For me, my time in high school was a different experience. As someone who was never quite in the 'in' crowd, I found it hard to attend parties where all people ever did was grind up against each other to some loud, grating beat on a cheap stereo set. Homework, though I had a lot of it, was never too difficult - perhaps due to my lack of partygoing habits. Romance was something I shied away from; only having one short relationship that was never bad, but never all that good either.
Perhaps this describes you. Perhaps it doesn't. Whatever your history, the unique environment of the high school campus manages to pervade popular media across the globe to this day. When we see a character in a television show, or - dare I say it - a visual novel, we can't help but find similarities to real-life people who may share some common traits with these characters. We see the brainy-type characters in that one kid in the corner who gets all the answers right on every test. Or perhaps we see the traits of a tsundere character
(which, by the way, is never, EVER, that clear cut in real life) in a close friend. Groups of friends you hang out with - your best friends, your friends in that club you go to after school, your friends who go to a different school - can all be a 'slice' of a bigger piece of time. A week can be filled with a variety of drama, good times, and funny moments - a surprisingly short amount of time that can have so many of these events.
All of this slice-of-life business has gotten me thinking about my current state of writing; that is to say, how I can progress through one scene and make it mesh with another without seeming like the two are separate, static images. Or, in a similar vein, how I can write as our main character, as opposed to an idealized version of myself. Life can be organized into 'scenes', much like chapters in a book. But where chapters have a beginning and an end, life keeps going. As the reader isn't in Erik's head 24/7, I have to find an appropriately sized 'slice' to either start or continue the story that I've started. In addition, I also have to make sure that it flows into the next scene - adding to the overall story. Getting that right moment between characters like Jeanne and Erik is very satisfying, though. Emotional moments that fit the story arc in just the right way add to their development as characters.
Slice-of-life stories give the reader a window into a character's experiences, from first encounters to final farewells. As a writer, it's my job to make sure the moments in between are just as memorable. Hopefully enough that you'll remember these characters even after those final words.
|Art by Cocander|