December 13, 2009

Popular Article on How to Write a Successful Chinese Romance Novel, Part 2

Translation of the second part nearly drove me crazy. Very difficult to retain the humor.


1.The right combination of words can make a huge difference in psycholagnic fiction. Try translating "I want you" into Chinese:
(a) I will have you.
(b) I must have you.
(c) You cannot escape from me.
(d) I will ask my father emperor for you.

Answer: There is no right or wrong answer because literature is not like math. I can tell you that all four options will work, but (a) definitely is the most bland. (c) the classic works better, and it appeared even in romance novels written by pioneers like Qiongyao and Xijuan--in addition, it attests to an indomitable spirit. (d), being the most "regal" and descriptive, wins over the other three.

2. A girl has to save her lover from danger. Which part of her anatomy is the most ideal location to receive an injury?
(a) Forehead
(b) Arm
(c) Ankle
(d) Chest

Answer: Only a man will choose (d), and someone who reads too many porn novels at that. In reality, both (a) and (c) are good. Since forehead typically suffers light injuries, her appearance won't be negatively impacted in anyway. A little blood might even improve her look, adding a touch of sex appeal. Sprained ankles, on the other hand, have the advantage of opening up more possibilities--for example, she will have now to be carried by someone [hint hint]. Finally, those of you who select (d), if you don't care for any more clicks, if you wish to end your story soon, and if you want to throw in some love-making scene, then this option works fine.

3. If for the first encounter between lovers the girl must have an area of her body bared, which should it be:
(a) Wrist
(b) Arm
(c) Chest
(d) Ankle
(e) Leg

Answer: Students choosing (a),(b),(c),and(d) should all be ashamed. Come on, (a) and (b) will show regardless of you selecting them or not. (c) and (e) indicate a predilection for pornography. Especially (e), did you think we are judging for Miss USA? (d) is the obvious answer here. It shows enough flesh to get people excited but otherwise leaves a lot to imagination.

4. What should a man give to a woman to show his love?
(a) Diamond
(b) Flowers
(c) Jade
(d) Chinese embroidery
(e) Grass roots

Answer: (a) and (b) are utterly vulgar! Students who chose these two should be ashamed of their bad taste.

Correct answers consist of (c), (d), and (e). (c) and (d) promote the Chinese culture. (e) likens love between ordinary people to grass roots, plain but everlasting.

5. The most acceptable form of handicap for a girl is:
(a) Dumbness
(b) Deafness
(c) Lameness
(d) Blindness
(e) Amputation

Answer: If your answer is (e), you are automatically flunked. (a) and (b) are the best because being deaf and dumb accentuate hardships in her life [which will supposedly excite protective and sympathetic feelings]; graceful fluency in sign language further keeps a man's interest glued.

Lameness and blindness need to be avoided because they don't look good. Unless she is blind but still manages to possess beautiful eyes.

6. Who below is the ideal prototype for the male protagonis?
(a) Xiang Yu
(b) Liu Bang
(c) A prince
(d) Jerry Yang
(e) Leader of triad/mafia/gang

Answer: All are fantastic except for (b). You do not want Liu Bang because he is a rogue and a philanderer.

7. Male and female protagonists should have the following combination of accents:
(a) Man: Beijing; woman: Beijing
(b) Man: Hong Kong; woman: Hong Kong
(c) Man: Beijing; woman: China south
(d) Man: Beijing; woman: Hong Kong
(e) Man: Hong Kong; woman: Beijing
(f) Man: Hong Kong; woman: China south
(g) Man: China south; woman: Hong Kong
(h) Man: China south; woman: Hong Kong
(i) Man: China west; woman: China west
(j) Man: China west; woman: China south

Answer: Dear students, don't be confused by the many choices. (c) is the only one that works. Hong Kong accents should be avoided like the plague because it is vulgar. A southern accent makes the man sound effeminate, whereas western accent makes him sound uncouth. A process of elimination leaves only (c).

Beijing accent in a man sound more masculine; southern accent in a female sound womanly and cute.

8. How many man should fall madly in love with your female protagonist?
(a) 1
(b) 2
(c) 3
(d) As many as possible.

Answer: A little red flower goes to the student who selected (d), because then the writer will have infinitely many candidates to choose from, female fans to hoot after the many guys, and also money for her book.

9. As another plot device, when you want him to let go of her wrist he is holding, she should say:
(a) Let go of me
(b) Let go
(c) Let me go (with a little bit of coquetry)
(d) Let go...(with a slight frown) are hurting me.

Answer: (c) and (d) are the better answers. The first for playfulness; the second to throw in some physical abuse that draws sympathies.

10. Gender combination for the lovers:
(a) M, F
(b) M, M
(c) F, F

Answer: Who chose (c)? I will refund 80% of your tuition because it pains me to know that you obviously haven't learnt anything from this lesson. Tell me, which female reader would want to read about two girls making out?

(a) is the obvious and most likable combination for both male and female readers. (b), on the other hand, is avant-garde. Novels with this particular combination simply replaces the girl with a boy, who always turns out to be a Farinelli to allow female readers to more easily identify with him. [Note: Presently (b) is a flourishing genre in China]

Related Post(s)
Popular Article on How to Write a Successful Chinese Romance Novel, Part 1

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