Chapter 19:

Proper Afterword

The Girl He Used To Know - Original HoneyFeed Version

Took a little longer then planned but here we are, an afterword - I sit currently finishing off Draft two of 'The Girl He Used Know' (GUK) and alots been through my mind about this weird little novella - This being an afterword expect me to ramble around, this is by no means compulsory reading or anything, but a couple people liked the idea of one of these and I always value an opportunity to write down my thoughts. 
That said I have no interest in sitting here explaining my own work, it would take a special kind of Ego to that for a whole-entire chapter, so let's instead talk 'shop'.

Heck one thought is the validity of afterword's these days, more often then not you see the author put in a foreword at the start of the book - With the medium of web-novels however, it would be a massive turn-off for people if your book opened with a diatribe about your personal life😅 - Just one of the interesting ways this format differs so widely to traditional books.

And that gap between old and new is even wider on a site like HoneyFeed isn't it? 
This place is primarily branded on being an 'anime-fan' website, meaning almost all of us are writing anime/manga inspired web-novels here.
Which to me has made finishing GUK a bit of a contemplative dead-end.

I should explain that a little more I guess - I'm sure most can relate to that feeling when your writing your main book and you come across a great idea, something one of your characters says that you think 'I could write a spin-off about that!' and then you think 'Shut-the-feck up and finish this book first for God's sake'😅.

GUK started as one of those, I was writing up some lore notes for my main book 'UnderCurrent' and the idea that Pierre/Gem Havler (who existed before GUK's inception) was actually a reversed isekaied human from the planet Bhaile, who had once travelled with the in-universe messianic figure of St.Aardig, was one of those spit-ball thoughts I had.
Trivia Fact; You can actually see this in UnderCurrent's Christmas Chapter, months before I started GUK, where Pierre argues with the editor over Aardig's gender - Displaying knowledge he shouldn't have as someone from modern day Earth.

In this proto-version there was no Maka Umit, instead Pierre would get an apprentice whom he would gradually tell more stories of his time with Aardig to.
It was almost like a 'Christmas Carrol' with less ghosts.
Additional Trivia; Pierre in this version was not Aardig's closet companion or a sword-master - He was truly a nobody who had simply been in Aardig's group for a while, his love in this version would of been completed lopsided.

But like I said, that was just an idea - It wasn't until the incredible silly challenge prompt; "Theme: My 2D waifu is now my real life Valentine's!?" - Came up that I even considered slowing down my work on UnderCurrent (which had just conveniently come to the end of arc 2) in order to write up this idea.

And with the prompt you can really start to see the issue I've had while writing up the second and third drafts for GUK - Who's it for?
Like everything in it is centred around the prompt - Pierre for example is not an Otaku, but I gave him many of the traits of that architype, ergo he's a social reject who spends most of his life at home on his computer and blames the Earth itself for all his problems - That's a description of an Otaku type character right there, which helped him fit the challenge prompt.

Similarly replacing the apprentice character with Maka satisfied the 'Waifu' part of the challenge.
And by no means do I regret this, I hope that these changes actually made the book more interesting then the original idea I had back at Christmas - Further Maka added a mystery element which gave the story a sense of momentum it much needed.
More Trivia; Keeping up momentum was an interesting challenge in a book of primarily two characters who just talk to one another - 'The Golem' character originally had more lines and appearances in the flashbacks but I cut him back to just what's in episode 3 and a few other mentions in the later chapters, as he unfortunately bogged down the flow of the story a bit.

But all that in mind, who's this for? Say I put a shitload more time in and push through draft 4 & 5, commission a proper cover and a real editor - Make it really professional as it were, then what?

It's not marketable is it😂? It's fundamentally tied to the challenge prompt - Without the prompt the instances where the characters use words like 'Waifu' & 'Isekai' would seem completely bizarre, the whole thing is built deliberately around the prompt.

But moreover does this not extend to all of us? Who are any of us writing these books for?
Japan notoriously doesn't take in much western media, certainly not much from young authors - They already have an oversaturated light novel scene, why the heck would they want a crap ton of novice-western-writers who speak a different language?

And let's be honest, none of us are writing western applicable stuff are we? 
Our very formats are different, we write in arcs akin to light-novel volumes - That isn't really a western thing per-se and our stylings are way off.

We're not exactly writing YA fiction but neither is it really adult in most cases. We include things like Isekai, waifu culture, magical girls and mecha tags that just aren't as much of a thing outside of Japan.

Oh sure there's an ever growing fanbase in the west, but try telling that to a literature agent😅.
Now technically some movement does seem to be occurring, I don't want to discourage people or anything, the HoneyFeed-Literary-Agency thing is a great idea - It's built on a website with foundations made of sand, but its a great idea no less.

Will it work? Maybe?
Qdrop, Honeyfeed's parent company isn't a massive group or anything but they probably have the capital to launch a few books into Japan proper - How well those books will then do, that's another question.

So while it's possible in five or ten years time it might be regularly tenable to realise a light novel in Japan, originally written in English - Right now its highly improbably.

So why are we writing any of this stuff? What do we do when we're done?
Should I rewrite GUK to try and divorce it from the challenge prompt and instead market it towards a western audience? Should I be putting it out there on other, less anime orientated web-novel websites?
Well putting aside that I'm a complete novice and obviously nowhere near being close to ever publishing anything, let alone this - The question then becomes, 'What would even be left if I did that sort of rewrite? Would I like it anymore?'

Honestly I haven't come to many satisfying answers for alot of this yet - Toni Morrison (RIP) said she always wrote books with no one in mind, other then to write the books she wanted to read herself - She won a noble prize so maybe that's the answer😅.

See GUK is a shitpost right? I mean look at the challenge prompt again; 
"Theme: My 2D waifu is now my real life Valentine's!?"

That ain't a theme your going to write literature based off, its silly, juvenile even - Its a fanfiction prompt more then anything.
Yet I don't know how to write a shitpost, I've never tried and would need to learn how - So GUK was written like anything else I've done - Sure all of it bar this afterword, was completed in just a month but I took it seriously, it's characters have what I hope are believable emotions and motives, there's themes, motifs, sub-arcs etc - I really wanted to emphasis messages about stories and their parallels to reality, about how badly we threat ourselves and the cold hard grip of remorse.
I wanted my go at writing a feel good, anime-styled romance to be the best I can make it as I presently am.

So what even is Guk then? And equally what are any of our books?
While Guk is defiantly very 'anime' (I even used the 'episode' moniker at the start of each chapter), my other stuff isn't intended that way - UnderCurrent is being written based on everything I've learned as a Westerner, from reading book like Lord of The Rings & Sherlock Holmes or watching lecture series given by English speaking lecturers like Brandon Sanderson.
And yet UnderCurrent is definitely anime inspired, it's got a massive robot on the front-cover for one thing - It originally started as a Gundam critic that has spiralled out of control into its own thing.

So what is it, what are they, all of it?


I've thought about alot of stuff while writing up draft two, about how painful editing things on HoneyFeed is😅, about how far I want to try and perfect this little novel to the best of my ability and about what a web-novel even is to me, in general and what I want out of it.

I guess I could just of done a like 'Thank-You' thing in this afterword and make no mistake, it does mean alot how well this book has done - It matched UnderCurrent's performance in half the time which is awesome😊 - And people have said they actually like it which is both surprising and pretty damn encouraging.

And I suppose that's the purpose of this, to get feedback and give some too, on other web-novels - To try and improve our writing in this relatively quiet place.
And ultimately I'm a hobbyist, I write reviews, fiction, opinion pieces or whatever else takes my fancy of a day - There isn't a professional element to it so to speak.

So thank you for reading along with me as we went through this weird book that isn't quite a shitpost, isn't quite anime and certainly isn't western.
Hopefully I work out some of those answers as to what the endgame of this whole 'web-novel' business is sooner or later and perhaps that can be something to save for the afterword of the next book😂🤣.

As always Thank you so much for reading, means a heck of alot, Goodbye to you GUK draft 2,
Cya in the next One,