Yamaku Book Club (20200803 Before Yamaku)

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brythain
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by brythain » Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:59 am

Okay, many people passed over Boundaries there, and then dewelar came in with this scything (though not too scathing) and very perceptive critique of A Walk in the Park. I'm actually very thankful for it. Author 'privilege' invoked: I shall attempt to explain, in weak and halting phrases, how this piece turned out the way it did, and why. Not a defence, just some notes.

1. It's off a bit, I think, because it's a vignette more than a short story — a scene in the middle of events, which has significance in its details, but not all of which is resolved within the limits of the text itself.

2. Emi and Rin, in AtD, have an uneasy friendship. They really don't get each other so much, Emi worse than Rin—that's canonical, I believe.

3. Hisao, in winter, is four months or so after a breakup. He's recovering, because of various other friendships, but winter is a broody time. Since this piece is written some time after that, it's not clear that this isn't him being magic realist, or eliding certain details, or romanticising the occasion. In fact, it's something he's prone to in AtD, if not so in canon.

4. Rin actually doesn't have any other male friends. She's intrigued by Hisao, maybe because he's one of the few 'tackle'-bearing persons who'll give her the time of day. Sort of canon. Another one is Kenji, actually, and he doesn't treat her as a woman. Also, Nomiya—least said, soonest mended.

5. I enjoy writing 'guy' scenes from Yamaku, simply because the oeuvre already has too many 'girl' scenes in it. Glad someone enjoyed that part! Also the science-y bits, which reminded me of a (mercifully) brief phase of my high school life where I used science as a distraction from girls. Ha, didn't work in the end. :D

6. So... why? I think I was musing about the shrine on the hill and realising that Rin spends a lot of time up there. Throw Hisao in, and you have moodiness indeed. A season of mists and fellow moodfulness, if you like.
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 Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by Fardels » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:03 am

Perhaps the lack of "finish" is due to its nature as part of a mosaic. Had I a shred of sense and adequate time, I would have clicked the link and gone on to the story of the gravestone. I may not have the one and do not have the other, at least not right now. I see the one mosaic piece and want to see the others - I will follow them as time (and sense) permits. And yes, it's very well written. The one clang for me was the last line, but the rest of the mosaic fills that in, presumably. I think the notes (#1) explain that.

In the Swamp Scribblers 'n' Suds Society, a local portal to the arts and hops of the world, we ask authors to give us expectations and parameters when they submit. Somebody who submits a new chapter says it's a new chapter, so we don't expect the closure that we would with a one-shot. That probably won't work here, but it's useful.

Guy scenes... Aside from Hisao, few guys have a speaking role in the canon. That makes it difficult. Has anyone ever tried writing Emi's arc from the POV of the track team captain?

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by dewelar » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:16 am

brythain wrote:Okay, many people passed over Boundaries there, and then dewelar came in with this scything (though not too scathing) and very perceptive critique of A Walk in the Park.
People are probably a bit lost in the thicket of stories under review. It's like bamboo in here.
I'm actually very thankful for it.
:D Just as I'm thankful when someone goes in and offers detailed observations on Developments, whatever their nature.
1. It's off a bit, I think, because it's a vignette more than a short story — a scene in the middle of events, which has significance in its details, but not all of which is resolved within the limits of the text itself.
There's definitely truth to that. AtD is really better suited for a different medium, I think. It really should have been a series of novellas, or something similar to Incarnations of Immortality. (I've always thought Developments would make a good TV series, but that's just MHO...)
2. Emi and Rin, in AtD, have an uneasy friendship. They really don't get each other so much, Emi worse than Rin—that's canonical, I believe.
*nods* Even so, something seemed odd about their manner when Hisao arrived. I have a feeling the conversation immediately preceding was a fascinating one :).
3. Hisao, in winter, is four months or so after a breakup. He's recovering, because of various other friendships, but winter is a broody time. Since this piece is written some time after that, it's not clear that this isn't him being magic realist, or eliding certain details, or romanticising the occasion. In fact, it's something he's prone to in AtD, if not so in canon.
Fair enough. Hisao is certainly prone to melancholy, but I never pictured him as being particularly prone to nostalgia, although Lilly certainly is -- which may be all one needs to establish it for Lilly!Hisao :). Also, this is probably the first time he's had something about which to be nostalgic.
4. Rin actually doesn't have any other male friends. She's intrigued by Hisao, maybe because he's one of the few 'tackle'-bearing persons who'll give her the time of day. Sort of canon. Another one is Kenji, actually, and he doesn't treat her as a woman. Also, Nomiya—least said, soonest mended.
Yes, sort of canon indeed. And, Rin being Rin, the boundaries between various relationship types is quite fluid. Still, even for her, the questions don't seem like ones that would be asked of someone who is (I think) little more than an acquaintance. Maybe it's just that she's being a bit too translucent?
5. I enjoy writing 'guy' scenes from Yamaku, simply because the oeuvre already has too many 'girl' scenes in it. Glad someone enjoyed that part!
Heh. Honestly, I have no idea why I find the male members of 3-3 to be so difficult to write for. I mean, I have at least some headcanon for all of them, even Unnamed Lelouch Stand-In, but for some reason I seem to wind up using male OCs instead.
6. So... why? I think I was musing about the shrine on the hill and realising that Rin spends a lot of time up there. Throw Hisao in, and you have moodiness indeed. A season of mists and fellow moodfulness, if you like.
This reminds me..."Sadness Tree" seems a bit too on-the-nose for Rin here. Anyway, it's a 90%-good piece, in that 90% of each component is good, while the 10% that is a bit wonky only shows up on close scrutiny. Overall, still well into the upper echelon.
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 Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by Leaty » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:31 pm

All right. As always with a Brythain piece, I’m at something of a disadvantage—your voice and pacing is just so different from my oeuvre that it, to some degree, undermines my ability to provide a thoughtful analysis. Add that to the fact that I haven’t finished After the Dream (it’s an attention deficit thing that ties uniquely into my thought process as a writer; the Brythainverse is so far removed from my own take on the source material that seeing how Brythain does something makes me want to contemplate how I would do it, and from there my thought process drifts somewhere else entirely and I forget I’m reading a story), and I don’t know how well my commentary will avoid sounding like abject ignorance.

I feel like one of the most compelling stories here gets waved aside in a single sentence: “… have lunch with whichever girl has decided to pity me.” This isn’t that story, so I don’t want to dwell too much on how interesting I find that premise, but let me just say that there’s something good there—I like the idea of a literary montage where a down-in-the-dumps Hisao has lunch or going on mini-dates with a cavalcade of different girls (your Parvatis and Lavenders, if you get what I’m saying) and the added social exposure just makes him feel all the more empty.

There’s one other untaken opportunity I feel the need to remark upon, though this one would have required significantly less effort than the previous one; Hisao, in the snow, walking deep into the forest with a cute girl? With so many asides already characteristic in your work, I think you could have easily fit in some pensive reflection here about the similarity to the circumstances which led to his heart attack. Honestly, that could have enriched/lengthened Hisao’s dialogue with Rin here—given that, as Dewelar mentioned, Rin and Hisao aren’t emotionally intimate in this timeline, maybe he could have tried to bridge that gap a little bit by relaying the anecdote to Rin as they headed towards the Sadness tree. To the best of my knowledge, this doesn’t happen in the actual Rin route, and I think it’s probably rare in fanfiction too, so it would have been especially compelling to see your take on how Rin would respond to the story.

(Oh, okay, let me just say one more little thing on the matter: “Iwanako never replies” is one of my least favorite inevitabilities in Katawa Shoujo fanfiction. Okay, done.)

You know, honestly—knowing full well that writing in the “journal entry” format is the air you breathe and the water you drink, I think this is an installment where it might have become a weakness. Though this isn’t in the second-person past tense like much of your work, Hisao’s inner monologue here is so much more involved in action and ideas—I feel like you didn’t utilize the setting as much as you could. This is a story about winter doldrums and a walk through the forest; there was room for more tone-setting imagery, I think. It’s done nicely in the middle of the story, but then it tapers off by the end, and the beginning of the story could have done more with, like, the fluorescently-lit, barren classrooms and grey winter sky mirroring Hisao’s extinguished emotions.

Or maybe I’m totally wrong here—I’m thinking specifically about the small Akio part of the fic. To give you an idea of where I’m coming from, this one-shot feels like it narrowly avoids taking a Makoto Shinkai-esque tone, and maybe it should have reached for the brass ring? The first part of the story reminds me very much of the first few pages of one of my favorite books, Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, and some of the mood-setting devices she used there feel like they might have been appropriate for this. I concede, however, that this criticism borders on self-indulgence.

Other than that, I don’t have much to contribute that wasn’t expressed more concisely (and less loquaciously) by Dewelar. This feels like it wants to be a richer story than it ultimately became—of course, I’m notoriously wordy, so perhaps I’m just in that mindset where I want everything I read to be more flush than it is. Like some kind of word-glutton. Image

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by dewelar » Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:31 pm

Leaty wrote:Other than that, I don’t have much to contribute that wasn’t expressed more concisely (and less loquaciously) by Dewelar. This feels like it wants to be a richer story than it ultimately became—of course, I’m notoriously wordy, so perhaps I’m just in that mindset where I want everything I read to be more flush than it is. Like some kind of word-glutton.
Going slightly off-topic to say how much I love this paragraph. It made me picture Leaty and myself as some kind of Odd Couple of Cyber-Criticism ("Can two cantankerous critics share a message board without driving each other crazy?")
Image
And, of course, Cookie Monster, because cookie cookie cookie starts with C.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:08 pm

dewelar wrote: Going slightly off-topic to say how much I love this paragraph. It made me picture Leaty and myself as some kind of Odd Couple of Cyber-Criticism ("Can two cantankerous critics share a message board without driving each other crazy?")
YBC's Statler and Waldorf???
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by dewelar » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:43 pm

Oscar Wildecat wrote:
dewelar wrote: Going slightly off-topic to say how much I love this paragraph. It made me picture Leaty and myself as some kind of Odd Couple of Cyber-Criticism ("Can two cantankerous critics share a message board without driving each other crazy?")
YBC's Statler and Waldorf???
Hmmm...

StatLeaty: That was the fanfiction?
WalDewelar: It was dumb!
StatLeaty: It was obvious!
WalDewelar: It was pointless!
StatLeaty: It was... short...

[turns to WalDewelar]

Both: Nah, we still hated it! Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by brythain » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:55 pm

Dang, with a few well-chosen broadsides (or very broad asides), Leaty breached my hull and exposed my secret pretensions to novel-writing. Yes, I agree A Walk in the Park could have been longer. I wanted it to be longer. It's just that at the time I wrote it, I wasn't sure I could sustain being that melancholy for so long. Yes, I know that I'm somehow famed for writing melancholy flowers. But one can't do that all the time!

I suppose I was reserving a few bits for Iwanako's arc and stuff like that. One day, perhaps, just as I did with Lilly's tale, I might even write Hisao's post-Lilly seven months. Except that looking at what (haha) StatLeaty and WalDewelar have already accomplished in those two specific areas, even though my story will be different, it'll take more time to think of something worth the while.
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 Continuing 11 June 2015)

Post by brythain » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:04 am

Fardels wrote:Perhaps the lack of "finish" is due to its nature as part of a mosaic. Had I a shred of sense and adequate time, I would have clicked the link and gone on to the story of the gravestone. (Plus, some good advice.)
Actually, I had no idea about such conventions because when I first started the mosaic, I thought they were loosely-linked one-shots. And then they got out of hand, and some were less 'one-shot' and more like 'scattershot' or 'chainshot' or something. If I were a genius, I'd probably have planned everything ahead of time and made the one-shots more one-shot. :)
Guy scenes... Aside from Hisao, few guys have a speaking role in the canon. That makes it difficult. Has anyone ever tried writing Emi's arc from the POV of the track team captain?
The easiest were Kenji and Mutou, because they have quite a role and lots of words. Even Nomiya got a one-shot (sort of) from me. But my favourite somehow turned out to be Taro Arai. Akio Takashi comes next. The track team captain... ah... hmmm.
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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Yamaku Book Club (Meeting/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by brythain » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:10 am

So far we've had a look at five Hisaos, and after a lot of research, I think we have about 2-3 more reasonably complete ones to look at.

I'll post those soon.

Next month (we might start a little earlier), it's Iwanako!
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/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by Blank Mage » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:48 am

brythain wrote:Next month (we might start a little earlier), it's Iwanako!
At which point we might as well make Leaty the Club President for a month.
And we're back.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by brythain » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:50 am

Blank Mage wrote:
brythain wrote:Next month (we might start a little earlier), it's Iwanako!
At which point we might as well make Leaty the Club President for a month.
I would be glad for that. :D
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/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by Leaty » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:48 pm

I've actually been trying to remind myself not to obnoxiously monopolize this thread when that time rolls around. Image

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Meeting/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by brythain » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:01 pm

Leaty wrote:I've actually been trying to remind myself not to obnoxiously monopolize this thread when that time rolls around. Image
You've actually done well to not-obnoxiously monopolise that character. :)

But the general question I suppose I've found myself asking in this part of YBC is this: aside from KS itself, is there a 'big Hisao fic'? Can there be? For me the difference is that the source material is in Hisao's perspective, so when you make an other-centric story, you're shifting that perspective—you're using a new POV altogether. When you make a Hisao-centric piece, it has to feel like the game, or something seems to be off to many people. And if you have a multiple-perspectives-including-Hisao's story, like Developments to give one obvious case, is that a 'big Hisao fic'?

I suppose part of my problem is that I think I'm resisting the idea of defining the term in this context, so of course I'm going in circles...
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/Hisao Final Week Approach)

Post by Leaty » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:36 pm

brythain wrote:But the general question I suppose I've found myself asking in this part of YBC is this: aside from KS itself, is there a 'big Hisao fic'? Can there be?
It's an excellent question. I would point to two different fics one could consider "Hisao fics": Tomorrow's Doom and Summer's Clover (taking the Suzu route aside).

Except that, while both of those stories could almost indisputably be considered "Hisao routes," they don't feel like Hisao fics in the way that, for example, the Rika and Kagami routes feel like Rika and Kagami fics. Why is that? I think it's about focus—the Hisao route in Summer's Clover is all about Miki's upbringing and family, and Tomorrow's Doom is, ultimately, about Aiko and her social circle—it also has a vaguely Austenian vibe.

A dedicated "Hisao" fic would, I think, have to focus specifically on Hisao's past, and on the Nakais—and, by design, Hisao doesn't have much of a past. Though I personally dislike it (Image), Weekend at Hisao's is the closest thing I can think of to such a fic—but, again, I think the sheer presence of Shizune in the story would lead most people to consider it a Shizune fic. You could write a story exclusively about Hisao's life before Yamaku, but that risks becoming either an "Iwanako fic" or something entirely divorced from a Katawa Shoujo fic.

I think that, realistically, the best attempts at "Hisao fics" will inevitably get labeled as something else. Which really kind of ties into my entire philosophy on the character in general—to a great extent, Hisao is Katawa Shoujo. He's like a character who only becomes visible through the story's effort to provide him definition.

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