You can afford to ignore this one. It's not a big deal.While writing I did some research of real estate prices and houses in Japan, along with exchange rates between Yen/US$, but if you tell me I'm wide of the mark, I'll believe you. It was a tricky balance, because in the VN Misha mentions she would not have been able to attend Yamaku without her sign language scholarship (therefore her family probably aren't Satou-level wealthy), but I also needed the house fancy enough that Hisao couldn't afford it.
I don't think using a character purely for introducing the main scenario is a bad thing, but you spent 1/3rd of the story telling things from Hanako's POV, which creates the expectation in the reader that she's relevant to the main plot. If you want to pull this trick, try to limit her role, keep the introduction short and avoid giving the character too much development. (like describing Hanako's living situation)Yeah, Mirage mentioned Hanako's disappearing act too. And Blasphemy below. That makes three. I really set a Hanako and Hisao thing up in chapter two, didn't I? I fully admit to using Hanako for nothing more than introducing the main scenario to the reader. In retrospect, not a dignified use of her character.
I'm not asking you to change the story or expand on it. But I personally do believe there's such a thing as being too subtle. You're the writer, so all the details needed to comprehend the complete scenario, are in the back of your head. Even the details you didn't write down. The reader, however, only has the written hints to rely on and a few more hints were definitely appreciated. As for the length...I personally don't think there's a set limit to how long a first work should be. Your first work should contain as many or as few words as you need to tell the story. (as should all your other works) No more no less. Heck, my first work was over 75000 words, though that's not a size I'd recommend to others.It makes me happy that you feel it's the tip of the iceberg. I read a writing guide that said there's no such thing as too subtle. There is some subtlety in it, but not subtle enough that you'll have missed it. As a first work, it can't be too long, so 5000 words is a good size. While I have no shortage of crazy ideas to extended the story, I wrote it the way it played out in my head, and I'd like to leave it the way it is.
I probably missed that one. Since homes are so expensive in Japan, it wasn't uncommon for couples to continue living with one of the partners' parents, even after marriage. (though that's changing due to young people desiring more privacy these days and kids taking care of their parents no longer being as much of a given as it used to be) We probably disagree on the definition of the word. But teacher can be a pretty stressful job and I don't think many people would call a person who works a full-time job a freeloader, even if he doesn't pay his own rent.Freeloader because her father pays the mortgage for them. That itself is one of the 'subtle' hints (along with the job reference) - that Misha's father may be slightly domineering/controlling.
I'm kind of with Mirage on this one that none of the reasons would seem sufficient justification for hitting someone. Physical violence is generally used to indicate the relationship is already extremely disfunctional and up to that point there's no hint that their relationship is on the brink of falling apart. It seemed too sudden.I honestly felt the conversation in chapter five warranted Shiina hitting Hisao. Her clumsiness is demonstrated in front of them both, Hisao makes a remark which insults her intelligence, he hints that he could have had Shizune instead of her, jokes about her being fat, and then calls her by the name she doesn't like.
The reader will only do the character development if you nudge them towards a certain point and a time skip doesn't automatically make the relationship better or worse unless you give a clear indication that it was heading into a certain direction.Hmm...you know. I think I actually expected the reader to do the character development in the half-year gap between chapters four and five themselves. I now realize how totally unacceptable that is.
Oh, and I never got around to reading For Want of a Nail, so that's why I was a bit surprised. In the end, it's not that big a deal, though if you used any background info from that fic other than the main pairing, it's better to mention in advance that this is an epilogue instead of assuming your readers have read a certain fic. That's not always the case.