Review: Normal in Parenthesis || AkaGin

Webnovel Story. Genre(s): Realistic Fiction — # of Chapters: 21

TQ 3   PD 1  CF 1   ||   RL 1   CL 3 — Overall: 9

 

Important Note:  There is a big difference between a webnovel–a story of the internet and mobile world–and a published book. Besides straightforward editing, published stories are constantly polished to be more engaging, meaningful, and clear. So a successful webnovel doesn’t equate to the same caliber of a published novel. This is due in part to an online writer typically being a one man/woman show. Thus, reviews will be given as if regarding whether this could be a published print or e-book.

 

All 21 chapters were covered in this review.

 

Technical:

Okay overall. A common mistake was the lack of commas before conjunctions of independent clauses.

Characters:

Gin – Great start to his character building in the prologue. It delved into his mind very nicely, and the following chapters consistently showed his personality. Chapter 7 is another good example of his thoughts, albeit, somewhat drawn out.

The new students – Way too many. If all of them are necessary to the story, then more deeply introduce one of them when they all first appear, have him/her interact with Gin. Later on, introduce the remaining one by one, or at most, two at a time. Chapter 5 introduced Ringo and Shiro in more depth after their initial appearance, but the continuous amount of dialogue made reading sluggish. Either cut back and only include important conversation or which best expresses personality, or add action verbs to the speech—since continuous lines of simple dialogue/quotes should be done in moderation—as well as gestures and settings to make the conversation more realistic and less tedious. This holds for other chapters with strings of continuous dialogue, too.

Otakus. This is used too much and shouldn’t be the defining point of a character. Go beyond this.

Nani. Again, used too much. A few times is funny.

Plot:

Sound waves, interesting. After the teacher explained this disaster, the proceeding chapters lacked intensity or any apparent development.

POV switches such as in Chapter 6… Especially in first person, if you’re switching POV, clarify who it is before you continue the story. For example, Gin’s POV or Rin’s POV. Additionally, try to limit switches to at most every few chapters. Frequent switches in a single chapter or a couple of chapters is too confusing (especially if the POV is not clarified beforehand) and hurts the reading flow. The only time when POV’s might not be rightly clarified are in mystery stories, but even then, it must be done with caution.

Chapter 8, the story picks up again with new insights on time, world, and MC’s bone regeneration ability.

The Room of Reality chapters with all the time skips is a little confusing and is somewhat of a sudden jump from an ordinary life to an almost sci-fi setting and back. It feels like all the time skips weren’t really necessary as they showed Gin’s thoughts and feelings, but his personality was fleshed enough before this. If the skips shows development of his trauma for being stuck in the room, this can still be accomplished with far less skips and length of writing.

Chapter 11 onward. A sudden shift to third person after using first person can also hurt reading flow. The beginning of this chapter also seemed to break the 4th wall by using the word, “Let’s” and engaging the reader. After being in first person before this, this direct engagement felt very awkward. Ah, chapter 14, another 4th wall break.

Gravitational force. Another interesting idea loosely intertwined in the story.

Chapter 20. Akaji is found dead.

 

Conclusion:

This story is unconventional in comparison to many on Webnovel; while it has several interesting ideas and concepts such as sound waves, murder, gravitational pull, and a Room of Reality, they’re loosely threaded together to make much sense of what exactly is happening and why. A common theme is silver. At the beginning, the idea of silver like gray “illuminated,” is fresh, but it quickly becomes overused in the story. Also, its significance/difference from gray wasn’t clearly explained. What makes silver special? Tell us.

Actions, dialogue, and settings lacked a lot of description and detail to immerse oneself into the story’s world. Strings of dialogue were mundane and unnecessarily abundant. Stories aren’t just a string of dialogue with a few tell of what happened in-between. Show us. What the behaviors of the characters while speaking? Their voice inflections? Their settings? The five senses? Thoughts, feelings? The MC’s character is quickly, easily, and strongly made out, but the rest of the lineup–besides being too large when starting—is extremely lacking in comparison to Gin. Flesh out one or two characters throughout a few chapters before moving onto another. If they’re not important or could be combined with another, then cut them or combine them. At this point, there are too many characters that lack different and developed personalities while there is little of settings and other descriptors.

The perspective changes are too much, too often. Stick to either first person or third person. If using first person, like mentioned before, limit POV switches, stick to a few characters, and alert the reader of switches beforehand. These changes will make reading and comprehension more fluid. Otherwise, the story is hard to follow.

All in all, this story has a lot of potential to stand out among others on Webnovel. Its strength lies in the great development of Gin, the MC. It truly goes into his mind and way of thinking. While lacking in execution and fluidity, the next strength is in the ideas presented (the first paragraph of this conclusion). The depth of writing needs to seriously increase. Presently, this is more like an outline of a story than actual storytelling. Limit some of Gin’s introspection as his character is grasped well enough from the get-go, and focus on beefing up the rest of the story elements of plot, settings, and other characters. You have all the elements, just visualize the specifics and relate them to the reader, so they can really dive into your world.

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