Having been dedicated to writing about anime online for over a decade now, it’s no surprise that my style as a writer has evolved over the course of those years. Kai on deluscar wrote a post last month about how he’s also evolved as a writer thanks to a passion for writing about anime, which inspired me to share my experiences in writing and how my anime hobby has helped shaped me as a writer…
When thinking about how I’ve evolved as a writer thanks to my being an anime fan, what most interests me is that pretty much everything anime-related I’ve ever written since I first got into anime nearly fourteen years ago, has been of the academic format – things like essays, editorials, general information, and reviews – anything that’s informative and non-fictional, as opposed to creative writing, which is writing fictional stories. For me, that’s about 650 blog posts and another 100+ pages on my blog – that’s a lot of academic writing! Of course, this isn’t surprising since the non-fictional style is how most bloggers I know write and is basically a staple of what blogging is about. But the reason it interests me is because originally I was more into creative writing.
I actually wrote a few stories when I was a little kid, years before I even knew about anime. Some of the first writing I did (outside of school) was a little adventure story about the events of my then-favorite video game, Sonic & Knuckles, back in the mid-90s. It’s obvious that little kids are driven towards creative writing since they don’t yet have the thinking and reasoning skills needed to write academically. When I got my first computer in 2001, I wrote my first “real” fictional story partly for my high school English class and partly because I wanted to. It ended up being the longest story in the class and none of the other students had time to finish reading it during the period where we passed around each other’s stories to read (still got a good grade though!) Not too long after that I wrote my first academic piece, an essay about why I thought Team Rocket from Pokemon were such awesome characters XD (I was 15 years old, that was a hot topic for me at the time!)
My real dive into writing began when I created my anime fan site, AnimeYume.com, in mid-2002. My main goal for the site was to make it a source for anime information and media files such as pictures and video clips, since there was no Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc., back then. So everything I wrote on the site was objectively inclined descriptions of things like what an anime series was about and what each of the characters were like. Looking back on my early writing on the site now, as far as skills go I was always good at grammar and punctuation, so despite a few run-on sentences here and there, my old writing was pretty good for a teenager. As far as style goes however, the main problem I see with my old writing is that, being a new and young fan of anime at the time, I was very “elated” about everything; I used way more emoticons than I do now, 99% of everything I said about every anime and character was positive because I was just so amazed with this newly found medium that I couldn’t see any anime doing anything wrong, and my descriptions were way too filled with things like how” cute” or “cool” everything was. It seems silly to me now of course, but I guess it’s nothing unusual. After all, not only was I much younger and therefore less critical and analytical back then, but I also only watched about 5-10 new anime a year (compared to 30+ nowadays) so it’s natural that each one seemed so novel to me.
Around when I started AnimeYume.com, I did go back and take another shot at creative writing. A little before I started the web site, I wrote a couple of Pokemon fanfics, and about a year after I started it I spent a summer writing two long fanfics for Tenchi Muyo! and Evangelion. But ultimately I went back to just regular prose writing as my interest in fanfiction didn’t last long. In the ensuing years, the two things that radically evolved my writing were going to college and starting this blog, both of which I started at roughly the same time. Being a literature major, I was constantly reading creative writing but only writing academically about then. At the same time, rather than just describing factual things about anime and characters as I had been doing on my fan site, on the blog I was now strictly sharing my opinions about them through reviews and editorials. Even as I was still doing some writing on the old site at this time, my writing on the new pages were noticeably more refined and professional, and less “fangirl-ish” than the old ones. To make a long story short, college helped greatly expand my mind and taught me indispensable reasoning and critical thinking skills, which I then enhanced through the types of articles I felt like writing on my blog. Instead of just giving factual information about anime, I was now expressing my wholehearted opinions and backing them up, offering nostalgic anecdotes, and analyzing subtleties about the fandom as a whole – all styles and topics I never thought about before…and I loved it! And here we are today, 650 posts later, and I can see that my writing is continuing to evolve as posts I wrote in 2012 are better than ones I wrote in 2008…and who knows how much more my writing will continue to evolve. I look forward to finding out =D
In short, when I think about how I’ve evolved as a writer, I went from writing that was good but limited due to my rather childish style and insistence on writing only factual information, to opening a whole new world of mind-enhancing writing as I became a proficient blogger (and college graduate!) But despite this, I do at some point plan to try creative writing again, something I haven’t done at all since that Eva fanfic in 2003. I’ve had a story idea that I’ve played around with in my mind the past few years (as for what it is, that’s a secret!) and I would love to write it out someday. But after ten years of writing only academically, I wonder if it’ll be difficult to switch to creative writing again. We shall see!