announcement · Non-Fiction

Begrudgingly Blogging | What I learned from starting a story without a solid end

So Fire Keeper is finally over. What a journey.

Confession! It’s the first series I’ve ever actually finished. I had a terrible habit, back in my fanfiction days, where I’d get (what I thought was) a good idea but I never executed it to completion. Those were dark times…

But this time I finished! It feels good, mostly because I felt it went off the rails and I couldn’t control it like, part 4 and onwards.

The most important lesson of FK is: don’t set your story in a culture you don’t fully understand without a solid source.

As much as any weeb would want you to believe, anime is not a credible source when basing a story in Japan. We may have a general idea thanks to slice-of-life manga’s or high school sports anime, but it’s not enough. Believe me. And it isn’t exactly easy research.

I was looking up things like ‘do Japanese children get grounded’ which I’m surprised I was able to get an answer for (A: not really because of high school commitments). But after a couple minutes of googling ‘Japanese household punishments’ in attempt to find out what kind of reprimands kids get by disobeying their parents, it’s easy to see there’s no hope in that line of investigation.

Another important lesson: don’t start a story without a solid beginning, middle, and end.

I got the idea for FK via my own fire place and I was (and still am) struggling to find my place in society. The plot more or less was what it turned out to be, though Matsuoka-san was supposed to be a bit more of a grouch and Riko would’ve taken her place in the basement. But then I thought ‘well jeez it’s not exactly a glamorous job’ which is where beauty school came in.

Honestly, I had little planned out. Riko’s mother being the main antagonist force was not my original intention. I never anticipated school settings. I really disliked using ‘future career planning surveys’ since that’s a Japanese Middle School thing but I needed it for plot reasons.

So yeah, from here one out I’ll develop my stories via a timeline. I’ll get an idea and then write out big events that will occur. Hopefully that will make my series more coherent and not so disorganized.

A third lesson: don’t finish a chapter and then walk away.

This is what happened in my fanfiction days. I’d write and complete a chapter, then walk away for a few days and start up later. This isn’t a good way to write, in my opinion, because it messes up your flow. I did it with FK as a cheat. I’m trying to follow a plan where I post every 3 – 5 days. So I’d write a chapter, edit and update, then walk away because I was so mentally exhausted.

A smarter way to write would be a little every day so I’m not rushing and it’s not as sporadic. That’ll probably enhance my work and productivity (fingers crossed).

~

Now that FK is finished, I’ll be starting my autobiographical series on my recent trip to Japan in November 2016. I’ll be scrap booking while I do this too, so there will be lots of photos! :3

This series will legit be like over 25 posts long, since I was there for 22 days. I already have three and a half docs ready to be edited and formatted, and they only cover up to day 2. I’m really excited for this series, since I’ll be able to relive a really awesome time in my life, and I want to test my memory. I’m curious to know how well I can remember those three weeks.

I’m going to try and work on the Keijo!!!!!!!! essay, mostly because I want to spread the awesomeness and absurdity that is Keijo!!!!!!!!.  Though there haven’t been a lot of manga updates lately which is unfortunate…

I’ve also been learning HTML recently. I figured it’ll be a step to boosting my resume, so I spend about 30+ minutes every other day watching online videos. I don’t think it’ll eat into my writing time, but I’m actually really digging it, so hard to say. If I could customize this site outside of the WordPress pre-made stuff, that be neat.

Thanks everyone for reading!! Please check in regularly, like, and comment! My twitter is @attictypewriter where I rant about anime/manga/TV, but also give writing updates.

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