Heart and Soul

I’ve just finished reading the most current volume of my favourite Shojo manga, Skip Beat!   by Yoshiki Nakamura when I realized something.

There is a reason this is my favourite Shojo manga. The mangaka is brilliant. I have read something by her before and I felt it when I read her work then, but she is masterful in her craft. Not only are the images appealing, it’s the story. When I read her work, I hope that I can evoke the same reaction from my readers as she does from me. In this series particularly, it’s ongoing and currently 30 volumes are available in North America. During these 30 volumes I’ve laughed, felt my heart skip a beat (no pun intended) in anticipation, cried, become angry, and be satisfied.

When I write my stories, I hope to have my readers feel the same way. I know that I get excited and cry and laugh when I reread my work, but I’m biased as I am the creator. I am pouring a piece of me into everything I write. Every character that I give birth to has a piece of me inside of them, regardless of what they are.

“But Sarah. That’s just writing and that’s just a comic” people tell me. (I get mad at the comic remark a lot. IT’s MANGA DAMN IT!)

So? So what if it is? Do people not laugh and cry when they watch a movie? Or television? That’s not ‘real’ either.

Once, back when I lived alone and had much more time for writing, I was working on a piece I have since lost. I was telling a friend about the story line when I disclosed I had killed off one of the main characters. She got mad at me and demanded the chapter so she could read it (I usually sent it to her as soon as it was done, but I had finished at 3am that day so I told her about it on our way to class). I sent it to her and thought nothing of it. A few hours later I got an angry phone call. PHONE CALL. We never called each other. We just used MSN (this was before texting became such a way of life) when we wanted to talk.

She was crying on the phone. She was so upset that I had killed off that particular character and she wanted me to know. While she was blubbering she told me how mad she had been because she had been so attached to that character.

I have never felt like I actually accomplished something more in that moment, than any other in my life.

I didn’t mean to kill that character. That’s the way the story was going. In order for certain events to happen and for certain emotions and reactions to develop, I had to kill that character.

When I’m reading a manga or watching an anime I will also get upset when a character I like a lot dies, but I understand that that’s the way it’s meant to be.

Doesn’t mean I won’t pout about it.

I want to be that kind of author. It may be presumptuous of me to think that I can achieve something that great. In fact, I am extremely surprised I am going forward with publishing a book.

It’s something I have wanted to do for years, but alas. I have extremely scarce amounts of self-confidence due to various reasons. I am never confident in myself whether it be in my writing, my work, my existence. There are reasons, of course, but that is a story for another day.

As I put down the manga and pick up my laptop to continue editing, I can only hope that the  story I have worked so hard to create and bring to life will bring others to tears because they are that moved.

Hopefully not because it sucks that hard 😉

Posted by Sarah Jayne

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