One of my reading weaknesses is a fascination with manga. Manga is the term used to refer to Japanese-style or Japanese-origin graphic novels or comics. Manga can be subdivided based on general, gender-oriented content (romance, adventure, etc.) into shonen manga (for boys) and shojo manga (for girls). I, of course, love my love stories and mostly read shojo manga. Manga also comes in a wide variety of maturity ratings, from school-age appropriate stories all the way to sexually explicit. There is quite literally something for everyone in manga!
Before diving into a particular series, I’d like to share my thoughts on what makes manga so unique as a story-telling format. Obviously, part of what sets manga apart from the other books I read is the visual element. You can actually see what’s happening in the story! The facial expressions and nonverbal communication add a level of fun and “reality” that you don’t find in traditional novels.
Manga also has a certain “depth” to it. You can see both the actual conversations between characters and the individual character’s thoughts during these interactions, plus you will find commentary on both the internal and external dialogues as characters react not only as part of the story but by observing the situation in general. It’s like that moment in a fight with your partner when you step back and realize how silly the argument really is – you’re still mad, but there’s the other part of your brain noticing that it’s also kind of funny. Manga is able to portray stuff like that in a way that books can’t. I like to include the inner thoughts of my narrating characters as a way to add depth to my own stories, but even I can’t achieve what manga can. Combined together, the visual aspect of facial expressions and the mental commentary of the characters on the plot provide a very realistic and relatable emotional experience.
Not only does manga resonate with me as something very real, but it’s also just plain fun. It captures the silly, inane moments that make life what it is. And I like fun :D. There will be scenes in my novels that are not plot-related, they’re just fun to read (or at least fun to write :P). Fluff, you might say. You’ll have to forgive any random tangents in my books that don’t seem to be driving the plot – it’s just me, enjoying myself :). More on manga next time!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.