Monday 18 January 2021

Inspirations III - A Personal Insight into Writing by Peter Lok

    I've been writing since junior high school and I still have the first story I ever wrote. I wrote stories in high school and pretty much stopped when I went into university.  I was focused on other things at the time.  After university and working for a few years I lived in Greece and ended up starting a website on Web 1.0. Back then, in the late 1990s, not many people knew how to create a web page or get a site up so, my site "Meanderings of Thought and Feet" was quite popular. Skipping forward many years, I had shut down my website after 9/11 and I didn't actually write much at all.

    I was always a science fiction fan and grew up reading the classics from Heinlein, Niven, Asimov, Clarke, Brin, Bear, Benford, etc. This was hard SF with real science. In the early 2000s, I became interested in anime again after being introduced to "Love Hina," a romantic comedy / harem anime, and "Full Metal Panic," a realistic mecha anime.  There's been plenty of good shows since and I actually prefer more anime SF / fantasy over live action TV series in many cases.  Anime and manga can also be good and bad too and I dislike vampires or zombie apocalypse stories in any medium.  By the way, anime and manga are not genres.  They are both mediums like film or graphic novels, and their stories cover the gamut from science fiction, serious drama both historical and contemporary, to fantasy.

    Part of the attraction of anime and manga involves how the stories are told.  They tend to be episodic and there is just something about how the story is told that is different.  Part of it is a the Japanese perspective on things, some of it is cultural background and the rich history they have, but the stories tend to be told in a straight foward fashion with sometime vague endings.  I can't say I like vague endings, but I have to say that I have write differently now than I do years ago.

    Anime gave me the drive to go visit Japan, a country that wasn't on my places to go 10 years earlier.  Now, there are so many places there I want to visit to enjoy the pop culture, traditions, and scenery.  That wasn't all though anime did for me though.  It inspired me to start blogging after my first trip to Japan.  I created my blog "" 10 years ago and have been updating it on and off over the years. Seven years ago, I started to write science fiction again, and wrote out the core of a 5000 word short story in an afternoon about an experimental robot battling against alien war machines.  In my story "HARM" I tried to combine tropes from anime mecha shows along with military action fiction and western SF.  This story was released when the Amazon Kindle first came out and I had thousands of downloads. I wrote another novella in the same series, and then a full novel "Neo Ace." 

    I haven't had the same success again as "HARM", but I'm always working on a new project.  A few years ago I wrote "Tokyo Intro" a storytelling intro to the city and its sights.  The stories are all contemporary fantasy or SF light, but they introduce the city in a way you wouldn't get in a regular guidebook.  I'm now mining more anime tropes, to write a new collection of action / SF stories set in  an alternate modern Japan.  I use a fixture of modern Japanese life, the konbini (convenience store) and secret agents to protect a sacred mountain that harbours an ancient evil.  The concept seems to work pretty good so far as I'm working on the fifth story now.  So, thank you, anime, and there is more to come.

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