Where do great story ideas come from? That’s the exact topic we are going to be covering in this segment of the course. 
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Topic: Finding Your Great Idea

Email 2 (of 8)

Where do great story ideas come from?

That’s the exact topic we are going to be covering in this segment of the course. At the end of the course you will have a 4 page comic. Each page will have exactly 4 panels (individual comic cells/drawing). 16 panels is enough space for some kinds of stories but not for others—so your idea needs to be one that can fit within that space. How are you going to know if your idea fits? Let’s find out! Our first guest speaker, Mark Waid (Comics Writer of Daredevil, Superman, & more) is going to speak to just that in our first video for email 2: 

Mark Waid Brainstorming Interview

Click this link to go directly to a transcription for this video

Featured Materials

Below is a preview of some of the additional readings, videos, comics, and other resources to enhance your learning regarding this email’s topic. You can review these materials in full by going to the course landing page.

Luther by Mark Waid Short Comic
A short comic story by this email’s interview subject Mark Waid. It's about a man named Luther, whose job it is to help clean up zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.


A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O'Connor
This is a short story written by Flannery O'Connor in 1953 about a family who goes on a road trip, but doesn't go as well as they hoped. A great example of a short story.


The Humility of the Artist by Seth Godin
A written piece by Seth Godin, originally published on his blog. It points out the importance of humility and an artist's ability to take criticism in stride.


10 Things Before You Start A Comic Or Graphic Novel by Jason Brubaker
This reading explains how you can go about organizing a graphic novel project. It's written by Jason Brubaker, creator of "reMIND" and "Sithrah."


Where To Begin Your Story - Inspiration by Kevin Cullen
Author Kevin Cullen discusses where and how you can get ideas for what to write in your stories. This piece originally appeared on



Featured Activity

Activity: Your Story Idea


Provide a two paragraph description of your story. Make sure to include a beginning, middle, and end of the story. Within your writing make sure you indicate how the entire story will fit into only 4 pages of comic art (16 panels).

Story Idea Rubric
Use the rubric as a self-assessment guide to ensure you have created your story idea in line with what is expected or have a peer assess your work. 

When completed, tally up the amount of “Yes” answers (questions provided within the rubric) to see whether or not your story idea has room for improvement. You can then refine your work as needed.

0-1 = Poor
2 = Satisfactory
3 = Good
4 = Excellent

Activity Models

Student Activity Models
If you need inspiration look at the student models provided within the document above to see how others completed this assignment.

Next Steps

You’re at the end of this section of the course! Check your inbox for the next email



How To Cause A Brain TORNADO

Brainstorming is one element of the comics process that can be the most fun because it is so open-ended and just requires students to come up with ideas. But due to its open-endedness, it can also be a difficult step for some students—especially those that struggle with the concept that their first idea may not be their best one.  

Tips & tricks for troubleshooting common student issues during this section of the project are covered on the email 2 section of the “How To Make A Comic Book” Teacher’s Guide:
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