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 Post subject: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 9th, 2008, 10:44 pm 
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As a writer, I have developed some stories and characters which are always present when I write: one was told in the Bishôjo plot thread which was opened in the proper subforum.

I'll offer yet another one, in order to receive feedback from all of you people. I must tell you, this one will sound more clichéed, somehow. I have no problem with that: checking TVTropes has made clear for me that whichever I come up with is already invented, and that the good storytelling is based in combining those tropes and developing the present ones, rather than making up a wholly new literature.

So, after the prologue, let's present this story.
We have a secret martial art, called "Whistling Star", which is to be learned only by some. The basis of Whistling Star is that their practisers can destroy only living things and, as well, things which are in contact with living things. For that to be assured, WS can only be practiced with special gloves.
We have an organisation which controls its practice and has different academies, disguised as bilingual boarding schools. Why the bilingual thing? Because Whistling Star's practice comes along with speaking a certain language, called Esperanto.
There should be a bond between bewtween an undead language as Esperanto and a life-destroying martial art as Whistling Star, but I don't know how to link them.

And now we have the real thing: a man who once practised WS and then retired, called Jacques, is phonecalled by a friend from the old days. She (Maike) reminds him of a certain promise he made. Maike tries to sound diplomatic and understands him: after all, they're old friends; but it's clear that he has to fulfill such promise. And so, Jacques begins training his son (called Damián) in WS, in a secret way.

Some years pass, and Maike calls Jacques again. The conversation begins as a normal chitchat of friends, but the topic derives slowly to Jacques' promise. He accepts, yet there is a problem: he discovers that not only Damián is learning WS, but he has a "special friend" (Laura) and he has showed him the way to use WS. And the best thing comes when it seems that Laura has a greater potential than Damián himself.

After sweet-talking Laura's parents, the children are delivered to Maike, who gets them in the airport and introduces them to Whistling Star in a more theoretic form. Maike is the head chief of one boarding school/WS academy in Germany. The children, who are 11 or 12 years old, should be put together with another children of their age in order to make them all learn three things: Esperanto, WS and normal school stuff... in Esperanto, of course (pretty much what happened to me when I was 11 and I went to the German School here xD)

From there on, the protagonism should change its shape. We'd come from the Spanish couple to the whole group. It'd be composed of 9 people, Damián+Laura, and 7 kids from different parts of Europe. I had some names ideas in mind.
It'd be good to put in order my ideas, splitting the characters between guys and girls, with a certain exception (and now I can use the list command xD)

Boys first:

  • Torsten should be a German boy whose anguish for Laura should stay forever and never get anguished. He's a cocky bastard, but oh well, he should be somehow tollerable.
  • Afterwards there would come Paulo, an Italian folk who's more silver-tongued than the other two, yet he has the ability to never being taken seriously.
  • Our Damián is the shyest boy of them all. He's more the quiet guy who might intermediate between the characters so that the group doesn't break. Nevertheless, he'd be no leader in the usual sense of the word.

Girls second:

  • Janet: She's incredibly pretty and has a magnetism that can brings all of the characters to her side, but she can't help being devious, manipulative and retorted. She's not evil, but the group can't really tell...
  • Laura is the companion of Damián. She finds him her best friend, but not a possible couple, which make her decide between Paulo and Torsten... or some other option :P
  • We'd have Chiara, an Italian girl who should be cute, nice and good-natured. She's the most caring and affectionate of girls, and she has a weakness towards people in need...
  • ... which brings Mileva to her side. This girl could be the prototype of butch, strong as hell, muscled and with fierce looks. Despite her sad and melancholic character, she's not antisocial ... but if Chiara is concerned, she can start a rampage, become psychotic or absolutely lose control of herself. The fact that the NATO forces destroyed her house and killed her family in a bombing during the Kosovo War explains part of her troublesome personality.

Last but not least, the couple of twins (boy and girl). For some strange reason, they're always together, they rarely speak and they tend to avoid interaction with the rest of the group. Nevertheless, they prove themselves as loyal comrades and powerful allies in the combats which are to occur. The fact that they are Alban-Kosovars automatically puts Mileva in a defensive position towards them.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had developed more of the plot, but I'd like your opinion in this part. I'll thank any opinion or idea ^^

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 10th, 2008, 8:36 pm 
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Bloodfairy wrote:
We have a secret martial art, called "Whistling Star"

Is there a special reason why the denotation is in English, while English native speakers are - so far - completely absent from your character list? Why not choose a name in Esperanto? That would sound exotic and kinda enigmatic for sure.

Bloodfairy wrote:
The basis of Whistling Star is that their practisers can destroy only living things and, as well, things which are in contact with living things.

Please give me a comprehensible example. It sounds like they couldn't shatter glass even by hitting it with a hammer.
And how close is "in contact with living things"? The clothes I wear? The things in my room? The bathroom curtain with its fungi?

Bloodfairy wrote:
Why the bilingual thing? Because Whistling Star's practice comes along with speaking a certain language, called Esperanto.

Is the language education just a cover or has it a deeper meaning?
And why Esperanto? I think there's only a bunch of Yuppies who speak this artificial language. :lol:

Bloodfairy wrote:
There should be a bond between bewtween an undead language as Esperanto and a life-destroying martial art as Whistling Star, but I don't know how to link them.

Finding something academically linguistic would be difficult. And at least on the surface, common traits are unperceivable: Esperanto was designed as a language easy enough for anyone to learn and speak, while this Whistling Star stuff can (or may?) only be studied by a select few. It does sound paradox. But maybe it is this opposition that spawns a good idea?

Like cherry blossoms have become known all over the world as a symbol of death, giving one's life, falling like a petal. Hardly anyone realizes that this is a Japanese (!) fabrication that has evolved for decades following the Meiji restauration of 1868 and found it climax in the Kamikaze attacks at the end of World War II. Truth is that cherry blossoms have traditionally been a symbol of life - and it can be proven by a vast number of quotes from ancient literature and poetry.
Which is to say, the diametrical opposition of life and death actually made it easier for Imperial propagandists to warp its symbolism. (Compare Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney: "Kamikaze, Cherryblossoms and Nationalisms"; sorry, I forgot the year of publication)

Bloodfairy wrote:
Maike tries to sound diplomatic and understands him

She tries - which means she fails?
And what does she understand? I have to assume that he refuses?

Bloodfairy wrote:
And so, Jacques begins training his son (called Damián) in WS, in a secret way.

So what promise? What does it have to do with training his son?

Bloodfairy wrote:
not only Damián is learning WS, but he has a "special friend" (Laura)

"Special" in what way?

Bloodfairy wrote:
in Esperanto, of course (pretty much what happened to me when I was 11 and I went to the German School here xD)

How does one end up learning Esperanto anyway? If we all spoke English or Spanish, or Chinese if you will, everything would be fine...

Bloodfairy wrote:
Torsten should be a German boy whose anguish for Laura should stay forever and never get anguished.

What!? What does this sentence actually state?
"Anguish" = "Pain"?
I'm a bit confused, obviously this is an ambiguos term.

Bloodfairy wrote:
Paulo, an Italian folk who's more silver-tongued

... ah, he's a smooth talker.

Bloodfairy wrote:
Our Damián (...), he'd be no leader in the usual sense of the word.

Well, if he's a good mediator or negotiator any leader would be happy to have him around, right?

Bloodfairy wrote:
Janet: (...) she can't help being devious, manipulative and retorted.

"Retorted"? I didn't know that was an adjective... but you mean to say she's spontaneous to reply in an emotional way?

Bloodfairy wrote:
Laura is the companion of Damián. She finds him her best friend, but not a possible couple, which make her decide between Paulo and Torsten... or some other option :P

Other option... you are pretty transparent... 8)

Bloodfairy wrote:
We'd have Chiara, (...) She's the most caring and affectionate of girls, and she has a weakness towards people in need...

The Italian "Mamma" clichée (in training)? :D

Bloodfairy wrote:
Mileva (...) NATO forces destroyed her house and killed her family in a bombing during the Kosovo War

Okay, a plus for originality. Anyone else would have chosen evil Serbian nationalists or UCK extremists I suppose. :roll:

Have you said a word about Mileva's ethnicity? Maybe I missed it. Ethnic relations in the Balkans are a terribly messy matter.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 12th, 2008, 10:28 pm 
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Quote:
Is there a special reason why the denotation is in English, while English native speakers are - so far - completely absent from your character list? Why not choose a name in Esperanto? That would sound exotic and kinda enigmatic for sure.

Indeed it would... but I myself don't know Esperanto, and translator engines for the expression are sort of poor. If I get to know how to say "Whistling Star" in Esperanto, that'd be the name of the thing.
I forgot to mention that Janet is British. It makes pretty a fine collage around there... just what is expected from people who try to expand a universal language.

Quote:
Please give me a comprehensible example. It sounds like they couldn't shatter glass even by hitting it with a hammer.
And how close is "in contact with living things"? The clothes I wear? The things in my room?

I had thought it as "the clothes you wear" . I guess it's strange to be totally destroyed by a shot while your clothing remains fully unscarred. Not even Mr. Neji Hyuga and his Hakke Fighting Style achieves that.

Quote:
The bathroom curtain with its fungi?

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Quote:
Is the language education just a cover or has it a deeper meaning?
And why Esperanto? I think there's only a bunch of Yuppies who speak this artificial language

The choice of the language was... mainly casual. I like Esperanto, and I hope I can ever learn it. But now that I've thought about it, I can see the idea of "dead language for the masses-deadly martial art for the elite". Guess I'll have to develop it somehow.

Quote:
She tries - which means she fails?
And what does she understand? I have to assume that he refuses?

He's totally opposed to the idea. In fact, he made that promise when he still was in the organisation. The promise was, actually, to devote his descendants to WS, in order to compensate the organisation for his own abandonment. Such promises are easy to make when you're young and have no children, but, boy, to be a father changes you a lot, particularly when you're a widower (these last sentences are thoughts of this moment, I hadn't put them before because I knew not which background I should have given to Jacques and Damián).
Maike tries to understand Jacques' position, but it's her duty to remind him of the promise. That's what I meant.

Laura is the "special friend" of Damián in the sense that he's the "best friend" that every woman seems to have but me (maybe I'm too boyish :( ). It's the typical friendship of having known each other since they could remember.

I thought "anguish" could be a synonym for "passion". Seemingly it's not :| Torsten should be devotedly enamoured of Laura, even if she's not very fond of him at first. Since the twins are out of the game and Mileva is absolutely devoted to Chiara (who should be a "mother" for them all, as you state), there should be a love hexagon between Torsten-Paulo-Damián and Chiara-Janet-Laura. Of course, same-sex relationships can't be discarded, particularly between the girls... :twisted:

Mileva should be Serbian. Her unstable personality, the fact that her life was totally destroyed by the NATO bombings which hit her house and the fact that Fan und Fina (the twins) are Alban-Kosovars should make her have a certain grudge and prejudices against them. Convivence with Mileva should be very tough, because the twins are by no means peaceful. It's up to Damián to save the group by preventing the coming conflicts to become severe. I well, I had imagined that the 9 should have a tutor, their main teacher, who should train them in WS, and , as well, manage the arising conflicts.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 13th, 2008, 2:45 am 
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Bloodfairy wrote:
Quote:
Is the language education just a cover or has it a deeper meaning?
And why Esperanto? I think there's only a bunch of Yuppies who speak this artificial language

The choice of the language was... mainly casual. I like Esperanto, and I hope I can ever learn it. But now that I've thought about it, I can see the idea of "dead language for the masses-deadly martial art for the elite". Guess I'll have to develop it somehow.


Ever one to complicate issues, you could make it part of a conspiracy. Someone once tried to expose the schools and they covered it up by claiming that they were trying to develop a language that would could be learned by anyone and then could become a universal language. The world's population goes "eh? Give up my language for some brainy-person's idea of a language?" and promptly ignored anything else about Esperanto as the schools desired...

- - -

OK. We have the characters in place and they sound cool. Where will they go? What will they do? What is the plot? In my own writing, I've found I become enamored with specific characters or scenes but I have difficulty creating a story arc that delivers an ending. Perhaps this would make me a suitable writer for LOST, but I'm not happy with my results so far. It also makes me keep an eye out for similar situations for others... I look forward to your elaboration in due time.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 13th, 2008, 11:19 am 
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Bloodfairy wrote:
Indeed it would... but I myself don't know Esperanto, and translator engines for the expression are sort of poor.

Oh, you don't speak Esperanto... I was under such an impression.
In that case I'd advise you to rethink the language constellation. Lack of knowledge in such a basic component - the basic element - of your story will turn the whole thing noncredible.

Bloodfairy wrote:
I guess it's strange to be totally destroyed by a shot while your clothing remains fully unscarred.

I dunno... seemingly harmless (physical or Ki) blows that shut down vital parts of the target's nervous system... makes a "beautiful corpse", no bleeding, no bruise... "coronary failure" says the doctor.
Of course if you prefer Hollywood effects, like devastating energy blasts as seen in Dragonball, then... :D

Bloodfairy wrote:
That earned you
WIN

Gee, thanks... so, are you going to rethink the definition of "life", as far as it concerns your plot? :D

Bloodfairy wrote:
Laura is the "special friend" of Damián in the sense that he's the "best friend" that every woman seems to have but me

Why is that gender-related? Everyone should have two or three best friends, and I pity those who don't.

Bloodfairy wrote:
Mileva should be Serbian. (...)
(the twins) are Alban-Kosovars

Hm... I'm hoping more for a catastrophe than for a lovey-dovey happy end...

Bloodfairy wrote:
[Mileva's] unstable personality

If she's unstable, i.e. potentially dangerous being trained in a powerful martial art, why is she being trained in the first place?

PunkDaddy wrote:
Ever one to complicate issues, you could make [Esperanto] part of a conspiracy.

Yes, that would be fun! Branding the whole Esperanto community as a group of conspirators, with the top dogs aiming at controlling the world's economy while the sub-factions at the end of the hierarchy don't even know about that, being made believe they fought for freeing the peoples of the world from nationalisms by eradicating language = cultural barriers. :D

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 13th, 2008, 10:27 pm 
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Oh, you don't speak Esperanto... I was under such an impression.
In that case I'd advise you to rethink the language constellation. Lack of knowledge in such a basic component - the basic element - of your story will turn the whole thing noncredible.
Well, I'm not going to write the story in a short lapse of time. But why's the language such a barrier? I am thinking of Naruto, where the techiques, even if they're based in Japanese and its language, have been translated with no further trouble for the fans. Besides, how shall I exclude or change the role of Esperanto?
I have liked a lot the idea of the conspiracy (it always works, somehow). I should try to find a way to put it inside the plot. Besides, such a choice would provide some imagery which has been developed by the Esperantists.

Quote:
Gee, thanks... so, are you going to rethink the definition of "life", as far as it concerns your plot?
They're not going to fight in bathrooms or swimming pools... but eventually, if fanservice requires it... :mrgreen:
Nevertheless, I don't see great trouble in maintaining the idea. It provides a fine destruction ratio, and forces the fighters to use particular things.

Mileva and the twins should really be the really dramatic point of the story, at least in the first steps of it. Mileva does have a terrible background behind her (orphancy, rejection by her relatives for her sexual condition), the twins have had a share of the cruelty of the Serbian "ethnic cleaners", and the prejudices are burnt into Mileva's and the twins' heads. The news of the independence of Kosovo (which should happen some time later of the arrival of Damián and Laura, setting our story in the present time, in the real world) should be the excuse for a big and violent argument between them. Such argument and its consequences shall reveal the first signs of unstability in Mileva.

The reason for keeping Mileva in the group is that she is, by large, the greatest fighter among the group... if she's correctly managed and stimulated. That's one of the important goals of the tutor.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a Manga/Light Novel plot
PostPosted: November 15th, 2008, 4:06 pm 
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Bloodfairy wrote:
But why's the language such a barrier? I am thinking of Naruto, where the techiques, even if they're based in Japanese and its language, have been translated with no further trouble for the fans.

Yes, it works with Naruto and it works with Bobobo, but these stories have never made the Japanese language a base of operation, while you are explicitly talking about a language being the central pillar of a martial arts organization. At least that's what I think I have understood reading your elaborations, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
Now, is Esperanto somehow necessary for Whistling Star training or has it been chosen just for a cover's sake, i.e could it be any language?

I have been taught to not believe in coincidences in any media products, to assume that the author has had a sort of plan when he chose this name or that denotation or whatever place of action.
Of course you are free to have no such plans. :wink:

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