Gu Long on writing Action Novels

Gu Long was one of the great WuXia novelists of Asia, and this is a translation from the introduction of Horzion, Bright Moon, Sabre(天涯, 明月, 刀) by Chowbeng from the forums.

~an excerpt from the introduction of this novel by Gulong himself~

Looking at the same storyline from different angles, the novel would turned out to be totally different. Human beings’ feelings and views are something that are forever changing, forever changing with the times! Although wuxia novels are about the old times, it could be injected with the new feelings and views of the author. For novels are but all in the imagination.

Writing a novel is not writing a history book. The biggest goal of writing novels is to draw the reader in, to emotionally touch the reader. If storylines of wuxia novel already could not be changed, why not changed the way of writing human emotions. Using the human’s feelings, using the emotional feelings to create the climax, to create the “action”.

How to write “action” is one of the wuxia novel’s greatest challenge.
I always believe that “action” is not necessarily “fight”.
The action in novels and movies can give peope a kind of sharp excitment and thrill. However, the action in novels are far less vivid and fresh than the action in movies.

Thus, the action in novels should be kept simple, short and sweet, lively and never a dull moment. The action in novels should first create conflict, emotional conflicts, situational conflicts. And using the various conflicts to push the story into a climax. Then you can create the atmosphere, the tense atmosphere, the chilling atmosphere. Using the atmoshpere to fan the flames of excitement.

Writing wuxia novel is not writing a country’s history.
Writing wuxia novel is also not teaching how to fight or kill!

Although blood and violence would always have their attraction, but too much blood and violence would turn people off.