Just thought I’d post about the fact I’ve decided to participate once again in a month of all-out literary madness that is NaNoWriMo. My project for this year’s Camp is 50,000 words on my new light novel, Hikari’s Coma.
The story takes place 17 years prior to the events of Industrial Espionage, and helps serve as a loosely-defined prequel that also gives you a decent understanding of the world of Tonlist. Following teenage genius Hikari Suzuki, who is kidnapped by the advanced nation of Technis and forced into a robotics program the likes of which the world has never seen, it’s a science-fiction story that plays with the notions of loyalty, friendship, duty and obsession.
Hikari’s Coma is, hopefully, going to be a short introduction to the world my novel series plans to explore. It’s a standalone LN, and if it works out as well as I plan, I will be releasing it in an exclusive e-book format for you to read and download to your heart’s content. Of course, I’ll still be working on Industrial Espionage, but this project is going to be my gift to you for your support and praise. This Camp NaNoWriMo project is dedicated to you.
Hello everyone. As it’s been a while since I’ve last posted, I thought I should share a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. I’m actually thinking of turning this into a series of sorts, so you can better understand the things which make me the writer I am, and which have affected my style and thought process greatly.
The first of my inspirations I am going to share with you is a well-known and much-discussed Japanese anime known as Shinseiki Evangelion, better known as Neon Genesis Evangelion. As a bit of an introduction to those who don’t know of the series, I’ll allow Wikipedia to speak for me:
Evangelion is an apocalypticanime in the mecha genre. It focuses on a teenage boy recruited by an organization named NERV to control a giant cyborg called an Evangelion to fight monstrous beings known as Angels. The show takes place largely in a futuristic Tokyo years after a worldwide catastrophe. It also centers around other Evangelion pilots and members of NERV as they try to prevent another catastrophe.
So there you have it. Actually, you don’t – Wikipedia’s entry, while laden with a few spoilers, barely scratches the surface of what the series is about. In fact, it is incredibly difficult to explain the series. The original, at the very least, has two endings as a result of budget constraints towards the end of the project, and both are so unusual in their plot and production that numerous theories have been posited about the series as a whole, such as that it is an allegory of the difficulties of puberty, a depiction of creator Hideaki Anno’s struggles with mental illness, or a story that is played out entirely in the main character, Shinji Ikari’s imagination.
For me, the mecha-action storyline is at best a well-drawn out spectacle that plays out as a plot for the characters to develop around. The characters themselves are so flawed, so imperfect that their tales could be played out in any sort of medium, and the series would have a similar effect.
Take Shinji Ikari for example. His father is the Commander of the paramilitary organization NERV, which is supported by the UN to fight against the Angels, and thus had little time for him. His mother, Yui, died when he was young and his father abandoned him as he was incapable of raising him due to both the constraints his work placed upon him and his lack of contact with his own child.
Over the years, this creates a significant level of resentment in Shinji towards his own father. Indeed, his reunion with his sole remaining parent is not a happy one. When Shinji asks why his father sent for him after years of not speaking to him, making him believe that he was unwanted, his father coolly replies, “Because now I have a use for you.”
This drama is played out through Shinji’s reluctance to pilot the Evangelion unit assigned to him. While he doesn’t feel confident enough to pilot the EVA, he feels he has to in order to win praise and affection from his father and his peers. As if this wasn’t pressure enough, he is constantly reminded that humanity’s fate rests on his shoulders and those of his other teenage colleagues, the quiet, doll-like Rei Ayanami, and the overconfident and outspoken Asuka Soryu Langley.
Unlike other media, it isn’t merely the main characters who receive a complex psychological profile. Misato Katsuragi, Shinji’s guardian and a Captain in NERV’s military rankings, seems on the surface a laid-back and oft-forgetful young woman with a penchant for beer and snacks. But, unknown to her young charge for most of the series, she was the sole survivor of the expedition to Antarctica which caused the apocalyptic scenario in which they live, and had an equally antagonistic relationship with her own father. She is the only character who even tries to understand Shinji’s discomfort, who offers him both the parental affection he seeks and the tough love he needs.
The reason this series is so important to me in terms of inspiration is that it showed me how to weave a story in which the central plot is not the only important element, where character development is a parallel, not a side story. The series would not be anywhere near as successful as it was and continues to be without the deep focus on character development, calling out the flaws in Asuka’s ambition, Rei’s almost devotional approach to her role, Misato’s facade of happiness.
Neon Genesis Evangelion was not a series I enjoyed the first time I watched it. It cut too close to home with its dissection of psychological discomfort and the sometimes impossible pressures that are placed on us as human beings. And yet, it was this uncomfortable feeling that drew me back to it, that made me feel it was imperative to understand more than what was merely on the surface, that for all the explosions and action, the drama beneath the surface was more important. I learned a lot both about character development and myself from watching it thoroughly, and I think I have seen the series a good four or five times now, including the entirely-distressing End of Evangelion movie.
All this being said, I will not urge you to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is a timeless piece of media which requires an open mind. You will need to be prepared to believe that anime is not quirky cartoons for children (although if you believe this anyway, you will suffer a disdainful expression from myself and my peers). You will also need to be prepared to understand that this is a work of symbolism, that the references to Judeo-Christian symbolism, Freudian psychology and Gnosticism are a unique context for the plot, unintended to be controversial. But if you do watch this series with an open mind and a preparedness to really think about what you are watching, I can guarantee that you will come away with an understanding of why this series means quite so much to me.
For those of you who know me, I do occasionally delve into the world of fan-fiction. Unlike my novels, however, the majority of the time, this isn’t because I feel I have a story I need to share; instead, I use it as practice, working with scenes or situations that wouldn’t appear in my novels, and while I understand that my fanfics may be of a decent quality, I would never even consider reworking them into a novel or ‘original’ short story.
I like writing my own works because I get into it. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing the folder on my laptop dedicated to my current novel series, you’d understand that I consider every aspect about it. I have thought out the construction of most of the small arms, the architectural styles of the cities, the vehicles in the story, the personalities of even minor characters. When I write a novel, I create a world.
When I write fan-fiction, I use a world that has already been created to save me the legwork of having to do it myself. They are two different products, and will remain as such. If I were to blur these lines, I think I would be doing myself a disservice and at the same time, the original media from which my fan-fiction is based.
However, these are merely thoughts and my own opinions. I understand that the working of non-canon fan-fiction into “original” fiction has worked exceptionally well for some writers. But to me, my fan-fiction and my original fiction will always be separate, two different products for two different audiences.
As you may have heard via my Twitter feed, I have entered a piece of flash fiction into a contest hosted by the wonderful site, The Colors of My Soul. The most popular entry will win the Reader’s Choice award for the competition. If you would be kind enough to read and rate my story, it would be much appreciated. The link to follow is here: http://www.thecolorsofmysoul.com/2013/06/sunset-orange-and-perfect-gold/
Welcome to the WordPress Site for author, poet and general writer-of-all-trades, Daniel Jaeger.
Below you’ll find some of my blog posts, concerning my personal life, my inspirations and my writing progress among many other things. If you use the tabs at the top, you can read the blurbs for and extracts from my forthcoming light novel, Hikari’s Coma, and my major novel project, Industrial Espionage. Currently, you can also read my flash fiction story, Sunset Orange and Perfect Gold.
Along the side, you can see links to my Facebook and Twitter pages, where your audience through ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ would would be much appreciated, and you will be able to keep up-to-date with all of my antics on your favourite social media platform. In addition to this, if you’re an avid WordPress user, you can also follow my blog and receive updates in that fashion as well. Technology, eh?
But regardless of whether you’re here for the long haul or just intrigued about what it is that I do, thank you for visiting my site.