A Ritsu Route (Updated 12/26)

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SemisoftCheese
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Tue May 28, 2013 9:45 pm

time for a marathon reply post. first off, a sincere thank you to everyone who's taken the time to read or reply. it means alot, and keeps me going.
Draganada wrote:I really like your Hisao more than anything else. That's not to say I'm not enjoying reading Ritsu as well. Will definitely read this to the end!
thanks!
Hoitash wrote:Well, that was an intriguing read. Very nice :)
thanks!
13loop wrote:Well that was an eventful afternoon. I'm liking Ritsu so far. Looking forward to the next chapter!
thank you!
DanjaDoom wrote:Aww yiss, new chapter. I'm really liking this! Will you be introducing more characters into this, out of curiosity? Perhaps some of Ritsu's "club friends?"
shhhh... i don't know yet. i definitely need to explode out of this "hisao+ritsu" only kind of thing, but i'm not sure to do it with totally new characters, some k-on characters, or some pre-existing ones. i'll definitely introduce them in the next chapter or the chapter after that, so i guess both you and i will find out soon.
nemz wrote:This chapter... I don't get it, man. I mean I like dogs but come on, this is ridiculous.

Hisao tries to get himself killed to help some random dog that's been hit? Dude, heart condition on top of the whole running into traffic thing. And ditching class for this adventure? Nurse should chew his ass ragged.

Would a 911 dispatcher actually do anything for an animal injury, seriously? Maybe give you a number for a vet (or more likely transfer you to some other non-emergency office who might do so), but sending an ambulance for an injured dog is highly doubtful. You might even get a fine in some places for doing that.

Also by claiming the dog (doesn't it have tags?) they just signed up for a very large vet bill regardless of if the pooch makes it. And an ambulance ride... that shit ain't cheap, yo.
dogs... i know what you're saying. yes, and no. i struggled a lot with finding a credible nucleus for this chapter. as for the 911 dispatch thing, where i live, there are animal ambulances and they are dispatched in case of emergency.

as for hisao jumping over the fence and both ritsu and hisao agreeing to claim the dog, it is true that both hisao placed himself in danger and hisao and ritsu have agreed to shoulder a large cost.

it sort of just spelled itself out on my keyboard. i thought it was a good way to show ritsu and hisao's character. what kind of person would hisao be if he let a dog die for financial reasons? the same as well for ritsu. this was the kind of aspect i wanted to highlight in both of their personalities--making the right decision, regardless of the cost.
Mirage_GSM wrote:I don't know whom Ritsu would get on the phone by calling 911, but it wouldn't be emergency services. The number for that in Japan is 119.
Also, while the concept of an animal amublance is interesting and a nice plot device for your story, I don't think there's any country tha actually has such a thing. Most things that came up when googling the term were either animal clinics or glorified mobile vets.
Doesn't hurt your story, though. I can suspend my disbelief that much.
i knew someone was going to nail me for the 911 thing... thanks. they do exist where i live, but you're correct in the sense that they're not true ambulances, more like modified vans.
BlackWaltzTheThird wrote: Agreed.

Since you probably didn't see it in the /ksg/ thread, I'll repost my response from there. Some things have already been addressed by other members.
>neat, well, lit side street.
well-lit

>"W-well, n-o, I was just trying to make conversation" I finish sheepishly.
"W-well, n-no, I was..." <short prose about regaining his composure> "I was just trying to make conversation..." I finish sheepishly.

>I come here on nice days, but there's also a big orange one--
Call-sideways to Saki Route? Heh.

>but never to sit down."
>
>"Now when I think about it

Either drop the closing quote on the first paragraph or put in some prose, or else it looks like a change in speaker.

>There's nothing too special outside the this acfe.
Cafe. And you should use é instead of e.

>like it's my fucking day job.
Probably don't need the expletive. Elsewhere, too.

>I called 911. They sent an animal ambulance. They'll be here soon.
Do your research, son. This wouldn't even make sense in the US.

>Well, someone's got to...put him to sleep.
Definitely do your research. I don't think they'd just let them take the dog just like that.
Blackwaltz! I've missed your eagle eyes. thanks for your first post and this one. i did miss your reply in /ksg, so thanks for posting it here. you always manage to catch what i miss.
Sperance wrote:What the others said. Still, I can ignore some of the problems given that you seem to have had a reason for the dog thing. And I agree with Ritsu, choices are important
thanks! the dog thing does have a purpose, it'll unfold in its own time.
ProfAllister wrote:Hate to pile on, but there are a lot of believability issues with the whole dog scene. To wit - the time between Ritsu seeing what was happening, informing Hisao of such, Hisao turning around, and the impact stretches credulity; and while I may be willing to suspend disbelief on Hisao's spur-of-the-moment heroics, his bitterness and anger at the rest of the world seems a bit much, especially when comparing his use of language here to his angry scenes from the VN. I also feel the whole decision to go on a trip to the city was a bit out of nowhere.

Those issues aside, I'm concerned about the scene much more from the standpoint of narrative logistics. A kinetic scene like this is very dangerous in a slice-of-life VN. It's going to be very hard to return to mundane concerns about what to have for lunch and whether you studied enough for a test. It can get addictive, too. Since the kinetic scenes are so much more exciting, you may decide to have ninjas spontaneously attack in the middle of one of Mutou's lectures. Before you know it, you'll have the girls performing a fusion dance to combine into the Seven-Spoke MegaKatawa so they can smash the moon before Nomiya's psychic space-mercenaries activate the mind-control device. That's not really a BAD story per se, but it kind of loses the point somewhere along the way.

More seriously, it's a foundation of sand - both for the narrative and, in-story, for Hisao and Ritsu's relationship. They're thrown together by a relatively bizarre circumstance in a very emotional situation, so things seem to develop quickly. Without a solid basis, though, it can all come crashing down. After this whole episode's over, Hisao doesn't really have a compelling reason to spend more time with Ritsu. At the very least, I doubt there will be much more than the (perfectly workable) "I kind alike her and there's nothing better to do" that characterized their association prior to this city trip.

It can work, but it's a really dangerous narrative tool. And, personally, I don't think it's the best approach. If you disagree, more power to you, and I sincerely hope you manage to pull it off. Either way, this story certainly has the potential to go interesting places, so we'll see what will come of it.


Also, somewhat unrelated, you might want to try using a little more word variation. It became distracting how often the word "braces" came up. Especially considering that a lot of people have a much stronger mental association between that word and orthodontics (or suspenders) than they do for the wrist braces you're talking about. She still has hands, after all - even if they are constrained.
[/quote]


aaaaaalllissstteerrrrr

addressing your first point, i don't think the credibility thing is that much of an issue, but i can see where you're coming from. i made a deliberate attempt not to model my hisao on the ks hisao. ks hisao is, for lack of a better term, incredibly vanilla. i wanted to give him some real heft as a character. i want him to be unreasonable, angry, bitter, happy, whatever. the city thing was out of nowhere, yes.

for your second and third paragraphs, i completely agree with you. yes, the scene was a kinetic one, and they're incredibly addictive and sort of screw other things up. and its a shitty foundation for their relationship.

for this one, i had a completely conventional act written up. but the more i looked at it, the more i felt unhappy. i felt like when i was writing ks fanfic i had to follow a set formula; library, shanghai, student council, you get the idea. and even if not, i just wanted to shake things up a bit. what i had before (i think) advanced the original sweet manic relationship between hisao and ritsu.

but when i kept looking at it, what really makes hisao hang out with ritsu? the fact that she's sweet, somewhat mysteriously lonely, and kinda cute? i wanted to add a little more. i think you're right in that i sort of put myself on a cliff, but it just felt more substantive. they've got more in common now than an affinity for hills and powerbars. it felt like this was the way it was supposed to go. i mean, what are the odds of hisao having cardiac arrythmia? going to yamaku? it's always a roll of the dice, and i wanted to roll double sixes for once. i think you're right in that i'll regret it in the future, but maybe i can pull something magical then. or cheat and use another kinetic scene

and yeah, i do need to find another word for braces. wrist-planks? time to go find a medical thesaurus.


once again, thanks so much to everyone who replied. it means a ton to me that people care enough to read my stuff and care enough to point out things i've messed up.

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by nemz » Wed May 29, 2013 2:44 am

SemisoftCheese wrote:what kind of person would hisao be if he let a dog die for financial reasons?
Rational.

Also Hisao and Ritsu pretty clearly don't work, so this boils down to feeling heroically charitable with their parents' money. Funny how it's always much easier to give away resources that you didn't earn, isn't it?
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed May 29, 2013 3:25 am

but i'm not sure to do it with totally new characters, some k-on characters, or some pre-existing ones. i'll definitely introduce them in the next chapter or the chapter after that, so i guess both you and i will find out soon.
Might I suggest doing neither?
Introducing the complete K-on cast at Yamaku is definitely going to come out of nowhere feel out of place and make you seem out of ideas.
Just using a combination of other KS characters has been done to the death and is hardly original.
Since Ritsu doesn't seem to be attached to any of the "usual bunch" you have the chance of introducing a whole new circle of friends like Oddball does in his current fic. Yes, it's more work, but it's certainly worth it!
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Oddball » Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 am

addressing your first point, i don't think the credibility thing is that much of an issue, but i can see where you're coming from. i made a deliberate attempt not to model my hisao on the ks hisao. ks hisao is, for lack of a better term, incredibly vanilla. i wanted to give him some real heft as a character. i want him to be unreasonable, angry, bitter, happy, whatever
It's good to have your own take on a character, but you need to realize that if you're not going to write the character in the way they actually behave, you should have chosen a different character to write.

Now you can change the way a character behaves, but you need to have a reason for doing so in the story.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
but i'm not sure to do it with totally new characters, some k-on characters, or some pre-existing ones. i'll definitely introduce them in the next chapter or the chapter after that, so i guess both you and i will find out soon.
Might I suggest doing neither?
Introducing the complete K-on cast at Yamaku is definitely going to come out of nowhere feel out of place and make you seem out of ideas.
Just using a combination of other KS characters has been done to the death and is hardly original.
Since Ritsu doesn't seem to be attached to any of the "usual bunch" you have the chance of introducing a whole new circle of friends like Oddball does in his current fic. Yes, it's more work, but it's certainly worth it!
Well, if she's at Yamaku, then she's probably not hanging out with her K-on friends. I don't know K-On that well, but I'm going to assume they never mention having a school for disabled students nearby so any appearance by those characters should probably be limited to special trips trips that the characters would have to make on holidays or long weekends.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by DanjaDoom » Wed May 29, 2013 4:24 am

Oddball wrote: Well, if she's at Yamaku, then she's probably not hanging out with her K-on friends. I don't know K-On that well, but I'm going to assume they never mention having a school for disabled students nearby so any appearance by those characters should probably be limited to special trips trips that the characters would have to make on holidays or long weekends.
That's what's I was suggesting, just some visits here and there that make sense in the context of the story. As cool as having the girls all going back to school together would be, it would be pretty far-fetched.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Hoitash » Wed May 29, 2013 9:36 am

DanjaDoom wrote:
Oddball wrote: Well, if she's at Yamaku, then she's probably not hanging out with her K-on friends. I don't know K-On that well, but I'm going to assume they never mention having a school for disabled students nearby so any appearance by those characters should probably be limited to special trips trips that the characters would have to make on holidays or long weekends.
That's what's I was suggesting, just some visits here and there that make sense in the context of the story. As cool as having the girls all going back to school together would be, it would be pretty far-fetched.
Ritsu reminiscing about her past and remembering her old friends could be a viable gripe of hers considering her current situation, though, and allows for indirect references.

It would also be something she has in common with Hisao.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by neio » Wed May 29, 2013 6:23 pm

Can we get through this story without "choices?" Pleeeease?
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by griffon8 » Thu May 30, 2013 8:40 pm

neio wrote:Can we get through this story without "choices?" Pleeeease?
I second the motion. But since there is no requesting, it is entirely up to the author.
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Clair de Lune (Extra)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:38 am

For Michael R. McClintock

We're back on the hill again.

It was a summer afternoon and I had been studying for a few hours. I needed a break.

Only problem was, I had no idea where to go. I left the room… and my feet just took me here.

The same familiar figure is there, wrapped in a blue cardigan on a hill. She pulls it tighter in the light summer breeze, her bangs rustling slowly.

I walk slowly up the hill, my shoes making imprints in the soft, dark dirt, the grass bending its way to my weight.

As I settle down, she turns and gives me a nod, then returns to staring at the clear blue sky.

I stare at the sky. The same she's staring at. I wonder if she sees more.

I remember someone telling me something interesting once. About the color blue.

It was that you never really could define the color blue. No-one can tell what blue means to each person. Someone might see your perception of red when you see blue, and you'd never know. You both know blue, but at the same time, you don't.

We're looking at the same sky, the same blue, but it might be different. Something inside me hopes it's not, but I know that it probably is. And always will be.

I lie down, placing my head on the grass. I live for moments like these.

The kind where you don't have to say anything.

Ritsu turns to me, a somber look on her eyes. If I were to give it a color, a blue, I'd say it's a dark, navy, blue for sure.

"Hisao, what do you think about dying?"

Dying? I've given a lot of thought about it… but only in the rational, cold sense. If I don't take my pills, I die. If my heart stops, I die. I try not to think about it otherwise.

"In what sense?"

I expect her to roll her eyes, but she keeps her gaze fixed on me, steady.

"The dying sense, Hisao. The kind where you leave and never come back."

I--

"I don't really, know, to be honest. I don't think I want to die. Do you?"

I'm not sure if I answered her question.

She turns to the sky again, and opens her mouth to speak.

"Do you think there's something after? Like something extra? Even just another five minutes in another world?"

Her voice changes to a flat tone, one of calculated emotion.

"Or is it just nothing. That's it."

I run my hand through my hair, putting on a wince of a smile.

"I'm not really sure. I'd like to think so. It's kind of depressing to think that everything is gone after you die."

She keeps her back turned to me, but I continue.

"I mean, when I was little, I attended church and everything, and they tell you there's a heaven afterwards where everyone you love is there."

I pause.

"I think I still believe that, even if I don't go to church anymore. Knowing that there's something after kind of makes life worth living. It makes it so there's a reason to go on."

She turns to me, a sad urgency in her eyes.

"But what if there isn't anything, Hisao. What it's worth then?"

I want to shrug off her question, to handle it nonchalantly, but there's something that Ritsu needs answered.

"I guess it's hard to define. You never know when you're going to go. It's a privilege and a curse, in a way. Because you don't know, life is a thrill. You don't know what's going to end, so it's kind of a roller coaster ride. But it's scary at times, and if it's scary enough, you live your life in fear instead of exhilaration. And that's when it becomes stupid."

I run my hand through my hair.

"I think one of the oldest questions in existence is whether there's something after or not. Something, anything, heaven or hell, people want to know. If they can live again. Laugh again. Drink again. See their loved ones again."

I take a breath.

"But even if there isn't, all we can do it keep living. There's nothing else to stop us from dying, or living, because that's all that's left. You've just go to take it day by day."

Ritsu looks at me, a sad, cold gold in her eyes.

"You remind me a poem, Hisao."

"What poem?"

She takes a deep breath.

"The one they read at my brother's funeral."

Oh.

"Today is the seventh anniversary of his accident."

She gives a short snort of amusement.

"He was always playing with cars, and while he was riding his bike, one of them forgot to brake."

She clears her head by shaking it.

"Anyway, they picked this poem to read at his funeral."

She pulls out a piece of lined paper out of her pocket, the blue lines faded and the edges worn soft and fuzzy. The kind where it's been carried around so many times it's as soft as cloth.

She focuses her eyes on the paper and begins to read.

"It's called, Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep."

She looks at me once more, a quick check, and then starts to read.


"Do not stand at my grave and weep.


I am not there. I do not sleep.


I am the thousand winds that blow.


I am the diamond glints on the snow.


I am the sunlight on ripened grain.


I am the gentle autumn rain."


When you awaken in the morning's hush


I am the swift uplifting rush


Of quiet birds in circled flight


I am the soft stars that shine at night.


Do not stand at my grave at cry.


I am not there; I did not die."

She puts the poem back at her pocket and stares at me, waiting.

She starts again.

"You know, it's funny, Hisao, in a way.

You think all you have is time, and it robs things away from you without a second glance. It's been seven years at it only feels like yesterday."

She sweeps her bangs out of her face, her eyes fixated on the sky behind me.

"Like all the colors ran out of the world."

I don't know what to say. I say what I feel a machine would, what comes out automatically.

"I'm sorry for your loss."

I wish I could say more. I wish I had more to say. Such a canned phrase. It doesn't mean anything.

"It's not your fault, Hisao. It's nobody's fault."

She pauses again.

"It's just something that happened. When it did, I was halfway around the world, like I always am. Satoshi wasn't a bad brother."

She looks away again.

"It's just that I always thought there was more. That whenever I stepped off a plane, he'd be there to greet me. A rock, as constant as the color of the sky."

I decide to speak up.

"It's not your fault, Ritsu."

She sighs.

"I know it isn't. But it puts everything into perspective. When you've got everything locked down, and you're 110 percent secure, and things are going smoothly, shit happens. And it makes you wonder why. Why the other stuff matters. Silly little goals you chase for your own ends, and they don't mean anything at all."

She blinks, twice.

"I don't think it matters whether there's an afterlife or not. Satoshi's gone. He's gone as much as a know, and that's all I need to know."

Her voice takes on a tone of urgency.

"Life's best lived by the living. I can't bring him back. All I've got left is me, and what I've done. Who knows what it matters in the world, if it matters at all."

I don't know what to say. Her voices loses the tone of urgency and is replaced by one of resignation.

"But you've got to get up in the morning. You've got to shower, and you've got to keep going. For whatever it's worth. Because it's all you've got left. To be honest, it's all you ever had in the first place."

She gets up from the hill, the sun a gentle orange in the sky.

"Sorry for dumping this all on you, Hisao."

I give her a smile.

"It's okay. That's what I'm here for.

She smile back at me warmly.

"I've got to do some stuff, so I'll see you later?"

"Later."

She walks off and I lay my head back on the hill.

My companion sees the blue in the sky, as much as she can.

I think she's pretty tough to go through all she did and come out on intact. The death of her brother and what landed her in Yamaku.

She's a tough cookie, and she'll keep going forwards.

But something changed for her that day. Something like the color blue.


========


"Clair de Lune" is a piece by Claude Debussy
Last edited by SemisoftCheese on Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:29 am

Did you intentionally leave it open what became of the dog, or did you forget to copy a part?
I first thought I might have missed an update...
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:11 am

I was wondering the same thing myself, Mirage. I'd thought, with the sudden discussion of death, that the dog had died, and wondered where that had been mentioned. Perhaps it's still getting to that. Who knows. And that's ignoring the fact that the topic title hasn't been updated to reflect the new chapter.

Also, I notice an overzealousness towards line spacing. Single after every sentence, double after each line of the poem... I think it's unnecessary. It seems as if you're actually trying to avoid writing a paragraph, SSC. Also, there's a few spelling/grammar niggles again, but since you wanted to proofread your own work I'll let you find them. There was around half a dozen or so, as I recall.
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:25 am

Note: The below is just friendly advice. Feel free to disregard with extreme prejudice.

I really, really, really think you should get an editor. Really, really. Here's why:

Your writing, on its own, is very strong. You're a good writer, really. Your imagery is fantastic, and you write good dialog. You do a good job of putting your reader into the scene without getting Lovecraftian vis a vis details.

But (and isn't there always a but), I fear your story is starting to meander. The dog is just forgotten, which, considering how eventful that was, there should be at least some mention of it. And while we're given a nice characterization of Ritsu (even if it lays on the morbidity a little thickly), it seems out of the blue, like I'm getting slapped in the face with it a little bit. It doesn't feel natural.

Altogether I feel like this chapter was especially weak, but not for reasons pertaining to the content itself. For moments like this, timing is everything. It'd make more sense if we saw this chapter down the road a bit, or if it's later revealed that this chapter took place in the future sometime (I dunno, I'm spitballing).

Point is, I'm pretty sure this is the kind of stuff a good editor can point out on a regular basis: keeping you grounded in your story so you can do what you do best and write beautifully. I also understand that this may be the express reason you don't want an editor, so that you can improve at the above, but at this point I almost think it's mandatory if you don't want your story to suffer.

Then again, I could be completely wrong and you could have something amazing planned and I'm just being a doofus. My two cents, take or leave it.

PS > Also you should update the thread title so people know this got an update. :wink:

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:59 am

I do not believe the dog is forgotten. Like I said it's probably either a copy-paste error or an artistic time-skip.
And this chapter was really short, so you can't expect too much content. Deciding from just this short chapter that the story is "starting to meander" is a bit much. It took me several chapters from Scissorlips of at least thrice that length to reach that conclusion ;-)
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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:25 pm

If you look at the info screen you can see its an extra.

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Re: A Ritsu Route (Updated 5/26)

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:30 pm

SemisoftCheese wrote:If you look at the info screen you can see its an extra.
I retcon everything I said and will slink back to my corner now. :oops:

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