Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

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Heartless Wanderer
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Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:20 am

So I'm in the process of writing a Katawa Shoujo fanfic about an OC. Woo-hoo. Not my first fanfiction by any means: I have a rather extensive track record that involves starting story after story after story and then never finishing any of them. On multiple FanFiction.Net accounts. I'm posting this on this forum because I'm making this my one-month-and-a-half-before-New-Years'-resolution: this motherfucker will be finished and it will be updated in a timely manner.

UPDATE: I've added two short scenes, one from the Nurse's perspective and one from Emi's, to the "pilot." I wanted to finish the entire chapter tonight but I didn't have the time, so I'm putting these in for now because I'm not a hundred percent on whether my portrayal of the Nurse works. I fail at medical professionals of all sizes and colors, really. Emi is just collateral damage. She's there so briefly that I'm not sure it even counts as a portrayal. =/
- V - V - V -

Chapter I: "Whatever, Man" (Work-in-progress - Updated 11/15)

- V - V - V -


It was the first of April, and it was the epitome of spring. Sunlight! Fresh air! Comfortably cool breezes that made standing outside feel like sexual foreplay! Ah, it was glorious. It seemed like everyone in the world was out enjoying this stupidly-perfect weather, even if they were only enjoying it while forcing their feet (or prosthetic limbs, or in some cases wheelchairs) along the short path between high school dorm and high school drudgery.

For it was also the first day of school at Yamaku Academy, and the young man who stood at the gate really didn’t give a fuck.

His uncle had gone ahead to prep his room, so Ryota Nakamura was on his own as far as finding his way to class. That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky and robbed him of one eye and three limbs, Ryota hadn’t really cared much for his uncle. The man was gruff, brutally honest, painfully conservative, religious to a fault, and for the love of God was the man a raging prude. Ryota still remembered vividly the ringing in his ears that had persisted for several hours after his Uncle Makoto had walked in on him while he was enjoying some good, nutritious tentacle hentai on his laptop computer. He also remembered that his uncle had thrown the laptop at his television, breaking both, proclaiming it to be a just punishment. He also remembered resisting the urge to kick his uncle in the family jewels that day purely for the sake of sparing the world anymore Makoto-spawn.

That had taken self-restraint that saints could only dream of, or at least it had felt that way to Ryota at the time. Meh. He usually got angry when he remembered that, but right now he just sort of tilted his head and shrugged. Then he walked through Yamaku’s gate.

On some dim level he registered how nice out it was; after spending so much time trying to teach himself to walk on these funky stilts he wore in place of shins, ankles, and feet, and spending much of that time learning how to use the lesser of the hands he was born with to eat, write, type, wank off, and accomplish all other tasks vital to maintain one’s sanity in a society built for two-eyed, four-limbed people…

Standing outside such a pristine complex on both legs (artificial or otherwise), beneath such clear skies, feeling the gentle caress of such heavenly breezes… it should have felt nice, but it didn’t. It didn’t feel especially bad, either. It just sort of was, and he supposed he was fortunate he wasn’t standing out in the middle of a typhoon or something instead. Or in the middle of a burning building full of suffocating smoke and collapsing ceiling planks. That would have been rather uncomfortable, he mused idly, although now that he thought on it, neither possibility much bothered him.

Ryota didn’t stop to examine or ponder the significance of the school’s grand and un-school-like design or the way the two buildings sort of connected like some sort of L-shaped… one building, or something, or that this place smelled marginally less offensive than his home back in Tokyo. He didn’t stop to admire the evenly-cut, sloping lawns or the lively greenness of the trees. He just walked up to the front door of the main building and opened it with his only remaining arm: his left. The right ended at a stump just below his shoulder. Just barely enough stump for a stump to poke out. He idly wished there were more of a stump: if there were, he would at least be able to use what remained of his arm as a bludgeon in self-defense.

Ryota saw just one person standing stationary in the midst of the small trickle of incoming students: a woman who looked to be a teacher. She had laugh lines, and therefore was an adult in a school full of teenagers, and therefore looked to be a teacher. Although — he stopped to consider his assumption — in this place she could just as easily be the nurse or one of the therapists.

One of the therapists that Ryota was being pressured by dear Uncle Makoto into seeing. Meh. He opened his mouth and blandly asked to confirm the most optimistic of his guesses:

“Are you my homeroom teacher?” And after that: “…I’m Ryota Nakamura.”

“Ah, yes — Nakamura… Ryota.” The teacher smiled pleasantly at him. He gave her a deadpan sort of credit: her eyes flicked to his legs, arm-stump, and the black hair that fell in a curtain over his gouged-out eye, but she returned them both to his actual eye in a millisecond.

Nice save there, Miss Tactful.

He zoned out completely then, eyes roving around the room, half of his brain registering that she had said her name (which he didn’t care to commit to memory) and mentioned what class she taught on top of homeroom (which he would find out eventually anyway, so why bother mentioning it? Waste of bloody oxygen, that). It was wide and spacious and pretty much all ramp, the kind of room that made him wonder why he'd bothered forcing himself to walk again. And... huh. What was the deal with that one randomly checker-board wall? Weird.

“…but there’s not much time left, so it may be easier to leave it for after class.”

“Sorry?” Ryota said, not feeling such at all but thrown for a loop by whatever unexpected information she had been trying to impart.

Pleasant smile fading a bit at his inattention, the teacher-lady reiterated: “You’re due for a check-up with the head nurse in the auxiliary building, but there’s not much time left, so it may be easier to leave it until after class.”

“Oh,” Ryota said. “The auxiliary’s the other building attached to this building, yeah?”

Seeming pleased that he’d caught on so quick, the teacher’s smile re-grew. “Yes, it is.”

“I’ll find my class when I get back, then.”

Turning on his prosthetic heel, he set off for the door he'd just walked through, but not too quickly not to notice the smile drop from his teacher’s face like a cinderblock. A cinderblock made of lipstick. It occurred to him as he walked out the door that he’d zoned out just in time to miss what class number he had to find his way back to when he was done with the nurse.

Meh. He’d just peek through each door in turn and enter the one with that teacher in it.

- V - V - V -

Two hard, short knocks at the head nurse’s door prompted him to look up from Ryota Nakamura’s file. He cut a sip of his morning coffee short and set the cup on his desk. “Come on in!” he called, standing up and closing the file in case this wasn’t who he thought it would be.

He knew it wasn’t Emi, although he was still expecting her this morning. Emi rarely knocked, and were she to do so he couldn’t imagine it sounding so slow and drab. Emi did almost everything in as happy and chipper a way as she could, especially when it came to getting someone’s attention.

When the door opened, he smiled widely, surveying his visitor through naturally-narrow eyes: it was, speak of the devil, the transfer student among the seniors whose file the Nurse had just been perusing. “Good morning. Nakamura, right?” he greeted the boy, giving him a cursory once-over. The boy was already clad in his Yamaku uniform — good, that would keep him from drawing unneeded attention if he were the sort who didn’t like attention.

His right arm ended shortly below the shoulder, the sleeve having been cleanly snipped off to end about half an inch after the stump did. It was already slightly frayed. The other arm hung loosely at Ryota’s side as he walked into the room, and the Nurse noted that his prosthetics were the more natural-looking walking kind… although without prior knowledge, one could only notice that he wore prosthetics if they either stared at his ankles or bumped into him in the hallway.

The Nurse’s examination of Ryota was casual and momentary; it was a practiced act born of both the desire not to make patients uncomfortable with his scrutiny and the simple desensitization that came with being in the business for so long. The boy’s face, beneath a curtain of straight, shoulder-length hair that covered his missing eye, answered this act with a quirked eyebrow. His one remaining eye was dull brown and bored-looking.

“Well, you’re better at the not-looking-disturbed thing than Sensei is,” the boy noted blandly. “I was kind of hoping for a hot lady nurse, though. Meh. Well, let’s get this over with so we can both get back to whatever, yeah?”

The Nurse quirked his own eyebrow in response, one of his narrow eyes widening to better peek out and read the boy’s mannerisms. But there wasn’t much mannerism to read. The boy spoke so unflinchingly and straight-faced that he was either entirely serious or just had a really deadpan sense of humor.

Nevertheless, the Nurse smiled. “Right you are. As it happens —” He flipped open Nakamura’s file again. “— I was just going over your file before you got here. Let me see…”

“Plane crash. Lost both legs beneath the knees and an arm above the elbow. Prosthetics for the legs. They haven’t invented decent robotic arms yet so no prosthetic for that. Also lost an eye. Sharp chunk of metal, hurt like a bitch, but the other one’s fine, almost twenty-twenty. That about covers it.”

The Nurse glanced up, hiding his surprise. In all his time at Yamaku, he’d never heard a new student speak of their disabilities with such blatant nonchalance, and certainly not of any horribly traumatic past incidents attached to them. He’d known plenty who got to that point or close enough for comfortable living, but only after a healthy amount of time had passed. But according to this file —

“You just got the all-clear on your rehabilitation this week, I see,” the Nurse said professionally. “Just in time to enroll at the start of the year, if a bit suddenly. So, any bumps in the road since then, or has it been smooth sailing?”

“Nothing so far. I’ll come to you if I feel off at all, and don’t bother giving me the ‘I’m serious here’ talk like the other doctors, I’m not a two-year-old. Is there anything else?”

The Nurse frowned. Ryota didn’t seem impatient, nor did he sound especially scathing or otherwise ill-mannered, but for all the lack of heat in his words, he was being rather rude. Maybe he just had an abrasive personality. The Nurse flipped through his file again and noted that Ryota was scheduled for weekly therapist visits, although there was no mention of any specific issues or disorders, not even post-traumatic stress related to the plane crash. Hm.

“Well, I won’t keep you, since you’re no doubt eager to get to class,” the Nurse said… despite the fact that Ryota didn’t seem eager about anything at all. “But I want you to know that someone from my staff will be readily available at all times, so if there's ever a problem, call us. Also, about your councilor, Miss Sonomura —”

“Thursday evenings at seven, yeah, I know. Where’s her office?” Ryota said, cutting the nurse off.

“…The second floor,” the Nurse answered. Truth told, he was a bit wrong-footed by the boy’s all-business approach to this. “Go down the hall from here, in the direction of the entryway on this hall, and take the stairs up. She’s the third door on the left from there, has a nameplate and everything. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks. Anything else?”

The Nurse smiled, and extended his left hand to shake Ryota’s remaining limb. “Only that you should come see me any time something feels ‘off’ with your prosthetics, and remember to check in once a week or so, or after any rigorous physical —”

The door swung open, and a head with light-brown twintails and saucer-like green eyes poked in. Oh, speak of the devil, indeed.

“Good morning, Emi,” the Nurse said with a smile. “Just wait outside for a moment, we’re almost done here.”

- V - V - V -

Emi Ibarazaki stood in the half-open door and blinked at the black-haired, one-armed boy in slight surprise. She was still a bit winded from her morning run and from the run from the field the nurse's office that had immediately followed that one, but she had to run because was late this morning, because… gah… because Rin had overdosed on her cold medicine overnight and when Emi’d swung by to check up on her that morning, the armless artist had been high out of her mind. Emi had phoned the nurse’s office in a panic, fearing some dire side effect, but the drama had concluded with Rin’s cold medicine being confiscated for safety and her being given a pass on attending class today. Apparently all she needed to do was sleep it off.

So Emi’s morning run had been a bit delayed today. Hence the run from the field to the nurse’s office: she didn’t want to be late for class, too!

She didn’t expect to find anyone here at the moment because she knew full well that the bell for classes had already rung. At this point either one absolutely had to see the nurse right away, or they were running late like her.

“Heh, um… oops,” Emi said, sending the Nurse and then the black-haired boy an apologetic look before backing out of the door, but —

“That’s fine, there’s nothing else. I’ve been told everything I need to know about my legs, I’ll check in when I have to. I need to get to class now. If there’s anything else I really have to know, you can tell me next time.”

Emi blinked again as the black-haired boy turned on his heel and walked toward the door. At the word “legs” her eyes drifted down to his ankles and she saw that he had prosthetics under his pants. She backed out quickly and opened the door wider to let him by. She saw him give her a mildly appreciative once-over from head to waist as he passed by, and it was a bit unnerving because although she was used to lecherous looks from the "typical" guys and the more endearingly bashful looks from boys who weren’t as shameless about it, this wasn’t quite either of the two. This guy didn't seem any less bored when he looked at her than he'd looked when she first came in, and she wasn’t sure what it was beyond a built-in response to the sight of a teenage girl in track-wear. She wasn't even sure he'd noticed her own lack of legs.

Then she saw the Nurse’s extended hand drift back to his side, the apparent handshake offer ignored. Emi frowned after the black-haired boy, then huffed and re-entered the office. She closed the door behind her, put her hands on her hips in irate fashion, and said, “Hmph. Rude.”

The Nurse seemed reluctant to voice agreement with the observation, so he gave her his customary smile and from there it was business as usual for the two.

And afterward, Emi ran like the wind yet again, this time from the nurse’s office all the way to her homeroom class. She was late for that now, too. She decided she would have words with Rin, once she was sure that her friend was back in her right mind and in good health again. Of course she knew she’d probably cool off and change her mind about that in ten minutes or so, but eh, she was in a hurry. Run now, think later.



Oh, damn. She’d forgotten to ask the Nurse to give her a note for the teacher. Aaaaaaaaaaagggggggh…

Author's Note: I've made some cuts as per Catgirl's recommendation. Not that this affects the final product at all since it was going to have completely different author's notes anyway. =P
Last edited by Heartless Wanderer on Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:34 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/14 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scene)

Post by Catgirl Kleptocracy » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:46 am

It's a short bit, and not the whole first chapter, but from what you've shown us of it the writing itself looks solid. You don't spend an unreasonable amount of time focusing on either action or insight while sacrificing the other. We get just the right amount of each, which was what struck me the most in this reading. Very nice work on that, especially. The descriptions were pretty well done too, though I didn't understand the hamsters and their kittens thing. Other than that one, though, they were good.

Even with how short this was, it gave us a good idea of your OC's characterization--or at least a beginning of its development. It's important to show his characterization straight out of the gate, and this was effective. I can't comment much more on the substance of the character until a full section or three are posted, but at least as far as writing technique goes, you're off to a good start. Keep it coming!

The very first thing that struck me was the author's note. My advice would be to cut everything after "this motherfucker will be finished and it will be updated in a timely manner." Everything after that starts telling us about the story itself. Don't tell us about your story. Just write it. Everything the reader needs to know absolutely has to be within the text of the story anyway. Show it to us, don't tell us about it in a footnote. If your story needs to be explained, you need to fix the story, not explain harder.

The note also leads to issues in the text of the story. It was short, but there's already one part that NEEDS the author's note to make sense:
That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky and robbed him of one eye and three limbs...
The writing of this sentence, standing alone, is solid. You've got insight to the character, and a (taken alone) really cool description with the metal coffin thing. But the line as taken with the rest of the story only works if the reader has read your note and been told that the giant metal coffin is a plain. Nowhere else is it told what happened--except within the note. The story should be able to stand on its own without outside explanation.

Cut the note. Write everything that was important from it into the story itself, when relevant. If it won't be relevant until later chapters, the reader doesn't need to know until those chapters come up.

Looking good so far, though. Get your full chapters up!

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Re: Nonchalance (11/14 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scene)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:56 am

Catgirl Kleptocracy wrote:though I didn't understand the hamsters and their kittens thing.
Ryota has weird inner monologues. In this case he's implying that hamsters have had babies with cats as a deadpan twist on the old "everyone and their great aunt Sally" type expression. Consider this your only point-blank warning that his mental descriptions of certain things will often dip into similar realms of oddball.

EDIT: Mind you, now that I think on it, this one does seem a bit badly-placed. I'll be careful with these in the future.
Even with how short this was, it gave us a good idea of your OC's characterization--or at least a beginning of its development. It's important to show his characterization straight out of the gate, and this was effective. I can't comment much more on the substance of the character until a full section or three are posted, but at least as far as writing technique goes, you're off to a good start. Keep it coming!

The very first thing that struck me was the author's note. My advice would be to cut everything after "this motherfucker will be finished and it will be updated in a timely manner." Everything after that starts telling us about the story itself. Don't tell us about your story. Just write it. Everything the reader needs to know absolutely has to be within the text of the story anyway. Show it to us, don't tell us about it in a footnote. If your story needs to be explained, you need to fix the story, not explain harder.
That is a very good point. I will do that right now. Pardon my tendency to be utterly and completely long-winded.
Nowhere else is it told what happened--except within the note. The story should be able to stand on its own without outside explanation.
Oh? Oh dear God, you're right. I stopped just short of the nurse's office scene, where that was supposed to be explicitly spelled out for the first time. Oops.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/14 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scene)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:51 am

Like Catgirl said, there's not much to say on the story yet.
I'm not even sure if your OC is supposed to be likeable or not - at the moment I'm tending to "not"

What confused me in some places was tha narrative voice. In general you use an omniscient narrator, but sometimes you seem to switch into inner monologue with no warning, e. g. the line Catgirl quoted:
That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky and robbed him of one eye and three limbs...
This makes me wonder if
a) you really switch from omniscient narrator to first person,
b) your narrator actually has a personality prone to vulgarity or even
c) if the story is narrated by a future version of your OC.

One more minor thing:
in a society built for two-eyed, four-limbed people…
Up to this point you only mentioned loss of limb, so I wondered if the "two-eyed"-part was actually pertaining to himself or not. Also the previous sentence mentions only learning to cope with his missing limbs, so I'm not sure, why eyes are mentioned here in the first place.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/14 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scene)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:36 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Like Catgirl said, there's not much to say on the story yet.
I'm not even sure if your OC is supposed to be likeable or not - at the moment I'm tending to "not"
He's not supposed to be likeable, no. He may have his occasionally amusing moments for people who like black humor but he's a rather unpleasant fellow.

Fun fact from behind the scenes: the original concept, before I personified my idea in the form of an OC, was for a story in which Hisao emerged from the hospital with a more stunted personality than he begins KS with, but when I tried to work out in my head how this new, unlikably apathetic Hisao would behave, I found myself hating the idea of taking a perfectly good character and turning him into something altogether unsavory. So I took the "what-if" scenario and fiddled with it until it became an OC. Thus was Ryota born, the 99-cent fruit punch soda to Hisao's Cherry Coke.
What confused me in some places was tha narrative voice. In general you use an omniscient narrator, but sometimes you seem to switch into inner monologue with no warning, e. g. the line Catgirl quoted:
That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky and robbed him of one eye and three limbs...
This makes me wonder if
a) you really switch from omniscient narrator to first person,
b) your narrator actually has a personality prone to vulgarity or even
c) if the story is narrated by a future version of your OC.
It's primarily a third-person limited narrative focused on a single character's perspective, although the first paragraph is more of an omniscient scene-setter than the rest (hence, in hindsight, I've realized that putting one of Ryota's off-the-wall mental descriptions in there sort of clashes with the intent). I favor third-person limited primarily because I like to switch between character perspectives and constantly switching between first person perspectives has always confused the hell out of me. I'm also better at describing how a character perceives a situation than simply describing the situation, so I feel most at home focusing on someone's viewpoint rather than a bird's-eye-view of a given scene.

It also lets me inject helpings of narrative "omniscient" bits that can't be pulled off at all in first person, such as that opening paragraph. I do this quite rarely, and usually only at the very beginning or the very end of a scene as a means of transition (kind of like a camera zooming in or out).
One more minor thing:
in a society built for two-eyed, four-limbed people…
Up to this point you only mentioned loss of limb, so I wondered if the "two-eyed"-part was actually pertaining to himself or not. Also the previous sentence mentions only learning to cope with his missing limbs, so I'm not sure, why eyes are mentioned here in the first place.
I'll say nothing except that you should re-read the quote you quoted when you were talking about my third-person perspective thing.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:48 am

I'll say nothing except that you should re-read the quote you quoted when you were talking about my third-person perspective thing.
Sure, but that line comes two paragraphs later. By that time I had done all my wondering and dismissed it as "probably unimportant"
It's primarily a third-person limited narrative focused on a single character's perspective, although the first paragraph is more of an omniscient scene-setter than the rest
Even in third person limited you still have a narrator, and a narrator cannot go blabbing the perspective chatacter's thoughts without something like "He thought..." as a lead-in, otherwise it will be the thought of the narrator. I agree it can be cumbersome in some cases, but that's why there's always the choice of writing first-person.
If you intended there to be a switch in perspective between the first two paragraphs and the rest, you should make that clear, at least by using more than a normal single line to seperate them.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:17 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I'll say nothing except that you should re-read the quote you quoted when you were talking about my third-person perspective thing.
Sure, but that line comes two paragraphs later. By that time I had done all my wondering and dismissed it as "probably unimportant"
You know, it's not an especially long gap between the statement and its explanation. And generally if you're wondering about something while you're reading, it's a good idea to keep reading to see if something nearby answers the question, as it often tends to. That said, I have a question:

Do you think the scene would "read" better if I took paragraphs 3 and 4, and moved them to after "Then he walked through Yamaku's gate"?
Even in third person limited you still have a narrator, and a narrator cannot go blabbing the perspective chatacter's thoughts without something like "He thought..."
This is an area where it's somewhat easy to slip up, but that's not strictly true. As with dialogue between two characters, where you can often drop the obligatory "he said/she said" descriptions when it becomes easy enough for simple quote marks, speech patterns, and formatting to differentiate between speakers for you, it's not that hard to style your writing so that it's clear that the narration is focused on a person's perspective even when it isn't constantly naming them or mentioning that they think things. In fact, that is more or less the entire reason "third person limited" exists as a separate perspective from "third person omniscient." Omniscient, jumping between this, that, and the other at all points and corners, always has to specify who or what is doing/saying/thinking/anything. Limited establishes itself as a limited perspective and once it does, it can lay off specific names and pronoun statements a bit more in favor of letting writing tone, formatting, and the like do the specifying for it.

I would say that this is where I slipped up: I started being vague about it too early, at the very beginning, in fact. I will rectify this.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:36 am

Heartless Wanderer wrote:You know, it's not an especially long gap between the statement and its explanation. And generally if you're wondering about something while you're reading, it's a good idea to keep reading to see if something nearby answers the question, as it often tends to. That said, I have a question:

Do you think the scene would "read" better if I took paragraphs 3 and 4, and moved them to after "Then he walked through Yamaku's gate"?
That's why I said it was a minor issue, but yes, I think that would work better.
In fact, that is more or less the entire reason "third person limited" exists as a separate perspective from "third person omniscient."
The distinction between "third person subjective/limited" and "third person omniscient" is that in the latter, the narrator knows everything that happens in the story and in the former he is limited to the knowldge of the focal character. The narrator and the focal character are still separate entities - whether or nor you have an impersonal narrator ore one with a personality of his own - and it has to be made clear whose thoughts you are relating.
... In fact, that is more or less the entire reason "third person limited" exists as a separate perspective from "third person omniscient." Omniscient, jumping between this, that, and the other at all points and corners, always has to specify who or what is doing/saying/thinking/anything. Limited establishes itself as a limited perspective and once it does, it can lay off specific names and pronoun statements a bit more in favor of letting writing tone, formatting, and the like do the specifying for it.
Wikipedia wrote:...the narrator only describes events perceived and information known by a character. At its narrowest and most subjective scope, the story reads as though the viewpoint character were narrating it; dramatically this is very similar to the first person, in that it allows in-depth revelation of the protagonist's personality, but it uses third-person grammar. Some writers will shift perspective from one viewpoint character to another.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Catgirl Kleptocracy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:01 am

As long as you are sticking with limited pov, and keep a very close distance to the character, you do not have to distinguish thoughts from the rest of the text. The third person grammar it uses as opposed to first person is 'he/she' instead of 'I'. Other than that, they can (at a glance) be nearly identical. Each still has advantages over the other, but theoretically you can take a first person story and simply change the pronouns to have a workable third person limited.

As for the reference to the eyes before the explination, anything that makes a reader stop and shake their head in confusion pulls them out of the story. If there's no harm in explaining ahead of the reference, it's usually a good idea to.

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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Catgirl Kleptocracy wrote:As long as you are sticking with limited pov, and keep a very close distance to the character, you do not have to distinguish thoughts from the rest of the text. The third person grammar it uses as opposed to first person is 'he/she' instead of 'I'. Other than that, they can (at a glance) be nearly identical. Each still has advantages over the other, but theoretically you can take a first person story and simply change the pronouns to have a workable third person limited.
^ This is sort of what I'm referring to. It can be slightly tricky because you have to work a bit harder to make it clear to the reader whose point of view you're focusing on (hopefully in a way a little less cheap than putting stuff like "Ryota's P.O.V." in big, bold letters at the start of every scene from his perspective), but that can be done in any number of ways, from mentioning his name in context of thought to changing up the way the narrative describes people (for example, a scene from Misha's perspective might call Hisao by the name "Hicchan" while a scene from Mutou's pespective might always refer to him as "Nakai") to just injecting different perspectives with different "tones of voice" (so to speak). I'm not exactly the best person in the world at it, but when it's done well, you're right, it's barely distinguishable from first-person writing in how it works and reads.
As for the reference to the eyes before the explination, anything that makes a reader stop and shake their head in confusion pulls them out of the story. If there's no harm in explaining ahead of the reference, it's usually a good idea to.
That's true. One thing that I have a tendency to avoid doing, though, is to avoid explaining anything that the perspective character is already fully aware of unless they're taking the time to actually think or examine it him/herself. So, for example, a girl who's walking down the street on the way to the Shanghai, if the scene were focused on her, probably wouldn't think about what clothes she's wearing or what her hair looks like unless her thought process happens to segue into something like worry over her appearance because she's looking to impress a boy or something. Likewise, Ryota only briefly reflected on the plane crash and only as a side-point to what he was really thinking of. It's like someone who glances at the pencil cup on their desk, briefly acknowledges it's there, but doesn't dwell on it long enough for their "inner monologue" to bother describing its shape, size, or color. Or you could compare it to the way no one in the Star Wars movies bothers to explain how given technologies or customs in their universe work for the viewer; because it wouldn't make sense for them to go into it, on account of them being used to it. They just mention moisture-vaporators offhand and go about their day.

And that isn't strictly true, actually. Sometimes references or vague descriptions hinting at places or events that are explained later draw the reader in via curiosity. That isn't entirely what I was going for here, but there aren't a lot of giant metal coffins that could drop out of the sky and leave a man crippled, so I'm leaving it partly to the reader's understanding at that point. On that note, I've added the nurse's office scene... can you give me some thoughts on that?
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Catgirl Kleptocracy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:30 pm

Sort of. First person and Third Limited can at a glance look the same, but they do work and read very differently. You're fine on your perspective right now, but what Mirage brought up still applies regarding your perspective. To use your Star Wars example, the technology isn't described partly because the characters are used to it, so explanations, as you said, would kill the immersion, but there's another (bigger) reason the characters never get into a discussion about how and why lightsabers work--it's not relevant to the story. How a lightsaber functions in no way changes or contributes to the viewer's understanding of the movies. Similarly, a section dedicated to describing a character's desk--at least on its own--doesn't change the story unless there's a specific relevance to the desk or it's somehow being used to tell us something about its owner or the character perceiving it. In contrast, Ryota's accident and physical condition are essential to understanding the story. That information needs to be imparted on the reader in some way when they need to know it. It might not be important to Ryota at the moment, but the reader still needs to know it to understand the rest of the story, so it has to be fed to the reader somehow.

Third limited and First person might look the same at a glance (when disregarding the effect of the I vs he/she), but one of the major advantages of third person over first is that you can adjust the level of penetration in third person, whereas you can't in first. In first you are ALWAYS in the direct thoughts of the character. You're very close in third limited, but you can also back off a bit when you need to, or dive in when you feel you need to be right in the character's head. For this section, to understand the reference to the giant coffin and the comment about two eyes and four limbs, the reader needs to know about his plain crash and the extent of his injuries. You've said he thinks about the plain crash, but that his injuries were an ancillary thought. In first person, if he doesn't think about the injuries, you can't include them. In third limited, though, you have a little bit of wiggle room to back off and include them even though they're not directly on his mind, so long as we don't jump to another character's perspective. You're not changing perspective, just penetration--from a third person limited deep penetration to either a third person limited light penetration or third person limited cinematic view.

Like you, I also prefer to stick primarily with a deep penetration in third person writing. You can really empathize with the character at that level. That said, more important than your penetration is that the readers get everything they need to understand the story. If a reader doesn't get what they need to know, you either need to think of a way that the information can be given to them when they need it while using your penetration, or change the level of penetration to impart the information they need.

Edit: Just saw you added the nurses' scene--will read it and give you some comments when I catch the time!

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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:12 pm

Likewise, Ryota only briefly reflected on the plane crash and only as a side-point to what he was really thinking of.
Oooh, a plane crash. I was wondering about the kind of freak accident, that would drop a metal box on his head... Figured you'd explain later...

About the similarities betwenn 1st person and 3rd person ltd - Yes, you can do without the pronouns IF you make it clear who is doing the thinking otherwise. it may not be by-the-book, but writing is a form of art and whatever works is fine. The example I quoted above does not work.
That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky
You are changing perspective within the one sentence. The first part is obviously 3rd person ltd, and the fucking coffin part is supposed to be a mental exclamation by the focal character. As I pointed out, there are other ways to interpret this line.

No complaints about perspective in the new parts, but:
She was still a bit winded from her morning run and from the run from the field the nurse's office that had immediately followed that one, but she had to run because was she had been late this morning, because...
It seems like you are going to use 3rd person limited with changing focus characters. Interesting.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:26 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Likewise, Ryota only briefly reflected on the plane crash and only as a side-point to what he was really thinking of.
Oooh, a plane crash. I was wondering about the kind of freak accident, that would drop a metal box on his head... Figured you'd explain later...
How do you lose three limbs and an eye by having a metal box dropped on their head? That's a good way to lose a head. Maybe it would account for the eye? ...I dun get it. >_>
About the similarities betwenn 1st person and 3rd person ltd - Yes, you can do without the pronouns IF you make it clear who is doing the thinking otherwise. it may not be by-the-book, but writing is a form of art and whatever works is fine. The example I quoted above does not work.
That was all well and good in his book, since even before the giant fucking metal coffin had dropped out of the sky
You are changing perspective within the one sentence. The first part is obviously 3rd person ltd, and the fucking coffin part is supposed to be a mental exclamation by the focal character. As I pointed out, there are other ways to interpret this line.
Hm. Maybe I'll tweak it for clarity when I do my final revision.
No complaints about perspective in the new parts, but:
She was still a bit winded from her morning run and from the run from the field the nurse's office that had immediately followed that one, but she had to run because was she had been late this morning, because...
It seems like you are going to use 3rd person limited with changing focus characters. Interesting.
No, she's still late. She was late for her run, she's late for her nurse visit and she's also running late for class on top of that. She's late for everything and it's all Rin's stupid fault. Damn that Rin and damn that gods-damned cold medicine. So there's no need to go all passive-voice with that one.
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:02 pm

How do you lose three limbs and an eye by having a metal box dropped on their head? That's a good way to lose a head. Maybe it would account for the eye? ...I dun get it. >_>
I was wondering that as well...
No, she's still late. She was late for her run, she's late for her nurse visit and she's also running late for class on top of that. She's late for everything and it's all Rin's stupid fault. Damn that Rin and damn that gods-damned cold medicine. So there's no need to go all passive-voice with that one.
Okay, if you see it that way, I agree. Just fix the apostrophe and the comma.
But what do you mean with "passive voice"? I never suggested you use passive voice...
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Re: Nonchalance (11/15 - Chapter 1 "Pilot" Scenes)

Post by Heartless Wanderer » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:31 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote: But what do you mean with "passive voice"? I never suggested you use passive voice...
That was me mixing up my English grammatical terminology stuff again. I can write like a boss but God help me if I need to say what any given thing is called. Sorry for the confusion. That's pretty much me in a nutshell when it comes to any subject, really. Excellent at practical application... utterly shyte at keeping everything's name straight.

EDIT: Oh, and I added the comma and apostrophe, thanks for that.
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