Visual Novel writing style

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Appota
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Visual Novel writing style

#1 Post by Appota » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:31 pm

Hello, I have a hard time choosing my VN writer. I have two examples from two different writers, may I ask for an opinion: Which would you prefer for a dating visual novel? I feel like the first example has less narration but can be easier to follow, but I had fun reading the second one.
About the sample, it's basically about the MC wandering in the street when a man greets her, talking like he's known her before. She's confused, then another man goes to drag him off.

http://sta.sh/01els28inew

http://sta.sh/01x9x0ax3mqw

Please let me know what you think, any kind of inputs would be greatly appreciated! :)

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#2 Post by shortycake » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:38 am

I like the writer of example 1. I cannot give much input since I'm not a writer but as a reader I really like example 1 writing.

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#3 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:19 am

The primary difference between these two examples is the tense used. The first writer uses present tense, and the second writer uses past tense. Both tenses are useful, but I feel that past tense, at least as it's used here, makes the player character sound as if she's describing events that happened a day or more ago, even when they've just occurred, and that takes away from the immediacy you may want.

I think both writers are at about the same skill level, plus or minus a few points. At this point, it's just a matter of deciding how you want your story to be written.
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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#4 Post by trooper6 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:25 am

I prefer the second author. They have a better sense of humor, their writing it a bit more subtle and therefore the dialogue feels a bit more realistic.
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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#5 Post by Laniessa » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:11 am

I typically prefer present tense, but I prefer the second author in this face. The first author is a bit too direct, imo.

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#6 Post by E-night » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:25 am

I prefer the second one because the descriptions is more fleshed out, but as Mad Harlequin says the past tense style does put a distance to the action which you may not want in a vn.

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#7 Post by Appota » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:33 am

Thank you so much for your inputs! They really helps me to come up with a decision. I really appreciate it!

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#8 Post by Cith » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:05 am

There IS a difference between the writers, it IS a question of style, it's NOT a question of tense.

Writer 2 tries to describe scenes but weaknesses in their prose limit the effect. E.g. use of tell, only one sense, adjectives yada yada.

Writer 1 cunningly gets around this... by not describing much of anything at all. The *In a busy plaza* bit of narration epitomises that.

Tenses aren't really an issue. It's generally not too difficult to switch between tenses, it presents a few hiccups but it can be done. Changing STYLE on the other hand, bit harder. Also going from 1st to 3rd person is usually tricky, generally because close 1st person narration tends to be "chatty" while 3rd person is not.

Pick which style you want.
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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#9 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:38 pm

Cith wrote:There IS a difference between the writers, it IS a question of style, it's NOT a question of tense.
We're both right. I said the primary and most obvious difference was the tense chosen, which contributes to what we define as style.
Writer 2 tries to describe scenes but weaknesses in their prose limit the effect. E.g. use of tell, only one sense, adjectives yada yada.

Writer 1 cunningly gets around this... by not describing much of anything at all. The *In a busy plaza* bit of narration epitomises that.
Based on your analysis, the second writer needs improvement, but is preferable, since he or she is at least trying to describe a scene. That's less a question of style than it is one of overall skill, however. (More feedback for the OP.)

In the interest of providing Appota with more information for decision-making, I chose to address the effect of present tense versus past tense on the scene.

Appota, think about how you want the story to be told, and choose a writer accordingly. That should make your decision slightly easier.
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#10 Post by Appota » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:29 pm

I think tense can be adjusted if told, too. The second writer was in a bit of disadvantage because I didn't gave him enough information for the scene. All I gave him was 'the MC passes by a town and see a guy, he approaches her but is dragged off by his friend', while the first one has most of the details about the project. But I guess it doesn't have anything to do with style?
Writer 2 tries to describe scenes but weaknesses in their prose limit the effect. E.g. use of tell, only one sense, adjectives yada yada.
Please pardon my idiocy, but does it mean the writer 2's describing too much it narrows other chance to express other thing?

In the interest of providing Appota with more information for decision-making, I chose to address the effect of present tense versus past tense on the scene.

Appota, think about how you want the story to be told, and choose a writer accordingly. That should make your decision slightly easier.
The 2nd writer told me it's easy to switch tense, in the sample it was my fault for not make it clear. I'm more concerned about the way they write the story, dialogues and such. I'm not sure about how I want the story to be told, because I just aim to create a normal otome.

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Re: Visual Novel writing style

#11 Post by Cith » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:37 pm

Well, briefly (because these are pretty clichéd pieces of writing advice, and I don’t like dispensing clichéd pieces of writing advice) it means the writer has trouble getting across a vivid image with their prose.

They focus on the visual sense nearly exclusively, and not sound, smell or touch so the reader has a very incomplete picture of the scene. The use of “tell” means the writer constantly delivers conclusions formed by the narrator without describing the actual scene, like “he is handsome”, or “practically began dragging”. What action the does “practically began dragging” describe? Was the guy digging in his heels and looking back over his shoulder? Was there no physical digging in, but a lot of turning and looking back? I dunno, I have a hard time forming an image of it. Overuse of adjectives just means a lot of one word descriptions that don’t really do a good job describing things. They struggle to do the job they’re asked to because they’re not powerful enough. “Jul bowed slightly” (heh, that’s an adverb but same diff,) what does slightly describe? A dip of the head, a slight bending of the waist? I assume it's nowhere pass the horizontal.

Basically it all adds up to a difficulty painting an image of what’s happening to the reader. Harlequin is right, it’s more a question of experience and skill. The thing is the above techniques are perfectly valid, but in moderation. I think writer 2 well and truly overuses them, but that’s a pretty common problem *shrugs.* Gets a bit complicated when you start talking about “when to use 'tell' and when to use 'show'” and “when adverbs and adjectives are fine” so… I’ll leave it there. It's more of an individual style thing after you've studied and experimented. Harlequin's pretty proficient at analysing this stuff, if her gut tells her they're pretty comparable skill wise, it's a fair bet. It just depends what you want.
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