Chapter 1. Prologue

Tadak! Tak! Tadadak! Tak-tak!

Sharp keyboard typing echoed through the small room.

The wall clock's hour hand was already pointing at twelve. The scenery beyond the window had already turned pitch-black.

Ha Jae-Gun withdrew his hands from the keyboard and massaged his throbbing temples. He had been working nonstop from noon up until now, and for two days in a row at that. His nape, lower back, and wrists had gone numb long ago.

Ha Jae-Gun headed to the bathroom and splashed his face with cold water for a while, but the heat on his face wasn’t subsiding at all.

‘I’m almost done… Let’s go on for a bit longer.’

Returning to his seat, Ha Jae-Gun opened the document information screen of the novel that he had been working on. The document’s size was a total of 124,331 characters.[1] He only needed 15,000 more characters to complete another volume of his novel, which meant completing two volumes.

He was working on a novel under a contract with a publishing company, and Ha Jae-Gun needed to send the manuscript over to the editor-in-chief by tomorrow morning. He estimated that he should be done in six hours.

‘Hmm, I used to be able to easily write over 3,000 characters per hour in the past.’

Ha Jae-Gun didn’t think that it was an issue with his stamina. He was still at the young age of twenty-seven, so stamina was definitely not the reason he wasn’t as productive as he was back then.

The root of the problem stemmed from somewhere else—his heart. He had always wanted to write something he was passionate about, and his desire had been bothering him.

He had to consider reality, so there was no way he could write what he loved. The genres of novels he had to write had to be currently popular with the readers. He had to create bestsellers to put meals on his table and cover his monthly rent.

But what were considered bestsellers?

Ha Jae-Gun found it difficult to write novels that could sell well. Despite all his efforts in trying to keep up with the trends and listening to all the advice his editor had given him so far, he still found it difficult to produce a novel that would sell.

Ha Jae-Gun took a sip of his coffee and looked around his shabby studio.

It was ridiculously empty, as if he had just moved into the studio yesterday. His studio only had essential home appliances he bought from surplus stores after haggling for the lowest price.

He didn’t have a water purifier, so he could only boil water to drink or resort to buying packs of bottled water to store at home. The refrigerator seemed to be teasing him as well, as it had been producing weird sounds recently.

‘You can do this! This novel will do well, you’ve worked hard on it after all.’

Ha Jae-Gun slapped himself on the cheek for some self-encouragement.

When he recalled his mother and sister, who would definitely be cheering him on even in his dreams, Ha Jae-Gun knew that he had no time to lose.

Tadak! Tadadak…!

Ha Jae-Gun gulped down the rest of his coffee and returned to working on his computer. The silhouette of his paper-thin face could be vaguely seen on the white screen of his monitor.

1. Korean uses characters as a unit like in Mandarin and Japanese, instead of words like in English.


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