case, I’m afraid my answer may not be of much help to you.
Lately, I’ve been working with Inagaki-sensei on Dr Stone. I receive his thumbnails every weeks and I’m in awe every time when I read his story. There are so many things to learn from him.
His story is absolutely amazing!!!

So I’ll just give you a simple advice I learned from Japanese manga circles.

First let’s think about drawing and art styles.
Many people are mistaken about drawing and arts skills when creating manga.
Especially those who have great drawing skills. They think that drawing skills are the main aspect of creating manga but that’s dead wrong.

Drawing is only a tool for storytelling.
And storytelling is a tool to the whole story.
And the story is a tool for the idea.
So everything starts with the idea.

Before you start to write the story, you first need to ponder on the idea more than on the story, only after that you can think over the script.
You need the right idea for the story.
That’s why creators must read many books and think hard about many things (like nature, history, human beings, religion, etc…). What interests you and makes you wonder in your life.
And don’t only study and think about these solely to write the story you want to write.
I mean, these topics are very interesting subjects in your life, right?

So my advice is before starting to write the story, first think about the idea and theme which you want to put into your work.
If you can put the idea and the theme in the story maybe some will say “hey, this is boring” but some people will read it and they may agree or even think about your idea. That’s when I’d say your work succeeded.

I’d like to share with you one more thing I learnt when working weekly.
Because we are colleagues, right?

As I told you, I believe the story is the tool to telling the idea.
And in the story, the exploding parts are the climax and ending.
It means that you need to write the ending of the story at the same time you start to write its beginning.

I believed that was the greatest way to keep writing a good story.
But when I started to work weekly, my editors gave me an advice and told me “You don’t have to write the climax and ending before starting every chapter.”

The first time I heard about this, I refused their advices.
But when working on ongoing manga, especially with weekly, rather than leading by defining a story, the right way is to set an idea first and then start to write each chapter (episode).
The writing technique that serializes a good and smooth story even without a definite direction.
That is what I learnt and I think it’s a great skill in Japanese manga circles.

I hope this will be helpful to you.
I hope I’ll be able to read your story one day in this same line of work.
Good luck to you!

– Boichi

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