LTUE Notes: From Idea to Story

Today’s selection of notes from LTUE comes from the presentation “From Idea to Story” by Jess Smiley, who is indeed a very smiley man. His presentation wasn’t very dense, but he’s an enjoyable guy and it was fun to listen to him. He’s a comic book artist, and his slides were full of great visuals. But this was also a very hard presentation to take notes on. Jess has posted a few handouts from his presentation online.

  1. Use mind maps. They let you make associations between ideas. They form a record of your thought process. And they let you make interesting idea combinations—great tool for creativity and idea generation.
  2. The note card method. Write down a beginning, a middle, and an end to a story, each on one note card. Three to five short, simple sentences. Then take each one of those, and write a beginning, middle, and end just for it. Continue expanding until you have a whole big story. You can shuffle the cards around.
  3. Practice safe design—use concepts. Concept for Jess’s comic series: Vampire + Loses Teeth + Last Witch on Earth. Upside Down: A Vampire Tale
  4. Make the process as fun as the finished product is supposed to be.
  5. The rough draft. This is what the whole story looks like. You work out the pacing, get to know the story better, and see what you’re up against.