Contact information: writersajerf[AT]gmail.com
Online aliases: skyelee21 in soompi
Forums most frequented: soompi and ficaholics
Completed fics: *Queen of Wishful Thinking, She Who Must Not Be Loved, Chasing After You
Current fics: Six Ways to Sunday (tentative), also maintaining a drabble/ficlet thread called Vanilla Shots at soompi
Additional information: N/A
fancracked: Hello Tara! Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview (: As a general starter can you tell us how you got into kpop and kpop fanfiction? ^^
skyelee: Thank you for considering me part of this project of yours! I’m honored. ^^
I’ve actually been writing fiction since I was a little girl, but I got into the Korean fandom because of Lee Donggun and Lovers in Paris. This was in 2005. My first fic during this period was My Cloudy Eyed Girl, which was posted on blogspot (since I wasn’t confident of posting it in Soompi at that time). I continued writing short stories with Lee Donggun as a character until about January of 2006, when I learned about DBSK from my friend/unni who’s a fan of the band. ^^
fancracked: It’s interesting that you say you got into kpop by the way of an actor but I guess I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand. At the end of the day, I was raised on Asian dramas before I knew of kpop >_< ~
skyelee: Yes, yes… I actually encountered DBSK beforehand but never really touched on their music until my friend fed me an mp3 of Rising Sun. Before I got addicted to LDG though, I was also watching New Nonstop 3 (with Haha, Lee Jin, Jung Dabin, etc) and had already seen My Sassy Girl so I was already quite interested with Korean actors/actresses.
fancracked: Oo! My Sassy Girl reminds me of one of your ultimate muses (as apparent in Chasing After You.) Can you tell us who Jeon Jihyun is to you?—as cheesy as that may sound? xP
skyelee: Jeon Jihyun is my heroine! ^^ I’ve been a fan since I’ve seen My Sassy Girl five years ago, and I’ve seen most of her movies since. I have been trying to keep up with her as of late, and I’m quite excited about her new film coming… perhaps by the end of this year or early next (/crosses fingers!).
Although I’ve been a fan for that long, I haven’t ventured into writing fiction with her as a character until last year because a couple of years back I’ve seen a fic written by moogles which has her and Ha Jiwon in it and it was amazing… I was intimidated. (I am easily intimidated, that’s a fact.) So I wrote LDG + FC, and when DBSK came along, DBSK + FC.
fancracked: FC = ? >_<
skyelee: Fictional character… others write it as OC (original character.)
fancracked: Original character ! FC, non-gasoo… I wonder if we’re missing any other terms for the same label.
skyelee: Yes yes. :P … When I started posting on Soompi, I didn’t know what Gasoo and Non-Gasoo meant, to be honest. And there were “tags” on the thread title… [fic title] [ng] like these… and I was like, “What?” … I think it took me a couple of weeks to figure that out. Especially since NG in Korean TV meant a blooper as well.
fancracked: lol Confusion galore!
skyelee: Hahaha, yes. :P I’m kind of slow in a way.
fancracked: It’s okay … honestly I think we all have our “fail” moments of misunderstanding. I learned a lot of things the “hard” way… i.e. what yaoi was … as like a 12 year old probably lol 12-13 xP I don’t mind now but back then it was a bit shocking/mindboggling!
skyelee: Oh goodness, don’t get me started on that.
fancracked: Are you not a big yaoi fan? xP
skyelee: I know I’m going to probably get raised eyebrows for this, but no, I’m not.
fancracked: lol it’s cool. To each his own. ^^
skyelee: There’s just this… I don’t know if you could call it discrimination, or whatever… against het (heterosexual) fics, as opposed to yaoi which gain a lot of readership. I don’t think it’s present on Soompi, but DBSK fandom-wise, I kind of felt that.
fancracked: hahaha I think … the DBSG fandom is quite complex and dynamic in regards to fanfiction “pairings”/“couplings.”
skyelee: I guess in Soompi there’s a lot of het fics rolling around, but with DBSK [LJ] comms, not so much. They’re mostly into the in-group pairings.
fancracked: I haven’t been into the LJ world for a while so I don’t have enough credibility to say too much but from what I’ve observed over the years, there’s a different feel and attitude to the way things are done/reasoned on LJ and Soompi. In the end, both “worlds” have very strong flavors and varying standpoints.
skyelee: Yes, yes I agree. While I was away from Soompi (and that’s quite a while… like 3 years?), I wrote drabbles and short stories on my LJ, and I cross-posted them on DBSK fic comms. Even then they didn’t get too much readership compared to some fics which are tagged “yaoi” or “YunhoxJaejoong” or another pairing. :P
fancracked: Although the classification isn’t 100% true, I always think of LJ as “yaoi haven” and forums as “het world” for (DBSG) fics ^^;;
fancracked: But I say that because I don’t mind yaoi xP Well… at the end of the day, whatever floats your boat (: and more importantly… whatever keeps fanfiction sailing :p
fancracked: Along with Jeon Jihyun, DBSG seems to be your other major “muse.” Particularly Jung Yunho…
skyelee: As for DBSK… I only ever started writing about them after watching this video four years ago (Yunho’s prank video). I think if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have started with *Queen of Wishful Thinking. I was genuinely touched by Yunho’s gesture of protecting that girl who he only just met, and I thought, “This is a nice guy, I think I like him.” Hahaha, as you can see, I’m so easy to please. [And so] that video started *Queen of Wishful Thinking. If you remember… there’s this scene in *Queen where the main female character Eunjin goes to a shopping mall so she could get Yoochun a tie… and somebody framed her by putting another item in her bag. Consequently, she got arrested for shoplifting. When DBSK learned about it, they all rushed to the precinct to see their noona, and Yunho was all mad about her being treated like a criminal. I got that image from the prank video. That’s how I started writing *Queen.
fancracked: I don’t think I could ever forget that scene and the red tie. For those who didn’t get a chance to read it, could you give them a few lines about it? ^^;;v
skyelee: Yes, the red tie! And Yoochun bawled so much figuring it was his fault that Eunjin was even in the shopping mall to begin with~
*Queen of Wishful Thinking is about a college student, Eunjin, whose sister recruited her to be DBSK’s road manager. Even though she refuses at first (as she has no idea whatsoever on what a roadie does), as she interacts with the band members, she eventually falls in love with them, more specifically with band leader Jung Yunho.
fancracked: Was that your first fic?
skyelee: I had posted two fics on Soompi back then. *Queen of Wishful Thinking, and Sidestreet Souls (which I never finished. :C)
fancracked: o: Sidestreet Souls sounds so familiar O: Can you tell us a bit about that one as well? ^^;;
skyelee: Sidestreet Souls is a non-gasoo fic, actually, but the main character was kind of built around Lee Donggun as well. It’s a story about a man named Soohyuk who is someone who mostly kept to himself because he had a personal mission to kill the men who did wrong to his family. One day he meets this girl, Anika, and their lives intertwine, and eventually they fall in love—but it’s kind of an ill-fated love affair.
fancracked: o: dun dun!! It sounds kind of “dark” compared to your usual fics ^^;;
skyelee: Yeah, there’s guns and blood and death.
fancracked: On second thought… I hear you’ve been toying with the idea of more action-packed things and potentially “darker” things these days. Are these rumors true?
skyelee: Ah yes. Hahaha! ^^ Blame it on Burn Notice and other crime dramas I’ve seen on TV. I have been planning to write a spy fic or something, but with my usual muses as characters. Although, to be able to effectively write something like that I’d have to study a little jargon and would want to have some background about spy and secret agent stuff. In short, I need to watch more Burn Notice and other spy dramas. :P
fancracked: What other sorts of research do you do for your fics? ^^;
skyelee: Research to me comes in different forms. Sometimes just watching videos of my writing muses are considered research to me, because then I start noticing their quirks, their features, what they look like when they smile, laugh or cry… and I am able to put that into words when I start writing my pieces.
fancracked: How do you think you’ve grown as a writer from your early days til now? — What are particular instances that have helped you grow stronger (or become more “enlightened” as a writer?
skyelee: I think much of the growth had been made in my pre-writing process. When I was younger I just wrote whatever I can, whenever I want… but now I think things over, plot out scenes farther… things like that. It slows down the actual writing process though… hahaha. I don’t think I’ve grown too much in the speed category.
fancracked: LOL at the “speed category” but despite you saying that, you’ve finished your latest fic (or are about to, I should say) relatively quickly in my opinion ^^;;;; [**interviewer note: This interview was done before Chasing After You finished.]
skyelee: Almost. Hahaha.
fancracked: How does it feel to be so close to the finish line?
skyelee: There’s always a feeling of accomplishment following every finished work. And there’s also this feeling of dread of letting your characters go, especially if you’ve been writing them for a long time. Also, there’s a feeling of anxiety regarding how people will react to your work once it’s done. Will they find it satisfying, lacking, too contrived, etc. etc.? That bugs me all the time too.
fancracked: What are some scenes of yours that have made you feel like this?
skyelee: There are two types, for me personally… One would be a scene/chapter I labored on writing (meaning, it was a hard chapter for me to write) but finished. And the other would be a scene/chapter wherein I moved a reader to tears or laughter. I find accomplishment in both.
I think for *Queen of Wishful Thinking I love Chapter 37 best. It’s the scene where it’s Christmas, and Eunjin gets a book from Yunho… and she reads a card from him. We are taken into some sort of flashback, in Yunho’s eyes this time, and I personally think if it were me Jung Yunho wrote about in that card, I would be in tears.
In She Who Must Not Be Loved there are not a lot of scenes to be happy about, really, because it has such a dark story around it… but I felt accomplished writing that restaurant scene with Solmin and Changmin, their conversation and up until Solmin’s death.
And in the latest one, Chasing After You… I felt extremely happy writing that scene with Yunho volunteering to help Jihyun sell her ddokbokki. I don’t know… probably because it was so light and natural, and I felt a couple of years’ worth of being apart melted away in that scene. :P /hopeless romantic.
fancracked: Your couples are the kind of couples that compel the reader to root for them to win against all obstacles. How do you go about creating and writing about these characters and their romances?
skyelee: I just want my characters to be deserving of each other, basically.
Using Chasing After You as an example… A character could be attractive off the bat, especially if the peg would be Jung Yunho (yes, my bias is LARGE and all over the place), but what about him would be more attractive? Perhaps this trait of him being responsible, friendly, fiercely loyal. And a Jeon Jihyun is also attractive, but what about her? She could be mysterious, hardworking, selfless.
If you put them together in a picture, you’d have to realize they may be attracted to each other, but why? It would be so much easier to just say “because they’d look perfect together” but that’d spoil all the fun. As a writer I think they should “work for it,” in a way… So then there are these roadblocks and challenges along the way to make these two (or at least Jihyun, because Yunho’s been in love with her since High School) recognize what could go on between them… and along the way the readers get excited and cheer them on because they’re trying their best to accomplish whatever it is that they have/want to do.
fancracked: You sound so charged up with fandom. Nonetheless, there are people who say that the FAN part of fanfiction is dying. Do you think this is true? Even if it isn’t, how do you think this kind of mind frame has influenced the fanfiction community/fanfiction culture so to say? What are your thoughts on this in total?
skyelee: This is a really loaded question! Hahaha. :P … To be honest, I’m not really a fanfic reader but somehow I know which fics are popular during a certain period of time just because of their reputation. Fics like Keys Before My Eyes or Conversations Between Us were such huge hits in Soompi that one cannot miss their popularity even if one hasn’t read it yet. I’m not sure if I should explain myself as to why I’m not a big fanfic reader, but to make this short, I should say I do a little skimming whenever I see a new fic recommendation, and sometimes I find pieces I like even though I never get to finish reading them.
Recently, I’ve seen newer writers who (and I hope I’m not being mean or anything) don’t seem to really write for the sake of telling a good story, but rather for popularity. I’m not saying all new writers are like this, but I noticed fic threads with nice titles, posters, character maps and a short introduction, and everyone’s scrambling to be in the PM list already… all because the characters are popular gasoos/pairings. I’m not saying that this is bad by itself, but when you find five, ten, fifteen fics with the same treatment you kind of wonder if the authors are actually writing fiction or just fulfilling fangirl wishes by putting idols together in a rom com. The passion for storytelling just isn’t there, and that makes me quite sad because I love to tell stories, to write them, to share them and all that… but this influx of new fics was just overwhelming to me. So much so that I stopped writing/posting in Soompi for three years and went on to livejournal instead.
I guess this “fanfiction is dying” concept exists because there are so many many distractions nowadays. Being a fangirl is so easy. Just open the computer, turn to youtube or a fansite or whatever, and you can entertain yourself for long periods of time. I think that made a lot of fangirls’ attention span shorter, so it reflects on the kind of fics they write and read.
fancracked: And a lighter question ^^;; What makes you happy about fanfiction/fandom/writing?
skyelee: What makes me happy~ Writing in itself is a joy for me. If I could fic vomit anytime, I would, but I’m quite a slow writer/thinker so I’m afraid that won’t happen anytime soon.
I feel happy writing happy scenes~ ^_^ I used to have this mirror near my work desk and I remember seeing myself smile like an idiot while writing a fic. (I think this was My Cloudy Eyed Girl.) I got a little conscious and put the mirror away. :P I feel happy when I finish difficult scenes as well, because there’s this feeling of… “GOD YES FINALLY” in my chest and I would do some celebratory dance or whatever after that.
And I feel happy reading comments. Hahahaha. Especially the long, essay-like ones. I’ve saved some comments for She Who Must Not Be Loved in my Google Docs because they’re so spazzy, and some of them are really constructive as well.
fancracked: My younger sister is a light fic reader and she always complains to me that she hates seeing readers write essays for comments because she gets confused and thinks the writer posted them LOL but I laugh and just tell her that those readers are quite wonderful xP Length doesn’t completely matter … but I know what you mean because some of those posts are quite meaningful.
skyelee: hahaha so cute. … I love long thought out comments. I appreciate them most because then I know that the readers are paying attention. When readers ask questions, when they comment on characters’ attitudes, it makes me feel like my writing isn’t in vain… because I agonize a lot about these characters. It may sound a bit over the top but I laugh and cry with them, literally… The hardest chapters to write are the ones where my characters cry.
fancracked: Aww ): As a writer I definitely feel you on that last note ^^; Before we wrap things up I have one final question… Over all, what’s important to you as a writer?
skyelee: Inspiration is vital to me. I never would’ve been able to write *Queen of Wishful Thinking, She Who Must Not Be Loved, and Chasing After You if not for DBSK (and Jeon Jihyun). I’m sure every writer has or SHOULD HAVE their own, because without inspiration, what could anyone do, really?
fancracked: Is there anything that we left out that you’d like to talk about? A love proclamation perhaps? (just kidding xP)
skyelee: hahahaa love proclamation? LOL I can’t just say “Jung Yunho I love you~” can I? LOL. :P
Perhaps I’ll just encourage the other fic writers out there to continue doing what they love~ out of love of course for your idols and out of love for writing/literature. We are all equipped with the power of words, so we should make use of them the best we can while also improving along the way. I know that when I’m older I will cherish my fic writing memories because I enjoyed them quite a lot, so I hope the younger writers out there enjoy theirs too.
fancracked: Any other messages/thoughts?
skyelee: I have something for Gypsy (nuna501)… I want to thank her for believing in me so much, she even invited me to do NaNoWriMo with her. I’m not sure I can finish my novel, but it’s worth a try, and I appreciate her encouragement a lot. I don’t find a lot of people like her lately… so she’s like a gem to me now. ^^
To fanfic readers in general… hang in there, haha. There are a lot of new writers out there, and they will grow into wonderful, awesome ones, so watch out for them and support them like you did the other seasoned fanfic writers. Fanfiction for me is like an essential part of being a fangirl (only in my case, I’m mostly the one who tells the stories), so enjoy your fangirl years even more by reading and/or writing fanfics and honing yourself while you’re at it. ^^
fancracked: Thank you so much for doing this interview!
skyelee: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express myself in this manner. There are not a lot of venues for fanfic writers to do so, so thank you~~~ ^_^