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Hilene Wants To Write Light Novels!

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
Those who know me on Discord should be aware that I read a lot of "light novels", the term which is used in Japan to denote what we would normally describe as "young adult" novels. It does not actually mean anything about the size of the book (though a lot do tend to be on the shorter side; 200~300 pages). That said, though, there's some themes that I personally want to see, either at all or more of, which don't tend to show up in writing aimed at these markets. As a result, I've decided to try my hand at writing them myself.

That said, I have a really slow writing pace because I have a self-confidence issue, but I've been plugging away at it and have started to feel pretty good about what I've got. It's still early on, but I'd like to start putting it out there for commentary.

Right now there's a few projects I want to write, and I'll put their descriptions and link to any drafts below.


The Sword In The Darkness Came From Another World

I picked up a LN called A Wild Last Boss Appears!, which is about a MMO player waking up as their overpowered character, one of the "isekai" (lit. "Another World") sub-genres. In this one, the twist that really grabbed me is that the player (a guy) plays a girl character. However, the book doesn't seem to be interested in talking much about a transgender experience. So, wanting to be the representation I want to see in the world, I'm looking to do just that.

Draft (6 Sept 20)


Untitled Magical Girl Story

I'm still early on planning this one, but I've wanted to make a magical girl story for a while with an eye towards queer representation. I've always found magical girl stories to be "soothing", so I want to give back, so to speak. The rough concept I have going is that the girls get their power from accepting an aspect of themselves that they are repressing. Examples that I've been workshopping include one being gay, one being trans, and one dealing with being torn over expectations of "girlishness".


Matey Match

A while back I started planning out a Super Robot Wars-like setting for a game I wanted to make, plus for an old play-by-post SRW fangame I used to be a part of. The story was one of a small galactic nation finding an abandoned prototype mech and it turning the tides of the war against a large and powerful empire that's aggressively expanding. I don't think I'm capable of making the game anymore, but writing the story out as a LN seems more my speed instead.
 
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Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
I read the Sword in the Darkness draft. I don't have many insights to offer, but I like what's there and am interested to see where it leads, especially as it relates to the stated theme. The concepts for the other stories sound promising, too. How do you plan to publish these once you complete one?
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
That's actually a good question, and one I haven't really been considering yet. That said, I'm working so slowly that I can look into it much later on, and if I remember right Kindle actually is relatively easy to self-publish on. I have time to weigh options, even if I get mired in the mental trap of not thinking my work is good enough to warrant it.
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I, uh, don't really know how to introduce myself on a place like this, but because I'm sorta here because I'm Hilene's friend, I figure this is as good a place as any.
Hi, I'm Jaiku.
I'm also writing light novels, and I asked Hilene to be my editor because we read a lot of the same Japanese Light Novels.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
Hey, good to have you here Jaiku. Don't be shy; make yourself at home.

What've you been working on?
 

JaikuRirishii

Worthless Physicist
(He/Him)
I have four works in progress and tend to dart between them whenever I get ideas. I like to list them in the order that I started them in, even if it's not at all the order of how much progress has been made.

Princess Carry:
I've got a story about a guy and an Amazons falling in lust with each other, realizing that their cultures won't let them be in love, and then falling in love anyway. 34 pages so far.

Fire Besties:
Fantasy setting, an adventurer awakens an avatar of the god of fire who falls in love with him. The feeling is not mutual. Not knowing rejection, the avatar decides that they're gonna be best friends. So it's like a fantasy buddy cop adventure? 45 pages.

Void Familiar:
Fantasy magic academy. A spoiled girl summons a terrible avatar of the end to be her familiar. They're going to ruin lives. 14 pages

Conscripted Queens:
Just, everything I want to see in an outer-space future scifi work. Mostly based off of Nadesico/Tylor but the main characters are badass lady space pirates who are in a loving relationship, forced to work with a ship of losers due to bombs in their skulls. 27 pages with a 9 page appendix because there's too many Proper Nouns for one of my beta readers.
 

Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
Conscripted Queens reminds me of an old webcomic from years ago...that got nuked from the artist's site thanks to her less than ideal publisher. Worth reading if you can find it though! That and anything inspired by Captain Tylor's gotta be a laugh riot, right?
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
I sat down today to finally do some writing after being so drained after work this week, and ended up writing a whole scene that made me incredibly emotional the whole way through but I also started believing nearly right from the start that I didn't think it would be appropriate for the story I wanted to tell. I just... I got in my head some of the bits I remembered about other isekais I've liked, and thought about what it would mean to some of the characters involved. Especially my own characters. And so I just... ended up crying my way through 900 words of what it would mean for Lalalie to have been 20, and already have relationships, when this all hits.

I'm not convinced that I'll keep it, but I am at least leaving this passage written for a while while I ruminate on it.
Sword In The Darkness Draft 29 Aug 2020 - Chapter 4 Part 1: That Night
 

Shadax

The Chimera Brain
(He/Him)
I have only read the first draft of Sword in the Darkness, but I have to say that it has bothered me that the trans and genderfluid perspectives that are key to understanding MMOs as a societal phenomenon are never gracefully handled (if at all) in the limited exposure I've seen to this idea (basically some dot hack games).
I think you have a very solid start to this and am excited to keep reading and provide (constructive) feedback as you carry on. I am also very interested in the third prompt and also the game that inspired it, should you revisit either!

One last piece I have is that the editing is immaculate for your first drafts. Kudos to you or your editor on that.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
Thank you very much! I hope I can pull off what I'm aiming for, but also at the end of the day I'm writing my own fantasy, as a friend has put it to me. I don't want to be hurtful, but also I've written a bunch of stuff that made me very emotional in the process. That must mean that I'm getting at something about myself, right????

Regarding editing, one thing that I actually want to do when I eventually retire from the Canadian Forces is to become a copy editor, because I just get so frustrated seeing localized games and books with terrible editing. So frustrated. And I've always been fairly meticulous with my writing because of my self-esteem issues, so it works out, I guess??? As a result, I've actually been practicing by editing for Jaiku's work, while slowly plugging away at my own story. At some point I should make use of the Forces' post-secondary education grants to officially get the education necessary.


Also, regarding the Chapter 4 draft, after sleeping on it I think I will go with this setup, because it answers a number of things I didn't want to feel uncomfortable about not addressing, but also it gives me a vector for additional stories (after all, if what happened is a body swap, then how fun would it be to see how the OG Lalalie interacts with modern Earth life? Lets me have a second trans story in the background). I'm still wary because I don't know if this is being hurtful or not, but it did still clearly give me strong feels so I must be on to something.
 

Shadax

The Chimera Brain
(He/Him)
Thank you very much! I hope I can pull off what I'm aiming for, but also at the end of the day I'm writing my own fantasy, as a friend has put it to me. I don't want to be hurtful, but also I've written a bunch of stuff that made me very emotional in the process. That must mean that I'm getting at something about myself, right????
I am about 95% sure that means you are writing good material that means something to you, so I sincerely hope you carry on!
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
I have uploaded a new Sword in the Darkness draft, which starts to incorporate the prototype draft I had linked previously. There's still a gap between the sequential flow and that scene, which is going to be one of my focuses for the next push, but for now I just felt like I needed to make a new draft to help clear my head.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
Writing is a heck of a trip. Sometimes I can get in a funk for a week and not do anything. Sometimes I get an idea and bang out a whole page that will define an entire arc just so I can make a dumb joke.

This is the later.

“Well, I guess that since the missing person has come back, this case is closed?” Chrom asked.

Adelais looked unhappy. “I don’t feel great about leaving it like this. Something stinks.”

“But what do you think we can do about it?” replied Adelwin. “The missing person came back and says they just got lost. Even a passive lie detecting script can’t find fault with that statement.”

Meanwhile, I was deep in thought. This scenario was very similar to a main story quest chain that the player has early on, but we shouldn’t have seen it just yet, nor was it involving this person. But the similarities were so striking that it had to be the same.

“… That [person] is under a goose.” I finally said.

Everyone looked at me with a blank expression for a moment.

“What did you just say?” asked Adelais.

“I said that [pronoun] is under a goose.” I crossed my arms and looked at her.

“A what.” She now tilted her head at me, like I was crazy.

“A goose?” Having a suspicion that I knew what the problem was, I started to flail a little. “A geese? A gee ass? How do you pronounce it? That thing where a person must act in accordance with a magically imposed condition?”

“Oh, you mean a geas,” Adelwin said.

“Wait, is that how it’s pronounced?” I kind of had never really heard anyone actually pronounce it. I just remember it being the name of a popular show, and even then I think it wasn’t spelt correctly. So as a joke I just always used goose instead. The twins were shaking their heads at me.
 
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