I Officially Published A Web-Novel!

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Yeah, that title is pretty self explanatory.

It’s been more or less three months since I last wrote here and that’s (half) of the reason why. There’s an online webcomic platform that’s accepting a webnovel submission and I submitted my draft three months ago. It got accepted and I got myself a contract to submit five chapter every month while new chapter is uploaded every week (so kind of like a weekly manga magazine type of deal?). After much delay, the webnovel is finally uploaded just yesterday. It’s not exactly a “formal” novel, but hey it’s one step!

The cover is as you can see above you. To be honest, I was half expecting to be something along the lines of a light novel/anime cover, but I suppose it’ll do.

Here’s the synopsis translated by yours truly:

Being a teenager is difficult. Every day is a constant juggle between academic pursuit, social life, and succeeding your parents expectation. Even more hard when you live in Ciliwung, a city that has become the center for all sorts of mystical activities since the ancient time. Krisna, Romi, and Nana are three teenagers living in that city while also acting as it’s guardian against various forces of darkness. This is their everyday life of slaying demons and surviving hell known as puberty.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty basic set-up. I was aiming for Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque fantasy meets slice of life type of story while mixing my own sensibilities. I also aiming for a naturalistic/grounded kind of vibe, but it ended up being more fantastical than what I visioned it to be.

I had to say though, being an author is HARD. Not only it’s difficult coming up and outlining story idea while deadline is breathing down your neck, there’s sometimes a revulsion that I feel whenever I type some words in. Almost every day I’m plague with the thought that my story isn’t good enough and that people wouldn’t like it. Plus I find it painful to look at my past work. But hey, a works a work I guess.

Anywho, that’s it. Since I aim to at least wrote 500 words every day for my story, it’s gonna be difficult for me to do that while trying to write something for this blog. But hey who knows, maybe when I’m feeling really good…..

See you whenever!

Side Note:

  • The novel was published over at Blackberry Messenger App. Unfortunately, I wrote the story in Indonese so some of you won’t be able to read it.
  • The title is “Ghost Story” since I’m reaaaaly bad at coming up with titles. It was initially “Night Parade” but i dropped it since the vibe is kind of wrong. Maybe some of you can help me?
  • I have to say, watching Re:Creators this season really boost my spirit! I really dig in it’s exploration of creative process. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it.
  • As I type in the words “being an author”, I feel disgusted at myself.
  • Speaking of which, Fiction Realm is nearing its third anniversary soon so consider this post a replacement for my annual anniversary post!
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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and the Nature of Misfortune

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I’ve had the pleasure  of reading My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, from here on referred to as MLEwL, not too long ago. Framed as a “report”, the story is an auto-biography chronicling a 20-ish college dropout who struggles to live her daily life of swinging from one part-time job to the next while dealing menagerie of mental health issues (from depression, self-ham to eating disorder) and trying to live up to the expectation of everyone around her, whether that’s her family or society at large. Part of what makes the manga compelling is the self-aware insight that the author provides and there’s a sense of honesty and earnestness to the writing which makes it feel very much real. The very same honesty which I strive to always have in my writing, both fictional and non-fictional.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Empowerment

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(Warning: Slight Spoiler)

Power can means a lot of thing and manifest itself in many different ways. Whether it’s physical prowess, wealth, or political influence. But one of the most important expression of power is the capability of controlling your path and taking control of your life. Not abiding through society restriction or genetical make-up. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a 1997 series created by Joss Whedon, centers itself toward this very theme. More specifically, the theme of female empowerment.

One of the expression of that theme is through the portrayal of Buffy as, for its time, one of the rare female main protagonist in a action-horror show. This is nothing new by modern standard, but the series goes in greater length than merely having female action protagonist in the spotlight.  What’s also important about Buffy is her determination to do things her way.

Throughout the show, again and again, Buffy violates the tradition or the norm of the Slayer in her battle against evil. Instead of living in a lifestyle disconnected from society, she opts to always be close to her friends and family. She refuses the guidance of the Watcher council whose policy she disagrees which resulted her independence from the council entirely, and later on, essentially makes the council works for her instead.

This all culminates in the final season of the show in which Buffy rejects the entire notion of the Slayer itself. The first instances is when she refuses to gain more power in exchange of her humanity by merging herself with a demon, something that was done to the first Slayer by a group of male shamans (a scathing commentary on the nature of patriarchy). The second is where she opts to activate the power of every potential Slayer in the world in an effort to defeat the series final villain.

But what’s most important however, is that Buffy’s own action isn’t necessarily deem “right” by the series. This is emphasized in the later seasons of the comic version in which Buffy’s action essentially change the world, and with it, its own set of consequences and repercussion which Buffy has to responsible for. Empowerment can means a freedom right for humans to take any choice or action, but they also need to be responsible for consequences that stem from that action. Power always comes with a price.

Regardless however, the idea of choosing your own path in life is something that’s always going to be relevant. Within society that’s so often rigid and demanding regarding what person should or shouldn’t be, the expression of individualism is something that cannot be expressed enough.

Side Note:

  • If you want my standard review, I really like the series. While they had different pet themes and writing style, Whedon’s writing strangely reminds me of Urobuchi’s, in the sense that they’re probably two writers that I know of who has mastery over basic storytelling fundamental and drama.
  • It took me quite a while to get around watching the series, even after recommendations and my love for The Avengers movie.
  • Favorite Character: Tara. I love her development from being shy socially awkward to being a caring guardian for the scoobies and the most emotionally stable of the group.

Slight Addendum to My Conrevo Post

(Second semester of college, as it turns out, can be quite a busy time, so this one will be just a short extension of my Conrevo post. Granted, with better time management I can still write a better quality post, but eh.)

For the longest time I’ve dabbled on why superhero is such a compelling figure to me. Truth to be told……I just like them. They’re guys with extraordinary abilities like shooting laser beam out of their eyeballs and they get to do cool stuff like saving bunch of people. For the most part, those tangential qualities is the reason I often look forward to movies and series about them.

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Saekano and the Moment Where it All Breaks Down

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(Warning, spoiler for Saekano episode 9)

In consideration that the second season is premiering this spring, I decided to catch up on the entirety of Saekano season 1, the light novel adaptation by the much regarded Fumiaki Maruto. Before this, all I’ve been doing was joining the bandwagon about how frustrating Saekano self-referencing routine is which…….I admit not exactly a “good” behavior to take for a series that I haven’t even watched.

Soooo, episodes later, I came out enjoying Saekano. The girls are pretty, the meta element aren’t as cringe-worthy as I thought it would be, and Maruto is still a really good writer that can write witty clever banter. I do admit that the fact that the characters strictly adhere to basic anime stereotype does more harm than good to the show. It really limits their characterization and the emotional space of the characters, so ultimately it’s just shooting yourself in the foot.  Maruto basically just write a well-written cliche.

Now, you could argue that the characters embodying those stereotypes is a way of portraying the way otaku engage with their media i.e. mimicking their favorite characters. After all, in social conversation, there’s certain degree of “performance” we do in front of people that we converse with (this is slightly emphasized by the fact that the heroines are acting out their stereotype only when in front of Tomoya). So while I find the execution to be a miss, I could see this was (probably) done out of well-meaning intention.

If that was the case in Saekano, it really makes what happened on episode 9 truly satisfying.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or How Roald Dahl Totally Went “Get Off My Lawn”

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When it comes to the relationship with our elder (or our youngster, whichever), you couldn’t help but feel there’s a certain generation gap between our way of thinking. As society keeps on evolving and technology advancement are made every day, there’s a gap of “the way things are” between our generation with the other generation. As such, it’s easy to demonize foreign element to our generation that we think is somehow responsible for why the younger generation seems to be in a “moral degradation” (the latest object of demonization being internet and smartphone gadget).

That’s a whole lot of sentiment, but what does that have to do with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Well, underneath its fantastical narrative, I couldn’t help but feel that in the story Roald Dahl totally went on the whole “Get off my lawn” rant.

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Dissecting Gintama’s Comedy

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So, my usual M.O. of watching anime as of late has been just watching whatever it is that’s either mostly fell under the radar of the anime community that I’ve been (or just not watching anime entirely *cough*Buffy the Vampire Slayer*cough*it’s pretty good*cough*). Gintama more or less fell into that M.O which is a weird thing to say considering it was one of the most successful anime and manga franchise in Japan and, to a degree, in the “mainstream” anime demographic of the west.

So short impression, I like Gintama. It has some of the most absurd out-of-left-field gag I’ve seen out of….well almost anything. Beyond that, it has a strong entertaining cast of characters, which the series utilized very well, and also surprisingly has a really heartfelt character-driven drama.

I’ve pretty much caught up to the entirety of the old series (including the second movie, which was…..good, I guess?) and are now watching to the 2015 series. Considering how much time I’ve invested, I more or less become familiar about Gintama’s consistent comedic tricks. Tricks which I am now going to share to you to introduce you to the madness that is Gintama.

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Quick Ramble: On the Word “Courage”

Growing up, there are plenty of concepts which I either never quite understand it’s significance completely or I just take for granted.  Among them are the nature of sacrifice, of doing the right thing, love and plenty more. All of them I could probably wing a post out of each concept.

So for today, I’m just going to talk about one thing, courage.

It sounds simple. And I always thought of them as just being brave at trying to do one thing. But what I don’t understand completely was that it also means trying to brave in the face of possible failure aaaaand the bravery to do it all over again.

It’s a simple process but I’m surprised how ingrained it was in the details of our everyday life. Trying to choose a club circle, trying to confess to someone that you like, trying to talk to someone about your problem etc. And to do all of that despite the possibility of the club circle you join ended up not a place where you can belong, the one you have feelings for rejected you, and the person you talked ended up having differing opinions from you.

Trying to do something, failing, and doing it all over again is suck, but there’s also a certain beauty in that cycle. Even if one thing doesn’t work out, you can always try another one. Even if , as Thomas Wolfe puts it, “You can’t go home again” you can always make a new home. If your one love doesn’t work out, you can always fell in love again and again with another one. All of those things are precious to us, but at the same time, kind of “replaceable” in one aspect. They’re fragile and impermanent, but also what makes doing those things meaningful in certain respect.

When I mentioned how I was having a bad day, a couple of friends of mine mentioned that I’m a brave person, but in my own head, I don’t register much of my action as such. Granted, it’s mostly because of my own self-depreciation, but I always I thought what I was doing are merely living, same as everybody else. But I guess that, trying to be honestly and openly express your feeling to connect someone else (and by extension, trying to engage with the world at large), and keep on living despite your shitty circumstances is a courage on it’s own.

I….don’t really know what I’m going with this. But I guess I just wanted to say, here’s trying and failing all over again.

Or I should say, here’s on living.

 

“The Thief” OR Social Unrest in the Face of a Crime

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One of the most primal fear within human mind is the fear of the unknown.

When I said fear of the unknown, it doesn’t have to be Lovecraftian fear of an existence far beyond human comprehension that makes us question our place in the universe. It can be something closer to home, that is to say, fear for our fellow man, fear for what darkness that might lurk behind the seemingly benign mask people (strangers, friends, or family alike) put on in their daily live.

Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Thief, among other things depending on your interpretation (as the unreliable nature of the narration offers variety of view), is an exploration of this theme, or to be more precise, how an act of crime can cause doubts and distrust within a certain community.

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