Well… We've finally come to the end of Spirit Immortal.
Hehe, I bet you guys didn't see it coming right? The cover of the book was actually the ending scene of the entire story! Haha, I did well to keep it under wraps for the two years I've been writing this story! Finally, I get to share it all with you!
For those that had stuck with me for the near two years, I've been posting Spirit Immortal… It's been quite the hell of a ride. There were many days where I wanted to quit writing this story and there were many times where I just wanted to say: "F.u.c.k it! Let me just leave everything and just tell you the outline of Spirit Immortal straight up!" However, because of you guys, I gritted my teeth and completed the story.
So… Before I begin the FINAL Author's Thoughts of Spirit Immortal, I want to give a huge thank you for all who supported me. Especially my Patrons, who had actually invested money into Spirit Immortal even though you guys didn't have to. There are some of you who have invested hundreds of dollars to support this project of mine and I don't know how else I could repay you for your continued support...
Honestly, I lack the words to describe my gratitude, so I can only say this…
Thank you all for being the rock in my life, guiding me to complete the story that I dreamed about so many years back…
Alright, enough of the emotional stuff! Let's get to the real meat of the Author's Thoughts. This will be my longest Author's Thoughts yet so if you lack the time, you really don't have to read it all. However, for those that had read Spirit Immortal all the way, I'm sure that you'll find it all very interesting.
Let me divide it into sections first, just to keep me on track. Firstly, I'll be discussing the overall story of Spirit Immortal. How I conceived it from a theory that I had, the inspirations I took and ultimately… The ending that I'm sure only a percentage of you saw coming.
Secondly, I'll be talking about the challenges I had writing Spirit Immortal. My journey from a teenager in university that had no clue about how to write, to the man that I am now. The challenges that a new author in the web novel genre will come to face and hopefully, it'll teach any of you aspiring authors to not repeat the same mistakes that I'd made.
Thirdly, I'll be writing about the things that I would have done differently (ie, the things that I would want to do in future when writing future stories). Also, the lessons learnt that I wish to impart on my future self, as well as any budding authors reading this.
Finally… I'm going to talk about my future works and how I'll be approaching writing web novels in the future.
It's going to be a long ride since I'll be trying to condense two years worth of experience into one doc.u.ment, so please bear with me.
Story of Spirit Immortal
As many of you know, I am a fan of Wuxia/Xianxia novels. They have played an integral part of my teenage life, giving me content to binge through while I rode through my schooling years. By now, you should be familiar with how I got into Wuxia/Xianxia, so I'll skip the long introduction and get to the reason why I imagined Spirit Immortal as a Wuxia.
I had a different take about Immortality than the other novels.
It was really as simple as that. In traditional novels, like Coiling Dragon or Doulou Dalu, the ultimate goal for the protagonist was to become an Immortal. Some even have realms above the Immortal Realm and they continually become stronger until they reach Godhood. It's a tale that we've all read before. However, my thoughts about Immortality are a little different.
I don't believe that Eternal Life exists. Or at the very least, not in the way Wuxia/Xianxia novels portray it. Let me explain.
What does Immortal mean? A literal definition means, not mortal. So, before we get to that, let's define what mortal means first. A mortal is any living thing that exists in reality, doing their best to continue their ultimate goal… To live. See, it doesn't matter if you are a human or a dog, a tree or a pig. We're all living creatures fighting against our final destination… death. As much as we don't like to admit it, all living things will die one day. That's what makes them 'living' in the first place. We have immune systems to protect against viruses. Possess various traits that will help us survive in our reality. Legs to run, arms to hunt, mouths to eat, s.e.x.u.a.l organs to reproduce…
All of these attributes are what makes us mortal. Which means that the desires that come from these attributes are also mortal desires. We hunger to live. We l.u.s.t to reproduce and further on our genetic lineage. We anger to pump ourselves into action to defend our survival. Every single emotion that humans feel are linked to one main thing… To live. Even trees, which are effectively mortal, respond to changes and adapt to live.
So what happens when you turn Immortal? All of our survival instincts, all of our desires that make us mortal… It all goes away.
We will no longer want to do anything because we've already lost our most primal need to survive. Hunger becomes redundant since you won't die. S.e.xual desires disappear since there's no need for you to reproduce anymore. Feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, fear… All of them would be stripped bare of any mortal.
Once we become 'Immortal' we cease being 'Mortal'. Sounds stupid to say out loud, but in most cultivation novels, the protagonist becomes Immortal but still acts as a Mortal. Desiring to grow stronger even though he/she has obtained eternal life. L.u.s.ting over new girls in the new realm. Feeling emotions that no Immortal should have… All of these got me wondering…
How could I make a story about an Immortal with this logic that I have?
And then it hit me… The journey.
I have to make a journey tale, one where the protagonist starts from nothing and obtains everything that he'd ever thought possible. And it's not like the journey was perfect. Shin lost people on the way. Learned lessons from a myriad of characters. Took on the journey of life to become the 'perfect hero' that was slated to become the next 'Immortal.' And at the end of it all… He'll realise that Immortality was just a lie made up by humans to feel better about his mortality.
All humans live. All humans die. In the end, what really matters is the journey that we all take while we're living. It doesn't matter if you become a successful billionaire or a struggling pauper. It doesn't matter if you get to live your dreams or be a recluse that loves to watch shows all day. As long as you're satisfied with your life's journey. That's all that matters.
At least, that was what I was trying to convey in Spirit Immortal.
Remember when I said that I wanted to finish this story because I wanted all of you to see my ending? The ending that I created was to show what my thoughts were about mortality. The life of a mortal, the journey that said mortal would take and finally… The end that no one can escape from. Spirit Immortal isn't a story about Immortality like other Wuxias. It's a story about… Mortality.
I'll be the first to admit. I lost control over the story of Spirit Immortal halfway through writing it. The original storyboard was for Shin to have a single drive (Ariel's resurrection) to carry him all the way to the ending. The ending that would reveal that the Immortal Realm doesn't exist and they were all cogs in a wheel to power the World Spirit. However, as I wrote more settings, introduced more characters, the storyline became more convoluted.
I'm an author that doesn't like to keep things rigid. As I keep adding new things into the story, it would morph whatever narrative I'm trying to write. Kanari's introduction as the secondary love interest was the major turning point for Spirit Immortal as well. I'd initially thought of Kanari as a friend character that was ultimately there only to fuel Shin's growth and to eventually meet Ariel. However, as I'd thought about it… Would Shin really behave that way when a beauty and good-hearted person like Kanari was chasing him? Was love truly eternal and could Shin only be single-minded about one person till the very end.
Then there were more realistic scenarios that I could think of which broke Shin's motivations. Even if Yggdrasil was real and Shin resurrected Ariel, he would still be a mature a.d.u.l.t while Ariel would be a fifteen-year-old girl. Was that really realistic for Shin to ignore Kanari, a beautiful woman who had been chasing him when he was a hormonal youth, for a future with an uncertain Ariel.
And finally, I wanted to put in the family aspect into Shin's cultivation life. Family was an important aspect of all human beings. It's what fuels our evolution as a race and what drives us to live yet another day. So, Shin has to have a family before he ascends. So that he could make the final decision that he made at the end…
To not return to Earth and warn people that Immortality was a choice that Shin had to make. The world needs to have this cycle. Cultivators trying to ascend to Immortality, only to become energy for the new generation to rise up. That completes the evolution cycle of the Spirit Immortal world and Shin can only understand that if he has children of his own.
I've hidden many clues throughout the early books about the true nature of the Immortal Realm as well. Remember in Book 1 when I said the Spirit Immortals "burst into energy?" Also, in Book 2, the Mushinkei, the Frie Clan's house in Chilyoja Waypoint, means "Godless" in Japanese. And who could forget the easiest clue that I gave you all? Dexsot Teinost? Literally you can rearrange the words to form "It does not exist." Yes, yes. Very similar to the Harry Potter one with Voldermolt, but still! None of you got it! I even made it clear that I like scrambling words around with the Frie and Awter Clan all the way back in Book 1!
The challenges of being a writer, particularly an online one, is a completely foreign concept to me when I first started writing. I began to write because of my love of it and I'd thought that it would be easy. There are literally thousands of stories online and they each had their own unique flair. Some of them were terrible, some of them were masterpieces. And well… I got inspired by both types.
The masterpieces made me fall in love with stories. The shit stories made me realise… Anyone could write. Particularly online when there were no gatekeepers like traditional books. So even someone like me, who has bad English and horrendous storytelling skills can actually write something to the masses.
Thinking back, I really was young and naive.
The most challenging part of being a novelist isn't the lack of time, which believe me, I was always swamped. It wasn't even the social toll that it takes. I had to give up many social events or at least plan ahead many weeks because I stuck to this daily schedule of releasing a chapter a day.
The most challenging part of being a novelist is… Writer fatigue.
There were so many days that I just couldn't type a single word. I didn't know how to pen my story. I didn't know how to write my settings. I didn't want to write anything because of how burnt out I was… I lost all my love for Spirit Immortal after consistently writing about it for two years. I couldn't bring myself to the keyboard, distracting myself with youtube videos and other entertainment means.
I would miss the days where my fingers would dance on the keyboard. I remember there was once I wrote a thousand words in an hour, and ten thousand words in a day. However, at my lowest point of my writer's fatigue. I couldn't even write a thousand words a day.
That's why as the story neared its end, the quality kept dropping. I couldn't bring myself to write two thousand words a day, which was the limit I placed on myself and could only come down to a thousand words. It was heart-wrenching, knowing that I was responsible for the dip in quality in Spirit Immortal, the story that all of you readers spent your valuable time to read.
I could spin a thousand excuses. Not enough time to write. Meeting up with my friends. Real-life obligations. Real-life work comes first. However, all in all, the main reason why I couldn't write… It's because I was tired. I was falling out of love with Spirit Immortal, even though it was the story that I dreamt into reality. I wanted to keep writing, but the author inside of me didn't exist in the shape that he used to be in.
BUT! I'm glad I faced all of those challenges, particularly with my first long-form novel. I now know what challenges lie ahead of me and I know what I must do from now on. To not just grow as an author, but as a person as well.
Major lesson learnt… Spend more time storyboarding, and less time writing. A chapter a day is all well and good, but if the quality is shit, why bother? So I decided from here on out. I will no longer be releasing daily chapters. Maybe I'll be releasing three or four chapters a week, or even less. I can't tell you for sure right now. This is to prevent burning out once again.
Writing is not equal to authoring. I'd thought that as long as I crafted a good story, I could be a good writer. However, I now know that I'm shit at writing. My English is bad, and my execution is subpar at best. So I will be learning more from other novels to hopefully bolster up my bad writing skills. I will keep evolving, or at least, that's my hope. I will come back a better writer that could flawlessly execute the marvellous stories that I crafted in my head.
The Future of Linodo
Easy. I'm not quitting just because I'd finished Spirit Immortal. I will be continuing my second story, "When the Lilyflower Blooms..." while writing my new standalone book which I had been putting off for the longest time. I won't be returning to Wuxia/Xianxia books because I realise I'm not cut out for this genre. I can't write the 1000-2000 chapters that the undying Chinese Authors can. I can only go for so long before I burn out.
So Lilyflower will be my comeback in an alternate genre, magical reality. I plan to write Lilyflower for about 100-200 chapters, 300 max. I don't want to keep my story never-ending and open-ended. I just want to make sure that the journey is fun for all of you.
I won't be writing a Spirit Immortal sequel or any short stories from here on out. If I want to move on, I have to close this chapter called 'Spirit Immortal' from my life. If you guys want, you can privately message me about the theories of Spirit Immortal and I'll be sure to discuss anything that you want. However, for the most part, my creativity will now be focused on Lilyflower and the other stories that I have conceived thus far.
So yeah… That's it for Spirit Immortal! I hope you've enjoyed these two years as much as I did. No matter what I say about this story, no matter how much time I've lost writing this and spending my heart's emotions on it… Spirit Immortal will always be a part of me. It would be a story that I would return to every once in a while to laugh at my young mind and enjoy thinking about forever after.
Thank you for reading Spirit Immortal and may the Immortals bless your soul! :)