This interview with Jhiga touches on the good old days of fangirling, Mary Sue, writing growth, and more.
Contact information: deb2ie.lin[AT]gmail.com
Online aliases: jhigavicious, frizzy frizzy
Forums most frequented: (past/present) The Writer’s Asylum
Completed fics: Pentagram, The Peeker, Cannibal
Current fics: Men of Courage, Silent Din… (mumble, mumble)
Additional information: AH. Erm… I suppose it would be wrong of me to not give him some credit, but I have this *cough* teddy bear *cough*. He’s probably the rattiest, most decrepit thing in existence, but I use him as a thinking cap. He often sits on top of my head when I write. I’ve taken him to coffee shops, libraries, classes, and for some reason, when he’s up there, I can WRITE. If you’re wondering what the heck my avatar is at The WA, that’s him, upside down, peeking at you. : )
fancracked: Hello Jhiga. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview (: As a general starter, how did you get into kpop/kpop fanfiction? ^^
jhiga: Ahh. I blame JK! We went to middle school together and one day she shows up foaming at the mouth about H.O.T. I swear, up to that point, I’d been immune to boybands. No N’Sync, no Backstreet Boys… I don’t know if it was because she was just SO infectiously crazy about them, or if it was the appeal of kpop in general, but I got sucked in. Although, to my defense, it took a lot of time and effort on her part! The discovery of shirtless Shinhwa pictures didn’t hurt either. ;) Anyhoo, a short while later, she started a joint fic with one of our friends and let me read it. I remember thinking WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?! MOON HEE JUN IS A GANGSTER?! It looked fun so I thought I’d give it a try too.
fancracked: hahaha how cute !!! At the time did you ever think that fanfiction/kpop would take over a portion of your life? ^^;;
jhiga: Not really. I didn’t even know that fic forums existed. We were all just writing in notebooks for a while instead of paying attention in class. Then we started passing them around and gave people a distraction instead of being good students. :)
fancracked: I love that giggly feeling when you share your work with just as giggly of friends haha
jhiga: Yeah. EXCEPT our guy friends STOLE them to read them too. Thinking back on it, I’M SO EMBARRASSED. T___T
fancracked: HAHA oh gosh! Did they look up who you guys were writing about?! hahaha
jhiga: lol! JK was fanatical enough for them all to at least recognize who Kangta was. :D :D Plus, gasoo pictures were plastered all over our binders. I’m sure even our teachers had an inkling about who they were. [Those were] super fun times! I remember we tried to incorporate HOT/Shinhwa into random class assignments such as skits and stuff. Ohohohoho ^0^
fancracked: Such precious days of fangirling (: <33
jhiga: LOL! YEAH! Super fun times! <3 <3
fancracked: I know this is a rather broad question ^^;; but how have things changed in the fanfiction world from then and now ? ^^
jhiga: Mm. Honestly, I haven’t really gotten to reading what’s out there for awhile. When I first discovered forums, I remember that most of the stories were chick flicks about school, or about gangsters, and when the TF – Love Inside Silence translated by Sue came out, it started this “You’re my possession!” phase (<- was my favorite genre to read). Good stuff, good stuff… Then at some point, it seemed like people became a lot more critical about what they were reading. Writing became viewed more as a “skill” rather than something done for fun. Maybe it was a response to the popularity of fanfic writing on the rise? Well, I felt like a lot of new writers were being shot down before they even got a chance, which is a shame. : ( But yeah, I haven’t really been up to date in the overall fanfic world since the Writers’ Asylum (WA) started up. I’ve been confined within the asylum walls since then. >:)
fancracked: Could you tell us about your own growth and changes through the years (as a writer)? ^^;
jhiga: Well, BACK IN THE DAY (I always wanted to say that. hahaha!) computers were scarce and laptops were probably only available as top secret government equipment. For awhile, we hand wrote our fics to prevent our parents from looking over our shoulders and reading our nonsense… But yes! Writing in a notebook is a totally different feel from typing. You aren’t able to edit, and you don’t reread as much. So back then, we were cranking fics out like no other. Of course, my first couple fics were the Mary Sue-est of Mary Sue fics. … They were awesome, but I would rather eat them than let someone read them now. … Then at some point, I developed this condition where I didn’t feel comfortable writing about things I didn’t really understand. I was a uhh…. late bloomer. So in middle school, I didn’t know much about boys and romance and kissing and all that stuff. So I decided well, I might as well focus on writing things that NO ONE can understand. That’s how I started Pentagram. ^__^ v
fancracked: LOL werewolves and all! Honestly one of my thoughts when I read Pentagram was ‘Twilight has nothing on Pentagram.’ Not trying to take a hit at Twilight of course :P
jhiga: AHAHAHA!! Too kind, too kind. Although I do hope that my writing style is a bit better. (Sorry Twihards!)
fancracked: It’s impressive that you wrote it at such a young age too!
jhiga: Ahaha. It’s my uh… twisted Mary Sue. [Back to the topic of growth and change…] At some point, I started reading trashy novels like CRAZY and I discovered a couple authors that brought a different way of writing to attention. There was Stephen King for sure. (Side note: I highly, highly recommend his book On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft). Something about his style is just so DISTINCTIVE, I can recognize it anywhere. There were also some mystery/thriller authors that I followed fanatically. I think my own writing style changed a lot during that phase. After that, I couldn’t write anything light hearted if my life depended on it.
fancracked: I always wondered what kept your content really dark ^^; And by dark I don’t mean “emo dark” but psychologically twisted and I guess creepy horror-esque at times like in Men of Courage.
jhiga: LOL!! It’s just because I can’t write a chick flick AT ALL. T___T I’ve definitely tried and they just come out really… strange. Plus, I have a sadistic relationship with my Woo Hyuk characters. >:) … Trust me, that is not a good foundation for an enjoyably warm and heart-melting story.
fancracked: HAHA Is he what we’d call an “unconditional muse” ? ^^
jhiga: Oh yes. I try to give him a cameo even in non-H.O.T. fics just for the pleasure of plotting his demise. Muahahaha! … Ahh. I’m a nice person! I really am…
fancracked: He’s quite a sexy character in your fics.
jhiga: That I will not argue. ;)
fancracked: Which concept of his (as a gasoo) is your favorite?—which inspired you the most? ^^
jhiga: DEFINITELY his IYAH phase… before that, JK had to sneakily shove his picture in my face. But when I saw their 4th album, I found myself sneaking glances at him. I had to admit he is quite a tasty piece of meat~
fancracked: *gasp JK was into him first?! I always thought she was a Shin Hyesung fan based on her fics ^^;;
jhiga: Oh. She was like… a crazy die hard Kangta fan. And she sort of uh… assigned each of our girl posse an H.O.T. member.
fancracked: LOL oh my!
jhiga: Sigh… she grouped me with Woo Hyuk cuz we both had crazy frizzy hair at one point. I was like… ‘Ew. Who is this weird creature thing??’ – hence my love-hate relationship with him.
fancracked: You know what fangirls say :p We love to hurt and abuse the ones we love most. LOL
jhiga: So truuueeee!!
fancracked: I know we were just talking about how you kind of “have” to write these more twisted-type of stories but I see that you’ve also worked with sci-fi elements (i.e. In the Barrens) … What other genres have you experimented with and what have you kind of taken away from those experiences? ^^;;
jhiga: I guess I’ve tried a philosophical one. There was a semi-religious one that I brainstormed but never started. Of course, I’ve attempted many, many, many romances. It was fun seeing the world through different pairs of eyes, but actually transcribing my thoughts on paper was a different story. Trying to write those, I realized that have a lot of trouble treading outside of my comfort zone. I feel like I should come up with a completely different writing style and worry that things wouldn’t be convincing or deep enough…
Horror/thrillers are nice and straight forward. :) In fact, there’s a psychological study that shows that just READING certain negatively associated words themselves triggers a subconscious fight/flight reaction in your body. (<- Ahaha. Psych major! Guilty!) So really, part of the work is already done for you.
Now romance, I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW TO CONVEY THAT AT ALL! Do you place an emphasis on feelings? Or do you focus on their tragic trials? Their physicality? Their chemistry? I’ve been attempting to decipher trashy romance novels for years and each one seems to be different! Aie. But yes, I have ultimate respect for all romance writers. *Kneels before greatness.*
fancracked: Your writing always seems well plotted and thus controlled and well thought out. What sort of tips and/or thoughts do you have about that? ^^
jhiga: o^____________________________^o (<–Extremely happy from the compliment.)
[And] oh yay! I actually just sat through a writer’s panel at Comic Con that addressed this question so I can hopefully answer it adequately. To sum it up, there are 3 different processes for writing:
1. Outlining first- Some writers plan everything out on paper before they tackle a story. This sounds especially helpful if you have the length of a story in mind. Is it a one shot? Is it an epic? If you’re planning out a series, or a complicated tale with twists and turns, this makes scenes easier to organize and plan out.
2. Just going with the flow- which is on the opposite end of the spectrum. But hey, you never know where the adventure is going to take you so you might as well enjoy the ride as well. There’s nothing wrong with just winging it- that’s supposedly how Huckleberry Finn and Lord of the Rings was written and look how they turned out. Haha.
3. Writing out important scenes first- which is what I tend to do myself. There is no rule that says you have to write linearly. I find it extremely easier to work on scenes are already figured out. Then the tough work is just figuring how to piece them all together.
But regardless, of how you write, how you edit at the end is just as important. Er… I guess, the general culture of posting fanfics presents a huge challenge to this type of process. It’s ok for me since I’m a hermit, BUT for all the social butterflies out there, I do recommend holding onto your chapters until you’re sure that they are finalized. Once you put stuff out there, it’s not like you can tell people JUST KIDDING!!! I need you to forget everything you’ve read from 3 posts ago because I need to change some things around. If you are dying for someone to read it/give you feedback, that’s what your special circle of indiscriminating friends are for. Patience is a virtue~ <3
fancracked: Up to this point … what story did you feel you (1) Grew the most with as a writer/person (2) enjoyed writing the most (3) struggled the most with as a writer/person (4) made you feel the most satisfied and happy with after finishing? ^^
jhiga: 1) Grew most with In the Barrens… even though I only wrote 2.5 chapters of it. Ahaha. At that point, I started to try to develop my own writing voice. OMG. I edited that thing like crazy before I realized that I couldn’t keep up with it. But my style definitely changed more to my liking after that. … 2) Enjoyed Pentagram. That was written back in the carefree times before I fell into the trap of editing. I was cranking out chapterS a day! Chapter with an S! I can’t even fathom that now. And plus, it was Mary Sue enough for my friends to cackle over.… 3) I am struggling with Silent Din. It’s a very… internal fic where not much happens action-wise. So I feel like the pace is very slow. Aie. I still need to figure out what I should do with it.
fancracked: Just as an outsider/a reader that’s an interesting choice… when I read it I felt like it was very fitting with the “nature” of the WA/the name of the WA since it takes place in an asylum ^^;;;
jhiga: Oh yes! It’s definitely fun to write. It’s an experiment to evoke contrastingly different moods/impressions within each chapter rather than to develop an actual plot. I originally wanted it to be a collection of one shots that show different characters with psychological problems, but it’s definitely turning out longer than I thought. [Still] in the works! ^__^ … Anddd 4) Most happy with The Peeker when I finished. Just cuz it’s the longest thing I’ve written in my life. I was so relieved and exhausted and glowing… kind of like successfully giving birth to a large, morbid baby.
fancracked: Could you give us a few lines about each fic that you just mentioned ^^;; for those who haven’t had the chance to read your fics yet.
jhiga: Oh! Of course! Pentagram is about a werewolf killer who’s been tracking her prey for several lifetimes. She finally finds his weakness when he falls for a girl who turns out to look uncannily like herself. In the Barrens is a sci-fi about the son of a mad scientist whose soul gets absorbed into this house in the desert. Centuries later, he rescues in 2 government exiles and becomes crazily obsessed about them. Erm, this one is a bit hard to explain in a blurb. It sounds so weird when I put it like that. Hahaha! Aahhh. Well! It’s as strange as it sounds, I’ll just leave it at that! :P … The Peeker is about a serial killer who stalks his victims out in dressing rooms. There’s a private investigator and an agent who has to learn to work together in order to catch him. And Silent Din is a collection of different stories about people with strange psychological eccentricities. :)
fancracked: Ahh~ Each one is quite unique ne ^^ Thanks for the recap! **For those interested in reading Jhiga’s work, you can find it at the WA (;
fancracked: Do you have any funny writing habits/antics/memories about writing?
jhiga: lol! Sometimes I like writing in the dark. My sister keeps telling people that I had a creepy emo phase when she would open my door and see me sitting by myself without any lights on but I was really just writing!
jhiga: I also like researching A LOT if I’m going to write something that I have no idea about. I was reading books on cadavers and guns and brain injuries for fun. I think my friends were a bit worried about me.
fancracked: Wow, wow… Well in the end I guess anything to strengthen writing and your understanding haha
jhiga: Ah!! Don’t be scared! I really am a nice, sun shiny girl. I really am. ^__^*
fancracked: Just a few more questions ^^;; … What does fanfiction mean to you today?
jhiga: Mm. I haven’t really been participating in the fan fic world, but I do still write when I have the time… I like borrowing gasoos’ personalities and having them under my control. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of that. I’ll be writing about HOT and Shinhwa forever, even if newer generations won’t know who the heck they are anymore. Old school all the waaaay! I definitely look forward to reading every word that my friends write and still a huge kick out of it as always. Just reading and writing fanfics brings me back to a time and place that I am very, very fond of. :) Once in awhile, I’ll randomly discover a talented writer or one with potential. And it makes me really happy. <3 … haha. There’s just something about fanfics that’s super fun. Like, you can feel that the writers are PASSIONATE about their characters. I think I’ll be secretly reading them even when my hair turns gray.
fancracked: haha aww! How sweet! <3333
jhiga: They kick Twilight’s ass any day!!!
fancracked: hehehe ~ agreed. :P
fancracked: Looking back… what sorts of things have you come to learn that you’d like to share with those getting started/those who are still active?
jhiga: Never underestimate just how precious and fleeting your ideas are. So if you can, write them all down, even if you have to drag yourself out of a coma to do it. I still regret all the times I’ve jolted awake with some surefire genius idea for a fic, but was too lazy to crawl out of bed to record it. T__T Mistakeeee! Even if you feel inspired to write a random scene that has nothing to do with what you’re working on, DO IT. I keep a file of mumbo jumbo ideas/blurbs/quotes which I refer to once in awhile when I suffer writer’s block. Very handy. You never know if you’ll rediscover something that makes you think “Ohhhh, yea! This would be really good for the next major scene coming up!” (Copy, paste, edit.) Voila! New chapter done! Is it cheating? No one has to know. ^0^ Ohohoho.
Also, read, read, read! Then read some more! When you do, try to figure out what makes certain scenes so successful and experiment with them. You’ll never know what inspiring tidbits you can pick up. :) And umm… discuss your fics with other writers/readers, especially when you’re stuck. It really helps to think it through with another person’s brain.
fancracked: As a last question… do you have any messages you’d like to send out to anyone? ^^
jhiga: I’d just want to tell new/aspiring writers not to be intimidated! Don’t deprive us of your talents. :) I do think that every writer has their own 2 cents to contribute. Maybe what you’re holding back can really change the trends of fan fiction. DO NOT BE AFRAID MY DEARS!!! I’ll need something run to read when I’m an old grandma.
fancracked: HAHA too cute and funny! Well, thank you for the interview Jhiga!!! Really appreciate it ^^
**special thanks to Jhiga for “coming out of the asylum” and doing this regardless of her busy schedule ^^;;v