Yamaku Book Club (20200803 Before Yamaku)

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Craftyatom
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Scar Crossed Lovers)

Post by Craftyatom » Tue May 22, 2018 8:25 pm

Oddball wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:14 pm
This is not one of our good stories.
ProfAllister wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 8:54 am
Why do you insist on hurting us so?
I really should've found time to read Reliable Narrators. I have a feeling that, while it wouldn't've been a favorite of mine, I would probably have given it a pretty good review. Unfortunately, I was a bit preoccupied with the end of the semester at uni, as well as some personal projects. So now my streak of negative reviews continues, this time with Scar Crossed Lovers.

SpaG was bad. People have pointed out issues with tense, but there were a decent number of other mistakes as well. Nothing characteristic of any overarching issues (besides little to no proofreading), just a normal spread of generic errors. The real problem was everything else.

The plot was contrived and unbelievable, as I expected when I heard this was one of the good old 'American at Yamaku' stories. There's been plenty of conversation regarding those, but for the record, I don't think they're all doomed to failure - just that most of them are, especially when written like this. I won't jump directly to the conclusion that the main character was a self-insert with a few random traits added for believability, but I've got one hell of a hunch that that's the case. It's also not made entirely clear what role Hisao has in this story, but since the room given to the protagonist could canonically be next to Hisao's (119), I have a feeling they were supposed to meet up, sooner or later. (more interesting fan theory: the feeling "Like someone watching me" is actually alternate-reality Hisao, who has been erased from existence by our time-disobeying protagonist)

Speaking of characters, the characterization was, surprisingly, a bit of a mixed bag. Misha and Shizune didn't feel that out-of-place, in my opinion. Their characterizations weren't perfect (some of Misha's translations contradicted the style she uses in-game), but overall, they made sense. The few lines of Lilly we get, too, weren't that bad (although I would've liked some explanation as to who started that phone call, and why). Hanako, of course, was bad. There was a clear understanding of who her character is on the surface, followed by a complete and total misinterpretation of who that character is on the inside. Not much else to be said, really.

All in all, in my opinion, this was just a quick and dirty attempt at pairing Hanako with a poorly-designed, poorly-written, possibly-self-insert-but-who-knows OC. Given what happened in the 10-20 minutes of contact they got, we should probably just be glad that the author never wrote a third chapter - partly because they'd probably already be at third base, and partly because we'd have to read it, and I really wouldn't want to. So...
Oddball wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:29 pm
[...] what kind of story do you WANT to talk about?
First and foremost, I'll make clear that I have an overwhelming preference for good stories. Sure, it can be fun to laugh about stories that went terribly wrong, but overall, I'd much prefer a "Greatest Hits" or "Hidden Gems" thread over "Japan's Funniest Home Videos". I won't blame others for wanting some lower-end content, but personally, I'd rather enjoy reading each week's story (I'm not really a proponent of "so bad it's funny").

If the story's good, though, then I don't have much of a preference on the other options. Short and long have equal merit. OCs can work, but I certainly don't mind the original cast. Unfinished stories can be a disappointment, but they also spark interesting theoretical discussion. And in terms of genre/theme, I've read great stories here belonging to many different categories, so I don't mind - personally, I tend to enjoy romance more, but I can appreciate everything else.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by brythain » Tue May 22, 2018 8:36 pm

Oddball wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:29 pm
I'd like to get some more interaction here. Before I post the next story, what kind of story do you WANT to talk about?

Short or long?
OC based or main character based?
A Good story or a bad one?
Finished or unfinished?
Standard slice or life? Romance? Humor?
My preference would be for 'long enough to have something to talk about', 'good', 'finished' (although unfinished is okay). I'd prefer at least some obvious connection to the main cast. I'll read any genre except shit for the sake of shit. :)
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 (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Wed May 23, 2018 9:46 am

Early-morning word association brought me the gift of the phrase "Katawa JoJo" today. I would like to see how inventive the genre mashups became.

I also like to try and speculate on why incomplete pieces became unworkable to their authors, but I suspect a great many of these don't actually have interesting reasons. Those can stay buried.
Hanako's favorite joke is The Aristocrats, but she never tells it because Lilly finds it really offensive. Instead, she practices her delivery in front of a mirror when she's alone. It's the only time she never stammers.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by SirKaid » Sun May 27, 2018 4:02 am

Oddball wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:29 pm
I'd like to get some more interaction here. Before I post the next story, what kind of story do you WANT to talk about?

Short or long?
OC based or main character based?
A Good story or a bad one?
Finished or unfinished?
Standard slice or life? Romance? Humor?
Good stories first and foremost. If I'm going to be taking the time to think and talk about what I'm reading then I'd rather enjoy doing so. Bad stories are fine if they're short, but I'd really prefer good ones.

I dislike OCs. Usually they're pretty bad. Good stories use them well enough that it isn't a problem though.

Finished over unfinished, though ongoing is okay too.

Genre doesn't matter.

As for length, I'd prefer shorter stories most of the time, but longer once in a while is nice.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by Silentcook » Sun May 27, 2018 7:08 am

I'm ready to become depressed: who would actually prefer bad stories over good ones? Yes subjectivity, one man's trash, yadda yadda etcetera, but still.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by brythain » Sun May 27, 2018 9:51 am

Silentcook wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 7:08 am
I'm ready to become depressed: who would actually prefer bad stories over good ones? Yes subjectivity, one man's trash, yadda yadda etcetera, but still.
Maybe it's not so much a preference for bad stories over good, but a preference for talking about bad stories. (Some people prefer trashing bad things than praising good things that other people have already praised, maybe?) :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 (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by Oddball » Sun May 27, 2018 10:20 am

brythain wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 9:51 am
Silentcook wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 7:08 am
I'm ready to become depressed: who would actually prefer bad stories over good ones? Yes subjectivity, one man's trash, yadda yadda etcetera, but still.
Maybe it's not so much a preference for bad stories over good, but a preference for talking about bad stories. (Some people prefer trashing bad things than praising good things that other people have already praised, maybe?) :D
That was what i was getting at (or trying to). Would you rather discuss a good open or make fun of a bad one?
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180514 'Scar-Crossed Lovers')

Post by ProfAllister » Sun May 27, 2018 11:29 am

Well, there is the old saying that there's one way to be good, and a thousand ways to be bad.

Not certain how much I believe that. On the other hand, I feel I may have a reputation for finding fault in works that nearly everyone else praises, so...

Short or long? - Short are certainly easier to get through, and there's a ton of quality there, but we also have some phenomenal epic works. Perhaps we should pull a double shift? One short piece per session, and a few chapters from a long piece as well. That way we've got the bite-size one-and-done, but we also have the opportunity to dive deep on a longer work and give it the attention it deserves.

OC based or main character based? - It's easier to sell the established characters, but there's some value to OCs as well. To say nothing of the FauxCs that are so popular (i.e., Saki, Rika, etc.)

A Good story or a bad one? - Although this question is inherently subjective (I know I've panned a few works that others worship), I'll concede that there's generally a consensus on most fics' quality. I would generally favor works that are particularly good or interesting, but also feel it's important to see what can be learned from the bad on occasion.

Finished or unfinished? - I'd be inclined to split this further into "Finished, In Progress, or Abandoned?" I generally favor finished, then abandoned, then in-progress. But really, I'd only use this as a tie-breaker if you're trying to decide between two equally interesting works.

Standard slice or life? Romance? Humor? Any and all. Frankly, the only genres I'd expect to be generally unpalatable to readers would be dark psychological content and horror gorn, and the majority of those fics are offsite anyway.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Scar Crossed Lovers)

Post by Oddball » Mon May 28, 2018 9:53 am

Image

The Ties that bind by hatori1181.

Now we look at an unfinished story, the author said the next chapter would wrap things up but never wrote it.

This is a Hisao/Lilly story that focuses on something we don't often see in these stories. Also it was written prior to the final release of the game, but there's very little that doesn't seem to match what we got.

Oh, it starts with a sex scene, so if that's not your thing be warned.


Personally, I love how the story handled Misha's and kenji's roles though Hanako feel somewhat off to me. She's a bit too direct.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Scar Crossed Lovers)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon May 28, 2018 11:40 am

Oddball wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:14 pm
Scar Crossed Lovers by MutilatedManequin.
Oh. That.

To be honest I had forgotten it exists. Not that we'd have lost much if it didn't.
As I wrote in my comment back then having the foreign new guy arrive on a Sunday instead of a Monday shortly after lessons start was being innovative.
And grammar was atrocious even after getting two proofreaders.
Maybe it's for the best that we never learned about Zach's mysterious condition, because even in those two chapters where almost nothing is said about it there are already contradictions...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180528 'The Ties That Bind')

Post by ProfAllister » Mon May 28, 2018 2:14 pm

So, to start, a few bits of science (if I'm remembering my biology lessons correctly):

Sperm can survive up to three days in a properly receptive environment. The egg remains viable for up to 5 days post-ovulation. Accounting for the standard length menstrual cycle of roughly a month, that means that a woman is fertile for one week of every month.

While statistically, that means there's a roughly 1 in 4 chance that any unprotected sex act could lead to conception, external factors bias certain days over others. Most particularly, evidence appears to indicate that the average woman has an increased sex drive near ovulation, and, similarly, men appear to subconsciously recognise that a woman is in ovulation and will find themselves acting more sexually assertive in her direction.

Conversely, several factors can interfere with a woman's ovulation, such as stress (e.g., from social anxiety, a recent or looming major life change, etc.). In Emi's case, her intense physical exertion opens up the possibility that her menstrual cycle has essentially placed itself "on standby". There are also alleged instances of increased stress interfering with the efficacy of hormonal birth control.

I say all this to provide some degree of context, and to point out that it is well within the realm of possibility to a) have a pregnancy/scare; and b) have all the sex that happens in the VN without having a pregnancy/scare.

Also, point of order. It starts with a bathroom scene then a sex scene.

As for the quality of the work itself, it wasn't really bad, but not really good either.

I'll note that this fic put more thought into the logistics of Lilly using the bathroom in the boys' dorm than the actual route did. The initial narration of Lilly's POV was well done; the H scene... not so much. Again, not really bad, but definitely not good.

The background of how Hisao told Hanako was well done, and all too believable. Hanako herself seems rather bland, but I guess we didn't have much to work off back then.

The Kenji perspective was fun, but something about it felt... off. As in off for Kenji; Kenji's supposed to be somewhat off.

No surprise here - I feel the bits with Misha and Shizune were questionable at best. It started off acceptably enough, and I was even willing to accept Misha's intervention, though that seemed out of character. But then, in her confrontation with Hisao, she hops on board a one-way bus to Crazytown. It's just annoying how thoroughly she's painted as an irredeemable assshole.

As a final note, on my first read-through, I could swear that Lilly said "We've missed you, too", which would've had particularly huge implications on the direction of the story going forward.

As for its unfinished state, I can't help but wonder if it has to do with the relative impossibility of carrying this storyline forward without it feeling like it's a polemical work. Especially with the half-developed characters of KS Act 1, it feels like any direction the story takes would taste like the author using the characters as an unearned mouthpiece for his own personal opinions.

I'm not saying that this storyline can't be done well (though it does seem damn near impossible); I'm saying that the writing to this point was merely competent, and I don't have high hopes he would have been able to pull off such a hat trick.
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Craftyatom
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180528 'The Ties That Bind')

Post by Craftyatom » Wed May 30, 2018 3:05 am

Loved it!

The first chapter is probably my favorite, because I'm a sucker for romance, with no sense of "too far". One of the things I really liked about Lilly's route in canon (that I know others have mixed opinions on) was just how much romance it had, and the first chapter here was similar in that respect. The dialogue and internal monologue were so heartwarming, as if the author had worked to concentrate the emotional response... and that's what I'm into. The sex wasn't superb, but it served its purpose as a bookend well enough, in my opinion. And, of course, this all set the reader up for a huge thematic shift when the next chapter started.

The love lost between Hanako and Lilly is a nice plot point; it's been done a few times, but it can work well. I think that's part of why Hanako might seem "a bit too direct" - she's jaded, which could well change her tone. Hisao trying to act as the martyr - repairing Hanako and Lilly's friendship by taking the blame - is a bit cliche, but believable, especially given the circumstances.

I know that this Misha didn't sit well with everyone, but I adore this take on her. Literally four lines before the turning point, I thought to myself: "At what point does Misha call it off? When does she consider regicide, as it were?" Sure enough, four lines later, the queen is stopped by her court. Not that it's entirely out of the goodness of Misha's heart - I have a feeling there's some spite involved, given her line about leaving Shizune out to dry in class - but it's a perspective on their relationship that I really enjoyed reading. Shizune, as an aside, seemed fairly well characterized, even if her role in this story was a bit one-dimensional.

The Kenji chapter felt like a work of art to me. I'm not a huge fan of the character, but learning about the story through his perspective was clever. Sure, his thought process was a bit over-done (but can you really blame an author for spilling over into Farenheit 452?), and the whole "accidentally saying exactly what Hisao needed to hear" thing was gimmicky, but on the whole, I enjoyed his perspective way more than I thought I would.

SpaG was all good (thanks to some proofreading help, apparently), writing was great (save one unannounced timeskip in the last scene), the plot was handled well for being such a "serious" topic, and the characterizations, as mentioned, were fantastic, in my opinion. That said, if the author had stopped after the first chapter, I could've simply fawned over what a nice chunk of romance it was... but this discussion would've been a lot more boring.

Oh, and in terms of the final chapter, I have no idea what might've been planned. My guess is that either Shizune gets redeemed and then informed, or (perhaps more likely, given the last chapter's context) she gets shunned and kept in the dark. Hanako and Lilly would probably make amends, and Hanako would forgive Hisao based solely on the fact that he played the martyr card (after all, that's what convinced Lilly, apparently). Or maybe the baby is Hideaki's. Who knows. I just liked the story.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180528 'The Ties That Bind')

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Wed May 30, 2018 8:13 pm

Shizune and Misha get caught up in this for basically no reason. Shiz's only motive is finding out what's going on, and Misha turns on the only friend we know she has without even trying to appeal to her. There could have been at least some confrontation here but there isn't. It feels psychotic and distracts from the actual conflict between Hanako and Lilly.

I like the author's style overall but I'm not a fan of perspective switching in first person. I think it's actually working against the story here as it's forcing more characters to get involved and not allowing us to return to the characters who have actual stakes. I think it only really adds anything to Kenji's section, as it sets up the punchline of his accidentally helping.

All that said, the sections with Lilly and Hisao are sweet.
Hanako's favorite joke is The Aristocrats, but she never tells it because Lilly finds it really offensive. Instead, she practices her delivery in front of a mirror when she's alone. It's the only time she never stammers.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180528 'The Ties That Bind')

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:36 am

So you guys read a fan fic every week or some such? You mind if I uhhhhhhh

Join in?
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180528 'The Ties That Bind')

Post by brythain » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:26 am

Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:36 am
So you guys read a fan fic every week or some such? You mind if I uhhhhhhh

Join in?
Anybody can join in! Welcome to the local book club! :)
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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