Eisner gives us several “methods” for coming up with different story ideas. The first, and perhaps most prominent is the “What If?” method (pg 76). Eisner elaborates on this method stating that, unlike other methods that focus on and draws from experience and reality, the What If method is unique in that it focuses something entirely different: the fabrication of a problem. Essentially, this what comprises most forms of fiction. This is because the What If method doesn’t necessarily have to stand up to scientific scrutiny and the principles of reality. Things in this type of idea/story are that way simply because it enables the narrative.
Story from the Idea:
Once you have a general idea what happens in the narrative you must figure out what type of story can be told through that idea. The What If idea type is the foundation of fiction and therefore can be the host of nearly any type of story, whether it be a “Telling a Life” story (pg 37) by focusing on the events of a intergalactic monk like in Star Wars, a “Symbolic” story by comparing opposing forces of good and evil such as in The Gunslinger, or even a “How-To” story like moral teachings of old fables.
Keeping their Attention:
Ultimately there are only four ways of keeping the attention of the reader and those are to make the characters deep and interesting to bond with, make the setting unique and fascinating to learn about, make the plot exciting to follow, or make the graphics visually stunning and fun to watch/read/look at. There are multiple styles and ways to accomplish this and they vary greatly from genre to genre.