become swiss army knife
the visual novelist toolkit
let’s talk about good morning again.
good morning is a social construct was an accident. it was a long rant chiseled into good presentation. i had heard somewhere, at some point, that good characters are a piece yourself, with a lesson removed. take something you learned and omit it. how would you tell this story? turn back time and become naive. this explains my vn quite well
the core of each character is more or less how i felt/acted @ one point in life, my personal development in the order of miya, hina and finally sara. they're not complete me’s, but their core belief systems we share. these three selves tug me in different directions. they live their own little lives now in my skull, and they come up with their own stories. it’s fluent to think of new situations in which miya and sara’s personalities might lead to interesting situations. i can easily see them running around in town and getting the better of each other. is this how good writing is made? i have no idea
a friend, toku, said something about my vn, that i think about a lot;
i think the way everything fits together so cleanly is admiradble to an nth degree. fears for an unkown future expressed in fishh, fireflies, cicadas,running tracks @school..in a claustrophobic tube that connects home and the nexus of events.... its a thematic puzzle that fits.
i’ve kept it in my back pocket. it’s humbling praise, but it also serves as a sort of ‘so, it’s like that, huh?’ moment. good morning has themes? i didnt even consider that. my process was sort of just to ‘kept writing’ with some general checkpoints that i wanted to get to. my own circular thoughts made me think of a fish swimming around a bowl, or a girl with red hair running in circles around the track—running from herself. this is a specific kind of story writing i think, “things happen and everyone is along for the ride”. this is the sort of story i feel good at writing.
just as the characters were along for the ride, so was i. my initial outline was something along the lines of:
introduce childhood friend
main character and crush meet-cute
childhood friend plants love letter
mc is hurt, wants revenge
crush and mc team up to get back to her
crush kidnaps childhood friend and makes miya hurt her (against her wishes)
mc gets upset with crush for being forced to do it and kills her too
good morning was supposed to end in some sort of dark high school murder party. when it came to it, i had grown too fond to of any of my characters to physically hurt them. killing literal parts of yourself, what sort of message is that? in hindsight, it was the right choice. there are too many stories like that already. and miya isn’t a school shooter.
good morning ended up becoming something completely different from the original outline. it was unintentionally good. but i want to tell stronger stories that tie into their concepts more deeply, more cohesively. i want to make that kind of world. if i want to be more deliberate, can i do that? i don’t want to make good morning again, so i hesitate on taking the wabisabi approach once more…
vn is like a swiss army knife: jack of all trades, master of none. if you are a little good at each component, you can create something that is more. herein the problem, i think i am a good writer, but not a great artist.
i love good morning’s aesthetic but it is by definition prototype. rushed. two week endeavor. in style; the eyes are just how i normally draw eyes. the typical hime cuts and school uniforms. in writing; love triangle drama. it's anime pastiche, but without the synthesis that would make it something new. pieces put together haphazardly and carelessly — a westerner’s interpretation of what japanese high school life means.
i feel like if i sit down right now and write the next thing, it would come out. i like my writing, and i think it’s powerful for good morning. though, i dont know if this will work for my next thing, which is a bit less grounded in a base reality and will need backup in backgrounds, lore & storytelling. i want to say something with it that isn’t just a heavy handed anecdote.
in vn, each distinct pillar inspires the other. music + sfx + art + writing. being good at all of these makes you an excellent vn-novelist. it’s being director & actor at the same time.
recently ive been following a lot of ppl making stuff in the vn space. look to your inspirations to find out how they did it, ne?
above is some concepts from my acquaintance nezu. she has been chiseling out the style for her next vn thru exploration in different mediums. painting, drawing, vector art, 3d, even using dall-e. she has an idea in mind which is complicated, so much so she told a machine to generate an unreal scene to serve as inspiration. combining some or all of these mediums, and them all coalescing and crystalizing in a single thing. clearly its some next level shit. when i saw the painting above i thought “that is so cool looking i cant wait for it” and then after i learned that it was just the concept for the 3d environment on the right. it really just made me laugh, i couldn’t even dream of even arriving at step 2 right now. it taught me something, i needed to iterate to get to where i wanted to get. you can’t just start writing and expect everything to fall into place. you gotta work for it
i think its is one of my many failings as an aspiring artist. i dont want to practice, i just want results. i look at the blank piece of paper and i feel almost a dread come over me. i’m going to overshoot a crucial line when inking and it will be done for. it’ll be ruined, and ill feel hesitant to even touch the idea again. so maybe i won’t pick up my notebook. maybe i won’t open krita. i’ll leave that idea alone for now. it’s easier to scroll scroll scroll. it’s easier to idle in second life. move that prim 1 inch to the right so you can feel good about it. it’s easier to not do anything. its easier to be static. so chunchy man.
ruminating is the cause ofall your sorrows. run&never look back. sprint towards the future with full force; may you forget what yore even sprinting to;;where youre even sprinting at. beyond your head, there's only void; black mass.
run&run&run. run headfirst into a wall. try it.
cpu said archangel:nemesis many took years to crystallize, w many failed attempts. ‘so don't overthink it’. that was a humbling thing to me, tht her work isn't instant genius, but a slow cook. it took time, planning, experimentation, and most importantly: failure. “keep writing and writing and writing. throw it away, keep writing.” something along those lines, that was her advice to the org.
she’s so right.
Thanks for reading merilynn's notes! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
there is a lot to process in toku’s article. i have more to say about it, but for now im leaving a link here, because i think the writing is great (doesnt just talk about my vn): https://tokuuu.neocities.org/vnwriteup.html