A thought-provoking essay from Mr. Cheah, readers!
Draw From A Deeper Well
“This is just like [Brand X]!”
This is the most common sentence in modern fiction. It is also the most annoying sentence in modern fiction. Every time I encounter it in a story, I always roll my eyes, shake my head, and ignore the sentence. And usually the following paragraph too. Every reference to contemporary pop culture is a postule on the page, unworthy to be read and remembered.
Then I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars.
Sailing through the plot, recognition washed over me. Here was a story arc from Outlaws of the Marsh. There was a parallel to a real-world military disaster. And the male protagonist, Ren Daiyan, lives a life inspired by the feats of the legendary Marshal Yue Fei.
In primary school, I learned the story of Yue Fei. Renowned for his patriotism and military genius, he is a Chinese folk hero who led the army of the late Northern Song Dynasty against Jin invaders. As an adult, I study an art allegedly created by Yue Fei. Outlaws of the Marsh is one of the earliest, most famous of the classical Chinese novels, also set in the Northern Song Dynasty, following the exploits of 108 outlaws who rebelled against the government, and later fought against invasion from the north.
2 thoughts on “Reposted: Draw From A Deeper Well”
I have watched two Arabian Nights movies where I realized they ripped off a plot twist . One made me groan as soon as I saw it, one made worry because the characters seemed to be skipping it what it called for.
Handling can be so important
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Enjoyed the essay, and I agree with the commentary. I’ll probably skip the River of Stars, though. It sounds like what the cool kids in the 1960’s called “a downer.” ;0
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