We used to have writing advice threads, but most 'advice' is either unwanted or unapplicable, so let's not do that anymore. Instead, let's just have a general thread where we can talk about the process and the mindset of writing. Pretty much anything goes as long as it's about writing; given that this is THP, it should generally pertain to writing on THP and about Touhou, though.
N.B. This isn't the place for pitching story ideas. If you have a concept for a story that you want to throw out, see >>16317 for that. However, asking for help with developing an idea and discussion thereof is fine.
How do you fill in the missing details that the canon doesn't cover for characters? Like we don't know a lot about what they do everyday or what they really think about certain people, for example. Some characters don't have a lot of info so it's hard to make up stuff even if I like them.
Feeling like an idea is complete is hard. I know simple ideas can be good, but simple can be hard. Making an entire story out of a conversation can be really hard, for example. It doesn't feel like enough.
>>16513 I want to write something mysterious, but I don't know how much I should describe. A book like Dune or Lord of the Rings doesn't seem to describe much, while Lovecraft is all about description.
>don't wanna give up too much details Nobody wants to steal your idea, and even if they did, the execution would probably be too different to identify.
>an investigation So, what, a mystery story? If you're writing genre fiction, the best thing you can do is go read other examples and see what they do. That does also mean you have to work extra hard to not be predictable to fans of that genre, though.
Hard to offer much more guidance to broad and vague questions.
One thing I will point out about mystery novels is that throwing in a good amount of description will let you hide clues in the background, so to speak.
For instance, have a description of a room with a roaring fireplace, an old leather chair by the fire, four pistols in a frame over a dresser, and a bunch of animal heads that were stuffed and mounted over the fireplace. Go into a little detail about how there's a deer, an antelope, and the prize of the collection seems to be an enormous black bear. The rug is one of those that's so thick you could lose sight of your feet, not to mention containing enough crumbs to feed an army of mice. And so on.
Then, several chapters later, a character remarks about the five antique pistols the victim had inherited. And voila. A clue that all but the most attentive reader is likely to miss (hidden within a bunch of background details that sounded like it was just setting the scene), but something you can refer back to at the climax to show how your detective/protagonist/murder-solver is so much smarter than everyone else.
You don't have to do it this way, but it is a useful trick to know.
>>16620 Dunno, doing so seems a bit sacrilegious. Though the author might be long gone from the site, maybe they still think about the story they have written, and despite how remote of a future, perhaps they will return to complete their story in some fashion.
♬Baby come back♬
And to find someone having taken up their story and attempting to mimic their prose, characterizations, and plot would be like imo coming home after a long trip to realize your cat has been swiped by some rando who stole your clothing style and is trying to talk like you but slightly different. It was their story, now taken and explored in ways they might not have chosen.
It makes me wonder how much homage one would have to pay to the original writer's style. Does one attempt the original writer's prose, form of dialogue, and interpretation of their characters or seek to break away and make it their own? How does one respect what the writer they like has written without perversion? How does one pick up the threads in a story that never got unveiled? How does one maintain what drew one in the first place?
Plus, I throw commas around like infinite party poppers and need more life experience to write well enough to give due respect to any writer's works. I also don't doubt that the maw of writer's block would seize me.
>>16618 That punctuation is a subjective aesthetic thing rather than a basic FUCKING readability thing. That spacing doesn't matter. That excessive use of formatting tags makes you quirky and keen. Et cetera, et cetera.
I've got a general thing with a sort of stoic crow tengu bloke being broken down and tempted into lewds by Tsukasa. I'm not sure how to really portray that process of giving in and the consequences of it.
>>16631 The first thing would be to establish the position wherefrom he is to be broken down. Who is he? Why would he not, initially, opt into fluffing up a fox? And, from there, what could possibly change his mind on the matter? You will find the answer to the latter rests heavily on the former.
You have the landing. That is fine. Now figure out the jumping-off point.
>>16632 >You have the landing. You say that but I disagree.
I don't really feel the lewd is the point of everything, though I don't know what the point really is in general. I don't want it to be the point, I guess, as much as a part of things. It's not even so much plot-with-porn as simply fiction with erotic elements... I think.
I want to write things I'd want to read, but I only come up with things I wouldn't read or just things that are unappealing or don't have much "Touhou" in them inherently and thus aren't worth bothering with.
Any general tips for going back to an abandoned story? I'm having a tough time reconnecting to it.
>>16725 Isn't that what /others/ is for? You can play around with Touhou in all sorts of other settings and see what sticks. But yeah, I get what you mean regardless. I also get a lot of crossover ideas that I would label as unappealing, but hey, it could end up being a Touhou fan's first foray that gets them into whatever you're crossing it with.
>>16730 >Touhou in all sorts of settings Yeah, no. I only care about vanilla Touhou. No crossovers, no AUs, nothing.
Also, it's not like I've got any actual ideas. I'm >>16631, and the extent of that idea was basically "lol Tsukasa seduces a guy". But, y'know, that's pretty generic, and I couldn't come up with anything that would actually make it feel like a "Touhou" story, and the whole thing honestly felt so trite that I just hated it after a while.
So, yeah, that's been thrown in the bin, and I've got nothing to replace it.
>>17020 I think "What do kappa want out of life?" is a fine place to start, but as a writer you probably should have your own definitive answer that works for a specific character plus a reason why that character feels that way. Do you have any kappa characters in mind that you would want to write about? Then the story could be about a transition of how the kappa thinks they know what they want out of life, but some event or interaction happens that makes them rethink it and either discover something new about themselves or reinforce what they already think. I know it's really generic, but it's a starting point.
>>17021 It was more of an attempt at an example than an actual thought. But, I don't know. There's only one actual kappa in Touhou, and I don't have much of a viewpoint on her since she's basically a stand-in for all kappa as far as the audience goes. And it's not like I have an OC donut steel kappa in mind for any reason.
Most of the time, there's not any one character I have any deep desire to write about. There's a few I maybe wouldn't write for various reasons, but there's also none I feel compelled to write.
I mean, the other option is to start from a plot. To give a basic example, if you were going to write the story to a Mario game, you'd have a pretty good idea that the story is going to feature Peach being kidnapped, by either Bowser or some new villain, and Mario rescuing her. If you wanted to write the plot to a Touhou game, you could start with an incident idea... for instance, maybe some new youkai is making a play for the human village, or has caused the river to dry up, or is giving everyone dreams. Point is, once you've got your incident idea, you can then build up characters around it, both in figuring out what existing characters would apply to the incident, and potentially new ones that would also make sense to be involved.
>>17026 Uh... I don't have any real answer to that question, if I'm totally honest. It's hard to explain.
I read a lot of books that don't fall into a defined genre, and putting your finger on what they're "about" is kind of hard. Yeah, there's a "surface" plot in terms of there are people and this is what happens to them, blah blah blah, but that's not what the story is "about". It's kind of like that.
If I had to try to take anything out of any of the stuff I read that I wish I could recreate, I guess it's just rich portrayals of people and how their thoughts and actions can be complicated and conflicted.
Reconciling that with Touhou is kind of a weird thing, though. Dunno how that would work. It's more of a vague and ill-defined thing, anyway.
Sorry. Like I said, I don't know how to answer the question.
>>17027 Honestly, that really just boils down to "I want to write good characters". Which isn't a bad thing, but you need more than just that to actually start a story. Even when the focus is on the characters, the story still needs to be about something.
This is kinda at the level where you might have better luck talking to a cognitive psychologist rather than random people on the internet. A neurotypical adult can read a story and articulate what that story was about.
>>17029 What a story is about, or the plot, boiled down to the absolute simplest terms is basically just “a problem.” The story is driven by the characters trying to solve this problem, and the story ends once the problem is solved. “What the story is about” can almost always be answered through these questions: what is the problem, who is trying to solve the problem, and how is the problem solved.
Let’s take Jaws as an example. The problem: big scary shark is eating everyone. Who is solving the problem: three guys on a boat How is the problem solved: the three guys hunt the shark and explode it
That’s it. That’s the whole plot of Jaws boiled down to basics. If you want to write a story you need to think of a problem, think of a character, then think how the character would solve the problem.
Here is a Touhou example I came up with just this second. Problem: Marisa is lost in the forest of magic. Who is solving the problem: Reimu How is the problem solved: Reimu forms a search party and gets Marisa out of the forest.
The problem doesn’t have to be a huge earth shattering event, it can be something simple like Marisa taking a wrong turn and getting lost. You don’t even need to answer the questions in this specific order. You can start with a character and then think of a problem they would have.
Character: Cirno Problem character has: Cirno is failing Keine’s math class How problem is solved: Cirno gets Patchouli to tutor her.
You can even try thinking of an ending first and then thinking about how the character got to this point. Solution: The lunar capital is conquered and made a part of Gensokyo The characters: Mokou and Ran The problem: Eientei is getting too uppity.
Just fill in the blanks of how the start leads to the end and there’s your story.
If you want to write a story just think of a problem. Literally any problem. Then think of who can solve the problem and how they do it. If you think the problem would be boring to write about, think of another problem or another character who might solve the problem in a more interesting way. Or think of a different character every day until you think of a character that would have an interesting problem to write about. Or think about something completely ridiculous and try to think about who caused it and what lead to that point. There is no need to overcomplicate things if you boil the plot down to its basics.
>>17030 >>17032 I think you're conflating the notion of what a story is "about" in a thematic sense - "what is it that motivates a kappa; what is the fundamental worldview of a kappa" - with a plain factual summary of what the story is "about" along the lines of "a kappa goes to market one day". I don't think their problem is with an inability to comprehend the latter. I think their problem is that they don't know how the former should give rise to the latter when writing a story, and how the latter should be made to embody the former. Essentially, they're not really interested in stories for stories' sake, qua "series of ups and downs happening"; they want to think about meatier stuff beyond the object-level plot, but aren't sure how to go about doing that in a story.
That just sounds like projecting. There's no need to overcomplicate the storytelling process.
If you want your kappa to be a complicated and conflicting character, then write a complicated and conflicting situation for her. Write a connected series of these and you get a complicated and conflicting plot. Keep it objective and in-story.
Asking the readers(or author) to fathom some 5D hypercube of character thoughts and motivations outside the bounds of the prose is not good storytelling. I'm aware the pseudo-intellectuals who govern schools/colleges typically have their students perform this Sisyphean task, but that's not something the average reader expects or wants.
Like, frankly, you keep going on about "overcomplication", but the only examples you've been able to muster of something not "overcomplicated" have been one-sentence summaries boiled clean of any and all desiderata. Sure, that's easy; any child can do it; but it's got nothing to do with how stories are actually conceived - it's like saying you invent a recipe by first thinking of a raw ingredient and then a pot to heat it with.
Here's a foreword from one of the book series I've been reading lately: >I wished to explore, within several books, the nature and experiences of a classical hero: a gifted leader whose star-crossed career, disturbing, hilarious, dangerous, I could follow in finest detail for ten years. And I wished to set him in the age of the Renaissance. I hope that isn't 5D-hypercubic to you, even if it is a more ambitious example. But that's the sort of thing that one starts with. Now of course it's trivially true that one must accomplish it, at some point, by "just thinking of a problem", or a series of such problem - but plainly not "literally any problem". That's just not true. The whole point is to think about the right sorts of problems, which is not a trivial thing to do, and you had really ought to know that if you've ever tried to write a story before.
>>17036 >The whole point is to think about the right sorts of problems, which is not a trivial thing to do I identify with this too.
>any child can do it But not with this. I have a hard time with that.
I pretty much can't come up with anything unless there's something right in front of me.
> it's like saying you invent a recipe by first thinking of a raw ingredient and then a pot to heat it with This is what all "writing advice" I've gotten before has felt like, so I laughed a little but also winced.
One thing I'll note is that I personally have never succeeded in writing fiction that's "deep" intentionally. If I set out to try and be all deep and meaningful, it ends up being trite, obvious, and a waste of everyone's time.
However, if I instead just try to tell a story, and have characters act in ways that are true to themselves, sometimes meaning just kind of works its way in there. And I find that an author's worldview generally leaks into a story in such a manner; you can get a sense of what the author believes by the nature of the world they've created.
To be a little more specific, in my current story, I didn't have all that much of a plan going into it. It was essentially "Start sandbox incident adventure, see what happens." But somewhere around the second thread or so, readers started commenting that the viewpoint character was a good guy, that he tried to help others, looked for the best in people, and so forth. That wasn't something I'd originally intended, it just sort of happened, and happened consistently enough for the readers to pick up on it. Because that was my mental image of how a story's hero should behave, if that makes sense.
Which all gets down to the old adage of "Write what you know". A number of my characters' more "real" seeming personality traits are things that I personally have to some extent, or at least understand well enough to write. (To take another example from my own writing, a certain high school girl will generally display boundless self-confidence, up until things are going badly and it switches to doubt and self-recrimination, mentally insulting herself as if she's a talentless hack. That's essentially a miniature snapshot of my own competitive nature, and how I tend to react when I'm losing at a given sport or game.) And by the same token, any deeper meaning my story eventually gets to, will be things that I personally understand and believe, because those are the kind of things I can write convincingly.
In short, I think a good story actually says a lot about the author, giving you a decent idea of their worldview without it ever being explicitly stated. (As opposed to a certain class of bad stories which all but beat you over the head with a specific viewpoint, but I digress.)
>>17036 >it's like saying you invent a recipe by first thinking of a raw ingredient and then a pot to heat it with.
You know what? I'm hungry (I want to write a story). But I don't know what kind of meal (story) I want to make. Guess I'll check the fridge to see what ingredients I have (guess I'll review what characters I like). Oooh hey, I have eggs (I have a favorite character). I'll make a meal (story) using that. But how should I cook it (what kind of story should I write)? Eh, for now I'll just keep it simple and make sunny side up with a skillet (I'll just make a short slice of life story).
Well, I guess that meal (story) turned out OK, but I think I can do better. I know! I have other ingredients in the fridge (I have other characters I like). I'll make a meal (story) with eggs, and some other ingredients (characters). Milk, pancake mix, and syrup. Now I can make waffles (now my story has supporting characters.) Time to cook them in my waffle iron (time to write a romance story).
Wait no. Using a waffle iron is boring (my story is too cliche). I know! I'll take this frying pan and weld little metal bits to the bottom to make unique waffles holes (I'll throw in some plot twists and make a space adventure story that was only disguised as a romance story). Cool! My waffles now have triangle shaped holes instead of square ones (My story is interesting and not cliche).
Well, all that welding I did kind of made a mess of the kitchen (I may have accidentally thrown in some plot holes), but these waffles turned out pretty good and I had fun making them (I like my story and enjoyed writing it). Not sure if anyone else would like my cooking (writing), but I enjoyed it and that's all that matters.
The moral of the story is, sometimes, if you want to write a story, you just have to get cooking and see what happens.
>>17041 This is playing with dolls in a dollhouse. Fine if you're into it, but there are worlds upon worlds to the craft which a. someone might actually want to access, b. aren't reducible to this, and c. you don't get to by starting out with this.
>>17027 >I read a lot of books that don't fall into a defined genre, and putting your finger on what they're "about" is kind of hard. Yeah, there's a "surface" plot in terms of there are people and this is what happens to them, blah blah blah, but that's not what the story is "about". It's kind of like that. Are you able to explain what about them appeals to you? Do you take notes while reading?
Lets go back to the original example made in >>17020 "What do kappa want out of life?"
Lets answer the questions I proposed in >>17032. What is the problem, who is solving the problem, and how is the problem solved?
"What do kappa want out of life" rephrased in the form of a problem would be, "a kappa does not know what she wants out of life" or "a kappa is dissatisfied with her life."
Problem: a kappa is dissatisfied with her life who is solving the problem: a kappa (I'm going to say Nitori) How is the problem solved: >>17033's suggestion is as good as any for now. A kappa goes to market one day
We now have a basic plot summary. But if we want a thematic summary of the story, we need to ask a fourth question: Why? Why is this a problem? Why is this character solving the problem? Why is this how the character is solving the problem?
Problem: a kappa is dissatisfied with her life -Why is this a problem: The kappa saw several other kappa couples while she was out walking, and she is now lonely because she is still single Who is solving the problem: Nitori -Why is this character solving the problem: Nitori is tired of being single and doesn't want to die alone How is the problem solved: A kappa goes to market one day -Why is this how the problem is solved: There is a cute kappa that works at the market and Nitori wants to ask them out.
Thematically I have just created a romance story. But lets try this exercise again.
Problem: a kappa is dissatisfied with her life -Why is this a problem: Because the kappa tripped and landed face first into the pie she was carrying Who is solving the problem: Nitori -Why is this character solving the problem: Nitori is embarrassed because she made a fool of herself in front of a crowd of people and got laughed at. How is the problem solved: A kappa goes to market one day -Why is this how the problem is solved: Nitori bought all the pies in the market so she could throw pies in everyone else's faces to make herself less embarrassed.
We started with the exact same plot summary, but this time the story is thematically a slapstick comedy.
Problem: a kappa is dissatisfied with her life -Why is this a problem: the kappa's mother died recently and now she is faced with the reality of her own mortality Who is solving the problem: Nitori -Why is this character solving the problem: Nitori saw that her kappa friend was depressed by their mother's recent death and wants to help her friend out of their slump --But why is that important: They have been friends since they were kids, and seeing that her friend is hurting makes Nitori hurt too. How is the problem solved: A kappa goes to market one day -Why is this how the problem is solved: The kappa's mother used to buy the kappa ice cream from this market when they were sad as a kid, --But why is that important: Buying some ice cream now makes the kappa realize that their mother is not truly gone, and their friend Nitori is still there to make life worth enjoying.
Now its a heartwarming drama about loss and friendship. I didn't get enough of a grasp on the thematic beats of my story the first time, so I asked "why" again to make the direction I want to go in clearer.
Asking "why" can help you figure out what sort of themes you want your story to have, can help you make sense of your plot, and can help steer your story in the thematic direction you want it to go in.
I do have problems forming plots, but it's not in the way most people here are proposing to answer.
My original question was asked with the intention of figuring out how to build "material" for a story. That is, how to have more than the most basic circumstances of a story, which is basically what most people are talking about. Right now, all I have is loose, disorganised thoughts that I don't know how to represent in any way or what to do with them. But it's not a simple question of "how do I plot???"
>>17045 Have you ever read a book which you've enjoyed reading on the immediate sentence-to-sentence or paragraph-to-paragraph level, or scene-to-scene level, or individual dialogue-level - really, anything below the overarching scale of the "you know it when you see it" stuff?
>>17051 >I don't really notice things very much when reading That sounds like it sits at the core of the problem. Er, now, I can only speak to my own experience, but I've had the same problem before with struggling to know how to go from an idea to the material plot needed to get it across; and it's only been in recent years that I've been able to feel my ability growing in that regard. And it's entirely to do with having found the right books; ones engaging enough to really pay attention to, and yet with structure apparent enough to keep a running score with.
And - the impression I get from it is that it doesn't begin from a process of thought; it's most fundamentally a muscle that one flexes, in imitation of others. Some people are pretty much born knowing where that muscle is, and only have to be guided in terms of what's crappy or overdone or just doesn't work for what they want to write; and others have difficulty even feeling it until they see the right demonstrations. For the latter kind it doesn't work to say "just grow the muscle by trying harder", the same way it doesn't work for the former kind to say "just develop better taste by trying harder". (You can see how well that goes over in practice, considering most fandomoids are of the first variety.)
So all I can really suggest is - look for the right books, to ladder your way up with. And possibly "genre" ones rather than only literary fiction, just because the structure tends to be less opaque and the stakes more material. And maybe hold your nose sometimes and just power through, if something isn't all-the-way-interesting. But don't just grab books you don't think you'll be interested in; it's best to have some way of knowing that they'll stick out to you, beforehand.... Sometimes I get recommendations from people I know; but most often I have to dig them up in seriously obscure ways. Like trawling discussion board archives, or scouring the blogs of people who write about stuff adjacent to my interests; or, hell, even scrolling through Goodreads reviews of books I've already read, looking for reviews that stand out to me so that I can lurk through the reviewers' own booklists.
I dunno. That all might not work, either, depending on how overt the process has to be for you - breaking the kayfabe of anonymity for a moment here, I've definitely underestimated it before. Possibly I'm just banking on the hope that reading can be its own reward, and that that will somehow catalyse everything else. But right now this is the limit of my insight otherwise.
>>17046 I don't want to keep shitting up the thread with more pointless back-and-forth so I'll just note this one thing and be done with it. None of anything you posted has anything to do with kappa, aside from the words "kappa" and "Nitori". You could slot in "netchiman" or "Bedouin tribeswoman" or "my IRL cousin" and it wouldn't make a whit of difference. You've fully failed to consider any desiderata beyond the most puerile doll-house notion of "a story". That's why your advice is unhelpful - in the dubious event you really are trying to post in good faith.
>>17052 I disagree with your criticism of >>17046, heavily. Sure, the potential problems and solutions he poses are generic and could apply to just about any character, human or otherwise.
So what? Pride and Prejudice could be boiled down to "Woman finds a husband." Star Wars (Episode 4) could be summarized as "Chosen one comes back to find faceless bad guys killed his family, embraces chosen-ness, fights bad guys." or even more so as just "Good fights evil". That doesn't stop the stories from being good. The fact of the matter is, almost every story boils down to a fairly simple summary, and I don't see how a kappa story about romance is necessarily worse than one about salt deficiencies or an incident, or politics with the Moriya Shrine. In fact, Jim Butcher's advice for starting a story is to first figure out your two-sentence elevator pitch for the story via a static formula. IIRC, it was basically "<Character> was living their life when suddenly <problem> happened. Can <character> overcome <adversity> and accomplish <goal>?"
I will grant that there's absolutely a lot more you'd want to consider and add on before you'd get to a completed story. The above is just a starting point. But considering the would-be writer in question doesn't even have a starting point, I think that's a perfectly reasonable place to start.
>>17051 Honestly, at this point I'd recommend using writing prompts. You can either browse the subreddit until you find an interesting one, or just use a random generator, but literally just take one and force yourself to write a few pages off of it. I know it's trite, but you're not going to get better at writing by not writing, and the best writing advice I've ever heard is this: "Give yourself permission to write badly."
>>17053 Look, I hate to keep shitting on (I assume) well-meaning advice, but I wouldn't bother seeking help from random people on the internet if things like writing prompts worked for me, much less if I had better or more reliable resources.
I'm no complete newbie. I've been at this for literal years. I've even posted a couple of things on the site... that somebody helped me with. I even have a CYOA here that died because I stopped having help.
I've tried prompts before. I end up with a sentence or two at best, or usually just nothing. Any approach that amounts to "just write lmao" doesn't work. I can't squeeze blood out of that rock. No, I can't really explain why. No, it's not "perfectionism" like everyone and their dog tries to e-diagnose. I legitimately cannot come up with much of anything that way.
Sorry to sound hostile and shitty and like I'm singling you in particular out. I'm not. I'm just a little tired and frustrated at having the same cliches thrown at me and then having to try to explain myself at length, only for it to be largely misconstrued anyway because I suck at making myself understood except to the odd person like the one anon who kind of sort of gets it. I'd much rather be met with questions than advice. Other than that, not sure what more I can say.
>>17052 I'm going to be honest here, I don't think I have the patience at this point. I've only read what I've read based on a trickle of recommendations over the years, and trying to go dig for anything like it has mostly led me back to the same sets of writers. I can only assume that what I'm likely to like or care about is going to be related, even though that's not likely to bear much fruit. I don't know what else to do, and I don't know how to practically go about what you're proposing.
Maybe my digging strategies are flawed, but it doesn't change the overall frustration of finding nothing in the way of appealing reading and reading nothing for months on end.
I'm at the point where trying to read summaries is kind of too much. I find Goodreads too overwhelming and don't know anywhere similar enough to be useful.
And even assuming I read things, what am I actually supposed to take from it? Notes? I sincerely don't understand what form and manner I can take "material" from other writing despite what I feel are many good faith attempts.
I hate to once again be so negative, but I'm having a hard time understanding and am living under a cloud of frustration that makes it hard to want to put in the effort without high degrees of clarity and/or guarantees. I'm sorry in general.
>>17054 Here we might just be running up against a matter of basic temperaments. I get what you mean by finding Goodreads "too overwhelming" - I wouldn't know how to go about trawling it systematically, myself - but I get carried along by just "pulling on threads" like a manual web spider, guided by things that pique my curiosity. That's because curiosity about stuff is one of the things that drives me on the most fundamental level ... maybe coupled with a bit of a voyeuristic bent. I also find it fairly easy to slot internet people (and, to a lesser extent, books) into "likely to be of worth to me" and "unlikely ditto" from just glancing over their style of typing/writing, which helps make the process not unworkably inefficient.
So, well, what is it that motivates you to read? Do you know? If so, is it possible to engage it more consciously? If not, is it possible that there are preferences which you might have that you simply have never discovered?
Unfortunately I can't give the clarity you seek, and I hope you understand that guarantees are impossible. The question you're asking isn't really something that can be answered in that kind of way.
>>17056 >So, well, what is it that motivates you to read? Don't know. I feel really empty without some kind of mental stimulation but too overwhelmed by a lot of things, so reading is somewhere in a convenient middle ground. Dunno what "an answer" to the question would be, much less a productive one.
>If not, is it possible that there are preferences which you might have that you simply have never discovered? Don't have the first clue. "I know it when I see it" is the only thing I have to go by, and you can guess how subject to trial and error and mental and emotional exhaustion that makes things.
>The question you're asking isn't really something that can be answered in that kind of way. Then I seriously don't understand what you'd have me do.
>>17057 >Then I seriously don't understand what you'd have me do. Honestly, I don't know. I'm sorry, myself. My suspicion is that trying so doggedly, with such a constant (and consistently defeated) expectation of tangible dividends, is really doing more harm than good. But I also can't say "just chill and branch out into other interests" - that's the sort of advice almost guaranteed not to work, precisely because of the circumstances under which it must be given. And also it strikes me as terribly flippant.
But I can't see how it's possible for anyone to write, without at the very least a grasp of what it is they enjoy reading - or what it is they enjoy, period - just by the sentiment that they had ought to be writing.
Can you elaborate on how it is that reading summaries or reviews is too much?
Also, could you elaborate on how it is that "things that don't have much 'Touhou' in them inherently" makes them not worth bothering with, re: >>16723? Is it that your interest drops out from under you because you really seriously just only care about Touhou, or is it that you would otherwise be able to sustain something except you feel you'd be doing something "wrong" by not correctly adhering to the source material?
I ask because "rich portrayals of people and how their thoughts and actions can be complicated and conflicted" re: >>17027 seems wholly orthogonal to the matter of "having 'Touhou' inherently".
>>17058 It's overwhelming because I have to basically start blind, which means I have to somehow settle on a starting point. That means having to find a place to start when I don't have in mind anywhere. If I don't succumb to choice paralysis, then I end up defaulting to something I already know and ending up nowhere new.
Without someone basically shoving things in my face that are similar to things I know and with some likelihood of being something I'd like, I don't know how to weight anything. People's opinions on books all kind of wash over me the same. Yeah, some might be "better" than others for some reason, but I can't really determine a "value" to them. So reviews just kind of look like a bunch of words to me.
Summaries don't convey a lot to me beyond (maybe) what a book is "about" in one sense or the other. That doesn't tell me much of anything about the experience of reading it, though. Without basically a "this thing is spiritually similar to this other thing you don't dislike", I can't gauge much of anything and end up feeling like I'm likely to be disappointed. And I feel like that's relatively rare in practice.
So I'm left to pick through a lot of information without any real sense of "value" and without any idea of a direction of progression.
>>17059 It's not about adherence to source material as much as... things that "spiritually" "feel like" Touhou, which is a really nebulous thing that I can't define very well or maybe at all.
I find it hard to understand the other part of your question. I only care about Touhou as far as writing goes, so any suggestion to write something else would immediately be binned, I guess.
And honestly the "rich portrayals etc." thing was me not knowing how to answer a question and lashing together a relatively meaningless statement in a grasping attempt. So dunno what to say on that score.
>>17060 >That means having to find a place to start when I don't have in mind anywhere. Well, the reviews for a book you've already read and know you enjoy, I suppose. What I meant wasn't reading reviews for their ratings on books; what I meant was reading reviews in order to rate the reviewer. A lot of people keep their profiles public and whatnot, so if you find someone with an interesting take on something you are familiar with, something that does resonate with you, you'd be able to benefit from leafing through their own bookshelves. The only "value" to look for, in that sense, is "I'm interested" vs. "I'm not interested".
>I only care about Touhou as far as writing goes, so any suggestion to write something else would immediately be binned, I guess. That's really a problem, I think. You can have trouble with the craft itself and you can have trouble with the subject matter, but if you've got both at once, the difficulty is exponential. Trouble with getting inspiration from your reading, on top of that, makes it basically intractable. It's absolutely not possible to do anything other than Touhou; or even to relax the extra stipulation of "spiritually feels like" and just write nominally-Touhou or Touhou-adjacent?
>reading reviews in order to rate the reviewer I haven't run across anyone in the public whose opinion I'd consider very valuable. Again, opinions tend to just run off me.
And mostly I get annoyed by them or just don't get anything out of them and quickly get tired of trying to read them.
>anything other than Touhou Not interested in the least.
>nominally-Touhou or Touhou-adjacent I don't know what that means practically speaking. There are things right on this site that are basically "Touhou in name only" or "well, it has Touhou characters in it", and I don't bother with any of it.
Honestly though, without some kind of concrete example I don't know how to answer the question. I only know it when I see it.
>>17062 >some kind of concrete example Frequently I see you begin a snippet, only to sour on the idea because it isn't Touhouish enough (at least, that's what you often cite). Yet the characters are Touhou, as is the setting; and the premises are highly plausible, if not strongly whiffing of "Touhou" on top of that. So I suppose what I mean by "Touhou-adjacent" is, well, precisely those. It's completely impossible to set aside the scrupling, and indulge them for their own sakes?
To be blunt, I'm prodding at this because "only Touhou", and not only "only Touhou" but also only Touhou which desires dearly to adhere to itself and nothing else is a straitjacket that not even ZUN himself could labour underneath. This set of constraints is impossible and does nothing but restrict any possibility of growth.
>>17063 >set aside the scrupling, and indulge them for their own sakes Maybe? The problem is almost always not having any idea of what to do because nothing about any such setup inherently suggests anything to me, and attempts at talking with anyone about it usually go about as well as this thread.
Then I'm well and truly out. All I can appeal to is the possibility of broader interests; but I don't think I can convince you of it in a satisfactory way. I can only say that something has got to give for it to work out, and that that thing may well be the monotropism.