Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Don't Underestimate the Power of the One-Shot


As a writer,  I constantly find myself creating snippets of work. There’s a manga idea here, an unfinished script there, halfway done blog posts... Eventually I hit the point where I sit back and think,  "Is there any use for this stuff, or will I continue adding to the stack of unfinished ideas? "

This can especially become an issue when it comes to writing manga because to create one takes a lot of time and effort.  Since I want to make absolutely sure that the manga I’m creating is a story that I love and can stick with for awhile,  it's easy for me to write a little bit  and then quit because it just isn't “The One.”

There's nothing wrong with going through a bunch of story ideas and half done scripts until you find what works. That's part of the process. But those unfinished ideas don't have to just sit there and be bored. If you take a moment to look through your idea stash, you could find some recyclable bits. One great way to recycle ideas is to create a one-shot.

One-Shot Definition: One-shot manga tells its entire story in 15-60 pages, usually written for contests, and sometimes later developed into a full-length manga series (much like a television pilot).

Via Wikipedia

One-shots are wonderful because they’re a perfect outlet for stories that are likable, but not commitment worthy. The one-shot that I’m currently working on is in a totally different genre than what I’m used to, but it doesn’t feel intimidating because I know that the story will be short. I have room to experiment without feeling tied to it. The feeling of no commitment that comes from creating a one-shot is also good for those who are just starting out with creating graphic novels because they’re not as overwhelming.

On top of that, making a story idea into a one-shot is a good way to see if it’s simply a short story, or a story that you would enjoy elaborating on and making into a series. Sometimes, it’s like, “I would never make this into a novel,” but after doing a one-shot, you find that you might like it more than you thought.

It’s funny that here I am writing about how great one-shots are when I don’t like reading them. Every time I finish one, I feel like the story has ended way too soon. I want to read more!

And there lies the major power of the one-shot. It can make people want to read more of your work because that short piece simply wasn’t enough. The goal of every graphic novelist should be getting people addicted to what they write, and a good one-shot can be quite a tease.

So if you have a stash of ideas, start looking through it! There may be a really awesome one-shot hidden in there.