Yamaku Book Club (20200427 Two Flat Jokes)

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Craftyatom
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:55 pm

I agree that this was written as a rather obvious lead-up to an h-scene, only to stop before really getting into the meat of it. Every other paragraph contained a smut cliche, which meant that the end felt a little underwhelming. After all, such things are usually forgiven only because of the smut that follows... That said, the "focus" of this post was the artwork, so in the sense that this story was meant as only a wrapper for the main course, it kind of fits. Perhaps they should've put the picture after the text - that would've seemed a lot more natural, both stylistically and chronologically (and would also have helped those of us who first opened the thread in public :P ).

I had some issues with grammar here and there, but overall not too bad. I really enjoyed the dialogue. It fit the character dynamic perfectly, and kept the conversation fluid until something important came up. I don't think it would wear thin over a longer story, either - I found it quite natural, and the element of reader involvement it gave was kind of nice.

All in all, not too bad, but a bit underwhelming for a few different reasons. I'd quite like to see the dialogue trick used in a story that's not so 1-dimensional. (UPDATE: I realized, much later, that this dialogue style is quite similar to that of Constant Companion, and I loved it there as well)
Last edited by Craftyatom on Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by Oddball » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:26 pm

Image

Okay. Now let's read ....

Avici by Beoran .

It's another short one, but good.

I still go by what I said in the topic before. It's a bit melodramatic, and feels a touch too angsty, which I admit does sound weird considering the story is set in hell. I do wish we had gotten more than one chapter of it though. The ending of the story sets up a interesting scenario that it's a shame that we never got to see play out.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by brythain » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:52 pm

Oddball wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:26 pm
It's another short one, but good.

I still go by what I said in the topic before. It's a bit melodramatic, and feels a touch too angsty, which I admit does sound weird considering the story is set in hell. I do wish we had gotten more than one chapter of it though. The ending of the story sets up a interesting scenario that it's a shame that we never got to see play out.
Just a bit of context for readers who might not already know: 'Aokigahara' (the 'Sea of Trees') is the famous suicide forest on the NW side of Mount Fuji. It has the dubious distinction of being the second most favoured place in the world to carry out such an act.

The writing is poetic, lyrical, melancholy. The Buddhist idea of cyclic rebirth plus traditional Oriental concept of Hell work well here, and you can draw parallels between what is implied and people who attempt to complete KS 100%. :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
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:51 am

Oddball wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:26 pm
The ending of the story sets up a interesting scenario that it's a shame that we never got to see play out.
I agree that it is an interesting concept... But I'm not sure whether or not it is a bad thing it was never continued.
I can think of few concepts that wouldn't have amounted to something very gory...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180326 'Avici')

Post by Craftyatom » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:47 am

Very interesting concept, with good writing to back it up (though I think the style could've used more flourish in some parts and less in others). I feel like not much happened over the course of the story, though: the exposition is interesting, but then it kind of stops. I mean, Hanako is a demon, she'll live in hell forever punishing sinners, and her first victim is Rin. That's about it. It fits the short length of the story, but leaves out a lot of what could've made this concept more interesting, in my opinion.

How does Hanako feel about all this? How does she view herself relative to the sinners? Does she take on the job right away, or spend some time fighting back by doing nothing (which is still a net benefit, from my point of view)? What sort of punishment does she deem fitting? How does she feel about carrying it out?

Most of all, as a catalyst to these things, I wish her first sinner had been Hisao's lover. The Hanako presented is not really evil or sadistic - her only crime is one of passion. An eternal torturer needs more to work with, and starting off with an object of hatred would really make her transition believable, rather than this story, which sort of implies that Hanako is going to stutter her way through eternity while she stabs at the unworthy.

I guess I'm fine with this story, it was just underwhelming, given my expectations. I thought demon Hanako would be so much more exciting - and no, not "fearsome thing [...], studded with thorns" exciting.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by Oddball » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:37 pm

Image

Next up is ... Two Sides Of The Same Coin by Fergard Stratoavis.

It's by a non-native english speaker and the language feels awkward at times, as does the formatting.

The lead is also a bit of a Mary Sue, which the writer admits, and the story itself is one of the many that were never finished but ... I have no idea where I was going with this.

Read it. It's not horrible.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180319 'The Escape')

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:08 am

Oddball wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:37 pm
Read it. It's not horrible.
I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one.

I've been on a harsh streak lately. Of the past 4 stories we've read for the book club, I've only given an overall positive review to one of them - and it was the crossdressing prostitution one. I was looking forward to breaking this run with a really good fic. I ended up with exactly the opposite. Never before have I been reading a story and thought "I could be spending this time reading something decent." By the end of this one, I was wondering why it got 5 chapters when so many good ones got far less. But, thanks to some deep breathing and moral support, I finished it. And now I'm here to grumble about it.

Right off the bat, SpaG is going to be bad. I have no qualms with that; I'd have problems writing in another language too, but everyone starts somewhere. So, with that out of the way, the exposition is given as one large, difficult-to-digest block. This only places further emphasis on how completely off-the-wall the plot is, because all of the strange and sometimes unexplained plot points were lined up, as if presenting themselves to the judges of the "worst OC design awards". I knew from Oddball's post that the protagonist was going to be a Mary Sue, but that's not a death sentence: plenty of good stories have the occasional Sue or Deus Ex. I didn't realize, however, that protagonist was going to be a self-insert Gary Stu. I could go on and on about the details of this particular specimen, but I'll save you the trouble - if you're really interested, just read the first half of the first chapter, and you'll get all the exposition in one go.

The dialogue felt imbalanced, like the author knew how to write every other character correctly, but couldn't write the protagonist properly. It's almost like the protagonist doesn't fit into the story at all, which makes sense, all things considered. The plot actually feels quite fluid in the later chapters, but that's because it's almost exactly the same plot from the game, except with Hisao as a secondary character. The only properly original scene was the 5am breakfast, which felt like a way to railroad in the sixth and final main girl that hadn't had an appearance yet, especially when the only other character in the scene mysteriously disappeared. And then, in the fifth chapter, after stating that some "stupid things would happen later", the author set the protagonist's "mental disorder" switch to the "on" position, before having it luckily disarmed (and mysteriously understood) by Rin. I said before that five chapters felt like more than this story deserved, but perhaps the important part is that it never got a sixth, especially given that the whole "pissed yandere gf the protagonist moved away from" thing seemed like an obvious Chekhov's Gun.

Partway through the first chapter, I did begin to wonder if I'd actually been trolled. I remember the exact word that made me wonder this: "fedora". I thought to myself, "There's no way this is really a serious fic someone wrote. It has to be a crackfic, a joke by the author." I mean, nothing about the story thus far had indicated that it was being poorly written for ironic reasons, but maybe that was part of the joke. Except it kept going. There was no "ha ha, gotcha" moment. There was no punchline, despite multiple Two-Face references. The story just kept on describing the daily life of the protagonist, and expecting me to go along like nothing out of the ordinary had been said. Part of me desperately wants to believe that this was supposed to be "The Tragic Tale of Iwanako" 3 years early, but it just isn't. It would've been a bad attempt at humor, but unfortunately, it's an even worse attempt at a real, serious story.

This story wasn't all bad. The author didn't get everything wrong. In the third and fourth chapters, during the scenes almost ripped straight from the game, the writing itself actually seemed decent. In the moments when you can forget the protagonist exists, and focus on everyone else talking, reading this story stops being a chore. But before you know it, there's some more internal monologue, or more out-of-place dialogue, or another 'faux pas that's actually an excuse to show how sensitive I am', or any one of the hundred things that remind you what you're really reading.

I won't say that you shouldn't read this story, because it's important to form your own opinion, which may very well differ from mine. However, I will advise that, if you find yourself slogging through it, trusting that it'll get better, don't - it won't.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180409 'Two Sides Of The Same Coin')

Post by ProfAllister » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:02 am

Oh, my. Time for a little catsup...

The Escape

Not really much that can be said about that one. It looks to be that an artist decided to draw two girls an an implausible situation (rainforest in lingerie), and then the author, presumably on a drunk bet, agreed to write a fic. Insofar as it meets the goal (i.e., justify a picture of two girls in a rainforest in lingerie about to make out), I give it a 3/5 - it met the goal, but just barely, and without much creativity. What that image deserves is a Swiss Family Robinson-type story, in which the only salvageable clothing from the wreck was a case full of lingerie.

Avici

This one tickles my fancy in what might have been. I'm imagining a demon Hanako torturing Rin, feeling waves of pleasure the more pain she inflicts, until she falls to her knees moaning in ecstasy while Rin whimpers in unimaginable pain. To move it past some twisted S&M fetish fic, I imagine her fighting to keep from losing herself to the pleasure - reminding herself that she doesn't deserve the pleasure, that she's doing horrible things, etc. Eventually, as she dutifully performs her duties, fighting it the whole way through, she reaches the edge of despair. Then a Deva-type figure approaches, explains that Hanako managed to achieve the impossible redemption, then invites Hanako to meet the Deva's excruciatingly painful fiery embrace. Transition the cleansing flames to an abstracted and surreal experience, Hanako trying to make sense of the new sensations around her, and end with her hearing a line to the effect of "She's beautiful. And she's got your nose. Let's name her Hanako."

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Have to agree with Craftyatom that this one was pretty bad. There are, admittedly, fics that are far worse. I think, overall, it's a mixed bag.

On the negative side, a few things stand out as particularly problematic:
- We don't learn that the MC has glasses until Chapter 4. This is especially an issue considering how relevant such a detail would be both before and after having acid thrown on one's face
- Too many "interesting" details for the MC - foreigner, multiple personalities, disability twinning, etc. Choose one (or maybe two) and commit to it.
- References are used in a manner that simultaneously expects too much of the audience and fails to respect the audience's intelligence. Most notably, this breaks a golden rule of cameo characters: "In a world where a cameo character exists, the media from which he/she is a cameo generally should not exist." Just because Ocean's Twelve (barely IMO) pulled off Julia Roberts playing a character who uses her uncanny resemblance to Julia Roberts to impersonate Julia Roberts does not mean you can pull off the same. Don't say "Holy shit! It's Lelouch Lamperouge; if you feel the need to mention it, just make a passing reference to "one boy with a commanding gaze" - the people who get it will chuckle; the people who don't won't even realise it's there.
- "Convenient" coincidences. The worst kind, which are coincidences convenient to the author. Another transfer student coming in at the same time as Hisao is highly improbable, and often used to avoid writing unique introduction scenes. Instead, your OC manages to club Hisao over the head and impersonate him for the requisite scenes. This one generally avoids that pitfall, but the improbable coincidence of Casper and Hisao transferring in on the same day is still convenient in all the wrong ways.

But there's still good to be found here:
- The presence of the classroom CG characters (Taro, Suzu) was surprisingly well-done (for what tiny roles they had) - I found myself hoping to see them appear again
- The "Misha teaches chopsticks" subplot was refreshingly original and had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it never went anywhere
- As noted above, Casper met most of the characters in a refreshingly different manner from Hisao. Some, particularly Lilly's, were cringeworthy, but the effort was there, at least.

Overall, I feel that the writer showed promise, but not convinced that the story was salvageable.
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Yamaku Book Club (Nomiya POV)

Post by Oddball » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:52 pm

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Nomiya POV by spirizu

Time to take a look at a wonderful little one-shot that does a lot to humanize and add depth to one of the least liked characters in Katawa Shoujo.

Personally, I never hated him as much as many people do. he lost his temper once, sure, but otherwise he was trying to do his best for Rin based on what he knew of her.

This little tale goes into some of the details of his life and how it wasn't that great either.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180423 'Nomiya POV')

Post by brythain » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:46 pm

I think it's a well-written vignette, revolving entirely around his POV, as it says. We get to see some of his history, but I'm a little sad we don't get more Sae. The story feels as if it's about a very introverted guy who puts on an extrovert front which he knows is false, and he comes to regret it because he really isn't like that. Also, Nomiya comes across a lot like Mutou might also be—single bachelor, trying his best but not quite getting there, making what he can out of what life he has.

I think there are at least two other serious Nomiya tales, one by Themocaw and one of my own. It's interesting to look at the similarities, because I'd never read the other two (this one and Themocaw's) before I wrote mine. Makes me feel that people do have a well-hidden soft spot for Nomiya. :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.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180423 'Nomiya POV')

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:45 pm

I'm pretty neutral on this one. I know, it's part of the backlash against the intense hatred some people have for the character, but I'm not really fussed one way or the other, so that aspect didn't mean much to me. Without that extra spice, I think it was a little dull, but not terribly so - just slice-of-life, following someone whose life isn't very exciting. (nothing wrong with that - I eat beans for dinner most days too)

I found it interesting that the author chose the route he did to "humanize" Nomiya: basically just an act of god, unrelated to any strengths or flaws. Completely viable, happens in real life plenty, but I think tying it in to a part of his characterization would've made things a bit more interesting. As is, it sounds like Nomiya got picked for no reason at all, given that no enmity between him and the former student is mentioned. He says that he couldn't teach her much, but leaves it at that - it would've made more sense if his aforementioned variable temper, combined with an unreasonable student, created problems between them, which eventually resulted in her baseless accusation.

Another aspect of Nomiya that could've used a lot more explanation was his feelings for Sae. That's a really important and interesting plot point, perhaps even more "humanizing" than the aforementioned trouble, but it really isn't given more than a passing thought. Sure, from his point of view, there's nothing to think about - he's spent years thinking about it already - but the reader doesn't get much to go on. Just a bit more than a paragraph, actually. I wish that more time had been spent developing that backstory, because I think it had promise.

SpaG was fine, dialogue worked well, so again, this wasn't a bad story, I just found it a bit boring, and think it didn't have to be. Oh, and I'll add in the disclaimer that I haven't read any of the other stories written about this same plot point, so those won't have changed my perspective on it.
Last edited by Craftyatom on Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180423 'Nomiya POV')

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:44 pm

To be honest, Sae's part in this was just bland for a character that had a bit of mystique to her in canon. He thinks the world of her and she doesn't get to show why. She's just there to deliver a pep talk.

The assault accusation also comes off as weak, probably deliberately so in order to keep Nomiya likable, but could have been tweaked to be more of a struggle. Nomiya would like to forget the year following, but dang it I want to hear about it. I guess the author chose the wrong moment to share in the part of the story in my opinion. Reflecting on what Craftyatom said, it isn't linked to any part of Nomiya's characterization, I guess, because he doesn't get to show any character in this section apart from being surprised. Showing the aftermath of this meeting might have given a better chance for that.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180423 'Nomiya POV')

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:56 am

It seems even when the story first came out there wasn't much I had to say on it...
I think Wiseman hit the nail on the head. This story picked the most uninteresting scenes to show, and while I'm not sure I would have liked to read a story about "the following year" the apology to Hisao and Rin would certainly have improved the overall story if it had been included.
Obviously a scene like that would have been quite hard to write, so I understand why it was omitted.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Reliable Narrators)

Post by Oddball » Sat May 05, 2018 11:02 pm

There was a slight hiccup where I posted something that I had already posted before, but we're back on track.

Image

Reliable Narrators by Oddball, Brythain, Blank Mage, Umber. Chapters by Munchenhausen and Strange Desire where planned but never materialized. Since they've both gone M.I. A., I doubt they ever will be.

We're looking at a story that I partially planned. I think we all knew that I'd get around to posting my own stuff eventually, granted this one isn't entirely me, but I started it.

They idea was that six authors would choose obscure characters (except for somebody writing Shizune) and everybody would write the events of the story as their character tells them. Authors were told that they could completely ignore or disregard what other author's wrote and the reader could choose which one of these narrators were telling the truth if any.

It was a fun project and I am disappointed that it never saw completion. (Although to be honest, if anybody WANTS to add the last two chapters, PM me.) I'm equally surprised at how other writers took the events in their own directions and how everybody interpreted their characters.

I also liked the character of Orie and hope to get back to her one day.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Reliable Narrators)

Post by brythain » Sun May 06, 2018 3:20 am

Oddball wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 11:02 pm
It was a fun project and I am disappointed that it never saw completion. (Although to be honest, if anybody WANTS to add the last two chapters, PM me.) I'm equally surprised at how other writers took the events in their own directions and how everybody interpreted their characters.

I also liked the character of Orie and hope to get back to her one day.
I too am disappointed that it never saw completion. It taught some of us a lot about using OCs or partial OCs (mine was Midori, the green-haired girl who is always some distance behind Emi in the athletics meet pictures). We also had fun and were entertained by each other's curious creations.
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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