Rend Vol. 1

Pitch:

Nakamijma Ryu, a shapeshifter on the run, appears at his cousin Tsutena Kano’s apartment. He pleads for help and gets to stay under the pretense he gets a job.

Agreeing, Ryu goes out “job hunting”. In reality, he visits his brother’s grave. One day, he starts stealing flowers from a local garden for the graveside.

Eventually, the owner of the garden, a young woman named Iseri Jun, catches Ryu stealing and confronts him. The two end up at the cemetery where Ryu explains his theft. Jun has no words, and agrees to let Ryu have the flowers. Ryu thanks her but notices a strange girl watching them, so they leave.

After work, Kano confronts him about the jobs. During the conversation, the waitress–Jun–recognizes Ryu. She laughs about their interaction and accidentally reveals Ryu hasn’t been keeping his word. Kano gets mad and gives Ryu one week or he’s out.

Ryu shuts down and hides in his room. His hidden power becomes active and manifests dysfunctions which wreak havoc and annoy Kano.

The end of the week rolls around with Ryu jobless. Kano–though it pains him–kicks Ryu out. Without anywhere to go, Ryu goes and lives in the cemetery. He looks for jobs, but in vain. One day, he spots the girl from the cemetery waiting for him beside his brother’s grave. He walks up slowly, afraid the dysfunctions will scare her. She says nothing and leaves without a word.

Ryu finds himself shaken up. He considers going back to Kano but knows he can’t yet, so he sets out again. When he comes back, Jun is there.

They talk. Ryu explains the dysfunctions and him getting kicked out. After that, Jun offers him the job of her gardener. Ryu accepts. Then she takes him to the coffee shop to smooth things over with Kano.

Kano agrees to let Ryu come back. The two return to life and over time the dysfunctions begin to heal with their relationship.

While he’s working, Ryu notices the mystery girl watching him again. A few days later he notices her in the coffee shop. He grows uneasy.

After a week, he stops seeing the girl until one night when he’s taking a detour through the cemetery. He asks her who she is and she explains she’s bringing him back to the laboratory.

The world then transforms as she manipulates his perception. Ryu fights the illusion, and attacks her to stop it. His dysfunctions return and he shapeshifts to fight her. They lock in battle in the cemetery.

During the fight, the girl forces him to face his own mental image of himself. Ryu accidentally projects his full self-hatred onto it and turns it into dysfunction that runs off.

Ryu barely manages to escape. He runs to Kano’s, slips in and collapses. Kano finds him and helps Ryu get patched up before asking questions. Ryu explains and warns Kano. Later, Ryu contemplates leaving to protect Kano. However, he resolves to stay.

Audience: New Adult

Genre: Sci-Fi Light Novel

Length: (subject to change) 30-50K

Major Plotlines:

  • Healing between Ryu and Kano
  • Jun and Ryu’s romance
  • Ryu being hunted down by the people he’s running from.*

Notes:

  • Book one, intended to take part in a larger light novel series.*
  • Focuses on mental health and growth
  • Some focus on diversity
  • Slice of life with superpowers

*The hunted arc is intended to span more than just the first book and therefore doesn’t have full resolution in the first volume.

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I love this.

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Thank you so much!

I’ve been stuck on this one for awhile. Light novels are very much my domain so I have a lot of feelings and more prescriptive ones than normal about exactly how to execute so I’m trying to separate those out because they’re a bit unfair to bring in.

That said, I still feel like I’m missing something. I’ve been trying to figure out what is the central theme or conflict or premise that I’m attached to, or even how I relate to or engage with the main character but I haven’t been able to figure it out. Ryu sort of just exists and doesn’t have a motivation. He’s on the run but it never comes up again. He’s jobless but he isn’t really seeking a job. He sees a mystery girl. but never has any connection with her. It’s unclear why he goes to his brother’s grave other than just because it’s his brother so I guess he would miss him. And then later it becomes about some mystery power manifesting but since that doesn’t really seem to mean anything to the larger narrative either, I just don’t know what to do with it or where to go with it.

To re-enter the prescriptive part:

Light novels are typically shorter and continuous in nature. While they are shorter, they contain within them smaller arcs. If you take the typical tension arc, you have to basically shrink it down and then each time it falls, it doesn’t quite fall back as low as before and it starts the next arc, and so on. But in each scenario, the arc does conclude. This is usually where you get your “School Training Arc” and then “First Missions Arc” and then “Yakuza Boss Higeru Arc” and then your “Cell Saga” and you get the idea. They have conclusions within them, but then the character themselves will have some broader, permanent motivation that lets the story go on indefinitely.

Goku wants to be the strongest. Luffy wants to find One Piece. Sword Art Online is bad. So on.

I’m not seeing what this character’s personal, major goal is to keep them going or keep the whole thing continuously going, nor am I seeing what the arc of this light novel is for the next one to build upon. I would need more clarity on those two questions to really buy in.

Also if you want more on this subject, you can find Manga In Theory and Practice as light novels mostly abide by the same storytelling rules. If you subscribe to Shonen Jump’s Digital App, it’s included in there, otherwise it’s on amazon and places.

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Thank you! I’ve been toying with the idea a lot so I appreciate the perspective and I’ll definitely take it all into consideration as I revise the idea. Still pretty new to this whole arc thing with light novels my experience goes as far as watching anime and reading them so this helps a lot with the plotting structure.

Gonna revisit it and see what I can do, thank you!

Mildly insulted by the SAO comment, but I’ll be fine.

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Please don’t use SAO as the model by which you build narrative. It’s a great anime in terms of getting a lot of people into the genre or opening the door, but it is…not…good. It’s also just become a punching bag of the community, but it’s pretty normal, there’s always some stuff you look back on in a fandom with love and some stuff you look back on thinking “I used to think that was the peak but wow…” For example, Eyeshield 21 does not hold up on reread, yeesh.

You can always talk to me personally on arcing for light novels since it’s very specifically my specialty and it’s what I study in my spare time and back in university (wrote my Gender Studies essay on the portrayal of Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist). So I can always happily teach the structure and how it works any time.

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Oh the structure sucks. I just happen to have a deep love for the characters. might have engaged in a literary analysis of SAO 1-Alcization with a friend the other day cause we both love it despite it’s integral flaws.

I want to get my hands on more real light novels, tho my library is failing me at the moment. I’d love to talk light novels with you honestly since I’m just getting into it. I’ll admit my influence rn is Tokyo Ghoul and Full Metal Brotherhood as they’re the last two really gripping arcs I watched other than bnha.

Yes well FMA:B is everyone’s number 2 anime/manga and is thus #1. Everyone agrees it’s good, but nobody tends to put it at the very top, so since nobody agrees on number one but everyone agrees on number two, it is the universal best. You can try it in any room having an anime debate, as soon as you raise it, all disputes are settled and put aside.

The one that I use as the example of the best storytelling I have ever seen is The Promised Neverland. Having read most of it and then tried watching the first episode of the anime, I understand everyone loves the anime but I think the written version is actually more powerful. The pacing is incredibly tight there, whereas the anime has to do weird adaptations to make it fit a different format.

Claymore is another good one for seeing arcs that get set up, One Piece really is unbelievably good at it, there’s a reason it’s run for as long as it has.

I would also recommend when you’re planning out a light novel, to not really plan it robustly, your arcs are going to be tricky. Sometimes, especially early on, you can have two arcs in the same book, an opening and a first problem, because stakes aren’t large and complex enough to merit one arc. Later you could get into arcs so complicated and broad that they end up splitting into multiple books, with each one having it’s own smaller arcs within the arc (it gets very inception-y). So if you’re trying to have exactly one arc in one story, you may not want to, you may want more flexibility. Things you will definitely need though are: overall goal for indefinite, first arc or two.

The example one I put in here would be a light novel series, I changed it to have a more definitive arc and structure for the purposes of the example but it is set up as a bored psychic is sent to an island with all the other rogue psychics until the government can wipe memories of his actions and he falls in love with a girl who he now feels he must protect and try to make her notice him and that premise can somewhat go on for quite some time, or can at least stall before reaching the inevitably conclusion, but I have no idea exactly how long that stall will be or what it will look like, just the beginning and end point and then however many arcs it takes.

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Can confirm, this is true.

Hmmm, I haven’t heard of this one yet, but I can see if I can get my hands on a copy.

I never did start One Piece, though I know our library has a lot of it.

Yeah, I noticed the plotting was a little tricky from the start. This makes a lot more sense.

Okay, this makes a lot more sense. Start point, endpoint, let the middle kind of flesh itself out as you go. Assuming I have translated this correctly. Thank you!

Yes. And again, Shonen Jump App. $2 a month. You get translations of all the latest chapters pretty much as they come out in Japan, much like Crunchyroll, and access to a lot of the back catalogue, plus that book on writing manga. Even if you just use it for free, the first 3 and last 3 chapters of every manga are free.

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Oh right I’m also contractually obligated to recommend Bakuman as the explainer manga about manga.

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Hmmm, that’s actually a good price. I needed to get my hands on more manga anyway.

This is beautiful.

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