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Cliches that no one ever mentions

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Post #598226
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7:24 am, May 9 2013
Posts: 975


Hello! What makes you dislike a manga? What can make you put it down after one chapter? This thread is dedicated to zeroing in on those pet peeve elements. But no bad boys or lovesick girls - try to pick out things that aren't commonly mentioned.

I organized my thoughts in the below fashion, but feel free to just chat if you wish. Ulterior motives: I draw comics as a hobby and would like to get a better sense of "what to avoid" with story-making.

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When a mysterious character gives off a "cool/badass" vibe even when the readers aren't expected to understand why the character's cool/badass.

When it doesn't work: The character is arrogant, or too much screen time is dedicated to conveying the aura. Just give me reasons! Example: a lot of unpopular/bad shounen...

How to make it work: The character is acting completely natural and doesn't think it's a big deal, thus the "cool/badass" aura is natural too. Example: Noblesse.

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The "cheering squad" minor characters. They're intended to act as a foil to a very much superior protagonist.

When it doesn't work: They're largely useless and don't otherwise add to the plot. They spend most of their life in shock and awe, narrating the protagonist's life. Example: Gamble Fish. Filler characters in the Bleach anime...

How to make it work: They're still a foil, and they may be weak in comparison to the protagonist, but they have admirable strong points and contribute to the plot. Example: Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog. Maya's friends from Glass Mask.

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Any thoughts?

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Tripitaka
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10:00 am, May 9 2013
Posts: 458


In general, the reasons for me to drop a series are mostly the same as those for dropping a book or a film.

What annoys me to no end are poorly executed characterisations:
A character should be perceived in a certain way, e.g. funny.

How to fail:
Example: Otona no Yoru no Otogibanashi by TODA Megumi, Anata ni Hana o Sasagemashou by OHMI Tomu

Take a look at any cheap romance story. The characters talk nonstop about how great their love-interest is, but we never get to see him/her act these characteristics out. Or they are reduced to singular, idealistic traits. In other words, they are shallow.


How to do it right:
Examples: Otoyomegatari by MORI Kaoru, Yawarakai Onna by TOMI Akihito

Like tons of writers have already said: Show, don't tell! It is even more essential for drawing manga as you'll need this skill both for your narration and your drawings.

If you want to portray someone, you shouldn't put it in words. Just draw an action or a situation which shows him/her acting according to this designated character trait (e.g. a funny character should be seen and heard telling actual jokes or pulling pranks on people).

If you have to make others name this trait, be careful not to make it too obvious (rather than saying, "This person is funny.", you could make them laugh out loud and think, "That was a good one! I should memorise this joke.").

Learning to flesh out a character realistically isn't easy. The best way is to hone your observation skills first, because you can only depict what you have consciously perceived.

Theatres or good drama clubs are a great places to observe people. You can ask a small drama troupe to let you join their rehearsals. Or if you get the chance, try acting yourself. That way, you can learn how actors capture and develop human emotions which you can use as reference material for your manga later on.

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Another major off-putting aspect is bad narration or inconsistent story-telling:
When the plot is not told chronologically or has different kinds of narration, time skips, alternating point of views etc.. It is basically like a montage in literature.


How to fail:
Example: Seirei Gakusha Kidan Reikyou Kaden by HIGUCHI Daisuke

Either put random bits of the story together without showing any major connections or employ coincidental events that do not advance the plot or leave wide unexplained gaps between incidents or change your narrative pace deliberately... and you can still expect the reader to stay interested and to understand your manga at the same time.
NO! If you do this, your audience will only feel annoyed and start wondering, if there is a plot at all before they stop reading altogether.


How to do it right:
Examples: Usotsuki Mi-kun to Kowareta Ma-chan: Totteoki no Uso by IRUMA Hitoma/ SATOU Atsuki, Ichigo no Gakkou by SATOU Nanki/ KIZUKI Akira

Plan beforehand! Make a chronological concept for your whole plot including all story lines and characters, their backgrounds, actions and locations. Don't decide on a point of view until you've finished the planning. You can write the concept in the form of a list with an entry for each scene, or write a summary or whatever works for you.

Then shuffle your scenes in a way that seems intriguing to you. It's important to make sure that the order has some kind of logic which can be understood by someone who is not familiar with your story. Maybe you can ask a friend to read your concept after it's done. That way you can check if it's understandable. Otherwise, you'll have to rearrange it till it fits.

However, don't forget to choose an attention-grabbing scene for the beginning of your manga and to keep up the suspense throughout your plot (e.g. cliff-hangers at the end of a chapter):
1st Avoid narrating the same event twice in a similar manner; though, it's fine if you choose distinctively different narratives (e.g. different point of view) that complement the first mention.
2nd Build connetions between different story lines and drop off enough hints (e.g. foreshadowing) at these relations to keep the readers going.

For further reference study some dramatic theories. They might be a bit boring to read, but they're one reason why drama has been so successful for thousands of years.

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And last but not least, know your craft. Make sure you know how to panel properly. You can take a look at different camera positions, angles and shots used for filming to get a basic idea on how to use your panels. But you probably know that already, right?


I know it's a become a huge post, but I hope there was some useful information included. Good luck with your own comic!


Last edited by Tripitaka at 10:54 pm, May 1

________________
"Stories are what death thinks he puts an end to.
He can't understand that they end in him, but they don't end with him."
- Ursula K. Le Guin, Gifts


To be savoured:
- Blood Alone by TAKANO Masayuki
- Otoyomegatari by MORI Kaoru
- Gangsta. by Kohske
- Seishun Kouryakuhon by AKIZUKI Sorata
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