Leah's Corner

The difference between reality and fiction...

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Everything I know about writing I learned from "Hitch."
[alice] roads
sadie_k_adder wrote in leahs_corner
It was a beautiful day in heaven… God sat on his throne, which looked suspiciously like a recliner chair, and forced himself to watch the last half hour of Kaoru and Kyo's adventure in New York City. When they finally decided to hightail it back to Japan he snapped his fingers and the TV turned off. “I can't believe him,” he said with a sigh, rubbing his forehead.

Gabriel was nearby and leaned against the chair. “It makes a good sitcom, though, doesn't it?”
    -The Heavenly Hitch, Prologue


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I may no longer be into Jrock or yaoi enough to read every entire word of my old “Hitch” series, but I would be a fool not to consider it one of my greatest achievements in writing, especially years later with much hindsight. “Hitch” (as many of you know), began way back in early 2005, and went on hiatus in June of 2007. After just two years, it became a universe of its own, spanning over 5 and half stories (because the sixth one was never completed), 11 oneshots and several hundreds of thousands of words—easily the largest work in fiction I’ve done to date.

Yes, it was the worst of times because the writing wasn’t as great as it could be if I penned it now, I was rather obsessive and a lot of what I wrote was just plain dumb, and a great portion of the Jrock fanfiction-loving population rebuked it openly on that one community for bitching and whining about things you hated to see in Jrock fanfiction. But it was still the best of times, because the creative juices were flowing, the series was popular, the characters became their own before Book 2, I was having fun, and who ultimately cared if people bitched about it on that one community? You know you’ve made it as a writer when your works are recognized across boundaries and people know enough about it to complain about it.

My first year of NaNoWriMo I wrote a story that I fell in love with—characters and all. Five years later, I’m returning to that setting and some of those characters to write a sort of spin-off. As I read Chris Baty’s words of wisdom and I embark on my noveling quest, I can’t help but realize that a lot of who I am today and what I love as a writer comes from my days as Shuichi, Author of the “Hitch” Series.

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Behind the cut I've compiled some speculations about exactly how "Hitch" influenced my writing and has forever changed who I am as an author. These are simultaneously jumbled tips for other authors who read this journal who'd like to laugh at me learn from me. Note: These will obviously be that much more interesting if you've any idea what "Hitch" even is. xD

1 - The sky is the limit. There IS no limit!
Hideto continued giggling and patted me on the back. "Don't worry, he's a very loving God, you know. Most of the time. There was this one time...I wrote 'Hideto was here' on the golden road and he got pissed. In the end all he did was make me spend two months sitting with Moses." He shuddered. "All that guy can do is talk and talk about the plagues of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea and all those other miracles or whatever. Let me tell you: they get very old very fast when you've heard them half a million times." He rolled his eyes.

"B-but--huh? W-what the--are you--how? Why?" I stammered, obviously not making a lick of sense.
    -The Heavenly Hitch, Part 2


This is ESPECIALLY important when you're trying to pen 50,000 words in 30 days. If you try to limit yourself and play too carefully, you end up stammering yourself along and it's hard to finish in the time limit you're given. However, if you just say, "TO HELL WITH IT - ANYTHING GOES IN THIS PIECE OF CRAP NOVEL" suddenly, you find the world looks brighter and you don't care that everything you've written is word vomit.

Plus, the most famous books of our time are littered with stories of people doing the impossible or stumbling upon something incredible or all around defeating the odds and defying gravity. Who wants to read a boring story about some shmuck that does everything the right way and doesn't push the envelope at all? Not me, anyhow!

So it is with my original fiction novels. In my first NaNo novel a pair of twin, 9-year-old super geniuses tried to take over the world. "And they would have done it to, if it weren't for the Pear family and their pesky gay cop neighbors, too!" Does that sound over the top or what? But it works, and it keeps the writer interested, and even if the reader finds it too ridiculous, they still won't ever forget about it because it wasn't like anything else they ever read before.

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2 - There's no such thing as "too many characters."
I had to look anywhere but at the buffet table. I couldn't see Kyo and Gackt acting like a happily married couple. So instead I focused on five figures who were stepping out of a taxi at the far side of the park. I squinted to see them better. They'd either just stepped out of an anime, or they were some of the best damn cosplayers I'd ever seen. They walked toward the party looking like astronauts bound for a ship. I almost thought I could see smoke gathered dramatically around their ankles. Die nudged my arm and pointed to them. "Get aload of those guys. They must have come from an anime convention. Hey, the chick in the army clothes is kind of hot."
    -A Little Hitch, Part 17


Some will argue this one. In fact, Chris Baty advises in No Plot? No Problem! that the more characters you add, the more reponsibility it gives you as a writer. Hence, he always starts his novel with an MC (main character) who just got out of a bad relationship and moved to a new town. Voila, clean slate!

I, however, disagree, and to each his own! Each exciting character you can add to the mix has the opportunity to breathe new life into a fic! My first NaNo novel became home to probably around 50 characters. Most of them just formed the peanut gallery, but a fair 15 or so were co-stars to the protaganists, which formed a family of 6. For me, having more characters actually helps the story along - especially for the writer, who may start to get bored with long projects that feature the same five characters all throughout.

I meant for this year's novel to revolve mainly around two 14-year-old boys and their Hardy Boys-esque adventures trying to solve a mystery revolving around a mere four other characters who moved into "the big manor down by the creek" and all that nonsense, but I ended up throwing in a whole staff of servants so that there are even MORE characters I have to worry about. The way I see it, if you feel your story is going downhill fast, quickly sick one of the other minor characters on it to give it a good asskicking and make it more exciting.

For instance, I can already tell that relying on two precocious 14-year-olds and their dreamy Alice-based new female friend to keep the plot moving at a suspenseful, heart-pounding pace is going to be difficult in some places because of their obvious age limitations and the fact that none of them can wield a gun or something else so fantastical. So, on a whim, I threw in a bodyguard for the rich little Alice character by the name of Louis. He's strong, he's handsome, he's part German, and he wields a gun like no other! HOLD ON TO YOUR WEBBED FEET, MR. GHOST! LOUIS THE ASSASSINATOR IS ON HIS WAY!

That was the other character I threw in: the-ghost-who-may-or-may-not-be-a-ghost. I haven't decided yet. And he, of course, is another example of taking your list of Limits, crumpling it, throwing it on the ground and spitting on it.

I mean, would "Hitch" really have been so exciting if I didn't put the L'Arc poker nights in there or thrown in Shinya's bodyguard Earl (affectionately known as "Ero") or poked Miyavi, hide and Yoshiki into existence? NO SIR. Or, at least, I don't think so...

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3 - There's no limit to the shade of color in a colorful character, either.
Itami-chan had grown tired of watching the purple-haired one stand on the balcony and smoke so she decided to make her way down the hall toward the bedroom. Perhaps a nice nap would dispell the unsettling feeling in her little kitty tummy.
    -The Heavenly Hitch, Part 26


Look there. I used a fat, furry cat to provide a different point of view. It was so cute that most of the readers commented on it, despite the several other plot-moving things that happened in the chapter, and I was even asked to bring it back. So imagine what life in your character's house would be like from the dog's point of view, or take a guess as to what the goldfish think from inside the fish bowl, or how the pet viper feels about that unsufferable IRS man who won't leave the family alone... There IS no limit!

Oh wait. I always create a limit for my characters, now that I think about it, and the measuring stick is Gackt. Of course, you who know what I'm talking about know that's still not saying much.

My eyes bugged. Gackt was standing in front of the stove NAKED AS A JAYBIRD. I could see his perfect, shaved (or waxed?) ass right there. I did the only thing that made sense.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHGSOFLBR!"

...[Gackt said,] "I was preparing curry, a very tasty dish, and I feel that I must be most relaxed when I do anything that requires concentration. How am I to be relaxed with the restraints clothes possess?"

I blinked. "What the hell did you just say? Why can't you talk like a normal person!?"

Gackt looked appalled. "I am not normal! I am...I am
abnormal!"

"I won't argue with that," I muttered.
    -A Little Hitch, Part 9


Yes, as if Kaoru wasn't retarded enough, I introduced Gackt and forever set a limit for any characters I'll ever create in future books. Some readers were constantly annoyed by his eccentric antics, while others will forever be amused by his prose-like way of talking and the shennanigans that were apart of his everyday life (such as the afore quoted naked-curry-cooking scene).

I'm not sure what I was going to say about this one except that I've never had another character quite like Gackt and I don't know how that applies to my writing or anyone else's. >_>

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4 - Never overestimate a good exaggeration.
BANG.

I finally sat up with an ominous roar that I’m shocked didn’t wake Kyo up. I looked at the clock, feeling even more annoyed when I saw that it was only 7:45. That person at the door was DEAD.

BANG.

VERY DEAD, especially when I had a random thought that it might be Maya returning to inflict more torture. I fought with the blankets for all of a minute as I tried to get out of bed, then nearly damaged an important part of my body in my haste to pull my boxers on. I stomped out to the living room, practically seeing red as I made my way to the door. We’d see how well he could make my life miserable as a mass of broken, bloody bones on the sidewalk!

BANG.

I flung open the door and grabbed the intruder by the collar of his shirt. “THAT’S IT. I’M FLINGING YOU FROM THE BALCONY.”
    -The Unexpected Mishap, Part 4


I mean it. Once I used one of those over exaggerated expressions; my boyfriend turned to me and said, "Will you stop exaggerating? I've told you not to do that, like, a billion times!" Of course, he was being ironic and we both had a spiffing laugh over it, but the whole point is that exaggerations (apart from REALLY getting a point across) can be hilarious, especially with a dash of comedic timing and eloquent mastery.

This anagram ought to help you out in the future:

K - Keep it interesting. Exaggerations that are uninteresting are like cookies without cookie dough.
A - ALL CAPS IS NOT JUST FOR FANGIRLS.
O - Open exciting new tangents in a paragraph of narrative; i.e. - "Kaoru lifted Maya off his feet in his attempt to throttle him, which wasn't much of an achievement considering how small Maya was, and that reminded Kaoru that Kyo would probably come dashing out any minute and if Maya happened to be dead by that point he would be arrested for murder and wind up spending his life having sex he did not want to have (and he was already sleeping with a man, so that was saying something)."
R - Reread what you've written, and if you're not laughing, Rewrite it.
U - Use over exaggerations only to be funny. If the scene is tragic, keep the narrative simpler.

So just remember KAORU and you'll be winning the Exaggerater of the Month doorprize in no time!

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5 - If all else fails, make 'em laugh.
Then, just as the Japanese men figured, lightning struck,
And knocked Santa down dead, that arrogant shmuck.
Kaoru was quite prepared to get back to their fun,
But Kyo looked uncertain, exclaiming, "What has he done?
He has killed Santa Claus, is he out of his mind?
Now Christmas itself is in a grave bind.
Come on Kaoru, we can save it if we have the timing!
Let’s get to the sleigh and—why the hell am I rhyming?"
    -Happy Christmas From Me, The Author: Shuichi


Sure, some people have absolutely no sense of humor, and others have very tiny Humor Radars that can't pick up on the gold nuggets people like me litter their favorite stories with, but laughter really is some of the strongest medicine in the world and if you can simply bring a smile and a chuckle to someone through your writing, you know you've succeeded in one way or another.

Just as I did.*

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Holy crap, you guys. I'm laughing and crying from memories. X'D

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Oh, Hitch... That was hilarious to read. I mean, gosh... It was amazing. x) And thanks for the advices too! I'm trying to run NaNo but I haven't come very far at all. >_>

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