Hey there internet friends… Or so I would like to consider my peers in anime analysis.
I have put some thought into the idea of writing my own novel, or rather writing a series of unrelated novels. You hear about young people writing their own books all the time these days, and regardless of whether or not you deal with a publishing company, it seems to be a hassle. Writing your own book comes with it’s pros and cons, (which I will discus below) but in general, it seems to be worth the wait.
I’ll share my thoughts on writing books, as well as samples of the “books” I have started to write, and you share yours. Fair trade. 🙂
First I want to establish some respect for the people who actually get their books published, as it can be a very difficult process.
I actually know someone (or rather they are a friend of mine) who has written and (as far as I know) tried to publish a book she wrote. For purposes of privacy she will be known as “Shelly”. Although I have only read so far as the premise, it is an imaginative fantasy novel, including themes such as self image and inner strength. Shelly wrote this 120+ page book over the course of her freshmen and sophomore years in high school, and then for the second part of sophomore year she contacted publishing companies and editors in an attempt to get her writing out to the world.
Now we are (second semester) seniors in high school and she has still not had the chance to get her book published. I had a chat with Shelly the other day and she told me that she was going to take a stab at self publishing. Years after she came up with the idea, wrote the book, and edited it, she is still notable to get it out in the world. As you can see, the world of publishing is not one that is very forgiving, especially to young, inexperienced writers.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about writing (aka the beginning process anyone can do)!
Before you even get to the publishing, you have to come up with an story idea. I tend to be pretty good about this part of the process. I have started about four or five stories, but I have never written more than ten pages or so for each. It is so easy to use a worn out premise, perhaps thinking yours will be different from the rest. On the other hand, trying to think of something completely new is impossible. The only way to achieve writing a creative story is to mix up already existing ideas, and incorporate your own experience.
The premise, general character information/design, and writing style can be incredibly hard to keep at a constant. Shortcuts make it easier to get all your ideas out for the finale, but create a final product that is lacking. There is a weird balance you have to reach, which is centered around keeping a healthy pace. Like anything, you can burn out and then drop the series (as I have done so many times), or you can put it to the back of your mind until you lose interest entirely. The healthy pace is dependent on the writer, so I certainly can’t tell you what the best thing to do is.
I might as well share my various ideas over the years:
“A story about a man named Shinbou, who has been engineered to be genetically “perfect”. Because the researchers fear his great intellect, incredible strength, and absolute superiority, they lock him away underground to research him to profit from their fame. Smart enough to realize this, Shinbou protects himself by abandoning his humanity (empathy) and rejecting almost all human contact. The only person that Shinbou will tolerate is a male researcher named John Runzel, who is somewhat of a childhood friend. One day, a young girl from America named Rika Murphy, one of the only females to be involved in the program, joins the research team to teach Shinbou english. It comes to a surprise to the researchers when Shinbou accepts Rika. Rika, Shinbou, and John become close and are soon caught up in a storm of events in a story that tests their friendship and challenges their will to survive. How will they rebel against and survive in a politically and socially corrupt world?”
Shinbou (8 pages)
Shinbou is the most recent of my story ideas, as well as the one that I might decide to pursue. As of now, I have no idea how I am going to end it. The scenes I have written about include: the moment Shinbou was conceived, how John and Shinbou became friends, Rika’s introduction, and four months after they escape. Shinbou is very sharp and intelligent, but very sensitive, while John is also sensitive, but a little rough around the edges. Rika on the other hand is naive, but a kind person with a rigid moral compass. The novel will deal with societal issues around genetic engineering, as well as moral confliction surrounding murder, drugs, and other difficult topics. I also want to work in some general romantic undertones. I am really excited about this and I want to finish it, so let’s hope I get my shit together! I started this January 2016.
“Tobio and Oberon are princes from neighboring kingdoms. One day, the daughter of a nobleman enters Oberon’s castle. Tobio and Oberon are immediately stricken with yearning for the beautiful young Stella. The three become and grow as friends, despite the love triangle (and rifts) forming among the members of their friend group. At the height of tension, Tobio betrays his the feelings of his childhood friends by forcing Stella into becoming his wife, and the Queen of Tobio’s country. Oberon takes steps to secure Stella, and Stella takes steps to secure her own freedom. What will become of these three childhood friends?”
Catharsis (2 pages)
I am not a huge fan of romance, namely because every one I have watched has been lacking in a strong female lead. It is one thing to be a little prickly, but it is another thing to be a tsundere. I feel like a lot of tsunderes have great potential to be good characters, but are often ruined by over-characterization, or being a complete weakling once broken. I am making a female lead worth of the “strong female in anime” title. Stella is crazy for (and becomes weak around) Oberon. Stella is quite, precise, and has a sharp tongue. She gets along really well with Tobio (is his best friend). Oberon is a large, physically strong man with a cold, hard life policy. He is conflicted about betraying Tobio, but he likes Stella. Tobio much weaker than Oberon, in both physicality and in his expansive empathy. Tobio is willing to devote his entire life to Stella. I mean for this story to be very dramtic, and laced with theatrical detail, and full of genuine feeling and romance. I’ll spoil it a little that Tobio is my favorite, so he is going to be the “best” person. So far, I have only only written the climax, but I know what is going to build up. For the mean time, I have not closed this project. I started this December 2015.
“A story surrounding the events that take place in an organization called GTEK. The company, GTEK, is responsible for genetically enhancing chosen (by physical and mental prowess) children. These children are then enlisted into a corporation called Double Helix, which used to function as a terrorist group for the Capital. After a bombing incident, the Capital and central government fell to another group (Shiraigan), and now Double Helix is a survival corp that teaches the next generation the skills they need to survive. Mikarin is a platoon leader, and Daisha is her newest student. During a training exercise (while she was showing him the ropes) they encounter an attack. Dragged to the enemy side, they encounter other political/social views, and are forced to face their own morality.”
Double Helix (4 pages)
I have since closed this project. I originally came up with this idea because I liked the name Daisha, and I had just got my cat Mia (I call her Mika) so I wanted to write about her. I had not thought about the premise very much, and only focused on trying to make the series epic. Mikarin is supposed to be tough, but kind at heart, and Daisha is naive and easily manipulated, but crafty when it counts. I wanted this story to be very psychological and gory, but I lost interest too quickly. I started this November 2014
So as you can see, my ideas in writing have become more well rounded and now aim to accomplish saying something about the world. The more anime I watch, the better I get at constructing a story that hasn’t been seen before.
I also have some ideas that I have not started writing on yet, but I feel are worth it to share. Keep in mind that these are very open to your opinion and suggestion.
My first idea is to write a story that somewhat mirrors the works of Dante. The Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso are all works of Dante, and explore the vast expanse of what makes up hell, purgatory, and heaven. These three come together to be know as the Divine Comedy. I am also in a philosophy class, which analyzes the Divine Comedy in the context of ancient philosophy. I want to take these ideas of the nature of sin, virtue, happiness, and the existence of God, angels, demons, to create a work drowning in philosophy. In particular, I want more accurately characterize Lucifer, as well as human nature. Though Lucifer would be the focus, I would be the main characters, or rather Lucifer would be seen through my own eyes. I also plan to bring this idea into a school setting, and adapt everything that happens into a school scenario. A suggested title was Lucifer’s Angel.
“Akio is just another person in the crowd. No one knows too much about him, as if he just appeared out of nowhere. One day, a young girl named Samantha (Sam) transfers to his school, and the two meet by coincidence. As their lives begin to intertwine, Sam is soon faced with a choice: get to know this flawed boy and abandon her morality, or to forsake Akio and aim to have a normal high school life.”
I also wanted to make something for my friend who is having troubling thoughts, and has to take medicine for it. Again, this story would be (in part) an account of my personal experiences. For this story, the main character (let’s call him Declan) suffers from depression, but meets someone from his work (me) who teaches him about life and how he should live. I will edit some of the details and even try and incorporate my own sense of comedy to try and balance the dark themes of this anime. I have yet to come up with a title for this.
“A story about loving who you are. Declan is a troubled high school boy; he suffers from depression and one day gains the desire to kill himself. Motivated by the notion that life might get better if he had more money, Declan takes up a summer job, where he meets a strange girl named Aria. Aria is the older sister of an old friend, but takes interest in Declan, and reaches out to him. Compelled by her unusual personality and strange comfort, Declan reaches back to her, not knowing what lies beneath her facade. What dark secrets does Aria’s heart hold? Will she be able to save him from the depths of self-hatred?”
As you can see, I have a lot of different ideas, some of which are better thought through than others. Looking at all these, it seems I have developed a liking towards scenarios with dark themes and troubled characters. This is, too, reflected in my taste in anime.
No matter what you want to write about, I think the hardest thing can be to get all your ideas translated onto paper. Wording can trip you up, and make it difficult to get your point across. I found that the more scenarios I wrote, the more shortcuts I took in explaining, the more the scenarios started sounding cheesy/gaudy.
Well that is all I really have to say, regarding writing your own book and/or story.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my little rant! Feel free to share your thoughts below!