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January 20th, Thursday…
Cui Geng ate his Fish-Catching Take-Out and listened to everyone else’s conversations.
“Ai, I was criticized badly by my readers for ending my chapter with a cliffhanger again yesterday.”
“What does that count for? Isn’t it normal to get criticized for leaving cliffhangers?” “That’s right, cliffhanger endings are so commonplace.”
“Huh? Is this normal to all of you?”
“Nonsense. Look at dramas and comics; won’t they have to end each episode with an unresolved problem, too? Readers might criticize the surface, but they cannot hide their genuine reactions. Once you upload the next chapter, they will come back and read it. Cliffhanger endings are good for making readers stick around.”
“If you don’t leave cliffhangers, your readers will stop reading after this chapter. Your next chapter will have fewer readers, then!”
“Writers who don’t write cliffhanger endings are bad writers!”
Everyone was engaged in this discussion. A significant number of people nodded profusely while a few writers smiled subtly, neither confirming nor denying that last statement.
Cui Geng looked at his calendar. He had arrived in Jingzhou last Thursday. Exactly one week had passed since then.
At the start, everyone had been unfamiliar with one another. Thus, they had only discussed very superficial topics.
Now, most people knew one another well. For some particularly close writers, nothing was taboo to talk about.
Naturally, they began to discuss topics related to writing as well.
Cui Geng whipped out his phone and read the comments section for his novel.
“This is so scary. The no-show has been uploading five chapters each day. At the start, I suspected that he had really been kidnapped. Now, there’s no need to suspect anymore; he’s definitely been kidnapped!”
“The novel’s quality seems to have dropped slightly, but it’s still nice to read!”
“No-Show, hang in there. If you do this for one more week, all of my votes will go to you!”
As Cui Geng read these comments, he had mixed feelings. He had to say that it was effective to upload as many chapters as he could…
The moment he started uploading more chapters, he gained a significant number of loyal readers, subscriptions, and votes.
Over the past week, Cui Geng had written about eight to ten thousand words daily. The old him would never have imagined that he would be capable of such a thing.
What’s more, the numbers were increasing mainly because he was working for longer hours. He had not added more words or diluted the story on purpose. Thus, the novel’s quality was more or less maintained.
Of course, there were some sick people among them. After an entire day of writing, those people would return to their hotel rooms at night to write one more chapter and tidy up the general plot. To Cui Geng, they were beasts.
Cui Geng would never do such a thing. He only worked for eight hours each day and wrote an average of a thousand words per hour. That was not considered fast, but it was already significant for him.
Now that he had gotten used to it, Cui Geng was even beginning to enjoy it. He had to admit that under exceptional circumstances, writing could be quite addictive. The only thing was that Cui Geng had run into a small problem now.
As he ate his take-out, he raised his problem at the table. “Everyone, I feel like my story has been developing too quickly. I can’t seem to continue writing anymore. What should I
Everyone looked at him and then simultaneously said, “Cut it here.” Cui Geng, “…”
Once Cui Geng brought this topic up, the heartless writers stopped offering serious advice.
It was a common practice among writers to persuade those who were doing better than the rest to drop their novels halfway.
Of course, Cui Geng could not blame them. Too many writers were using ‘writer’s block’ as an excuse to boast about their achievements.
Thus, whenever writers suspected that someone was trying to boast about their achievements, most would choose to pre-empt it and say ‘cut it here’ to bring the topic to a close.
Cui Geng was speechless. He did indeed have that problem because he had not properly thought about the plot for the novel in the beginning His novel was doing well, and his plot was not horrible; however, the framework that he had laid was too small.
Cui Geng had only intended to write two to three thousand words per day. Progressing bit by bit that way would allow him to keep writing for a long time. However, he had ended up writing eight to ten thousand words per day in the past week. All of a sudden, he realized that he could not extend the main plot much longer.
He guessed that the book would be done once he hit a million words or so.
What should he do then?!
Of course, as a writer who was used to leaving his books incomplete, doing so again did not feel scary. He had already cut off many stories abruptly; it had become a breeze for him. Now, he could pick up the sword again without even looking.
The problem was what his new book would be about once he cut this novel here.
Cui Geng had no idea.
After lunch, Zhu Xingan said, “I’ll give all of you an hour to upload everything that you’ve written in the morning and get some rest.
“According to the schedule, we’ll be touring around Jingzhou this afternoon. We’ll have some activities to refresh our minds and gather new material.
“Cherish the time. We’ll gather at the hotel lobby in an hour.”
Exhausted, Pei Qian fell in and out of sleep in the car.
He had finally taken his closed-book exam. Over the past few days, he had buried his head in his books, so that he had had no time to work.
However, trying to cram everything at the last minute had been effective. Pei Qian guessed that he would get at least seventy marks.
If he had paid his way through the examinations, he would probably only have gotten sixty marks. Yet, he now had hopes of getting over seventy marks based on his own skills. It was worth being proud of!
To Pei Qian, the time that he had spent studying had not been wasted. As long as he could score slightly higher than Ma Yang, he would be satisfied.
“The next three exams are open-book; I don’t think I have to work that hard anymore. I can keep an eye on the company now. “That’s strange. For some reason, I feel like I’ve forgotten about something.”
Pei Qian spent two minutes trying hard to recall what he had forgotten, but he soon gave up.
He had just taken an exam, and his brain was now completely relaxed. He was not in the right state to try and recall those details.
What’s more, he had too many businesses to take care of now. Pei Qian hardly had the energy to keep track of everything.
He yawned and decided to return to his apartment for a nap first.
Little Sun was a steady driver, but Pei Qian found it difficult to sleep because of the seat belt. Thus, he whipped out his cell phone, accessed Zhongdian Chinese Network’s application, and then caught up on his novels.
Pei Qian had many hobbies. He liked reading comics, watching shows, playing games, watching movies, reading novels, and the like. However, he was a jack of all trades.
After all, he was only doing all of these to entertain himself. There was no need to be so professional; it was all for fun.
Before this, Pei Qian had been reading novels online on Infinite Chinese Network. That was because there was a greater variety, and the novels were often more refreshing.
As for Zhongdian Chinese Network…
On one hand, Zhongdian Chinese Network’s earlier novels had been too trashy. Pei Qian had not been able to bring himself to read them. On the other hand, he had not wanted to support his own company.
However, he had started to read novels on Zhongdian Chinese Network recently.
At the end of the day, he was doing it for work.
Pei Qian felt the need to keep an eye on Zhongdian Chinese Network’s state because it was now generating profits. Before this, Ma Yiqun had tried to submit a sum of money to Tengda, but Pei Qian had rejected it. Yet, until now, Pei Qian had not asked where Ma Yiqun had decided to spend the money.
Part of the reason was that he had forgotten because he had been too busy. However, another part had been that asking too many questions would be out-of-character for Pei Qian.
Instead, Pei Qian thought that as long as he kept a close eye on Zhongdian Chinese Network’s application, he would be able to decipher where the website was headed.
He had to admit that Zhongdian Chinese Network was producing a significant number of good novels now. Pei Qian could finally bring himself to keep reading a couple of novels on the site.
It was the Year 2011. The current trend was exciting Xuanhuan novels about young underdogs with unlimited potential. Most of the top novels on the website were Xuanhuan or Xianxia novels, and many novel gods would attain their titles in the next two years.
Of course, the website’s name was different, and the actual books were different from what Pei Qian remembered.
Still, no matter what, Pei Qian continued reading them. Even though he had read the novels before, he had forgotten their contents completely.
Zhongdian Chinese Network’s library was following Infinite Chinese Network’s closely. The Xuanhuan novels on the former website could be considered the imitations of similar but more popular novels on the latter.
Pei Qian randomly selected novels to read, according to whatever caught his interest on the homepage of the website. He would read them for a while and then quietly delete them once he got bored. He did not even make it to the most current chapter for most of those novels.
Today, when he refreshed the library, Pei Qian was shocked.
A list of new chapters had been uploaded to the few novels that he had saved. In fact, they had been uploaded just two hours ago, at about 12 noon.
Pei Qian frowned, feeling like something was amiss.
What could have happened to make all of those authors upload new chapters at the same time? Could it be a large-scale event among friends?
He quickly clicked on one of the novels to read its latest chapter.
“Hello, readers! I’m only uploading two chapters today because the website has planned team activities for us this afternoon. We’re getting out of jail for a while and touring around Jingzhou to gather new material. I’ll upload more tomorrow!”
Many readers had already left comments below the chapter.
“It’s about time! You’ve been uploading a lot recently. Don’t overwork; get some rest. It’ll be alright as long as you write seven to eight more chapters to make up for this tomorrow.”
“You’ve really been kidnapped! The website even kidnapped so many authors at the same time!”
“Hahaha, ‘getting out of jail for a while’?” “Another author said earlier that he’s attending a class. I thought that it would just be a talk. At the time, I even wondered what use it would be. All I cared about was that he updated the story! Now, from the looks of it, the class is really a ‘lockdown’ organized by the officials! Well done!”
“A certain no-show has been uploading four chapters each day for the past few days as well. I strongly request the officials to keep holding this class!”
“Are there still available slots in the class? I have a regular one-chapter beast here who really needs to attend that class to be educated!”
“Honestly, I think the class is good, but a lot of authors have been writing cliffhanger endings recently. Does the class include professional training for writing cliffhanger endings as well?”.
Beads of cold sweat formed on Pei Qian’s forehead as he read the readers’ comments.
At the same time, a bad feeling surfaced in his gut.
From the comments, Pei Qian quickly confirmed several things. Ma Yiqun had indeed invested the money on mid-tier writers. He had brought those authors to Jingzhou, organized a class, and significantly improved their efficiency!
As for how he did that…
Pei Qian guessed that he had failed to adhere to the Tengda spirit!
Pei Qian was speechless. This Ma Yiqun… how dare you cause a mess like that under my nose?!
It looked like the mid-tier writers were getting better and better. Not only were they uploading more chapters, but they were also drawing inspiration from one another through their constant interaction. Their plots and writing skills were beginning to improve!
If a novel god emerged from among them and he rose to fame, more people would visit Zhongdian Chinese Network!
One had to understand that content was the most important thing in the creative industry. Without content, everything else would be useless.
Many customers would download live-stream platforms’ clients because they liked a certain live-streamer; they would also become loyal users of websites for online literature because they liked a certain novel.
In this world, there was no such thing as pirated copies. If one really liked a book, they could only read it at a stipulated website. There would be no such thing as the author working hard for nothing in return and piracy sites profiting from the content’s popularity.
Thus, Pei Qian sensed a hidden danger.
He immediately called Ma Yiqun to ask where Zhongdian Chinese Network’s online authors’ class was being held. Then, he said to Little Sun, “Turn around; we’ll go to the outskirts first.”
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