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Thread: Too much like anime...a predicament

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    Too much like anime...a predicament

    As the title says. A lot of my story ideas are VERY much like an anime. My characters all are designed in my head with very anime-like appearances, especially when it comes to hairstyle and I like to have teen protagonists, overpowered, flashy fight scenes with reality warping, mass destruction and the whole nine yards. My issue? I can't draw professional quality artwork, and don't know anybody who can, so sadly I could not make my ideas into an actual manga or comic.

    Now, I am a decent writer, but sadly I feel that the ideas and things I want to write are just not fit for the print medium and thus I have a predicament on my hands. I love my stories to death, and want to share them with the world, but I just don't know if the anime-elements just make them impossible to get out there. If anybody could help me with this I'd be very thankful.
    あなたが明確になるの周りに闇の世界に十分な長さを歩く。光の中で、同じ時間を過ごすと、あなただけの盲目 になる。

  2. #2
    Recovering Canucks Fan Becca C.'s Avatar
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    Honestly? To someone who isn't a fan of anime, none of those things you mentioned sound like anime. You could have a novel about powered teens with flashy fight scenes and stuff and that wouldn't scream ANIME to me because I'm not into anime.

    Just write it the best you can. Any of those things you mention can be done in the print medium. Get creative
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  3. #3
    More cowbell! randi.lee's Avatar
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    I agree with Becca. Your work might sound like anime, but it also screams of YA. Go with what's in your heart-- that's where some of the best writing comes from
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  4. #4
    My manuscripts are a lot like slice of life, non-magical anime. People who don't watch anime wouldn't get it, but I use a lot of tropes from various mangas that you don't really see in American comics/animation.

    As long as you write it well, you'll be fine. Just don't start in with the honorifics and the kawaii and the rice balls.

  5. #5
    All I Ever Wanted Was The World Violeta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukami View Post
    My characters all are designed in my head with very anime-like appearances
    That's probably because you watch too much anime. (Or not enough reality-like
    tv-shows/movies, I don't know...). I think it's inevitable. It happens to the best of us.

    My suggestion would be to distance yourself from anime and see what
    happens. Maybe after a while, you will stop seeing in anime based terms in your head.

    If so, then you're good to go! You can write your story.

    If not, then maybe, this particular story is best suited for a manga/comic format,
    in which case I'd recommend to find someone in deviantart to draw it for you for a
    (low/decent/high) price. Depending on the artist whose works you like best, and how
    much you want your story out in the world.

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  6. #6
    might be a giant maybegenius's Avatar
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    You could also potentially pitch it as a graphic novel if you feel like you're really straddling the visual/print mediums. You're not required to be able to draw the art yourself to write the copy for a graphic novel; they often have a separate illustrator. That said, they're a much harder sell (particularly for an unpublished author) and you'd have to be intentionally writing with the goal of making it a graphic novel, not a standard novel. Different writing conventions and things to consider. You'd need to research on it.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    Yeah, but YA dose not have MCs and villains with odd-colored spiky hair, dose it? Nor dose it have people with animal ears and tails but otherwise human appearances? No. Does it have flashy, numerous, and sometimes long/epic in scale fights in which characters have VERY high power-level magic/powers(like wipe out a city with one spell/power)? Not what I have read, though there is probably something out there that I missed and if so I'd like to know it's title. My ideas all are like a shonen manga, and I don't know if that is really cut out for the print medium. It's like I see my stories being one way, but my skill set is in the wrong medium. I really want my ideas to be a manga, but I can't draw good enough so I'm putting them to pen instead but as a result I feel they are just too "manga/anime" for the medium.

    As for the graphic novel thing, that's an idea to look into though I'd have to research first since I know little about that medium. I can't pay an artist because I'm part of the 99% and thus lacking in the resources to do so, otherwise I would have done that ages ago.
    Last edited by Nogetsune; 05-08-2012 at 09:46 PM.
    あなたが明確になるの周りに闇の世界に十分な長さを歩く。光の中で、同じ時間を過ごすと、あなただけの盲目 になる。

  8. #8
    Dysfunctional dystopian bertrigby's Avatar
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    I thought anime was big with teens...why not embrace it?
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  9. #9
    might be a giant maybegenius's Avatar
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    You wouldn't have to pay the artist if you go through a legitimate publisher. The publisher will hire and pay an artist to illustrate the novel, just as they'd pay you for the copy/script. The issue is that you wouldn't have a say in the artist they select.

    ETA: Though again, I should say that for first-time authors, it would be tough if you're not an author/illustrator. Even if you were, it'd be hard. Still, can't hurt to look into it.

    When you mention the scope of what you're writing, it does sound like you're writing very visually, as though you're envisioning it as art/film rather than prose. That can definitely be an issue, because prose can't rely too heavily on the visual. Things to keep in mind.
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  10. #10
    see you on a dark night Yeasayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukami View Post
    Yeah, but YA dose not have MCs and villains with odd-colored spiky hair, dose it? Nor dose it have people with animal ears and tails but otherwise human appearances? No. Does it have flashy, numerous, and sometimes long/epic in scale fights in which characters have VERY high power-level magic/powers(like wipe out a city with one spell/power)? Not what I have read, though there is probably something out there that I missed and if so I'd like to know it's title.
    You're putting a very high importance on physical traits of your characters. A character having spiky, rainbow-colored hair doesn't have much impact on the story itself. It would be very easy to edit "green hair" to "brown hair" or simply not state it at all. Not every novel goes into description of the character's physical traits. As for flashy fight scenes, well, that sounds like something that's very common in the fantasy genre, YA or otherwise.

    Also, there is plenty of Anime based off of Japanese light novels, which is essentially Japan's answer to YA. Some of them are translated into English, you might want to check some of these out and see how the translate from page to screen. The only one I can think of at the moment is Haruhi Suzumiya but there are definitely others.

    As for the graphic novel thing, that's an idea to look into though I'd have to research first since I know little about that medium. I can't pay an artist because I'm part of the 99% and thus lacking in the resources to do so, otherwise I would have done that ages ago.
    You don't hire the artist. Basically, you would write the script for a graphic novel and sell that to a publisher who would then choose an artist. But like maybegenius said above, it's very hard to do this, especially as a newbie.

  11. #11
    backstab x 2! ajoker's Avatar
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    There might be a bigger market than you think. I think Steven Erikson's Mazalan books are pretty much inspired by Dragon Ball Z, and they've done quite well.

  12. #12
    [Insert something witty here] KateSmash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    My manuscripts are a lot like slice of life, non-magical anime. People who don't watch anime wouldn't get it, but I use a lot of tropes from various mangas that you don't really see in American comics/animation.

    As long as you write it well, you'll be fine. Just don't start in with the honorifics and the kawaii and the rice balls.
    Pretty much this, though mine look more like the scifi side of things. As long as it doesn't go to weeaboo levels of obviousness, people who don't watch anime will be none the wiser. And those that do will feel like they found a neat Easter egg.

    (And speaking of honorifics - if you insist on using them, please use the right one. Looking at you, Scott Westerfeld.)

    Though I've got to agree that you're putting too much emphasis on your characters' looks. If it's not essential to the plot, it's not really worth mentioning. You don't need to go as specific as hairstyles or color. And, if you do, it can easily be explained away by genre and world building. See the residents of the Capital in The Hunger Games for an example.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    Yeah, I understand about the looks thing, but what also worries me is the fact I have such high-powered fights, and also the amount of fighting in my stories. In some instances we're talking about fights with literal reality warping. In others cities get destroyed, energy balls fly and there is generally some very high-powered, massive scale attacks.

    This is not Harry potter style subtle, small-scale magic. When I run magic, it is very visible and usually very destructive and flashy. A high powered spell in my settings will destroy a city, planet or possibly even an entire reality, or raise an entire necropolis worth of undead, or turn one's self into an engine of pure destruction, complete with physical alterations, the list goes on and on. Flight, magic shields, teleportation ect... are all common place, as are your magical and elemental blast spells. Some characters will even go as far as to power-up their own physical abilities up with magic and punch people through buildings ect... In some of my stores it goes as far as literal reality warping, and even in one case the creation of matter from nothingness...the literal power of God. My magic is NEVER subtle unless it's a mind-control or illusion type spell. The same holds true for non-magical superpowers and even technology.

    Not only are the powers and fights flashy like this, but they are also frequent. The stories are not all fighting, but fighting is very prevalent in it and an important part of the story. Most enemies are delt with through combat in my stories and battle becomes a thing that occurs more then in most novels. So yeah, that's partly what I mean by "anime/manga." Not just looks, but the style and frequency of fights is also a factor.
    Last edited by Nogetsune; 05-08-2012 at 11:02 PM.
    あなたが明確になるの周りに闇の世界に十分な長さを歩く。光の中で、同じ時間を過ごすと、あなただけの盲目 になる。

  14. #14
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
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    If the style and frequency of the fights fits the stories, I don't really see a reason why that would automatically make the stories not YA/not prose. If you're relying purely on the visual impact of the fights, maybe, but if you're talking about Betty Sue releasing an energy ball that destroys the entire town of Whocares, Maine, that could be done with words as easily as with pictures.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    It's not so much the medium that is the issue but rather what people expect from the mediums and what people are looking for in a specific medium that is the issue for me. When somebody picks up a comic book or shonen manga, they are going to expect frequent and flashy fights. If somebody picks up a YA novel, not so much, even if it is marketed as fantasy or sci-fi.

    It's not the fact that the fights I have in my stories can't be portrayed well in the print medium, it's just that it is ATYPICAL of the print medium to portray such fights, which in turn makes me concerned that my stories really are not fit for the print medium and will not attract the kind of people who would appreciate them. That's not to say that my stories sacrifice story and character for action. They certainly have drama and focus on things other then battle, which are the things people look to the print medium for. However, the presence and frequency of the "anime style" fights I fear will be a turn off to many and will not be appreciated for what they are and what they do for the story as a whole.
    あなたが明確になるの周りに闇の世界に十分な長さを歩く。光の中で、同じ時間を過ごすと、あなただけの盲目 になる。

  16. #16
    Picking myself back up. PoppysInARow's Avatar
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    Are you kidding? Anime is HUGE with teens. If your writing is similiar, you should be thrilled. A big reason anime/manga is successful because the stories are much different from what they're used to. So if your writing reflects some of the troupes or styles of Japanese storytelling, this could be a big selling point for you.

    Weird appearances? Daughter of Smoke and Bone has an MC with naturally blue hair. Also, if your concerned about over the top fight scenes-- don't be. The reason these aren't done so often is the author needs to create boundaries on their world and the smaller the world, the easier to control. For some writers, that boundary is the town border, the country, or a planet. If you want to create a huge world with multiple realities-- go for it. That way you can destroy entire cities without running out of room for your characters to run around, you just have to make sure your worldbuilding is solid.
    Last edited by PoppysInARow; 05-08-2012 at 11:26 PM.
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  17. #17
    Picking myself back up. PoppysInARow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukami View Post

    It's not the fact that the fights I have in my stories can't be portrayed well in the print medium, it's just that it is ATYPICAL of the print medium to portray such fights, which in turn makes me concerned that my stories really are not fit for the print medium and will not attract the kind of people who would appreciate them. That's not to say that my stories sacrifice story and character for action. They certainly have drama and focus on things other then battle, which are the things people look to the print medium for. However, the presence and frequency of the "anime style" fights I fear will be a turn off to many and will not be appreciated for what they are and what they do for the story as a whole.
    Bolding for emphasis here. Atypical is GOOD. DON'T BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Seriously. Editors like to play safe and buy what they know will sell, but they are still looking for that amazingly original story. Yours could be it. Go for it.

    And for the second point, this kind of thinking is self-defeating. There WILL be people who will be turned off by your book no matter what you write. That's the nature of the business. No matter what you do, many someones will think your work is terrible. So what? If you like writing anime-style books, just do it. With how many people read fanfiction, there has to be a market there.
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  18. #18
    Hero, villain, angel, demon AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    I say don't worry about it right now. Really.

    Finish writing the book. Polish it up. Send it to betas.

    These betas will be able to tell you whether the book is spending too much time on battles or if they don't buy your explanations for rainbow hair and cat tails. If they're anime viewers, they'll see if the book is to anime-y. If they're not, they'll see if the book has too many elements they don't get. If neither type sees it as a problem, you don't have one.

    And if they do, that's what revising is for. There is nothing I see here that can't be revised.

    All we have now is your worry that the battle might go on too long or that the appearances might be too wild, but we can't see if they are. If you think they are, change them. If you don't want to change them, finish it as is and tackle problems after betas see it.

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  19. #19
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    I'm a little concerned with the people insisting anime is "huge with teens." As far as entertainment goes, it's still quite niche. And the fans are generally of all ages. So I can't agree that anime is "huge with teens" unless you're selling the French or Japanese teenagers.

    Sounds to me like you need to read more about writing fiction. Like Maybegenius said, you're putting a lot of emphasis on visual. The battles do sound like overkill, especially if you have more than one. The reason you reply to everyone insisting that it's a problem is because you know that what you're doing isn't working.

    Just find beta readers. And not friends, either. People who may or may not like anime. And don't tell them about this concern, just let them read it. You almost have 50 posts. You should put a first chapter in SYW.

  20. #20
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca C. View Post
    Honestly? To someone who isn't a fan of anime, none of those things you mentioned sound like anime. You could have a novel about powered teens with flashy fight scenes and stuff and that wouldn't scream ANIME to me because I'm not into anime.

    Just write it the best you can. Any of those things you mention can be done in the print medium. Get creative
    And to someone who is a fan of anime, none of those things make me think of anime straight-off, because I'm not really a fan of shounen fighting series. I wouldn't worry about it so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    My manuscripts are a lot like slice of life, non-magical anime. People who don't watch anime wouldn't get it, but I use a lot of tropes from various mangas that you don't really see in American comics/animation.

    As long as you write it well, you'll be fine. Just don't start in with the honorifics and the kawaii and the rice balls.
    Same here. An awful lot of tropes carry over fine, but there are many that you might need to watch out for that rely on database knowledge that Western readers won't have.

    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    I'm a little concerned with the people insisting anime is "huge with teens." As far as entertainment goes, it's still quite niche. And the fans are generally of all ages. So I can't agree that anime is "huge with teens" unless you're selling the French or Japanese teenagers.

    Sounds to me like you need to read more about writing fiction. Like Maybegenius said, you're putting a lot of emphasis on visual. The battles do sound like overkill, especially if you have more than one. The reason you reply to everyone insisting that it's a problem is because you know that what you're doing isn't working.

    Just find beta readers. And not friends, either. People who may or may not like anime. And don't tell them about this concern, just let them read it. You almost have 50 posts. You should put a first chapter in SYW.
    What she said.

    I can understand worrying over a story feeling more appropriate for a visual medium than prose. If you're writing it as a novel, you will need to approach it differently than if you were drawing or animating it. The same kind of storytelling does not work in both. Read more and try to approach your story as a novel. It's fine if it uses tropes common to anime. It's fine to be a very visual writer and have all of these cinematics in your head, but you have to be aware that you have to describe them in words.

    I agree with the earlier recommendation to check out some light novels, and also read more Western YA.

    For the kind of stuff you're going for that started off as light novels, I'd check out Nasu's stuff (Fate/stay night). He's not exactly known as a great writer, but he has plenty of such fights. Also maybe Toaru Majutsu no Index, which was a pretty popular light novel before it got animated.
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. I still am troubled by this issue but I'll just have to deal with it. It's too bad light novels only exist in Japan otherwise I'd just write my work as a light novel and call it a day. Speaking of that, while this is an odd question, would it be possible to possibly try and create a light novel for American audiences? I know that sounds crazy, but there are American manga publishers who also translate light novels into English, so there is apparently somewhat of a market for them in the US even if it's small. So, seeing this, would it at all be possible to go offer an American/English light novel to such a company or would that not even be worth trying?
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  22. #22
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukami View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. I still am troubled by this issue but I'll just have to deal with it. It's too bad light novels only exist in Japan otherwise I'd just write my work as a light novel and call it a day. Speaking of that, while this is an odd question, would it be possible to possibly try and create a light novel for American audiences? I know that sounds crazy, but there are American manga publishers who also translate light novels into English, so there is apparently somewhat of a market for them in the US even if it's small. So, seeing this, would it at all be possible to go offer an American/English light novel to such a company or would that not even be worth trying?
    Since we don't have kanji, there's no real reason. You can just write an MG or YA novella. The only difference is you wouldn't have any illustrations except the cover. If you found a good artist, you could always approach a publisher about including a few illustrations after they showed interest in publishing your novel.
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  23. #23
    Shut Up and Write Sarashay's Avatar
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    I'm guessing you're about at the age I was when I was writing stories that resembled Duran Duran videos. (Which is not a criticism by any means, merely an observation.)

    Focus on the story, on what happens next and why it matters. If the anime elements are a truly essential part of that, then leave them in. If they're flashy window dressing that impedes the storytelling, leave them out. Some elements may work; others might not. Let the story decide.
    Last edited by Sarashay; 05-09-2012 at 03:27 AM. Reason: tweaking a sentence
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  24. #24
    Hopeless Romantic gambit924's Avatar
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    Somehow the whole idea sounds very sentai to me. I know where you're coming from, all my stuff has the Japanese flavor and romanticism to them. What I do is turn them into screenplays, which is a difficult road to go on, but if it works, it works. It all depends on what you want (as Merry once said to Frodo). Do you find your ideas to be more visual, or more...Cerebral? lol I don't know if that's the right word, but you probably understand what I'm saying. There are actually not a lot of Manga publishers in the US who are publishing English originals. I know a name of a couple, and perhaps Dark Horse might be willing, but I've asked and they never got back to me, so I don't know. Anyway, it's your story, however you want to do it is fine.
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  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Nogetsune's Avatar
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    I never thought of going the screenplay route simply because the director has far more power then the writer when it comes to how the story is told in the film industry, but that is something worth considering and perhaps I should look into it. Screenplay writing, however, is very, very different then novel writing, so I'll have to do some research if I decide to go that route.
    あなたが明確になるの周りに闇の世界に十分な長さを歩く。光の中で、同じ時間を過ごすと、あなただけの盲目 になる。

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