Suggestion for Academy Arc?

NagatoSaitou

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I am currently writing an academy arc in my novel. I’ve already few ideas how to progress the plot, but I wanted to know what are the current themes in academy settings. And what would like to read during an academy arc, whether is a cultivation novel or magic-based novel
 

NiQuinn

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Unpopular opinion...don't do an academy arc. I, for one, find it tedious and holds no value but to show protag being OP. Then again, I have no idea what your story is, so take my comment as a personal thing.
 

Suryae

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Unpopular opinion...don't do an academy arc. I, for one, find it tedious and holds no value but to show protag being OP. Then again, I have no idea what your story is, so take my comment as a personal thing.
Same thing as above. An academy is a place to learn, not to show how powerful you are, unless you're a teacher.
 

Ral

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It would have been much better if you start your story with academy arc or start it really early. Your story should have progressively higher stakes and the academy arc just doesn't have high stakes. Just think of Harry Potter, it is in the later books where it strays away from the school/academy and not the other way around. The same thing also actually happens per book, it starts with the school arc then gradually strays from it.

I haven't read your story but if you introduced the academy arc very late then you might have some problems. You are essentially bringing the stakes of your story back down. This is almost never good.

Still, you asked about what I would like in academy arcs. I like the usual: learning new skills, interesting lessons, interesting teachers, interaction with other students, exploring the school grounds, the culture in the school, school bullies and rivals, school exams, etc..

Good luck.
 

Jemini

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It would have been much better if you start your story with academy arc or start it really early. Your story should have progressively higher stakes and the academy arc just doesn't have high stakes. Just think of Harry Potter, it is in the later books where it strays away from the school/academy and not the other way around. The same thing also actually happens per book, it starts with the school arc then gradually strays from it.
This is good as a general rule, but to play devil's advocate I can offer a counter example. The Death Mage who Doesn't Want a 4th time did a school arc in the 14th book in the series, over 300 chapters in. It did have some specific things that caused this to work out for it though. The key aspect was the fact that the series had established a theme of solving issues with racism the right way, that being to just integrate and show the racist people they really weren't all that bad. The MC had established a pattern of winning people over in this manner, just being a really good person to the people who are pre-disposed to hate him, and solving some major life problems that they have. It also had a heavy angle on swaying the masses and the effects this had on politics.

It also just so happened that this accademy was an accademy for the top richest or politically connected children, so this final aspect turned the accademy into a high-value target for the sake of these policy conversions, and the accademy arc therefore had real stakes in terms of swaying the politics of the region in such a way that would allow the monsterous races of this fantasy world to integrate with the human races. (The term human becomes a little broad in this series and also includes elves and dwarves.)

So, there are ways to make the accademy arc work later in the series. It just has to have some very specific pre-conditions and thematic aspects that would make a late-series accademy arc work. (Also, death mage has a bit of a subversive angle to it on standard Japanese writing tropes. It likes to call them out all over the place, and starts by having every single female character in the first 3 books be non-virgins. This is considered a major no-no in Japanese writing. Unfortunately, this is also the reason the series is far more popular in the US than in Japan. Anyway, this subversiveness was definitely on display during this accademy arc, it absolutely called out the fact that the MC was way too strong to be a student at the school. So, the result was him more or less becoming an unofficial teacher even though he was still considered a student, and that got pretty fun.)
 
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NotaNuffian

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This is good as a general rule, but to play devil's advocate I can offer a counter example. The Death Mage who Doesn't Want a 4th time did a school arc in the 14th book in the series, over 300 chapters in. It did have some specific things that caused this to work out for it though. The key aspect was the fact that the series had established a theme of solving issues with racism the right way, that being to just integrate and show the racist people they really weren't all that bad. The MC had established a pattern of winning people over in this manner, just being a really good person to the people who are pre-disposed to hate him, and solving some major life problems that they have. It also had a heavy angle on swaying the masses and the effects this had on politics.

It also just so happened that this accademy was an accademy for the top richest or politically connected children, so this final aspect turned the accademy into a high-value target for the sake of these policy conversions, and the accademy arc therefore had real steaks in terms of swaying the politics of the region in such a way that would allow the monsterous races of this fantasy world to integrate with the human races. (The term human becomes a little broad in this series and also includes elves and dwarves.)

So, there are ways to make the accademy arc work later in the series. It just has to have some very specific pre-conditions and thematic aspects that would make a late-series accademy arc work. (Also, death mage has a bit of a subversive angle to it on standard Japanese writing tropes. It likes to call them out all over the place, and starts by having every single female character in the first 3 books be non-virgins. This is considered a major no-no in Japanese writing. Unfortunately, this is also the reason the series is far more popular in the US than in Japan. Anyway, this subversiveness was definitely on display during this accademy arc, it absolutely called out the fact that the MC was way too strong to be a student at the school. So, the result was him more or less becoming an unofficial teacher even though he was still considered a student, and that got pretty fun.)
...how far are you in Death Mage WN? That is all mighty detailed, or is there a MTL site that I don't know of?

For me the academy arc is always something with a mixed bag, Mushoku Tensei already establish that Rudeus is an honor student, whose power is more OP than the teachers, so that is ok. But for most JP and even CN works, the MC is a hidden OP and that resulted in a shit ton of face slaps, fan gals and all the things that are not supposed to happen if the MC is a proper student. Most of the time the arc is poorly done with MC not learning anything in school, just there to show off or even cause disruption in others' students. I can give in and say that MC made friends, but often times they don't exist immediately the arc ends, including the girls that had fallen for MC too unless they join his harem.
 
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Ral

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This is good as a general rule, but to play devil's advocate I can offer a counter example. The Death Mage who Doesn't Want a 4th time did a school arc in the 14th book in the series, over 300 chapters in. It did have some specific things that caused this to work out for it though. The key aspect was the fact that the series had established a theme of solving issues with racism the right way, that being to just integrate and show the racist people they really weren't all that bad. The MC had established a pattern of winning people over in this manner, just being a really good person to the people who are pre-disposed to hate him, and solving some major life problems that they have. It also had a heavy angle on swaying the masses and the effects this had on politics.

It also just so happened that this accademy was an accademy for the top richest or politically connected children, so this final aspect turned the accademy into a high-value target for the sake of these policy conversions, and the accademy arc therefore had real steaks in terms of swaying the politics of the region in such a way that would allow the monsterous races of this fantasy world to integrate with the human races. (The term human becomes a little broad in this series and also includes elves and dwarves.)

So, there are ways to make the accademy arc work later in the series. It just has to have some very specific pre-conditions and thematic aspects that would make a late-series accademy arc work. (Also, death mage has a bit of a subversive angle to it on standard Japanese writing tropes. It likes to call them out all over the place, and starts by having every single female character in the first 3 books be non-virgins. This is considered a major no-no in Japanese writing. Unfortunately, this is also the reason the series is far more popular in the US than in Japan. Anyway, this subversiveness was definitely on display during this accademy arc, it absolutely called out the fact that the MC was way too strong to be a student at the school. So, the result was him more or less becoming an unofficial teacher even though he was still considered a student, and that got pretty fun.)
But what you describe is not an Academy Arc. It just used a school/academy as a setting. For example if you have a story in an academy and then zombies appeared. This is not an academy arc but a zombie invasion arc set in an academy. In your example's case (I haven't read the story) it is more of racism arc but set in an academy. The academy is really more of a backdrop where the conflict happens rather than the actual source of conflict and story.

Not to say that the author can't do this. It is just not an academy arc anymore.
 

bananapink

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Ugh, I'm just a banana so don't take my words seriously.

I'm not good at this but I usually enjoy reading a whole class of underdogs crawling to the top with everything they've got in action: The usually quiet, unassuming, easy to bully classmates turn out to be good teammates with great hidden skills and mysterious backgrounds. I don't like it when stories with school arcs only highlight the MC's awesomeness. Like hello, the world has to involve two or more people to make it believable.
 

NagatoSaitou

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Hi all, thanks for your answer. Regarding my novel, is a cultivation novel but it is different from the normal cultivation novels. My MC is raised since birth by a spider spirit beast in a forest, like a kind of mogli/tarzan situation. His mother is a divine beast, the ultimate form of spirit beast. So he is human but consider himself more like a spirit beast. Spirit beasts in my novel are not the usual violent creatures you see in other works. The more they are stronger, the more intelligent they are. Anyway, my MC start from a remote island region and now he has reached the Continent that it’s like our Pangea, meaning it’s the only continent in the world so it’s immense.

The reason for the academy arc in this point of the story it’s that my MC has no knowledge about the Continent society and needs a place where he can become strong. The academy, called also war academy, is a system created by human society in the continent and replaced the old system of sects. The war academies serve as a place where train the future heroes in the war against the demon race. They teach classes as war theory, hand-to-hand combat, weapon combat, and elemental laws combat. Secondary activity also are very supported: alchemy, formations’ study, blacksmithing, medics, musicians, chefs. The academy arc would also serve as a place where the MC gathers companions.

Regarding the opness of the MC, he is strong but I worked hard to create a power system that didn’t let the MC to become so OP. For example, cultivation manuals affect only speed cultivation, that’s all. In the islands MC had an advantage for his particular cultivation method, but in the Continent there are others with similar speed cultivation. The Laws or Dao in my work are only 18 and focus more elements like fire, water etc etc, so they don’t include abstract laws, although there other things like Concepts that could be considered as abstract Daos in other cultivation novels. To improve your law comprehension, you need constant practice for each technique you want to improve. So you won’t find a cultivation manual that increase your cultivation and laws at the same time. Martial artist in my novel can only have 1 elemental law: two if they have a bloodline. The bloodlines increase only speed Law comprehension and the power of elemental laws, they don’t affect speed cultivation. I also implemented other different combat methods, like fusing with elemental essences instead of bloodline, using spirit beasts like a tamer and others. Ah, regarding bloodlines and elemental essences, there is a rejection rate and you can’t absorb any bloodline you want or you will die. So martial artists with bloodlines just have only one. My MC has a poison spider bloodline.

If someone is interested, the novel is called Son of the Spirit Beast. You can find it on scribblehub
 

LostinMovement

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The reason for the academy arc in this point of the story it’s that my MC has no knowledge about the Continent society
This is actually reason enough for an academy arc. If your MC was raised by spirit beasts then he is lacking in social skills and has no clue how to be human. This arc could be his insight into civilized human society. Through it, he can learn to form social bonds with other humans and comprehend the interpersonal nature of human relationships.

In my opinion, it is not pointless at all and is rather important for the personal development of the MC because it is an arc where he would learn more about himself. So, I disagree with the previous statements of some of the users here. I think every novel is different and not every story should not be measured by the standard of an established archetype. Every writer is free to do things and cliches differently, you don't have to imitate writer Z and X just because they are successful.
 
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Ral

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This is actually reason enough for an academy arc. If your MC was raised by spirit beasts then he is lacking in social skills and has no clue how to be human. This arc could be his insight into civilized human society. Through it, he can learn to form social bonds with other humans and comprehend the interpersonal nature of human relationships.
An academy is really not the place for such kind of things. You can learn human society, how to form social bonds and comprehend interpersonal nature with or without the academy. Heck, you would learn more about those things outside the academy.
In my opinion, it is not pointless at all and is rather important for the personal development of the MC because it is an arc where he would learn more about himself. So, I disagree with the previous statements of some of the users here. I think every novel is different and not every story should be measured by the standard of an established archetype. Every writer is free to do things and cliches differently, you don't have to imitate writer Z and X just because they are successful.
I don't really know what those previous statements your referring to because I don't really see any of them saying what you seem to say they are saying, nor do you say what statements exactly you are not agreeing with.
 

LostinMovement

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I don't really know what those previous statements your referring to because I don't really see any of them saying what you seem to say they are saying, nor do you say what statements exactly you are not agreeing with.
oh boy, I might have seemed antagonistic without even meaning to. I'm sorry about that. What I meant to say that a writer is free to rearrange their plot however they wish so an academy arc can be either later to the story or earlier. That is the point I disagreed with you on. It doesn't make me right nor wrong, it's just my personal opinion on the matter.
And yes, you have a point when you said the MC can learn social skills outside of the setting of an academy. What was going through my mind was that a school-like background could make it easier for the MC to be around people more his age and with similar aspirations (learning magic/martial arts or wanting to be stronger).
 

Ral

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oh boy, I might have seemed antagonistic without even meaning to. I'm sorry about that. What I meant to say that a writer is free to rearrange their plot however they wish so an academy arc can be either later to the story or earlier. That is the point I disagreed with you on. It doesn't make me right nor wrong, it's just my personal opinion on the matter.
Well, actually, the author is not that free to do whatever they wish, at least, if they want their story to work well. There has to be a structure. Things just can't happen randomly.

First, to clarify. Academy arc is an arc where the protagonist earns knowledge and learn skills in an academic/school setting, academy arc is not a story set in an academy/school setting (as Jemini thinks).

I explain earlier with the tension, which also brings n the related term stakes. Ideally, you should keep increasing the stakes and tension as the story progresses. An academy arc just don't have high stakes, and thus lower tension. After all, the overall objective of an academy/school arc is to learn things and pass. If you have an academy arc very late into the story, then your tension would suddenly drop. Not really optimal.

Another thing to consider here is plain logical progression. Essentially, the protagonist learn first (in the academy/school arc, a mentor, etc.) then use what they learn later outside the learning environment (like defeating the evil overlord).

I didn't say you can't do it later, but . . . you better know what you're doing.
And yes, you have a point when you said the MC can learn social skills outside of the setting of an academy. What was going through my mind was that a school-like background could make it easier for the MC to be around people more his age and with similar aspirations (learning magic/martial arts or wanting to be stronger).
I haven't read the author's story really, but this is true. However, this is the very reason why an academy/school arc works better if done earlier in the story. Things are just easier and controlled, something which fits better in earlier part of your story where stakes are still low.

It is just fits in earlier part of the story you know? Just like how a climactic battle with the evil overlord fits near the ending.

Doesn't mean you can't experiment and do the complete opposite. You should really know what you are doing though.
 

Yiphen

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In general, I think they're only used as some sort of way to introduce new characters/help the character grow.
Not sure what else though.
 
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