KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 07/24/15)

WORDS WORDS WORDS
User avatar
Fardels
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:47 am

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by Fardels » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:05 am

I have some suggestions on your process... I have many of the same problems with editing.

1. Lose the schedule. Any material presented anywhere for any purpose suffers (sometimes editorially - sometimes in quality and plot too) when a schedule becomes an important consideration.
2. Editing your own stuff is daunting, annoying, and usually inefficient, for the reasons you state. You can cut the error rate by reading the thing out loud. If you have to gasp for breath, the sentence is too long. If you think "WTF does that mean?" as you verbalize, so will everybody else. You will notice more inconsistencies, word duplications, and anachronisms by reading to your dog or the orchid, or whatever. When you're through with that, read it (silently) backwards. It makes you read what you wrote instead of what you think you wrote. These are not new ideas nor especially attractive, but they work. And if you can find somebody to copyedit a bit for you, do so. I'd still do the above, because copyeditors aren't perfect either, but you will get a better story. It still won't be perfect, because nobody does perfect. Forgive yourself for the occasional meep that remains - if you've done due diligence, it's easier.
3. Editing will take lots of time, but it's a fundamental to a good story. It also gives you one last chance to come up with a brilliant idea. It's almost impossible to figure out the time it will take to edit a given piece (because each piece has different flaws) and it cuts into your creativity time, which is frustrating. Do it anyway. It is especially important in fan fic in general and in this forum in particular - many readers are eagle-eyed, passionate, and knowledgeable. That makes point #1 even more important. It's baked when it's baked.

As with any of my advice, I speak of my intentions, not always my actions. I wish success to you and your story, whatever success turns out to be. And by the way, if you spend just a little time defining what you want out of your work, you will have a better chance of getting it.

HoneyBakedHam
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:13 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Also, didnt Emi suggest a picnic in her route?
Uh, yes, but that was during her route which ends towards the end of July - and the picknick is two weeks after the festival which would put it towards the end of the rainy season in Japan: warm but with a risk of rain - like depicted in the VN.
If we're talking about the one at the park, I don't think it's end of July. If you meant June, then yeah, seeing as the festival was on June 12th (I'm going off of when Lilly and Hisao run into Rin the Friday night before the festival).

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6059
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:28 am

I wrote that her route ends at the end of July.
Hisao arrives at Yamaku June 4th, which makes the festival June 10th and the picknick two weeks after that June 24th.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

HoneyBakedHam
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:21 pm

Yeah, I reread what you said. I read it as you saying the pinic was at the end of July.

OneManArmy77
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by OneManArmy77 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:50 pm

Fardels wrote:I have some suggestions on your process... I have many of the same problems with editing.

1. Lose the schedule. Any material presented anywhere for any purpose suffers (sometimes editorially - sometimes in quality and plot too) when a schedule becomes an important consideration.
2. Editing your own stuff is daunting, annoying, and usually inefficient, for the reasons you state. You can cut the error rate by reading the thing out loud. If you have to gasp for breath, the sentence is too long. If you think "WTF does that mean?" as you verbalize, so will everybody else. You will notice more inconsistencies, word duplications, and anachronisms by reading to your dog or the orchid, or whatever. When you're through with that, read it (silently) backwards. It makes you read what you wrote instead of what you think you wrote. These are not new ideas nor especially attractive, but they work. And if you can find somebody to copyedit a bit for you, do so. I'd still do the above, because copyeditors aren't perfect either, but you will get a better story. It still won't be perfect, because nobody does perfect. Forgive yourself for the occasional meep that remains - if you've done due diligence, it's easier.
3. Editing will take lots of time, but it's a fundamental to a good story. It also gives you one last chance to come up with a brilliant idea. It's almost impossible to figure out the time it will take to edit a given piece (because each piece has different flaws) and it cuts into your creativity time, which is frustrating. Do it anyway. It is especially important in fan fic in general and in this forum in particular - many readers are eagle-eyed, passionate, and knowledgeable. That makes point #1 even more important. It's baked when it's baked.

As with any of my advice, I speak of my intentions, not always my actions. I wish success to you and your story, whatever success turns out to be. And by the way, if you spend just a little time defining what you want out of your work, you will have a better chance of getting it.
For the schedule, I can assure you that there is no real schedule. I simply ask when people can get it out by, and it just happens. I actually make sure all of my writers understand that however long the piece is, however long it takes to write it well, THAT is the amount of time its gonna take. As such, I leave it up to them to give it to me whenever they have the chapter done.

Trust me, we are well aware of the editing process. I actually worked for a year and a half as chief editor on a large League of Legends related blog and use many of the same editing techniques. I will say that creative writing editing has never been my forte due to the fact that the format can differ widely as opposed to neat and organized essays and analysis. Much easier to work with an argument than an idea for editing purposes.

We have each of our writers work to vet the piece before releasing it, but when it comes to creative elements, we bring them up in chat and talk about how to make them better and integrate the ideas. As with this last part, I actually shared many of the critiques shared here, but (and I dont want to sound like I am throwing Xilirite under the bus) after talking it over, he had his reasons and I ultimately leave the choice up to the writer. If you read through his piece, for the most part, the issues are with character portrayal, as Xilirite mentioned himself. I could swing my weight around and force him to change it, but that isnt the point of this project, since its also supposed to allow the writers creative freedom to make their own decisions. I can say though, that I will be watching a little more carefully in the future, and the other writers have agreed to edit more thoroughly as well.

Thank you for the good advice and for taking such an interest!

OneManArmy77
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by OneManArmy77 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:51 am

Hey folks, since Dwarf isnt quite feeling well, I am posting his section for him today. Based on your responses to the poll, the majority of you selected choice B. Like last time, please vote on the strawpoll for your vote to count. We hope you enjoy!

Cherry Blossoms Part 3

By Dwarf

Innocence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y6DNQdlxNo

"It was my fault that happened. I'm sorry..."

As soon as the words leave my mouth, Hanako pulls her hand back and looks somewhat ashamed. She shakes her head and begins to pour out her thoughts, "No… It's my f-fault too, Hisao. I shouldn't have reacted like that just b-because you were worried. I-I worry about you too sometimes, so it's my fault for what happened."

A confused tone takes hold, "But, I was the one who pushed you to talk about something you didn't want to." My hand still hasn't retracted, and Hanako slowly moves her own hand forward, her fingertips gently brushing against mine.

She seems to find her resolve and continues, "I know that I need to b-be thinking about what's after Yamaku… but I'm s-scared. I have ideas, but I don't know if they'll work. That's why I haven't stuck with anything yet."

I walk over to Hanako to pull her in for a hug, which she promptly accepts. She's talking into my chest at, but she's still understandable, "I don't know what to do…"

Looking directly into her amethyst eyes, my confidence begins to rise. "I’m here for you if you need me, you know."

The embrace ends and she looks defeated, in a way. "I know."

Hanako begins to fidget with her sleeve and her eyes look every which way, except to meet my own gaze. It's a clear sign she wants to say something, but is finding difficulty in doing so. Finally, she musters the fortitude to start, "H-Hisao? I'm not sure if I can go to the festival on S-Sunday."

I can't help but be taken back by what she said, especially by how she said it. "But you told me how much you were looking forward to it all of last week." Hanako also said how she wanted to play the games there with me, but I decide to not add that.

Her fidgeting continues. "I know… it's just that I'm not f-feeling that well and I’m not sure I should g-go."

There's a clear tone of worry in my voice, "Do you want me to get the Nurse? Or pick up something at the store?" It's unusual that she'd call something off so soon, especially when there's still plenty of time for her condition to improve.

She shakes her head in response. "N-No, I'll be okay. Natsume and Naomi said they needed me on Sunday to do extra work."

It's too difficult to hold back my thoughts now. "If you still aren't feeling well, shouldn't you call off the newspaper club work too? I just want to make sure you're okay."

Another shake of her head, this time somewhat faster. "We s-sit still for the most part, so I think I'll be okay with that." A pause follows, but her voice sounds considerably more melancholy when she starts again, "I'm really sorry… I wanted to spend the day with you, but I don't think I'll be very good c-company… and I have other work."

I simply don't know how to respond appropriately, so the only answer I can commit to easily is a nod. Something between a smile and a frown appears on her face, it's difficult to tell what it is. Thankfully, she slowly walks over to me and pulls me into a tight embrace, fairly typically of Hanako. And just like every other time, I throw my arms around her back and pull her close to myself. We remain like this for a few moments before I feel Hanako attempting to break off.

Her expression certainly is more cheerful now, but her voice hasn't changed as much. "Thank you, H-Hisao." A majority of the worry inside me has melted away, making the situation far less tense. "Okay, I'll see you later." A simple 'Okay' is all I hear before I leave her room and close the door.

Her reasons for not planning on coming to the festival are odd, to say the least. There's something she's not telling me, but with what's happened recently, I think I should just wait for now. It's awfully late and I'd prefer to not deal with the consequences for ignoring the curfew.

School Days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEfuAH2LUxg

The school day starts with Mutou entering the room mid-sentence, emphasizing the importance of some specific chemical reaction and how it's used in today's society. As far as I'm concerned, it's something I already know and this is all merely review. With a bit of luck, Mutou won't notice my unusual lack of interest.

As far as I'm concerned, the troubles Hanako and I are having are far more important than chemistry right now. Yet… there's nothing I can do about that. Hanako's in class right now, seemingly paying much more attention to the lesson than I am. Maybe it's just her way of getting all of the stress off her mind, even if only temporarily.

Mutou's voice is completely drowned out an onslaught of daydreams. My mind wanders, as thoughts of everything, including those concerning my relationship with Hanako, race through to the tune of chemical equations. I don't know how long it lasts, but it was long enough for Misha, or maybe Shizune, to notice. Misha's tangerine click pen is apparently all that's needed to grasp my attention and tear me away from my reverie.

Without even looking away from the board slowly filling with problems to see the source of the noise, Mutou 'raises' his voice. "Please keep quiet, Mikado."

A stifled yelp from the pink-haired culprit is all that follows. Though, before long, she tosses a note in my general direction, barely landing it on the edge of my desk. The two of them are wondering if anything is wrong and if I'd like to help make final preparations for the festival tomorrow. While the answers are in actuality different, I decide to keep it simple and write back 'No' to both. When Shizune reads it, a melancholy expression briefly appears on her face, followed by what can only be described as a furious one, presumably because I've once again refused to help the Student Council. I'm in no mood to deal with their shenanigans, even if they've stopped attempting to recruit me a while ago.

After another few hours of daydreams and abysmal attempts at getting work done, class is finally over for the rest of the weekend. But before I even get the chance to turn around and see if Hanako wants to talk, she darts towards the door. Guess she needs some time alone... I gather my belongings and walk out of the door after everyone else has already left. On my way out, I bump into someone who clearly isn't watching where they were going… not that I really am, either. It doesn't take long for me to realize that it's Kenji.

Out of the Loop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjoc1ZnGjX8

He quickly rights himself and throws his fists up as if he's ready to start a fist-fight. His voice is clear and surprisingly strong, "I'm not going down without a fight, feminist!"

It's hard to resist laughing. My natural urges end up getting the best of me, as I find myself shaking my head, just barely stifling a laugh. "Kenji, it's me. You can stop preparing yourself to knock me out."

The relief changes his tone into a more amiable one. "Oh, what's up man? Can never be too careful, especially when their forces are amassing here soon. I might need to infiltrate their ranks to gather the necessary information and supplies I need tomorrow. You still have those essentials and walkie-talkie I gave you before, right?"

I don't know why, but I put what he handed me off to the side of my room. "Yeah. Why do you ask?"

Kenji removes, cleans, and adjusts his glasses as if to try and get a clearer look on the situation. "Well, I assume you know about the 'festival' tomorrow, right?" I nod, hoping he'll actually see me doing so. "Good. Last time there was a festival, I hid away in my room to avoid the assassins, but little did I know that there was a bounty of intel waiting to be stolen. I'm not wasting this chance. You in?"

Well, this is a terrible spot to be in. If I accept, who knows what he's going to have me do? If I don't, there's no telling what kind of onslaught he'll throw at me. I'd rather not risk it right now. "Sounds good to me. When should I be prepared by?"

He scratches his head and looks for a nearby clock, as if it'll help him. When he can't locate one, or one he can see, he assumes a 'heroic' stance, "At dawn!"

"No."

"Fine. At 0900! Make sure you have your survival supplies and walkie-talkie, because we're heading deep into enemy territory!" Kenji rests his hand on my shoulder and his garlic-scented breath begins to overpower my senses. "Get some rest, soldier."

If it were anyone else, I'd have taken this much less seriously. "But classes just ended? There's plenty of time left in the day."

He looks awfully concerned for simply not knowing what time it was, yet the look fades relatively quickly. "Good, we still have time before the darkest part of the darkness is upon us. Anything you want to do in the mean time, man?"

I need to quickly think of something that'll satisfy him, but also create some distance between us. "Uh… we could split up and gather intel before the festival starts?"

He stands there, considering the proposal. Kenji suddenly snaps his fingers, or at least attempts to do so, "It's dangerous, but it just might work. I knew there was a reason I recruited you." The urge to shake the nonsense out of him is welling up. "Okay, I'll see you tomorrow, man. Make sure you report back at 0900."

Kenji turns on his heel and begins walking away, only to return a few moments later. His voice has an air of excitement to it, "Oh yeah, I think I got some other intel last week that you might be interested in."

I'll play along. "And what would that be?"

"I know that Ikezawa girl is in the newspaper club, so I decided to spy on them, just to make sure they either weren't harboring spies or were spies themselves. Turns out neither is the case. Because of that, I figure that they could be a decent source of information. Not the best, mind you, but decent. Still, I can't wait to get my hands on the paper this week. They've been done since… Thursday, I think, and it's just been sitting there. Actually, I couldn't wait long enough, so I snatched a copy for myself."

Wait, what? That means Hanako isn't busy today… While I'm upset she was attempting to hide herself away like that, I think I understand why. The last few days have been stressful for us, but she did also express her desire to go to the festival with me. And it's been a common topic over the past few weeks.

With a bit of luck, Kenji won't notice my absence as I return to my dorm for the day. There's a lot that could be done outside today, but… it just doesn't feel right. Try as I might, there's no clear answer to the matter at hand. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Daylight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqw_zv2aj3M

Completely ignoring Kenij's 'orders,' I wake up at around 10 AM. The unusually loud commotion from outside my window signals that the festival has probably started.

I tilt my head backwards, gulping down my medications rather automatically. My body goes on autopilot as my mind wanders towards Hanako. Why did she feel like she had to lie to me? I feel a few knots in my stomach as I assume the worst. Maybe she’s really that desperate for space.

I try to ignore the creeping thoughts, laced with a slight malice. Maybe she’s getting annoyed by me… I can admit that I’ve been a little forceful. Having some space is a good thing, but maybe I can make it up at the festival. Buy some fair food, play a few of the games, win a stuffed animal… the good, old-fashioned stuff.

Decisions:

Choice A: Invite Hanako to the festival

Choice B: Don't bother Hanako

As usual, here is the strawpoll: http://strawpoll.me/4715289

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed!

HoneyBakedHam
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/23/15)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:16 am

This is a tough choice. Either way, this could get ugly:

You try to invite Hanako and I can see her saying no and Hisao confronting her about her lie in the typical "It was this moment, Hisao knew he fucked up" way.

You don't bother her about it and who knows what else she brews up to create more lies about. Of course, you could say not bothering her could lead to seeing her and spying on her throughout the day, but I can see how that is gonna play off if and when he gets spotted.

OneManArmy77
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/23/15)

Post by OneManArmy77 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:50 pm

HoneyBakedHam wrote:This is a tough choice. Either way, this could get ugly:

You try to invite Hanako and I can see her saying no and Hisao confronting her about her lie in the typical "It was this moment, Hisao knew he fucked up" way.

You don't bother her about it and who knows what else she brews up to create more lies about. Of course, you could say not bothering her could lead to seeing her and spying on her throughout the day, but I can see how that is gonna play off if and when he gets spotted.
We dont like to make things easy :P

I personally am a big proponent of grey moral choices where you can easily misstep and make a wrong move. Life isnt clear, so why should our choices come with a clear good and bad marker for it? Glad to see you are seriously considering the options though.

HoneyBakedHam
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/23/15)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:53 pm

Hmm well..in this case, I guess communication is more important than giving her space.

bubeez
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:01 am
Location: UC Berkeley CA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/23/15)

Post by bubeez » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:42 pm

Hope you all enjoy Part 4! -bubeez

[Daylight](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzCJASxRdTQ)

The festival is in full swing by the time I leave the dormitory; the sun is shining through the numerous clouds in the sky, as well as my partly-cloudy mood. It would probably be best to head back inside and grab an umbrella… but the thought of possibly running into Kenji looms over my decision. That threat is greater than my desire for precaution.

I stand on the stairs leading into the dormitory for a good, long while. My feet seem as indecisive as the control center moving them; as soon as one foot begins a half-step, the other shuffles nervously towards the other. A stalemate.

I start to daydream of two little figures, one resting on each of my shoulders. A little Yuuko rests on one, dressed in her usual librarian outfit; ‘You should go ask her!’ the little figure says to me, tugging at my shirt towards the direction of Hanako’s room. I turn to the figure affixed to my other shoulder. A little Mutou. ‘Remember, space is always good.’ He says to me, in his usual lecturing tone.

I appreciate neither’s input; it leaves me back at square one, still standing here, looking mopey and uncoordinated.

A voice crackles from my pocket. “…Can you… hea-… me…?”

The walkie-talkie beeps for the first time since it’s come into my possession, letting out a familiar voice. Going with my better judgement, I turn off the small gadget. I would rather not be roped into a reconnaissance mission right now.

[Stride](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4L7i1uc1Rg)

A strange thought occurs to me. Without Hanako, I’d rather not go to the festival at all. I would waste the day away, reading books in my self-made prison… is that what I want?

No, not at all.

I take my first confident step since this morning, in the direction of Hanako’s room. The thought of losing time with her just because of my own insecurities, no matter how slightly, is unbearable. At the very least, I will not be my own undoing.

But still, with these confident thoughts and reassurances finding themselves settled in my heart, a light discomfort at my own bravery pervades my thoughts. Maybe this is bravado, instead. Maybe I’m blinding myself from the inconvenient truth.

My hurried steps get slower and slower, the cadence starting to match my growing sense of doubt. My strides get shorter, until I’m at a snail’s pace, trudging along the grass laid out in front of me.

But my journey continues, the grass being replaced by concrete stairs, meticulously cleaned for the festival today. I feel winded, from my own thoughts or from the light workout, I can’t say. The campus feels more alive, students popping up throughout the scattered walkways of the school.

The concrete stairs and walkways morph into carpets as I enter the girl’s dorm. A few girls are standing around the doorway, making my own dramatically slow entrance all the more unbearable. I rush by to shave off precious seconds of the awkward silence.

The door to Hanako’s room comes into sight, an oasis of familiarity in a desert of feminine dangers. I could run into the Student Council and be dragged far, far away, never to be seen again. Given that the festival is today, I should be free of that irrational fear. Sadly, irrational fears aren’t bound by logic.

I take a deep breath as I approach Hanako’s door. I’ve been in front of this door too many times to count, but it has never been anything more than a piece of wood.

Today, it’s imposing. My hand, already balled into a fist, feels heavy as soon as I bring it up to the door. With what little willpower I have left, my hand lands on the door.

[Breathlessly](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUkCIUMEHp8)

Knock.

I hear nothing for a few, seemingly infinite seconds. After standing idly in front of the door, something rustles and stirs on the other side. I straighten myself up, wiping my face with my sleeve.

The door opens just a crack, revealing a dark, elegant shade of purple. The dark pools in her eyes draw me in, as innocent and quiet as the first time I ever saw them. She reflects a bit of surprise as she opens the door. “Hisao?”

I half-expected Hanako to be annoyed, or even angry. With good reason, too. But as soon as she saw me, her face turned apologetic; a strange mix of ‘happy to see me’ and ‘regretful,’ catching me by surprise.

I scratch the back of my head, unsure of how to react just yet. “Can I come in?”
She looks out into the hallway, poking her head out. Once she’s satisfied that there are no onlookers, she motions me inside; the emptiness of the room has never ceased to surprise me. When she shuts the door behind her, I notice she’s not in her uniform. Instead, she looks dressed for heading into town.

I decide to pay it no mind. Or at least not mention it. “I know we already talked about today, but…” I trail away. I don’t want to shoot off into a forceful direction. Not at such a fragile time. My worries about her dishonesty can wait.

She looks down at her hands. “A-about that… I was just about t-..to go look for you…” Her eyes are looking everywhere except directly in front of her. “D-do you still… want to go?”

A torrent of questions flood my mind. Only my simplest, most powerful desires manage to escape the chaos and make it to speech. “I would really like to.” I pause, a moment of clarity reminding me that I’m the one imposing here. “But if you can’t, I-”

“I w-want to go, too…” Hanako peeps out before I can finish my sentence. Finally, Hanako looks up at me instead of at her feet. Her worried face turns into a smile. “S-so… let’s go.”

While it catches me by surprise, my happiness manages to override my current lingering doubts about the situation; they haven’t disappeared from my mind entirely. They simply seem insignificant compared to my current joy, even temporarily. Hanako opens the door, now waiting for me to follow her.

….

[Generic Happy Music](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCowFcEXt0Y)

The colorful stands and the lively, upbeat music permeate the air, matching the buzz of activity as students pass by with plates of food and various stuffed animals; the lack of uniforms today is unnerving. After seeing only green and white floods of students during lunch time, a little individuality goes a dauntingly long way.

Despite the general positivity, I feel like I’m suppressing my own dissatisfaction rather than experiencing satisfaction itself. The little figures have disappeared from my shoulders; advice feels very hard to come by during times of true complication.

“Hisao? Is… something wrong?” she asks, shaking my arm slightly, her other hand lightly gripping a paper cone filled with cotton candy. I think I’m the only one to really witness her obsession for the light, sugary treat.

“Not at all.” I say, taking a piece of cotton candy from the cone. The initial sweetness leaves an undesirable tang in my mouth… so I take another piece. The saccharine taste is undeniable good, no matter how temporary or ever-fleeting.

I dispel my muddied thoughts in the same way as Hanako and I walk through the stalls, admiring the scenery and food. Each smile I see from her, hiding behind her hair as usual, pushes back my thoughts even further. She had a good reason for saying she couldn’t come to the festival, until earlier today. I know it.

As we pass by a stand filled with desserts, a notoriously cheerful voice breaks through the commotion. “Hisao! What did I say about proper diet!”

Like a strange thunder heard before lightning, Emi runs towards us from the opposite end of the festival. She immediately hops towards Hanako, who is hardly startled; this started to happen a lot more often after Emi found out Hanako and I were dating. She couldn’t miss a single opportunity to ‘playfully’ berate me in front of Hanako.

Emi is in her usual track outfit, not to anyone’s surprise. Even on festival days she feels the need to run. She has to look up to talk. “Hanako! Make sure he doesn’t get to eat anything too good!”

Hanako laughs, pointing at her cotton candy. “H-he already had some of this, though…”

Emi’s eyes shoot daggers at me, and I have no decent excuse for falling to my cravings. “No more sweets from here on out! This hurts me more than this hurts you!” She takes her own piece of our cotton candy, angry-faced throughout. If it were anyone else, this gesture would have been rude rather than hilarious. Emi looks at us, from top to bottom, ignoring our confused faces. “You look like quite the couple today!”

“R-...really?” Hanako asks, a light blush turning her a shade of red.

“Yeah! You both look really happy!” Emi nods in approval. “I bet both of you were really excited for today.”

Emi hits a nerve with that last line, in both me and Hanako. The cotton candy sweetness dissipates, leaving that stinging taste of reality once more. Was Hanako excited for today? I have no clue. If actions speak louder than words, then I would guess ‘no.’ Every fiber of my being wants to deny that possibility at the same time.

Hanako seems equally puzzled, her somber and contemplative stare returning back down to her hands, away from me. Before either of us really take notice, Emi has dashed off with a hurried goodbye, a smile, and a wave. The weight of her statement has remained, though.

Hanako and I remain frozen in place for a short while, before I break the silence. “I could really go for some coffee.” As if dodging bullets, Hanako quickly agrees and follows me to the neighboring stalls, nervous footsteps echoing by.

It doesn’t take long to find two canned coffees, and a nice place to sit down. The sun has grown more dim since this morning, the cloud coverage becoming more massive. The uncomfortable heat is still reason enough to sit under the shade of a tree. Hanako and I have come here for lunch more than once; it’s slightly too far and inconvenient for anyone else but us. Even on the day of the festival, that remains true.

I crack open my coffee, its deep, cold flavor refreshing me. Though, when the mind is heavily burdened, enjoyment is always relative. Hanako is sipping hers, holding the can with both hands like it was a cup of tea. It reminds me of the old days in the tea room, so distant now that it might as well have been a dream.

[Shadow of the Truth](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEWXGqKVN68)

“I… haven’t been c-completely honest…” Hanako says delicately, staring deep into the can of coffee. Both of our backs are to the tree, our shoulders making the lightest contact. She still tends to avoid eye contact during conflict.

A knot in my stomach starts to twist, and not from the coffee. There’s always a moment of dread when the delicate line is finally crossed between two people. I wait for Hanako to continue, unable to form an answer of my own.

“I… wasn’t really busy today. E-even though I told you I couldn’t go.” She plays with the lid of the coffee can to distract herself.

“I know. Kenji had told me about the Newspaper Club being done for the weekend.” I say flatly, trying to avoid quick assumptions. Once the delicate line is crossed, all that should remain are the facts.

She becomes tense. Guilt-ridden, even. Her lips start to quiver a little, and my hands begin to grip my empty can of coffee, almost denting the sides. I let a moment pass by. A moment that could have been filled with a million things to say. About her, about me, about thoughts surpassing this isolated incident; the air is light and unfulfilled, leaving much still left unsaid.

The silence, instead, offers a defusal of the situation. It’s impermanence isn’t lost on me. Still, it’s a festival. The tension may be gone, saved for another day, but the lights and games are still ablaze. “Let’s not worry about it today. You can tell me later.” I squeeze her hand to reassure her.

Hanako nods, ending the melancholic stalemate between us. I stand up, offering my hand just as she finishes the rest of her coffee. With that, we head back to the festival, just a short walk away; the colder weather does wonders to return our high spirits.

Heading back to the festival, I feel the oddest craving for cotton candy again.



[Ease](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoHNYGn7w7w)

A few minutes later, walking closely together, I spot it on a shelf to our right. A beautiful, stuffed teddy bear, clutching a heart in between its soft paws. Hanako spots it just a second later, also marvelling at the stuffed animal. “How appropriate.” I say, sarcastically.

Hanako laughs, tugging on my arm to continue walking with her. I stay rooted to the ground, eyes affixed onto the object. This is it… the classic date move. Win the bear, win the girl. After such bitter coffee, nothing would be sweeter. “I want to give it a shot.” Hanako, while giving me a puzzled look, walks with me over to the stall.

‘Knock over the glass bottles, win a prize.’ The sign in front of the attendant reads. It looks like i’m throwing softballs. They seem unfairly weighted… but, the prize at stake is worth gambling on some unfairness. I hand the attendant the money… four tries to go.

Hanako watches on, giving a silent cheer and raising her hand in the air. I take a few steps back, lining up the ball. It’s not soccer, but, I’m sure I can manage. I need to knock down all twelve bottles to win.

The first ball soars past the bottles, hitting the back wall and bouncing limply onto the floor.

The second ball falls too short, not even making it to the table where the bottles are set up.

The third ball just barely grazes the top of the tower, but still fails to make any of them fall. The hope of getting this bear is slowly diminishing.

Before I start my final throw, Hanako taps me on the shoulder. “I-I’d like to try.” I have my doubts that she can do it, but…
“You sure?” I ask, already handing her the last ball.

She adjusts her hat, taking my place in front of the set of bottles.She winds her arm back, eyes focused on the bottles, a look of concentration in her that I have never seen before.

WHAM. The ball strikes the base of the pyramid, hitting with enough force to knock every single bottle off of the little stage. Her face brightens, in shock and awe; I clap for her, along with a handful of onlookers. When the attendant comes, she asks me to point out the bear for her in her place. “That was amazing!” I say, finishing my applause.

She walks back to where I’m standing, marvelling at the little animal.

“H-here, Hisao… I know you really w-wanted it…” she stretches her arms outward, offering me the little bear holding a heart. She seems overjoyed at simply giving me the present…. although, her eyes seem to linger at the bear.

I hold the little bear in my hands. It’s well-crafted; definitely a rare prize for a festival. Although, I can’t help but feel that the situation is a little backwards. “You sure you don’t want your prize?” I ask.

She replies, shyly. “I’m just proud that I won…”

I wince a little, thinking about my own failures just a minute ago; it’s also flustering me that I’m the one being given the prize… I wanted it to be for her, anyway. I know she’s comforted by dolls. Maybe I would be taking away from her victory by refusing it, though…

Decision:

A.) Accept the bear.

B.) Let Hanako keep the bear.

Strawpoll: http://strawpoll.me/4755356

HoneyBakedHam
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/27/15)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:31 pm

If it were me, I'd want her to have it. After all, I was trying to get it for her in the first place.

Or both can share it and discuss visitation days for it. It can be like their own child after a divorce. :lol:

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 6059
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/27/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:25 am

The uncomfortable heat
How is there "uncomfortable heat" in February?

I have the feeling you are writing two stories set in different times. One of you is writing a story at the end of the school year and one of you is writing a story set at Tanabata :?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

User avatar
brythain
Posts: 3537
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia
Contact:

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/27/15)

Post by brythain » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:53 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:I have the feeling you are writing two stories set in different times. One of you is writing a story at the end of the school year and one of you is writing a story set at Tanabata :?
Actually, that's a very perceptive comment. I think you're right. It would be good to get a timeline (Hisao arrives Monday 4 June, Tanabata in Sendai is 6-8 August, etc).
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

User avatar
PaperAirship
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:45 pm

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/27/15)

Post by PaperAirship » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:25 pm

Part Five of our ongoing collaboration.

...

Comfort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6yr56X ... Ravenholme

I look at the bear in my hands for another moment, perhaps one too long for Hanako. Her eyes bounce from me to the bear, the enthusiasm they held just a minute earlier crumbling away.

"If y-you don't want it, I can keep-" She begins, but before she can take her statement to its obvious conclusion, I bring the stuffed toy to my chest and hug my arms around it tightly, as if Hanako might use force to try and steal it back.

"Sorry, I was just thinking about where in my room to put him." My excuse for my indecisiveness is thin, but honest. The only decorations to grace my room are the rotation of colourful covers on the books I check out from the library, and this bear is the first real gift Hanako has ever given me, so as such it deserves a fitting place of honour.

"S-so you do like it?" Her continued uncertainty is like a punch in the gut. I know I'm the cause, but all I want is for all the uneasiness between us these last few days to stop.

"Of course. I picked it out didn't I?" Taking one of my arms, I put it around her and hug her to my side, the other arm keeping the bear comfortable against my chest. "I just feel like I'm a bad boyfriend because I couldn't win it for you."

There it is. My little self-deprecating jab has succeeded with it's goal, and Hanako's smile returns in full force. She leans closer into me and nuzzles her cheek against my shoulder, her eyes closed as she doesn't need any other senses be aware of me.

"You're not a bad boyfriend." She says quietly, yet with no trace of her shy demeanor. It's a statement meant for only me to hear.

However to me, her words echo through my mind as if they were shouted from a mountaintop. Only my arm wrapped around Hanako as she leans on me keeps me anchored to the ground instead of joining my heart in leaping with joy.

I take a moment to calm myself, and look over the other stalls around us. Most of them are vendors of cheap and greasy meals, traditional fare for an event like this one, although there are several game stalls sprinkled in as well. With sides lined with fuzzy stuffed critters, they seem to beg for my attention. I consider how much money I have left, but since my earlier craving for something sweet has now disappeared, I figure I'll still have plenty.



Nocturne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RhpTli ... Ravenholme

It's dark by the time Hanako and I decide that we've had our fill of the day's activities, and in our arms my new teddy bear presses against her new stuffed panda as we say our goodnights with a kiss in front of the dorms. My doubts from this morning now seem like paranoid ravings in contrast to my current mood.

Back in my room, I can't help but let a goofy grin escape from it's holding cell in my mind, and I eagerly shove my typically ordered row of medication bottles aside on my desk to make room for Hanako's gift to me. The bear happily hugs his enormous heart in his new home, and while the earlier irony of why I had chosen it creeps back into my mind, it's now a comforting reminder, rather than a grim one.

Even after having slept through most of the morning, I'm left exhausted by today, and it only takes me several minutes to drift to sleep once I climb into bed.



A rough shake at my knees brings me back to consciousness, and it's quickly followed by a voice from the darkness of my room.

"Hey, Hisao, are you alright?" He says.

Out of the Loop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjoc1Zn ... nel=9Exar5

My sleep-muddled mind takes a moment to start working properly on identifying this intruder. Eventually my ears are beaten by my eyes as they adjust to the darkness and recognize Kenji, standing at the end of my bed and looking uneasily at the slight bulge my feet are leaving in the blanket.

Dozens of biological alarm bells are sounding in my head. There was a person here while I was sleeping, and that person was Kenji. Fight-or-flight instincts well up inside me, and culminate in the split second decision to kick him in the face. My panicking motions would have been more effective If I weren't covered in a blanket, and after getting briefly tangled in my bedding, I only succeed in knocking Kenji's glasses off with my foot.

The glasses arc through the air, moonlight glinting off the lenses, and Kenji lets escape a mild yelp, before dropping to the floor and groping around blindly for his glasses.The threat distracted for the time being, I hold my chest and steady my heartbeat.

"It's good to see that you're prepared in case assassin's try to ambush you in your sleep man." Kenji calls from past the edge of my bed, the top of his unkempt hair bobbing just past the edge as he continues to search.

"What... Are you... Doing here?" I gasp out between deep breaths.

Kenji's head pops up, fully bespectacled. "You didn't answer your radio at all today. I searched everywhere, but I couldn't find you, so I thought you'd had a heart attack and maybe even died! I can't handle losing a top informant such as you, especially during such a critical time."

I had regretted ever telling Kenji about my condition, his lectures about the dangers of the mind control agents in my medications were almost bi-weekly now, but his apparent genuine concern for my health at the moment is oddly comforting. I almost feel bad for kicking him. Almost.

"Wha... Oh. The, uh, battery must have died." Unsteadily, I sit up in bed and squint against the harsh glow of my lamp as I turn it on, and give myself a little mental pat on the back for coming up with that excuse given my circumstances. Thankfully Kenji hasn't asked where I was all day, as I don't think I'll be able to come up with a proper excuse for that.

"I see..." Kenji considers thoughtfully, before jamming a hand into his coat pocket, rummaging around loudly before triumphantly dumping a handful of objects on my desk with a clatter of metal on wood. "One of those batteries should fit in your radio. I probably ran yours out testing them, however you shoulder half the blame too. A field operator has to ensure that their equipment is in top condition at all times."

"I'll remember that for next time. Is that all you wanted to say now?" My mood is beginning to sour the longer I talk to Kenji.

He steps back from my bed, and stands in the middle of my room poking at the air with very concentrated and methodical movements, checking what I can only assume to be an imaginary list of his insane scribbles.

"Ah, yes!" He snaps his fingers, as if he had just suffered a eureka moment. "I have more intel that I should share with you."

Kenji crouches beside my bed, and speaks with a low whisper to discourage any eavesdroppers that could potentially be listening.

High Tension: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWpha1W ... elatedHero

"That Ikezawa girl I mentioned yesterday? From the newspaper club? She makes a phonecall, every Wednesday morning before classes, to an unknown person. I can hear it from outside her window, and from the sounds of things they're trading big secrets. All disguised with code to make it sound like they're discussing boring things like schoolwork of course."

Glancing nervously around my room, he leans in even closer, and whispers even quieter.

"I know I've said this before, but watch what you say around that girl. She's trouble."

Nocturne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RhpTli ... Ravenholme

Whatever goodwill may have been leftover from today is now depleted, and it takes every bit of willpower I have left this late at night not to pick up Kenji and toss him through my door. Instead, I opt for merely roughly grabbing his shoulder and escorting him out.

"Thank you for your concern. I'll be sure to remember that." Sounding like a disgruntled call centre employee, my send-off to Kenji is dripping with insincerity, however he fails to notice, and happily chirps "Night man!" as he unlocks his door and slips inside.

Pulling out Kenji's screwdriver "key" still stuck in my doorknob, I slam my own door with little concern for everyone still sleeping, and, after double checking that it is locked, sit down on the edge of my mattress and try to think of anything that could calm me down. Immediately my eyes wander to the stuffed bear I received from Hanako, and for a moment it works, before my attention is drawn to the pile of batteries that Kenji had discarded on my desk.

It's a mishmash of A, double A, D, assorted size watch batteries, a small tube of chapstick, and a large rechargeable battery meant for a cellphone. The oddity of why Kenji would even have a cellphone battery, since he told me he doesn't even own a cellphone, is lost under another rising surge of anger. He was spying on Hanako, and being a thorough creep about it too, listening in on her phone conversations.

Not that the subject matter of those phonecalls was of any interest to me. Although she had made a couple of new friends through the newspaper club, Hanako was still essentially best friends with Lilly. Half a world apart, they still took the time to have a conversation over the phone at least once a week, to catch each other up on goings on at school and anything else they would talk about as if Lilly was still here.

Reaching out to grab the bear again, I hold it tight to my chest once more to calm myself and my heart. Hanako will be calling Lilly again in a couple days, so maybe I should take the opportunity to join in, and perhaps ask Lilly for some more advice. It’s a bad habit, but I only do it because she’s been so helpful before.

With my vague idea of a plan in my head, I turn off my lamp and try my best to fall asleep once more, the bear still in my arms as a personal sentinel to guard me from any further intruders. My head on my pillow again, the harsh red numbers on my alarm clock now stare me in the face, and it takes me a moment to realize that I never set my alarm before going to sleep earlier.

A.) [Sleep In]

B.) [Wake Up Early]

STRAW POOL: http://strawpoll.me/4805115

User avatar
dewelar
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:09 pm
Location: The Fifth Thing

Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 07/02/15)

Post by dewelar » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:45 pm

A minor point, but they use a different notation for batteries in Japan.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

Post Reply