Does the formula ever change?

I'm looking for some help because while i do enjoying reading most of these novels on Wuxiaworld I have come to a point were they all seem very much alike. I was wondering if there was a novel where the protagonist is not broken in some or various way, or he/she has to scheme and form political alliances in order to survive because they are simply too weak to survive without help.

Too often now everything i read either has a protagonist who either starts off weak but then becomes this godlike being with broken abilities or knowledge ( like TGD where he was a master fighter, inscription, alchemist, and was a cornucopia of endless knowledge on things nobody else knows ) or starts off weak but ends up finding every single magic treasure/skill in the world ( hello ATG protagonist with what 6 different abilities/bloodlines of which would make any reasonable practitioner cry). In each instance their character development goes from approachable and reasonably kind to domineering and being a total prick.

I know the culture plays a role somewhat and i'm in no way trying to put down any of these novels as I do enjoy them, I was just curious as to whether there were any out there that defied this formula and had a normal protagonist struggle to survive in a world where he isn't the strongest. Either through affiliations or perhaps with a skill or craft they utilize to keep in the running. A protagonist that does lose to their rival, or manages to not become an arrogant prick even after years of being weak.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong genre but if they do exist i would love a suggestion or link. I would love to have one surprise me or make me feel actual fear or worry for the protagonist, because as it stands any near death experience does not mean death it means a powerup or near escape or sudden breakthrough etc.

Comments

  • Isn't in xianxia becoming the strongest is mc's obligation ?
  • edited May 2016
    Don't think I can help you out a lot, but... Have you thought of perhaps writing novels? Clearly, you're full of ideas, so why not try and scribble down something? Writing, for many people, is a great form of entertainment, one that offers as much (if not more) satisfaction as reading. :)

    If, according to yourself, no one is willing to 'change the formula', why don't you give it a go? :wink: 

    I'm not saying all this in a hostile manner, by the way, it's a genuine suggestion.
  • No, it doesn't really change at all. There is just a difference between well written ones and poorly written ones. But, it's kind of like comparing Twilight to 50 Shades of Grey. Neither are great pieces of literature, but Twilight is clearly better written (though that doesn't mean much given how crappy 50 Shades is. And no, I have not read 50 Shades, just going off of what people have said).

    You just need to find the gems. If you're looking for different, the most different ones in terms of how the characters are written or how they take care of their enemies would be Transcending the Nine Heavens (best typical Xianxia by far) and then Terror Infinity (completely different type of story and it actually has legitimate character development without BS random power ups from lucky finds. Pretty much all Xianxia/Wuxia I've read pales in comparison to this LN in every way. Characters, story telling, character development, the story itself, whatever, it's just better than anything else that I've read from any of the translating sites).
  • Well, I've got three runner-ups if you're interested:
    1-Otherworldly Evil Monarch- https://bruintranslation.wordpress.com/
    at least up to where it's translated the mc isn't what I'd call OP,and it's hugely entertaining.
    2- Douluo Dalu- https://bluesilvertranslations.wordpress.com/
    the mc is very likeable and while he is strong, he isn't broken
    3- The Rise of the Shield Hero- https://yoraikun.wordpress.com/tny-chapters/
    A very interesting read, already completely translated, and the poor guy just struggles untill the end more or less- I really recommend this one!

  • My Lovely Fox Waifu or something like that... the main character muddles his way around everyday life as a pseudo-everything cultivator in the modern world.
    Genius Sword Immortal - I haven't read until the end but it's also in the modern world.
    You might also want to try more traditional wuxia, which is shorter with less magic
    My father in law is Lu Bu might be another choice for you.

  • Draco, Starkpyre, Incarneous thank you. I appreciate the suggestions and will start reading them all right away. I knew alot of the themes were just closely tied to the genre but was hopeful there were gems i missed.
  • Haha, there are definitely series like that, but they can be rather depressing :( They tend not to get translated, though.
  • Sure there are. 

    One that differs from the "formula" is Upgrade Specialist in Another World: whereas the usual Reincarnator will take over another body in another world and blossom up as the strongest, here the reincarnator's soul dies and transfers an otherworldly power to a naive kid. And this kid stays naive and gullible until he painstakingly has to mature from his mistakes (to the annoyance of your usual xianxia readers who expects the MC to be supersmart and wise...)

    One where the MC stays true to himself even after powering up is 剑破仙惊 swords breaks, immortals scared (google translate...)
    Which I've written about here.


    Yip Yuen is a very good doctor. Even though he is only 14-15 years, he has been learning medicine with his grandpa since he was 3 years old. His grandpa is a legendary doctor, of the Tao level (only one step before the ultimate level)
    But his grandpa mysteriously died after trying to cure a mysterious person and Yip Yuen is now making a living with his uncle. His grandpa left the first half of his doctor's manual to Yip Yuen. The other half has been snatched by a former friend of his grandpa. 
    Yip Yuen has to get strong to retrieve the 2nd half of the manual. Lucky for Yip Yuen, the first half of the manual contains a special accupunture method which allows him to cultivate much faster than normal people.

    When his uncle suddenly disappeared, leaving only a note with the word "flee!" on it, Yip Yuen is left on his own.

    Yip Yuen finally made it into a sect, but was forced to join a waning division of the sect where he is the sole student of a beautiful woman. His master... 



    Why is this novel good? The author made sure that every character has their own story and personality. In his own words (in one of the comments) "I don't want the female leads to be a mere name. A vase which just follows the MC from beginning to end. I hope to create characters which are unique and will be remembered after finishing to books. Not due their names, but due to their personality"
    And thus the characters are very diverse and has multidimensional personalities.
    The "cheat" of the MC does not help him too much. He needs to work hard to gain powers. 
    The story is made in such a way that the MC is constantly pushed to go further, never able to stay at a place for too long. The mysteries (like his grandpa's death) is not a line to follow, but are threads in a web. The conclusion of one mystery reveals other paths, which might intertwine with other story lines.

    But the first 20 chapters are very confusing as it seems as if you've jumped in the story in the middle. There is no proper introduction. In fact, for a couple of chapters I didn't even know who the MC is going to be. You start with the backstory of a side character. (just like a spider web which has no true beginning)



    You must understand though that somehow the readers want to stick to the formula instinctively. USAW is getting a lot of flames here IMO because it's MC is actually growing in personality. 
  • Have you checked out Skyfire Ave or the recently added Terror Infinity? Both are very different as they're set in a different time (SF: future, TI: present).
    TI especially has a very refreshing take on character development and story line.
  • If you are specifically looking for xianxia novels, i thing true martial world is good. Although it has cliches and is pretty dragged out, i find it much better than the likes of ATG and MGA (which are trash imo). Ofc the best one would be issth though you have probably read it (you should put down a list of what you have read so ppl know what not to recommend)

    For other novels:
    Gate of revelation
    skyfire avenue
    Understand basic grammar:
    Your vs You're
    There vs Their vs They're
    Defiantly vs Definitely
    Loose vs Lose
    Than vs Then
    To vs Too
    NO 'Should/Could of'

  • In this genre, it's a given that the MC is going to go from weak to strong. It's just a matter of how well written the work is and how the characters are handled. If you don't enjoy Chinese power-up simulation 101 then xianxia might not be for you. You could perhaps try exploring other genres out there, but when it comes to CNs most are of this category.
  • pandaBee said:
    In this genre, it's a given that the MC is going to go from weak to strong. It's just a matter of how well written the work is and how the characters are handled. If you don't enjoy Chinese power-up simulation 101 then xianxia might not be for you. You could perhaps try exploring other genres out there, but when it comes to CNs most are of this category.
    Whilst I enjoy growing strong from weak, but at least for me all xianxia/wuxia lost their appeal since they just reuse the same mechanic for power up. I would love to read something where protagonist become powerful from his hardworking (if you ever read japanese manga histoty's strongest disciple kenichi? it has something like that although the manga is quite boring) not because he is lucky, or his parents. etc. The most close to this schema I read is ATG (although it's still long distance to ideal) since his breakthroughs has at least reasonable causes and it spans currently for about few years, which at least I feel like it's true in novel (since they are small changes in world besides MC growing stronger), and the most important sometime he comes across enemies that he can't handle (not like in every novel i'm thinking why the MC gets only low level enemies on silver plate, whilst more powerful just wait until it's their turn).

    Also anyone knows if there is a CN where the power of MC is not something innate, but comes from summoned beasts (and no TDG i read beginning and failed to see any summoned beasts, whilst LLS has some beasts but it's only works for enemies not MC who just happened to have beasts but basically most he fights himself although sometimes he live because beasts help him).
  • ATG a story where MC grows strong due to hardworking? Man, you are under a heavy miscomception, lol :D It might have been so during the first 70 chapters, but later... ~~
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • If you like the idea of borrowed power and clever political scheming (relatively speaking for a Xuanhuan of course, this is not House Of Cards), with a brillant but no OP MC, you may enjoy Transcending The Nine Heavens. This is a well written reincarnation story. No plot armor, only preparation and intelligence, and nice fights too (not the bests of the genre thought).
  • RexRex
    edited June 2016
    Caladbolg said:
    ATG a story where MC grows strong due to hardworking? Man, you are under a heavy miscomception, lol D It might have been so during the first 70 chapters, but later... ~~
    The entire premise of the MC is like he doesn't need to work hard at all and just need shit ton of resources. Like if he was groomed by a rich family he would have been the most OP shit in existence already.
    Aspyranah said:
    If you like the idea of borrowed power and clever political scheming (relatively speaking for a Xuanhuan of course, this is not House Of Cards), with a brillant but no OP MC, you may enjoy Transcending The Nine Heavens. This is a well written reincarnation story. No plot armor, only preparation and intelligence, and nice fights too (not the bests of the genre thought).
    Kinda funny coz the MC is literally granted plot armor due to his status like literally due a legit reason to give him plot armor and that's plot armor even other people int he universe would acknowledge and he goes out of his way to break that plot armor.
    dullman said:
    pandaBee said:
    In this genre, it's a given that the MC is going to go from weak to strong. It's just a matter of how well written the work is and how the characters are handled. If you don't enjoy Chinese power-up simulation 101 then xianxia might not be for you. You could perhaps try exploring other genres out there, but when it comes to CNs most are of this category.
    Whilst I enjoy growing strong from weak, but at least for me all xianxia/wuxia lost their appeal since they just reuse the same mechanic for power up. I would love to read something where protagonist become powerful from his hardworking (if you ever read japanese manga histoty's strongest disciple kenichi? it has something like that although the manga is quite boring) not because he is lucky, or his parents. etc. The most close to this schema I read is ATG (although it's still long distance to ideal) since his breakthroughs has at least reasonable causes and it spans currently for about few years, which at least I feel like it's true in novel (since they are small changes in world besides MC growing stronger), and the most important sometime he comes across enemies that he can't handle (not like in every novel i'm thinking why the MC gets only low level enemies on silver plate, whilst more powerful just wait until it's their turn).

    Also anyone knows if there is a CN where the power of MC is not something innate, but comes from summoned beasts (and no TDG i read beginning and failed to see any summoned beasts, whilst LLS has some beasts but it's only works for enemies not MC who just happened to have beasts but basically most he fights himself although sometimes he live because beasts help him).

    Later on in LLS the beasts fight much more and play a bigger part. In the early chapters he doesn't let them fight coz well he only really had 1 at the start who was so OP it be no point if she fought  and he wanted to train his body. But later one he does get way more summons and he does in fact uses them in fights.

    If you want to try something really different King's Avatar is really good. Its not even a VRMMO novel coz its not VR but instead a ESport novel which so far is the only one I seen (thats not VR bullshit coz lets face it most VRMMO novels are pure bullshit coz the MC always someone somehow end up being a special snowflake due to some retarded reason or another which to be honest is worse than some of the Xianxia plot armor bullshit coz there at least its like a different world where in VR no way by time we have VR at that degree that kind of shitty programming would exist...ok rage over) Its a really fun story driven novel where you learn about the characters and their personality and how they interact and develop. More relaxing coz there no like you going to die if you fuck up kinda thing.
    Draco said:
    No, it doesn't really change at all. There is just a difference between well written ones and poorly written ones. But, it's kind of like comparing Twilight to 50 Shades of Grey. Neither are great pieces of literature, but Twilight is clearly better written (though that doesn't mean much given how crappy 50 Shades is. And no, I have not read 50 Shades, just going off of what people have said).

    You just need to find the gems. If you're looking for different, the most different ones in terms of how the characters are written or how they take care of their enemies would be Transcending the Nine Heavens (best typical Xianxia by far) and then Terror Infinity (completely different type of story and it actually has legitimate character development without BS random power ups from lucky finds. Pretty much all Xianxia/Wuxia I've read pales in comparison to this LN in every way. Characters, story telling, character development, the story itself, whatever, it's just better than anything else that I've read from any of the translating sites).
    Off topic but I read twilight and if you ignore the really really really really stupid message it has its pretty decent read. I enjoy the second book the most coz my god I wish she really killed her self but watching her basically trying to kill herself was good.


  • Caladbolg said:
    ATG a story where MC grows strong due to hardworking? Man, you are under a heavy miscomception, lol :D It might have been so during the first 70 chapters, but later... ~~
    Really ?? I have MC as hardworking but might be wrong since most of this was from MTL, but in my mind the MC who spend more than one year meditating against dangerous environment sounds for me hardworking (i'm talking about profound Arc), truthfully on the beginning all he gets is some best veins and medical knowledge (although truthfully again knowledge comes from him since he spend time learning from master) but later he becomes more and more hardworking although it's just mentioned through maybe one chapter that he spend few months fighting against dangerous environment (here his sweet with one of his wife in lava? (it was lava or something similar).
  • I think this is the reason why I like Battle Through the Heavens. MC isn't completely broken and there are a lot stronger than him, so he has to run away a lot or rely on others. I'm reading Stellar Transformation and someone said it was the author's first novel and I can tell. There's just so much that happens without any explanations, that it's getting annoying. Same with ISSTH. I'll read these for fun and turn my brain off, but sometimes I do get annoyed how much stronger the MCs are.
  • chilleto said:
    I think this is the reason why I like Battle Through the Heavens. MC isn't completely broken and there are a lot stronger than him, so he has to run away a lot or rely on others. I'm reading Stellar Transformation and someone said it was the author's first novel and I can tell. There's just so much that happens without any explanations, that it's getting annoying. Same with ISSTH. I'll read these for fun and turn my brain off, but sometimes I do get annoyed how much stronger the MCs are.
    IET wrote inch of radience and Legend of Xinfeng before, IET just writes that way and he made it popular so he can get away with it even if everybody does it nowadays.
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