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milkteebaby

How much reading (in a VN) is too much?

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Just curious how much reading you feel is too much :) 

I'm currently writing the script for my otome game, and it's really an eyeopener. I've been writing professionally (novels) for over 10 years now, and for some reason, writing a script for this game is much harder than writing any of my books. The type of language used seems to be different, the shift into present-tense is really unnerving and I've got to consider actions and expressions when writing this. I have to consider the adage (show don't tell) but I'm having a hard time doing that without being too wordy. Writing books is definitely different from writing a script or screenplay and I'm eating a little bit of humble pie thinking I'd have a fairly easy time of it. (which I'm not, blargh)

I'd love to see the names of some VNs you felt were too wordy. 

Thanks muchly!

Edited by milkteebaby

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Just now, wyldstrykr said:

when you read more than doing other things per day???

Haha, maybe I should edit the title of the thread to read "How much reading in a VN is too much?"

 

Because tbh, there is no such thing as too much reading in general life. 

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Yeah visual novels have always known to be very long in in terms of length. For example, Fate Stay Night is more than 1 million words in length, which is more than twice the length of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. This is why it can take much longer for people to finish a visual novel as compared to a standard novel. I used to frequently read standard novels a few years ago (when I was 13-15) and I could finish a trilogy within a day. Meanwhile, a very long visual novel which is over 50 hours in length will usually take me at least a week to complete, provided that I dedicate all my time to it (which is about 10-12 hours). If you are looking for a wordy vn, I think it would be Higurashi as it took me months to complete it (though to be fair, I didn't dedicate much time at one go in the earlier half of the game). 

 

Edited by wei123

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53 minutes ago, milkteebaby said:

Just curious how much reading you feel is too much :) 

I'm currently writing the script for my otome game, and it's really an eyeopener. I've been writing professionally (novels) for over 10 years now, and for some reason, writing a script for this game is much harder than writing any of my books. The type of language used seems to be different, the shift into present-tense is really unnerving and I've got to consider actions and expressions when writing this. I have to consider the adage (show don't tell) but I'm having a hard time doing that without being too wordy. Writing books is definitely different from writing a script or screenplay and I'm eating a little bit of humble pie thinking I'd have a fairly easy time of it. (which I'm not, blargh)

I'd love to see the names of some VNs you felt were too wordy. 

Thanks muchly!

If you do it in a style similar to Light, there is literally no reason not to use the NVL style and fill the entire screen with text, with the characters and CGs in the background.  The one thing you need to do that you probably aren't used to is to firmly separate dialogue and narration lines.  In addition 'he said/she said' is unnecessary.  Dialogue boxes make that irrelevant.  Rather, when narrating, you simply describe their body language or tone of voice to provide emphasis. 

Honestly, if your game is slice-of-life, you should avoid heavy narration like the plague.  Slice-of-life stories just become interminable if you narrate it heavily. 

Also, adjust your dialogue to narration rate so that dialogue is at least somewhat more heavily favored than it would be if you were writing a novel.  Some of your narration will inevitably be made less relevant by the use of sprite poses and expressions, necessitating somewhat less in the way of detail.

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I usually read in periods of anywhere from 1 to 3 hours unless I'm completely invested in the story or vn in question in which case I can just read for hours on end. I've blazed through 50hr vns, on the flip side I've taken ages with 10hr ones simply because I wasn't into it.

For me if it starts to feel "wordy" or "too long" it's because I'm not into it or don't find it interesting, otherwise I'm not likely to notice it because of how engrossed I am in the content. 

Edited by DarkZedge

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1 hour ago, DarkZedge said:

I usually read in periods of anywhere from 1 to 3 hours unless I'm completely invested in the story or vn in questions in which case I can just read for hours on end. I've blazed through 50hr vns, on the flip side I've taken ages with 10hr ones simply because I wasn't into it.

For me if it starts to feel "wordy" or "too long" it's because I'm not into it or don't find it interesting, otherwise I'm not likely to notice it because of how engrossed I am in the content. 

Agreed- whether a VN is too long or too short depends pretty much entirely on the subject matter and how it is tackled. Saya no Uta wouldn't really work as a 30 hour VN but, say, Umineko wouldn't be the same if it were only 20 hours.

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Well for me I've noticed that my attention span is not what it used to be so I have a harder time staying engaged with a Visual Novel over it's slow parts.

Right now I'm playing Aoishiro and while I'm liking quite a bit right now it spends far too much time focused on talking about food and obscure Japanese folklore than by advancing the plot. 

At this point it feels like I'm drowning in all these terms that I can barely understand and could care less about. Still I am really enjoying the visuals and characters and the story is interesting enough to hold my attention which I think is the most important thing.

Edited by Ranzo

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1 hour ago, solidbatman said:

Too much reading is any reading you have to do to "get to the good part/s"

Pretty much this (assuming there are any good parts to get to :p). 

To be more specific though, I'm quite a patient reader after I get into a story, but if something bores me or bums me out it's usually long descriptions or overly-long, exaggerated internal monologues. The VN that bored me like no other Sweet Volley High, starts with 10 minutes of the protagonists thinking about how bored and average she is. The VN was consistently shit, but even a good one would have problems to salvage things after such an introduction.

Everlasting Summer, generally a very good VN, have a solid 5 minute sequence of the protagonist freaking out after being inexplicably transported to the pioneer camp where the action takes place. After two minutes its really clear enough how he's feeling (and the fact he left behind a completely miserable, empty life really makes the whole thing even more annoying).

Some people hate "pointless" slice-of-life interactions, I personally don't mind them, as long as they're decently written. The problem starts for me when the game stops flowing properly, like in the examples mentioned above.

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The limit of "too wordy" really depends of what you are writing, genres like sci-fi have much more tolerance in that aspect than SoL, the excess of words tends to be a problem to less skillful writers, but in the right hands and concepts could make a really good work. If you are uncertain, use the motto "less words, more meaning".

In my opinion, a negative example of a wordy vn is  Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou 2, the phrases per se are already lengthy and there some random background info dumps that are totally fucked by how lengthy they are, resulting in a horrible flow to the history.

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If you are making a story with actions scenes, the more detail and description (and the more graphic) the better.  If you are making a philosophical ramble, similar.  Sci-fi and fantasy are also more tolerant of infodumps and extensive explanation of details. 

However, if you start going off on explanations of making coffee and cakes in an SOL story about a guy working as the owner of a cafe, then you are probably just going to irritate your readers unless you are a total genius at making it interesting.  In that kind of case, you should restrict action descriptions to the 'bare bones', rather than going insane with it.  You can get away with spending the equivalent of half a page on the making of a special tea or coffee in a novel, but in a VN, it is just irritating.

As an example... Modesitt (the fantasy author who writes the Recluse and Imager series) is a genius at making relatively mundane tasks interesting.  However, most people can't do that and shouldn't try.

What is your area of mastery?  Every writer has one.  Mine is setting design and action (violent) scenes.  However, I suck at slice-of-life, because it really isn't possible to make something interesting if you don't find it interesting.  The key is figuring out how to translate your area of mastery from the novelized format to a VN format.

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It's such a simple question, but it's really hard to give an answer, because there is no single right answer. Every single answer usually includes "it depends on..." and one major factor is personal taste. The best answer I can give is to make the good parts long enough and the not so good parts as short as possible. If there is a section, which ends up being boring, it will take forever to get through and the risk of dropping the title increases significantly. It doesn't matter if the good parts are really long as long as they are good and worth reading.

 

I don't think you should view the VN as a whole as too long or not. The issue is rather each scene. For each scene, possibly each line, you should ask yourself if what you are looking at will be interesting to read, if it has significance to the plot in the future, character buildup (as in reader gaining knowledge of personality) and so on. You should consider not using something where you have to say no to all those questions. Even if the section is interesting, you should consider if it could be done in 20 lines instead of 30 and if it would be better or worse for doing so. Your goal is to cut away as much as possible without removing anything good or needed. Perfection is not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

 

One thing people often complain about is way too long H scenes, but any suggestions to remove them aren't popular either. However somehow I get the feeling you aren't adding any, which is ok. It's a genre decision and some VNs are better for not including H scenes at all. Some of the really popular VNs have no H scenes at all and instead focuses on something completely different, such as a well written story with carefully fought out plot elements.

 

One thing, which is fairly important when writing a VN instead of a book is that it doesn't go A to B. VNs usually have a number of choices, which either makes the story branch right away or answered are stored in flags to be used to branch later. In some cases both. There exist VNs without much branching and in some cases none at all. However proper branching is generally viewed as a good thing.

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