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Fangirling Chinese Novels

Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Introduction and Prologue

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Dropping in to just let you all know what my next project will be. And while I’m at it, waving hi to all of you. Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season. 🙂

Translation Project in a Nutshell

Novel: 轻易放火 Easily Set Aflame
Author: Mo Bao Fei Bao
Start date: January 2
Posting schedule, based on N. American time:  Tuesday and Friday evenings (tentative; details below)
Anticipated end date: August 2019

 

Novel Summary (by Hoju)

Jia He is a worker-bee screenwriter in China, a profession that really does not get much for recognition but suits her personality of not liking to be in the spotlight. One day, she gets a call and finds out who will be the leading actor of her latest script—Yi Wenze, her longtime idol since her teenage days. Jia He is the screenwriter on-location for this project. So, she is there, trying best to maintain her composure and contain her starstruck giddiness in front of her idol. In the process, she happily discovers, some time later, that she has become friends with her idol. Aaaah! Already a dream come true, right? Her time with this project comes to an end, and she bids farewell and returns home, thinking that if some day she runs into Yi Wenze again, they are acquainted enough that they can nod their heads in friendly greeting to one another. But then, soon after, she gets a phone call, and the name that shows up on her caller ID is… Yi Wenze.

And so, this is a story of how a little screenwriter is pursued by her idol, the one who had been in all her teenage dreams, how she goes from being idol’s diehard fan, to idol’s friend, to idol’s girlfriend, to idol’s fiancee, to idol’s… Hehehehe.

(A favour to request: If you would like to copy this summary elsewhere, please give credit to Fanatical. 🙂 Thanks!)

 

Hoju’s Thoughts and Ramblings about the Story

This story is candy. Yup. Like, similar to Really, Really Miss You type of candy. I was feeling quite heavyhearted towards the end of The Healing Sunshine‘s translation, and so I asked Mo Bao Fei Bao if I could translate this one. I really needed my next project to be something sweet. Sweetness and fluff are the best things to help recover from the heaviness and realness of the previous project. (I also have another personal reason for translating this novel at this time, which I’ll probably tell you all after the translation is complete.)

This particular novel is the second one that Mo Bao Fei Bao ever wrote and her first novel with a modern setting. (Her first novel, Tune of Yong’an, is set in ancient China in the Tang dynasty. In fact, it is because she was feeling depressed from Yong’an, which is definitely filled with heartbreak and angst, that she started writing this one while Yong’an still was not completed.) My first read of this novel was after I finished Really, Really Miss You, and, to be honest, it did not stand out as much as RRMY. In fact, I even commented in SSB then that I felt like RRMY is an improved version of Easily Set Aflame, with a similar plot but tighter writing and character consistency.

However, let’s get some context. The prologue of Easily Set Aflame was first posted in February 2011—yup, almost eight years ago. Trends in romance c-novels were very different back then. Let’s see, at the time, novels about time travel back to some period in historical China were all the rage, and unlike nowadays, where the huge trend seems to be doting, sweet stories, back then, novels of heartrending angst were more common than happy, fluffy stories. Therefore, Easily Set Aflame, a story of pure sweetness, was actually quite unique and a breath of fresh air for its time. Longtime Mo Bao Fei Bao fans regard it as a classic, and having re-read it several times now, I am quite taken by it (especially the male lead…hehehe).

As you read through this novel, you may notice a difference in the writing from the other works of Mo Bao Fei Bao, a less mature writing style. There are some noticeable moments for me where I want to shout, “Aha! There’s the Mo Bao Fei Bao in her later works,” while others where you sense she is still feeling through her writing. It’s actually quite fun seeing how her writing has evolved over time.

This is one of those stories that’s a fairy-tale-come-true. What teenage girl has not fantasized about meeting her idol—you know, the one whose posters were plastered all over your school locker door—and then he falls in love with you and you live happily ever after? Yi Wenze is such a sweetheart. He genuinely puts Jia He first, protects her, respects her, and takes advantage of the fact that she goes gaga over him. LOL. (Remind you of Toupai and the effect of his voice on Sheng Sheng?)

TRIGGER WARNING: Yi Wenze is divorced. One year prior to meeting Jia He, he had already signed an agreement with his wife at the time in which they mutually agreed to divorce and begin the formal process. This is revealed very early in the story, so I don’t consider it a major spoiler. Personally, the fact that he is divorced does not bother me at all. I know some people who had failed marriages, beautiful, wonderful people, and they deserve happiness just like any other person. However, for some readers, I know this may be a turn off, so I thought I would lay it out in the open right here. If it bothers you, I’ll see you next project instead. 🙂 Otherwise, please don’t hold this against him.

 

Schedule and Translation

My December to mid-February period is always busy. This is particularly so for the Christmas season, which is always a whirlwind, so I don’t have the valour to start a project in December. The plan is to officially begin this project in January, with my regular Tues/Fri updates. However, if for some reason I realize I cannot keep that up, I may need to modify the posting schedule for January and the first half of February. I will absolutely try my best not to do that, but this is a heads-up. If changes need to be made, I will always let you know ahead of time, my promise.

However, while I’m not able to have regular updates in December, I like to deliver Christmas and New Year’s presents (blog time). Come back and say hi then. Hint, hint.

If possible, I normally translate from the published book. The first published version is the white one shown on the left in the title picture above. That version went out of print relatively quickly. Hence, it commands a very high price on the second-hand market nowadays. In 2014, a collector’s edition was published, shown above on the right. (Actually, this one is pretty hard to find now, too.) However, this one edited quite a few scenes, namely ones with any sort of detailed intimacy. Even the first kiss was edited heavily, taking out all the detailed description so it basically became something like “He lowered his head and kissed her… He finally released her.” Some of the editing was so extensive that, I think, it affected the story flow to the point that it did not make sense. Don’t ask me why they did it, ’cause I have no idea.  Alas, I do not have a copy of the first publication, only the collector’s edition. So, what I will do is translate based on the collector’s edition, EXCEPT for the intimate scenes, for which I will refer to the online version. This is a little piecemeal and not ideal, but it’s the best solution I could come up with.

(I prefer to translate from published versions because usually the author and editor have discussed and agreed upon any changes that were made, such as remove typos, inconsistencies in writing/plot, etc., to improve the overall story.)

 

 

Okay, done rambling. Now it’s story time! (As usual, no spoilers, please, myself included in this request.)


Prologue

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

It was three o’clock in the morning. Jia He bought her plane ticket and then shut down her computer.

She had worked with this story editor for three screenplays, and it had finally been her turn with this drama to do the overall outline. From the act breaks to the actual script, their entire team had worked hard and pushed through for three months, and now it had passed the director’s review without a hitch. Naturally, then, she could breathe out in relief, and she had booked a ticket to Sanya, planning on letting herself have a thorough rest for a few days. After all, when filming commenced in a week, she would need to stay in frigid Hengdian[1] for three months. If she didn’t let herself slack now, she would not get the chance later.

All of a sudden, her mobile phone began vibrating with all its might, interrupting her yawn.

“I have one piece of good news and two pieces of bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” the producer, Qiao Qiao, excitedly cried.

“The bad news.” Jia He turned on her computer again and began swiftly searching for the folder that contained the screenplay. A phone call at this hour from the producer, needless to say, must have to do with the script.

“All right, then, this time you have to listen to the good news first.” Evidently, Qiao Qiao was treating her as thin air. “The lead actor is set. It’s your idol.”

The words slipped unthinkingly from Jia He’s mouth. “Nicholas Cage?”

“Please! We’re filming a Chinese ancient period drama, O great screenwriter!”

“I’ve been totally into him lately. I’ve watched his Lord of War countless times already.” Jia He’s eyes shone brightly as she thought of that uncle-age man, and she began to gush, “You don’t even know. I already liked him back when he was popular on YouTube—”

“Yi Wenze.”

Two words only, but they successfully managed to choke everything off in her throat.

<>This translation actual site of release is on hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support the translation by reading it there. Thank you.

Yi Wenze?

Jia He had just clicked open the screenplay, but now she was completely stunned. “You’re not joking, are you? Such a silly drama?”

“Congratulations, you have finally realized this drama is silly.” Qiao Qiao was chortling merrily on her end of the line.

Jia He let her little bit of teasing slide and, feeling lightheaded, pressed, “It’s really Yi Wenze?”

“Of course. We just settled that.” Qiao Qiao continued, “It’s now time for the bad news. He has some opinions on the script, and just now he gave the director his thoughts on how it should be changed. And so, the first piece of bad news is that your vacation time has come to an end. The second piece of bad news is, you must be done making all the changes before shooting begins. While I’m at it, I’m throwing in an extra sentence for you: he’s really professional and also really picky, so you’re going to have some wicked suffering in the three months that you’re on location with the cast and crew.”

The Yi Wenze on her computer desktop was smiling his signature smile at Jia He.

Her eyes glued to that desktop, Jia He completely did not pay attention to that last sentence from Qiao Qiao, nor was she aware that Qiao Qiao had already hung up. She merely stared fixedly at that idol whom she had liked since middle school, her mind utterly blank.

She had an entire folder of celebrity photographs, all of them shots of Yi Wenze. She also had another folder filled completely with Microsoft Word documents, all of them news related to Yi Wenze from the time he began his career in the entertainment industry. Regardless of good or bad press, she had saved them all. Of course, she was not crazy to the extent of young girls nowadays who will chase after a celebrity all the way to the airport to meet his flight or the film set to try to visit him. Furthermore, owing to her occupation, most of the time she would present herself as being uninterested in celebrities, so as to demonstrate her professionalism… The reality, though, was that, apart from Yi Wenze, every celebrity in her eyes was but an unimportant passerby whose appearance was as short as the blooming of an epiphyllum flower, which flowers only once and briefly.

In the bottom right corner of the computer screen, a window suddenly popped out.

It was a notification that a new email had come in. Jia He clicked it open in passing. And then she saw the email that had been forwarded by the director.

The forward was… the feedback that Yi Wenze had given for the script.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

[1] Hengdian World Studios is a film studio located in the town of Hengdian, and is the largest outdoor film studio in the world, with replicas, not facades, of both the Forbidden City and the Old Summer Palace, as well as themed areas such as streets of Hong Kong and Guangzhou, grottoes, riverside town, etc. Movies and television dramas alike are filmed in this place.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.


Additional Comments:

So, I never knew Nicholas Cage made his popularity on YouTube. 😉 LOL. Actually, in the online version, the celebrity name that Jia He blurts out is Justin Bieber, so the comment about liking him “back when he was popular on YouTube” makes more sense. In the published edition, it was switched to Nicholas Cage. Maybe the change was because Jia He is in her mid-twenties and, with this story being in 2011, it would be weird for her to be gushing over a teenage Justin Bieber? Just my speculation…

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
0 of 58 Chapter segments
0 of 4 Epilogues

Index | Next Chapter ≫

61 thoughts on “Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Introduction and Prologue

  1. “Really Really Miss You” is my most often read and re-read story on this blog. I love a great compelling story, but sometimes you just want something simple. No annoying evil characters, no life drama…just a simple sweet story to read and smile over. =)

    I’m looking forward to reading another story like that. And plus, from the story summary….talk about fanning the fangirl’s ultimate fantasy 😝 Can’t wait to start on this reading journey with you! Cheers!

  2. Wow, new story. Thank you for giving us a treat in your busy holiday😄😄.. I think I already loved the story…

  3. ohhhhhhh looking forward to it 🙂

  4. Omg! My kinda of MBFB novel. The last one although not as heavy as the others is still pretty heavy 🤣

    Thank you Hoju. Looking forward to another exciting read.

    Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a great year of 2019.

    • Haha, I don’t really call any of her novels “heavy,” but it’s like she saws at my heart with a dull butter knife. LOL

      Hope you like this one. Hope you’re having a great season!

  5. WOW WOW WOW another idol story after Jian Bian Lin. Im definitely in….

  6. Omg. I needed a fluff fluff novel like this. Real life has been annoying as of late. Thanks for translating!

  7. Hoju! Finally you are back!!! 😭. Certainly “My healing sunshine” is a beautiful story but I still have some scars on my soul and heart… This new project gets me totally so January 2, come faster!

  8. Hi Hoju, thanks again. Blessed Christmas for you and your family

  9. Thank you. Looking forward to this, wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year

  10. Thank you !!yes another wonderful translation

  11. Woo! What a fun treat for post holidays. I’m glad I got up (I collapsed on the bed after a long Christmas preparing Saturday) to scrounge up some dinner and found this instead!

    • Hope your Christmas was wonderful. 🙂 It’s such a fun and exhausting time. I’m wiped, too. Hope the reading could restore a little bit of energy to you. 🙂

  12. Merry Christmas Hoju 💕💕💕

  13. Yes! I’m so excited for another MBFB novel. Have a wonderful Christmas and I am looking forward to our present 😉

    • I like enthusiasm! My Christmas was busy but awesome. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed your Christmas present, and remember to open your New Year’s one, too. 🙂

  14. Lol Nicolas Cage. I’m going to have more fun reading your comments and context then the actual story. Thanks, happy holidays

    • Haha. I get the privilege of looking at the different versions. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s season. 🙂

  15. Thank You! Looking forward to another beautiful MBFB novel 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  16. Yay new project.. I love fluffy novel.. Especially when it’s written by MBFB… Really really looking forword to it…
    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year… See you on Jan 2nd 😘😘😘😘

  17. Oh my God, thank you Hoju, I am looking forward to reading this sweet novel, thank you and have a wonderful Christmas and New year to you and your family…

  18. Thank you hoju! Looking forward to the new translation. I will wait till it is done but want to thank you in advance! Have a good holiday!

  19. Hoju, you came early than I expected with details about next translation and I am so ready for this sweet fluffy story. Thank you and looking forward to another good reading journey. Will stop by during Christmas and New year to give wishes 😀.

  20. TQ TQ TQ for doing this lol. My life is already a chaotic mess so happy endings are a must for me. Lucky thing i get lots of it here…. just love it lol, again tq ❤ ❤ ❤

    • I’m sorry to hear that. This story is simple and sweet, so hopefully it brings smiles to you. And you know I always do happy endings. Thanks for reading!

  21. Thanks Hoju..
    It’s really interesting synopsis..
    It’s actually a quote about second love..

    “if you love two people at the same time ,choose the second one, bcoz if you really love the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second ” ..so I really don’t care about the divorce ML 😆😆

    Thanks Hoju for the new translate novel.

    • Thankfully there is no “at the same time” part. Jia He and Yi Wenze don’t interact until he and his ex already agreed to divorce. Glad it’s not a trigger for you. I have seen comments from people who refused to read it because he was divorced, so I thought I would make it known.

      Hope you enjoy the story!

  22. MBFB’s earlier novel, What a treat! thank you Hoju for this heads up.
    I lost count of how many times I read and re-read her novels ever since I found your translation. Looking forward to another journey with you in 2019.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Hoju.
    Happy New Year in 2019!

    • Yup, I can’t believe it’s been eight years already. Rereads show that you love the novels, and that makes me happy. ❤
      Hope you had a great Christmas! Happy New Year!

  23. Thank you very much for picking up another project..quite sure it will be a good one as always.. I have been into c novels because of this blog…..a silent reader for three years.. thanks for all your hard work….

    • Wow! Three years. Thank you for dropping in and saying hi, then. I hope it becomes a habit. 😉

      Hope you enjoy this one and thanks for reading!

  24. Yay! New story! I am so excited. Like other readers, I’ve reread RRMY several times over the years. Your translation is the reason I’ve started to listen to ancient style music! (the lyrics translation really helps.) I even recently bought the print copy of Really Really Miss You. My Chinese is awful, but I am going to attempt to read it anyway. I’m looking forward to reading this one too. 🙂

  25. I love the fact that you have permission to translate this, I really do! I always feel guilty because I can’t read the originals & have to read fan translations…

    • Thank you. 🙂 All my translations of Mo Bao Fei Bao’s novels (all posted here on Fanatical) have author’s permission. Feel free to read guilt-free.

  26. Wow. Looking forward to this. I really love reading RRMY. Thanks for the translation! 😄

  27. Hoju is so wonderful( •͈ᴗ⁃͈)ᓂ- – -♡

  28. Personally, I don’t mind the fact that he’s divorced. Just adds gravitas to his character considering he’s a private man. As far as I’ve read anyway.

  29. thank you for translating this book. i jusr starting to read c-novels and mostly from your blog. this is my first time leaving a comment to thank you for your hardwork.

  30. I just discovered this story and give it a try without hesitation because I am a fan of Hui3r’s web. I knew that the story in it would be great and the translation quality would be first class. Thank you Hoju for you to set some of your precious time to translate this story.

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