The Lost Ideas Universe

Mimi Onuoha

My thesis is the tale of three teenagers who discover that because of their Igbo heritage, they have supernatural abilities (or so they think).


My thesis is a story that is told across a variety of media, including websites, a short story, and a mobile app.

There once was a fifteen-year-old girl named MC. MC lived in Texas, but her ancestors came from a small village in southern Nigeria. MC's ancestors all had personal gods that guided, protected, and strengthened them, and because of this heritage, MC was different. She had a special power and a unique ability that could change the world....Or so she thought.

My research came in two parts: research for the story and research for the way the story would be told. For the former, I read many books about Nigeria, and more specifically about the life and religion of the Igbo people who lived centuries ago. I also spoke to Nigerians to learn more about their lived experiences; the majority of this personal research began with talking to my dad.

For the second part, I looked at the history of transmedia pieces and tried to determine what made such things successes or failures (with both terms used loosely). I found a great deal of this research through the work of media producers and researchers Andrea Phillips and Henry Jenkins, but I also spoke and met with people who are currently working in the field as well.

Transmedia is not something new to us--nowadays, it is common for movies to have websites that provide supplementary material, or for books to include online games that serve as marketing devices. But I sought to create a world where all of those pieces would contribute to one greater story, and where each medium would be equally important.

Target audience for most of the pieces are young adults, but I do think that there are themes throughout the series that are applicable to a broader audience.

User Scenario
Read. Watch. Use. Enjoy.

I sought to create a short story, websites, and a mobile application.

As for production, The short story was the piece that was easiest to produce in terms of my already knowing and understanding the tools I was using. The mobile app was another story. I initially began it using Java and the Eclipse programming environment to make an Android app; by the end, I carted that app over to PhoneGap and finished the process there. For the website, I used the d3 javascript library for the visualizations and Python and the MongoDB library for the website and database.

Next steps for my thesis: edit, review, and publish everything. I'd like to submit the story to be published, and set the app loose in the app store. I'm interested to see how people react to all the pieces when they can actually view the whole story the way it's designed to be presented.

Conclusion 1: It is smarter to make a thesis that is a product designed to solve a problem, something with an arc that makes sense and is easily intelligible. This type of process is much better-suited to the thesis process, because people find it tangible and easy to understand. Having said that, I'm glad that I set out to do something a little different (which leads me to my next conclusion).

Conclusion 2: Trust your instincts. They are usually right, or more importantly, right for you.