I guess I should start from the beginning. The beginning of when Manga was introduced to me at the ripe age of eight. Man it rocked my world! I believe Guyver was my first introduction into the wonderful universe of Manga. Staying up to watch the Sci-fi channel, being completely captivated by the rawness of their stories, and fascinated by the ultra violence they portrayed. Just imagine an eight-year-old kid, mouth and eyes wide open in front of the tv, just to watch some person getting their head torn off. Truly marvellous I thought. Like so many of us, my childhood was not a great one, so I guess the good memories are something that has firmly latched onto my psyche. How can these old ass cartoons still impress me? To even have Devilman show up again on Netflix, well, you can imagine how I screamed like a schoolgirl seeing their favourite popstar. In terms of their unique stories and perspective, their emotional impact, or their presentation, Manga is still in a league of its own. I always wondered why I kept watching them, even after two decades. And its because they still evoke an emotion. Some must cater to a broader audience now, I get that, but man, some really do push the boat out in terms of originality. So when I started reading, I noticed a lot of published fantasy was either Harry potter, Witcher, Lord of the rings, or Game of thrones inspired. Not discrediting them by any means, they're amazing! But I saw an opportunity to create something different. Mind you, Manga novels have been around for a long time, and I’ve enjoyed many of them. But I still felt like I could bring something new to the table. I didn’t know what at the time, it was just a crazy feeling I had that wouldn’t go away. Kinda like that random cat you feed near your house, and it would follow you every time you returned home. (I give good analogies I know)
So I went on youtube. “Oh sweet glorious youtube, how you changed my life.” Just like the books I was reading; I consumed every video on writing. We’re talking thousands upon thousands of writing tips, the do’s and don’ts, bad tropes and clichés, the Mary sues, different POV’s, author voice, even imposter syndrome. The list goes on! I watched every Brandon Sanderson class on writing. (Which is free on youtube by the way, so check that out if you’re interested) His classes helped me so much I wanted more. So I invested in myself and paid for a masterclass in writing. There were so many great creators on it, but in the end, I chose the god that is Neil Gaiman. (Cue holy music) I was listening to the Sandman audible at the time, so it made sense, but hand on heart, it was the best investment of my life! My whole process in writing had changed, my ideas and planning became laser focused, and I genuinely felt like a better writer because of it. During all these video views and classes, I wrote two novels. Its nothing to brag about, as I was in lockdown, and would have gone stir crazy if I weren’t letting my ideas take form in some way. My hours of writing far surpassed my watching of videos, and it was evident I was developing my own voice. But something was missing, that key element that made me want to get into this difficult and often tedious profession. I was happy with my plot structure, happy with the realistic dialogue, but the action still felt “Hollywood” if you know what I mean. So, I went into full geek mode. I watched every movie that involved the Martial Arts (which was a staggering amount let me tell you) and watched all my favourite Manga’s... again. However, this time, I was taking notes, analysing and writing down every action scene - the way they moved, the angle they struck their opponents, the reason I had an emotional impact from that particular scene, all written down in my flimsy ass notepad. I could also tell you that I did this weird mantra for every movie I loved. For dialogue, I watched everything Quentin Tarantino, which is why I pay homage to him so much in my work. For action, I went everywhere, from the Matrix, to the Raid, to Robocop (the original of course) the new one makes me cry, and they are not tears of joy. I’ve always had a fixated interest in psychology, and my previous employment required training in all thing’s mental health, de-escalation techniques, and more, due to the vulnerable and chaotic people I supported. I also played a lot of video games within the genre I wanted to write in. Silent hill, Outlast, Final Fantasy, to name a few. I would pause the game and write down what happened to conjure the fear factor within me, or what moment made me feel like a complete badass. I’m not saying people need to do this, everyone learns in different ways, but I knew my own writing needed this level of commitment for my vision to manifest, as I am more of a visual learner. People can either love or hate your writing, but at least I can say I put the work in, I can say my stories are inspired by the greats, but will always be original, never carbon copies or the watered-down version. I want readers to experience the same feelings I had when I was eight-years-old, when my eyes were wide, and I knew instinctively that this was the coolest, most unique thing ever. So allow me to formally welcome you to the world of J.R. Manga. Support, reviews, shares, and likes, are all greatly appreciated. They keep introvert writers like me going.