2 Things to Remember When You Are Looking for Story Ideas

This is the first in a series explaining my process for creating a comic from idea to page. I’ll be sharing any tips and tricks I learn along the way with you.

Are you having trouble coming up with an idea for your story? If so follow along as I show you how I developed the idea for my comic. Because if you don’t have an idea you can’t start creating your story.

I will be using the basic idea that I came up with years ago as a starting point. But because I removed, modified, and added a lot it will basically be brand new.

Great artists steal

Have you ever been surprised while researching and discover an idea you thought was a unique is not?

It may have actually come from something you have seen in the past without realizing it, ideas if ever is rarely solely your own.

So don't be afraid to combine the concepts you find interesting in stories you enjoy or even despise and make them better. A good example is when the creator of Hunter X Hunter Yoshihiro Togashi created Meruem. He was inspired by Cell from Dragon Ball Z but added his own touch and improved upon him.

Similarities of Meruem (left) from Hunter X Hunter and Cell (right) from Dragon Ball Z

Although stories you’ve read or watched is one of the easiest places to find ideas, be careful when taking inspiration from other works. If you don’t take care that it is used primarily as an influence it will become just a copycat. This is why I take and combine concepts from multiple stories. I’m an avid fan of manga and anime so most if not all my story concepts are inspired by other anime and manga.

Write what you know

We’ll want to weave these ideas from other stories with elements from your own life experience. Be vigilant of things going on in the world around you. Take from everything you consume: mass media, social media, and even your daily life.

Put your personal spin on it and make sure you take the good and bad emotions of that moment to use for your story. This is where journaling comes in handy — writing will become a creative and emotional outlet for you. So every opportunity you get you should be taking notes on life and anything that pops up in your mind as it can all become potential story material.

Up until recently I never thought of the world around me as a source of ideas. Now I’ve come to learn no one person lives the same life. This makes your perspective a vital component in creating a unique world. It will become almost like a personal story that you share with the world.

For me, I enjoy video games and have played sports and still watch them. Being a big part of my life I created and integrated eSport themes into the world.

Story concepts that will influence my comic

A great artist steals from many resources, not just one — building from the concepts of the world we live in. Here is an example using my idea. You can see how I took ideas from other stories I have read and watched and combined them with my life experiences:

  • I want to have over the top fights like Dragon Ball Z. Yet still easy to understand — by allowing readers to get inside the head of my characters as they strategize like Kenichi.
  • During fights I want characters to use the same source of energy for defense and offense like Infinite Stratos. This will add an extra dimension of strategy.
  • I didn’t want the strategy to end there so I wanted a somewhat complex ability mechanics. I had trouble coming up with a good way to do this until I watch Hunter x Hunter. So like what any good artist would do, I stole it.
  • The world itself takes a lot from the technology in Psycho-Pass, especially from its surveillance system. The technology advances similar to Gundam 00. Both opposing sides will one-up each other by advancing and stealing tech from one another.
  • My favorite part of Naruto and Claymore is that they control a beast that is apart of them that can go berserk. This will be the main lore of my story as the Cyber.Beast — the main component of my story will be placed in people. This gives them exceptional power but has the double-edged sword in that it has the potential of making its user berserk.
  • Given how important character development and interaction is in stories. I will do my best to take note from Steins gate and Gurren Lagann.
  • The way Gundam seed starts and ends with action is a simple yet effective method of keeping viewers engaged. So I will be sure to keep this in mind when I begin outlining the story.

Having all these sources of inspiration we don’t want the story to become a Frankenstein that’s a mashup of old ideas.

This shouldn’t be too much of a problem since everyone interprets what they read or watch differently. Because of this, most people will naturally use their own interpretation of concepts. But it can still happen so I like to make sure I take elements and not the whole story.

I also don’t take too much from stories I have recently seen or read. This allows me to have a more vague interpretation leaving more room to make idea babies and allow them to grow.

Final Thoughts

The main take away I learned while in the ideation phase is when ideas grow they can pop up anytime. So be prepared to take note of any ideas that will come to mind even if it means taking notes while you’re on the toilet. This includes any jokes or quotes you think of, since you never know what ideas you might want to put in in your story.

Although you can’t start creating your story if you don’t Idea. You also can’t write that story if you don’t have a world for it to take place in. You can’t create that world if you don’t have a concept.

I will be going into detail on my next post developing my idea and turning it into a concept. If you’re still having trouble coming up with an idea you are welcome to use mine as it’s creative commons licensed.

Web developer, science enthusiast, and aspiring webomic creator. Follow my journey as I create my first comic and share tips and tricks I learn along the way.