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The Great Storyteller (Web Novel) - Chapter 108 – Shared Table (2)

Chapter 108 – Shared Table (2)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

As Juho and Seo Joong took their seats, Dae Soo introduced her companion, “This, is a close friend of mine. Have you read ‘Behind the Curtains?'”

“Ah! Yes, I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. You’re talking about the Dr. Dong series, right?”

‘Behind the Curtains’ was a detective novel that introduced the character so called “Dr. Dong.” Referred to as ‘The Dr. Dong Series,’ by readers, the series was going into its fifth book.

“This is the mastermind behind that series,” said Dae Soo, putting her hand on her companion’s shoulder. Juho was already acquainted with her.

“Mideum Choo, right?”

“Seeing how you even know her by name, you must be quite a reader yourself.”

Being one of the names that always came up when discussing detective novels, Mideum had written multiple books of the genre. Juho looked at her sitting beside Dae Soo. When together, the two authors were a powerhouse when it came to their unapologetic plot development.

“She might be a little shy, but once you get to know her, she’s tons of fun to be around,” said Seo Joong. He must have known her. At that moment, Juho’s eyes met with her’s.

“Hello,” Mideum greeted him. Though he was hearing her voice for the first time, he realized that he had met her before.

“I know you,” she said.

She sounded bashful, but there was a strong sense of curiosity behind her words. Her tone was quite different from how Juho remembered it. ‘It’s her!’ She was the person who had shouted joyfully in the restroom at Madame Song’s restaurant.

“Eh? How do you know each other?” asked Dae Soo.

“Oh, I know him, but I don’t think he knows me though,” Mideum said confidently. “I saw him here. You were with Mr. Lim, right?”

“Yes, I was,” Juho answered.

“So, are you really a relative of his? Is that how you were able to get in touch with Seo Joong?” she asked with her eyes sparkling with curiosity. Her initially shy demeanor seemed to have evaporated up to the sky. ‘So, she writes detective novels, huh?’ Juho thought. He came to realize that an author’s reasoning skills were not necessarily proportionate to that of their detective protagonist.

“Oh, yeah! You mean when we were talking on the phone that one time? So, you’re the one she was talking about!” Dae Soo said as her memory finally caught up with her.

“You’re Mr. Lim’s relative, right?”

While Juho contemplated how to answer Mideum’s question, Seo Joong was entertained while watching from the side. As the target of the uncomfortable attention, Juho parted his lips to say, “I’m not, unfortunately.”

Strong disappointment washed over Mideum, apparent in her expression.

“Then, how do we explain this? Should we even be asking?” Dae Soo asked, looking confused. She seemed like she would be willing to back down from the question at any given minute.

“You’ll be surprised to know who I am,” Juho said with a smile.

“We have a detective right here,” Seo Joong murmured. Wearing a doubtful look, Dae Soo took turns to looked at Juho and Seo Joong.

“Wait a minute… How old are you?”

“I’m seventeen.”

“You’re not related to Seo Joong, and you didn’t seem phased when I mentioned Dong Gil either. On top of that, Mr. Lim. We’re also in a restaurant known to be a regular spot for writers…”

“What are you saying, Dae Soo?” asked Mideum.

“Hold on,” said Dae Soo, still lost in thought. At that moment, she looked up at Juho with piercing eyes. “I did hear that Dong Gil met someone. Since we’re already discussing identities here, you wouldn’t mind if I took a guess, would you?”

“Not at all.”

With Juho’s permission, she blurted out her guess immediately, “Are you Yun Woo?”

“Pleased to meet you,” said Juho with a light nod.

The room grew silent. Upon looking up, Juho’s eyes met with Mideum’s.

“What…” she murmured in disbelief, “the…heck!? Are you for real!?”

With that, Dae Soo let out a hearty laugh. The room became filled with her laughter and Mideum exclaiming still in disbelief. At that moment, the door opened and Madame Song walked in. Looking at the four people sitting around the table, she said, “This must be where all the authors are sitting.”

“This is real,” said Mideum, slowly coming to grasp the reality of it.

“Your timing couldn’t have been better, Madame Song,” Dae Soo said.

A word tended to change its meaning depending on the situation. It was clear that Madame Song had included Juho as an author because it had happened immediately after Juho had revealed his identity. Seeing how Dae Soo and Mideum responded peculiarly, her cub-like appearance stiffened up, and she asked, “… Did I say something wrong?”

“Oh, no! nothing.”

“… Huh.”

With that, she handed them the menu. Remembering his promise with her, Juho studied it carefully. From beef to salmon, there was quite an array of dishes using all sorts of ingredients.

“You don’t happen to carry crow meat, do you?”

“Haha! Is that what you like?”

“Oh, I’m just asking. I’ve been taking interest in them.”

“Well, how about a different bird, like chicken? I recommend it to my customers.”

“OK, sounds great.”

Once the rest of the crew had placed their orders, Madame Song left the room.

As soon as she left, Dae Soo said to Mideum with remnants of excitement on her face, “You never know who you’re gonna meet nowadays. What are the odds of running into Yun Woo here??”

“I know, right!?” said Mideum, just as excited.

“Also, I can see that your reasoning skills haven’t improved much.”

“I know, right…?” she didn’t sound so excited that time.

In Madame Song’s own words, the room was filled with authors. There was a reason for that restaurant to have developed a reputation as a regular spot for writers.

“I was shocked too. I had no clue you guys would be here! Might as well enjoy ourselves a little while we’re here. Should we order some drinks?” said Seo Joong.

“Aren’t you a lightweight?” asked Dae Soo, snickering.

“You two aren’t. Two Cokes, and two sojus. It evens out perfectly.”

“OK, if you insist. Why don’t we order some wine?” Dae Soo agreed.

“OK, Dae Soo,” said Mideum.

The Cokes and the glasses of wine made their way onto the table as it filled with the dishes they had ordered. Cutting a piece of his chicken, Juho brought it up to his mouth. The distinct flavor of the sauce worked in harmony with the tender meat. It was scrumptious.

“This is delicious!”

“Right? You can taste the love,” Dae Soo said while eating. “I enjoyed ‘The Sound of Wailing,’ quite a bit. It was really potent.”

It was a concise review, and Juho thanked her.

“So, you really are real… like, a person.”

“Did you think I was not a person?”

“Well, how should I put it…? I was getting the impression that you didn’t actually exist because hardly anything about you was known to the public. Of course, it’s not like a machine could write a book or anything.”

With that, Dae Soo lowered her voice and asked, “I’ve been really curious about Yun Woo’s writing process. Since we’re here, you wouldn’t mind if I ask a thing or two about it, would ya?”

“Sure, but there’s nothing special.”

“Oh, come on.”

“Really, I mean it.”

There was nothing special in his writing process. He simply thought of an idea, and turned it into writing.

“So, how did you come to start writing?” Mideum asked curiously.

“I was bored.”

“So, for fun?”

“It was easygoing in the beginning.”

“That happens. Then, how did you come up with the mother in ‘The Sound of Wailing?’ She was incredible as a character. Was there a model in real life?”

“No, there was no model.”

“So, it’s all in your head?” Dae Soo interjected.

“You can say that. Although, I got the idea of using the cigarette as the medium elsewhere.”

“Impressive. It couldn’t have been easy to describe smoking in such great detail purely with imagination.”

Just as Dae Soo had said, one wouldn’t be able to meet her within the boundaries of mere imagination.

“So, I went a little deeper.”

“Deeper?”

“Yes.”

“Where?”

“Into a situation that I had created.”

“Sounds a tad bit too abstract.”

“I didn’t have a choice. This is how I go about creating my characters. It’s difficult to convey something while it’s raw.”

“I see,” Dau Soo said. “Well, this auntie doesn’t give up on something just because it’s difficult. Tell me more,” she said, raising her glass.

On that note, Juho organized his thoughts as he took a sip of water. He had never really talked about his writing process. He hadn’t interacted with other authors in the past, and he had never received any formal training. In other words, he had had no one to talk to back then. Feeling somewhat odd, Juho began to explain.

“So, what I do is actually quite simple. I simply see, feel and write.”

“What do you see, and how do you feel?”

“I see and feel what I want to at the moment.”

“That’s deep,” Mideum interjected. Juho rephrased his words.

“I think fantasy is a better word than imagination in my case. Remember I said I put myself in a situation that I had created myself? As long as there’s a space detailed enough, a character is able to reveal their shape, whether it’s complete or not. In terms of detailed space, anything goes really. The number of trees in the street, dents on walls, a trash pile in an alleyway. Anything can be used for detail. If I’m in a hurry, I can just call for the character to where I’m at in the moment.”

Because he was working on two stories simultaneously, Juho hadn’t been able to go too far away from home or school.

“So… do you call for your characters AFTER you’ve already brainstormed?”

“No, it happens at the same time. The story becomes clearer as I interact with them.”

Dae Soo was furrowing her forehead.

“Is it an improvised process?”

“Yes. That’s why the space I’m in doesn’t tend to last long.”

“How do you think of the space you’re in?”

There was no good way to explain, and Dae Soo chuckled at Juho’s silence.

“Like I said, a little too abstract.”

“It is tricky to explain. It’s not like I can show it either. It’s hard to make it clear.”

“I don’t think I’d be able to steal something like that,” murmured Seo Joong.

“How about you, Seo Joong? What’s your process like?” asked Juho.

“I usually start with research. Oh, wait, I might have done something similar back when I was living in a one-room. I used to find materials from within back then. Although, I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a situation or a fantasy.”

Having listened quietly, Mideum asked Juho, “What does it feel like when you meet your characters?”

“It’s hard to say.”

Juho though back to the time at the beach. It had been annoying to be stuck between the two characters as they quarreled. It had been less than pleasant to deal with someone who was rude and rough around the edges while it had been hardly easy to get someone to talk when they themselves didn’t want to. Because he only had so much time, he remembered feeling anxious.

“You become edgier and irritable.”

“How come?

“Like I said, this process is closer to being a fantasy than imagination. I’m free to do as I please in my own imagination.”

“Is that not the case in a fantasy?” asked Seo Joong.

Juho hadn’t thought about the process all that much. It had become natural to him. ‘How do I explain this?’

“I just let things happen. The characters deserve their freedom, just as I deserve mine. Of course, it’s always possible to interfere, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Only then, I can find what I’m looking for.”

“What is it that you’re looking for? Story? Material?” asked Seo Joong.

After staying silent for a brief time, Juho answered, “I would guess… personality?”

‘Clap!’ Seo Joong clapped. He had realized something.

“I see. Your method makes one hungry.”

“What does that mean?”

“It uses a lot of energy. In other words, it’s demanding.”

‘Demanding, huh… is it?’ Juho thought. Despite the perplexed look on Juho’s face, Seo Joong went on with his interpretation.

“So, it’s like raising a child. There’s puberty and climacterium to your fantasy.”

“Really?”

“Your approach brings out as much personality as possible out of a character or a background, in other words, the novel itself. The characters do whatever the heck they want. So, in your own words, it’s personality. The one and only in this entire world.”

Seo Joong’s last sentence pierced Juho’s heart. His interpretation helped Dae Soo and Mideum understand Juho’s writing process better.

“I’m so jealous! That’s the dream of every literature major out there!”

“Huh?”

“You can see things like that without even having to draw from the power of alcohol! It’s like a drug without the destructive side effect!”

“Is she drunk?” asked Seo Joong.

“Nah, I doubt it. She can handle alcohol a lot better than I can,” Dae Soo said calmly as she took a sip of her wine. It was probably Mideum’s natural personality coming out.

“There’s a reason why there are so many alcoholics among authors. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever. They all loved to drink. At the same time, they loved fantasy. Alcohol is the gate and the pathway that leads to fantasy. That’s why authors drink even though they’re aware the potential consequences. It’s like a key to free the brain that’s under the constraint of rationality and morality!” said Mideum, getting uncomfortably close to Juho.

“But you! You’re capable of traveling back and forth between reality and fantasy at an age when you’d know nothing about alcohol. All while you’re sober! I’m so, so jealous! Incredible, just incredible!”

As he pulled away from her, he saw the resemblance in the way she had shouted in the restaurant’s restroom.

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