INTERVIEW: JIEUN, PART II

fancracked: Out of the fics that you have written, which ones are personal favorites?

jieun: I guess in terms of feeling/mood of the stories (since I cringe at all the grammatical/syntax/just rotten writing) my favorite full length piece would be Once We Get to Paradise. And it’s not completed but This Boy I Loved. As for one shot/one shot series, I liked my Shinhwa Series: Six Facets of Loneliness one shots and Shimmering Light/Happy Birthday. And for under 10 chapter pieces I liked the feel of Sexy Beast and maybe Gossamer Wings? There was a 9 part Jun Su/Yoo Chun one I wrote about a missing wife but I can’t remember my own story title to save my life. OMG I suck. [a few moments later] HOPELESSLY PAINFUL, PAINFULLY HOPEFUL. I don’t suck. Yay!

fancracked: LOL so silly! But in regards to This Boy I Loved (and all your unfinished pieces)… will you ever get back to us with an end? ^^;; Or will you continue to just pursue your grad school work?

jieun: Honestly? I really don’t know. I wish I could give you a better answer than that :-(

fancracked: It’s okay ^^;; I’m pretty sure any readers reading this probably wanted to get an answer for that (negative or not.)

jieun: Right now, I have no idea.

fancracked: What character has had a really strong personal connection/meaning to you and why? I’ll also ask this question in conjunction in case things overlap: which character was/is most memorable to you as a person/as a writer?

jieun: I actually am fond of my female characters even though they tend to get the back burner in terms of getting promoted because I don’t write about female stars. I wrote a one shot for Susie (iridescent) called Shimmering Light and the Susie in that story was pretty memorable for me. It was about a mid-20’s woman getting over the death of her boyfriend. She consolidates her life and goes to live at a seaside inn for a while to grieve, but Yoo Chun’s ghost shows up and remains with her (because she has a hard time letting go of Yoo Chun’s memories.) She meets the inn’s owner’s doctor, who happens to be Jae Joong and he helps her let go to Yoo Chun. When she’s finally able to let go of Yoo Chun, Jae Joong asks if she saw the shimmering light and that’s when Susie knows Jae Joong understands because he went through the same thing.

fancracked: TT__TT that’s so sad )*;

jieun: I have a fondness for magical realism. I didn’t know what it was called, but now I know what to call it. lol

fancracked: Magical realism ?

jieun: Basically it’s a genre where magical elements are intertwined with realistic settings.

fancracked: ahhh I see. I always thought of it just as an aspect of a story—never as its own genre o:

jieun: I wrote a short story for workshop where a Korean American man gets into a relationship with a woman who claims she’s a faerie.

fancracked: Junho! :D

jieun: But the story treads a fine line between Jun Ho believing Sarah being a faerie and her just being this crazy hippie that used him for free room and board.

fancracked: We keep touching on the topic of grad school without directly hitting on it. Can you tell us what have you been up to since you’ve taken a “hiatus” from the fic world?

jieun: I put a stop to my fanfic writing mostly because I was going to be so busy with grad school [for writing.] I do have this paranoid fear in the back of my mind that since my fanfics are about real living people, somehow I’ll get in trouble for it but I figured if I ever use any of my stories I’ve posted to submit anywhere, I’ll edit it so it’s not a fanfic. But I did take all my old stuff down from websites and asked docs not to be distributed because basically EVERYTHING is on a constant state of editing right now and I don’t like unedited things floating around. Honestly that’s just my own arrogance talking though. Grad school made me realize my writing is actually really terrible. LOL

fancracked: How has the transition been in terms of writing on a professional scale?

jieun: Not professional yet. Professional would be I submit something, the magazine/company accepts, and I get paid for my services. But I am working towards an MFA in fiction. And technically my thesis is supposed to be a novel or a collection of short stories that can, theoretically, be published. An MFA in fiction is basically a graduate writing program that focuses on the art of writing in itself. A lot of English majors from undergrad get MFA’s in either fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Since I was a political science major in college, and writing was a hobby for me for 10+ years, adjusting into a tiny academic world where it’s all about writing and serious writing was difficult. They say never take a career in what you love, and I agree to some extent.

fancracked: What other words of caution would you add to that?

jieun: It’s a world full of no’s before you get a yes. Financially it’s not a consistent as getting an MD or a JD, but if one has an interest in writing and teaching, it’s something to look into.

fancracked: I don’t want to jinx anything so I won’t ask about specific future aspirations but I wish you luck! And [of course] I hope you know that you have the fic world’s support (: Even if we are just a “humble little fan base,” do update us when you get the green light!

fancracked: It’s always fascinating for me to see people try to bridge worlds or to skid around worlds (real life versus the online world.) How have you gone about it?

jieun: It’s definitely bridging more for me now than ever.

fancracked: Do you tell others about your fic stuff/fangirling/whatever or is it just a personal thing? What is your happy balance? ^^

jieun: Well, writing in itself is a solitary craft. It’s very lonely. I got lucky getting to post in an arena where most people are very supportive and loving, but now my arena is much harsher and critical. Which sometimes makes me want to return to fanfics and lick my wounds and get loving words again. But I know to become better, I must endure it. If people ask about my writing history, I tell them about my fanfic writing. Honestly, I don’t really have a resume anywhere else. And plus, I’ve finished 50+ pieces. By anybody’s terms, I’m pretty prolific.

fancracked: What have been some of your greatest challenges/successes/learning experiences when writing different genres/styles? (because you have a pretty broad list of writing genres – historical fiction, fantasty, etc.)

jieun: For historical fiction, the obvious obstacle is research. I have this story I need to tell, but sometimes all the research that I need to do before I write it can get very daunting. And sometimes I ask myself why I’m doing so much research when it’s FICTION, but there’s a fine line between creating a world via fiction and respecting a place or a time that really happened if I’m going to make up events that happened in said time or place.

In terms of other challenges, I think my biggest obstacle in all the genres was timing. I remember the very first full length fanfic I finished had 30,000 things happen in a span of a week. The main girl had her birthday, got a secret letter from her lover, goes up to Seoul with an oppa who has loved her all her life (onesidedly) and meets another oppa she knows in Seoul who has a dark past and a sad history. And within a day, so many things would happen. My grasp of time was pretty wonky. Like 4 people died in that fic and it happened in 20 mins LOL

fancracked: I guess we can assume that you draw out your very rich, lifelike imagery and “feeling” of Korea from your Korean background. I also remember reading once that Miyazaki’s use of the countryside has influenced you as well. What other things/people have influenced you as a writer (directly/indirectly?)

jieun: His scenery scenes are gorgeous. But I also really like movies that depict rolling fields and green hills and people sitting on a wagon pulled by a tractor type of feel. Very “The Classic” feel.

fancracked: If any of your fics could be adapted into a movie, which one would you choose and why? :D

jieun: hahaha hmm… can I put it in different categories?

fancracked: Whatever you’d like ^^

jieun: My Shinhwa Series: Six Facts of Loneliness series of one shots could be a drama special —  6 days, an hour special for each story type of thing. [And] the connective thread in that series is that the character that’s going to get his main story next plays a cameo in the preceding story so they’re all connected.

… I had this crazy whim that KAT TUN could play the six characters depicted in a Japanese dorama special. But Jin left…T_T

fancracked: Aww )*: I know fanfiction/fandom’s different for everyone but for myself personally… even if that person is gone, because that person’s still “alive in my heart” as cheesy as that may sound, I’d probably still write him into the fic  just because it’d be the most natural thing for me :\

jieun: kokoro! *makes fist*

[back to the original topic] Movie wise… Green Frogs… I want everyone to find someone like Kwon Ji Yong in that story. Every girl deserves a Kwon Ji Yong or to live vicariously through Cammi. Korean drama full length (like 50 episodes) would be This Boy I Loved or The Venus Fly Trap Method. So much drama~ [Or] maybe Sins and Miracles but that’s not done either… –;;

fancracked: OO Sins and Miracles!!! A personal favorite of mine ^^;;

fancracked: Since we’re nearing the end, let me ask some reflective questions ^^;v What do you think you’ve gotten out of this whole fanfiction experience?

jieun: A better understanding of my Korean half. It’s hard being an immigrant, esp where I grew up. My identity was shot until I found something to be interested in, something to be proud of.
fancracked: How serious is “too serious” when it comes to fanfiction, writing, reading, the fic world in total?

jieun: I don’t take too many things very seriously, but I don’t like it when people resort to rudeness because they don’t take what they’re doing seriously. I had a long struggle with girls who took lazy shortcuts in fanfics and either stole someone else’s fanfic and claimed it as their own, or some other low action that reeked of trashiness. If you want attention that badly, go run naked out in the street. But that’s not fanfics or fandom but just being a decent human being. But for everyday stuff, fangirling is FUN. That’s what it should be. Fun, civilized, and a great way to connect with people all over the world.
fancracked: fatsoko/Kou asked:

Usually, people associate kpop fandom with middle schoolers and high schoolers at its helm.  But for the fans older than that demographic, do you have any words of advice or any personal experiences that helped you gain perspective on the meaning of fandom in your life once you stepped into the adult world?

jieun: Thankfully, the noona fan is SO vogue now. If you asked me this 5-6 years ago, I would’ve given you a sob story about how I feel your pain and how kids coming out now are officially younger than me, but now being older is totally chic. Why should hormonal 14 year olds (no offense) have all the fun? What, the crush function in a person’s brain shuts off after they turn 18? One can’t appreciate songs and personalities after one can legally drink? (in the US? Which is 21?)

It all boils down to what you’re interested in. If grown men can collect action figures and call it investments, anybody at any age shouldn’t be ashamed of being a fan of anybody. No matter what, you’ll always find a group of people online (or in person) that share your interest. HWITING!

fancracked: Is there anything that we missed that you’d like to talk about?

jieun: Since my writing fanfics has come to an almost complete stop (except for a dabble here and there), I feel like as someone who has been able to step back and look at fanfics now, I feel like if I was a newbie starting out with this story I really wanna post — I would be super intimidated. There’s hundreds of pages, this emphasis on replies, [and] people being very unforgiving about newb mistakes. Discussion is fine. The sharing of ideas is fine. Even being elitist is fine. Everyone has their preferences and their beliefs on what is better or works but what people need to understand is that a community of writers is a very rare thing to be had. Don’t take it for granted. … A place where people can post. A place where people can discuss. These are all precious things.

In this vast world wide web, millions of people are blurbing every second of every day. Make your words count. Make them sincere. Don’t be intimidated. People will read, and they’ll take you seriously.

I think the most touching message I ever received while I was a fanfic writer was a reader who had been reading my stuff for years PM’ed me out of the blue one day and thanked me. She thanked me for taking fanfics seriously enough to not make it a joke. That when she asked herself why she even read online stuff, she’d remember my stories and realize it wasn’t a bunch of people joking around posting up half assed attempts just to get attention. And that she was glad I was back, and that my stories matter to her. And she thought I should know. She’d never replied to my stuff before then. She’d been a silent reader (gasp, the evil silent reader) for 10 years and her one comment was worth any number of comments she could have left me before.

fancracked: O: ! That’s amazingly touching and uplifting! You’re definitely getting to the sap in me! LOL

jieun: Writing is a terrible joy. Terrible because when I’m blocked it sucks more than anything sucks in my life. And joyful because when I write, my entire reality changes. It’s been a cool evolutionary path where I wrote because I was a fan. But now I write because I love writing itself. Being a fan was a great catalyst to get me to write. Consistently, productively, prolifically for years. I couldn’t do one without the other, even if my writing is now separated from my fandom. The best part is I’m just getting started. I’m a newb in my new world. Blind, weak, scratching at air. Making a lot of mistakes and unintentional ignorant comments… but fighting! Always fighting.

fancracked: Do you have any message(s) to send out? It’s not obligatory but I like to open the window of chance just in case ne ^^;

jieun: Just to Ailyna… wherever you are. I haven’t spoken to you since 9/11 to make sure you were okay, but I just wanted to let you know that you convincing me to post my dinky story all those years ago has led to this. I hope you’re doing well. And thank you. :-)

fancracked: aww TT_TT<3 Doing this interview makes my heart all tingly xP Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this :D I’m glad we could finally have this interview!

jieun: Me too. It was fun ^^

[Part I of the interview]

3 thoughts on “INTERVIEW: JIEUN, PART II

  1. I love where she talks about appreciating the gift of the fanfic community. Sometimes I think we all need to take a step back and see this because it’s what keeps the fandom going in fanfiction – not the desire for replies and popularity.

  2. This is such a sweet interview and really enlightened me on the whole history and fandom of fanfics <3 Well done guys!

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