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Chinese drama-- Xianxia idea

Kim Yunmi

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Yeah, so, it doesn't quite fit under the general Korean topic. But I do know there are Chinese drama writers hanging around, and I ran into issues with trying to do this idea overseas:

I'm not Chinese. The country I live in doesn't think sad love stories are "valid" (because they are racist.). They also don't think qichengzhuanhe or xiqu are valid story structures... so...

but I'd really like to see a Xianxia version of this storyline and I think since Japan, Korea and China have a similar story, that it might have international appeal. I also haven't seen this story done in xianxia form.


Basic Premise write up:


Princess Bluegreen Algae (cyanobacteria 发菜) (郡主) is devalued because her true form is a bluegreen algae and the youngest of the previous King. Everyone else has true forms that are cool–like orchids (who marries demons), (9 Tail foxes, who marry retired gods and mermaids), lotuses, who marry retiring Gods. But no one is interested in poor Princess Bluegreen Algae because they think she is unimportant. But Buddha’s teachings say that every plant and animal is important, and she is the daughter of a Dragon God, despite her true form being a bluegreen algae.


She grows up thinking the Gods are wearing boring clothing–like all white in chiffon, when she dreams they could be dazzling and splendid in lots of colorful clothes, silks, taffeta, brocade, and so is more interested in the changing fashion of Earth and how she could do that for the Heavenly realm, even though the Heavenly realm has a strict (and boring) dress code (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, Pillow Book, etc) and has always admired Earthly fashion.


Despite this she is lively and likes to play pranks on people--though not related to the clothes she makes and outside the view of officials. As a result of one of her pranks, she accidentally trips into the reincarnation pool and is reborn in the Earthly realm to a silk merchant. She is not missed in the Heavenly realm. Not only does she level up her earthly powers, but meets a lonely Cowherd (牛郎), who helps fix her loom. She works to become a costume designer for stage productions. When she returns to the heavens she can’t forget him. But finds that his true form is an oregano plant: 牛至草.


Unfortunately, upon arriving back in heaven, she is betrothed to the cowherd’s older brother, whose true form is a mighty white dragon–cold, stoic, doesn’t say what he means and a strong general. After being an arrogant person, this dragon has accidentally castrated himself and has secretly been cultivating to get his family balls back before their wedding [Working around the Chinese censors might be fun by indication and euphemisms, though focus more on how he deserved it]. But all she longs for is the heart of the Second Lead–because she believes she has Second Lead Syndrome and finds the male lead boring. The Cowherd–who is gentle, intelligent inventor (such as rain machines and tinkering), kind, communicates well (High Emotional Intelligence) and a thoughtful listener. He wants nothing to do with heavenly affairs.


Reason for this:

I think it would be fun to reimagine Zhinü (織女)’s story as a xianxia comedy. Make fun of Xianxia, with love of course, some of the tropes like the drab heavenly clothes (which I got the idea for from Avenue X (Who is Chinese) complaining constantly about Xianxia clothes.) and also play with the idea that discovering the “true forms” always leads to “secretly” something else, leveling up, secretly a mighty Goddess or needing to be part of the huge cosmic order. Maybe there are people who don’t want to smite the mighty devil, but only want to live together, but are torn apart by circumstances (Feuding heavenly families) and swept up in the drama of everyone else’s politics.


Of course Zhinü's bestie has to be a crow-demon/(turns into a Magpie later according to the folktale) in true form, because of the story and devalued for being so.


And then 牛郎’s bestie needs to be obviously a cow/bull in true form (who thinks he smells delicious and wants to chew on his arm.)


And maybe Zhinu’s true form is a star–Vega after all, even if she’s the youngest, and no one really took a close look at her bluegreen algae to even notice the star she always was. And they unite with the magpies, give the people of Earth rains, and shine the brightest together. Sometimes the simplest solutions solve the greatest problems? And they are forgiven in the end unlike the folktale.


She should be able to pass the Bechdel, Mako Mori, Band Sexy Lamp test easily I think with this set up. Talk to another woman about something other than a man, have interests outside of romance and not do everything for men (her fashion career, trying to convince the Gods to level up their clothes with more drama.) and she should easily have agency (Make decisions that influence other people's decisions, changing the direction of the plot) since she has to choose between men and her own career which will obviously set off consequences and choices.

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  • 6 months later...

It sounds like you have a creative idea for a Xianxia version of a sad love story. While it can be challenging to pursue creative endeavors in a culture or environment that may not be supportive or understanding of certain themes or structures, it's important to stay true to your vision and pursue what you believe in.

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