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Thread: Tag's Light-Novel "Hanako" ( W.I.P)

  1. #41
    Regular Member tag654's Avatar
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    Yea I know,I just need a mentor,just help me with some of the basics,not so much an editor :P

    And yea,thanks for clearing that up,I guess my writing style is clearly 3rd person... though what does "psuedo" mean when you said like psuedo third person? :O

    Also,what do you mean by fan-translated? Shouldnt it still be formatted the same? It looks well written so Idk...
    Last edited by tag654; 12-23-2012 at 12:15 AM.

  2. #42
    999 Knights Member Matt's Avatar
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    "Pseudo" means "not genuine," and can be attached to plenty of words. For example, pseudo-code is stuff that looks like code, but isn't really (and that won't run if you plug it into a compiler). I was actually wrong to say pseudo first-person back there. You used "we" in the narration, and that's first-person, implying it's you along with someone else you're referring to.

    Fan-translated stuff is simply translated by fans, usually not for profit--and no, the format isn't quite the same. I had a look at the Sword Art Online light novel (first one that came up on Google after typing "Sword Art Online PDF"). While I can't comment on the quality of the story, having only read the first page, I can comment on the translator's English skills. Let's have a look:

    SPOILER! :

    A huge castle made of stone and steel floating in an endless sky.
    This is good. Description is often used to start a story, but one of the downsides of using description is that you risk losing readers if your description isn't interesting. This is why a lot of the younger generation, myself included, has shied away from the "classics." This opening line describes an important set piece and grabs my interest. A castle floating in the sky? Been done to death and back, but at least it's something.

    That was all this world was.
    Now that hasn't been done much. A world consisting of one giant castle? This line is written a little awkwardly, but is hardly worth beating on.

    It took a vagary group of craftsmen one month to survey the
    place, the diameter of the base floor was about 10 kilometersólarge
    enough to fit the entirety of Setagaya-ku within. Above there were
    100 floors stacking straight upwards; its sheer size was unbelievable.
    It was impossible to even guess how much data it consisted of.
    The first sentence is a run-on, and could be fixed by replacing the first comma with a period. Also, "vagary" is improperly used as an adjective. It's actually a noun. It means "a sudden or inexplicable change." The proper adjective is vagarious. Moving on from that, I do like that the author doesn't throw big names around. There's Setagaya-ku, and because the rest of the paragraph is description, we don't have to juggle that with other proper nouns (like in so many other fantasies). We don't know much about it. All we know is that Setagaya-ku is big, but not as big as the castle in the sky.

    Inside there were a couple of large cities along with countless
    small scale towns and villages, forests and plains, and even lakes.
    Only one stairway linked each floor to another, and they existed in
    dungeons where large numbers of monsters roamed; so discovering
    and getting through was no easy matter. However, once someone
    made a breakthrough and arrived at a city of the upper floor, the
    Teleport Gates there and of every cities in the lower floors would
    be connected making it possible for anyone to move freely through
    these levels.
    (MT doesn't allow for certain elements of the original format to be used here. There were previously brackets like these >< surrounding "Teleport Gates")

    Technically, "small scale" should be hyphenated, but no one really cares about hyphens these days. That aside, this is a good bit of description. Ten kilometers is big, but "able to fit the entirety of Setagaya-ku" doesn't really do it justice (since we don't know what Setagaya-ku even is). This paragraph clears that up: it's enough to fit a couple large cities, small towns, villages, forests, plains, and lakes. It's about the size of a typical mid-sized game world (by today's standards). Also, I knew what Sword Art Online was about before I read this, but if I didn't know, I'd be figuring it out about now. One stairway leading to and from each level? Dungeons and monsters?

    "Only one stairway linked each floor to another, and they existed in dungeons where large numbers of monsters roamed; so discovering and getting through was no easy matter."

    This is wrong. For one thing, it's a run-on. With two semicolons already on the first page, I'm getting the feeling the translator just likes the way they look and doesn't quite get how they work. A semicolon separates two similar clauses that could each stand alone as two individual sentences. "So discovering and getting through was no easy matter" doesn't make sense. "Locating them and subsequently reaching them alive was no easy matter" does.

    Next, what are these things (><) doing in prose? Those are there for programming and ASCII art. Not writing. I understand they're sometimes used to show that a word or phrase was translated, but they completely break a story's flow since they're so rarely seen outside C++ compilers (and occasionally comics/manga). Would this story be any worse if the sentence went like this:

    "However, once someone made a breakthrough and arrived at a city of the upper floor, the Teleport Gates there and of every cities in the lower floors would be connected making it possible for anyone to move freely through these levels."

    It's still a clunky run-on sentence and should be chopped down:

    "However, once someone broke through and reached a city on the next floor, anyone could go there instantly via Teleport Gates."

    With these conditions, the huge castle had been steadily
    conquered for two years. The current front line is the 74th floor.
    The name of the castle was Aincrad, a world of battles with
    swords that continued floating and had engulfed approximately 6
    thousand people. Otherwise known as...
    (Again, Aincrad had >< around it.)

    This paragraph is painful to read. Even if all the spelling is correct, bad grammar and a lack of clarity will kill everything--and those are things Microsoft Word will rarely, if ever, catch. I also think the translation may be a problem here. There's no clear subject defined, and in English, that makes for weak, boring prose. It's probably fine in Japanese, but don't quote me on that. I know maybe ten words total in that language and nothing about the grammar.

    Regardless, here's how I'd write it:

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt
    Presently, six thousand players sharpen their swords at the seventy-fourth floor of the grand castle Aincrad.
    I present all the information from the paragraph in a single sentence, perhaps sacrificing the lead-in to the next page. That, however, feels like a carry-over from comic books and manga. I won't condemn its use in novels or light novels, but I will discourage it.


    In short, the translation for Sword Art Online--at least the first page--is not good. I've actually been wanting to read it for awhile, but reading this, I remember why I was so wary of light novels in the first place. I don't know how good the story and characters are--presumably pretty darn good, based on the reviews--but the translation is bad.

    If you have access to Amazon wherever you live, go on there and read the preview pages of whatever books you can find. If you have actual books in English, that's even better.

  3. #43
    Super Senior Member Celestial-Fox's Avatar
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    *** the use of "we" isn't first-person, unless the narrator is a character in the actual plot. Otherwise, the use of "you"/"we" is traditionally second-person (a rarely used narration style) because it breaches the fourth wall and refers to the reader.

    Although, in Matt's critique, he was correct (at least by what I have perceived in the excerpt) by saying it was first-person. I just thought I'd throw in that comment as a heads-up in the future.

    Also, gahahaha, Matt warned you about "My Immortal." So perfect. It really is awful. But it boosts your self-esteem in writing.

    Aaand lastly, you can't expect someone to edit/mentor for free. A good editor is a mentor. And that is a paid job. I am employed as an editor for a newspaper, and it's hard work. I spend at least 40 minutes doing the first round of edits on a 500-word article, and I send it back to the author for revisions. Then I look at it or or two more times, and by then, the work has lost anywhere between 90 and 70% of its original length.

    Being an editor is time-consuming, and unless you're willing to pay, it's very difficult to find someone willing to tear up your work for free. Consider finding a writing group or a buddy so you can mutually critique each other's works. Matt and I have been doing it for the last couple years, perhaps, but even still, our contact with each other is spotty at times, because life is busy. Even though we are friends, it just takes a bunch of work to do that kind of stuff, and real life has to take priority at times—especially when pay isn't involved.
    Last edited by Celestial-Fox; 12-23-2012 at 05:46 AM.

  4. #44
    Regular Member tag654's Avatar
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    Celes,I don't get how it'd be the same. I want to be my own editor/writer...but I,as Matt has shown,am very ameateur from what I though was "good". I'm not asking for someone to edit my work,I am asking for someone to pass down their wisdom,and help me,become more like you guys,so I can finish my Light Novel "correctly",before going any further.

    Btw - For a paid job,how much would it be,for future refrence...


    But yeah,I just need some teaching in proper scripting,grammar,and such.

    Thanks Matt,for clarity of the Light Novel stuff...I read it anyway,lol,I wouldn't have noticed any of that. Though,how much of a step up is that PDF's author up from me,just so I know where I am? I'm guessing like a 2{me} vs.a 6{them} ?

  5. #45
    999 Knights Member Matt's Avatar
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    First of all, you should make a habit of typing in proper English, because you learn better by applying knowledge rather than reading about it. I can tell you all I know, but that'll make no difference if you don't practice.

    A few pointers:

    1. Put a space after a comma, but not before. Like that.
    2. When you trail off... put a space after the ellipses.
    3. Amateur is spelled amateur.
    4. Periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks generally go inside the quotation marks if you have them. "Like this," "this!" or "this?" There's more to it than that, but that's probably good for now.
    5. Proper nouns are capitalized. Nouns are not. Therefore, "Matt" is capitalized while "light novel" is not.
    6. I'm probably going to say this every single time, but read legitimate English-language books. Light novels are fine too, though I'd highly recommend reading officially translated ones rather than fan-translated ones. You can read Sword Art Online, but do realize that it's highly flawed.

    Giving out numerical ratings for skill really isn't my thing. As far as I'm concerned, there are infinite levels you can achieve, so rating you 1-10 would be detrimental if everything.

  6. #46
    Regular Member tag654's Avatar
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    Ok Matt. Ill try and practice these things....I might also,go look at some books that ive read,like the Harry Potter and analyze that,though if I remember correctly,that wasnt written in 3rd person.

    Hmmmm,If you know of any Series-Fantasy-Fiction Books that are third person,feel free to let me know...trying to find something in the style that im writing.

    Also,I mainly wanted to ask...How do you elaborate and re-write something,like youive done above so many times.I want to go back and try and re-write things correctly,though I saw that you took something,for example, the beggining of my prolouge,and totally redid it and added abit more.I wish to do that,though I dont understand how to go about with detailing and such.Examples would be appreciated.I also apreciated you helping me,if I remember,your like the first one to comment when I made this thread,so yea,thanks.So,I will proceed in edits and such after you reply.


  7. #47
    Super Senior Member Celestial-Fox's Avatar
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    I am paid very little for my work. My pay right now amounts to be under the national poverty line. I work unpaid overtime. I am in the office until 4 am on school nights. The turnover rate for student workers at the newspaper is high, because it is a very intense job with little monetary reward.

    That being said, though, I can already see that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what an editor actually does. Editing one standard-length (not light) novel can take about a year. I will tell you right now that it doesn't take a year's worth of hours to fix commas and grammar.

    Rather, an editor is spending that time making plot suggestions, revising entire acts of the story, simplifying language where dense, and many other things. Some editors tell writers to rewrite the book entirely. Seriously.

    If that isn't a mentor, then I don't know what is. Punctuation and grammar come last. An editor who sees potential in someone, no matter if the person has formal training, is the ultimate teacher.

    It is hard work for both parties involved. To expect someone to do a line-critique (like Matt has done for you) every time you post—for free—is a really hefty expectation, because it takes a long time to do it. I used to type out that kind of stuff for him, but I've been so busy lately that I can't.

    Now that doesn't mean that no one will help you out. But sometimes you have to understand that an editor/mentor job is very time-consuming and hard to prioritize when there is no gain from it. So sometimes you'll only get two paragraphs of seemingly rough critique, and other times you'll get a nice line-by-line.

    You can raise your chances of finding an editor buddy by showing determination, by taking action and changing your writing right away. Editors like to see that. If you follow Matt's basic instructions in his last post, that would already be a start.

    Then, make sure your story is quality. It's hard to read a book that is boring, and it's absolute torture to edit one. You have to keep in interesting. People don't want to draw comics from a boring script; editors don't want to guide a story with a weak premise.

    Think about what skill set you have to offer us—not the other way around.
    Last edited by Celestial-Fox; 12-23-2012 at 04:36 PM.

  8. #48
    Regular Member tag654's Avatar
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    Ok thanks celes. , Maybe I should watch bakuman again,lol,,,Now I understand...Yeah,editors guide and mentor,your right. :P

    I will try hard to improve and have you guys want to work with me. :P

    Though you never truly answered my question,like,what is the actual pay...? Maybe when I get a job,sometime this next month, I will think about trying to work something out with one of you and actually have an editor,though I want to try and make my story decent so its not to much a hassle when it comes to the editors part. And you said something about your pay being below that of poverty level,i find that a bit cruel.Ill make sure to pay the editor I have,fair wage,nothing below minimum wage.

    I wont let you guys down,waiting for Matt's words of wisdom on expanding and re-writing areas of a story,before I start re-dediting and reviewing what I have.

  9. #49
    999 Knights Member Matt's Avatar
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    If you're okay with some fairly brutal content, I'd highly recommend A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. It's set about seven hundred years before the time period you're writing in, but it's so darn good and it's one of my greatest influences. It's definitely not in your style, but I recommend it anyway. (For that matter, it's not really in my style either. My stories are comparatively soft.)

    Otherwise, Harry Potter, Discworld, Mistborn, and pretty much anything in the YA fantasy genre is good. For your specific genre, urban fantasy, maybe Maximum Ride? That edges into sci-fi a bit. Maybe Harry Potter. I'm not quite sure. I don't read a lot of urban fantasy, though I definitely should.

    Rewriting isn't too hard. You take something that's already been written and you write it how you think it should be. Summarize it in your head, identify what the existing passage is trying to say, then rewrite it so it says that as simply as possible. For example:

    Four score years past, seven great heroes triumphed over a great, seemingly unbeatable evil after a long, bloody battle.
    would become:

    Eighty years ago, seven heroes defeated a great evil.
    Writers rewrite their own stuff a heck of a lot. I'd rather not plug my own stuff, but it's the best example I can think of--over in my writing thread, I have three versions of a story called Siren Song, and they get better with each rewrite as I identify what I want the story to be about and who the characters really are. In the first draft, my heroines are poorly fleshed-out because at that point, I'm still trying to figure their personalities out. This gets even worse in the second draft while the setting gets better--I focused on setting up the main city and the level of technology, but neglect character believability. In the third draft, I've got both the setting and characters figured out. I actually say less about them in the third draft, but that's because I realized that I was dumping too much information at once in the previous drafts.

    Writers have to read nearly as much as they write. So read everything you can.

    -

    EDIT: I don't mean to keep ignoring you, Seefy. For the past few days, I've had this thread open after my posts, but never refreshed the page. If it seems like I'm not paying any attention to your posts, it's not intentional. Tag, you should listen to everything Seefy says. She's been a mentor of sorts for me over the past couple years, so I can vouch for the quality of her words.
    Last edited by Matt; 12-23-2012 at 05:24 PM.

  10. #50
    Regular Member tag654's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reccomendations,and yeah I respect both of you.


    *EDIT*

    Matt,
    I re-wrote,and incorperated what you said/edited above...Just trying to figure out whats good and not.

    SPOILER! :


    Ten thousand years ago, there was a civilization not quite as technologically advanced as we are, they were named, “The Mythics.” They had abilities--but only a few people displayed them. Researchers figured out that everyone had the potential to have such abilities. Unfortunately, no one knew how to unlock these abilities--until these people discovered six unusual gems, deep within the Earth. With these six gems, they were able to use these powers, and do things by which; no ordinary human should.
    On the other hand, another world was nearing its end,at around that same time. Desperate, its occupants fled and landed on the world mentioned. The Mythics perceived the refugees as aliens and opened the hostilities with their newly unlocked abilities. However, they were no match for the "aliens." In a battle to protect themselves, the "aliens" fought hard, pitting their technology against The Mystics’ abilities. The Mystics’ powers were phenomenal, but no match, due to their lack of understandment of their newfound abilities. The Mystics were exterminated not too long after the clash of the two beings,in a war that lasted roughly one-hundred years.
    Also,what the heck is a "passive voice" ?

    Word keeps saying that:

    they were named...
    The Mystics were exterminated...
    are a passive voices,and that I should fix it.



    Btw,I have a question about the time jumps...In my prolouge,I suggested an event happened with the war 10,000 years ago,and the arrival of another species,etc.

    But to show the transition,how should I show the date.Saying something like present day,wouldnt really show much if Im trying to go twenty years before the present. If this makes any sense,please care to help me.Thanks.
    Last edited by tag654; 12-23-2012 at 10:23 PM.

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