Comparing and Picking Mediums

14 Jul

Somethig I’ve always loved to do is compare the same story told in different mediums.  99% of the time, I will think the book is better than the movie, assuming it came first.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think adaptation decay can be limited or even avoided.  It most certainly can.  Sometimes, translation into a different medium can even change the story entirely.  And this actually works more often than trying to stick to close to the original, which, if it is good, will usually be much to suited to its original medium to adapt well.  To be clear, I think that is a mark of good crafting, not bad.

I began my story career with the goal of writing commercial prose fiction.  Not screenplays, no epic poems, not webcomics, not cartoon scripts.  But as a consumer of stories, I’m also a big fan of anime and manga, and every now and then I get the desire to create something in one of those mediums.  Usually manga, since I have nowhere near the toys and skillset to produce any sort of decent animation.  Currently, I have a lovely idea for a manga I want to write which could also work quite well in prose.  And as happens every time, I can’t decide if I really wouldn’t write it as a book.  I don’t have the ability to professionally publish a manga (or a comic, don’t get me started; see NOTE).  Whereas I’m pretty well able to get a book ready for publication, I know the submission process, and I know how editorial and publication will go.

(NOTE:  You can’t write manga/manhwa if you’re not Japanese/Korean, live in Japan/Korea, blah blah blah.  A manga is a comic and a comic is a manga, and I’m calling it manga because I read Asian shit, not American shit, neitehr of which I really think are shit; I’m just tired of this dumb argument.)

And why whould it be a problem whether I know how to get a manga/comic published?  Because, while writing began as a hobby, and I do it for fun, I also want to put my work in front of readers and I’d like to be compensated for the time and effort I put into it.  I’m all for free short stories and Creative Commons, but a little recompense here and there would not go amiss, and traditional publishing still gets your work in front of relatively more readers on the average.

So, should I do a manga or a novel?  I’ve had this discussion a million times before, and the novel has always won out.  But this time, I’ve decided it’s going to be a manga or nothing.  For one thing, the character design and world-building process is very different.  Writers use character sheets and pick actors to represent them and some even draw their characters.  But anime/manga character design takes this a step further, and the resulting image is something that consumers see.  There is no editing hair or eye color to better relate to the character, and appearances tend to be more deviant from the human norm–for various and mostly good reasons.  In fact, the necessity of always considering the direct visual aspect in manga makes the entire process different.  You can convey more and less information in various areas due to the conventions of the medium.  While the story evolves novel-like in my head,Im very curious how that will compare to the actual manga I come up with.  What will I have to twist or sacrifice or get to add to fit the medium?

And of course, there’s just the plain fan.  Doing character design is totally awesome, and the same thing for other concept art.  Whether the actual story art will be as exciting I don’t know, since I’ve never written a full manga before.  That said, this manga is going to be less stylized than most Japanese manga, or at least those that have made it to the US.  Since this is not shounen manga, say, but YA literary fantasy.  I plan to post it online for free, probably starting on my DeviantArt account, since I don’t feel like setting up a website for a fun excursion.  How soon it starts going up will depends on how much time I have to work on it, and how quickly the research and world-building goes, but I expect to have some OC character sketches ready pretty quick, and uploaded as soon as I have access to scanner.

Now, I’ve decided this is not going to be a blog for posting my own work.  It’s intended entirely as a discussion blog for various aspects of literature.  But because I plan to pair the first few manga chapters with their prose counterparts to use for comparison, I will throw up another page or two, and occassionally bring attention to them in my posts.  I expect there to be a clear but not necessarily overpowering difference due to the two different media of execution.  Experiment, here I come!

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Ideas, Manga


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