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 Schneider, Guy 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.
WHO IS ONIICHAN?
(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?
Posted on November 30, 2013, in Funny Anime Stuff and tagged i want a kawaii imouto, i write crappy stories, kyoukai no kanata, ore no imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai, shitty light novels, sword art online. Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.