Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

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Capn-Cold
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Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Capn-Cold » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:09 am

Hey there all. Decided I should finally get off my ass and contribute something, so here’s a little one shot I cooked up while listening to the song mentioned in the title. As a piece, this is a little more focused on trying to get into the vibe of writing KS stuff, so there's a chance it's not as strong as it could be. It's nothing that long and it is a touch more narrativey than I usually like, but I think it does what I set out to do nicely.

But! That’s for the viewing audience to decide. Hopefully it’s enjoyable, and if not well, hopefully the critique will make the next work better :D

-----------------

She awoke, with a start, in a bed that felt empty, hollow. Devoid of a warmth that had been given for so many years. Eyes, a soft and cloudy blue, were already wet. It was as if the mere act of waking up was a pain now, that this simple little part of life was so difficult.

Changed by the absence of someone she was ever so fond of.

She rose only far enough to sit up, swinging her legs around slowly to wait on the edge of the bed. And there she lingered, content to stare at nothing but her own thoughts. A shuddering breath rose, and was forced out as swiftly as possible. She wasn’t going to break down. Not… Not here and now. She was built of sterner stuff than that, of course. But then…

Hisao had always been able to break those walls down. He didn’t really have to try, it was just… Him. All of him. Every little bit of his personality was so perfect at letting her drop those barriers, even if it was just with him. It was a strange thing, to be so suddenly allowed to lower formalities and simply be with someone, but that was just what he did. Hisao made Lilly feel like she could be Lilly, and nothing more.

A shuddering sigh escaped her lips, as her mind wandered, back to when the two had first met. It felt so far away now, the tea room. The appearance of a boy who stumbled in by chance, and who seemed nothing more than out of place. So stressed over his words that he fumbled his words in an attempt to avoid upsetting her. A choked, light laugh escaped her lips. Even then, even when she had known him for mere minutes he was simply so… Charming, in his own way. She had never been able to put any one reason toward it, but Hisao was magnetic to her. She felt drawn to him so quickly, like a moth to light. Another one of those choked laughs. Perhaps that was a phrase Hisao would have stumbled over, back then.

And then, those ever so short days that followed. How quickly she had been smitten by this bookish boy as he became more… More what? True to himself, perhaps? Perhaps a little more complete, a little more of a whole person again. That first ‘date’, if it could even be called such. That night for Hanako’s birthday, where they had all drank and had fun. Then… Then the first time she had to go to Scotland. The morning after, where she told him. Where he...

Where he gave her the box.

The attempts to hold back those rather unladylike sobs collapsed as she broke down, again, as she had almost every morning. She had convinced herself that today might just have been different, that she could begin moving past losing him - and yet, here she was, sobbing into her hands. How rather like him it was, to break down those ladylike barriers again and again even without being here. That whirlwind of romance flashed between in her mind's eye. The beauty of it all was how quick it really was. How short that time between her first meeting and the airport, that place which seemed so final at the time.

‘Hisao, oh Hisao…’

And there she would have remained, quite happy to wallow in the misery that she had made her nest in, if it were not for a gentle sound at her door. A knock that snapped her away from her misery, away from Hisao.

‘Still have a key. Figured you might need a visit Mum. Guess I turned out to be right, huh?’

She stifled a laugh, wounded but genuine. She searched for the words she wanted to bring to her mouth, and finally settled on simply extending her arms out, burying her head into their eldest’s shoulder as she tried so desperately to hold it all in.

47 years. It was amazing just how long a time that was, and just how short it somehow still felt. It was nothing at all, now that he was gone. Now that was Alone… But… She wasn’t. It hit her like a truck, as her arms held her son close to her. Her mind drifted all the way back to that evening, in that field, where she had broken down in Hisao’s arms. And what he had said to her, without an ounce of hesitation.

‘You Idiot.’

She made a light sound, a giggle that she used to make back then but had grown out of, around anyone but Hisao. Of course she was being an idiot. She still had their family. She still had her son and her daughters, she still had Shizune, she had so many people. Hisao would never want her to throw them all away, just to waste away and mourn him. He had fought for Her, that night at the airport. It was something still terrifying to think of, now. How she had almost lost him, how monumental the chase must have been for him… But now, she understood in a way she never had before.

As she drew away from a warm embrace, she felt... Alive, for the first time in a while. It would be difficult - It would surely hurt - but she was going to fight for what she had, as hard as she knew Hisao would. She wiped a tear from her eye, allowing a smile to take a hold of her face.

Everything was going to be alright.

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Chatty Wheeler
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:55 am

Hello Capn-Cold!

Welcome! It's always good to see new writers making their debut on the scene. I'm still fairly new here myself, and I'm working on my own first story, so I know how tough it can be to step up to the plate for the first time... But for your first time, you did quite well, I would say!

This story was short, to the point, and effective at conveying the emotions that it set out to convey. To start, your prose is quite lovely. Your sentences are well constructed, with interesting words, phrases and imagery to describe Lilly's thoughts and actions creatively. The way that you built up the reveal at the end of the story was also well handled. At first, we could figure out that some sort of tragedy had befallen Lilly, and from the first line of the story, we know that it has something to do with Hisao. The prose slowly trickles out more and more clues that this is actually a more elderly Lilly who had been married to Hisao for forty-seven years.

This is a rather melancholic interpretation of how Lilly would handle Hisao's death, but I appreciate that it had a hopeful ending. I especially like how Lilly thought back to the airport in a new way—now gaining new insight from Hisao's struggle and using it to come to terms with his death.

Another thing I like about this story is that it subtlety hints at a history that we never get to see. Of course, we learn about Hisao's and Lilly's marriage, and we learn about the births of their children, but we also learn more subtle things, like how Lilly and Shizune apparently made up at some point—enough to where Lilly considers Shizune as a real part of her family.

If there were one notable piece of criticism that I could give you, it would be that your grammar isn't always as polished as it could have been. I particularly noticed this with your use of commas and capital letters. Sometimes you use commas in places that you don't necessarily need them, and sometimes you capitalize the first letter of words in places where they shouldn't be. Minor stuff overall, but I thought that I should mention it to give you some constructive criticism. :D

Normally my posts on these stories are a little longer, but since your story is so short, I don't have as much to say... other than I thought it was lovely and that I hope to read more of your works if you choose to stick around. :D

Take care, everyone!

Capn-Cold
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Capn-Cold » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:20 am

Ah god, the capitalisation and commas have haunted me haha. To be fair, a significant step up from younger me, who somehow came to the decision that every word needed capitalised :oops: It does slip my mind sometimes though, so definitely thanks to you for bringing it up haha. I really need to keep that in mind when writing

But thank you for the comments! I appreciate that I was able to get the vibes I wanted across, that is always a probably unreasonable worry of mine haha. That said, I do wonder if I could've done more but I guess ever author is never happy with the end result. Still, glad you liked it! I will keep all these comments in mind. Especially the commas.

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Xeraeo
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Xeraeo » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:55 pm

I second Chatty's comments, all of them. I would add that I found the combination of grief and hope to be quite effective. The reveal wasn't a shock, more like a pleasant surprise. I expected this would be only a few years after the events of the VN, maybe 5 or 10, so learning that they had such a long, wonderful life together was heartwarming.

As Chatty pointed out, your use of subtle hints at more without going into detail were done quite nicely.

Many, many writers on here have covered the topic of grief, particularly after Hisao's death. That being said, I think this short, simple take on the topic was done well, and made a good addition to that collection of stories on here. Particularly the positive note it ended on.

Resilience and hope in the face of death, loss, and suffering is the eternal story of humanity, and even when told in this short, simple form, I found it moving.

Grammar could use work. I'm sure one of the lovely folks around here would be happy to help you out in that area, if you're comfortable with that. It was sufficiently noticeable to pull me from the story at times, and somewhat take away from its effectiveness, but not bad enough to ruin it or anything. Just worth addressing, is all.

Anyway, welcome, glad to have you on here, and hope to see more from you soon!
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

(Name is pronounced "Zero". Stole it from Quake, I think)

My projects here:
To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)
Rebound - A Post Lilly NE Epilogue / Iwanako Story (On Hold)

Capn-Cold
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Capn-Cold » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:10 pm

Xeraeo wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:55 pm
As Chatty pointed out, your use of subtle hints at more without going into detail were done quite nicely.
That's something I was 50/50 on, so I'm glad it worked out. I figure that actual people don't tend to think of their complete life story whenever they muse on the past, so it's something I wanted to try and represent in a half decent way.
Xeraeo wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:55 pm
That being said, I think this short, simple take on the topic was done well, and made a good addition to that collection of stories on here. Particularly the positive note it ended on.
Glad that worked out too! I think it's part of my view on Katawa Shoujo as a whole, really. Excessive depression is really a trait of the bad ends and is more of a punishment than anything else. It's a problem I have with some of the Rika routes I've seen here; I enjoy them as their own works, but the nihilism a lot of them have feels... Out of place against the normal routes. But hey that's fanfiction for you, and it is really my personal opinion more than anything else (and admittedly, I do like hard hitters so it might be a bit of a hypocritical opinion too. :oops: )
Xeraeo wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:55 pm
Grammar could use work.
Ooft, yeah. I don't even have the excuse of not having English as a first language really, it's just a bad trait I've picked up. Dunno what it is about creative writing, but I seem to stumble on grammar a little more with that than I do in other types of writing. Something to work on for sure!

Anyhow, thank you for the comments! I'm hoping to maybe write something a touch longer whenever time and a valid prompt comes, so here's hoping-

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Xeraeo
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Xeraeo » Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:26 pm

Capn-Cold wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:10 pm
Dunno what it is about creative writing, but I seem to stumble on grammar a little more with that than I do in other types of writing.
In my experience, since creative writing is primarily right-brain driven, the normal grammar and spelling rules, etc. that you'd think about when writing something for school or work tend to get forgotten in the process, since all of that is left-brain. This is normal, and there's nothing wrong with it. You should see how horrendous some of our drafts are grammatically the first time we write them.

Rather than trying to fix the grammar as you write, which might rob your creative process, I would recommend just writing the whole thing with your right brain, focused entirely on the story, characters, dialogue, setting, etc. and forget entirely about spelling and grammar, then step away from it for a while, and then go back to it, this time with your left brain, and read over it for spelling and grammar, making edits and corrections as needed.

The most effective way I've found is to take at least a day between writing and editing so my mind is somewhat fresh the second time, and I'm not still thinking creatively, then to read it out loud to myself so I don't miss anything. I don't always do this, but it certainly works when I do.

Anyway, that ended up being long, but that's just my advice. The other method is to have a consistent proofreader who does this for you, but that takes even longer.
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

(Name is pronounced "Zero". Stole it from Quake, I think)

My projects here:
To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)
Rebound - A Post Lilly NE Epilogue / Iwanako Story (On Hold)

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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Capn-Cold » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:25 pm

That is... Surprisingly obvious advice that I have completely missed before. Thanking you! I will try and keep that in mind for sure.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:14 pm

Xeraeo wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:26 pm
In my experience, since creative writing is primarily right-brain driven, the normal grammar and spelling rules, etc. that you'd think about when writing something for school or work tend to get forgotten in the process, since all of that is left-brain.
...
Rather than trying to fix the grammar as you write, which might rob your creative process, I would recommend just writing the whole thing with your right brain, focused entirely on the story, characters, dialogue, setting, etc. and forget entirely about spelling and grammar, then step away from it for a while, and then go back to it, this time with your left brain, and read over it for spelling and grammar, making edits and corrections as needed.
That's an interesting way to look at it...
I never thought about it as a right brain and left brain issue (and tbh I'm not sure if that is really scientifically and ubiquitiously true), but it certainly is good practice not to past writings immediately but to read them again one or two days later with a fresh mind.
I wouldn't go as far as to ignore grammar entirely while writing, but for me it's certainly true that during writing I might change around, merge and divide sentences several times over, and that can lead to some very strange end results, because at the end I might only read the part of the sentence I was last working on.
Coming back the next day and reading everything from the start is a good way to avoid that.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Sore wa himitsu desu.

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NuclearStudent
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by NuclearStudent » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:20 am

Hello, and welcome to the forums! The death of Hisao is a classic fanfiction subject, and it's always nice to see a new face join us in our work. I'm a fairly fresh face myself and have gotten a lot from my time in this community. As a housewarming gift, I have some minor technical advice.
She awoke, with a start, in a bed that felt empty, hollow.
Often, you can get rid of the phrase "felt," to leave your writing stronger. It would be starker and more memorable to write "She awoke, with a start, in a bed that was empty." If you eliminate the weakness of "felt," then you don't need to try to buttress the word "empty" by tacking on "hallow." I specify "that was empty" here, as
"that was hollow" alone could accidentally imply mere emotional distance instead of death.

Personally I would also eliminate the phrase "with a start," as I perceive it as cliche. That said, there are no objectively right or wrong answers. Some people prefer a fatter style of writing, while some people prefer being leaner and more concise. I understand that your style is rather literary, in the sense of using more words than strictly necessary.
Eyes, a soft and cloudy blue, were already wet.
This sentence is an odd fragment.
She awoke, with a start, in a bed that felt empty, hollow. Devoid of a warmth that had been given for so many years. Eyes, a soft and cloudy blue, were already wet. It was as if the mere act of waking up was a pain now, that this simple little part of life was so difficult.

Changed by the absence of someone she was ever so fond of.
You may have heard of the adage "show not tell." Very often, it is better to leave things to implication rather than saying it outright. This involves having faith in yourself, in believing that your imagery is strong enough to show the emotions and behavioral patterns you are trying to depict.

On this note, I personally find "It was as if the mere act of waking up was a pain now" appropriate, but the rest of the bolded section somewhat too obvious.
A shuddering sigh escaped her lips, as her mind wandered, back to when the two had first met. It felt so far away now, the tea room. The appearance of a boy who stumbled in by chance, and who seemed nothing more than out of place. So stressed over his words that he fumbled his words in an attempt to avoid upsetting her. A choked, light laugh escaped her lips. Even then, even when she had known him for mere minutes he was simply so… Charming, in his own way. She had never been able to put any one reason toward it, but Hisao was magnetic to her. She felt drawn to him so quickly, like a moth to light. Another one of those choked laughs. Perhaps that was a phrase Hisao would have stumbled over, back then.
Some decent imagery contained within. The moth-to-light picture is highly functional.
And there she would have remained, quite happy to wallow in the misery that she had made her nest in
decent
Now that was Alone…
He had fought for Her, that night at the airport.
Other people have pointed out that the occasional capitalization is probably an accident. I've quite literally never published anything myself without accidentally including a spelling or grammar error, despite going over my scripts in cold blood. I will choose to pretend that the capitalization wasn't an accident, and instead that this story is about Lilly achieving apotheosis and becoming a golden god.

Anyway, you've been writing out more stories, working hard and admirably. Welcome to the forums, and I hope you get value from your time.
Feurox: it is extremely difficult to tell whether you're echoing some very interesting sentiments or if you're just attempting to be trite or funny

Capn-Cold
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Capn-Cold » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:37 am

NuclearStudent wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:20 am
just all of that really
Ahh, thanks for the critique and overall comments haha. So far I can say that I'm getting something out of this already, even if its just reigniting my ability to write again. Going from a period of having no willpower for writing to suddenly having lots of ideas is a little jarring, but its a nice change.
NuclearStudent wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:20 am
I understand that your style is rather literary
The literary writing style is definitely something I've had for a while. Dunno where I picked it up from, but an overly verbose way of writing has sorta been my go-to for a while. I am admittedly getting a little better with it, but I guess its just a quirk of mine. Oh well.
NuclearStudent wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:20 am
capitalization
Yeah, I'm clearly infallible so you're right, that's absolutely what I intended :D

More seriously, yeah no I have a habit of capitalising on instinct and not noticing it sometimes so I'm sure that'll come up no matter how hard I try. Oh well.

But no, thanks! I'll keep that all in mind and try to be a little less blunt in future pieces.

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Oddball
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Re: Alone Again (Naturally) - A Lilly One-Shot

Post by Oddball » Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:11 pm

I'm not going to beat you up over grammar or spelling or anything. Anyone that knows my works knows I'm the last person that should be criticizing anyone else of that.

I just felt like saying that because it seems like what everyone else is jumping on. I didn't see any major problems.

The story was nicely written with a nice pleasant twist at the end. It wasn't melodramatically sad or wallowing in it's own misery. It was just slice-of-life casual sad, which fit perfectly.
Not Dead Yet

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