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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Source of Stories 2

Educational institutions are always looking for innovative ways to impart information to students, and I think you know what I'm getting at.

A graphic novel or a comics series geared towards supplementing classroom instruction is another offbeat way to break in, because you're primary objective isn't only to help teachers, but also to flex some writing muscles to come up with something engaging and entertaining.

The television series "Numb3ers" uses math as a central element in its plots, and it has somehow clicked with an audience. Moreso with that monolith CSI, which has become synonymous to any kind of investigation. "Hey, Martha broke up with her boyfriend but she ain't telling why. Let's do some CSI on it!" It has become a particular favorite among criminology students, as much as "Boston Legal," "Law and Order" and countless other law dramas have satisfied many a law student's appetites.

Following are some subjects/courses where you can possibly spin a story that can use real world information in your storytelling. The breadth of these subjects almost cries out for a comics series, but you can focus on specific topics within these subjects for a one-shot graphic novel.

A. History
B. Psychology
C. Law
D. Medicine
E. Philosophy
F. Genetics
G. Anthopology
H. Archaeology

The clincher here is research--it has to be thorough. And you as a writer would have to be insightful enough to make something of the facts you've researched. The last thing you'd want to do is replicate a textbook. The story is still the star, and your research should only make it shine brighter.

Your research should also include checking out the lesson plans of teachers and professors, so that you don't find yourself drowning in information you might not be able to use. Choose that part of a lesson plan that you as a writer find interesting, then rattle your brain into making it into an engaging story.

Another obstacle is getting a good word in from an authority. It's a good reason to go back to school and catch up with your former teachers. They might even be willing to help you out in locating research material, particularly the obscure ones. Take note, however, that while your prerogative is creating a good story, the teacher's prerogative is information. The finished product has to be legit enough. So you have to find a good middle ground between what you want and what the teacher is looking for.

When you're done with your plot summary, take the teacher out to lunch so you couold go over the material before to pound a script out. If you've done a good job, you can ask your teacher to refer a few colleagues you can cross-check with, as well as add to your customer network.

Your book marketing will benefit a lot from whatever positive feedback you get from the teachers you've worked with. Be sure to acknowledge them in your book, because "consultant" is a great addition to their resume.

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