What I Learned From Writing A Trashy Imouto Light Novel


November has been a weird and wonderful month this year. I crapped out a novel and I actually kind of had a good time with it, so here’s a story about all the heartwarming lessons I learned while trying to write an imouto incest fetish story.

#1 I appreciate wincest on a whole new level now

Before, I could not say I truly realised the appeal of the Imouto. I might not have an Imouto, but I do have an Oniichan, so incest was one of those majorly squicky topics I did not want mentioned under my roof.

But now I know. Now I see the truth. The perfectly innocent, pure allure of one’s little sister tempting you into iniquity. Imouto is the One True Way.

Imouto is God.

#2 I realised I have a MAJOR thing for siscon characters


Nase Hiromi, you are a true inspiration to us all.

#3 I would not have finished without encouragement

Now for some more serious points. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo twice before, but the thing with NaNoWriMo is that it’s incredibly difficult to complete if you simply tackle it alone. 

So thanks a lot to SchneiderGuy and Deadlight, who encouraged me to write when I was really down in the dumps about this project. Schneider and Deadlight are also attempting their own novels this year, so I recommend you check out their blogs and pester them about it.

Seriously, they’re awesome.

#4 I fully understand why otaku light novels are generally crap

I wrote about my frustration with the light novel genre on this blog before, but it wasn’t until I actually sat down and tried to replicate the general writing style and tone that I realised just why light novels fall into so many basic storytelling pitfalls.

It could have been the pressure of the NaNoWriMo deadline – a pressure that’s not so different from the schedule that prolific LN authors work under – but there’s a very real temptation to just throw in another girl into the harem as a way of boosting word count. At the time, you don’t actually feel that much guilt from writing absolutely terribad lines such as “Slowly but surely, I would turn my brother into a lolicon with a little sister fetish” because you think to yourself, “Well, it’s part of the light novel appeal! It’s atmosphere-building!” Of course, anyone would know that’s just complete utter bullshit. (I’ve since edited that line out of the story…)

At one point, I openly despaired and complained on my Twitter that I wanted to quit this novel. It was literally insulting my intelligence. In my desire to replicate the feel of LN prose, I had plummeted to the depths of My Immortal level of writing. At first, I just laughed it off as an ironic joke, but after spending so much time with the story, I realised there were only so many siscon gags and anime cliches you could put in without feeling as if you’re a blight on society.

It’s dangerously easy to go too far in an attempt to write what should be a light novel. The temptation to fall into gimmickry is always there. It’s honestly a surprise that LNs aren’t actually worse, all things considered.

#5 Genre is important, but writers should stay true to themselves

In the end, I gave up trying to reach the word quota for NaNoWriMo and just wrote the story I wanted to tell. It ended up being quite a short novel (a bit shy of 20k words) but it’s complete and I’m genuinely happy about it. Trust me, mate, those extra 30k words would have consisted of poorly written harem shenanigans that would never have seen the light of day.

Light novel prose doesn’t come naturally to me. Still, I enjoyed attempting that style and I think I managed to get the hang of it. Once I succeeded in doing that, I felt free to play around with the style and let my own individuality as a writer come through.

#6 You should know exactly what you’re doing

I might seem like another faceless hack to you, but I’ve actually had a lot of experience writing about the brother/sister relationship and if I didn’t have that experience under my belt, this novel would have been a lot more difficult to write.

This is where my seven years as a fanfiction writer came in handy. I’ve spent a long time working out how to transfer the overall feel of a visual medium into prose without compromising the beauty of the English language. But more than that, I’ve previously written a lot of stories about siblings, and most of them dealt with almost exactly the same themes.

Just to enlighten you fellows, here’s the summary of an OreImo fic I wrote:

In a world where Kyousuke never discovered Kirino’s otaku habit, Kirino is brutally and mysteriously murdered. Kirino leaves an enigmatic trail of clues behind pointing to her killer, but how can Kyousuke hope to find the answer when he never truly understood his own little sister?

And here’s the summary for a Sword Art Online fic:

There’s always been something fragile about euthanasia. She doesn’t realize it until it’s her brother’s plug she’s pulling. Kirito, Suguha, and a world where two years is too long to wait.

This is all without mentioning the various sibling-related short stories which have won me prizes in real life.

Why so many depressing sibling stories? I guess you can say the theme of Star-Crossed Siblings just gets to me. Discounting incest, there’s something about innocent sibling love – the kind of love that you don’t fully appreciate until after you’ve grown apart – that strikes me as full of pathos. It moves me much more than the theme of Star-Crossed Lovers. This is one kind of story that I can fully relate to as a human being.

Naturally, you can see why I had confidence that I would even be able to pull off an imouto novel in the first place. All I needed to do was rethink the angle to address incest, but as long as I stayed true to the real emotional core of the story, I was convinced I could turn this seemingly trashy premise into a genuinely sweet and touching story.

What’s Cool About My Incest Novel?

I was tight-lipped about what I was trying to do with my novel earlier besides cracking LOL INCEST jokes, but now that I’m finished, allow me to hype it up for you:

In the first chapter of the light novel (which you can read here) I introduced the tsundere little sister Miharu, her unnamed bland-kun brother and his perverted friend Naoki. I knew the little sister’s relationship with her brother would come off as completely trite and cliched, if somewhat amusing. But the real story revolves around Miharu and Naoki, who develop a very “sibling-like” relationship. The conflict evolves from Miharu being unable to decide who is more of a brother to her – the one whom she is incestuously in love with or the one that fits her image of an ideal brother.


(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

On top of that, if Miharu is a stereotypical “loli tsundere imouto” in the beginning of the story, she certainly is not one by the end. Every chapter advances one year, and by the end of the story, Miharu is seventeen years old.

So it starts with silly comedy and ends with DORAMA. Basically, it would fit right into a Key visual novel.

If that description scared you off interested you, you can still ask to read this imouto story if you haven’t already. Just comment or something.

It won’t be the most polished piece of writing ever, of course, and I’m by no means a perfect writer, but I’ve always believed authors should take pride in their work, especially if they’re publishing it for public consumption.

(Random tidbit: I never actually used the words ‘imouto’ or ‘oniichan’ once in the entire novel. lol.)

EDIT: Final edits complete. I’m ready to distribute a copy of the story now to anyone who asks. You can do so any time – I’ll always have the file on my computer no matter how much time has passed since this post’s publish date.

“But Froggy, you failed NaNoWriMo! Where’s that full-length novel you promised, huh?”

You seriously want to read a 50k word story written by a random stranger on the Internet? Um, okay then. Here’s last year’s successful attempt. It’s a Sword Art Online fanfiction but because I like to blow my own horn, I think it’s a cooler and more plot-driven story than the actual SAO. (But you obviously wouldn’t think that if you are a huge SAO fan who likes its romance and who cares a lot about arbitrary MMORPG details.) It can’t compare to Draggle’s masterpiece but honestly, what can?

To everyone else who attempted NaNoWriMo this month: how did you go? Did you manage to win?



  1. I end up give up because I got a 5 day stop which never recovered thanks to a company trip to South Korea that I never wanted to be in in the first place. Also, I suddenly find out that what I wrote is not suited for 50k words, but merely 30k. However, this would be a good start up for me to start writing again, even if it just a little bit per day. Anyway, there’s always next year that we can tackle once more. We can stand up after we fall, right? ;-)

    • Yeah, I was in the same position as you, only realising that my story was not suited for 50k words after I started writing it. But I think the most important thing was to at least have that impetus to write. Good luck and I sincerely hope you finish your novel, sir!

  2. I just followed your blog yesterday and I’m already being offered imotou incest, sounds fun :P I would like to read it.

    Slightly unrelated (just barely, honestly) but having never attempted NanoWrimo I wonder about it’s appeal, have you all gotten more than a headache out of forcing 50k words out in a month? I’m more of a lazy writer.

    • You made a good choice in subscribing. What other blog will give you imouto incest free of charge?

      As for NaNoWriMo, how difficult it is depends on how disciplined you are. It’s a lot easier when you’re already in the habit of writing daily. The big appeal is in getting you to put your ideas down to paper, resulting in you writing stories you might otherwise have been too lazy to write. It’s not too difficult as long as you don’t fall behind.

      • I wrote 63,618 words for a story that I had decided to rewrite from scratch because it was absolute rubbish. But yes, it is possible to write more than 50,000 words a month. Just write from 2,000 to 3,000 words a day and you should be fine.

    • Napy, I just tried sending you the story, but it appears that the email address you attached to your comment is an invalid address. Either just write another comment with the email you normally use or just plug me an email at frogkun@live.com

      I promise, of course, not to share your contact info with anyone else!

  3. I’ve already said it on twitter but congratulations on finishing your draft! I’ve made a few halfhearted attempts at writing in the past but i’ve never gotten very far, so I can appreciate how much effort must have gone into this.

    I’d also be very keen to read it once you’ve finished =)

  4. Oh God what am I doing at this part of the Internet where I’m reading an otaku’s blog about incest? My body is ready too I guess.

    BTW, Double-Edged Sword was great. Love that fic.

  5. Good job on finishing your story. I’m halfway through it so far; it’s fun to imagine as an OVA while reading. Miharu and Naoki’s interactions feel like a real friendship, although I can see how demand for sequels and deadlines could remove the focus on a few people and result in the usual group of one-note harem characters.

    “I got a part-time job at MgRonald’s. My shift manager’s a real demon, but at least the pay’s all right.”
    I see what you did there.

  6. Dear Froggy-kun,


    Sincirely, Hykal.

  7. Even though you haven’t reached the quota (5k words), still, congratulations for finishing your story! I had my hats off to you and everyone who tried to write this year. I would also like to write a novel but I completely forgotten about NaNoWriMo so I didn’t have enough time to prepare and plan.

    Anyway, please do give me a copy of this story! When I read the first chapter (before), I knew that something was up between the sister and Naoki. Now I want to know what happened between them ;)

  8. I read it and it was pretty good. Definitely high standard in terms of light novels and decent in terms of literature overall. The ending felt… a little forced, but it was setup with events earlier in the story, so it feel unbelievable.

    Overall, it was a decent aversion to the standard imouto formula and it was fun to read. The lead was interesting and the drama came naturally. If I had to a put a number to it, I’d give it a five point eighty-six out of six point seventy-three.

    Rating: 5.86/6.73

    • Thanks for the feedback. Don’t really have much to say other than that I agree with your criticisms. When it comes to emotions, I’m heavy-handed as hell – you can obviously see that I like Mari Okada and Jun Maeda. I do need to learn how to make the feels less forced. I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

      Also, I was pretty amused at your decimal system for rating. Where’d you come up with that? XD

  9. Where’s the #1 lesson, which is what I’ve given you? It’s called “Fail Better” – it’s alright to fail, that’s how we learn, and if you’re unwilling to fail you’re not going to get far. We often learn more from failing than succeeding – because when we succeed, often we don’t pause to think why we succeeded, which we are much more likely to do with failures.

    So when you fail, learn from it, realize what you’ve done, what you could’ve done, what you should have done. And then go out there and try again, and even if you fail, make sure you fail better than the previous time.

    • That really is a great lesson, although all things considered I thought of the project as a success rather than a failure. Sure, I didn’t hit the 50k words, but I thought of NaNoWriMo as an impetus to get me writing in the first place rather than the ends in itself. I took a more positive view of the whole experience rather than wallowing in my own despair. Your words really did a lot in picking me up off my feet and getting me to actually finish writing rather than quitting the project altogether. So thanks a lot for that.

  10. Never tried NaNoWriMo(granted, I just learned it existed last Month), but maybe I’d go for it next year. that gives me about less than a year to research and stuff.

    Can I ask for a copy of your LN? I can write a review about it or something in exchange, but it’s up to you. From what I’ve read, it’s quite…interesting. Who knows, maybe I’d also write an incest romance tragic comedy. :)

  11. I’d also like a copy.

    I really think you can’t hit 50K, without leaving the genre. Let’s face it, the Harem Genre has a hard cap to it, and there’s only so much character development that can be squeezed out of it, because once the girl is chosen/the harem dissolves, the game is over. Unless you leave the genre, and make harem a sideline.

    • Sure, I’ll send you a copy!

      And, well, I think I could have hit those 50k words by writing absolute crap filler, which is what the harem genre is. Hell, just look at any light novel!

  12. Hi Froggy. I found this Blog after reading some of your fanfics in ff.net almost two years ago. Since then I visit from time to time to read your articles. Now I think about it, this must be the only blog that I follow, more or less.

    And I never made a comment. Heck, no even in the fics I leave a review. I’m such a lazy -_-U (In my defence english isn’t my first language. I’m very good reading, but no so good writing)

    Anyway, I wanted to read your imouto novel so please send it to me.

  13. I just discovered your blog today (or rather, yesterday judging by the fact that it’s 1 AM here) and I’ve been trying my hand at writing a novel of sorts. I’ll most likely read most of your articles here and I’d also like to read your imouto light novel while I’m at it, if you wouldn’t mind.

    Interesting, so you have an ff.net account? What’s your username? I’ll go and check out your work over there too. I like it when my brain cries for help. The psychological tears are delicious.

  14. Hi I just recently discovered your blog and I read the first chapter of your imouto light novel. I love the whole idea with Miharu’s love triangle between her older brother and his best friend. I think that is extremely clever writting. But anyways I know it’s been a while since you put up this post and all, but I would love it if you sent me a copy of the whole thing. Thank you very much for sharing your work with everyone.

  15. Could you sent me a copy of your writting please? I’m writting a light novel right now and I thought I should really read some of other people’s work too. Yeah, little sister really ARE something.
    Anyway, here is my email. Could you sent it to me at this address please? Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!

  16. Did you find any of feedback helpful? I was pretty nit-picky on certain things and probably completely wrong on others but some things needed some legitimate fixing.

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