We meet Nicole Hayes, the main character of the two-part manga SORCERERS & SECRETARIES (written and drawn by Amy Kim Ganter, for readers age 13+, ISBN 1598164090 Part I, ISBN 1598164107 Part II), at a crossroads in her life. She’s majoring in Business at college in order to help run her family’s business once she graduates, but her true love is writing.
But like most writers I know, the stories won’t shut up and begin to spill over into Nicole’s dreams. Once she gives in to writing a story down, it grips her and won’t let go. One of the many things I enjoyed most about this manga was that the reader gets to experience the life-cycle of a story from seed to finished version (i.e. we get to read the story Nicole is writing and making revisions on). Also, the creator Amy Kim Ganter does a great job of showing how real life can interfere with creating a story, and how a creating a story can interfere with real life.
There is also a wonderful romance subplot between Nicole and her neighbor Josh, and the impact they have on each other in their lives and careers. Josh helps her grow as an artist, and she helps him to stop drifting in a dead-end job.
Here’s a brief excerpt (missing the drawings unfortunately) from Part II, Chapter One:
Nicole: Sometimes…my dreams are so vivid they push out of my hands and onto this book, my dreamlog. I get so wrapped up in the story, sometimes I even forget who I am or what I’m doing!
In the end, though, they’re just scribbles. They won’t help me get my degree or help the family business. Still, when I’m writing it’s the only time I feel truly alive…
These two manga would make a great gift for teenager (especially a girl) who wants to be a writer or manga artist.