Interesting; will it be under CHF?
1. It was just three or four hundred years ago, whence novel-writers were considered silly and a waste of time, as how the Red Chamber had once been despised. Therefore Wuxia as a genre is new, actually, to everyone; it is Wushu 武術 that has survived long. To my knowledge, only wuxia of Jinyong, and Gulong made it to the peak of fame, through the borders dividing West and East. For example, 萧鼎's《诛仙》apparently was so famous and favoured that games/comics/movies had been made dedicated to it. Unless I am much mistaken, there are currently no official English translation for his prominent work. Unfortunately he is not the only one. Then again, many might disagree with my classification of him being wuxia, since most of his combats includes Eastern-magic, which style contradicts that of Gulong and Jinyong. So, what is your definition of wuxia?
2. Do you really intend to write in English? If you aim to popularise Wuxia itself amongst the Westerners, then it would be difficult to introduce many fundamental elements like sect, 招, 式, 回合 etc - I can't even find the corresponding word that accurately maps to their Chinese counterparts. I doubt many of us understand the terms too. How do you differentiate 招 and 式? Why had Jinyong described so much action and yet counted it as a 回合? (Don't answer them. Of course I know.) Besides, many wuxia are written in 'extinct' Chinese, with many cultures that only a Chinese would understand, e.g. the Five Elements, Yinyang, brother-ship, poems, 字谜 etc. The language used in wuxia novels itself is special; how would you translate '小弟', '朕' or '寡人' without losing the royalty or the humbleness interwoven into the pronouns? It would all be 'I' in English. What about those concise, four-worded speech that distinguishes scholars from the commoners? That being said, are there professional translations of wuxia novels in English for readers to read? I am ultimately not against your writing language being English, I just hope that you have acknowledged the obstacles. ^^
3. What is the main purpose of your journal? Your topic shifts from wuxia to historical fictions to general serialised fiction, which in my opinion are divisively contradicting. Wuxia itself is problematic, and yet historical fictions? There is a reason, you know, why the Romance of the Three Kingdom did not reign over the literature world like that of Harry Potter or the Twilight Saga. Historical fictions are burdened with thousands of characters to memorise, plots, and names of places which I reckon would be difficult to remember for the Westerners. Nonetheless, if it is Chinese literature that you hope promote, then I am completely fine with it. However, with Chinese literature you include romance novels and detective novels, which I dare say is distinguished enough to be classified into different genres. Then also, your focus for wuxia would be diluted.
Thanks for entertaining my questions, even if you are not. (>.<) I certainly mean no offence by bombarding you such, but I wish to clarify any holes that you have missed out. I am very supportive of this journal and will definitely read, if not contribute. Nevertheless, I regret to concede that I lack of professional historic knowledge, neither command of English sufficient to write. (Though, I am writing a wuxia novel now, set in modern times, with a rather interesting setting, I dare say. >.< Just publicising. Haha.)
I thank you for the response, and no offense taken. Let me try and answers your points.
Wuxia is not all that new, really. It's just that Jin Yong and Gu Long have claimed ownership of a genre they didn't create. It's not their fault; people liked what they wrote. But when I think of wuxia, I don't just think of Jin Yong and Gu Long, but about the xiake
in general, that is, the knight-errant. Western literature has such an archetype, though it's different than the Chinese version. But my point is that the English language writer has no obligation to follow in Jin Yong's footsteps. For example, in 神鵰俠侶, Xiaolong nu thinks that Yang Guo slept with her while she was paralyzed, creating a huge misunderstanding that easily could have been cleared up if Yang Guo has just said something. These kinds of plot devices I personally find annoying. So I don't have to write stories that way. I also am not especially fond of the minute descriptions of hand to hand comabt Jin Yong uses. I don't have to include that either.
I think maybe too many writers have followed Jin Yong and Gu Long. Well, that's what happens when something gets popular. But it's a shame that when I go to a bookstore here in Taiwan, the only wuxia I see is Jin Yong and Gu Long. I can't read Chinese well enough to read them anyway, but it's a shame wuxia as a genre isn't better represented.
I am new to the genre myself. I am currently confined only to English translations, and we all know that translations of any kind always fall short. (There actually are three official translations of Jin Yong into English: Book and Sword, Deer and the Cauldron, and Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain. Gu Long's The Eleventh Son has also been translated. I've only read Book and Sword, and it read well in English, but I'm not in a position to compare it to the original.) However, using English means that we can tell wuxia stories in a different way. English is much different than Chinese. It will be difficult translating concepts that are foreign to the uninitiated, but these kinds of problems exist with any attempt to tell the story of another culture in a foreign language. The ways writers deal with these challenges is part of the interest.
It's up to the writers who contribute how they handle the writing of a wuxia story. I hope to not be the only contributor. For myself, I don't like to explain too much. I get annoyed at books that make too much of how foreign the culture is they are describing, especially when the characters in the story aren't foreign. It reads like a travel guide, the author saying "hey, look how much I know about this culture". I like to write as if the reader already knows, and if the reader doesn't know, then they can look into it on their own, or not. If the story is good, you don't need to catch everything to have a good experience.
But that raises the question of how to get new Western readers? Well, I suspect a few here and there will come on their own, in time. For starters at least, I aim to write to the initiated, those that already know about wuxia. They will be the ones likely to want to read the stories anyway. It will take time to open the genre up to others. That's fine. We can please ourselves first.
Historical fiction. I included this because I personally like to read older Chinese stories that have nothing to do with wuxia. I plan to write these kinds of stories, and I welcome others to do the same. If all I get is wuxia, that's fine too. Serialized fiction just means publishing in installments, and I never said anything about detective or romance novels. I don't know if we'll be able to serialize novels, but I hope so. It means the writers would have to deliver every issue. But the focus of the journal will be pre-modern Chinese, though I will take submissions dealing with other pre-modern East Asian nations as well. That means wuxia, and historical fiction in general.
Now, when I say historical fiction, I don't just mean stories dealing with historical events, such as ROTK, but also any story that takes place in an historical period. I like reading old huaben
stories from the Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties. I want to write similar stories, though hopefully with my own style. I encourage others who are interested to do the same.
My biggest concern is my own skill, my own knowledge of the periods. My knowledge of those wuxia terms you listed is not good enough yet for me to talk at length about them. Fortunately, you don't have to have qinggong
, for example, in a wuxia story. I'm continually learning about China's history to help me out, but it's an ongoing process. I hope these limitations won't stop anyone else from trying to write these kinds of stories themselves. We learn by doing, after all.
If I didn't answer something, please ask it again. I may have missed something. Is the novel you're writing in English or Chinese? If you (or anyone else) can write well enough to be on this forum, then you're qualified to write a story in English. I can help with fixing grammatical mistakes. I want more experience in doing that anyway.
To reiterate: We can use English to tell wuxia and other stories in our own way, and I'm not aiming for strict fidelity to the existing tradition. You can't hold a Chinese wuxia story and an English wuxia story to quite the same scrutiny. An English wuxia story is an interpretation of the genre. It follows the Chinese tradition to a point, then branches off down its own path. I hope this journal will be the beginning of that path.
EDIT: I forgot to add that the concepts and terms can be explained in articles about wuxia in the journal.
Edited by JohnD, 23 December 2010 - 06:23 AM.