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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
When the waiter came into the room with Juho’s and Nam Kyung’s orders, Juho was struck by the thought that he had seen him before. With that, the waiter, who appeared to be the owner of the restaurant, glanced at the young author’s face and said, “Enjoy,” leaving the room after. Then, after tasting a spoonful of the soup, Juho was reminded of just how delicious the food was, just like what he had thought during his previous visit. Nam Kyung eating there often made sense.
After the two talked casually over the meal for a little while, the young author brought up the actual subject matter that he wanted to discuss with his editor. “How’s the website doing?”Juho asked about the company’s website, which was being actively managed lately.
Then, Nam Kyung, looking like he was glad that Juho was asking the question, reached for the side dishes and said, “It’s still being flooded by people asking us to publish those short stories. I could show it to you if you want.”
“Oh, that won’t be necessary.”
The fans were still anxious to get their hands on the short stories, anxious to see what they were like.
“So, were you thinking about getting those short stories published?” Nam Kyung asked, and Juho didn’t deny it. Seeing that the young author was being ambiguous and more reserved, Nam Kyung took the opportunity to push for it. “I say we go for it, Mr. Woo.”
It was a suggestion Juho had been hearing quite often as of late. Since he had revealed himself, the distance between Yun Woo and his fans had shrunk considerably, which meant that their requests became all the more apparent to the young author. This time was no exception. Nam Kyung sounded as if he were overlapping with the readers’ voices.
“I’ve thought of what I wanna write about next.”
“Right… what?” Nam Kyung let out, caught off guard and blinking awkwardly.
“It’s a story that takes place in school.”
As the situation dawned on the editor, he found himself getting increasingly confused. Yun Woo had a completely different idea. Being the enticing author that he was, any idea for a book would have stirred Nam Kyung’s interest. A story that took place in school, it had a pleasant ring to it.
“I’m more interested in what I’m going to be writing in the future than what I’ve written in the past,” Juho said calmly, like a true author.
“Frankly, I want to focus solely on mapping out this new book without having to worry about the short stories at all,” Juho said, thinking, ‘If this had happened before I’d revealed myself to the public, I would’ve started writing right away without having to explain myself like this.’
“But everyone around me seems to want me to publish those short stories really badly,” Juho said. As an author, it wasn’t right to neglect what the readers wanted. Meanwhile, Nam Kyung nodded by reflex.
“And something tells me that this will continue until I make a decision, which is why I wanted us to meet today.”
As an editor, Nam Kyung was someone who made books, and his role was inherently different from that of an author, who wrote books. As a result, his perspective on writing had to be inherently different from a writer’s. When Juho suggested to Nam Kyung that they meet, he had done so with the intention of hearing a certain answer, an answer that the young author hoped to hear from his editor-in-charge.
“So, it seems to me that you’re debating either publishing the short stories or writing a new book.”
“OK. Before we go any further, I want you to take a look at this,” Juho said as he took a manuscript out of his bag. And after watching Juho in a daze, Nam Kyung asked, “Are those…?”
“The manuscripts for the short stories.”
Nam Kyung took them with both of his hands. Although they looked quite untidy, it didn’t change the fact that they were the manuscripts of the very short stories that readers had been desperately asking for. As the editor flipped through the pages, he realized that the two short stories were entirely different from one another, from their contents to their narrators. The first thing that he noticed when taking the manuscripts from Juho had been their sheer weight. However, it didn’t take long to read through them.
“The writing styles feel quite different from the usual,” Nam Kyung said, and seeing as though he was liking what he was seeing, Juho felt relieved. As an author, it was always nerve-racking to see his editor reading his manuscripts, and showing what he had written at school as Juho Woo was quite a different experience from the norm.
“Right. I was trying to hide my identity through my writing,” Juho said.
“It feels heavier and more serious than Yun Woo’s.”
“But there’s something familiar about it, isn’t there?”
Nam Kyung recalled having come across that writing style in the past, and he was already working out the details of the plan in his head to bring the short stories out to the world. With that, he scanned through the manuscripts again.
“I think we can use these manuscripts as is.”
“You think so?”
“In terms of content at least. But I’d say we revise them at least once. Assuming that you’re publishing these, that is. But the length…”
The length wasn’t quite long enough.
‘It’d be nice if we could include a few more short stories and bundle them together into a compilation. A completely different piece, even,’ Nam Kyung thought. At that moment, the editor looked up quickly. Yun Woo had just expressed that he had been inspired to write a new book.
“Not quite long enough, are they?” Juho asked.
“Yes, unfortunately. We’re gonna need more.”
“You see, I just happen to have a story that I want to write.”
At that, the pieces started coming together in the editor’s head, just as Juho had intended. There was only one way to go about this situation, which didn’t take long at all until the editor acknowledged it.
“So, a new piece on top of the two short stories. That’s where you’re going with this, isn’t it?”
“What do you think?”
“I see no potential issue.”
Not only were the short stories of substantial quality, but there was nothing bizarre or out of place with Juho’s new story, either. With that, Nam Kyung started calculating in his head, and seeing how excited he was, Juho decided to explain a little more about the new piece.
“I don’t have all the nitty-gritty details at the moment, though.”
Nevertheless, Juho fully intended to write it. Then, the young author told the editor about how he came to want for the setting to be a school.
“It wasn’t until I left school that it occurred to me that I wanted to write about school.”
“That’s pretty common, actually,” Nam Kyung said. He had seen many authors who’d gone through similar experiences.
“The new story will be entirely different from the two short stories.”
“And how is it going to be different?”
“It’s gonna be written in a different style, first of all, and I wanted to write something more cheerful this time.”
At that, Nam Kyung thought that the timing was just right for the idea because there were readers who missed the feel of Yun Woo’s early days as a writer. What really needed to be considered was the writing style.
“And how long is this new story going to be?” Nam Kyung asked.
“I’d say about a semi full-length?”
“So, the entire compilation would be about the length of ‘Sublimation,’ more or less. One semi full-length and two short stories.”
“The stories are not gonna be connected this time,” Juho said.
“I see. In that case, they will really feel like they were written by different authors.”
Although It wasn’t clear how the book would turn out, there was no element of surprise, either. Things had always been that way.
“I say we go for it, Mr. Woo,” Nam Kyung said. Then, looking at his editor, Juho gave him the answer he had been meaning to give all along, “Let’s do it.”
Nam Kyung’s face lit up at Juho’s affirmative answer.
“The readers will flip when they hear about this,” he said.
However, Juho was cautious about it all. “I say we wait a little bit longer before we make an announcement. We don’t know how things will turn out.”
“No problem. There’s no rush, so let’s take our time.”
With that, the two resumed their meal, which had been put on pause for their discussion. After swallowing what was in his mouth, Nam Kyung asked with a subtle hope in his voice, “Are there any other pieces of writing that you wrote at school?”
After some thought, Juho said, “Sure. I spent three years in the Literature Club, as you already know.”
From time to time, the two had talked about the pieces Juho had written at school.
“I was thinking about including other shorter pieces too, like zero-one-zero-eight, or the one about the gem. The one you submitted for the school’s essay contest had some character to it too.”
“I… don’t know about that,” Juho said. The first two pieces were based on his younger clubmates, and they were essentially his gifts to them. On top of that, the school had deemed the story about the Bonobos unacceptable.
“All of those stories belong to somebody,” the young author said.
“You should look at them, anyway. Can’t hurt to look,” Nam Kyung said insistently, and Juho gave him a half-hearted, affirmative answer. There was a slim chance that the young author would ever bring up those stories again as he wasn’t actually planning on rereading them. However, as if completely oblivious to the young author’s intentions, Nam Kyung murmured cheerfully, “Whatever they are, I’m sure they’ll sell.”
As an editor, sales were definitely one of the things Nam Kyung needed to think about. Nam Kyung was confident that young author would bring back products of undeniable quality, predicting that he would be able to continue making quality books with Juho. Then, after staring intently at Nam Kyung, Juho asked, “Aren’t we getting a little ahead of ourselves. What if I bring back garbage?”
“I highly doubt that,” Nam Kyung said, and instead of giving him an answer, Juho smiled with his eyes.
“Like I said, there’s no rush. With the number of books you have published up to this point, you can probably take a nice, long break of about three years without having to work a single day in your life.”
“You don’t say? Should I really take a break then?”
At that, an unusually confident smile appeared on Nam Kyung’s face.
“Do you think you could do that?” he asked. To which, the young author raised both of his hands and said, “Probably not.”
If Juho were to take a break from his writing career, it wouldn’t be long until he’d start writing again, even if it was of poor quality. Without writing, there wouldn’t be a way to digest and alleviate the emotions hiding deep within his heart. Meanwhile, Nam Kyung was well acquainted with the author, who he had been working with for an unusual number of years. At that moment, Nam Kyung’s phone started to vibrate on the table, and the two fixed their eyes on the device simultaneously.
After briefly gesturing to Juho with his eyes, Nam Kyung answered the phone. Then, just as he was about to stand up, he stopped in his tracks. Juho was watching everything.
“Who called?!” Nam Kyung let out, looking at Juho. It sounded like somebody had called the publishing company. ‘Who could it be?’ Juho asked himself. Then, a thought crossed his mind shortly after. Seeing the curious look on Juho’s face, Nam Kyung moved the phone away from his mouth and said, “from the book concert.”
At that, the young author knew exactly who Nam Kyung was referring to. It was the reader. The fan from the book concert had finally tried to reach her favorite author after reading the recent interview in the magazine.
“Just the person I’ve been waiting for,” Juho said.
The nine authors had come together in order to publish a literary magazine. Each and every one of them was a well-renowned name, and the magazine had been a massive success, which had even led to the authors holding a book concert. Although it had been widely known that Yun Woo hadn’t attended the concert, it turned out that he had, in fact, attended the concert after all. On top of that, the reader had talked to the young author in person.
Yun Woo wanted to meet her. It had been through a blog that she had first found out about the interview. In the post that quoted the excerpts of the interview, she had come across a situation that had sounded all too familiar to her. The moment she read that, she grasped that she was the person Yun Woo had referred to immediately. However, at the end of the day, the information she had come across had been part of some blog, which wasn’t exactly the most reliable source. It hadn’t been reliable enough for her to call the publishing company. In the end, she had chosen to make an effort to get a copy of the magazine that contained Yun Woo’s most recent interview, and after some time, she had finally gotten her hands on one. After referring to the original source and checking the post that had gone viral in the fan cafe, she had finally mustered up enough courage to send Zelkova an email. Then, to her surprise, the publishing company got back to her, nearly causing her to have a heart attack.
“Should we take a picture?”
At the voice coming from nearby, the reader’s hands started shaking involuntarily. It was the same voice as the one she had heard in the videos that had been floating around the internet, which she also recalled having heard in person once. It sounded familiar on one hand, and foreign on the other. As she looked up slowly, she saw Yun Woo right before her eyes.
“I’m sorry?” she asked, dumbfounded. Although she knew full well what the young author was asking, she couldn’t say a word from the moment she first saw him. They were in a restaurant in Cheongdam-Dong on their own. In that spacious restaurant, there were only two more tables that were occupied. It was a place she had never been to, and it was clear that it wasn’t going to be a cheap meal. She vaguely remembered hearing about the restaurant and how the head chef had made a TV appearance.
“The picture that you couldn’t take that day?” Yun Woo repeated himself in a friendly manner. At which point, the reader couldn’t help but smile, just as she had done in the past. It was an ambiguous smile that resulted from not knowing what to say. Her cheeks were starting to feel sore from smiling for such a long time. She was clueless as to how to respond to her favorite author’s questions, feeling unbearably bashful.
“You know when we were waiting in line together?” Yun Woo said. His considerate nature made her all the more embarrassed.
“I remember how eager you were to take pictures of Yun Woo, saying that you were certain that he was gonna be at the concert.”
Revisiting that memory had always been humiliating. ‘What were the odds of running into Yun Woo, of all people?’ The thought suffocated her from within.
“I’m terribly embarrassed about that,” she said, genuinely bashful.
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