Bao Wenzheng, the prodigiously talented student from the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University, is already making waves in the literary world. At an age where most students grapple with academic assignments, Bao has unveiled her second novel. It’s a commendable feat, especially considering her debut, “Love of Loch Ness,” was published when she was just 14.
Her latest offering, titled “Lone Sea,” dives deep into the intricacies of friendship, kinship, and romantic love. The narrative unfolds around a Norwegian teenager, Lons, a name translating to “lonely sea” in English. Lons’s journey, both metaphorical and literal, forms the crux of the story. From the beginning, the protagonist confronts heart-wrenching decisions, choosing to relinquish his love due to undisclosed circumstances. However, as the narrative progresses, the pull of his emotions proves too overpowering to resist. Venturing across a vast ocean, he embarks on a quest to reunite with his beloved, symbolizing his fight against the overwhelming loneliness engulfing his heart. It’s a profound reminder of how, sometimes, the most significant battles are fought internally.
The thematic transition from her first to the second novel is evident. While “Love of Loch Ness” painted a picture of untainted adolescent love, “Lone Sea” delves into more intricate terrains, introducing readers to multifaceted characters and a layered plot. The juxtaposition of love and loneliness, two profound emotions, sets the stage for an evocative reading experience.
Remarkably, Bao shared that the entire process of crafting “Lone Sea,” spanning almost 200,000 Chinese characters, took her less than two months. This feat was accomplished during her summer break, indicating her unwavering dedication to her craft. Describing her writing process, Bao revealed the ebb and flow of creativity she experienced. On days filled with inspiration, she penned down 5,000 characters, while on more challenging days, she could muster only around 1,000. There were even moments of stagnation, where words eluded her entirely. Yet, these periods of reflection often paved the way for midnight epiphanies. Drawing inspiration from mellifluous tunes and captivating chapters from other works, Bao occasionally burned the midnight oil, despite being conscious of its impact on her health.
The maturity in Bao’s writing, evident in “Lone Sea’s” structured narrative and eloquent prose, suggests a prowess surpassing her age. This precocious talent was evident even during her primary school years. She clinched the first prize at the 12th Wen Xin Diao Long Cup National Campus Literature Competition and was a contender in the Beijing News · 2nd New-Generation Creative Writing Camp for Middle School Students.