Catch the Attention of Your Readers
Having a good story is key for a manga. And if in addition you can catch the attention of your readers, then your manga has a good chance to be a success.
This article will show you a few techniques to actually achieve this.
Why shall my story catch the attention of the reader?
You might already have spotted how the same story told by different people might sound different. Some people will make the story sound bland, while others will make it exciting. This is all related to the storytelling skills of the speaker.
The same applies to manga. A good story with a bad storytelling technique will be boring to read. And for one thing, as a mangaka, you don’t want you readers to quit reading in the middle of your story. You them to devour every page of the chapters of your manga and be eager to read the following ones.
And to catch the attention of your readers you have to create expectation.
I gave a hint on this in my article on how to write an outline for your manga story, but I will go more in details and practice in this article.
Creating expectation is making the readers eager to know what’s coming next, make them wonder:
- Where is the character going?
- How will he/she answer?
- What’s this dark shadow?
- Will this kick knock-out the enemy?
- How will this end? I think it’s gonna be fun…
The principle is basically to trigger questions at the end of your turn pages (the pages you have to turn to see the next two pages) or at the end of your chapters (if your story is spread over multiple chapters), so that the reader will be looking forward for the answer on the next page or in the next chapter.
Let’s see that principle in practice. Read these two scripts, and see which of them triggers the more questions for you and make you wait for the next episode?
- The hero is fighting the villain. After a long fight, the hero finally gathers his last forces and punches the villain as hard as he could. This astounding blow sends the villain to the ground, unconscious. The battle was won. – to be continued
- The hero is fighting the villain. After a long fight, the hero finally gathers his last forces, now ready to punch the villain as hard as he can. – to be continued
Alright, if I guess your answer correctly, you should have chosen the second one.
The reason, as we have seen just above, is that the second example makes you expect the continuation of the fight, asking yourself questions like: Will that be the final blow? Will the villain dodge? …
You might not be able to do it every turn-page, but I would say doing it every 4 to 6 pages is good. This will allow your story to keep the momentum. And of course try to do it systematically at the end of each chapters if your story spreads over several chapters.
It is this mechanism which creates expectation and tension in the mind of the readers and makes them like your manga. If you fail in doing so, readers might start turning pages and look ahead to see when they can expect something interesting. First the next 2 pages, then the ones after, and then the end of the story or chapter. If the readers can’t find what they were looking for in these pages, they will start questioning the interest of your manga and the time spent reading it.
Tips and tricks to trigger expectation
You can trigger expectation in different manners:
- By explicitly asking a question that will resonate in the readers mind and make him wish to have the answer. For instance, a character asking himself: “Who did this?” looking at a scene, and therefore making the readers wondering the same.
- By indicating that something big is about to happen, but delaying the what. For instance, by saying as a narrator: “Today is a great day, because…”
- By splitting the scene in the middle of an action. For instance: “After hours waiting, he finally comes out of the gymnasium. She takes a deep breath and steps in his way.”
- By introducing something mysterious. This can be for instance the sudden arrival of a dark shadow or of a foreign object. This can also be a sentence coming from someone unknown outside of the panel, or characters reacting at the sight of someone unknown outside of the panel…
I’m pretty sure there are many other ways to catch your readers attention and to create this expectation. Look at your favourite manga and observe the last panels of each turn pages, or of each chapters, and you will quickly notice these mechanisms.
For instance, have a look at these pages from the manga Mairimashita Iruma-kun: https://mangamad.com/mairimashita-iruma-kun/chapter-62-devilish-studies
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you found interesting.
Do not hesitate to comment and ask question to help improve it.