I was gonna just reply but then I ran out of room! Maybe just spend a lot of time consuming media and dissecting what you love about it? That usually gets me going. It can be really small stuff, too. For example, what exactly do you love about Please Save My Earth? What is it you wanted to reproduce but couldn’t? Is there another way of reproducing it that you haven’t considered yet?
I apologize in advance if I ramble, but I dunno how to explain what I mean other than by example.
For example, I love the idea of travel. Of wandering. Of meeting people on the way. (Don’t kill me, but that’s one of the lasting things I got out of Pokemon as a kid.) I love nature even if I’m not great at portraying it yet—that’s what I get out of pretty much every Miyazaki film, is how stunning the setting can be. There’s a spiritual catharsis in it, too, in being in a gorgeous setting alone or even with someone you don’t know well yet (that’s not any particular media, that’s just going outside when it’s thunderstorming in Florida I guess.) There’s something amazing about making a journey with a stranger, or going through some ordeal with someone you never met before, but that you can’t help but be friends with afterward. (Why I want to play Journey so badly.) So all these themes became really important for me to include in White Noise at some point.
A good exercise I like to do is take something I hate and find something I really like in it. I’m doing it right now with DBZ. Ahahaha c’:
Character themes are a little harder because all my characters except Helly are REALLY OLD, like yours, and have undergone a lot of revisions. Ffff. I’m going to spare you an essay on that because I probably need to think harder about that anyway. :Ia Uhhh maybe the examples will help some? Just to get thinking? Writing a story was a lot easier for me once I had all of these themes I wanted to have happen at some point, I dunno!
Aaah I’m really sorry for rambling. I’m always up for talking about this stuff, though. I used to RP a lot too and it’s awesome for bouncing ideas around so I kinda miss being able to…do that…
I think on a superficial level I was really into the reincarnation idea, which became a huge component of my fantasy story, but that part now is actually kind of the least important and I keep looking for ways to write it out and failing whoops
what actually appeals to me about Hiwatari’s work, now that I’ve had more time to think about it critically, is her ability to juggle twenty different characters and all their plot threads and make them COHERENT and the fact that she manipulates the reader’s perception of the characters so flawlessly. All the characters are really fleshy, and you really get a sense of the fact that every character perceives the other characters, including themselves, differently. A lot of this is played out in opposing point of views- you think you know what was going on in a scene, and then later on you get some insight into what was going on in a character’s head and it totally changes the entire tone and implications of that scene. And also that her characters ring very true because everyone thinks they’re doing what’s best but they’re also mixed up kids who make a lot of mistakes and jump to conclusions like real people do. MAN I AM PROBABLY NOT EXPLAINING THIS VERY WELL.
I like my characters to have an image they present and one that they don’t, either because they’re unaware of it or because they’re afraid of it or because they have something to lose if they do.
Actually I think that’s what I like about Persona 4 as well.