Hanako's Story (COMPLETED 18/08/2014)

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Trivun
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Trivun » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:44 pm

Markus Ramikin wrote:One thing that kind of bothers me about the way this is entire story written is that so much space is devoted to Hanako's psychological problems being discussed explicitly. All this talk about "mah progress" is kinda self centered and circular, and it just gets old.

A character's internal problems are best shown - by how they interfere with his or her external struggles, pursuit of external goals. Hisao, for example, is trying to deal with new circumstances, meets new people, falls in love, while needing to maintain his health etc. The internal factors related to his heart issue - the bitterness, the passivity, the desire to hide the problem and pretend it doesn't exist - are shown by the way they affect how he deals with those external issues, by the things he does (or fails to do). Not that they're not discussed explicitly at all, but you seem to do a whole lot more of that with Hanako.

I am reminded of how Aragorn in LotR never actually talks about, IIRC, his internal conflicts stopping him from assuming the role of king or pursuing the woman he loves, but it's very much there through the things that he does and, for a while, refuses to do, and at the end of the book we know those internal struggles are resolved just as the external conflict is. Now any KS fanfic is going to be way more introspective than that, and I accept that, but it's a thought to consider. If you took away Hanako's shell and insecurity, what remains? What would she be doing? What does she want, what does she like and dislike, what are her goals, how does she see reality and other people?

It reminds me of those self-improvement people who keep talking about the progress they've made in vague terms, but it has no reflection on reality; there is no corresponding real-world, visible, measurable accomplishment that will set it apart from happy self-delusion and timewasting. You've become more aware of dietary and fitness issues? If you say so. Have you actually lost weight?

Similarly, a character in fiction has overcome crippling shyness? Don't have them explicitly think about how they've overcome crippling shyness. Have them think about how they managed to talk to person X whom they wouldn't dare to approach before, and it was interesting and fun and it still felt pretty awkward but they've agreed to meet again so I guess that's okay. You know what I mean? If the reader's attention is on whether the protagonist succeeds socially or gets together with X or something like that, and the reader cares about that, it makes the shyness standing in the way of that meaningful, in a way just discussing the problem in itself is not.

Hanako resents others for treating her too little as a person, and too much as a vehicle for psychological issues - but that's what you, the author of this fic, do to her too.

PS. I only wrote so much of my critical thought because I've become invested in this fic; it's a good and needed story. "If I'm mean to you, it's because I care." ;)
Thanks for the critique, and it's something I'll definitely keep in mind when writing the last few chapters :). Though, to be entirely fair, re-reading the VN for this project I have noticed a fair few times when Hisao does similar things talking about his own state of mind - that being said, given everything else I reckon Hisao is hardly the person I should be taking advice from in expressing feelings or being intelligent regarding feelings in any way or form xD.

A large part of it though is that when writing third person, it's easier to describe certain things because you're writing from an outside perspective, whereas writing in the first person means delving directly into the character's mind and so you're forced effectively to deal with feelings and emotions in a more direct manner. In my case I've taken it too literally, perhaps, and I agree it's getting a bit stale going over the same motions each time. Considering that my next big project is my own novel, and that's going to be written in a first person perspective as well, it's good really that these aspects of my writing style are being identified nice and early through this story, so I can work on ironing out the kinks and becoming a better writer. For that as well as the general critique, thank you, and I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the story overall :).
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Ah, but even though it's almost over, at least we'll be ending on the best possible note :D
brythain wrote:What I like about this is that it's essentially KS, Hanako's route, but with a voiceover from her internal monologue, with extras. It fleshes out her character a fair bit, from within. You could of course build the character from without, theoretically speaking, but that would be omniscient third-person more than very personal and heartfelt first-person. Nostalgia is the result, plus a now-being-fulfilled urge to play it through again. :)
To be honest I do enjoy reading third person stories, but as a writer I've always favoured first person. I've mentioned it before, but I've always felt my strengths to lie in character development and in dialogue (the latter more so than the former, since I also write the occasional short screenplay) - when writing in the first person it means I'm getting into the head of the character a lot more, and think about things from their point of view. I can't remember which author I read about who does this, but my own style of furthering a story has always been to set out the initial plot points, then think about the characters who I've already created, see what they would do in that situation, what the ramifications would be, and proceed from there. First person storytelling just serves to make that even more easier and less structural, more procedural :). Although obviously in this case I'm limited to how the story of KS actually progressed, as opposed to using that route of writing...
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Atario » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:44 pm

Honestly, it makes total sense to me that Hanako in particular would be pretty absorbed in her own mental states and processes. She alone amongst the cast has psychological therapy sessions, and she is the most self-critical and voluntarily withdrawn unto herself.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Markus Ramikin » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:39 am

Atario wrote:Honestly, it makes total sense to me that Hanako in particular would be pretty absorbed in her own mental states and processes. She alone amongst the cast has psychological therapy sessions, and she is the most self-critical and voluntarily withdrawn unto herself.
I agree! I just think
1. that aspect of the story should be leaner, because now there's so much of it it gets tiresome. If I were the author, I'd consider this whole thing a penultimate draft that still needs meticulously going over with a gardening knife.
2. The way she says that stuff. Things like
Atario wrote:[*]She uses the term "White Knight". That's about three notches too high on the Genre Savvy scale.
The things she says are too often indistinguishable from what a Katawa Shoujo forum member would say. That's another thing that makes it more stale than it needs to be.

Trivun: I wasn't sure how well this sudden burst of critique would be received - had the distinct feeling of stepping on an anthill ;) - so thanks for your response. I am happy you didn't find my post entirely worthless.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Derede » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:28 pm

Dang it! I've been slowly reading this for the past month and enjoying it. I was hoping it would be done, but it looks like I'm going to be eagerly waiting just like everyone else. Keep up the good work Sir (or Miss/or Mrs!)

Anyone try playing the game while reading this at the same time? It's very surreal.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Trivun » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:02 pm

Derede wrote:Dang it! I've been slowly reading this for the past month and enjoying it. I was hoping it would be done, but it looks like I'm going to be eagerly waiting just like everyone else. Keep up the good work Sir (or Miss/or Mrs!)

Anyone try playing the game while reading this at the same time? It's very surreal.
I have a day off work this week actually, so while it will mostly be university coursework I'll try and get some writing done as well :). Either way a month is almost coming up and I still want to pride myself I can be more regular in my updates than VG Cats, even if I can't be as regular as, say, Penny Arcade :P. That being said those are two extremes really, but nevertheless! An update will be forthcoming! Relatively soon! :D

Oh, and thank you for the kind words! It's Sir, by the way (I wish, Master would be more accurate grammatically :P. I'd love to be actually knighted but for that I need to actually do something useful and relevant with my life... xD)
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by timetravelzero » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:12 am

Trivun wrote:do something useful and relevant with my life
This story most certainly qualifies as relevant in my opinion.
Anxious to read your next update, Sir Trivun!
Akira>Lilly=Shizune>Emi>Hanako>Mutou=Nurse>Saki>Misha=Rika>Yuuko>Meiko=Miki>Suzu>Kenji>Rin=Iwanako>Jigoro>Nomiya>{POWERGAP}>Hisao Eh, my opinion anyway

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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 04/03/2014)

Post by Thunderstrucker » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:01 pm

I am looking so forward for this... Hanako's my favourite girl.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by Trivun » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:45 pm

Apologies all for the wait, still beating quite a few individuals on the Internet for update speeds though, yay! Hopefully this was worth it. I'm counting around 3/4 chapters left for this, which I'll try and get done when I can! :)

Act 4 – Chapter Four, Third Branch: So Here We Are

Hisao and I haven't seen much of each other recently. Not that it's a bad thing – we need some time apart, given what's fast approaching. I don't usually have much chance to study when in my melancholy, and now I have the time I should grasp it with both hands. That being said, I'd rather study alone, in my room. Too many students descend upon the library around the exam period, and my comforting eyrie can all too easily succumb to the usual stares and thinly veiled comments that have plagued my years here. Besides, I'm used to the solitude.

I can't deny, though, that I miss his presence. Lilly being away is still amplifying my loneliness and Hisao was like a breath of fresh air when I understood that he really did care for my well-being, not just as a means to achieving his own self satisfaction as I so feared. I've dared to do what I thought would be beyond me – leaving my door unlocked, slightly ajar even. An open invite if Hisao decides to drop by.

A few minutes pass as I lie on my bed, reading through books and borrowed notes. A few hours go by as I sit at my desk, writing out passages and memorising formulae and figures. A couple of days are endured as I close my eyes and whisper to myself, testing my knowledge of my last class. And all the while, my door is unlocked, open, until I finally hear footsteps making their way slowly down the corridor outside...

A very light knocking at the timber is enough to confirm that the owner of those feet is here to see me. Only Hisao would be so gentle; the only other candidates would have pushed their way in with a loud “WAHAHA!” and no thought to the sanctity of my peace and quiet. I say nothing, but glance out of the window and wait for him to enter, all thoughts of revision gone. My book lies open and ignored on the desk in front of me.

I wonder how I look to him? How does he see me right now...?

“Good evening, Hanako.” I turn my head slightly, if only to acknowledge his presence, and maintain my calm and peaceful demeanour. He walks to the desk and puts a hand on the surface, tilting his head down as if to get a better view of my own face. “What's up?”

I gasp, uncertain of his thoughts as to why I do so, but for me more out of surprise at how close he is. I could almost reach out to touch his hand, a gentle brush, skin on skin... I hold back. Baby steps, though steps nonetheless, are small by their nature. So small, and yet, so many.

My mouth hangs open a little, and I feel the heat rushing to my face as my cheeks turn scarlet. I turn more, though only a little, so I can see him clearly. I look into his eyes, his light brown eyes, and I hold my gaze. He stares at me too, but it's somehow different to every other occasion. It's not the same as the stares I get when I walk in town, or when surrounded by my colleagues in the school premises. He isn't looking at me, he's looking into me.

“Hanako...?” I try to speak, in response to his quizzical comment, but the words refuse to escape my lips. I'm not even sure what I want to say, just that I want to say it, whatever it is. I want him to know every detail of my heart, how he makes me feel, how he lifted me from the dark when no-one else could, but although the words exist within me they reject any attempt to leave. I can make an attempt, though. Strength can come from many places, and the best strength comes from subtlety.

“Hi... sao...” I force the sound out, but as I do so I realise I'm not the only one blushing. Indeed, my face feels a little less red, and I can guess my own embarrassment has faded away. Hisao, on the other hand, is starting to glow. He quickly looks away, covering his face, and out of instinct I do the same. Perhaps some things will never change.

Silence falls. We both wait for the other to make a move, and once I'd have stubbornly waited all day. I attempt to steel myself to bridge the gap, to prove to myself as much as to Hisao that I can for once take the initiative. Before my chance arrives, however...

“Hanako... I want to show you something.” My eyes flash in surprise, wondering what he wants to show me, as I see him breathe in deeply. “I'm not going to strip naked or anything weird, I'm just going to take off my shirt.”

What? What a way to properly begin a conversation! Although I sense my heart beginning to beat faster, my pulse racing and eyes widening, mouth dropping slightly, my face regaining its former crimson hue... I find myself doing exactly what I hate the most, staring at Hisao as he unknots his tie and loosens his buttons, starting at the top and slowly working his way down. I try to keep myself from breathing too loudly, never quite certain if I'm succeeding or just making myself look like a lustful fool. Finally, he removes the last button and breathes in again, looking at me with an expression as if he's seeking my approval for something.

My gaze is drawn from his face down to his chest, and I can see through the gap in the fabric a thin red line running along the middle. A single brief flicker of my eyes, upwards, and as I meet his own he nods just once. An understanding is formed between us, one where we have no need to speak, for we can see and feel everything of importance in this small room, alone together. I can feel a stirring of sorts, in a place too private to discuss, and am reminded of that simple truth that I am, always, a woman. I gently touch his scar with a single finger, then two, then more until my palm is lightly caressing the raw tissue. It takes me a second to realise which hand I've used. Out of nothing more than pure instinct, I've touched Hisao's scar with my own ruined hand, once set ablaze by something much more damaging and now alight with the glowing embers of emotion. Even so, my hand is steady. Not a single tremor to break the moment.

“This is...” I'm almost scared to speak any more, for fear of spoiling the moment. Hisao takes the reins to complete my tentative query.

“The scar from the surgery that followed my heart attack. The surgeons had to cut open my chest to operate on my heart.”

“I never knew...” It's bigger than I expected. Instead of being a tiny little line of almost healed scar tissue, the scar runs a jagged line from the top of his chest right down to the middle, unbroken as it goes. I trace the line along its whole length, making sure to use only the lightest touch to avoid causing him any pain.

“You're the first person to see this since I left the hospital.”

My first thought belies my spiteful side, however small that may be, as I'm pleased that Iwanako hasn't seen what I have seen, nor felt what I have felt. I swiftly push this to one side though, and focus on the here and now. “But... why are you showing this to me?”

“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this; that I could accept my past and move on. I wanted to show that to you, as well.” I nod at his words. I can understand, it's what I want to do more than anything in the world. It's just so hard, even now. I'm not sure I'm ready yet. This gesture, though...

I still feel the warmth that lingers below, and find myself torn between love and lust, the sensual undertone to everything taking place. My gaze remains but becomes unfocused, my mind dwelling on other matters, of both the heart and of the imagination. I have no idea how long we remain like this, what could be seconds seem like minutes and minutes turn into hours. Neither of us make any kind of move. Until, suddenly, it's all over, as I remove my hand and look away, my face returning to its previous ruby complexion. Hisao starts to button up his shirt again and I worry that maybe I've portrayed myself as nothing more than a desperate, lonely girl with a perverted mind and lack of self control.

It's almost as if he can sense my concerns, as he flashes me a brief smile whilst putting on his tie. “So... I guess you're not the only one that's scarred.”

My fears resolved a little, the tension in the air dissipating, I let a smile of my own show. I almost want to laugh a little too, but find it to be too much to manage. The smile will do just fine. “Thank you... H-Hisao. I think... I understand.” We wait another moment but the silence this time feels less forced, less awkward. I still think it's getting late though, a suspicion confirmed upon a quick sighting of my watch. “Hisao... um...”

Thankfully, he saw where I was looking and takes the hint. “Yeah, I'd better be going. I'll be thankful for some sleep. It's been a long day, after all.” He stifles a yawn and I realise I'm almost as tired myself. “Good night, Hanako.”

“G-good night.” When he leaves, he closes the door behind him, a stark contrast to how it was when he arrived. I don't lock it, though. After all, I am a woman, no longer a girl, and with that comes all the urges and desires that a woman has. I elect to take a short trip to the bathroom before bed, and let my imagination carry me away...
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:14 pm

I'd say that chapter was worth the wait. This was one of the parts that I was really looking forward to. And did Hanako go to the bathroom for some "alone time"? :wink: Because that's the impression I got. And if that's the case, I think her room would be more private.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by brythain » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:31 pm

The arc is neatly touching all the plot bases so far, but what feels awkward to me is that first-person-present Hanako is too advanced to be canon Hanako in terms of psychological process. If it had been first-person-past Hanako, you could always put it down to character development over time. But that's just me musing about the difficulty of writing Hanako… keep going, think complicated thoughts, and write on! :)
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by Yoyofatboy » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:04 am

I really like seeing this slightly perverted side of Hanako, as it's a nice change from the usual thoughts in her head. I look forward to see more of her portrayed this way. Nice work. 8)
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by Trivun » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:39 am

AntonSlavik020 wrote:I'd say that chapter was worth the wait. This was one of the parts that I was really looking forward to. And did Hanako go to the bathroom for some "alone time"? :wink: Because that's the impression I got. And if that's the case, I think her room would be more private.
To be honest I was thinking more that in the girl's bathroom she could lock a cubicle door and then it's a bit less messy than doing it in her own bed... or she could go into the shower instead. locked cubicles again and all that :P
brythain wrote:The arc is neatly touching all the plot bases so far, but what feels awkward to me is that first-person-present Hanako is too advanced to be canon Hanako in terms of psychological process. If it had been first-person-past Hanako, you could always put it down to character development over time. But that's just me musing about the difficulty of writing Hanako… keep going, think complicated thoughts, and write on! :)
Haha, that is a real difficulty to be fair, though not much I can do now without regressing the character which would make even less sense especially given the events of the upcoming chapters. My advice is to just view it as an alternate universe Hanako where everything plays out as it does in canon, but inside Hanako's head things are a bit different. Then again, who's to say this isn't how the canon Hanako felt? We never see inside her mind in the original VN, so it could still be feasible...
Yoyofatboy wrote:I really like seeing this slightly perverted side of Hanako, as it's a nice change from the usual thoughts in her head. I look forward to see more of her portrayed this way. Nice work. 8)
Well, there's not much more to go until the... ahem... scene. So establishing that part of her, especially given that this scene in the VN is a borderline erotic affair anyway, was pretty important to me from a characterisation viewpoint. I'm planning for three more chapters anyway for the whole thing, and anyone reading the VN will know how those will progress for the time being, so we're not too far off from, well, that. As it were. ;)
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by Atario » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:35 am

brythain wrote:first-person-present Hanako is too advanced to be canon Hanako in terms of psychological process.
I actually quite like this aspect of it. I always felt Hanako has a lot more going on in her head than she lets on to a casual observer.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by bhtooefr » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:38 am

Just because she's unable to express her feelings doesn't mean she doesn't have them.

Her anxiety prevents her from acting, it doesn't prevent her from thinking - in fact, it may well even cause her to overanalyze things.
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Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 03/04/2014)

Post by brythain » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:56 am

bhtooefr wrote:Just because she's unable to express her feelings doesn't mean she doesn't have them.

Her anxiety prevents her from acting, it doesn't prevent her from thinking - in fact, it may well even cause her to overanalyze things.
That's fine—internal monologue is -always- more complex than external expression because of the relationship between thought and language. But describing the mental process perhaps needs to take into account the kind of influences a person has received. I can't put my finger on it, but a person like Hanako who seems to live in the library, plays chess etc should display those influences in the internal monologue more obviously. Otherwise, trying to justify the internal monologue becomes more complicated than it needs to be.
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
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