Yamaku Book Club (20191021 Inkyukasu—A Horror Fic)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180625 Double Header)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:31 am

So... Heartbreak opened up quite a lot storylines in just a very short chapter. Depending on the skill of the author it might have become a very interesting story or a sorry mess. Guess we'll never find out.

Mirrors in the Sun is just a scene with no deeper meaning behind it, but I had to laugh again at the parody included further down in the thread. :lol:
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180625 Double Header)

Post by Craftyatom » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:28 am

I first thought I'd read just one story, and do the other tomorrow - so I picked Aura's one, figuring it would be simple and well-written. It was, but then I had time to read more, and thought "darn, now I have to read the not-so-good one." I was surprised to find that it was also quite good. Anyways:

Heartbreak
I really liked the emotions in this story. Sure, it had some weird moments - Kenji's one call and Hisao slipping both seemed ridiculously out of place - but I really liked the underlying story. Hisao becoming bitter, and distancing himself from his former friends, fits really well, and adds emotional depth. And then the fact that he dreams about Lilly... it plays really well into his conversation with Akira, which I also really enjoyed. Sure, it's a bit dramatic, but it felt natural, at least to me.

On a plot level, I think it's obvious that Lilly's sudden reclusiveness was going to be because of regret. She chose her family over Hisao, and now regrets that decision, especially given that her father isn't long for the world. It feels wrong to think ill of him on his deathbed, but things certainly haven't turned out the way she had hoped. I actually would really like to have seen that next conversation, because I think the author could definitely do it justice. And of course, having the story finished would've been nice, but given the issues this author had with some silly plot points, maybe I wouldn't've enjoyed the next chapters as much.

Mirrors of the Sun
I really liked it. Based on how Hanako describes Lilly "capturing hearts", I choose to believe that the child is Hisao and Lilly's - and it makes sense that Hanako would be involved in their family, at least a little. All in all, very sweet and cozy, though certainly not without SpaG issues here and there.

By the way, I really liked the title. Oh, and I thought "her" fingers was an obvious reference to Lilly - perhaps the first time she ever felt those scars.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180625 Double Header)

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:26 pm

Lost Opportunities is cool and good. I kinda lost track of Nurse's and Meiko's positions relative to one another at certain points, but whatevs. Slick Nurse, afraid of commitment.

Mirrors of the Sun is Aura doing Aura. Understated but effective, and then scrambling a bit to find a way to work in the significance of the title because it's a really cool title.

Heartbreak is the one with some grist, like how Hisao knocking himself out literally only happens to trigger the flashback (just have him fall back on, I dunno, an air mattress to emphasize his pathetic situation). Kenji killing a cop is the most believable part of this, the whole thing is so over the top and escalating far too quickly for some mundane drama. This could have only progressed with Hisao uncovering some insane conspiracy and going on a globetrotting action-adventure and the author chickened out.

This summer, Hakamitchi agents have poisoned the head of the Satou household and apprehended one of their key agents as they begin their final push to seize control of an ancient secret. Hisao Nakai, a down-on-his-luck student, will be drawn into a life he thought he left behind. The Hakamitchi household will stop at nothing to find the key, even (camera zooms in on a USB drive stuck in Hisao's pacemaker) if they have to break his still-beating heart!

(Akira diving with uzis) BWOOOOOMP
(Lilly swinging her cane in a wide arc and taking out a bunch of dudes) BWOOOOMP
(Kenji leveling a sniper rifle at an unseen target) BOOOOM

Heartbreak
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 (20180625 Double Header)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:02 am

Maybe we can get Hoitash to write this :lol:
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Re: Yamaku Book Club ( Phantom Pains: Mirror Shoujo)

Post by Oddball » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:56 pm

Image


Phantom Pains: Mirror Shoujo by by swampie2.


Last time we did two short ones.

Now it's time for a slightly longer one. It's 13 chapters, but they're short so it's still a quick read.

The story itself starts really good. I love the inverted style of the characters. It gives everything an unexpected twist and is really fun. Inverted Rin doesn't really feel much different though. She just feels like Rin. While the characters were packed with personality there wasn't a lot of depth to them. Then the story switches focus completely towards the end and follows a very fast paced romance with Saki and an ending that has no real resolution to the ideas and subplots it's played with.

It's fun and worth reading, but it's more of a junk food story. There's little actual substance there.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club ( Phantom Pains: Mirror Shoujo)

Post by Craftyatom » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:06 am

Oddball wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:56 pm
Phantom Pains: Mirror Shoujo by by swampie2.
This story had an interesting plot point, and executed it really well, building a strange and intriguing "mirror" world while also keeping itself believable and enjoyable... until the last installment. It seems chapter 13 lived up to the superstition, and I wasn't surprised to find that the first reply was Mirage going to town on it (and rightfully so). But that's really just one part of the story, and I think it's important to separate it from the rest, which was actually pretty good.

SpaG wasn't perfect, but also wasn't a huge issue. The writing was quite good, and I really didn't have any gripes with the author's style (except for the music cues, which broke my immersion a lot - changing from text to an icon helped a bit in the later chapters). All that said, if there's anything that stood out as being really good, it's the characterizations: this was almost a cast made entirely of OCs, but they all worked well, the protagonist included (physical therapy can really make a character work). Figuring out how each of the mirrors worked, and learning to think about each character differently, was enjoyable, imo. This strategy wasn't foolproof - in canon, personalities tend to match with disabilities for good reason - but I think that's perfectly within the realm of suspension of disbelief.

Perhaps my only issue with the plot as a whole was Saki as the love interest; it felt like not much explanation was given. They run into each other, get food, he buys her a gift, then a few days later they get hammered and undress. For a story with such deep and interesting characters, all of whom the protagonist spends lots of time with (and one of whom helped him tremendously during therapy), it felt dumb that so little time and exposition was put into his love interest.

But on to the story's major failing: the final chapter. Plenty has already been said about it, but I'll go over my own thought process: hospitalization is an important part in many stories, and can be an important part of a character's growth, not to mention a relationship's growth. At the end of chapter 12, I was a bit sad, but also hopeful that the resolution might add some structure to the relationship. Instead, the protagonist decided that he needed to talk to Saki immediately to fix the situation.

Luckily, in his possession was a device with which he could contact almost anyone in the world with a few button presses, either by voice or text. Unluckily, that skull fracture must've gotten to him, because he immediately forgot that implement - despite using it a few seconds prior - and tried to physically travel the miles between him and his lover. Even more unluckily, the friend of his who was supposed to be watching him, who knew that he relied on crutches, who possibly knew he had a pre-existing spinal injury, and who definitely knew that he had just suffered cranial trauma which required hospitalization, decided to help him leave the hospital (covertly, because any sensible person would've stopped him), get a taxi, ask the driver to step on it because for some reason time was of the essence, circumvent the school's night guard (who would surely have called for medical attention because they're sensible), and show up unannounced at his lover's door, despite having a serious injury. And she's cool with it. And then the story ends, because cleaning all of that up would've been an absolute bitch.

But yeah, an interesting story overall, which I think I can say I thoroughly enjoyed, if I focus on the earlier chapters and not the later ones.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club ( Phantom Pains: Mirror Shoujo)

Post by calcifer » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:55 pm

This was interesting. Alternate reality stories tend to be poor, especially in the hands of inexperienced writers but in this case it wasn't all that bad. Personality switches among the main cast could have easily ended up being jarring, but the story didn't take itself seriously and it worked - this was a light, fun story. It didn't pretend to have substance and it worked because of it.

SPaG issues were way too common to the point of being distracting, but I'm quite amused by the author's correct usage of present perfect tense, despite having much more basic mistakes. I also agree with Craftyatom on music cues, they did break my immersion quite a bit. Initially I tried to follow the soundtrack from Soundcloud but they were badly paced and didn't feel like they fit the writing.

I appreciated the various nods to Developments. I wish dewelar was still around. He hasn't been to this thread in months and that's a shame, I quite enjoyed his commentary.

There is also Shizune. She is my favourite main character from the VN, so I feel I have to comment. While the change to her disability is interesting and fits in well with the rest, it's also quite unrealistic as stone-deaf people don't vocalize like that. Still, VN-Shizune's signing was also unrealistic (sign languages are not written versions of their spoken counterparts) so it's not really a big complaint.

Saki was cute, but Kazuko paying for an expensive "gift" on a first not-date felt a bit too clingy / white knighty. I really enjoyed the morning after banter though - very well written.

But that last chapter... way to throw out all that build up and character development for a cheesy, cheap hero-gets-the-girl scene. Such a shame. Instead of listing everything that's wrong with it, I'll just urge everyone to read Mirage and Alpacalypse's comments on the original thread.
Shizune = Rin > Emi > Hanako > Lilly
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:14 pm

Mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand the idea is fun and relatively well-executed in terms of characterization, but there are some pretty bad grammar issues. I also would have liked to see more interaction with the reversal girls, the chapters featuring them felt sort of bare-bones, seemingly just enough to establish the personality switch before ending. In later chapters both of these issues improve but at the same time the fic switches from its original premise to focus on the OC's relationship with Saki (who doesn't even have a canon personality to invert), which is a much less interesting premise to me. This part was well-written enough but their relationship felt sort of rushed--I would've had some sort of time skip in there saying something like "I got used to hanging out with Saki" if I wanted to get them straight into bed like that. I don't see any need to comment on the final chapter other than to say it's unfortunate to end it that way.

Personally, I would have preferred that the fic continue to focus on its original premise and explore its implications more fully rather than bother with the Saki tangent. I don't care for the OC, as to me it is just Hisao with a different disability, and so Hisao might as well have been used like usual. A personality switch for Hisao which turns him into a bright and sunny go-getter who stays positive about his situation and helps the girls with their own emotional issues would have really been an improvement IMO. The use of the OC doesn't really detract from the story since it's not a Mary Sue or anything else obnoxious, just a bit of wasted potential (again, in my opinion).
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by Oddball » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:24 pm

It is kind of a shame that inverted Hisao never had a chance to show up.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:56 pm

I don't think he was meant to, it seems clear to me that the author used Kazuko as a replacement for Hisao. To be fair, I can't know for sure unless the guy actually shows back up.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:25 am

Currently I find it hard enough to keep up with all the new stories being written (plus the three-ish projects I'm editing for) so I didn't reread all of this one. What I remember - and gleaned from my previous comments - is that it wasn't too bad, but the author apparently got fed up and wrapped it all up in one chapter throwing credibility out of the window in the process...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by ProfAllister » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:43 am

Mirrors of the Sun

What struck me the most about this is that it is far clearer than in KS proper that English is not Aura's native language. Other than that, is was a competent work. Not really much to say.

Heartbreak

Setting aside the fact that 6 months after Lilly's departure would place this in February or March, and thus still within the school year...

It's... a bit overwrought. Kenji accused of killing a cop? That kind of thing only works if you're gonna take the route of "the feminist conspiracy is real!" which is fun, but rather jarringly inconsistent with the rest of the story. Hisao cutting off Hanako seems... a bit much.

As for Hisao and Akira's conversation... I can't decide if it's too much, not enough, or just right.

Phantom Pains

...oof. Where to begin?

Kazuko's generally a decent character, which is often enough of an accomplishment when it comes to OCs. However, his main failing is that he's not distinct from Hisao in any meaningful sense. He's got a different personality and disability, but he's still the new transfer student to class 3-3 who shares a wing with Kenji and is a potential romantic partner to the main 5/6 plus fan faves.

The mirror idea is a very fun concept, and Hanako, Shizune, Lilly, and Emi were all done pretty well. Rin got next to no screentime, and what we got of Misha was, well, standard Hanako.

And then we get to Saki. The problem here isn't simply that there's no canon Saki to mirror; it's that it doesn't look like he even tried. By 2015, the fan community had generally fleshed out a rudimentary sense of who Saki was - this is Saki is far more akin to this fan conception than it is different. And that's the real complaint I have with her - all the interesting mirror characters are dropped in favor of a disappointingly standard OC x Vanilla Saki.

I'm not even commenting on the hospital bit - you've hit all that needs to be said there.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 pm

Made it to chapter seven and I don't think I'm going to finish based on the other comments.

As a returning fan, I have barely any sense of who Saki is, honestly I was just annoyed that the author immediately dismantled every possible source of conflict as it arose and by the sound of things contrived a really bland relationship to keep it going. The focus needed to be on the inverted girls and should've just been another 'act I' fic. All that's basically been said, though.

More than the music cues, the color and size changes in the text kicked me right out. I used to do this a bunch. At the time I defended it as having an underlying logic; I was emulating two people scribbling on the same sheet of paper. I'd finished House of Leaves and was in the process of reading Homestuck and was fascinated by the concept of the story-as-an-artifact. Really, though, I just wasn't confident in my ability to differentiate two speakers. You can see this author slipping in to it at a lot of important points, almost like a tell at a poker table. The panic attack, the introduction of Emi that they admit they received a lot of help with, heck even their effusive gratitude is magnified as though people might miss it.
ProfAllister wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:43 am
Mirrors of the Sun

What struck me the most about this is that it is far clearer than in KS proper that English is not Aura's native language. Other than that, is was a competent work. Not really much to say.
I'm curious as to what tipped you off to that? I didn't notice.
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 (Some One-Shots)

Post by Oddball » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:34 am

Image

There's a handful of stories on the plate today.

I'm including them all not just because they're by the same author, but because they're all on the same page. That ... and because I've missed some updates in the club. Sorry. Life has been weird for me lately.

With that said, let's look at Some One Shots emmjay.


Fire and Ashes is about the night Hanako's house burned down and she lost her family. it's not horrible, but something in it lacks the emmotional punch it needs. Also, Hanako seems way too coherent at the end.

Wake Up, Little Suzu Is much better. It's a cute little fluff piece with Akio, who doesn't get used often in these stories. Although the author does refer to Suzu as being "green haired" at one point. I had to go back and re-read that part just to make sure another character hadn't entered the scene.

Nineteen Years brings us back to Hanako and her next birthday party. This one strike me as a bit too fluffy and nice.

After The Smoke Clears
serves as the sequel to Fire and Ashes. The firefighter meets Hanako again. There's not a lot to this one. Hanako and the firefighter seem to recognize each other rather easily and Hanako takes the whole thing surprisingly well, too well, really.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180702 Phantom Pains)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:29 pm

Fire and Ashes/After The Smoke Clears: D'awww. Just someone describing the incident hits me in the feels. I agree that it didn't have a big emotional punch, in the sense that it didn't really go into a lot of detail describing how devastated Hanako is on the inside, but it was serviceable. Similar feeling about the follow-up.

Wake Up, Little Suzu: Pretty good. Not much to say. I don't know who Akio is though.... I guess it's an obscure student? I thought Akio was Mutou's name, though.

Nineteen Years: Cute again! There is a glimpse of Hanako's insecurities as well. I like it.
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