PS: Before we start this, do note that this author’s thoughts is my longest yet. There’s a lot to explain and I tried to be concise, but it still ended up being this long. If you don’t have time, I’m sure you could skip it, but there are a tonne of important points I wrote here. So yeah, read at your own discretion. Oh, and I’ll be taking a break for one week. I’ll resume posting on the 8th of July!
WHATSUP!!! Linodo here!
Did you enjoy the end of ACT TWO?! Yeap! The end of book 8 marks the end of Act II. Wow, how fast did time fly? I had begun writing Spirit Immortal over a year ago and I would have never imagined that we would have reached this stage. I’d always thought that I would drop the novel since I had other obligations and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was tempted to for many parts of my short author life. But here we all are! One year since I first wrote my first word for Spirit Immortal. Round of applause for me!!! Hehe~
Before I get into the theme of Act II and whatever, there’s something I want to ask all of you… HOW WAS THE CLIFFHANGER?! Hehe, were you shocked? Remember at the end of Book 7 I said something about the ending of Book 8 being something I planned long ago? Even before I came to write down Shin or Ariel?
Yeah, so what I was referring to was the ULTIMATE CLIFFHANGER that I had planned. Latina’s father is actually STAR FACE! The same Star Face that was Shin’s first official kill!!! I wanted to write an arc where the main character, who had been broken down so many times throughout the story, finally picks himself up, becomes a monster with his skills, gets the girl and is almost ‘invincible’ in the story. Only to be destroyed by a little girl, who was weaker than paper, just by a simple sentence. Not an enemy stronger than himself, not by someone smarter than himself. The person that would cause Shin the most pain, would be a simple girl, who had no power, money, intelligence whatsoever. And all with one line.
I actually read the comments that people had speculated about Latina being Star Face’s daughter which honestly shocked me. I didn’t expect some of you guys to catch on that early on. I had even purposely written Latina’s age to switch between twelve in the early book and thirteen in the later parts of the book to mess with your heads. Since Star Face disappeared four years ago when Latina was nine, she would be thirteen when Shin met her. Nonetheless, kudos to you smartlings for figuring it out. You deserve a cookie!
Rewind the clock a few years, back when I still read dozens of Wuxia novels a day from Wuxiaworld, Volarenovels and Gravitytales. No, you could even go further back to when I read exclusively Japanese web novels using Novelupdates. The days of Baka-Tsuki, Japtem and Yoraikun. Whenever I saw a protagonist kill off a random ‘cannon fodder,’ I had always kept this thought in the back of my mind:
‘Hey, doesn’t that guy/gal have a family? How could you just kill him off so easily like that?’
You see, humans are complex. Yes, there are evil people and many of them deserve death, but for the most part, not everyone should be killed off with a snap of someone else’s finger. They had an entire backstory, maybe a wife or two, and most importantly, killing someone is quite a tall deed to ask from a normal human being. Of course, as I continued down the path of an author, I’ve learnt that no one cares about a random nobody’s that only served to show how strong the protagonist is. So I tried to add my own form of cannon fodder in this book. Remember Winfred at the start of the book? His motivations were so paper thin that I nearly wanted to write him as a lustful pampered noble boy. However, Shin needed someone retarded to help show the audience, you guys, how much he had grown since the time skip. So I created him and killed him. At the snap of my fingers.
But I really hated it. When I read Winfred back to myself, I thought to myself: ‘Fuck, is there really someone that stupid to think with their crotch and go against two well-known geniuses? Could I add something more? Should I create a tragic backstory? Maybe he didn’t want to rape Kanari really and was serving someone higher?’
However, as many of you have read the comments in earlier chapters, people were telling me not to go in depth in writing side-characters or cannon fodder that no one would remember. Some have even accused me of using it to lengthen the novel. In certain aspects, writing more about the world surrounding Shin does help me with the word count, but that’s not the main draw. I write more about the side characters, I write more about the world, to hopefully make the Spirit Immortal universe a more vibrant place.
Take Gawil Jefferson, the Watkin Murderer in Book 2 for example. His purpose was to help an innocent ten-year-old Shin learn more about the world outside of Frie Mountain and to understand that the world isn’t always black or white. Danroy, Suji and even Kanari to a certain extent in Book 5. They were there to help show that the universe around Shin doesn’t revolve solely around him. Danroy, though privileged by any measure of the word, has been dealing with his own set of issues. Suji and Kanari were no exception. Kanari’s arc begun as her being this perfect superhuman that everyone likes. However, as the world begins to thicken, you’ll peek behind the curtains only to see a flawed human being, just like how every person in this world is.
And thus, it leads me to the theme of Act II.
Or to be more precise, how growth affects someone and what lengths would one go for growth?
Let me ask you this question. I just want you to pause whatever you’re doing and think long and hard about this… Shin in chapter one and Shin now… Is he the same Shin? Of course, he isn’t! Shin in chapter one is a lazy slob that doesn’t even wake up in the mornings. He hates working out, he never takes initiative… Wow, he really sounds like the current me… Anyway, that’s not the point!
When I wrote him that way, I’m sure many hated how lazy and weak he was. Shin always was the damsel in distress and he wasn’t really ‘likeable.’ However, there’s a reason why I wrote him that way. One word. Growth.
I got bored of reading reincarnated geniuses who were perfect from day one. I wanted to write a main character that was flawed, lazy and idiotic. However, over the books, Shin’s power as well as his character, has grown tremendously. Of course, I had to add potential in him so that the readers, you guys, would be interested to see his future, so I added hints of his talents all throughout the early books.
In Book 1, Shin was first introduced. He was lazy with a little character. Sometimes he was whiny, sometimes he was stupid. Most importantly of all, he lacked imagination. Learning about his own ability, Shin could only think of making water spheres with it. No direction in life with no clue on how he was to progress.
In Book 2, Shin became a healer. His character back then was non-confrontational and he would never stand up for himself, needing Ariel or the Instructor to pick up in his stead. So his early relationships with Lady Seph were rather one-sided and a healer was the best route for him back then.
In Book 3, Shin continued on one the healing path and was brought to Aldrich’s Keep. There, he failed to save his very first patient, Ronlen. That taught him that life was fragile and he learned to love his immediate family even more.
In Book 4, this was where his character makes the most growth. Shin learns of Junius’ disappearance and goes ballistic. After learning the value of life, he despised the Elders in the Frie Clan for ignoring Junius and cuts off contact, searching for Junius all by himself. Later in the book, he learns about the truth of the Frie and Awter Clan and his mind is sent in a disarray. Shin now hates the Frie Clan, but he doesn’t know where to direct his hate to because of how detached he was to the Awter Clan. Then, of course, the dreaded Ariel’s death. Shin became devastated by the death and it changed the course of his life, quite literally like nothing that happened before.
In Book 5, Shin attended the academy while leaving behind Frie Mountain with two new objectives. Bringing Junius to justice, and becoming a Spirit Immortal. The now lazy Shin had turned into a hard-working monster that would bleed from all of his pores if it meant improving himself. And he also met the new characters that would help shape him in future arcs.
In Book 6, Shin goes to the Land of Dreams in pursuit of Junius and killed his first person, Star Face. That placed him on a trajectory of no return. Now, to pursue his dreams and to grow, Shin was willing to claim another soul.
In Book 7, Shin was brought to the Summit. There he learnt to be confident in himself and it could be seen where he stood up to the Spirit Saints and fought ardently in the battle with Lukman.
Finally, in Book 8, I finally get to write the ‘perfect Shin’ that everyone has been asking for. His abilities have now matured and he would dominate almost anyone that dared to step in the ring with him. He’s now nothing like the Book 1 Shin. Shin would kill if need be and has done so multiple times, shown when he killed Winfred, Craig and Susan without thinking about the blood being shed. Book 8 Shin would do everything ‘perfectly.’ He would fight for what he wants to protect and isn’t stupid enough to fight Junius when he was outnumbered and outmatched. But then… Even though Shin was so overpowered, even though he was perfect… He couldn’t escape his own mistakes.
Now that he learnt that he killed Latina’s father, how would Shin continue to grow in the next book? Would he be discouraged to kill to grow anymore? He wanted to execute Junius with his own hands, but is that the case anymore? There are so many more points where Shin can grow and I’m not done developing this character. Heck, I’m not even done developing this world and it has been over 800,000 words!
I said the theme of Act II is growth, and that’s a partial lie. Growth has happened and will continue to happen throughout this entire novel. To keep it as short as I possibly could, I had skimmed through a lot of details so I hope that you’ll interpret it for yourselves. Things like Kanari’s love arc, Junius’ yandere arc, the introduction of the Payirci… There are so many things that I would love to discuss but this post is really getting too long. It’s already at the length of my average chapter!
Oh, but before I leave, I will give you the title of the next book, to add on to the ultimate cliffhanger that I made. The next book would be titled, ‘The Celestial River.’ So take that as you will.
Thank you for supporting Spirit Immortal! I love ya faces! And I’ll see you next week!