Online literature was still in its infancy, the current system was far less mature and sound than it would be in a couple of years, and the available subject matter wasn't rich. Everything was still in it's growing stages, and there were few clear set genre distinctions, many of the genres of the future hadn't even been properly formed yet.
In theory if he wanted to write a new novel, he could, after all, there were the many genres of later generations to pick from but in reality though Jiang Cheng had a lot to consider.
The first problem was the real issue. Although the era of the Internet had begun, various new phrases and expressions were just emerging, it wasn't as developed as it would be in a few years.
The culture and framework for certain types of stories just weren't in place and it would take more than one novel to create them. For example system novels, slice of life, video game novels and the different forms of cultivation novels which would be formed in the future didn't really have a place in the current literature world.
They would be formed over time naturally as things developed, which was why he created Starting Point Literature to get a slice of the cake, but trying to think of a novel to support Starting Points launch he realised a lot of novels and ideas just wouldn't blend or be deemed acceptable by others.
Looking to [Stories About The Ming Dynasty] wasn't reliable because the language was simple and at grassroot level, in order to appeal to the general public. Plus the book was about history, which was a pretty universal genre. Novels which were rich in "popular expressions'' and jokes from the future wouldn't work as well.
Then came the subject matter. Jiang Cheng was a very cautious person, so cautious that he made sure to become an expert in Ming history in order to write [Stories About The Ming Dynasty], he wasn't willing to write about topics he didn't understand.
Finally, there was the issue of writing standard. Jiang Cheng's writing was great, and he was currently being praised as a model for everyone, so those quick cash grab novels or poorly written novels were of the table.
In this way, he narrowed down the genres he could write down to; Martial Arts, Xianxia, Magical Realism, Romance and History.
Among them, in the history category he had already written [Stories About The Ming Dynasty] so he didn't want to write another history novel. At least not until the series was completely published.
Magical Realism, he just felt was too broad plus he didn't really like the genre.
For the Romance category there was [Autumn's Concerto] which was coming out as a TV show next year so he decided to skip it as well.
Therefore, only Martial Arts and Xianxia were left before Jiang Cheng.
Jiang Cheng loved the two themes very much. Needless to say, martial arts, who didn't dream of learning martial arts and becoming the next Bruce Lee when they were younger? Plus martial arts culture was already an integral part of Chinese culture. As for Xianxia, it was actually essentially an extension of martial arts. Mythical fantasy built on the basis of martial arts.
Jiang Cheng was very optimistic about the two themes, and was slightly unwilling to give up either. However, his energy was limited. He only had little more than a month left before he had to head to school, just about enough time to write another book.
After the semester started, he wanted to properly dedicate his time to learning to act plus Shanghai Tangren would be starting filming for [Autumn's Concerto] later on and would likely call on him.
He couldn't pick anything that would take too long to write.
Having a hard time and being unable to choose, Jiang Cheng thought of Jiang Dejun and decided to ask him for his opinion.
Unexpectedly, Jiang Dejun, who had always attached great importance to traditional culture and who he thought would advise him to choose martial arts, actually chose Xianxia!
"Martial arts can be said to have a long history in our country. From the Song Dynasty's [The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants] to [Water Margin], even [Stories About The Ming Dynasty] can be said to be a martial arts novel in some ways.
However for the Xianxia theme you're talking about, Zhuzhu's [Story of Swordsman from Shushan Mountain] is the closest I can think of but even that was not completely separated from the category of martial arts.
Martial arts novels in recent years have been given a new rebirth by authors like Jin Yong, Gu Long, Liang Yusheng and Wen Ruian!"
"However, in recent years with the retirement of Jin Yong and the rest and there being fewer and fewer traditional literati in recent years, the amount of decent works being written has fallen. Whilst Jin Yong, Gu Long and the others helped revive and create a new school of martial arts novels, due to their standing and reputations it seems people can't escape the framework set by them!"
Jiang Dejun said whilst sighing.
"You grew up reading novels by Jin Yong, Gu Long and the others, it's too easy for you to be influenced by them. On the contrary, listening to your explanation, I think the theme of Xianxia is very good, it can give you more reign to play with your imagination and creativity, just like you did in "[Stories About The Ming Dynasty]. Of course, this is just a suggestion. It's up to you to decide which one you choose. If you choose martial arts, I look forward to seeing a new take on martial arts that can break down the current framework! "
Listening to Jiang Dejun's suggestion, Jiang Cheng was even more torn.
Martial arts novels weren't easy to write. Without profound planning, understanding of traditional Chinese culture, and a martial arts background, it was nigh impossible to write a good novel. A good martial arts novel often took several years to write, for example [The Legend of the Condor Heroes] was still constantly being revised by Jin Yong.
Then....should I choose Xianxia? Jiang Cheng questioned.
In fact he already had a novel in mind, for Xianxia, the novel [Zhu Xian].
The novel [Zhu Xian] had a pivotal position in later generations of online literature. Once published in China, it soared to the Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese bestsellers list. With it's imaginative and powerful narrative, it quickly became the pinnacle of Chinese Xianxia literature. It even became famous overseas after being translated.
Throughout the novel, love, affection, friendship and the battle between right and evil was brought together, the writing was beautiful and the story was vivid. With more than 30 million views online, it was hailed as a pioneering work in a new generation of domestic Xianxia novels comparable to the legendary [Story of Swordsman from Shushan Mountain], a masterpiece of Xianxia.
The plot of [Zhu Xian] had its ups and downs and the characters were distinct. It provided a unique take on a Eastern Xianxia world at the time, with grand and detailed world building. The love story was especially famous. One of the questions repeatedly explored in the book was 'what was good and evil in a world without benevolence, where the strong reigned'.
The love story between Zhang Xiaofan, Bi Yao and Lu Xueqi touched the fans of [Zhu Xian] and caused the creation of fandoms for each. People actively argued online over who they shipped more, and why one female lead was better than the other.
The story had love, family and friendship and the way it dealt with each was thought-provoking and unforgettable. It wasn't simply a hack and slash novel like most cultivation stories would become like in the future.
However, [Zhu Xian] wasn't flawless, and there were still issues. The most distressing and regretful thing for readers was how long Xiao Ding took to update and finish the book. The ending of the book also left many things unsolved and created plot holes.
But despite the few flaws, [Zhu Xian] was still a classic among Xianxia novels.
However, if Jiang Cheng were to write the book, he couldn't make the same mistakes, he would have to make up for these deficiencies.
But, Jiang Cheng was confident he could edit, fix out any plot holes and create a satisfying ending.
But despite this, he still couldn't make up his mind to write [Zhu Xian].
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