Name/Online alias: Solangel
DOB: N/A =)
Contact Information: Solangelw[AT]hotmail.com or PM box on Soomp!
Forums most frequented: Soomp!
Completed Fics: Conversations between Us, Banana Pancakes, The Joy of Being Happy, The Ardor Series (short-story)
Current Fics: Love Bugged
Additional Information/Interests: I cannot live without music and writing; this is not an exaggeration. And a little fun fact about me: I love driving and am actually quite the automobile/vehicle enthusiast.
fancracked: Hello Sol! It’s great to finally do this interview with you. ^^* Can you give us a quick introduction to yourself?
sol: A big warm “Hi!” to Phim, and to those who are reading this interview as well. I am known as Solangel on Soomp! I have been posting my stories on Soomp! since 2003 (before the big Soomp! crash in 2005), so as of 2011 it has been a total of 8 years I believe. And just to throw in a fun fact about my SN; it is a combination of Soul = Sol and Angel = Angel, so SolAngel. Many of my readers known, and refer to me simply as Sol.
fancracked: Can you tell us how you got introduced to kpop/kpop fics?
sol: Well, kpop/kpop fiction has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. How I got into K-pop fiction was actually when a friend of mine introduced me to Soomp! back in January 2003. He encouraged me to post up my stories if I wanted to share my writing with others. Up until that point in my life, I had only written stories and shared them amongst my closest friends. At first, I was hesitant because during that time the K-pop fanfic section was dominated by gasoo stories while my stories were filled with my very own novel characters. However, in the end I am glad that I took my friend’s advice and I guess you can say, “the rest is history.”
fancracked: Some of your most well known fics are NG fics. Can you tell us a bit about the NG side of fics? (:
sol: I think writing about NG fictions have always been a faithful part of my style as a writer. I love Kpop for what it is — the k-dramas, the k-music, the k-fictions but for some reason when I write I tend to focus on more non-gasoo because I have an inclination for creating my own characters, their names, the world they live, their unusual habits and reckless personalities as well as their sensitive and humanistic sides. I think with the non-gasoo side of fictions, as a writer, you are able to express yourself even more without having the image of celebrities to guide you. Don’t get me wrong, both ways are conducive to your growth and exploration of a writer but I consider gasoo characters as having a blueprint while non-gasoo is similar to starting from scratch. You build your characters from their facial features to their characteristics with non-gasoo characters; with gasoo characters, you have set facial features and you can base off of what you perceive their characteristics to be for your writing and further lament on that.
The enjoyment for me in writing about non-gasoo stories is that it stays true to what I have an affinity for as a writer, strictly a personal preference. My stories Conversations between Us, Banana Pancakes, The Ardor Series, and Love Bugged are all non-gasoo while my only gasoo story is The Joy of Being Happy. I suppose for TJOBH I ventured out with using gasoo characters because of the storyline I had in mind, and I wanted a mature setting and mature projections on existing characters mixed with some of my own. [I wasn’t sure for this question if you wanted my take on writing non-gasoo vs. gasoo and a brief discussion of my stories as well; please let me know so I can condense my rambling =)]
fancracked: You’ve written so many well loved and remembered fics (and characters) over the years… What are some of your personal favorite scenes and characters that you have written? Who are the most memorable characters that still “stick around” at the back of your mind as a writer/in your everyday life? ^^
sol: Over the years my stories contain some of the most controversial characters (at least amongst my readers) as well beloved ones. Personally for me, I have many favorite scenes as well as characters due to the fact that I have spent quite a lot of (intimate) time crafting their individualistic marks. As a result, I always aim to inject as much “life” as possible into my fictions; thus, each and every one of my stories and characters continue to “stick around” the back of my mind as a writer – almost every single time I sit down to peruse my past works and/or continue a current piece of writing. Writing for me is similar to building upon what already exists in the body of works; so naturally, some characters remind me of others and some scenes remind me of previously written ones.
CBU (Conversations between Us): Yoon JaeWon’s final moments, hands down, are both a personal favorite moment and scene of mine (I hope this doesn’t constitute as a spoiler for readers who have yet to read the story; however, the event represents such a pivotal and vital vein of the story itself that I cannot address the big elephant in the room when I mention CBU). The entire story, from the mournful introduction to the events leading up to that one critical scene, ultimately defined the story itself. I still remember where I was sitting: what I was wearing, what I was eating, and especially what time it was. For me, finally producing an end to a story that I worked on for three years prior to releasing it publicly (by sharing it on Soomp!) was not only strikingly personal but meaningful as well. The heaviness and emotional state I was in when I wrote it felt unusually addicting – more so than any other time I devoted time and energy into writing a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a story. At that point in time I was writing through the narrator, Maybelline Lee’s perspective, yet I found myself infusing a part of my very own emotional state into hers as Yoon JaeWon fell from grace in front of her very own eyes. The entire scene was so vivid in my mind that, as strange as it may sound – it was beautifully neurotic, painful, and engaging to write. Thus, it is my single most favorite scene of CBU because the violent end marked a stunningly innocent beginning. I ended the epilogue with May’s thoughts of the numerous “could” , “would” , “if”, and “maybe” between her and Yoon JaeWon; it was bittersweet to end it on such a note, but at the time I thought it was befitting to enhance the residual effects of the story’s end.
Contrary to the popular notion that the ending of the story was meant to bring the story full circle from the introduction to the epilogue with the most heartfelt scene that is meant to evoke emotions such as sadness and pain from readers – for me personally, the ending simply defined the story in and of itself. Right from the point of its conception, CBU was meant to tell a story of how relationships can come full-circle in a “gangster’s paradise” – regardless of much one may root for the more positive outcome, Yoon JaeWon’s memorable ending was meant to remind that even in a cliché and exaggerated plot the reality is death – that of which even in the world of fiction should not be glamorized because May was as real as you and I when she watched the love of her life meet his demise.
However as much as I have lamented on Yoon JaeWon’s final scenes as my favorite in CBU, he is not my favorite character. In fact, out of all the characters in CBU I grew the most affinity for Choi SangWoo. Even May, herself, bothered me at times because the development of her personality (due to the fact that she was mentally, emotionally, and physically abused by her deranged half-sister MiSun) was unstable and at times clingy and incoherent in communicating her needs. The reasons why I favor Choi SangWoo is complex, but rational when I try to dissect the character I had given birth to. I favored Choi SangWoo because he went from being the good guy to the bad guy to the good guy and finally the bad guy over the course of CBU; the complexity of his character was daunting, alluring, and above all interesting. The desperation for love plagued his character from the beginning to end, and ultimately became SangWoo’s ruin.
He is not my favorite character because I enjoyed writing and developing the embodiment of what he ultimately represented – evil, demeaning, and a sorry excuse; he is my favorite character because he symbolizes the darkest side of humanity without any apologies or “fakeness.” He represents what some of us would be willing to do to possess what we really would want. I firmly believe that love is ugly, beautiful, giving, and selfish. Therefore, I pitied SangWoo (and I still do) that he wanted May so badly – if he couldn’t have her – no one else could. The idea that if you love someone, you would want them to be happy regardless if it if is with you or another – is way of masking the pain you feel because it is something politically correct (socially accepted) to say and do. I believe that when you love someone the desperation and pain takes over your senses, logic, and morals; in the case of SangWoo the ultimate choice he made would haunt him forever but he chose to do it. Was he right to have been so malicious and vindictive? Definitely not. Did he have a right to separate May and JaeWon because he would rather see her alone than with his rival? Mindfully yes. I believe for the most part, I felt sorry for this character of mine from beginning to end due to his learned helplessness. For SangWoo, the only person he was trying to please was himself and he made that very clear. Essentially, SangWoo is a favorite of mine because he is so controversial; I can sit for hours trying to analyze his character and not come up with one perfect, “Ah ha!” resolution.
BP (Banana Pancakes): Banana Pancakes, the story and the title, brings the biggest smile to my face because any scenes in the entire story could easily be my favorite. From beginning to end, the relationship between Lee DongMin and Kim SuVy was so ordinary (in terms of their constant bickering, more specifically their ‘dysfunctional’ communication patterns) and extraordinary (in the sense that they are childhood best friends turned lovers) that their moments are unforgettable even for me. Many readers have voiced their favorite scene of BP was Chapter Six – when SuVy was recalling yet another one of their infamous memories where DongMin was going through puberty but thought he was turning into a werewolf. That scene, indeed, is a memorable one due to the fact that it marked the turning point in their friendship when they were no longer children but now entering the next stage of life together as young adults.
Personally for me, I have two favorite scenes in BP. My first favorite scene is where SuVy was sitting at Coi park, heartbroken over a recent break-up and rambling on about it when DongMin (who was eating banana pancakes at the time) leaned over and abruptly kissed her. For those who have not/yet to eat banana pancakes, they can be as delicious as they are sticky to the lips. Therefore, the kiss was not just a quick smack on the lips for the characters but rather personal because of the taste that is exchanged. I don’t mean for the explanation to insinuate anything vulgar, but the first kiss scene between DongMin and SuVy changed the entire course of their relationship because when one can actually taste the lips (especially if it has a flavor) that kisses your own for the first time – it is quite memorable and intimate. If anything else, the kiss is very meaningful for DongMin and SuVy because these two characters practically grew up with one another; they were best friends and initially thought that nothing could have ever altered that. So this was a significant scene to the story and the characters themselves.
My second favorite scene is where DongMin and SuVy engaged in a heated argument in an elevator at the hospital (after Dongmin’s disappearance for some time and SuVy breaking her ankle). Inside the elevator, DongMin launches into a million reasons why they should just stay friends, why SuVy should stop fraternizing with Dragon, and why the confusing feelings growing inside of him plagued him. In the end however, after being friends for thirteen years, DongMin finally admits to his best friend the words that would negate the rest by wrapping his arms around her. Essentially, I found that elevator scene to be something heartwarming; I wanted to drive home the notion that DongMin denied himself an intimate/romantic relationship with SuVy because he was (like many of us who have friends and discover we may have romantic feelings for them become) afraid that it would ruin the friendship if a break-up were to ever occur. Since SuVy does not have such a strong personality like DongMin, she doesn’t ever push him to admit he has feelings for her; she allowed him the opportunity to discover that for himself. Thus, this easily became a favorite scene of mine because it spoke volumes for the plot of BP – best friends who know each other inside out and still after all this time, respect one another.
As a result, there is no surprise that DongMin and SuVy are my two favorite in characters in BP. They were so dysfunctional that I had a great time envisioning and bringing to life their arguments as well as romantic moments. Kim SuVy – the beautiful, rising Supermodel with gray eyes – and Lee DongMin – the handsome, rising star in motorcycle racing; these two sound too perfect to exist even in the world of fiction. Yet, they go through events that could easily be a story of yours or mine. To me, their characters are so relatable that it is hard to deny the attraction for them. They engage in the typical high school drama of best friends becoming romantic partners, jealousy, and battling parental/guardian oppression over their independence. They were simple as they were complex, coherent as they were incoherent.
TJOBH (The Joy Of Being Happy): Whenever I think or am reminded of TJOBH, I think of the color purple due to the fact that it is such a rare choice of color much like the storyline I chose. I have always considered TJOBH as a rare storyline right from the moment I decided to pursue and conceptualize it because of it represents. As a result, I equated TJOBH with the color purple because they had rarity in common – something that was of uncommon impressions for me. I wanted to divulge this relation in my mind as a means to state that there are no particular scenes that is my personal favorite; this is due to the fact that the entire process of writing this fiction was very cathartic for me. From beginning to end, TJOBH was strictly a therapeutic piece for me to write. All the characters and the scenes were not only meaningful, but they all allowed me to vent/divulge/ and “throw up” some of the mental baggage that no other plot (at the time I was writing) was allowing me to be as raw and deranged as I wanted like TJOBH did. Every start of a scene to when it ended allowed my mind a moment to “breathe” so I cannot pinpoint any specific a favorite one. I stated it before in its Soomp! thread, but TJOBH is my personal favorite story all around. From the characters to the plot itself, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect more so than any other story that I dwelled on.
With TJOBH, it was my first time using a plethora of gasoos for my stories and in the beginning it was my goal to because I wanted a mature setting and mature projections on existing characters mixed with some of my novel characters. Jeong JiHyun, Song Seunghyun (Big Bang), Lee Hyori, Byul (a.k.a. Bunny), Yoon Eunhye, Ivy, Teddy, and Taebin – such an eclectic set of characters that I brought together for an emotionally and mentally intense plot. I chose the gasoos not because I possess a certain affinity for the YG family (Choi SeungHyun, Teddy, and Taebin – although I do); I felt unfamiliar with these gasoo’s in reality; therefore, it was easier for me to project and inject any personality/characteristic traits I wanted to befit my plot. They are all very individualistic and different in multiple ways, so they were perfect for me to infuse into my plot.
Some of the readers who have read TJOBH consider Jeong Jihyun to be the most controversial; some say that they know girls like her in reality while others stated they were repulsed by her nature but continued to read TJOBH because of the compelling storyline. My personal reason for JiHyun being a favorite character of mine is she is full of perfect flaws; she represents many of the things that we all are at certain points in our lives and reminds us that imperfections may ultimately drive us to the end. Albeit the fact that she is a gasoo in real life, I chose her character because her “look” complimented the character I was drawing up; I viewed it as casting gasoo’s into the characters I created – much like a casting director of a movie. Jeong JiHyun, the character, was deeply suffering, miserable, and depressed; JiHyun’s actions and both (inner and spoken) dialogue expressed the unfathomable mind state as she tries her best to pick the broken pieces of her life. It is never an entertaining time to watch someone so “broken” that they are self-destructive; these types of characters (whether it is directly or indirectly) tend to drive people away although the last thing they need is to be alone. Like Choi SangWoo, Jeong JiHyun in TJOBH is controversial as well. I think we could all try to analyze JiHyun but still lack a coherent sense of who she really was and what ultimately drove her to her ending. Of all my characters, I believe JiHyun was the one in the most pain (a tortured soul and person really) and I couldn’t help but develop a strong inclination toward her from beginning to end.
TAS (The Ardor Series): TAS was a straight forward story for me to write since my whole purpose was to create a story regarding love and revenge. I didn’t want to dilly dally, build up a plot, and then have scenes to carry out the storyline. My goal was to stick with a plot like glue and then have the scenes move along it. Not many readers, or people in general, know this but I wrote TAS with a very deep (as in a dark) mindset. There was no trace of happiness from the beginning to end in the story; the introduction scene describing a suicide taking place was jarringly raw and intimate; I remember I wanted a scene that would convey the exact depth of misery, so I wrote from the perspective of the body going through the process. I do not condone suicidal thoughts, tendencies, or actions; however, the scene was so vivid in my mind for TAS (because it was so rational for plot) that I couldn’t omit it as the introduction of the story. I believe the entire scene set off the tone of the story; I didn’t want to glamorize or glorify the act of suicide but for some reason it came across as though it was this haunting/daunting scene when what it really represents is the end of a very miserable life.
Next to this scene, another impressionable scene in TAS (that still sticks to my mind to this very day) happens when the lead male character Choi SiWan had to bury the love of his life. Under their given circumstances – the world that they lived in – this scene was significantly tender. I wrote it as succinct as possible without dwelling on any other except for emotional and mental pain. Imagine the person that you love, sincerely, being dead and you are the one that has to bury them. Will you have the strength to pick up the shovel to gather up all the dirt and one-by-one bury their coffin? Would you be crying the entire time or is your mind so convoluted at that point you can’t even manage a single tear? My own tear ducts were tugged during that fateful moment when SiWan (and I) had to bury the love of his life under the dirt, under the sun, under what could have been for the two of them.
LB (Loved Bugged): I am still in the process of posting this story of mine on Soomp! therefore there is actually very little I can discuss about it. My favorite scenes in the story have yet to be posted; therefore, I will have to refrain from divulging them for the time being. However, I will state that my favorite characters in LB are all the main characters – Kenita TamHee, (Kimauro Seijun) Boe, and Kyung K. Ven for completely different reasons. For the first time, out of all these stories I have written, the three main characters turn out to be my favorites – this goes without saying, for me at least.
— Major thanks to Sol for making this interview possible (: It’s been long in the making ^^
— Part II can be read here.
— Part III can be read here.