Author Topic: 'Of Love and You' Complete  (Read 5199 times)

Applegate

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'Of Love and You' Complete
« on: April 15, 2012, 01:28:21 am »
A release that is simultaneously new to my blog as much as it is to my presence here; the very first one, in fact! A collaboration that involves lordcloudx's art and my writing, combining it with photographs from Flickr and music by Marc Conrad Tabula. You can hear more of mr Tabula's works here. I probably won't need to say where lordcloudx's artwork can be found, and in fact I don't even know it.


‘Of Love and You’ reviews ‘love’ between two people, an intimate feeling many media depict as an explosive emotion, a passion that burns with the fire of a thousand suns. Discarding this popular view, ‘Of Love and You’ presents a love calm as a small creek, running a winding course from a tranquil mountain top, or something equally poetic.

‘Of Love and You’ hopes to bring the reader to consider whether the relationship between the narrator and Dewi is truly those of ‘lovers’, or if they are simply ‘friends’ – and if either, what makes it so sure they are?

At 6,400 words, it exceeds my previous project in length – I hope that it will match ‘Nice Day’ in more ways than one as well. Please enjoy.

You can view its project page and download it at my blog here.

Wright1000

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 09:59:28 am »
The story was really nice and the dialogues were funny. But, I think the background didn't match with the character artwork. So, maybe you should have used some other ones.
Also, there was one thing I can't say I liked.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Dewi never claimed in the game that she loved the protagonist so, it wasn't exactly a happy ending. Their bubbles joined but I feel it isn't enough to imply that they were the perfect couple. Maybe there should have been a confession at the end. That would have made the story a bit more realistic.

Applegate

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 01:28:28 pm »
Regarding the spoilered bit:
Spoiler for Hiden:
I intentionally did not want either Dewi or the protagonist to blatantly state they are in a relationship - after all, whether it is a relationship or friendship is what I want the reader to think about themselves. Love is often portrayed as something you experience, and here love is something that just is - or isn't, depending on your own thoughts of love. Ultimately, whether Dewi and the protag are good friends or lovers depends on the reader.

mikey

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 04:03:02 pm »
I find that people often like to talk about love without the specificity it actually needs - not because they don't understand that parental "love" is something different to romantic love, or love for your work, or love for a family member - but because it feels more "human" to talk about love as a very general concept, because a lot of people's hopes and beliefs (especially the hope or belief that there is something deep in their existence) can be included in that term - the more general, the more it can potentially include. This goes especially for "true love", where I feel the feelings are distilled and separated from the imperfections / impurities of the humans that are the object of that love and without whom it could not exist - creating a paradox that is nevertheless somehow ignored. Again, in my opinion, because people put their hopes and beliefs in the term "love".

With this in mind, I still can't really decide whether the "couple" in the story is in love, whether they are on their way, or whether it's just friendship. It's not because there is too little information, it's because the situations and especially conversations seem to be so central to the story, that the relationship of the people is almost secondary. It's as if they enjoyed talking to each other, rather than being terribly interested in a definition of what it is they have between them. I guess what I felt from it is that their feelings are not really growing in intensity (at least not from the part of their lives the story portrayed), but just "exist" in their original way.

So while lovers' love grows with time, their "love" appears to stay the same, and because of that, the romantic moments are almost "not romantic", because that heightened sense of awareness of the other person that happens in those situations seems to arrive much slower for them - it always felt romantic only at the very end of the situations, and I feel that - if I had to describe them - they are enjoying one another's personalities and conversations, and the romance between them is resulting from those conversations, rather than from their feelings (to one another).

In any case, I enjoyed it a lot. My first VN that I played in 2012, in fact.

Applegate

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 11:36:55 am »
Quote
My first VN that I played in 2012, in fact.

That actually makes me silly happy to hear, so thanks! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Quote
It's as if they enjoyed talking to each other, rather than being terribly interested in a definition of what it is they have between them.

This is precisely it; although the protagonist posits the question at the very start of the story, there is no real investment in trying to define what the two of them have. I had wanted to leave that conclusion up to the readers, who with their own ideas of love might posit that the two are, in fact, lovers. A friend of mine, after reading it, remarked that if nothing else, Dewi had to at least be interested, judging from how she goes out of her way to get to protagonist to hang out with her. Naturally, he proposed the protagonist was just an unreliable, tsundere narrator. Haha.

lordcloudx

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 07:54:09 am »
Honest Review

I really liked how the opening and ending subtly tie in with each other, especially the metaphorical use of the bubbles without the narrator explicitly stating anything -- which would have been quite out of character and furthermore, I believe that explicit storytelling (E.G. I shot an arrow into the air. This arrow was the symbol of how our love for each other would soar powerfully, not to mention gracefully, throughout the heavens and then unceremoniously come to an abrupt halt once it hits something or if it runs out of momentum. This is how our love works.)  is tantamount to spoonfeeding and therefore underestimating the reader.

The writing was solid and the dialogue flowed quite naturally between the two characters. The narrator-protagonist is an excellent foil for Dewi's stronger, whimsical personality as opposed to his self-deprecating, almost apathetic persona - that is, if his narration is to be taken honestly, since he has demonstrated a tendency to lie in order to prevent conflict with Dewi - which doesn't really save him from getting punched err... I mean, "playfully jabbed" a lot.

The weakest point of the story would be the theater scenes, wherein I felt the characters didn't really have any reason to be there and the dialogue between them felt a bit awkward. The lack of music during this scene might have also colored my perceptions.

The Brutally-Honest-To-Goodness-Hammer-And-Nail-To-Your-Face-Holy-Sanctimonious-Slightly-Sacrilegious-Spoilerific-Effin CRITIQUE ... to help you improve.

Spoiler for Hiden:
All lines below this one are to be taken with a grain of salt... to help you improve. I will try to point out some of the negatives that I found in this VN... to help you improve. Of course, my critiques are generally quite opinionated, but I hope you still find them useful... to help you improve.

While the piece works well enough for me as a dialogue-driven short kinetic novel, I did feel that it could have been much more than what it currently is as far as the emotional involvement of the reader in the piece is concerned.

I like the slice-of-life feel of "Of Love and You" and I understand that it doesn't want to be a "masterful work of staggering genius," but what I felt was lacking was a solid plot. The back-and-forth conversations between Dewi and the protagonist, while entertaining on their own, do not seem to serve any deeper purpose than characterization. I might have missed it, but I feel it would have been better if the dialogue as well as the narration were being used to slowly work towards the eventual conclusion in the ending. I didn't see this happening in "Of Love and You" and thus, while the beginning and the ending were quite well-made, the meat of the VN, the middle portion felt slightly detached from the intro and end. I short, it doesn't seem like the middle portion was moving towards the ending.

One thing that I believe could have helped out is foreshadowing. The visit to Dewi's house could have been foreshadowed via a casual conversation between the two characters while they were still blowing bubbles in the field or anywhere else prior to the actual house visit for that matter. Other elements such as the bottle that Dewi used to blow bubbles could have been subtly given some significance in the intro or middle portions in order to give them the impression of having some significant role in the ending. Of course, this is how I'd personally handle foreshadowing and I'm sure you have some ideas of your own. In any case, I just didn't see them being put to use in "Of Love and You."

Finally, I think some sort of climax scene could have made the VN more emotionally-engaging. You could have used a simple plot device such as the protagonist revealing something about his past to the audience near the end of the story just as they come out of the house to start blowing bubbles again, which makes the act of blowing bubbles or spending time with Dewi just that much more significant. There are a number of ways this could have been done from the tired cliche of "I have a terminal illness" to "she used to be a drug addict" or something like "I was once suicidal until I met Dewi."

Of course, over-all, the VN works for what you intended it to do as a dialogue-driven VN that makes the reader think about the relationship of Dewi and the protagonist. A belated congratulations on the release and I know you are capable of doing better and even more enjoyable stories in the future.
Btw, how do you pronounce "Dewi?" It's a question that's been on my mind since I first read Of Love and Blowing Bubbles.

The Let's Read:

http://jaded-perspectives.blogspot.com/2012/05/lets-read-of-love-and-you.html
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 09:55:48 am by lordcloudx »

Applegate

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 01:41:55 am »
Taken me a while to respond because I forgot to check back here, heh.

I'm happy you enjoyed the opening and ending flowing together - I felt that a throw back would be quite nice. I'm also happy you correctly identify the narrator as being an unreliable source of information - his own view of himself does not jive with reality.

Lack of music...? I am sure I put music during the theatre scene. They weren't really too strong a purpose, I admit; it was the logical follow-up to the invitation, but it lacked real substance beyond revealing that Dewi is interested enough in the narrator to go back on her word (I won't watch a film with you- she does so anyway). It is definitely a weak part.

I'm not so vain and arrogant to think I do no wrong, so negative points aren't such a huge problem with me─only if the writer shows to have no eye for what was good do I discard negative reviews. The points you raise are ones I detected myself as well, which is why I am rewriting another project of mine which suffered the same fault of having no climax and emotional investment.

As far as pronunciation goes: here you go. Not sure how long vocaroo keeps its records.

Glad you enjoyed it!

mikey

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Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 08:34:49 pm »
Quote
My first VN that I played in 2012, in fact.

That actually makes me silly happy to hear, so thanks! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Actually, upon doing some research and writing about AO:BM, I realized today I have played two VNs in January, though none of them was in English (and they don't have English versions), meaning they don't originate from the usual oelvn communities/forums - which is perhaps why they slipped my mind and OLAY "felt" like something I haven't really done for a long time... Anyway, it's a silly thing, but I had to post immediately, to have a clear conscience.  :)