• Question: What advice would you give to someone writing a VN for the first time? Also, where can I find some of your other work aside from KS? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    Generic advice is hard to give and it’s so… generic and simple that it’s not very helpful except for people with zero common sense. Then again, people with common sense would know better than to write visual novels so:

    1. Keeping in mind that you’re writing for visualization is important, and challenging. Visual observations have to be written differently than in non-visual prose.

    2. Plan out properly and as meticulously as possible. A branching story requires planning on a whole different level than writing a linear story. Making the choices interesting and engaging is actually very difficult. Good choices often get leverage from basic emotions or are in situations where every outcome has something the reader would want to avoid.

    3. If you’re familiar with visual novels, try to forget what you know. The entire medium is plagued by horrrrrrible design conventions that for whatever reason are “industry standard”. If adhered to, these ideas will cause your story to become the same kind of lukewarm goo that most VNs already are, in one flavour or another.

  • Question: Hi Aura! In one of the KS Artbooks you wrote: "... I wrote a short story about an artist girl who had both of her arms amputated, based on an omake image from a doujinshi book." Due to the fact that Rin is my favourite character from the VN, I am very interested in this little origin story. Where can I find it? Thanks in advance from Germany. Yours truly, Gilarack! - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    The story in fact still exists in KS, though rewritten many times over. The final form is the scene “Studies in Greyscale”, more or less.

  • Question: Were any of you actually Japanese? And how do you think Japan will react if someone translates KS to Japanese? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    None of us is Japanese.

    Act 1 did get translated to Japanese and seems like it was reasonably well received. There have been a couple of KS doujins at conventions already, even (which is obviously the thing that interests people the most). I guess I’m hoping the full translation will be at least as well received? It’s just that in Japanese KS is competing with a much larger ecosystem of cartoon porn literature, so the kind of blowup of popularity that happened with the English release is much less likely. We’ll see.

  • Question: Do you or any other devs read fanfics? If so, what are your Top 10 list? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    Question doesn’t specify whether it means Katawa Shoujo fanfics specifically, but I’m guessing it does due to referring to the devs. Anyway: I don’t, and almost no one else does either. I don’t read any fan fiction. It just isn’t my jam. When a story is over, it’s over for me. I don’t get attached to any fiction or thing so much that I’d want more and more and more of it.

    Some authors really dislike having fanfiction written of their works. They feel such strong moral ownership and personal connection to their work that having someone else tamper with it feels like a personal violation. I understand the feeling, but don’t really agree with getting upset over someone writing fanfiction (and try to not get upset, myself). The issue is muddled and difficult to have a comfortable stance with, and I could muse about it for several longish essays worth.

  • Question: What's your favorite piece of KS fanart? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    This one by Doomfest. He painted it as a (secret santa) Christmas present for me a few years ago.

  • Question: If you had a second chance to redo KS, what would you and the other devs change? How would all your "true visions" turn out like? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    I’d change the setting (and by extension, everything). I’d make the story happen in a Russian orphanage somewhere in the outskirts of Leningrad in early 80s or something. Nadya is your new waifu.

  • Question: What inspired you to create a blog? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    I thought it’d be nice to have a space for myself that I could use for grander things than 140 character brainfarts.

    But. I couldn’t come up with a cohesive identity for the blog, which has lead to a sort of a crisis with it: I just don’t know what I’d use it for and nothing really feels worthwhile, so it’s been out of commission for a while. I kinda feel bad about it.

  • Question: Do you feel it is a point in a narrative's favour that the potency of the emotional devastation caused by a major loss (the most obvious example being a character's death) leaves you completely numb to everything that happens thereafter? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    No, but kinda if you’re feeling charitable.

    If you want to intentionally cause massive emotional devastation, it’s not exactly hard. There are literary recipes for that kind of thing, even. It can happen (semi-) unintentionally too. But either way, pathos is a tool in a writer’s toolbox and people respond to it differently. A moment that totally wrecks someone might not move another person at all. Is that a point in the narrative’s favour? A point against the narrative? The first person’s favour? What if the first person was a super cynical asshole and the story still made him cry? Great success? What if the author wanted a later event be more impactful but it isn’t to someone because of this? A point against? There are too many variables to give a universal answer, it’ll always depend more on who is reading than what they are reading.

    So, my bottom line is that if you set out to write a story with the goal of building up and then executing a tearjerker, and pull it off so that it works as intended, there’s merit to it for sure. Maybe at its most basic form it’s not the hardest thing, but doing it properly is more than what a whole lot of writers can do.

    Of course “emotional potency” can be considered a very desirable thing, and many people do so. If you bake your entire narrative around this goal you get something our scene calls nakige, or crying games. The fact there’s a term like “crying games” belies a phenomenon: there are these feelsnauts who specifically look for that exquisite moment of catharsis when their waifu du jour dies of plot cancer while they reach for the tissues with shaking hands. They are our equivalent of horror movie junkies who seek a different kind of thrill, and often get it from jumpscares (which really are the cheapest trick in the book). It’s a VN term because this is one of the best mediums ever invented for eliciting an emotional response. We can attack multiple senses and the medium works well for reader self-insertion AND the reader can progress at their own pace through the experience. The only better thing would be if the readers were provided with a small bottle of cherry blossom scented perfume to lightly mist their faces with and a life-like hug pillow to squeeze during the climactic moments. Maybe then we could finally truly feel something.

  • Question: What are some good comedy anime you can recommend? Like, something that actually brought you to tears from laughing - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    Can’t think of anything. I’ve not seen much comedy anime as it’s not my thing. Anime bringing me to tears from laughing is usually unintentional and caused by some sort of hilarious trainwreck of badness. For that, I can recommend currently airing Gokukoku no Brynhildr.

  • Question: What do you think about Saya no Uta? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    SnU is okay. Neat and concise, doesn’t trip over itself except for the sex. It’s one of the eroge where the sex is really poorly handled and detracts from the story so much that it’s a legit annoyance even to someone who expects that. They want to use the element for effect in the story, but also eat their cake too which results in having unnecessary, dumb H scenes all the time. Otherwise yeah, a fine VN. I especially like the divergent endings.