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Hiroi Sekai 2011-03-16 08:03

"Knowledge" (Original Story and Request)

Knowledge is everything. What would you do for ultimate knowledge? I welcome you to the original composition that portrays just how that question could be answered.
"What begins as a parapsychology convention and the mysterious unveiling of a gem becomes a desperate fight for survival, the truth, and ultimate knowledge. The fates of 7 individuals intertwine as they must cooperate and combine their unique powers together in order to prevail.

As you have probably already perceived, this is a story of my own creation. My sincere hope is that it gains enough attention to be transposed to several other mediums; mainly a visual novel, manga, book or even an anime. Very hopeful aspirations aside, I sincerely hope you enjoy this dark and mysterious train ride from beginning to end. My ultimate goal in all of this is - you are sucked into a believable world of psychological suspense and can relate to the characters involved.

This is currently a work in progress, but I write almost every day, so it can be classified as "active".

Finally, I would like to mention that I am slowly learning to work with some of the other mediums I mentioned above. The only problem lies within the concept art; I'm not one who draws well from scratch. I humbly request any of you that have that wonderful artistic talent and can assist me in my project, I would be most grateful. A fair mention in advance; I am somewhat of a perfectionist and would appreciate one who can sketch in a professional-like style. I have nothing against those who draw in a simple style for enjoyment, but in this composition I would like the characters to "pop out" with a professional look.

With that said, here are the current parts to the story! These will be constantly updated and written in a specific style. As the story aims to be a visual novel as well, there are choices to make that lead to branching paths, and there are multiple arcs as well. The story will be portrayed several times through the different arcs, and once everything is written, this thread will be organized in such a manner that you can jump between points and choose your own path.

The Characters
Spoiler for Descriptions:

"The Search For Knowledge"

Suzu Arc
Chapter 1: The Painful Reminiscence

Spoiler for Part 1:

Spoiler for Part 2:

Many thanks to everyone who reads my story! As always, I appreciate your comments, as well as your constructive criticism.;)

felix 2011-03-16 16:25

I only skimmed though it for now. A have a few style nit picks, if C&C is welcome. If it’s not just ignore my babel bellow. I’ll try to give out some impressions as well between the lines (since I know that’s what I look for in critique). Feel free to ignore those as well… I… run my mouth too much sometimes; but you know that.

The size 3 font is harder to read, I’m on windows dunno if you’re on mac, but it just doesn’t look right. The centering isn’t helping with it either. It feels like you’ve tried to do the standard paragraph indent but something went wrong (the usual first paragraph of new section isn’t indented but has a new line before it, but the others are); I personally didn’t realize it was just centered the first time, since it doesn’t look centered, it just looks weird. Still on the topic of looks, the whole huge (random?) spaces between (sort of) narrative to dialog is just so not helping readability. I think it looks good, from a sort of presentation point of view, but it’s really annoying to move my eyes that random distance and you have some variation in style where on some dialog you have this empty line between consecutive dialog lines, and on others you just don’t; yes it’s hard to read, it’s fine if it were say a poem, but I believe it’s pretty well founded as taboo otherwise (as a non-poem that is). Oh, and the green text is ugh! don’t that, please.

From a composition perspective, I won’t comment on it overall or the story, since I just skimmed though it for now, but first thing that just struck me like a big no-no is how you’ve went out of your way to tell us what “to think” of the characters. It’s just not right, and not really interesting to read either (no offense). To make a comparison, take your average harem lead. What’s the first thing that we hear about one? How pimp’ed up and super hax smarts he is, handsome and all round dream right? Can you tell me of one that actually meets that, since I sure can’t. All the harem leads I know of are only garbage that couldn’t tell if they were reading playboy even if they read the cover title, let alone have any skill in anything other then acting dumb.

What I’m getting at is, you want super smart characters skilled in this and that, then be prepared to prove to us that they are smart, don’t just show us their “deus ex machina” diploma. You know how the saying goes (in writing) “show don’t tell [or it’s going to come back to bite you in the ass].” Just from the first few lines in, Akio Keitaro is by your definition 19 and a student in psychology with the skill to “connect complex ideas together” (which is a sort of pleonasm or at least redundant in combination with IQ) but you know, he sure doesn’t talk like it at all; he sounds 12! and I’m just crediting his ability to speak coherently there. I have friends that did psychology, though generally nobody would describe themselves as “I did psychology” (ie. with out the specific psychology topic) unless Average Joe with out a clue asks you on the street. I don’t know how different the education system is around the world, but you don’t learn things that make you all happy dovy when you get into psychology. I also find it a little weird he’s a student, yet 19—somehow that doesn’t really tick. You don’t just step into a university and suddenly “I did Rocket Science, and know shit.” is a legitimate sentence that can come out of your mouth.

I’m also a little freaked out by the IQ levels. I know the record is 220 (correct me if I’m wrong) but having a IQ of 130 from a test done by some reliable and certified source is already O-M-G material. But 140+? your character should be 80% autistic. ;P Like I was saying earlier IQ, which is intelligence quotient, and usually tested with problem solving as a basis is redundant with the characters supposed skill “connect complex ideas” in context.

Anyway enough of that, the next thing that bugged me was something that I’ve been making a complete mess of as well. Your dialogs are too skinny, and plain! just like mine. :heh: Please read this blog post, it presented the problem with much clearer wording then I can find right now. One little nit pick that’s not there, your characters sound a little too much like each other. Try to avoid giving them the notorious “you” personality; in other words give them their own perks, their own style that just stands out. It’s really dull reading character dialog when they all sound the same, it’s like hearing the one character talk to himself or herself.

At one point you write “I took in a deep breath and inhaled the scent of a bright morning.” Aside from what I said previously that what you say the characters are suppose to be and what I’m getting from reading it is just conflicting in my head, there’s the sugar. I feel you should cut on the very long drawn out sugar lines. I’m not saying you should cut out on the, let say, poetic remarks, just that they should be shorter and maybe more strategically injected. I’m just picking on one line here, it didn’t even take a sentence and you’re saying “I should mention – the first thing that caught my eye when I arrived was the shape of this building.” It’s the same deal like with the characters. When I read that the little wheels in my head turned something like this “Well let’s see most buildings are square, so the character was impressed by a square? Is he stupid?” Don’t tell me the air is heavenly, describe to me a scene of butterflies and leaves. Don’t tell me I should be impressed with a building, instead, tell me how it’s some inverted pyramid that’s floating 5 meters above the ground (not literally, but you get the idea); then I’ll be impressed! I would say describe the characters mannerism rather then just performing brain surgery, but in this case it can’t be helped since I think you’re exploring the strange and unconventional first-person/present-tense style—which has this and others as it’s many drawbacks (I’m not saying it doesn’t have it’s pro’s). Speaking of which, the way you go from character monologue to just narrative is a little confusing, it would be nice to have a little more warding or streamline it more—but this is more a readability/style nit pick.

Oh and there are all sorts of little things, like “the mute were once again able to speak” I feel like you’re asking a pretty huge stretch of the imagination from the reader for a non-poem. I personally find it a little awkward. Or, what is “Size 8” sneakers anyway? maybe try using just a generic “large” (or whatever the case is). Or, “Without warning, an interruption arrived.” it’s not a pleonasm but it sure sounds like one (you know like “biography of my life,” what other type of biography is there?). This is one of those corner cases like “personal opinion,” we all use it, even though how often is a opinion not personal? If you think hard enough there are these corner cases where you could be say referring someone else’s opinion (eg. “his opinion”) but we’re going out of context there, and in some sense it’s still always “personal” so it still sounds like a pleonasm. Anyway, I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong, but it’s probably better to cut them out most of the time. Then there’s things like “a slight shock.” This combination is just creating a nice flow and killing it just like that. If you eliminate “slight” there suddenly the word “shock” has it’s thunder back. If you think that’s not expressing the feeling, then use different words! ;P On the same note avoid anything like “extreme,” or “super” (and god knows there’s more like them). Avoid these words like the plague! These words don’t show nothing, they just tell. Remember, the one golden rule “show, don’t tell.” They also tend to be very throw away words that cheapen more so then hype up. Especially in our day and age with every idiot out there trying to sell you “cancer curing detergent” and “super duper silicon powered tooth paste, now with magic star dust plus!” making your words sound all exaggerated just presses all the wrong buttons.

Anyway, that’s it for now, I’ll do a more detailed critique when I find the time to read it and not just skim over it.

Hiroi Sekai 2011-03-17 03:07

It does say this in the first post, but I believe I didn't imply it enough; this is an inanimate rendition of a VN-style script. When completed, I intend to animate the text into a VN game program to make the dodgy text play out better.

You're right about many of the things here; I would never write exactly like this in real life; but in a Japanese VN-style story, these little things are quite normal - I've seen them a lot.

One golden rule: don't take the script too seriously.;) As soon as you see paranormal powers, I know you would have deciphered that this is fiction. In fiction, it would be unwise to force change due to "logical errors" like I.Q. levels. Actually, I can't even say error; I know how I.Q. is calculated and the higher-than-average levels were intentional.

"Without warning, an interrupted arrived." This part of your criticism was absolutely correct; I can immediately tell it is redundant and incorrect. This part will be fixed, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Most of the other parts goes back to my request - it's not meant to be a logically driven story, like an encyclopedia or textbook, but instead a Japanese anime-like tale that happens to delve into the genres that aren't intensely zany. Try and picture it like...a manga, say?

I shall definitely avoid generic words, as they annoy me as well. I sure hope I didn't use any by accident>.<

felix 2011-03-17 08:50


Originally Posted by papermario13689 (Post 3534638)
It does say this in the first post, but I believe I didn't imply it enough; this is an inanimate rendition of a VN-style script. When completed, I intend to animate the text into a VN game program to make the dodgy text play out better.

That doesn’t say much about why you have that random space between dialog and narrative and how character monologue and narrative seem to merge or switch between each other with out any warning. ;) Also, shouldn’t it be more of a screenplay format then? I’m referring to lines such as:

“Akio, what’s happening?” Suzu was curious, but appeared to keep a straight face.
It’s written like a book from what I see. I don’t think you can write a manuscript for all mediums at once. In the first post you kind of make it sound like that; don’t know if that’s just a typo.

Hiroi Sekai 2011-03-17 15:14

Therein lies the only problem with transposition; shall I write it in such a manner where only conversations and basic explanation are carried out? Not too much fun for the readers.:heh:

Trust me, it'll make a lot more sense as an animate script as opposed to an inanimate transposition.

A screenplay format sounds interesting, but those cues seriously bring the story to a halt. The copy on this page is simply to give everyone the basic story in a narrative format, and the final product will hopefully a working VN version. I'll be able to format voices, imagery and transitions into the main picture.

Oh, and I'm looking around for that "typo" (for my lack of better understanding:heh:), but I don't see where I implied I'd write all of them at once. Might I be able to request a direct quote so I can change it?

felix 2011-03-17 15:17

Well, your wording was somewhat ambiguous, but I didn’t really see any alternative interpretation to it:

My sincere hope is that it gains enough attention to be transposed to several other mediums; mainly a visual novel, manga, book or even an anime.

felix 2011-03-19 19:24

Reading a building post at the same time, so this may be a little messy, but hopefully more useful.

I’ll skip the character details section. Though, it’s probably worth mentioning, aside from the IQ being above 140 I don’t remember a thing from last time (when I did read some of it). :heh:

The date is August 18, 2020, 6:30 AM.

This felt really really empty. So it’s the characters birthday today and he put on his pants and shirt—supposedly they were well ironed. I don’t understand, why is the fact they were ironed important? Isn’t it normal to have them ironed and kept in good? Anyway, moving on.

Convention Centre 7:13 A.M.

Words follow wisdom, wisdom is never a shadow of one’s words. Same could be said for beauty, complexity and everything else. In the first few paragraphs you lost me. Still, I was trying to just slug it out. However by the time I reached half way though every paragraph the “detailed description” was getting very foggy. I would read a sentence and forget it as I read the next.

Anyway, the characterization was interesting, however they are a little cliche at least from what I read currently. Speaking of which I’m a little bothered by the conversation. I can imagine how it sounds when writing it, however the sound when reading it is different. I can’t put words to thought, but to put it one way, as a reader I feel like I have no comfort zone or judgment. It’s as if I’m trapped in a cell with the ceiling dropping down as the possibilities of what I can imagine are slowly taken away from me, with each passing word. When your character say “this is very special blah-blah” it feels like I am forced into that pretext, and the same goes for the characters interests, it feels like I need to share them, but truly don’t. It’s discomforting reading it, when really, I’m not in agreement and have my imagination chained down by the first person view.

There’s also the issue with choreography. I don’t feel like the characters (in particular the main character) are making anything more then idle gossip. With that in mind, I get this feeling of teleportation but also time distortion. Did his two “wifes” come at the same time? If so why didn’t they talk much? or, why aren’t they talking to each other at all? and does he have a eargasm every time they speak? that’s really perverted and freaky. Why is the few words they throw out important yet everything else not important. Unless I’m mistaken they meet outside, they talk, they wait for Marie and talk some more, then supposedly they are silent until not only are they inside the building but somewhere deep inside the building. Either dialog is missing or they teleported in. Why is it that all of them came one hour early anyway? I’m a little skeptical about the way they address each other so far as well. I personally don’t think it’s appropriate to add “-san” and “-chan” and so on, particularly where they would be used as more of a formality. That aside isn’t it normal for strangers to use their family name? Why did Red suddenly use their name if we’re using Japanese conventions?

Speaking of Red, I wasn’t really convinced by the deduction. I also felt it was quite convenient for the main character, which until then had spoken hardly any line, to suddenly not only throw out a sentence but also go and introduce the other two; as if they couldn’t introduce themselves. I also felt like there were some facts just taken out of thin air—but that may have just been the fault of my attention span on small details.

Why is Black wearing armor? Why aren’t the so-called super IQ and skilled in observation characters even giving a damn for that matter? Also, why did she hide, even though later she’s made out to be “rough,” isn’t that contradicting behavior. Why aren’t the characters picking this up? Why isn’t the main character analyzing it on the spot? he analyzed everything else, even though most of it was normal. Why did he have problems picking up Red had red eyes anyway, is he blind? It surely doesn’t take a minute and a full deduction to realize someone’s eyes are red. Why I’m curious is why he makes no mention or question of red’s hair. I would think it would be natural to check if he has white hair along with the red eyes, and if he doesn’t, then to consider it odd.

Anyway, so far I’m feeling a little empty since all I got was that the characters seem to just be the usual harem stereotypes. Suzu is deredere, main character is one of the harem lead variants, Marie (not much information, but) I would say deredere as well (deredere = hentai type girls that are all over the main characters pants). Red is usual harem side character (all bud, and buddy), and black is the tsundere. The little deduction show and pretext IQ does give it a sort of different flavor, but all that seems a little short compared to the rest. I don’t feel like I’m being drawn in; quite the opposite when he starts talking about architecture and names I never heard of. :heh: It’s all too demanding, and too restrictive of the imagination, as I’ve mentioned.

Chapter 1: The Painful Reminiscence (part 1)

I’ll start by saying I like the overall direction this time. Less Aiko analyzing random things can’t be wrong. Still there were a few moments. I feel the main character is re-re-stating the obvious way too much. In my head when I’m reading it, it goes something like this:
Suzu is perfectly normal and is about to say a hello. Her lips are moving!
Suzu: “Hi”
And so Suzu has said hello in a very normal way with out anything special happening and in the moment she said it everyone was looking at her and acted perfectly nromal.
It should be either dialog, or description (either the before or the after) and less “random-thing that just happen to happen.” I really feel the main characters explanation are really making an otherwise interesting conversation extremely tedious, which in turn makes it boring to read though.

Let’s see what else. Oh right, the we’re orphans yet we’re shy instead of more “lets do this, we got nothing worth protecting or we can lose.” I also feel the guardian and princess act should have gotten far more attention then it did and be a lot more relied on, rather then a piece of trivia in the story. I’m personally a sucker for a princess/knight routine.

Also, I’ve gotten this feeling earlier but it seems to persist so I think it’s worth noting. You use too many sophisticated words in otherwise average sentences. I feel it’s forced. You should forge the sentences to be more delicate, one word is not just going to do work by itself.

Chapter 1: The Painful Reminiscence (part 2)

That was…great! Perfect composition. You should consider starting with this part in the prologue. It’s nice to be able to use the imagination when reading the story and not just be taken by the hand. Aside from the small issue of random complicated words in less then complicated sentences, I have nothing to complain about this part. It’s all just right. The story in a story is also a good way of handling it.

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