Monthly Capriccio

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

A Replica, but not a Pastiche 2009/09/26

I’m still looking for writers for the ezine, and I never thought that this would be a difficult process. It’s not that I’m having a hard time finding writers, it’s more like I’m having a hard time getting writers to understand what the light novel style is in general. I suppose this all goes back to the ultimate question of “What’s a light novel?”

I want the writers to create a replica of the light novels that have been written in Japanese and the ones that have been translated into English. I want this to be a smooth transition for those who have read light novels either in Japanese or English. I would like the writers to emulate the same brisk writing style that allows a reader to read the story quickly.

If the reader can get through each story quickly, then the possibility of a re-read increases. I remember when Shonen Jump was first published in America. I read that first issue over and over until the next one came out. Everytime that I read that first issue, it made me ancitipate the second issue even more, and I could easily retain what happened in each of the stories.

One thing that I am a little bit concerned about when trying to emulate something that already has a sizable following is that I don’t want to make this into a pastiche. I don’t want it to appear that our authors are trying too hard to emulate the light novel style, and I don’t want this ezine to become something that only does cheap imitations. Quality of stories is what I’m looking for overall, and that will come first, so if the story is good and engaging to the reader, you can be concerned about formatting later.


A Good Artist Is Hard to Find 2009/09/25

I realize that this is an ezine, an ezine that focuses primarily on the text inside it, but the irony of that is that what we need to really draw in the readers is art, not words. That’s not to say that words aren’t important because that’s obviously not true, but art is more eye-catching than text alone.

Take a relatively unknown or new manga, for example. If potential readers aren’t drawn in by the artist’s name, then what ultimately must draw in the readers it the art, specifically cover art. That’s why I’m in search of a few good artists who are passionate about what they do and hopefully a few will be into light novels.

An attention-grabbing color cover will be especially advantageous to the ezine, but I can’t leave out the contents of the ezine. Remember, one of the defining qualities of a light novel are its mangaeque illustrations. I’ll need artists to illustrate the stories, but that shouldn’t be too much work for the individual artist. As a serialized ezine, there will be one chapter of each story per issue, so that would mean no more than two illustrations per story. Even a single illustration for each story is fine.

There are some really amazing artists out there, artists that are just waiting to get out there and have their name known to the world. It’s my hope that I will be able to provide a few artists with a means of being more recognizable, that is to people who adore light novels. And perhaps the audience of this ezine will expand far beyond that barrier.

I’ve been told that DeviantArt would be my best place to search, and that’s where I’ll start, but I wonder if there is another source of untapped talent that I can look? I’m sure I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it. I want this to be art that will make the Japanese manga industry jealous, art that is original and truly stands out on its own.


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.


Relay Novel 2009/09/17

I was doing some random internet searching on the Japanese side of the internet when I came across the words “relay novel.”  I didn’t really know what it was until I thought about it.  Can you imagine it, a team of writers sitting down, one person scribbling away at the page then passes it off to the next writer sitting beside him or her?  There’s no timer, but there’s lots or pressure (maybe).  That’s how I imagined it, this high-stakes over the top literary drama.  A relay novel is not exactly like that (although it could be).

My point is what if I wrote a relay novel with some of the other writers who have agreed to contribute to the ezine?  That could be fun.  With each issue, there’s a new chapter published, and people will anticipate the next issue to find out what will happen next or what kind of twist there’ll be.  Anyway, that’s just a thought.  I’m not sure if anyone would want to do that.  Am I the only one?  It could have a really wacky or quirky name that would make people think, “Hey, what’s that?” when they read the title.

On another note, I got a story from someone who wants to write for the magazine.  I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll gladly look it over.  I’m still in need of writers as well as other people.  Maybe what this ezine blog needs is a google group.  I couldn’t find anything when searching “light novel.”  Such a shame.  Let’s get that awareness up, up, up!


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.


What’s a light novel? 2009/09/15

Filed under: Uncategorized — nolwenn961 @ 6:44 pm

After an extensive search on the net about light novels, I came across the magazine Karui Shousetsu Magazine.  I was glad to learn that someone had decided to create a light novel magazine in English.  I have even downloaded the magazine.  I was ready to offer my services to the magazine as an editor and a writer, but there hasn’t been another issue since the first one.  No one has returned my message about contributing, so I think that I have given up on trying to be apart of someone else’s project. 

Instead, I thought that I would just create my own light novel magazine.  I have a good idea about how I want my magazine, “Monthly Capriccio” to look, but what I need are more people to help me with the creation of it.  I have a handful of people who have expressed interest in the magazine.  That’s great, but I have gotten another response from people.  Many times, people have just asked, “What’s a light novel?”  Being asked this question is only further evidence that we fans of the light novel are but a niche of a niche.  I heard that more people are aware of the visual novel than the light novel.

By creating “Monthly Capriccio,” I want to increase people’s awareness of the light novel.  Maybe one day, the light novel can be as popular as it is in Japan…or at least be as popular as manga are in the US.  Even if that’s too idealistic of me, at least it’s something I can aim for.


A Proxy and Two Cents: Death Note Light Novel Review

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.