Julia’s confession


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Thank you for all the wonderful recommendations! I asked because I’m trying to level up my writing and was curious why other people find moving and interesting. Last week I started listening to an audiobook of “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” (by Gail Honeyman) which was listed as one of the best books of 2017 and I got curious. I mean, one day, I want to sell a book too; I need to know what people are willing to pay money for, right? I need to learn how to write a proper drama from people who succeeded! … I’m still as lost as I was before I listened to this book. I admit it shuffling my feet in discomfort — it was just boring for me. Did any of you read that one? I’m curious if anyone felt differently.

Other than that I tried extra hard at Japanese this week and I plan to continue. Managed to move forward with the Historia project too! Yey! Two beautiful CGs got finished and I sketched out another one with a bunch of expressions variants. Good stuff. I really hope we can one path by the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed guys!

Mental state? I’m tired of Earth.

28 comments on “Julia’s confession”

  1. JW Reply

    Thank you for all the wonderful recommendations! I asked because I’m trying to level up my writing and was curious why other people find moving and interesting.

    In that case, I could also recommend a book like “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories” by Christopher Booker, which I found a really interesting read (aside from the psycho-babble chapters at the end). As you might surmise from the title, it discusses commonalities of plots between a great many books. It gave me a whole new insight and appreciation of stories.
    A similarly sort of book which I haven’t yet read, but which I have on my list is “Elements of Surprise : Our Mental Limits and the Satisfactions of Plot”, by Vera Tobin. (If you decide to read it before me, let me know if it’s any good 😛 )

    • antrik Reply

      Only some of the demons we have seen have had red eyes… I don’t think these are supposed to signify anything in particular.

  2. G Reply

    hope they realize there is no real way she would know what he would do with the knowledge she gave him, though the bargaining part is certainly not good

  3. bitflipper Camp dweller Reply

    Mm-HMM. Okay, Julia, first of all, you might have shown him a trick or few, but it was Adam Levicky who chose how to use what he had learned. Remember that distinction; it’s important. Second, that doesn’t leave you utterly blameless; every teacher has a duty to understand how her students will most likely apply their knowledge before she teaches them something dangerous (a fact which, if it had been observed more rigorously in my own time, would have made events a bit less exciting for several of my teachers — my mind grew in capabilities long before my responsibility did).

    However, that much said, I would like to point out that there is a world of difference between someone sharing knowledge with a promising student and a student using that knowledge to commit genocide. In the end, my dear, you may be guilty of the misdemeanor of sharing a little too much, but Adam,… I’m not even sure his actions constitute a mere felony, any more. Attempting to eradicate the entire human species is a crime beyond any statute; it is, fundamentally, unimaginable in its scope and magnitude. It is a crime for which there is no fit punishment. It may be a crime for which there is even no fit remedy; Adam’s death might not annull the agreement he has made with the demon. Let’s not begrudge Mr. Levicky the full consequences of choices, shall we?

    • Jindra34 Reply

      I’m not sure Adam intended to wipe out humanity (or its equivalent in this universe). He definitely made a pact with entities for whom that was high on the goal list, and didn’t disagree, but that does not imply it was his goal in and of itself.

      Also HOORAY! This mission appears to have been a bit more successful than anyone could have predicted.

    • Klorix Camp dweller Reply

      Adam’s death might not repair the damage, but it might render the deal void, leading to the demons leaving again. Or maybe some part of the pact includes that the demons can or have to leave for some reason and need to take Adam with them.

  4. Alex Reply

    Interesting reveal. Let’s see if she can help them and/or tell them what Adam’s whole deal is.

    I didn’t read that Eleanor book, but judging from the Wikipedia plot synopsis it could be a good drama story for people who don’t want fantasy elements or humor in-between. I just thought “of course she’s awkward because she was abused.” and “of course she has an alcohol problem”, because what else could her background possibly be if you write a mainstream drama novel?
    I don’t see why you would want to learn from that genre. I prefer the drama you get e.g. in One Piece, especially the old arcs about Nami (Fishmen Island) or Vivi (Alabastar). Peru/Pell’s sacrifice made me cry. And the moment when chopper saw the Sakura clouds was so touching as well. Do you remember Episode 2 of Great Teacher Onizuka, where he trashed the wall? I also enjoyed the drama in Noir (cute girl has amnesia and suffers from being able to kill people withouth hesitation) and the drama/comedy in Full Metal Alchemist (oh lord that dog/daughter chimera >_<). Anime is SO much more intense and so much more diverse than the mainstream stuff.

    Your style is very anime-ish and you're mixing humor and drama nicely as well, so in my opinion you should stick to that. I mean, aren't you living in Japan anyway? Or do you intend to return eventually? And since you are already near the top of TWC (and sometimes right at the top) I think you have already succeeded in writing properly.

    • Regis Earsquake Reply

      To be fair, there is a difference how you write drama in a novel to how you write it in a manga. Visuals are way more inportant in a manga. Just look at the Scene, where the Straw Hats declare war on the World Government, to save Robin. That shot where all of them stand in a line works way better in a manga than it would work in a book.

      • Alex Reply

        Yeah, that’s a fair point, too. I just couldn’t think of novel example off the top of my hat. Novel-wise I mainly read Discworld stuff and the six Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books in the last decade, and they’re not heavy on the drama side. They have occasional scenes that are very very touching, too, but it’s one of many ingredients. E.g. in Carpe Jugulum, the witch Granny Wheatherwax thought they didn’t invite her to the royal wedding despite being on good terms, but actually a Magpie stole the invitation, because of all the glitter on the envelope, and the royal couple even named their baby after her. And that made Granny go for a hail-mary fight against a bunch of vampires who had invaded the kingdom and had already bested her in a previous fight. The whole build-up and resolve of that chapter was so well done.

    • JW Reply

      and the drama/comedy in Full Metal Alchemist (oh lord that dog/daughter chimera >_<)

      So heart-wrenchingly sad.

    • NotImportant Reply

      I really need to watch Full Metal Alchemist one day lol

      As it was mentioned Regis Earsquake there’s a bit of a difference between writing a decent manga and writing a publishable book. Plus there’s no harm in trying to improve, ever. But I suppose I should have said it that way from the start – be it a book or a manga I’ll welcome any recommendation both for my own entertainment and for study! So thanks, I actually avoided a bunch of the titles you mentioned and probably done myself a huge disservice.

      • Alex Reply

        There is sooooo much stuff to read and watch that you can’t be expected to consume it all, especially when you’re working as hard as you do. I am curious in what ways you’re going to improve and what kind of book you’ll end up writing. Since you found that Eleanor book boring, too, I’ll stick to my advice to stray from the mainstream with its beatings and alcohol as there are so many different backgrounds you can give to your characters instead. The market might be smaller, but I think that goes for both demand and supply.

        Now that I thought about it some more, I also read the Chaos Gods series from Aneeka Richins (author of the Not A Villain webcomic). The setting is quite dystopian, I like the type of drama her characters are going through as well and there’s occasional comedy to lighten the mood as well. My only point of critique is that the characters tend to stand on each others’ feet a bit too much, slowing down the story, especially in the 3rd book, but all in all I enjoyed reading the books. I even spellchecked them, so the electronic versions should have fewer errors in them by now.

        If you need spellcheckers for your novel, too, you could include it in a kickstarter tier, e.g. everyone who pays enough to preorder the book gets to read all the beta versions.

  5. Klorix Camp dweller Reply

    Well, if Julia works with them to set things right, at least more right than they are now, they might not need the printout as much (but it may hold some more secrets) and Ada is relieved of witchcraft teaching duty.
    On the other hand, Julia might not be welcomed with open arms if she reveals she taught the destroyer of the world basically how to do it. Depending on the more or less tragic backstory, Laura might still be friendly to her.

  6. gumtreeblossom Reply

    This seems so much like a mother’s regret…
    I wonder if the survivors’ chances will go up, with having a fully qualified magic user?

  7. NoriMori Reply

    I just noticed, in panel 1 is the chicken raising its wings up as Ada raises her arms up? XD

  8. antrik Reply

    So, it’s been a while since you asked for reading recommendations to improve your writing skills… I wonder whether you are still interested? I have a bunch of thoughts, but not sure it’s worthwhile writing them up at this point…

      • antrik Reply

        OK. Thing is, I haven’t really been reading any books in the past several years; so I’ll mostly stick with webcomic recommendations — which shouldn’t be a problem I hope, since these aren’t really much different in terms of fundamental storytelling I think…

        There have been many webcomics that moved me in one way or another over the years; but not that many I actually remember individually — just some that I read multiple times, or quite recently.

        I already mentioned in the past that I like the first big story arc (first book) of TwoKinds very much. Particularly emotional is this scene (probably only works in context): http://twokinds.keenspot.com/comic/192/

        Another one that gets me every time is a scene from the move Amazing Grace ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454776/ ), where someone recounts how he saw a slave woman comforting her child, saying that “King Wilberforce is coming to free us” (or something along these lines).

        An example of a non-fictional story that moved me recently is https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/13/young-climate-strikers-go-it-alone

        Another webcomic I read recently that was pretty emotional is unTouchable ( https://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/untouchable/list?title_no=79 ) — though I can’t say too much about it, since I have only read it once so far…

        Going a bit off-topic, there are some stories that aren’t necessarily particularly moving, but deserve a mention for other reasons. I enjoyed Inverloch ( http://inverloch.seraph-inn.com/viewcomic.php ) for example, which has a somewhat unexpected, but IMHO interesting ending. (Though that seems to be controversial: an entry in the FAQ suggests that apparently many readers didn’t like it? Go figure…)

        A somewhat special case is Never Mind the Gap ( http://nmg.thecomicseries.com/ ): it’s not exactly a good example of good storytelling in general — while interesting and original, it’s also somewhat weird and extremely confusing at times — but it does have the single most amazing twist I have ever seen in any story…

        More generally, besides all kinds of romantic plots or meaningful character development, I especially enjoy stories involving some sort of mystery that gets revealed through a series of unexpected twists — such as Not a Villain, Unsounded, Gaia, or The Illusionist ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443543/ ). That’s what I’d want to have in a story I’d write myself…

        I could likely think of more examples of moving or otherwise great stories — but to be frank, I’ve already listed more than I intended to… Because I’m not actually sure how useful it is to ask for specific reading recommendations, if you want to improve your writing skills. For me at least, reading a good story doesn’t generally give me much of an idea *why* it is a good story… I feel like I have learned more about writing stories by browsing TV Tropes than from all the good stories I have ever read.

        Another problem with recommendations is that you will only get examples of the best stories — while understanding good writing likely requires contrasting good stories with bad ones, to see the differences… And in a similar way, while it might seem a good idea to get diverse recommendations to “broaden your horizon”, in my case at least, only by reading many *similar* stories I start seeing the patterns: what is similar and what is different; what makes some stand out from the rest; which things I’d keep and what I’d do differently…

        So my meta-recommendation is actually to find as many stories as you can — showing diverse quality levels — of the kind that you want to write yourself…

        • NotImportant Reply

          Thanks for the recommendations! I don’t know those webcomics (well, apart from TwoKinds) so I’ll need to take a look.

          It’s not like I think that if I only read recommended books/comics I’ll magically get better. And it’s not like I only read those recommendations. Asking is just a mean of increasing diversity of the stuff I read and stumble upon. Usually, I would fish for fragments/plots/characters which I like or dislike and analyze them thoroughly. I’ll discuss my thoughts and impressions with my fiance and we’d try to figure out how our conclusions apply to my own stories (both comic and writing) and so on. So don’t you worry, there’s much more going on than just me reading the stuff you guys recommend 😉

          Thanks again for your thoughts!

          • antrik

            If you get to read any of them, let me know what you think 🙂

            I’m a bit surprised though that you don’t know any of these besides TwoKinds: while some are admittedly quite obscure, Unsounded in particular is consistently near the top at TWC — and I’d think it should be right up your alley: magic, monsters, intrigues, complex characters… And pretty graphic at times.

            (Also, didn’t you talk about the comment section of Not A Villain a while back?…)

            BTW, another one of my favourites, with some good drama as well, is Lunastar. ( http://lunastar.thecomicseries.com/comics/first/ ) More specifically, the first half… The second half is almost like a separate story (technically the *main* story…); and while not bad at all, it’s kinda slow IMHO compared to the first part. (And the ending especially is a bit too heavy on the pathos for my taste…)

          • antrik

            Well, there is a bunch of webcomics that seem to follow manga styles and conventions pretty faithfully 🙂

            (And even more that take some inspiration…)

            The (almost) only “traditional” print manga I have read is Negima. I’d guess you know that one by name (seems to be a “classic” from what I gather?) — though I don’t suspect you bothered to read it, since it caters to a… very specific demographic. I for my part find the main plot quite amazing (lots of twists etc.), and some scenes are pretty well done; but it is also extremely drawn out, and there is so much annoying nonsense, which makes it very daunting to read…

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