Yamaku Book Club (20200323 Objects in Space)

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Blank Mage
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Blank Mage » Mon May 25, 2015 11:17 pm

brythain wrote:Well, clearly my foray into the ancient underbelly of KS fanfic has borne low-hanging fruit. There are many others, but one question I'd like to ask is: when is a twist 'fair'? I'm not saying that feeling cheated by a blatant 'it was all a dream' or some such isn't legitimate; I would feel that too, especially if inexcusably OOC.
Hmm. Good question. (I've used a twist lately, so I hope I'm not wrong here!) I don't think it's about what makes a good twist good, it's about what makes a bad twist bad. A bad twist, this one for example, uses information that seems contradictory to what we know. Here, we're led to believe that Misha is alive, because all of the evidence points to it. Shizune's monologue, the timeline, and the letter, all give compelling evidence to support the idea that Misha is doin' fine. To be told that all that evidence is wrong, because reasons, is insulting to the reader. We know how to extrapolate from context, don't go telling us that ghosts can send emails or some crap. It goes against the logic of the story.

A good twist will allow you make make assumptions based on no evidence. In my case, I brought up the 'multiple worlds' theory, and allowed the reader to assume that the character dynamics hadn't changed. I allowed the possibility of a twist, but I didn't confirm of deny anything, or even allude to it. By using vague terms and letting the readers fill in the details, they have no one to blame but themselves when the rug is pulled out from under them. Think of the Sixth Sense. The twist works because the possibility existed, IE seeing dead people, and the facts never imply anything contrary. No one talks to Bruce Willis throughout the movie. He has virtually no real interactions, but you don't notice this, and you don't stop to think about it. (Since then, M. Night has used further and further stretches to use 'the twist'. In the Village, it was 'Can you really have an entire town, hidden near a metropolitan area, and NEVER have any interaction? What about planes or helicopters? Sirens? Hikers?' In 'Devil', the entire premise is invalidated when they reveal that the character killed halfway through was the demon, when the whole point was that it was a Locked Room mystery. They heavily implied, almost outright stated, that she was dead, and therefore, not the demon. By telling us 'she was just faking it', they contradict themselves. And why her? Why not one of the other dead people? There's no logic, no sudden reevaluation of the events thus far. It was like a damn dice roll of an ending. Hell, a better twist would have been that someone outside the elevator was the demon, because you assumed the demon was inside the elevator.

That.... that got long. I'm sorry. I've had, ah, issues with M. Night since Avatar. I, uh, really like Avatar. So, the movie was... I'll stop now.
And we're back.
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Mahorfeus
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Mahorfeus » Tue May 26, 2015 2:57 am

Have to agree with Blank Mage again.

If I had to pick a story from just KS fiction to use as a decent example, I'd have to choose Hisao and Akira Avoid The Family (even though it borrows heavily from a Scrubs episode).
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

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brythain
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by brythain » Tue May 26, 2015 3:20 am

I like H&AMtF too. I believe part of it actually entered my subconscious and wreaked havoc with AtD.

I was wondering, dear members, if I could suggest that, if we are doing clusters based on characters, my sequencing of stories should follow their order of appearance in the VN.
That is, Iwanako first, then Mutou, and then the class starting from our left (i.e. Natsume in our upper left hand view) and panning down and across to the right (ending with Molly in our lower right hand corner).
It has the advantage of being predictable and yet related to KS itself.

The other obvious options would've been to do the major characters first, or alphabetical order. But the former is a bit arbitrary after Misha and Miki, and the latter is even worse.

Of course, the club is always at the direction of member suggestions, so if you prefer something else or would just like to dangle an idea for discussion, please go ahead and say it! :)
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
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Atario
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Atario » Tue May 26, 2015 4:04 am

I guess I'm weird or something, because I don't have any of the same problems with this anyone seems to be complaining about. Clearly it is intended to maximize the impact of that final wham-line, but that by itself is no flaw. Shizune does seem a little cold about it in her internal monologue, but that's not too far off her character anyway. (Might have helped to have her be a touch too angry at the postal system for the delay, and Hisao to be seen being a touch too miserable for the obvious circumstances.) Throwing in Othello's Antiques at random felt a bit too stations-of-the-canon, but meh.

The other thing is that if Misha's letter was intended to be a suicide note, it reads nowhere near like one. It may not be the intention, though.

Aside from that, it was not all that bad. [shrug]
NB: none of the above is a request

Mutou Gets Fired — a little one-shot fanfic I wrote

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue May 26, 2015 5:44 am

Oh yes. This is a story that should have stayed buried...
If you have to explain a story and it still doesn't make any sense that should be a good indication that something has gone really wrong.
I won't repeat what the other commenters have already said, but instead quote myself from back when:
...this is the most fu**ed up suicide letter this side of the rabbit hole...
My opinion on that hasn't changed since.
one question I'd like to ask is: when is a twist 'fair'?
If you want to find "good" twists, dig up some old stories by Kosherbacon ;-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Fardels » Tue May 26, 2015 6:28 am

Twists are acceptable when they're done well. When they aren't, they're just confusing. I had the same problems as everyone else, but then I went into "fix it" mode. I don't think it would take much to fix the story.

If you write more than one story, you have to be careful with twists. Once you've used one, you have to cope with readers' suspicion that they're being led down the garden path again in subsequent stories.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Tue May 26, 2015 12:20 pm

There are two kinds of twists I find acceptable:

1. Twists where the author has thrown in hints that the twist is going to happen. They don't (and probably shouldn't) be huge hints. They can be really well-hidden. They can be hints by omission, even. But I think it's important that, after I read something twisty, I be able to look back over it (or read the interpretations of other people) and see where the hints were.

2. Twists that are well executed. I'm willing to overlook everything I just said above if the execution of the twist is good. This is a much more "know it when I see it" definition, admittedly, but.

Neither of these are guarantees that I'll like the twist - but I'll at least have respect for the author's craftsmanship in creating them, which in terms of analyzing the story for something like this Book Club is probably the more important thing for me, anyway.
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Tue May 26, 2015 5:47 pm

I liked the style, but I think the writer attempted to tackle a subject too big for the amount of words he/she had. In the end it seemed to leave more questions than resolutions, with the twist ending stoping the story with the abruptness of a tree.

The letter become a major sticking point for me, because it’s so hard to tell if its a suicide note or not. When I read it I didn’t think it was, it sounded to me more like a “Fuck you, i’m going to be okay.” Kinda thing. Then her fresh optimism fades, or she has a dark day and takes her own life.

However, the writer seems to directly contradict that, so I have to agree that it was just a really messed up note. It doesn’t even seem like it was aimed at being directly hurtful, at least to me. I do have to remind myself that their is no standard template for someone in a very distressed state of mind to express their final thoughts though.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by dewelar » Tue May 26, 2015 9:11 pm

brythain wrote:I was wondering, dear members, if I could suggest that, if we are doing clusters based on characters, my sequencing of stories should follow their order of appearance in the VN.
That is, Iwanako first...
*ahem*

Hisao first.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Tue May 26, 2015 9:17 pm

brythain wrote: I was wondering, dear members, if I could suggest that, if we are doing clusters based on characters, my sequencing of stories should follow their order of appearance in the VN. That is, Iwanako first, then Mutou, and then the class starting from our left (i.e. Natsume in our upper left hand view) and panning down and across to the right (ending with Molly in our lower right hand corner).

It has the advantage of being predictable and yet related to KS itself.

The other obvious options would've been to do the major characters first, or alphabetical order. But the former is a bit arbitrary after Misha and Miki, and the latter is even worse.

Of course, the club is always at the direction of member suggestions, so if you prefer something else or would just like to dangle an idea for discussion, please go ahead and say it! :)
My offered option would be to pick an order for the main five girls (six if we count Misha), and alternate that order with whatever side-character you decide to go with, so we get an always alternating main-side-main-side order, at least until we run out of the mains. After that, anything goes, I guess?
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Leaty » Tue May 26, 2015 9:20 pm

The problem isn't the twist itself; the problem is that it's a death twist. Particularly in this fandom, writers have a problem with springing death on us like it's an idea powerful enough to make up for any shortcomings in the narrative. This is lazy microfiction. It presumes the last sentence justifies everything that came before it, and... it doesn't. At the end of the day, it's the fiction equivalent of this prank:

Image

You pull out the "gum," and your finger gets snapped. It's slightly painful. Truly, the height of comedy.

And though this is a technically a "story," and a dramatic one, it actually is rather joke-like in structure. This is a pithy story—only 1300 words long—and the last sentence is a punchline. Annnnnd... that's it. Yep, the author sure did trick me. I sure did give this person my attention for a few minutes. This sure was a thing.

There's a reason why "major character death" is a filter on Archive of Our Own: more often than not, death is just a hackneyed, lackadaisical attempt by the author at grasping for a few moments of relevance. That's, I think, why this story bothers me so much: Functionally, there's not a whole lot wrong with it, but it certainly couldn't have been challenging to write. It's like if somebody microwaved me a plate of plain hot dogs—thanks, I guess, but I could have just stuck the dogs in the buns myself. If you're going to set out to write a story like this, you have to commit to more than what the author committed. And, no, you don't get to end it on the swerve—that's the height of laziness. Even twist endings need a denouement, otherwise you're just R.L. Stein.

And by contrast, look at Reconciliation—it plays with the premise a little, but that's basically the gold standard for dyed-in-the-wool Death fics in this fandom, and you'll notice that the first three chapters of that story are not dissimilar to this story! And yet it goes on for another seven. It's not an epic story, but it is a rather long story by fanfiction standards. If you're going to kill off a character in this universe (and I like Death fics—I don't like Haha-I-Played-a-Trick-On-You-Now-Have-Feelings fics) you have to do it at least as well as Robnonymous did. At least, you do if you want me to care.

Some other stuff:
• Sorry, I don't believe any school (or any parents, for that matter) would let a student transfer out four months prior to graduation. it's just absurd.
• I don't know why people are saying the letter seems unrealistic—that's one of the few things in this story I don't have a problem with. It's not at all unusual for people who've decided on suicide to assume a bubbly, ecstatic demeanor, having finally found a solution to their problems—it's why sudden improvements in the attitude of depressed people are often a serious warning sign. Personally, I've read more than a few suicide notes that had a similarly chipper tone. I mean, I've actually attempted suicide myself (it was like a decade ago and it wouldn't have worked anyway, nobody panic) and it looks fine to me.

The only line that really seems incongruous is "Anyway, I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how I was getting on."

• I know Misha said a lot of vaguely suicidal things in the VN, but... I'm going to have to take some offense at the idea that she's going to off herself because her unfulfilled love grew distant. It feels like a reinforcement of the "queer people be killin themselves lol" stereotype, and... Bleh. Like, there's literally an old trope called Dead Lesbian Syndrome. If the topic of suicide had to be explored in a fanfic, couldn't it have been a different character? Misha Dies Because Tragic Lesbian is, much like the concept of character death in general, way too easy. If I were to write this fic, I'd have killed off Hisao. It would have made for a slightly more interesting story.
• Sad Hisao Drinks Whiskey might not have been a cliché in 2012, but it certainly is now.

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brythain
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by brythain » Tue May 26, 2015 9:54 pm

dewelar wrote:*ahem*

Hisao first.
I thought of that, but it's really hard to find fanfics that look like 'A Hisao pseudo-pseudo-route' or 'Hisao x Hisao' or 'Hisao has a story all to himself'. Not impossible, but kind of awkward. EDIT: wait, that describes KS and its fandom anyway, so maybe it can be done. Hmm.
Puncyclopedia wrote:My offered option would be to pick an order for the main five girls (six if we count Misha), and alternate that order with whatever side-character you decide to go with, so we get an always alternating main-side-main-side order, at least until we run out of the mains. After that, anything goes, I guess?
I was tempted to ask if you wanted fries with that... :D — but seriously, what order would you pick?
Leaty wrote: *detailed picking-apart — a reason why I like her non-lazy macro reviews of stuff*
Sometimes I dream of a universe in which my imaginary Yamaku Library gets starred/stinkered reviews for every work, all signed by you. What other kinds of twists do you like, if twist-fics are a category you don't mind exploring here? Incidentally, Reconciliation is on my long-term list right now.
Last edited by brythain on Tue May 26, 2015 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Tue May 26, 2015 10:00 pm

As much as I'd love Shizune first, in an effort not to be biased, I'd go with the order of the character's scenes in the library (which I've just realized IS alphabetical order, I fail at creativity), so Emi --> Side Character #1 --> Hanako ---> Side Character #2 ---> Lilly ---> Side Character #3 ---> Misha ---> Side Character #4 ---> Rin ---> Side Character #5 ---> Shizune (Side Characters #6-#Whatever).
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Mahorfeus
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by Mahorfeus » Wed May 27, 2015 2:14 am

Hisao's kind of a difficult one. Though I guess it could be argued that any fic in which he stars, isn't focused around pairing him with another character, and that builds up his own character without completely borrowing on lessons learned from the girls. One example I could think of is, uh. Uh... Um.
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

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brythain
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting In Progress 25 May 2015)

Post by brythain » Wed May 27, 2015 2:27 am

Mahorfeus wrote:Hisao's kind of a difficult one. Though I guess it could be argued that any fic in which he stars, isn't focused around pairing him with another character, and that builds up his own character without completely borrowing on lessons learned from the girls. One example I could think of is, uh. Uh... Um.
I tried my best here in 'A Walk In The Park'. It's not impossible, but it tends to be scarce.
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
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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