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At the same time, Ma Yiqun had been keeping an eye on Cui Geng’s new book.
Although Ma Yiqun was already the CEO of Zhongdian Chinese Network and only editors of the Editor-in-Chief should have been closely following books, it was now the Chinese New Year. Ma Yiqun did not have much else to do while at home.
Ma Yiqun had heard about Cui Geng’s name as an author a long time ago. He knew about the latter’s dark history.
Still, no matter what, Cui Geng was talented.
A talented but lazy writer would beat an untalented writer who blindly worked hard any day.
After all, the online literature industry was a creative industry. Many times, it did not matter how quickly one wrote, but it mattered whether one wrote well or not.
Even if one wrote very quickly, they would only be producing rubbish quickly in the eyes of the readers if their content was bad.
The Butterfly Game had only started a while ago. Of course, Ma Yiqun could not tell much from the book’s comment section.
He did not bother looking there. Instead, he began reading the book.
The pace at the beginning was quite fast. There was a brief introduction to the protagonist. Soon after, he obtained his powers. After briefly explaining how the powers could be used, the main plot began.
On New Year’s Eve, Cui Geng uploaded five chapters. Within those five chapters, he had completed a minor plot point.
After the protagonist obtained the powers in The Butterfly Game, he helped the first supporting actor-an independent game designer-to fulfill his dreams.
The plot of that first segment was quite straightforward. It acted as a preview of the novel’s core satisfying points.
An independent, destitute, and dejected game designer had created a standalone game. The game was created using extremely simple material, but its gameplay was quite meaningful. Still, since the game designer had no money to advertise the game, no one knew about it.
The protagonist discovered the game designer while observing the parallel world. Thus, he used his own powers to locate a UP Master in the games channel, make the UP master download the game ‘coincidentally’, and cause the UP Master to try the game out.
With the help of the UP Master’s advertising efforts, the game suddenly became popular. Things developed outside the game designer’s control, but through all of that, the game designer managed to realize his dreams.
What followed the five chapters was a notice from Cui Geng.
The notice was very simple. First, he apologized to his readers for whatever happened with his previous book. Second, he emphasized that he had thought long and hard about this new book. He promised that its contents would be exciting, and he asked for his readers’ patience.
He also informed his readers that he had decided not to leave his house after the Chinese New Year, so that he could upload at least ten thousand words a day.
After reading this, Ma Yiqun fell into deep thought.
He had written online novels for a long time. He had also been keeping a close eye on the way online novels were developing recently. Until now, he had already learned a thing or two.
Were there problems with this novel? Of course.
However, it also had huge advantages!
At the moment, the novel market was still filled with books about young underdogs with unlimited potential. Most writers used simple, violent methods to invoke feelings of tension, feud, and hatred in their readers and to engage their emotions. Most novels set in cities were well-developed as well, but none of them jumped out of the same few frameworks. Many revolved around powerful soldiers, campus flowers, and rebirth. All of them used the same, traditional, satisfying point: a supporting actor trying to show off and ending up being defeated by the protagonist.
However, Ma Yiqun could tell that the basic framework of The Butterfly Game was vastly different from the novels that were trending at the moment.
If it could keep up the fast pace, it would pave an entirely new path on its own.
Most novels at the moment still made use of the so-called ‘Golden Three Chapters’ rule; that is, they made use of a set cycle of oppression, obtaining of powers, and victory.
One could not criticize such a plan. However, it had been used so much that writers instinctively wanted to puke when they spotted it in new novels.
On the other hand, The Butterfly Game had foregone this plan altogether. There had been no hint of oppression in the first few chapters, and the protagonist had obtained his powers right from the start. What’s more, it did not seem like people would be defeated, too. Instead, the novel seemed to be crafting its own satisfactory plotline. Apart from that, the novel’s way of satisfying its readers was completely different from other novels.
The way most online literature satisfied their readers now was by using pure violence. Often, it meant that the oppressed protagonist would rise to power to defeat their oppressors.
Yet, The Butterfly Game satisfied its readers subtly. Through the light ball, the protagonist could cause small changes in a parallel world, make use of the butterfly effect, and achieve interesting outcomes. What made the protagonist such an appealing character was not something as obvious as being able to defeat his oppressors. Instead, it was more reserved. Still, it could bring readers similar enjoyment and pleasure.
Furthermore, the protagonist’s sense of achievement aside, a reader could still feel joy by placing himself in the shoes of other characters in the book such as the destitute game designer.
That kind of joy made the novel feel like an adult fairytale. Everyone knew that most independent game designers lacked publicity, and their games failed ninety percent of the time.
In reality, most independent game designers would indignantly give up on their own dreams. However, the independent game designer in the novel managed to fulfill his dreams thanks to the butterfly effect caused by the protagonist’s actions. To the readers, that would be very satisfying.
If the currently-popular novels could be likened to red braised pork, this novel could be likened to the simpler tomato slices with
Red braised pork was delicious. However, if different types of red braised pork filled a table, the tomato slices with sugar would stand out from the moment it was served.
On top of that, Ma Yiqun seemed to see Tengda’s shadow in Cui Geng’s new novel.
He could sense that Boss Pei had been the inspiration behind this novel. After all, when Boss Pei created The Lonely Desert Road, Teacher Qiao had been the one who had caused the game to become popular with a single video.
Using the profits from that game, Boss Pei had created Ghost General. That was how he had made the first bucket of gold that established Tengda Corporation.
Thus, this novel was especially close to Ma Yiqun’s heart.
From this angle, Ma Yiqun thought that the book would be extremely popular on Zhongdian Chinese Network if it was well-written.
Yet, was the book perfectly written?
Ma Yiqun did not think so.
There was still room for improvement. If adequate modifications were made, the book could improve by an entire tier!
It was just as well. Since Cui Geng had not written much yet, he could easily turn around. Ma Yiqun had to make sure that he changed as much as possible, as soon as possible!
At that thought, Ma Yiqun called Cui Geng. “Boss Ma, I’m writing right now! Don’t worry. I’m going to write this book very well. I won’t leave it incomplete this time! I’ll write at least two million words!” Before Ma Yiqun could speak, Cui Geng expressed his determination.
“Hehe, guess how many times you’ve said this already.”
Ma Yiqun’s first response made Cui Geng shut up immediately.
“Alright, I’m not calling you about that.” Ma Yiqun laughed and cut straight to the chase. “I was going to talk to you about your new novel indeed, but apart from reminding you to write it well and not to leave it incomplete, there was something else.”
Cui Geng was stunned. “Please go ahead, Boss Ma.”
Ma Yiqun replied, “I have some suggestions. Let me explain them to you briefly. If you think they make sense, you can modify your book. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. Take it that we’re brainstorming and working as a team to make this novel as good as it can be.
“I think your novel has potential. That’s why I want to make sure that its content is perfected.”
Feeling overwhelmed by Boss Ma’s favor, Cui Geng said, “Please advise me.” Ma Yiqun organized his thoughts and then explained them to Cui Geng in detail.
“I can tell that the Boss Pei was your inspiration for the first mini-plot. Tengda has many interesting stories to draw from indeed. You can use them as inspiration. However, I think you’ve not applied enough of your artistic flair to it.
“I have two main suggestions:
“First, I think the protagonist, as a pure observer, isn’t sufficiently involved in the plot. “There’s nothing wrong with making the protagonist a pure tool. Some writers do that as well. However, if you can connect the protagonist with the plot, it’ll be more interesting
“This is what I’m thinking: the light ball that the protagonist obtains does not concern a parallel world, but his own world.
“Everything that the protagonist does realistically changes his world and improves the world around him for the better.
“At the same time, the protagonist can benefit from his own actions as well. For example, the protagonist could end up helping a certain entrepreneur establish a multi-billion-dollar empire. However, before the empire is established, he could buy some shares in it first. Thus, he could reap from his own actions and change his own life. “Furthermore, while he works behind the scenes, the protagonist would also be able to meet the supporting characters in real life. That would add some interesting points to the plot as well.
“Apart from that, I think you could adjust the tone of the book.
“At the moment, the narrative is quite positive, and the satisfactory points stare at readers in the face.
“This is what I mean: the protagonist aims to do something, does it, and then prospers.
“I think this is a stable way of writing, but it might not be that attractive to readers.
“Instead, you could consider injecting more opposition into the narrative. That would add to the uncertain nature of the butterfly effect, a twist to the satisfactory points, and more humor to the story.
“Simply put, it’ll be this: the protagonist doesn’t want something to happen, an accident occurs, things don’t go as he plans, and he prospers. “Let’s use your first mini-plot as an example. At the moment, this is how it’s written: an independent game designer wants to succeed, the protagonist uses The Butterfly Game to help him, and the independent game designer prospers. “After modifying the narrative, it could become like this: the independent game designer never wanted to prosper but only wanted to create a game to antagonize society. The protagonist finds the game interesting, uses The Butterfly Game to help him, and the independent game designer prospers.
“While writing, make sure that you use a humorous tone. That would make your novel’s plot stand out among the traditional ones.
“Do you understand?”
At the other end of the line, Cui Geng remained silent. It was like he was trying hard to digest everything that Ma Yiqun had said.
After a long time, he hummed in approval and said, “Boss Ma, you make a lot of sense! I did think that I was lacking something as I wrote the first few chapters.
“It was like a dish that had all the ingredients and that had been cooked perfectly, but it still lacked some flavor!
“If I can include those two points in my novel; it will definitely be more outstanding!
“However… I have some worries, Boss Ma.”
Ma Yiqun asked, “Huh? What are they?”
After some hesitation, Cui Geng answered, “Honestly, Boss Pei was my inspiration for the first mini-plot about the game designer.
“I wonder if editing it in the way that you suggested would cause Boss Pei to look bad. Boss Pei wouldn’t bear a grudge, would he?”
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