INTERVIEW: FREDA

fancracked: Hello Freda! It’s nice to finally meet you and do this interview ^^ Can you give us a small introduction about yourself?
freda: Hello. So my real name is Freda, pen name freda… even though I started off with minwoolover (I’m not exactly a Minwoo fan anymore though =S). I’m Chinese and am 21 years old (I know, old). Oh and I reside in Canada :)
fancracked: haha 21’s still young!!
freda: haha, not when I’m on Soompi and I see people who are like 13. 13 brings back a lot of memories. I think it was around when I was 12 or 13 that I started writing fanfiction…  It’s been almost 10 years. Shocking.
fancracked: I know it may be a stretch since it’s been so long but can you tell us how you got introduced to kpop/kpop fanfiction?
freda: hmmmm I’m trying to trace back. I had met a friend online (friend of a friend, but I can’t exactly remember how we started chatting). We ended up talking practically every night online and one night she mentioned how she was reading fanfiction. I had no idea what that was… but she sent me a link. The first fanfic I ever read was What I Did For Love by val. She then sent me a few more fics featuring Shinhwa. I remember taking forever to learn their names. At that time, I wasn’t aware of Korean culture (and how their names were)… so it was a tongue twister. After reading probably 10+ fics about Shinhwa, I decided to tune in to their music and actually learn more about them–and I got hooked to kpop from there :)
fancracked: Were you more of a silent reader back in the day?
freda: Back in the day, I didn’t read fics posted on forums. It probably took me a year or two to get into the forum. At first, I only read completed fics which were posted on the archive section on Soompi (gone now–it was back then when Soompi was dark grey and yellow, haha)
And then after reading practically every Shinhwa fic in the archives, my friend told me to try out the forum. I didn’t like the forum at first. Too many cliffhangers! But I have to admit, the fics in the forum were actually much better :)… and from there, I started to open up to non-Shinhwa fics (What I Did For Love was probably one of the only non-Shinhwa fics I liked back then… haha XD)… Long story short—I started off replying to a lot of fics… but then Soompi kept crashing… so a lot of authors had to repost everything bit by bit and I kind of stopped replying because I had already read through the chapters they were reposting…
fancracked: aww ): It was kind of unsettling for me because all those old bookmarked links no longer worked lol
freda: Yeah. It was a bit upsetting at that time. As a reader and writer because a few of my fics were deleted as well. I actually never reposted them… Soompi crashed when my computer crashed so I didn’t even have a copy of it left. They seemed good at the time, but from what I can recall… they’re horrible. I’m just embarrassed by them.
fancracked: aww ): Every writer seems to say or think that… but I really enjoyed reading your (older) Minwoo fics  ^^; I think a lot of people did.
freda: LOL… oh man… Minwoo haha
fancracked: My younger sister and I read your Minwoo fics together when we first got into fics ^^; She was really ecstatic when she heard that I was interviewing you and told me that she most definitely wanted to hear about Minwoo from your perspective. That said, could you elaborate a bit about Minwoo and what the Shinhwa/Minwoo era was like in the fanfiction world (and to you personally)? ^^;
freda: Not just because I was a part of the Minwoo fan wagon, but out of observation, I believe Minwoo had the most fanfics (with him as the lead) out of all the other Shinhwa members. I don’t know how long fanfics have exactly been around– but Shinhwa was the third band (2nd male band) created by SM, so it seemed like they played a pretty big part in the kpop fanfic section.

I read all typed of Minwoo fics- Minwoo as a nerd, as a playboy (the most popular), as a celebrity, as some rich man, as a gangster, and the list goes on. To say the least, I enjoyed all personas of Minwoo then, haha. It didn’t so much change the face of fanfic, but I believe it played a big part in moving it forward, carrying forward genres and common themes. The same kind of stories are pretty much written today, the only except is that different names are now being used. With that said, the Shinhwa/Minwoo era meant a lot to me, just because I started there and I stuck with it for a long time. I got into fanfiction through it, and grew a lot through reading them. In addition to getting me into fanfics, it got me into kpop in general- so it holds a place in me in which I don’t think I’d ever forget.
fancracked: What was so cool about Minwoo? :P
freda: I’m trying to think back to what appealed to me the most about him. I could remember liking him from the very beginning, haha. At that time, he had a good thing going on with his hair. He also seemed much clean shaven then– it’s a bit hard to describe but it was during the Perfect Man days, and I remember I had just finished reading a few fics about Shinhwa, and it was at that time that I decided to look them up that I saw their pictures on the old Soompi site (the main grey site, as mentioned above). They had posted a few pictures of Shinhwa from their photoshoot with…..I can’t remember the brand, but it started with an “F”….anywho, he looked pretty cool in it. I recall saving the picture, but I don’t have it with me at the moment :(. I’ll try searching for it when I get home and sending it to you. Oh, but that tattoo he had on his neck during perfect was appealing as well– it’s that bad boy theme/look again (and you know I’m a sucker for it).

As I continued my search, I saw his purple (lavender) and blue hair for All Your Dreams… and it was refreshing. I didn’t see it much, but out of influence, I had died my hair dark blue in gr 9, and plum in gr 10. Not exactly the same colors as him, but I was still influenced.

I then saw him dance….and ride a motorcycle….and these two were pretty big pluses as well…haha. And finally, I saw videos of him and Shinhwa and though that they were pretty hilarious. Minwoo, however, stood out to me more because 1) I was already bias, 2) he just held a certain charisma.

I was still pretty sold by the time their 6th album came out. It was when he came out with the faux hawk and he really made it into something in the Korean fashion world (in my opinion). Might I mention that he looked so handsome in it. He started to show off a more rugged look, and I think it was at that point that he really displayed an image of him going from boy to man……

I can keep going on about Minwoo if you’d like, but I think you get the gist. Haha…
fancracked: I remember a few years back someone was trying to find the sequel  to your fic You Remind Me. I think that’s most definitely a sort of testament through time ^^;; Anywho… although I remember you for your Minwoo fics you moved on to lots of NG fics like You’re Dynamite.
freda: You’re Dynamite was horrid as well… but yea, after Shinhwa, I never really got into celebrities on the same level again. I think I got over my fan girl phase probably because I was 15/16 by that time
fancracked: Ah… a rite of passage sort of moment ^^; but you stayed with the Soompi community anyhow ne.
freda: Yeah, besides I figured that NG fics were nice in a way that, readers could place their own face on the characters (even though I had made character posters… people could ignore them if they wanted)… but when I used Minwoo’s name, I guess his face stuck with them. I stayed in the Soompi community although I’m not really that active anymore. I feel guilty because I let yet another one of my fics hang.
fancracked: In such a case, would you like to send out a message to any readers who may be reading this? ^^
freda: I noticed that I had a record of non-finishing fics ever since I started posted them on the forum. A lot of my completed fics before were all written before hand and sent into Soompi for posting. What I’m trying to say is that since I started posting fics before they were completed, I  wasn’t given the freedom to edit previous (posted) events in the story. Often times, I ended up not liking where the story was going, got a major case of writer’s block and kind of lost motivation from there. I still get periodic PM’s from readers telling me to post, but I feel horrible because I have nothing for them.

However, I’m currently working on a new story. This time I plan to write at least 3/4 of the fic before posting it. I figured that by that time, the earlier chapters will be pretty much solid. Although I have to say, I started this fic a year ago, and have re-written it close to 6 times. I had gotten to 200+ pages and felt that the story was going in the direction that I didn’t want it to–so now I’m on chapter 2 again. I don’t know if my readers will still be around when it’s ready, but *sigh* I hope I finish this one. I’m just hoping that I’ll finish at least one more before I officially retire from the fic writing world.
fancracked: Oh wow! It’s really impressive that you write so much before posting. Since you’ve gone through such an arduous process already could you give us some insight into what you’ve gone through?
freda: For this current fic, I’m concentrating a lot on transition and flow… but of course also plot. It’s something a bit cliché so to speak, but I want to make it because cliché plots are kind of a soft spot for me haha….with that said, it’s hard to make it my own. I try not to do something that’s already been done– but it’s so hard. It’s called cliché for a reason.

Also, a lot of my revisions to the current fic switched from me writing in first person to third….I always felt that writing in third person gave a more dynamic view of all the of characters in the story… but when I use that in my writing, I realize that my main character always falls a bit flat. Hard to explain but my main character’s personality always seems to be more likable when I’m writing in first person.
fancracked: I think your point about clichés is extremely relevant to the fanfiction world. It feels like we as a community struggle to figure out the pros and cons of clichés. There is this negative perception or stigma that clichés are bad or weak points in a story… yet so many of our “founding” stories have roots that could be backtracked to classic clichés/clichés found in class works. At the same time, I think our appreciation and acceptance and overall use of clichés changes as we grow as readers and writers through our time with fanfiction. What do you think about fanfiction’s relationship with the cliché? ^^;
freda: Some people may be tired of it… but I think it’s there for a reason. We call it cliché, but there are a lot of suckers who love it (including myself). I mean the main guy who’s part of a gang and is an awesome fighter—I think we all love bad boys to some extent XD

But on the topic of clichés, I do once in a while have a thought of writing something that’s not exactly in the ordinary. Away from the gang and high school love stories… and something more in the fantasy world. I started a few chapters once and realized it was much harder to write just because I’m creating a world of my own and I have to portray this new world to my readers so that the image can be vivid in their imagination. This kind of idea to strive away from my regular plots has been in the back of my mind since my new found love towards Final Fantasy. (Sorry if I suddenly went in another direction in the interview haha)
fancracked: haha no it’s cool. Experimentation’s always great. It really stretches the limits of creativity. I can’t wait to see what you bring us next :D
freda: I can’t wait to finally finish them. As of now though, the first fic I mentioned comes first in priority just because the plot I have in my head is so much clearer.
fancracked: So after these two fics do you think you’ll officially “head out” and retire like you said?
freda: Most likely. At the rate it’s taking me to write up the first fic. I know you can technically never be too old to write fics but unless I’m serious about getting something published (which hasn’t come up in my mind), I think the real life will start taking its toll. I’ll be graduating soon, have a full time job, and sooner or later (hopefully XD) have a family. Then again, I do have to say that this has been a passionate hobby of mine for years… and when the time comes, I can’t give a definite answer on whether or not I will give up writing.
fancracked: Whether or not you keep up with fics, hopefully your passion for writing will always be alive ^^
freda: haha I hope so too.

fancracked: Were there any moments in your time with fanfiction that helped you grow as a writer?
freda: Getting out of the Shinhwa phase was definitely one… transitioning into the NG phase, it really changed my writing style. It involved a lot of Korean styled emoticons… my writing changed in such a way where it mimicked the Korean translated stories. I don’t like that, looking back on it now, which explains my sudden change towards my current writing style.
fancracked: Although you say you don’t necessarily like it now, there must have been something lovely or enjoyable about it back then ^^; What made phases like the “TF” phase worthwhile and fun for you?
freda: It’s hard pinpointing what I like about each phase in my writing, but I think I liked the sense of novelty that still delivered the touch of cliché that I liked in fics. There was a thrill discovering the new style… and seeing everyone jump on the bandwagon, I kind of got lost in the excitement as well.
fancracked: Times and trends change but I guess we’re always looking for excitement ^^;;; although I kind of feel bad asking you these almost negative-track questions. Sorry about that.
freda: It’s actually a nice time-out in life to look back at how I’ve developed through the years in this fast-pace society. It’s so easy to lose track and forget about our roots during the track of things.

Karma was pretty much another cliché plot line of mine that tried to make things more realistic by parodying some of the major overdone themes out there. For the main guy, I started off writing about him as the typical bad boy–but overtime, I wanted to reveal to my readers his true side. it’s sad to say that what was posted didn’t go the way I wanted it to because I ended up making him into a weak, unlikeable character– and I guess it’s moments like this where I look back and see that as a good reminder of how I can’t lose sight of things when I’m writing (because I was writing in the moment and did not necessarily keep the bigger picture in mind). I’ve really learned from that experience [about moving on the fast track.]

fancracked: Let’s hop back to reading for a moment… Are there any super memorable or meaningful fics that are irreplaceable for you?
freda: I’ve read a lot of fics. I like most that I finish reading, but I can count very few where I’ve gone back to re-read. Conversations Between Us by solangel is my all time favorite fic so far. I’ve probably read that story close to 5-10 times and it hits me the same way each time–I’ve cried reading that story numerous times. A lot of my inspiration comes from solangel. She’s an awesome writer. I really got into it :)
fancracked: What other fics or people have inspired you? ^^
freda: I’m going to go back to my phases again, haha… Jaded by linkinpark inspired my Shinhwa fic phase. TF fics like A Wolf’s Attraction, doremi, etc. started my NG phase. There was actually one that I really liked and re-read in that phase… To A Beautiful Wolf. As for the current stage I’m in, solangel is definitely a great inspiration and it’s a random add on, but mangas and manhwas have been great as well.

You just made me realize that I love endings where the main guy dies T_T I think it strikes me harder when someone dies… I prefer happy endings but it’s hard to do without making it corny.

Oh and another favorite TF of mine is Extraordinary! Shin Girl.
fancracked: hahaha I see your tastes coming through now. Gangsters/fighters are prevalent.
freda: Yeah, I’ve warned you with my clichés.

fancracked: What are your thoughts on fanfiction in general?
freda: It’s hard for me to give my input on the current state of fanfiction all because I haven’t exactly read any recently but I realized how out of place my own stories are now because they’re not exactly ‘fan’ fiction… just fiction–reflecting back, that’s what the NG phase really did for us. It really introduced us to using more than just celebrity names and it was refreshing.

As for trends and genres, I think I’m with the mass when I say that we have a thing for gangs… but as I mentioned before, I’m starting to really get into the fantasy genre. It’s something new and I wouldn’t mind if there are a few more out there. A Drifter’s Paradise by Thao was one that I really got into. It’s not completed yet, and it hasn’t been updated in a while, but I understand as a writer how hard it is to update. … There was another fantasy fic I read a while back. It featured DSBK. About how they were sent into another world (along with some other made up characters) to help save it.
fancracked: Mipilasica by melonbar92? If there was a unicorn named Monty in it xP
freda: I really like that fic because of the freshness and the humor. It was a funny fic :)
fancracked: Very fun and quirky indeed (: You’ve kind of touched on this already but are there any things you look forward to seeing in the fic world?
freda: As for the direction of the fic world… I just hope to see either different genres getting introduced (and no being under-rated for it). Or to see some twists in the classic tales.
fancracked: As a closer, would you like to send out a message to anyone? ^^
freda: To all the writers out there… Don’t give up. If the story isn’t working out, try again. It’s a shame to just give up and waste all that effort… if you do, months/years from now you’ll look back and feel a pity that it was never finished (like me :(). A good story comes with good patience. There will always be readers out there… and stories don’t just become popular over night. So stick in there because you will be rewarded.
fancracked: So heartwarming! Which reminds me… when I looked through your threads I could see how much you loved your readers (: I think it’s lovely how fanfiction can be “more” than just one thing for us as fans/readers/writers.
freda: In a way writing allows me to express myself. At times, I would put my own personal thoughts and opinions of society in my work through my characters. Other times I simply use it as an escape from reality since I normally write in first person, it’s a sweet delusion I put myself in. And seeing readers enjoy what I have randomly wrapped up for them really gives me another type of happiness that I can’t explain. It just touches you.

Oh, and I know I’m jumping around here… but going back to the question where you asked me about some of my most memorable highlights/memories during my phases…  I kind of buried this behind me because it was a shame but when I was writing You’re Dynamite someone contacted me for the story to be translated in Thai. The person who contacted me had translated a number of works from others… and the Korean style fics had become a new trend in Thai (Korean wave I guess haha)
fancracked: Oh wow! How very cool!
freda: I was so honored at the time… and apparently if I had finished it, she would have taken it to a publishing company. I heard from her afterwards that she had managed to get My Ping Pong Boy by Moe published after she translated it. It was pretty cool :)
fancracked: It’s amazing that you were also asked. I love that the fanfiction community has been able to grow and develop on a professional level. I remember Aramis saying that some HOT fics in Korea were published as real books… but I’m not sure if this ever happened to “international” (kpop/kpop style) fics until Thai publishers came around ^^; Fantasies come to life in a sense.
freda: I think so too. I think that came across when guiyeoni got published and had gotten a scholarship into university and everything. She was young as well when her books came out (back when she was in high school)… so it was something close for us to relate to at the time.
fancracked: Pretty amazing stuff born out of the love to write and share :D
freda: Indeed.
fancracked: Ahh, I believe we’ve come to the end ^^ Thank you for doing this interview Freda! I can’t wait to see what comes up next from you (:
freda: Thank you for taking the time to contact me and making this work. Once again it was a real pleasure. And it’s really given me the motivation to continue knowing that people are out there still waiting for me.

— thanks to freda for doing this interview ^^*

— the next interview up will be with azn_desire (:

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