Monday, August 18, 2014

What's a Light Novel?

In previous posts I’ve described my latest project, The Blue Room Cafe, as being a light novel. So you’re probably wondering, what is a light novel anyways?

Well first off, all of the light novels I know of have been translated from Japanese to English. As far as I know, original English light novels don’t really exist (please correct me if you know of any original English light novels! If you do, please leave the name of it in the comments. I would love to check it out.)

The closest thing to a light novel in the English speaking world is a novella. Light novels are short. According to Wikipedia they are usually around 40,000 to 50,000 words and rarely go over 200 pages. 

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a very popular light novel.


Another thing about light novels I’ve noticed is that they are typically written in first person, and the narrator has a strong personality. It’s not uncommon for the narrator to go on what I like to call “tirades” about their personal interests, opinions, and life in general in an entertaining way.

Also light novels have a very to the point, succinct style. It’s a short novel, so descriptions aren’t lengthy. Dialog is very important in a light novel. Conversations help to move the story forward. Stylistically, there are very few if any introductions to the dialog. “He said, she said” is used very rarely, if at all.

While working on my light novel, it feels a lot like writing a poem. Every single word is significant. I try not to focus on that too much while doing the rough draft because it could slow down my thoughts, but I know that when it comes to editing, every single word will matter.

On top of that, light novels typically have illustrations. I’m still wondering if I will create illustrations for The Blue Room Cafe or use photographs instead.

Have you ever read any light novels? If you have, which ones did you like?