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My friend has asked me to give feedback on a light novel that he's writing, and I've been clueless on how to proceed. I'm an avid reader of non-fiction, and although I don't read much fiction anymore, I've had to analyze numerous books and short stories for some classes that I was taking. Suffice to say, I felt that I would be able to help, but when reading the text, the style and mood were so alien to me that I felt incapable of giving any good advice.

To give some background, the light novel falls within the fantasy genre and tries to explore the depths of human emotion through abuse, neglect, illness, etc., however, it also has a very unrealistic nature to it, in that it has a wacky sense of humor and sometimes cringe-worthy cliches.

I haven't read a light novel before, but these seem like very strange stylistic/mood choices to me when trying to write something that is dark and profound, so my main question is whether this is typical of popular light novels such as "Sword Art Online" or of the art form as a whole. Furthermore, how does the style/mood/themes of light novels differ from that of more traditional novels?

I've looked around on Stack Exchange and I've found some answers that touch on these differences, but don't really mention style/mood. I've also looked online and it seems as though many light novels contain some of the aspects I explained above, but I wasn't able to find anything concrete.

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I think what @Artemis Silver is hinting at in their answer is that "Light Novel" is medium for storytelling, not a genre. Style/Mood/Themes are story and genre elements, not medium elements (For example, Live Action Television is a medium... but you have a range of Story Styles/Moods/Themes ranging from "Cheers" (light hearted romantic comedy), to "Days of Our Lives" (melodrama), to "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" (dark humor horror). And even more going from there.

The story should stand on the merits of a story regardless of genre. But don't let the medium confine the type of story the author wants to tell. It's this kind of thinking that created the idea that Animation should be for children only, making stories with compelling mature told through animation a difficult concept for the west to grasp.

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You have two things you can do here.

  1. You can tell your friend that you don't think you can give him good advice, because of your distaste for the genre rather than the work, just as someone who doesn't like pumpkin is a bad taster for a pumpkin pie.
  2. You can tell him what you didn't like about it without reference to the genre. There are readers who like you will cringe at the cliche, and if he wants to reach them, he will need to know that and improve the part. (He could, of course, also decide that you are not part of his target audience. No work can please everyone.)
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I did some basic research about your topic and the results that I got were that Light novels are basically Japanese novels that are sometimes illustrated with manga pages in the chapters. Considered short with an A6 format, they contain basic words meaning for average readers to understand.

To answer your question, it not much of a big difference since the genre basically came from the same branch: Fiction.

Light novels are often called 'The manga in book form' and to clarify, light novels are just a book in a different culture translated in English. The mood and theme are still the same, just in a different style.

Light Novel (I know you already know what a Light novel is but if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll find your answer hidden in answers.)

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