Life, Once Again! - Chapter 532

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When he arrived home, it was nearly midnight. He almost had to take a taxi from Seoul to Suwon if he was just a little late. He went to the convenience store near his house and bought a triangular rice ball and a ramyun. He was hungry since although he had some bread for lunch, he didn’t have anything for dinner. Thinking that going on a diet without a clear objective was really hard, he ate the rice ball and the ramyun.

After leaving the convenience store, he walked as he stroked his full belly. When he walked for a bit, he saw his house. He climbed the stairs and arrived in front of his door. Maru entered the passcode before opening the door.

“You’re late, have you had dinner?”

He saw his mother coming out of the bedroom.

“I did. Go to sleep already and don’t worry about your son.”

His mother nodded before closing the door. He took a light shower before going to his room. Parents were people who would worry about their children even if they were fully grown up if they couldn’t see their children for a while. Her son, who was still a minor, was walking around late at night, so it was no wonder that she was worried. Even though he understood how she felt, he felt a little frustrated whenever he saw her peeking out with a tired face. She could be a little more at ease.

Usually, Maru would have read a book before sleeping, but there was something he needed to check today. He turned on the PC and opened a browser. He searched ‘New Semester’ and went to the TV station’s website. He saw the internet forum for the viewers right next to the replay service.


After he clicked and the page loaded, he saw titles decorated with all sorts of special characters. It was practically unreadable by those not familiar with the internet.

“O...ur, Giwoo...oppa….”

He interpreted those words as he kept reading. When he read for a while, he learned a few familiar patterns, which gave him some speed. There were nearly 3000 posts, and there were new articles popping up even as he read them. Maru opened another browser before searching New Semester again. He scrolled down to find some articles about it.

“18% viewership, succeeding the lineage of youth dramas. Talented acting from fresh actors. Popular with students. Unexpected love from the soldiers. Oh, what?”

New Semester’s broadcasting time was 5 p.m. When he thought about how the soldiers would finish their weekend work and then watch New Semester in their barracks, he pitied them. At the same time, he sighed when he thought that he would have to enter the military in a few years.

That was for later, so he decided to forget about the military for now. He looked at the rest of the articles. Most articles talked about three child actors, and there were quite a few articles that were written in an interview style. He didn’t know about this. The difference in treatment of the lead actors and support actors was quite high. No one asked Maru to do an interview regarding New Semester.

After reading those interviews, Maru closed the page.

“Yeseul is unexpectedly popular.”

There was Giwoo as well, but a lot of the articles talked about Yeseul. There was also an article talking about how the cosmetics she used in the drama became popular among middle school girls. It seemed that they gained satisfaction from following an actress that they could relate with rather than top stars - the article ended with that.

He thought that that was reasonable. The products used by top stars were mostly brand-name products and always had a high price tag. To middle school girls, who had thin wallets, imitating Yeseul, who felt much closer to them, was better than imitating top stars who they had to just admire like idols. The journalist also kindly said that the cosmetics were products from a relatively low-cost cosmetic company. There should be many girls who would buy the products after looking at this article.

Maru returned to the TV station website. He rested his chin on his hand before going to the next page. When he scrolled through about 10 pages, he understood what Dongho was talking about on the set.

They were all about Giwoo and Yeseul. There were especially a lot of requests that went ‘please let them start dating’. There were articles cheering for Lee Chan, but it seemed that his popularity wasn’t as high as Giwoo’s since he grumbled quite a lot during the story.

Maru’s opinion was that the rebellious Lee Chan was much more attractive than the bright and sincere Giwoo, but from the proportion of the forum posts, Giwoo was overwhelmingly ahead.

“The interpretation of the character became a little strange, I guess.”

Through the screen, Lee Chan looked less like a rebellious kid and more like a nagging kid. This was after he fixed his acting upon the director’s instructions. During the shoot, he even looked like an idiot with a loud voice. He could understand it since the charm of being rough was something that was really hard to express, but it did not change his thought that the character became a little lacking.

Maru clicked on the post titled ‘Our Marriage(12)’. As this forum was a public TV forum, it allowed him to see the real name of the poster who seemed to be a girl. In that post was a novel with lots and lots of unreadable special characters in it.

Bringing a cup of water, Maru started reading it. The story was quite simple. Yeseul and Giwoo graduated and got married. What told Maru that she was quite an enthusiastic viewer was that she was bringing up props and lines that briefly flashed past in the drama. Looking at the comments, there seemed to be a lot of people cheering for her.

He suddenly thought of something and then pressed the back button to read the titles. There were quite a lot of posts written in a novel format. Surprisingly, they were all wishing for Giwoo and Yeseul to become a couple.

“Was this reflected in the script?”

He knew about the love triangle between Giwoo, Yeseul, and Lee Chan because he heard about it during the get-together before the first episode was shot. This drama was supposed to be a youth romance with Yeseul, who was ignorant about love, Giwoo, who was too shy to confess, as well as Lee Chan, who expressed himself without holding back. That was one of the main themes in New Semester.

And the confession just happened today. Maru looked at the script for episode 13.

Giwoo: What the other kids said, they weren’t lying. I like you.
Yeseul: (Clasping her hands, looking a little uneasy) What do you mean. Wh-why are you..
Giwoo: (About to speak, but then looks at Yeseul’s hands) I-I was joking. I just said it because I wanted to see how you react? How could I possibly like you? We are just close friends.

The conclusion was that it was just a joke, but in the first place, Giwoo wasn’t someone brave enough to confess. Up until episode 13 at least, the character known as Giwoo was a well-rounded boy, but he was awkward when it came to love.

Maru thought about the scenes he shot today. He played a prank with Dongho to make Giwoo and Yeseul get closer together. The character known as Lee Chan was originally supposed to induce Dongho to do everything while watching everything from the back. He only stepped up to apologize in episode 8 because he had no choice. He wouldn’t have apologized if things didn't blow up.

Yet that character started coming out to the front lines, as though he had become a cupid to connect Giwoo and Yeseul together. When he received the script, he thought that it was a way to express the many facets of the character, but now that he thought about it a little more, this felt like the writer had given up on the character. His thoughts branched out. Just when did this all start….

Maru had a look at all of the scripts of episode 1 to episode 13.

Giwoo, Yeseul, Lee Chan. Were these characters made like this from the beginning? Or did something change mid way?

His thoughts reached back to the novel he just read. Maru left the scripts on the floor before sitting down. He grabbed his mouse and quickly started searching the posts. He mainly looked for those that were written in novel format.

“This is….”

In some of the short stories, Lee Chan had the role of tying Giwoo and Yeseul together. In those stories, only the smart aspect of Lee Chan was used to connect the two main characters. Although the method he used to connect the couple was different in every story, there was no difference in the fact that Lee Chan and Dongwook were at the center.

“Episode 6 has aired.”

Only when the episode about the teacher-in-training started would the character known as Lee Chan properly take root in the story. Doing pranks was just one way of showing himself off, and he was actually a character who would never do something that would bring himself harm. Lee Chan was a character who blamed the teacher-in-training’s lack of perseverance even as he apologized to her, instead of feeling sorry about it. Although it wasn’t explicitly expressed through his lines, his expressions and actions were enough to tell that Lee Chan wasn’t someone who just played pranks for fun. He was someone who thought himself to be equal to adults and acted as such; someone who hated being ignored, and even more despised others telling him to do things; someone who was at the peak of adolescence, but didn’t admit it. The fact that he didn’t step forward during most of the matters was also his own way of feeling smug.

‘The people that only watched up to episode 6 should know Lee Chan as someone who just shyly pulls off pranks.’

Once the 7th and 8th episodes aired, the writers of these short stories should get to know more about the character known as Lee Chan, but at the current point in time, there was no information given, so these short stories were written with the right level of knowledge of the story at this point in time.

Lee Chan the cupid.

Maru looked at the script for episode 13. Was the Lee Chan in that episode the same character as the Lee Chan in the 8th episode? He personally felt that two completely different people were borrowing Lee Chan’s name in these episodes.

The love missionary Lee Chan found in numerous short stories.

The minute change in Lee Chan’s character in episode 13.

He had a bad hunch, but he shook his head thinking that he was wrong.

The original author changed the personality of their character in order to use an idea from a novel written by fans? And so hurriedly at that?

Maru drank some water as he read those short stories.

On the first day of the shoot, Byungchan told him that she was the legendary writer that did 3 consecutive last-minute scripts. He also told him that she was a big-time writer who the staff members of the drama couldn’t do anything about even though she changed her script three times in one day. When he heard those words, he just thought that she was really powerful as a writer.

But right now, that incident ticked his mind off. If it was a clear error, she should’ve just checked all of it at once and fixed them then. However, Byungchan said that she fixed it three consecutive times. Would a writer confident in their story stop the entire shoot and fix their script three times on the spot?

When he thought about that, Maru smiled bitterly and closed the website.

“Is that the problem?”

He looked at a mystery novel he was reading recently. It was a thriller/mystery about a woman who encountered trouble because she became the author of a bestseller by employing a ghostwriter, and how she solved those problems.

“I’ve read too many novels.”

She was supposed to be a big-time writer. She should’ve changed the character because of clear intentions. If she was someone who would be swayed by the delusions that school girls wrote on forums, she would never have become a ‘big-time’ writer in the first place.

Thinking that he was fantasizing too much, Maru searched ‘Writer Lee Hanmi’ on the web portal. A woman with a bright smile popped up on the ‘people’ tab. Beneath that picture were numerous interviews and a list of her books.

“She looks younger than I thought.”

He was thinking of a rather mature person since he heard that she wrote this drama to express the conflicts between generations, but she was a woman in her early 40s. As for her photo, she looked graceful to the point that she looked like an actress.

Maru yawned before clicking on an interview article. When he scrolled down as he read it, he came across the last answer. He crossed his arms and started reading it slowly.

-I do not look at the internet until the moment I finish the manuscript completely. That’s what drives me to keep writing: having faith in myself and pushing forward with it. There’s no one that knows my work better than me, so I believe that it’s important to focus on that while writing. From time to time, some writers try to dissolve the ideas of others into their story because they think that feedback is important, but too many cooks will obviously spoil the broth. A writer must have confidence. I say this all the time when I give lectures. Have confidence in yourself to the point that you look arrogant. It’s fine to do that when writing since the writer is god. Of course, I’m not saying that the opinions of others aren’t important. I just want to emphasize that the opinion of others may be poisonous if you aren’t at the center of your writing. Believe in yourself, and start writing. Then, the story will take you aspiring story writers into a world of fantasy. Muse doesn’t exist outside. Muse is inside you. Look inside and find him. Then maybe, all of you will be able to become writers. (Laugh).

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