Painting a Snake and Dabbing in the Eyes

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Painting a Snake and Dabbing in the Eyes

The name might be a little weird, but this is actually a note for requesting for monthly tickets at the start of the month!

Though, I still want to use this opportunity to ramble about some things, things about the novel itself.

This month’s been quite surprisingly difficult. First, my grandfather passed away, which forced me to halt releases for a week, but all it affected was releases. There are some things that run much deeper that are troubling me.

You can say that this is also the primary reason behind the unstables releases of Chronicles of Xu Xian. It has once troubled me deeply. When I thought I could avoid it by switching to a Levelling-up novel1, it has instead come knocking once again.

I didn’t even understand what it was, until one day. I suddenly realised what’s troubling me isn’t my flaws, but my strengths. You might find this strange. How can my strengths trouble me?

All of this originates from the very source of this. Why do I write novels?

I think I’m the same as most people. If you’ve ever thought about writing novels, you must have experienced this too. In the very beginning, it’s just a good idea in your mind, a novel thought, a touching scene. But afterwards, it will extend on forever, making you feel like you have to write something.

However, when many people start writing, they realise that they can’t express these ideas in their minds, so they give up. Fortunately, I possess this ability. I can turn those ideas into interesting and touching segments of the story.

One of my strengths is that I don’t lack these ideas. They seem like inexhaustible starlight, leaping out and calling out to me everyday, “Write me! Write me!”

All I can say is, “Alright.” That’s because this is my mission. I need to use an invisible thread to string them together so that they can shine before you.

However, it’s not that easy.

Only now did I realise, Did I mess something up?

I think you’ve all heard the story about “Drawing legs for snakes2”. I once treated this old fable as the story of a fool, “Just who can be so stupid!” This continued until a certain moment, which was right now. I suddenly realised that I was that idiot.

Writing a novel isn’t threading a line. Instead, it’s drawing a snake. There’s a head and a tail, while the in between forms the snake’s wriggling body.

However, this snake was just too long and too big, to a point where I often forget this. In order to demonstrate these ideas in my head, you guessed it! That’s right, I drew legs for the snake!

This is not a small matter, so I paused the releases and passed it off as thinking over the plot. However, no matter how beautiful these “legs” were, no matter how diligently I drew them, even I could feel that something was off, let alone you. So afterwards, I paused the releases.

And as you know, “He who draws legs for the snake misses out on drinking.”

I finally understood that while these ideas were very beautiful, very touching, and very interesting, they did not belong to this story. They belong to another story, another style.

If the twisting and warping of all these ideas didn’t exist, it would be good news to both this book and to me. I can write this story of grinding and levelling-up in peace. Perhaps the novel won’t shine, but it’ll still be a snake.

If you complain about how you’re worse than others and how they’re more successful than you, that’s probably because you’ve done something stupendously idiotic and you’re still unaware. The idiotic thing is probably so simple that it can be accurately described using a fable.

Racking your brains out sometimes isn’t as great as a convenient scribble from others.

I’ve written so much nonsense, so you might be irritated by it now! As a note, requesting for monthly tickets, you can call this akin to the “snake legs”! I should have used this time to write another chapter and erupt while letting out a battlecry, raising morale instead!

Hehe, old habits die hard! All I can say is that I’m really not a genius. I don’t have the talent of achieving instantaneous enlightenment, achieving godhood through a single novel. However, I will be like Li Qingshan, advancing forwards step by step. Please join me on this process and please lend me a hand.

That’s because I refuse to draw snakes for the rest of my life. Right now, it’s just because I don’t have enough power. There will be a day when not only do I draw legs, but I’ll draw claws, scales, horns, ears, whiskers, a tail, and finally, I’ll dab in the eyes.

Perhaps it might summon the winds and lightning and emerge from the wall, taking off on the clouds…

When that day arrives, I’ll have you sit beside the dragon horns and soar through the wind and sky, all the way to beyond the Nine Heavens!


Translator’s Note: The author’s note heavily plays off a few Chinese idioms, allegories, and sayings. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s the fable of drawing legs on the snake. At the same time, the author refers to the Chinese myth of how snakes can evolve into dragons once they cultivate for a sufficient amount of time. And at the end, with how it “emerges from the wall” towards the end, it’s a reference to the allegory of “Dabbing in eyes for the painted dragons”. Basically, a renowned Chinese painter, Zhang Sengyou, painted four life-like dragons on the wall of a temple, but he did not dab in the eyes. He did not do so as he claimed the dragons would spring alive and subsequently fly away if he did. A person ignored his warnings and painted the eyes in for two dragons, and just as Zhang Sengyou had warned, the two dragons sprang alive and flew away with winds and lightning (dragons are known to cause storms in Chinese legends). The allegory is basically used for things that are just a tiny element away from perfection. You can read more about this here:

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1. Levelling-up novels, just as the name suggests, is about the main character powering up throughout the novel, like he “levels up” in a game. The novel places quite an emphasis on growing stronger, if you couldn’t tell already.

2. Drawing legs for snakes is a fable (and a Chinese idiom) where there’s a group of people who compete for a jar of alcohol. Basically, they decide to compete by seeing who can draw a snake the fastest. One of them finishes well before everyone else, and in his arrogance, he even spends time to add legs to his snake. When he goes to claim his prize of a hearty drink, one of his competitors says that snakes don’t have legs, so he hasn’t drawn a snake. At this moment, that same person finishes drawing and takes the alcohol for himself. The moral of the story is not to go over the top, as you might end up shooting yourself in the foot.

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