I am an author.
Of course, because of my mediocre talent, I am a web novel author with difficulty making ends meet by writing novels.
Though I have a few paid publishing contracts, even those don’t bring in much money.
But I have always had the ambition to hit the jackpot.
No, even if it’s not ambition, I have to write novels somehow because my throat is parched for money.
Standing before my next work, I pondered deeply.
“Ah, what should I write next?”
In a novel, the characters, event, and setting are important. First, I have to choose the setting and then decide what events will happen and which characters will shine in that setting.
The setting can be simply described as the genre.
Web novels are divided into the hunter genre, which has many male readers, and the romance genre novels, which have many female readers.
First, romance? I tried to write some sweet stories in my previous novels, but honestly, the responses were not particularly good.
I’ll try writing that once I’ve improved my writing skills a bit more.
So, the remaining option is the male-oriented novel…
Honestly, I wouldn’t have much confidence if I entered the hunter genre with my current skills.
Countless hunter-genre novels are released in this cursed industry, but the number of works that achieve tremendous success can be counted on one hand.
So, in the end, I have to choose a sub-genre…
There are the sports, manager, entertainment, and cooking sub-sub genres.
I’ve already tried writing about cooking, and the manager or entertainment-related stories lack a certain thrill. Writing more sports stories is difficult since I just finished one…
Then, suddenly, I remembered the historical drama I watched yesterday.
“A historical drama… That might not be a bad idea.”
Among the sub-genres other than hunter novels, there was the alternative history that I hadn’t tried yet.
Alternative history can be divided into three primary categories: novels centered around the Three Kingdoms era, those set on the Korean Peninsula, and the increasingly popular narratives exploring World War II.
Occasionally, novels about the 16th-century Age of Exploration are released, which can be called the sub-sub-genre.
So, which one would be better? The Three Kingdoms? Nah, people nowadays hate the Chinese so much that if I write a novel related to the Three Kingdoms, strange kids will comment, “You’re writing a story with a Chinese protagonist in this situation?” So, how about a novel focusing on World War II?
Wrong! My weak imagination couldn’t come up with any fresh ideas that existing World War II novels haven’t explored yet.
There was one decent scenario that came to mind.
The scenario was for a novel called [Joseon Mafia], which was about making illegal alcohol during the Prohibition era, having a fight with Al Capone, and then making him drink the illegal liquor. The money earned from that would be used to form a Korean battalion to fight in the World War II front against Japan and then fight in the Korean War and the various middle eastern conflicts.
I considered writing a bloody novel with this plot, but there was a problem.
From the beginning, it was a novel that awkwardly bypassed the major events of World War II.
I erased my thoughts and tried to think again about what novel I should write.
Is Joseon the best option after all?
However, the POV would be important for a novel set in the Joseon era.
Joseon is a country with a long history of 500 years.
Seriously, our ancestors ruled for way too long.
Fortunately, it’s difficult to choose a POV because there are many interesting points in history.
The first one is from the birth of Joseon to the completion of the dynasty, from Taejo to Sejong!
It’s not difficult for the protagonist to play an active role in this era.
It would be a great novel if our protagonist could break the records here, deal with the Chinese, and destroy the Japanese records.
The second point of view is, of course, the era of King Seonjo, King Gwanghae, and King Injo, the terrible trio who won the royal lottery three times in a row.
First of all, the Imjin War itself is the most dynamic event in the 500-year history of the Joseon Dynasty and is a major event worthy of being recorded in world history.
Moreover, this era’s people had to roll around on the battlefield for their entire lives, from the Imjin War to the Jeongyu War, the Battle of Sarhu, the Jeongmyo Insurrection, and the Byungja Rebellion, giving the protagonist plenty of opportunities to act.
However, there are two problems with this era.
First, most of the novels based on Joseon are centered around this era.
Of course, this era is the major of the majors.
The problem is that there are many novels with similar content where the protagonist takes on the roles of Seonjo, Gwanghae, or other figures from that era.
Readers may not feel the freshness if I write a novel with a popular subject matter.
Unless the writer has truly exceptional writing skills, the novel may feel like a mass-produced work and naturally struggle to succeed.
Of course, there is an easy way to solve this situation.
The novel’s setting, historical background, and events from the Imjin War, the Battle of Sarhu, the Jeongmyo Insurrection, and the Byungja Rebellion are all set as default values.
However, the charm of historical novels lies in their characters.
Depending on who the characters are and the author’s perspective, the novel’s atmosphere can change drastically.
If the novel is written from the perspective of a child from a noble family, not just a king, it could have some differentiation from existing novels.
Of course, my damn sunbae authors must have written novels with such characters that I haven’t read.
What was needed here was detail.
For example, I heard from my father a long time ago that our family’s elders were landlords who owned vast land in Ulsan.
If the main story of the novel starts from the Imjin War, starting in Ulsan wouldn’t be bad.
Since Ulsan has historical and cultural assets such as Ulsan Castle, it wouldn’t be bad to visit my hometown for research.
Great, the first issue with the world and perspective is solved!
The problem is the bigger second issue.
I don’t know the details about the Joseon Dynasty.
“Shit, I should’ve studied more in school…”
I should have listened when my teachers told me to study and not just give it to others!
Since I’m not sure what to choose, let’s start with researching.
The more I study about the historical background of the Imjin War, the more I realized this era was crazy.
Wow, it’s amazing how our ancestors protected the country from encountering three consecutive dark, tyrannical, and dark turns in a monarchy in such a crazy historical background.
The number of Japanese invaders who broke in during the Imjin War was either 170,000 or 190,000.
Imjin War was a war where a massive army of 200,000, rounded up, rushed into poor Joseon to rob it of food.
General Yi Sunsin, what kind of fight did you fight?
Do I really have to choose this background? Will it be a hit if I choose it?
The protagonist might suffer, but I hope this writing becomes a hit.
Not only the Imjin War, but I also researched Charles IV’s Battle, Jeongmyo Insurrection, and Byungja Rebellion while learning about the worldview at the time.
However, the more I researched, the more likely it was that this background would become a military story rather than an alternative historical novel.
Military stories are not bad, but there is a conflict between the detailed battle descriptions that are essential in novels and the demand of current readers, or rather, the respected readers.
In a military story, you need to show some defeat in the war to create tension and show overcoming such situations for a good novel with a well-developed plot, but these terrible hybrids of extreme cider pass and skip bugs curse the author when the protagonist or Joseon faces a crisis.
I’m 120% sure.
Of course, being afraid of being scolded and not being able to write is no different from not being able to make a living because of fear of maggots.
The problem is that the novel will fail if the comment section becomes a mess.
If a few loud readers start saying, “Ah, no fun,” the readers who enjoyed the novel would also think, “Ah, am I reading a boring novel?” and choose to unsubscribe.
To prevent such un-subscription, overwhelming detail was needed.
That’s why I studied the Joseon Dynasty that I hadn’t studied before!
I can do it!
The more I studied about the mid-Joseon Dynasty, the more amazed I was by the backgrounds that go beyond imagination.
The most surprising thing was about currency.
Surprisingly, it was said that there was no currency in Joseon during this period.
Of course, even before that, Joseon tried to create and distribute currency, but money is a means to facilitate an exchange economy.
The problem is that, except for the tributary trade with Ming Dynasty, Joseon’s trade was almost non-existent during this period.
Not knowing the economic situation of Joseon, when the Ming Dynasty came to Joseon, the Joseon people refused to accept the silver used in Ming, leading to plunder.
Does it make sense? It was a truly medieval event for the allied forces to plunder the people because they ran out of military provisions.
While studying late early Joseon or mid-Joseon historical setting, I also looked up materials on the late Joseon Dynasty.
The more I learn about this bizarre country called Joseon, the more amazing it becomes.
How did the dynasty maintain the royal family for over 200 years, even as the nation’s situation became a mess? The fantasy of kidnapping politicians from that era to handle our country’s politics and improve our domestic affairs was great.
I needed a wide range of knowledge for the protagonist to be active in this historical background.
To overcome this problematic historical background, a high-tech item as great as “new technology” was needed, but research on it took several days to the point of wearing out my teeth.
It was impossible to overcome this terrible environment with trade alone, so tremendous technology was needed to completely reverse the economic structure of the time.
For example, chemical fertilizers and quality-improved rice.
However, these items were created only in the 20th century, and the problem is that it was difficult to reproduce items like chemical fertilizers with the technology of that time.
It’s not that there’s no way to solve this problem easily, but a transcendent additive like a “system” is needed, and again, the problem is the reader… ahem, the respected readers.
If the protagonist, who knows the “future,” develops the novel with the help of a transcendent power like a “system,” there are countless people in the world who would curse at the convenience-oriented progress.
Nevertheless, if the respected readers want it, it’s a matter for the author to worry more about, not to blame the readers.
After all, I think my job as a writer is to provide service by writing works that the respected readers would enjoy and make me money.
During the month of setting the novel’s background, I studied harder than I did when I was a senior in high school preparing for the college entrance exam.
Ah, I got accepted early, so I didn’t take the regular admission exam?
When I sat in a chair to write, suddenly, my eyes became dry.
“Ah, I’ve been doing too much research lately and am tired.”
I should work on the scenario while having a cup of coffee.
I turned on the gas stove and waited for the water in the coffee pot to boil while fighting the incoming drowsiness.
Ah, but why am I so sleepy? I only researched the background, and I haven’t even started the novel yet!
Anyway, there are no readers pushing for several chapters a day… ahem! There are no respected readers, so should I take a nap and write?
Ah, I have to turn off the gas, but whatever, I’ll turn it off after I wake up.
 A Korean expression used when someone is desperately in need of money.
 The founder and the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, respectively.
 Taejo’s Uihwa Island incident refers to an event in 1392 when King Taejo of Joseon ordered the execution of several officials who had plotted to overthrow him and replace him with his nephew. the Princes’ revolt,
 The Princes’ Revolt was a political conflict that occurred in the early Joseon Dynasty, before the reign of King Sejong. It was instigated by the two half-brothers of King Taejo, who had close ties with the Ming Dynasty and sought to overthrow their younger brother to establish a pro-Ming government.
 During the early part of the Joseon Dynasty, in 1419, King Sejong ordered the conquest of Dae Ma Island, which was inhabited by Japanese pirates.
 Kings 14-16 of the Joseon Dynasty.
 Also known as the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598).
 A series of invasions by Japan into Korea between 1592 and 1598.
 The Little War of Korea, also known as the Jeongyu War, was a minor conflict in 1597 during the Imjin War.
 The Battle of Sarhu occurred during the Imjin War in 1592, between the Japanese invasion force and the Korean army, where the latter emerged victorious.
 The Jeongmyo Insurrection was a rebellion against the Japanese forces during the Imjin War in Korea in 1592. Led by General Kim Si-min, it was an attempt to recapture the capital city of Seoul, but it ultimately failed.
 The Byungja Rebellion was a peasant uprising during the Imjin War in 1592 in Korea.
 Ulsan Castle is a historic fortress in Ulsan, South Korea, originally built during the Silla Dynasty in the 7th century.
 General Yi Sunsin was a Korean naval commander who achieved remarkable victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin War using his “turtle ships.”
 Refers to the satisfying and favorable development of a story that readers enjoy.
 Refers to readers who skip parts of a story that they do not find interesting or relevant.
 A type of brass coin used in the Joseon Dynasty, also known as “leaf money.”
 A type of Korean coin issued from 1633 to 1891 during the Joseon Dynasty.
 “연참” is when the author of a web novel posts multiple updates in a day.
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