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Pondering... creating an OEL light novel?




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ansemaru



Joined: 14 Jan 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Vermont? Pennsylvania?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:13 pm Reply with quote
In today's world of globalized manga and Japanese cultural exports that have gone beyond just Japan, it's not uncommon to see animation or games from the West with heavy anime influence (Like Avatar: The Last Airbender) or original English-language manga.

I'm a writer and an artist on the first leg of my journey. Ultimately, I'd love to create manga of my own, but with the way my life and artistic abilities are right now, I don't think I'd be able to create anything on a reasonable timeline.

But I've been thinking about possibly making a light novel instead. I suppose that there are somewhat-similar things in the world of YA lit, but not quite... I wonder, is this possible? If it's not, I'd better step up the pace on becoming a better manga artist.

What do you think?
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GeorgeBerger



Joined: 21 Jan 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:49 pm Reply with quote
ansemaru wrote:
But I've been thinking about possibly making a light novel instead. I suppose that there are somewhat-similar things in the world of YA lit, but not quite... I wonder, is this possible?


Is it possible? Yes, for a given value of "possible". Smile

There are, IMO, four questions you need to be asking:

1. Do you really want to fuel the endless debates as to what constitutes a light novel and whether "OEL" is anything more than a crass marketing gimmick?

2. Assuming you write something light novel-ish, will anyone - purists or otherwise - accept or recognize it as a "light novel"?

3. Will any publisher even take a look at it?

4. Commercially or self-published, will anyone actually buy the darn thing, "light novel" or not? Smile

As background, late last year I wrote a 70,000-word novel and self-published it through Createspace, Amazon, and elsewhere, as both a paperback and e-book. I shan't name it or link to it, as I'm not clear on ANN's policy on shameless self-promotion, but... it exists, to the great and overwhelming indifference of the world at large.

It most likely meets just about anyone's criteria for an "OEL light novel", were someone to have such a definition, and I even very briefly tried to advertise it as such. (My novel's creation was in fact spurred on by a number of fan-translated light novels online, whose abject mediocrity in plot, pacing, dialogue, and character development let me to utter "I can do better than this", so it's not as if I was merely trying to exploit the, you know, overwhelming and awesome commercial success of The Kubikiri Cycle, or something.)

Anyway, in six months I've sold four copies, given away three copies in a promotion, and given away five copies to people who claimed they'd review it but haven't, at least yet, which leads me to believe that:

A, the English-speaking world really, really, really hates light novels (Seven Seas would probably agree);

B, I am an utter failure at self-promotion (indisputable, really);

C, Despite the views of everyone who has actually read the darn thing, there's a chance I've simply produced an absolutely unreadable atrocity (maybe...?)

D, My attempt to emulate a light novel in English has left me with what is, as a friend described it, "a romantic LGBT YA SF dystopian political conspiracy coming-of-age adventure novel" - basically an unmarketable genre-defying unable-to-be-easily-pigeonholed book. (alas...)

In summary: Been there, done that, it's been nothing but an epic failure.

But, hey; maybe you'll be luckier. Maybe you're going to be the "(American|Canadian|British|Australian|Kiwi|Whatever) NisioisiN", or you're about to write the "OEL Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya". Maybe you have the world's most awesome marketing and self-promotion skills. Maybe you're sleeping with a prominent and influential book reviewer, I don't know. Smile

None of us know, probably. If you want to give it a shot, by all means go right ahead. Just know what you're getting yourself into, and set realistic/pessimistic expectations for yourself and your book.

Because, you know, going from "I'd like to sell a hundred copies in the first year" to "I'd like to sell a dozen copies in the first year" to "dang it, I just want an Amazon sales rank better than four-million, is that too much to ask?" can have a pretty destructive effect on the spirit.
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adam_omega



Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 210
Location: Seven Seas

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:19 pm Reply with quote
You want to create an OEL Light Novel?

In a word... don't. Just don't.

If you are hardcore into wanting to write a novel, write a novel. Physically go to a bookstore and look at the sections and books they have. Look at the genres and find something that matches what you want to write and write in that genre's style. You won't ever interest anyone with your concept otherwise.
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dormcat
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 9484
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:17 pm Reply with quote
adam_omega wrote:
You want to create an OEL Light Novel?

In a word... don't. Just don't.

Kadokawa Media (Taiwan) has held OCL light novel contests (along with illustrations), with winning titles published.
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 403

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:36 am Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Kadokawa Media (Taiwan) has held OCL light novel contests (along with illustrations), with winning titles published.

 
Kadokawa (Japan) released 『華葬伝』 by 久遠, which had been awarded first prize in Taiwan Kadokawa Light Novel Contest, in Japan. 
http://www.excite.co.jp/​News/​column_g/​20101216/​Sinkan_index_1620.​html
http://mantan-web.jp/​2010/​12/​16/​20101216dog00m200038​000c.​html
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/​lnovel/​bk_detail.​php?​pcd=​201002000158
 
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dormcat
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 9484
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:44 pm Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
Kadokawa (Japan) released 『華葬伝』 by 久遠, which had been awarded first prize in Taiwan Kadokawa Light Novel Contest, in Japan. 
http://www.excite.co.jp/​News/​column_g/​20101216/​Sinkan_index_1620.​html
http://mantan-web.jp/​2010/​12/​16/​20101216dog00m200038​000c.​html
http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/​lnovel/​bk_detail.​php?​pcd=​201002000158
 

Hmm, that's a more easily understandable (translated) title. The original was 罌籠葬, which was quite archaic and even native Chinese speaker might not understand its meaning.

I attended the award ceremony and got a sampler of the novel, but I had to admit that her fabulous yet somewhat confusing fantasy style was not exactly my cup of tea. On the other hand, the comedic Aladdin on the Toilet Bowl (literal translation of 馬桶上的阿拉丁), which won the silver prize, made me laughed out loud. The third volume was published last October.

For the record, the ceremony was the first time I met Neneko, arguably the most famous and high profile cosplayer in Taiwan today.
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 403

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:14 pm Reply with quote
李白 wrote:
一登龍門、則聲價十倍。

ですかねえ?
 
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dormcat
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 9484
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:49 am Reply with quote
hyojodoji wrote:
李白 wrote:
一登龍門、則聲價十倍。

ですかねえ?

Not sure why you quoted Li's self-recommendation 與韓荊州書 here...... Anime smile + sweatdrop
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 403

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:08 am Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Not sure why you quoted Li's self-recommendation 與韓荊州書 here...... Anime smile + sweatdrop

 
Oh, please don't take that too seriously. That was just a piece of joke/thought//association/〈つぶやき〉/scepticism, etc.. (See the stylistic feel of 'ですかねえ?'.)
We talked about a Taiwanese person who got over the hurdle of a light novel contest and could publish a book even in Japan. It kind of reminded me of the phrase '一登龍門、則聲價十倍'. (And I had happened to leaf through 『古文眞寶』 some days before.)
 
Speaking of Li Po, as a teetotaller, you may have something to say to Li Po. <grin>
杜甫 wrote:
李白一斗詩百篇
長安市上酒家眠
天子呼來不上船
自稱臣是酒中仙

 
Speaking of '登龍門',
Furuhashi Hideyuki 古橋秀之 said:
Quote:
大学を出てゲームメーカーに入ったのですが、勤めがつらくてすぐ辞めたくなってしまいまして。それで、冬のボーナスでワープロ専用機を買い、会社に行きながら原稿を書いて、電撃文庫の新人賞に応募しました。……他の新人賞より審査結果の発表が早かったので。当時はまだ無名の小さなレーベルで、応募総数も少なかったんですね。で、この時の応募作品『ブラックロッド』で賞をいただけたので、単行本が出るのを待って会社を辞めて、専業作家になりました。

Ueshiba Reach said:
Quote:
大学三年のとき春休みに描いたマンガが、Comic Open で入選して。どういうわけかいきなり大賞で。まぁ、ビギナーズラックですね。何で Comic Open かっていうと、たまたま「モーニング」に募集が載ってたんですよ。Comic Open とかアフタヌーン四季賞とかの募集って、入選者がイラスト描くじゃないですか。これがもしもっとうまい人だったら送らなかったかもしれないけど、あんまりうまくなかった(笑)。いつも春休みとかバイトしてたから、このくらい描けたら五万円ぐらいもらえるかなと思って。

Mishima Yukio wrote:
Quote:
 小說の發表意欲は勿論烈しかつた。幸ひにも川端康成氏の推薦で、「人間」に小說が載りだしたが、これらのことは全く私の僥倖による。
 このころの生活に、もつともなつかしいのは、「人間」編輯長の木村德三氏のことである。私は懇意な出版社としては、川端氏が重役をしてをられる鎌倉文庫しかなかつたから、學校のかへりに、時々用もないのに鎌倉文庫を訪れるやうになつた。

 
 
By the way, I happened to also re-read 『燕京歳時記』 recently.
敦崇 wrote:
京師、謂元旦爲大年初一。每屆初一、於子初後、焚香接神、燃爆竹、以致敬。連霄達巷、絡繹不休。接神之後、自王公以及百官、均應入朝朝賀。朝賀以畢、走謁親友。謂之道新喜。親者登堂、疏者投刺而已。貂裘蟒服、道路紛馳、眞有車如流水、馬如游龍之盛。誠太平之景象也。是日、無論貧富貴賤。皆以白麵作角而食之。謂之煮餑々。擧國皆然、無不同也。富貴之家。暗以金銀小錁及寶石等藏之餑々中、以卜順利。家人食得者、則終歳大吉。
按荊楚歳時記、正月一日、先於庭前燃爆竹、以避山臊惡鬼。又玉燭寶典、正月一日、爲元日。亦云三元。歳之元・時之元・月之元。

I hope you will enjoy 春節. ヽ(´ー`)ノマターリ
 
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population_tire



Joined: 31 May 2007
Posts: 533

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:48 pm Reply with quote
Just write a normal book. Unless there's a reason for the setting being in japan other than otaku kawaii desu ~nya.
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GeorgeBerger



Joined: 21 Jan 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:01 pm Reply with quote
population_tire wrote:
Just write a normal book. Unless there's a reason for the setting being in japan other than otaku kawaii desu ~nya.


A "light novel" doesn't have to be set in Japan... though arguing about that would probably revive the endless "what is or isn't a light novel" debate, sigh.

"Western" publishers (and booksellers) are quite enamored of pigeonholing books with genre labels, to the extent that it is widely assumed that you can pigeonhole any given novel into one category or another. This raises some entertaining problems - B&N consider the "Book Girl" series to be "Young Adult fantasy", for instance, and Zaregoto is usually shelved in with Science Fiction. Having read both, I really cannot fathom why.

I'm not convinced it's really a solution to anything, but I suppose that if one wrote a truly genre-defying book - a police-procedural murder-mystery love story between two werewolves, set on a space station, say - calling it a "light novel" would be no worse a label than anything else, until such time as we do away with genre labels and adopt a Dewey Decimal-like categorization for fiction.

20.12.8.2: Fantasy, late medieval, European, with an emphasis on business, trade, or economics....
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