INTERVIEW: SUNNYLEE, PART I

The Basics:

Name: Sunny
DOB: November 2
Contact information: psique on soompi
Online aliases: sunnylee, psique
Forums most frequented: soompi, ficaholics
Completed fics: Term Papers and a Cup of Coffee, Breathe, and quite a few not worth mentioning… :)
Current fics: None; I’ve been somewhat dead in the fanfiction world for quite a while now… :x
Additional information:

fancracked: Hello Sunny! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview ^^ Can you tell us how you got into kpop/kpop fics? (:

sunny: Well, let’s see. I think I got into fanfiction in… late 2005 or 2006? I joined Soompi the year before because I remember my sister browsed it frequently. I think it was during Thanksgiving Break when I was just checking the site out and stumbled upon the fanfiction section. I read a few stories here and there and thought that the idea of fanfiction was pretty cool! I had a bunch of free time on my hands so I started writing a story of my own. :)

As for kpop… I think, again, it was my sister that brought me into the whole scene. She had a bit of a kpop phase, and me, being the typical little sister, wanted to do everything she was doing. I started listening to kpop on my own and found it pretty catchy. With the help of sites like Soompi and other kpop-oriented forums, I ended up finding my own favorite groups and such. Thus, when I found Soompi’s fanfix section, I guess it kinda came naturally that I found it interesting–the stories were fun and light-hearted, and they featured celebrities I liked, haha :)

fancracked: I remember that you came in during the big DBSG wave like a lot of the current people still around today haha~~~

sunny: Oh yes, I was definitely a huge DBSG fan!

fancracked: In my memory you were one of those at the forefront in the Soompi fic section back then ^^;;

sunny: Nahhh, haha. :)

fancracked: Since you were quite involved and active, can you paint a picture of what it was like?

sunny: I think it was around when that transition more towards popularity was happening? I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I remember there were a lot of writers who weren’t really writing for the sake of writing about a celebrity they liked–more just to see how many people would reply and such. I’m sure that it was around before, and it definitely still is around, but I remember it was at its height right around then. That and lots of use of graphics (posters, icons, banner sets, etc.).

There were still some pretty serious writers out there, so that was always refreshing. I remember at the time Ji_Eunie’s The Venus Fly Trap Method was in progress. And… iridescent and melonbar92 were pretty active.

In terms of trends, I think the usual love-triangle/Cinderella stories were very common and popular. Gangster love stories were starting to rise, though I think they’re more prominent now.

Speaking of which! Compared to now, I think the fics were a lot more conservative? … A lot of fanfiction nowadays seems to talk about sex and drugs and fights and such considerably more openly compared to a few years back. I don’t personally have anything against it, but I think youth writing fanfics now are a lot more open about those topics than any of us were, haha.

fancracked: It’s funny that you say that because I understand what you mean. Although gang fics/lemons were popular before the Dong Bang wave, there was a different flavor and I daresay, intent in using gangs/risqué themes. The “sharp and raw” fics that try to cover these genres and aspects today do not have the same innocent/curious approach from before. Even the lemons or fics that had more mature content gave a different feel.

sunny: Exactly! I remember reading some fics like that from before the Dong Bang wave and then I read a couple recent ones… a few months ago? I was completely shocked. Same topics, but there’s a huge contrast in the way the authors approach the topic, like you were saying. It seems like these themes are thrown into more fics nowadays than before.

This is going to sound funny, but nowadays in fics there seems to be a lot more random hooking up and rape and such, just for the sake of being there… whereas before (at least the fics I read) it was more smoothly interwoven into the plot and it moved the story along, other than to insert the, “YOU RAPED ME! Now you have to be my wife,” line. Or husband I guess, haha.

fancracked: Yes… I think it’s fine to experiment and to push the limit (given creative license/just to see where you can go as a writer), but sometimes I question the usage of these topics. Or should I say the “exploitation” of them.

sunny: Haha, yeah. You know how I was talking about the whole “writing for popularity” thing before? I feel like nowadays, it’s kinda the same thing, except it’s almost a “let’s see if I can write about sex” sort of thing. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing… it’s just interesting that it’s become a trend.

fancracked: What do you think of the impact of the size of the Soompi fic section?

sunny: Soompi’s fic section is pretty gargantuan. Looking back on it now, it seems that its large size allows for authors to really grow. Because there’s so many writers and readers, authors not only can build off of feedback from readers, but they’re also exposed to other writers and their respective styles.  I can’t say that Soompi is exactly the best place to display your best work and expect to receive quality reception from, again, because of its size. However, it’s always a good place to throw things out into the open and see how people respond. If you get lucky and a handful of people notice you, that’s cool. I dunno; that’s always the way I’ve seen Soompi.

[From the perspective of a reader] it’s nice because there’s so many stories to choose from! And occasionally when you stumble upon that really good fic, it feels like you’ve won a treasure hunt, haha. Nowadays I’m constantly referring to the Recommendations Thread just because there’s far too many fanfics to sort through.

fancracked: Can you name some fics that have a special place in your heart? Why so?

sunny: I think my first would have to be Tainted Memories of Issey Miyake by 4tang. It was one of the first fanfics I read, and it was very well written–I think it was the first fanfic that showed me that even fanfics could be quality writing (at the time, I had only read–well, not necessarily poorly written fics, but not exactly “writing for the sake of writing” fics.)

One of the fics I read following Tainted Memories of Issey Miyake was The Venus Fly Trap Method by Ji_eunie. Again, very well written story and I love love loved the characters!

Overall, a lot of the fics that have a special place in my heart are fics that touch me in some way or another, that really pull me in and can tug on my heartstrings (which, consequently, is why I think so many are well-written, haha.) Some of my favorites are Bowls of Kimchi by laizuki, Clara by biteme_lestat, a lot of iridescent’s writing (she writes so eloquently and delicately, it makes me all soft and flowery inside, haha).

fancracked: I love reading people’s lists of favorite fics … it makes me all giggly inside even if I haven’t had a chance to read all that’s listed _ _;;;~

sunny: Same! I always add their titles onto my list of must-reads.

fancracked: If you had your choice, who’d you like to be in a fic? (in terms of fic characters)

sunny: Woo ChangAe from Astrum Glacialis by Memento. It’s not necessarily because all this great stuff happens to her but she’s got this incredible sense of realism to her character that I appreciate. It’s a characteristic that’s hard to find in a lot of characters, especially if it’s a love story.

sunny: Wow! I just realized I’ve been part of this whole fanfiction society for like, four years now! 0__0 I’ve always had the mentality that it was my first year in fanfiction or something, haha.

fancracked: LOL same here… especially because there are people like Sooji and Jieun around haha

sunny: Yeah!

fancracked: And by the time we came around it was kind of like the “half way point” between new and old… so we were able to get a good feel for both worlds, so to say.

sunny: Yep! I remember we were considered “new school” though. I guess it’s the new, new school now?

fancracked: lol yeah. I think if we had to give time-specific labels per fic era, they’d be something like: classic -> old school -> new school -> neo new school… as over the top as it may sound. ^^;

sunny: Haha, it makes sense though.

fancracked: I think those “within” the world of fanfiction will get it though LOL

sunny: Definitely!

fancracked: Now that we’re on the topic of new school-ness… what do you think “defines” or is characteristic of new school fics? (new school “at large” so to say ^^;)

sunny: I can’t say that this definitely applies to all fics just because I haven’t read enough recently… but starting with the superficial, a lot of new schools fics started including larger casts of characters. Not just like one member or one group but like… dozens, literally. And neo new school fics have like twenty! It’s so crazy keeping up with what character’s doing what or who’s with who.

I think that recently, though, there’s been a trend of writers trying to bring back the whole writing not in instant-messaging lingo but actual English. I think it was more prominent in old school fics, but a little less in new school fics (even though there was always a handful of writers who stuck to regular writing). I remember a while back I think I was reading someone’s story or the Soompi Recommendation Thread and this reader mentioned something like, “I’m looking for a fic that uses decent grammar and REAL English.” I found it pretty interesting that even readers were starting to seek somewhat grammatically composed stories, because from what I remember before, a lot of readers were more interested in just reading about their favorite celebrities, as opposed to now, where they’re actually looking for a decent read. I dunno if it’s just me being weird, but I found that pretty interesting.

fancracked: I don’t think it’s weird ^^; I have to ask though… because I remember that you were an editor in Soompi’s “Official Critque Thread” ^^; What was that experience like and why did you initially get involved?

sunny: Well I think (I can’t be too sure, my memory’s a little blurry, haha) I started because I was pretty decent at grammar at that point and figured that I could help out with that sort of stuff. After a while I came to realize, though, that as an editor, I wasn’t only looking for technical errors, but also on how the writer could better express their intents and whatnot. It was pretty interesting because I would be reading through all these fanfics and be exposed to all these different writing styles. It helped me a lot with my own writing, actually, because I’d pick out things that wouldn’t really work in a piece I was given, but I’d realize that I’d been doing the same thing in my writing. It was definitely a fun experience, though, because, at the end of the day, I’d feel that I helped someone or at least offered them a different perspective, regardless of whether or not they took my critique.

fancracked: Objectivity is hard to achieve at times when looking at a personal piece >_<

sunny: Definitely. I always think that as a writer, it’s important to also be a reader as well, for that exact reason. It gives you the opportunity to take a step back instead of being so focused on one task you can’t see anything else. If anything, writing and reading come hand in hand.

part II

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