Contact information: PM via Soompi :)
Online aliases: Clio
Forums most frequented: I really only visit Soompi
Completed fics: How I Know You, Not Like This, a few one-shots.
Current fics: Do Us Part, Before the Clock Strikes, I also have a one-shot collection.
Additional information: I write primarily gasoo stories because I’m not creative enough to write non-gasoo. I’m not kidding either. I tried & failed. Most of my stories are wonderbang related, although I do have a khuntoria one-shot collection. Somewhere on the world wide web, I also have uncompleted SoEul stories. My pen name “CLIO” is the Greek Muse of History… which reveals a bit about my personal/professional life.
fancracked: Hello Clio! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview ^^ As a starter, can you tell us how you got into kpop and kpop fanfiction?
clio: I’m relatively new to kpop, having found my way sometime in the spring/summer 09. I was a fan of kdramas before I became a fan of kpop music. Fanfiction, however, isn’t something new to me at all. I’ve been writing stories, on and off, for at least the last seven years. And I’ve been reading fanfiction for much longer than that. Once I got into kpop, it was just a matter of time before I started writing. Kpop is made for fanfiction writing! The first thing I wrote that was kpop related was a simple matter of what I was obsessing over at the time (which is generally true of the stories I tend to write): Boys Over Flowers haha. I won’t go into detail how that drama was like a delicious train wreck that I couldn’t stop watching, but I will say that I watched for the secondary couple: SoEul couple was just full of untapped potential. I read SoEul stories to my heart’s content and haven’t looked back since. I wrote some unfinished stories about them, which was my first foray into writing kpop fanfiction.
When I decided to start writing WonderBang stories earlier this year, it was mostly because there were just too many unfinished stories, or couples that I didn’t ship, or were in a style I couldn’t appreciate. So instead of trying to find a story that I could connect with, I decided to write my own.
fancracked: I know you said you’re more of a writer than a reader but what are some of your favorite fics?
clio: Gawd. I tend to gravitate towards fics that are completed, if only for the fact that I don’t want to get completely invested in a fic only to have all my time and emotion come to naught. I think one of the first fics I read on Soompi was Solangel’s CBU & became an instant fan. From there I read Banana Pancakes. I’ve been dying to read Con.template’s Welcome to the Underworld because I’ve heard so many good things about it. Other favorites I don’t think have been posted here on Soompi. It’s also often the case that my favorite stories are often ones that are completely unrelated to the kind of stories I tend to write. Go figure.
fancracked: Could you explain what you mean about having favorite stories that aren’t along the same lines as your own?
clio: Hmm. This is complicated.
Let me preface this by saying that I have favorite stories that are within the realm in which I write. There are fantastic SoEul stories out there. There are good WonderBang stories as well.
I guess I mean that as an author of a story, you can get really deep into your story, your characters, the whole thing. It’s taxing and at times overwhelming. At the end of the day, you’ve just been so engaged with it that you just want a break from those characters. So when I want to read something, I will often gravitate towards stories that are not in the same fandom/couple as what I’m writing. It’s refreshing and illuminating and engrossing and just a rest from whatever it is that I’m writing. It’s nice to delve into something that is so different from what I write.
Also, the other result of getting too deep into your own story, is that when I read stories in the same realm of where I write (e.g. WonderBang, and specifically G-Ye) I can’t help but look at the story from a writer’s pov instead of just a reader. “Well, that seems inconsistent with this character” or “I’m sure that character wouldn’t do that”–these kinds of thoughts run through my head. But the only reason why I think that is because these same characters, which I write with, wouldn’t act that way in MY stories. I can’t always abandon my writer’s prerogative, which inhibits my enjoyment of the story. I don’t have this issue with stories outside of who/what I write, and I find I’m able to enjoy those stories better.
fancracked: What are some of your favorite things about fics in general?
clio: The thing that I really enjoy about reading fics, and what I think really great fics do so well, is that regardless of the genre–mystery, supernatural, rom-com, etc.–the story gets at some level of what makes us human. That fics make the readers contemplate what it means to be alive and living, and wonder about the essence of human nature. The fics I love the most make me question my existence, make me wonder about the essence of the human soul, and even what it means to truly love someone. I love that fics have the potential to teach me, show me, something new about life. When that happens in fics, it’s a beautiful and profound moment because you are forced to address something–confront something–in your own personal life. It’s amazing.
What else? I also just enjoy seeing what authors come up with for their stories. I don’t mind clichés–but there ought to be a point to it. I’m not a fan of a love triangle that doesn’t seem to have any sort of grounding except for the fact that there needed to be a love triangle. No matter what it is, there’s so much potential to take any cliché, any convention, and turn it into something truly unique. I enjoy seeing authors do exactly that: take something done and possibly trite, and turning it into something new.
Hm.. oh, and I do enjoy tastefully done smut lol.
fancracked: What’s your favorite WonderBang couple? What’s their charm and what’s the SoEul couple’s charm?
clio: I write almost exclusively for the G-YE (G-Dragon & Sunye) couple. Those WonderBang stages were pure love for me, but I didn’t really ship any particular couple (I just really loved the 2 groups together) until I saw the WonderBang Grease mini-drama & stage. It was GD & Sunye focused and it was all I needed to ship them haha. Hmm.. I like writing about them because from first look, they really don’t seem like they’d be too compatible. GD is kind of this rebelling youth with all his crazy antics, and Sunye is this pure-hearted wholesome kind of girl. And yet, I love that sort of contrast between them. He’s just the sort of bad boy that would turn Sunye’s world upside down. She’s just the sort of good girl that would make him settle down. They’d be wonderful together because they could benefit a lot from the other person. At least, that’s what I’d like to think haha
As far as SoEul goes, they are just filled with delicious clichés. He’s the wounded broody artist-like character that has the world at his fingertips; she’s the sassy, naïve country bumpkin whose head is filled with grand romanticism. They’re a mess of the Florence nightingale/Cinderella clichés—but better because both of them are more than they seem. I think Yi Jeong’s character is particularly interesting. He’s a playboy, and yet a prodigy, and wants love more than anything, but hurts those who try to get close to him. He’s moody and self-destructive, and is incredibly childlike. He’s so neurotic that there’s just so many ways you can write him. Ga Eul, on the other hand, was less developed on the show, and really naïve. She has a lot of growing to do and its what happens to her to make her grow up that is part of her appeal. Also, bound within the couple is the idea of Soulmates, which I think pretty much sums up the couple. It is, in itself kinda trite, but done right, it can be something really special.
fancracked: In your “additional notes” portion you mentioned something about gasoo fics not being as creative as non-gasoo fics. Don’t all stories have the potential to be creative, original, interesting, etc.? >_< Just wanted some clarification because you seem to enjoy very “profound” fics that seem to weave in thoughts in a creative way… and I’m wondering if you’ve only found profound and creative content in NG fics?
clio: Didn’t mean to insinuate that NG fics are more creative than gasoo fics—“Profound” fics can be whatever it is that resonates with a reader. I just meant that for me, personally, I am not creative enough to write a purely NG fic. I completely agree with you that all stories have the potential to be creative, original, and interesting–that ultimately it’s in the author’s hands to flesh out any story to become something unique.
When I say that I am not creative enough to write out a NG fic, I mean that I’m fully aware that the reason why my stories are as well-liked as they are (and inversely, are as un-liked as they are), is because I play upon the emotional attachment readers have to their gasoo characters. I have the luxury of not only having a built-in audience, but I get to also take what they love best about these gasoo characters and have my way with them. That’s not necessarily the case with NG fics–the author is responsible for creating that emotional attachment to the characters for the readers. Sure, authors of NGs and Gasoo fics have to give into character study and development, but to create all the complexity required for NG characters from scratch? It exceeds my current abilities as a writer.
That being said, I don’t feel like NG fics are the only ones who can have really interesting plots, development, conflict, or characters–there are plenty of gasoo fics (a few of my favorite fics have been gasoo) out there that are as engaging on all those points as any NG fic. It’s just that sometimes I feel like we gasoo writers, who enjoy the benefit of having that built-in audience, sometimes become lax in fleshing out all that we need to, plot and character wise, because we play off of the readers’ existing knowledge of the gasoo character.
fancracked: I’d imagine that after writing for so long you must have learned a thing or two about writing–and perhaps about yourself as a writer and as a person. Is this true? Can you give us some examples of lessons learned or experiences that have helped shape your approach to writing or to living life/etc.?
clio: haha, I have absolutely learned a lot from writing and reading fics–both in writing and in my personal life. The first sort of stories I wrote I posted up on like fanfic websites and on fanfiction.net– I remember being really happy that people seemed to enjoy my stories. That is, until I received a comment saying how my story was essentially a Mary Sue, and how I was projecting all my fantasies onto these characters without any sort of grounding. That comment, as harsh as it was for me at my tender age, was something that has stuck with me–clearly, since my account of the comment is nearly verbatim haha.
At the time, I remember not even knowing what Mary Sues were. I learned then, that the reason why people liked my stories was because they were placing themselves in place of the characters–which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it meant that my characters had no specific character of their own. I learned that truly interesting characters must have flaws. No one is as perfect as we hope they would be. It’s far more interesting, I think, to love a character for all their flaws, instead of loving them because they have none. In any case, the result of all of that is that my stories tend to be very character driven and analytical. There’s conflict of course, but the action of my stories are almost always minimal. And I try to stick with the characters and try hard not to impose myself (as much as possible) on their behaviour. I’m actually sort of paranoid about this. I take copious notes with everything from plot lines to how events will unfold just so I know exactly where the characters are in the story at all times.
Something else that has helped my writing is the knowledge that inspiration can come from anything. The more the author experiences in the world, the more they have to pull from for their writing. I use a lot of my own day to day situations to help with my writing, and sometimes its just a matter of pausing in whatever it is that you are doing, to think about how you are feeling–what sensations are you perceiving at the moment, what thoughts are running through your head–and storing them for later use. I am a visual person, so all I need is a mental image of something I have seen, and it takes me right back to that moment. I think everyone has something like this.
Going along those lines, reading a lot helps too. I know that seems weird for me to say because I have said that I haven’t read a whole lot on soompi, but to improve yourself as a writer, I think it helps to study the writing of others. Pick really well written stories, fics or otherwise, or maybe even an author whose style you really enjoy. Figure out what makes their writing so special. Without becoming a carbon copy of those authors, see what elements you could incorporate into your own writing. I swear, you never learn how lacking you are as a writer, until your work gets placed against that of other writers. You learn a lot.