Wuxiaworld > Thriller Paradise > 231 I Am a Writer 3

231 I Am a Writer 3

"Brother Jue, this part will be cut from the official version, right?" Xiao Tan asked.

"If they cut it, what are they going to show for my part? They're not going to ask me write another one," Feng Bujue replied.

"There is nothing about what you wrote that is overly positive or negative." The government worker, Master Bao, gave his verdict. "It does not need to be censored."

"During the post-show interview, they did ask me why I wrote something like that," Feng Bujue said, "So I asked them, why can't I write something like that?"

"Oh? There's a post-show interview?" Xiao Tan was curious.

"Oh, every single writer has to go shoot this single interview after the show. During the interview, the staff show snippets from the show and then ask some questions to go with it," Feng Bujue explained. "This interview will be edited into many different segments and interspersed between the show. It's kinda like the confessionals you see in reality TV shows."

"Oh, so that's how they record those confessionals for reality TV?" Xiao Tan gasped in shock.

"Isn't that common knowledge?" Master Bao mocked.

Feng Bujue also added, "When do you think they shoot those interviews? Do you think they stop the recording to perform interviews?"

"Er…" Xiao Tan was speechless.

"This is the first cut version, so there won't be those shoots," Feng Bujue added. "But they will be there in the official version."

While the three spoke, Oscar had used a long series of empty words to carry people's attention away. Then he said, "Now is the moment we have been waiting for. It's time for the votes!"

The camera turned to show a full view of the contestants.

"We have seven hundred audience members with us in the recording studio. Now you can cast your vote on the small screen before you. Every member of the audience has a first-choice vote and a second-choice vote. Please cast the first-choice vote to the contestant that you think did the best this round and the second-choice vote to the runner-up," Oscar explained. "The first-choice vote will count as one point and the second-choice vote as 0.5 points. The contestant with the most points will win. Other than that, you have only two minutes to cast your votes, and you cannot cast two votes for the same person. Now… please cast your vote!"

Background music meant to hype up the atmosphere began. The camera gave each of the seven contestants a close-up. Oscar did not take this as time off. He found something to add and say, "The first round is normally the hardest round to predict. Other than contestant Bujue who has joined us for the first time, the other six contestants have taken first place for this first round in the past.

"So far, only Ba Shan Pin has won the first round as a newcomer in the history of the show. But… that was during our first episode, and all seven contestants were newcomers. After all, there hasn't been a newcomer who's managed to win on the first round. I wonder, will contestant Bujue break that record today?"

Two minutes soon passed, and Oscar took the cue to shout, "Time's up!"

He let out an exaggerated sigh. "Alright, according to rules, we will announce second place, first place, and then the last place of this round.

"And our… second place is…"

The camera changed again and again. Oscar made sure to increase the hype when he spoke. He purposely dragged the time out to increase the audience's anticipation.

"He is…" With the music fading again, a contestant's penname appeared on the big screen. "Onto the Field!"

Then the show replayed Onto the Field's reaction three times in slow motion. But the man was wearing sunglasses, so even if his expression shifted, it was hard to catch. Then, the director purposely replayed the other contestants' reactions when the second place was announced. Of course, everyone appeared rather subdued. They hesitated for about a second before giving a polite smile and started to clap with the audience members. Only Feng Bujue showed a deadpan expression and looked at the situation like he was an outsider. He was like an office worker who was waiting for a day off to arrive. If not for the salary at the end of the day, he would have left already.

"Congratulations, Brother Field," Oscar said. "How is it? Are you satisfied with your placement this time?"

"Actually, I expected to get only fourth or fifth place." Onto the Field smiled.

"Then, who do you think the first three contestants should have been? Who was better than you?" Oscar tossed out an incendiary question.

Onto the Field answered quite honestly. "Hmm… In my mind, it's Brother Pin, Xuan Tian… and Bujue. I think they wrote better than I did."

"Oh?" Oscar reacted like a true professional. He instantly turned to Vegetable Fruit. "Vegetable, what do you think?"

"In my mind… the first three winners should be Brother Pin, Xuan Tian, and Brother Field," Vegetable Fruit answered. "I am probably last."

"Where do you place Uncle Soda then?" Mo Buxiang took this opportunity to ask Vegetable Fruit. Her tone and expression showed that she was joking.

Oscar laughed. "Soda, sounds like Mo Mo is trying to say that you are supposed to be last place this round."

Soda replied with a smile. "You are going to announce last place, right?"

Oscar nodded. "Yes, indeed. Let's take a look. The contestant who placed last on this first round is…"

Without surprise, Soda got last place. Even though what Feng Bujue had written was hard to critique, at least he did finish the assignment, and he had written quite a lot. Soda only had a few unfinished sentences, so the result was expected. Without the order from the director, the cameraman repeated what he had done earlier.

"Fine, in this case… I think that Soda will have expected this result," Oscar said. Soda merely nodded and smiled politely.

"Now… we have come to the nerve-wrecking moment." Oscar turned back to the big screen again. "Today, who will be the winner of the first round? Is it Ba Shan Pin; Xuan Tianzong, who was mentioned by other contestants; or Bujue, who joined us on stage for the first time today? As contestants with many fans, could Vegetable and Mo Mo hit us with a surprise?"

Following his words, the camera showed the contestants that he had named one after another. "And the result… we will tell you after this commercial…"

There was another cut, and for the next shot, Oscar was reading out the name on the big screen. "The victor of the first round is… Ba Shan Pin!"

Applause and screams came from the audience stand.

"I believe everyone was like me. We have a deep impression of Brother Pin's great characterization," Oscar said, and the poem that Ba Shan Pin had written appeared on the screen again. Then, there was a strange segue. Oscar's position shifted, and he said in a loud voice, "I bet everyone has been waiting very long for this. Now, we shall enter the second round—A Stroke of Genius!"

"Look, here is the part where they have filled in the interviews. It should be about the time where the interview after the first round with every contestant is placed. The interviews have the contestants' opinions of the first round," Feng Bujue told Xiao Tan and Master Bao.

Xiao Tan asked. "So how did you score in the first round? Which place were you?"

"I have no clue." Feng Bujue shrugged. "I did not think to ask later."

"Shush, it's time for the rules." Master Bao signaled for them to pipe down. The detailed rules for the second round appeared on-screen.

"The first round has passed, and based on the current standings, Ba Shan Pin is just leading the pack. Onto the Field is a close second while Soda is currently in last place. After the second round, will there be a big change in the standing? We will find out."

As Oscar went through his speech, he strode toward Feng Bujue. "Bujue, if I tell you now that the format of the second round will be greatly advantageous to you, will you believe me?"

"The expression on your face is just like those who have just came out from an MLM meeting… So, my rudimentary prediction is… yes, the format of the second round will indeed be advantageous toward me." Feng Bujue narrowed his eyes as he answered. The audience perhaps had given the first sincere laugh of the night. Oscar smiled awkward yet politely. "No wonder contestant Bujue is famed for his detective novels, and he is indeed quite a humorous person."

He quickly took two steps away from Brother Jue. He again felt a deep regret for his decision to go talk to Feng Bujue.

"In the second round…" Oscar led the topic back to the game. "Our seven contestants will see…"

He waved his arms. "Something like this."

On the screen, a paragraph that was not so long appeared. "Ding Yi was a normal company worker. He came from an ordinary background, but his relative fell sick, and he needed a huge amount of money desperately to cure the sickness. One day, Ding Yi found a treasure, and it allowed him to save his family member."

Oscar looked at the paragraph and said, "Dear writers, please come up with a plotline based on this paragraph that is shown on the screen. Please form it into an actual readable story."

His eyes moved to the contestants' area. "You have ten minutes for this round, and your ten minutes… start now!"

Even though Oscar had announced the start of the round, none of the seven contestants moved. Everyone was deep in their thought.

"If writing is the make-up, then creativity is a novel's content. One needs these two things to attract readers." Oscar started to read to the camera. "The judging criteria for this round is based on how interesting the plot is. The contestants will read out their work in a recitation format. In other words, this round has nothing to do with writing skill, only creativity."

He paused before continuing. "Personally, I think… Bujue, as a detective novel writer, will be able to give us a great surprise in writing this kind of short story."

 The screen panned to Feng Bujue. The man was out of it, looking like a stone buddha. It was unclear whether he was thinking or just spacing out.

"Mo Buxiang and Soda will often give us great stories in this round as well," Oscar added. "I wonder, how will they do today? Based on the voting online, A Stroke of Genius is the most anticipated segment by the audience for this show. Every episode, our seven contestants will bring us seven different yet interesting stories. They could be horror, smart, quaint or disquieting. Even though they shine differently, every one of the stories has their own unique charm…"

He continued his meaningless drivel until it was finally time for commercials again. Since this version did not have commercials, Xiao Tan and Master Bao got to the exciting part directly. The announcement this time did not follow one to seven, like how the contestants were announced, but the contestants were picked randomly. Therefore, even the sixth or seventh contestants did not have the time to dawdle. They had to finish their work in under ten minutes, just in case they were called out first.

"Alright, our first contestant to take the stage this time is…" Oscar pointed to the large screen. The numbers one to seven rolled on the screen before finally stopping at four.

"Mo Mo, please begin." Oscar did not waste any time.

The control panel before the contestants turned into free mode for this round. The contestants could not only write on it. They could draw simple charts like character relationship charts, maps, or objects. When the contestants recited, they could look at their script. Of course, they could do it like a piece of homework—write everything on the panel and read it out when they were called. A plotline was formless and had no specific criteria, so they could be free.

In Mo Buxiang's story, Ding Yi was a woman of twenty-nine. She had dreamt of becoming a musician since she was young, but destiny gave her a normal life. That was until the day Ding Yi's fiancé fell seriously ill, and that changed her life. She picked up a magical flute that could move every listener to tears. In the end, she not only rescued her husband but also her long-lost dream.

Mo Buxiang's story was very short, and she finished it in three minutes. Combined with the background music, it created a touching effect. It was unknown if they were hired actors, but there were crying members in the audience. The cameraman naturally did not give up such interesting shots and gave the audience members several seconds of close-ups.

"Hmm, Mo Mo has given us yet another interesting story. It might sound like an everyday story, but it has an undeniable warmth to it. She has proven to us yet again that one does not need big characters or dramatic conflicts to have an attractive story. With sincerity, a story will have its soul."

Oscar gave that comment like he had memorized it somewhere and then moved onto announce the next contestant. In this round, most contestants focused on their field of specialty. The question given by this segment was always open.

Ding Yi's personality and age, her relation to the relative and their illness, the type and use of the treasure, the world's history and so on… the writers had many ways to develop it. They had extremely high freedom, and it was meant for the writers to showcase their creativity.

In fact, contestants who had the tendency to prepare way ahead could have prepared some useable plots before the show and then used them there. The way the contestants came at this challenge would be different based on their usual method of story writing.

Soon, the few contestants finished their turn. Based on the reaction from the crowd, the best performing contestant was Soda. The master of Horror was truly something. In just ten minutes, he came up with an intriguing story with a hook and many twists. It did not feel out of place with the given setting.

Finally, it was Feng Bujue's turn.

For some weird reason… even though the sequence was randomized, Brother Jue was the last to take to the stage. Normally, the last contestant in the second round would have the biggest advantage. Even though the contestants had all finished their work in ten minutes and could not operate the panel anymore after the others had started to recite their work, in the extra time, they could have easily edited the plot that was in their mind.

By now, the audience greatly anticipated Feng Bujue's performance. There were three reasons. First, there was the set up from Oscar when he mentioned the detective novel writer's background. Second, Brother Jue was the last contestant to take the stage. And third, his performance in the first round had left a deep impression on most of the audience.

"Hmm…" Feng Bujue crossed his arms, and he looked like he was in deep trouble.

Oscar walked to his side and took a glance at his panel. His heart jolted as he thought, The thing is empty! Other contestants at least filled up half the page! What is going on in you‽ No one has ever handed in a blank piece of paper in this segment before! The person who managed to write out the history of General Kim before he was thirty in an instant in the first round is unable to squeeze out even a single word? What is the meaning of this‽

"Er… Contestant Bujue, it's your turn now."

When Oscar said that, he was already prepared to accept a surrender request from Feng Bujue. But to his surprise, Feng Bujue took a deep breath, leaned closer to the mic, and without looking at the panel, started to speak very quickly.

"Ding Yi, thirty, single, a normal worker at a normal company. Worked on the lower level, like most working-class people. Had a zombie-like life until the day his aunt's son's friend's uncle was suddenly found to suffer from a fatal illness. He had to be sent to Earth for treatment for a chance at survival."

Wait, wait, wait… What is this about sending the man to Earth? Does this story happen on Earth, or are you seriously telling me that an alien race who can travel through space has worse medical technology than Earth? And what is this about aunt's son's friend's uncle? Why would Ding Yi care about someone so removed from him? Couldn't he just allow him to die peacefully?

Oscar had a hard time holding in the mockery that was bubbling in his mind, and that showed from the change to his facial expression.

Feng Bujue was continuing with his narration. "But they needed a lot of money to get to Earth, an amount that Ding Yi, his aunt, his aunt's son, and his aunt's son's friend's family could not support. At that moment, Ding Yi found a pair of magical dancing shoes. This treasure evoked the memory that he had kept buried for many years. The sense of justice, honor, and responsibility that had been kept away for years all rushed back into his mind. As it turned out, twenty years earlier, Ding Yi's real identity was… the superhero from the galactic superhero justice league—the Pi Li Dance Hero."

Oscar was about to lose his goddamn mind. Pi what Li… Dance what hero… What the hell is this? Where is this story going? Please, can someone come up here and drag this madman off the stage‽

"Ding Yi first contacted their colony country on Earth, India." Feng Bujue had not finished yet.

So, Ding Yi is not even an earthling? Is that the story now?

"His best friend from his childhood, the Tap Monster, was still living on Earth."

Wait, the main character used to be a young superhero… but isn't he still in his youth now? So, at what age did he start fighting evil forces in space? Can a boy so small even fight evil? Is there even sense to this story?

"Then, they successfully used their own superhero to help Ding Yi's aunt's son's friend's uncle. They teleported him through space. Through an illegal channel, of course."

Superhero your head! What about justice! If you're poor, then you can only smuggle? Then what's the point of all that hoopla earlier‽

"Finally, Ding Yi's aunt's son's friend's uncle found a retired general doctor to get treatment, and he recovered," Feng Bujue concluded. "But Ding Yi's story has just begun… The young man, who had just awakened, returned to the galactic superhero justice league and returned to the people's knowledge. And the dark force that had been slumbering in space started to move again…"

The story stopped there. For some strange reason, the people present had this strange desire to hear Feng Bujue's continuation of this one of a kind, as strange as it was, story…