Monthly Capriccio

A blog dedicated to the ezine "Monthly Capriccio," a monthly light novel magazine.

Ning, anyone? 2009/10/20

Filed under: light novels — nolwenn961 @ 7:53 pm

A couple of days ago, someone mentioned to me that the best way to gather light novel enthusiasts is to create a network. Keeping in mind that light novels are still a niche market here in America, there still aren’t very many sites dedicated to light novels.

We need to gather ourselves together, and our need for unity reminded me of a website I’d learned of a few months ago. It’s a site called ning that allows anyone to “create and join new social networks for your interests and passions.” There are so many social networks out there. Shouldn’t light novels have its own social network, too? Maybe it’ll be just the thing to gather us all together in one place.


Not Anime Enough? 2009/10/13

Filed under: light novels — nolwenn961 @ 4:09 pm
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I was told that one of the biggest issues that people had with the stories that were included Karui Shousetsu Magazine was that the stories weren’t anime enough. Since that publication is this ezine’s predecessor, I imagine that this is an issue that I will have to face as well. Should the characters all have Japanese names? Does the story have to take place in Japan? Is this what gives of a distinct anime feeling in a light novel, or is it something else entirely?

I feel like this issue of not being anime also relates to our perceptions of what is and what isn’t a light novel. Wikipedia has a definition of light novels, but unfortunately, it’s not very extensive. It is a good start, though; it gives a broad clue as to what constitues the content of a light novel.

What’s your definition of a light novel? What defines the light novel overall? Is it the anime cover and manga illustrations inside alone, or do the brisk reading provided by dialogue-driven text provide the driving force behind a light novel? Most of all, what can this ezine do to provide stories that meet your definition of a light novel?

I’d like to hear what everyone’s opinions about this. Feel free to leave your comments below.


The Inner Circle 2009/10/03

Nothing says indie publishing like dojinshi. Since we’re essentially an indie ezine, I was wondering what people would think of a light novel dojin circle. I know that a dojin circle usually creates something, but we don’t necessarily have to create anything. Although I think a light novel dojin cirlce would be the best way to do a relay novel. (A few people were interested in that idea.) As you can probably tell, I’m just throwing ideas out there, seeing what people would like the most. If you have a great idea for this, feel free to let me know; I’m open to fresh ideas.

I would really like to hear from other light novel enthusiasts who aren’t really interested in writing light novels, but still love to read them. There seem to be so few of us, and I would like to talk with them. A group or just an informal society of people who happen to love the same thing talking to each other would be the perfect way to get us all together. Discussion would probably have to take place in a group though Google groups or something, but I definitely think it’s worth a try. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just find each other in a single place? It would really make me glad to be able to read other peoples’ impressions of light novels and the light novel industry.

Anime and manga have thousands of forums dedicated to them, so can’t we light novel enthusiasts have at least one venue for ourselves? Maybe gathering together is a better way to improve the light novel industry. No action without unity, right?

Even if this proposed group never became more than a society for people who were passionate about the same things, it would be fine with me. I can’t help but think about the possibilities of a dojin circle. In Japan, dojin circles have produced some amazing work both of existing and original characters. I feel really inspired just thinking about all of the things that dojin circles are responsible for because as you know, the power of fans and fandom is amazing.

Tell me what you think. What’s the best way to gather together the light novel fan base? How can we get more people interested in what we love? Do you think that we enthusiasts have the potential to affect the light novel industry in the US?


The Perfect Genre 2009/09/26

Light novels are written in a variety of genres and can of course be written in a way that overlaps and/or merges genres. In Japan, certain genres seem to be more popular, or at least it seems like more light novels are written in certain genres rather than others.

I think the most popular genres for light novels are romantic comedy, mystery, and sci-fi/fantasy, but that’s in Japan. What about in America? I think people would prefer to read sci-fi/fantasy light novels more, but that could be because many people who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy also enjoy manga, anime, videogames, and light novels.

Or perhaps it’s a simple question of demographics. Do more boys read light novels than girls? It seems that in Japan, more light novels are aimed at males. Is it the same or different for the United States and other countries?

And finally, what genre of light novel do you prefer? What genre of light novel would you like to see in Monthly Capriccio? What genre is the most appealing to you? I would like to hear everyone’s opinions on this, so please leave your comments below.


Is Self-Publishing the Only Way? 2009/09/19

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how light novels can become a profitable media in the US.  A lot of publishers have failed with the light novels, resulting in them dropping titles altogether.  If a translated light novel from a popular franchise with anime and manga tie-ins can’t be successful in America, what success does it have if an American (or any other individual) wants to publish their own original light novel?  Is there any hope?  Is there a real market for light novels at all? 

I am inclined to believe that there is.  In spite of all the failures that publishers have had with light novels in the past, I want to remain hopeful.  Afterall, it is still a work of literature.  As long as people like to read, there’s a chance for success.  I was reading an advice article about self-publishing. As it turns out, self-publishing is ideal for niche audiences. That’s perfect for us light novel enthusiasts who are but a niche of a niche. To me, published is published. I don’t care that a major publishing house didn’t help produce it. I just want people to read the work, and I want to see to it that more people actually know what a light novel is.

So, is self-publishing the only way to go about this? Maybe not, but right now, I think self-publishing is the best approach. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing. If anything, it says that the author is hardworking and dedicated to the work that he or she wants the world to see.

I have another purpose for the self-publishing model. In the style of a Japanese light novel magazine or even a Japanese manga magazine, once the stories have been serialized in the ezine “Monthly Capriccio,” they will be collected into individual volumes, physical books, or e-books, if you prefer. As physical books, they can be sold to the both the people who read this ezine and to general lovers of fiction everywhere.

Maybe you don’t want to go through the hassle of a major publishing house and have them tell you no because your work doesn’t fit their business model, but at least you’ll have self-publishing which has a POD (print on demand) model so you don’t have to worry about losing any money. Just print when people want to buy your work. To me, that is where light novels have the greatest chance of success regardless if the author sells 700 copies or 70,000.


Thinking about an Issue Zero 2009/09/16

Filed under: issue zero,light novel magazine,light novels — nolwenn961 @ 7:03 pm
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I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to raise awareness of this ezine.  I’m very sure that not many people know about it, but that’s all right.  I realize that this is a start-up kind of thing, and I am very determined to be there and make sure this ezine sees the web.  I’ll give more details about my thoughts on issue zero in the coming days.


A Proxy and Two Cents: Death Note Light Novel Review 2009/09/15

Filed under: light novel review,light novels — nolwenn961 @ 3:28 pm
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deathnoteanothernote light novelIf you can’t get enough of the Death Note franchise or want something in addition to the anime, “Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases” should be enough to tide you over.  Written by Nisio Isin, author of “Bakemonogatari” and the Zaregoto series, this light novel is written from Naomi Misora’s point of view.  Since I found her too smart to have been killed off so soon in the anime, it really pleased me to see her appear in this story.  In the story, she is able to live up to my impression of her from the anime.  My understanding of her character deepened as she becomes a proxy to L in the physical aspect of the investigation.

In addition to Naomi Misora’s point of view, you get a narrator, and not just any narrator, but Mello.  He guides you through each chapter, occasionally interrupting the action to give a bit of back story on things that any Death Note fan will be wondering about.  As if answering an otaku’s fan letter, he expands on concepts like Wammy’s House while giving his two cents.

The light novel is a very easy read, but that’s only if you can get around Nisio Isin’s quirky style of unusual names consisting of alliterations or just plain weird nouns put together.  You either like them or you don’t.  His story is still intriguing, and you’ll find yourself wondering what will happen next to the extent that you won’t care what strange moniker he’s given to his characters.  Another part of Isin’s writing style is his use of manga references which is yet another way of appealing to the otaku in all of us.  Some of the references you may get, some you might not, but it’s no big deal.  This is, after all, a detective story.  The detective will hold the reader’s hand and tell you how he came to his conclusion in solving the crime down to the last detail, going as far as explaining the clues.

I did find myself getting a little lost in the string of numbers that are mentioned, which played a significant part in the solving of the crime.  There were times where the numerical clues seemed completely arbitrary even though they did have significant connections to the nature of the crime.  One thing that I found a bit dissatisfying was the killer’s motive.  Considering the intelligence and ego of the killer’s opponent, it does make sense, and it’s perfectly reasonable.  I just felt like the motive should have had a little more substance to it.  At the end, you get a nice little wrap up to the story, reminding you that this is in fact a single volume light novel.

While “Another Note” certainly doesn’t look like a light novel with its absence of illustrations and hardcover binding, it definitely plays the part.  Even without the manga illustrations so characteristic of the average light novel, thanks to Isin’s descriptions, you will have no trouble picturing every scene.  If you’re looking for Kira to make an appearance in this light novel, you won’t find anything more than a few mentions, but if you’re looking for a continuation of the Death Note universe, you will most likely be satisfied as Isin provides a seamless bridge between the manga and anime to the novel.