fancracked: Talking about “mature writing” and seeing your earlier reply about kpopchild reminds me of how writers like her have been able to really showcase a lot of sides of their perspectives on life and their growth/development as writers through time. It’s always refreshing to see writers come back with a new story, a new style, and/or a new way of thinking… in a way, it helps stretch my own understanding of life ^^
vifz: I think the power of all literary work is that they allow us to see the world on a wider perspective. Fanfics or fics in general are particularly interesting, because a lot of them end up resonating one way or another with the original artists’ life or experience. When I read fan fiction back then, what I enjoyed most was that I felt like I was living someone else’s life when I read them. It was a good escape from my own life and reality. And that has to do with the magic of being able to relate. Because the writers that I read were around my own age group or slightly older, their stories really hit home. And like you said, it does stretch your perspective on life, because their perspectives may differ from yours and you will be like, “OH! I never thought of it that way”.
fancracked: On the topic of new and old fics, have you ever revisited a fic (whether in thought or through actual reading) and saw it in a new light or gained a new insight about yourself or about the fic/the fic’s writer? ^^
vifz: Hmm… it’s a shame that some of my favourite fanfics are now nowhere to be found (they disappeared along with Shinhwa Sarang’s crash). I haven’t really been able to revisit other people’s fics, but certainly, when I thought back to some of the stories I read or enjoyed, there were a few times where I went, “REALLY!?” I don’t know if this answers your question, but when I revisit some of my own stories, oftentimes, I end up wondering why I didn’t continue it, or why I decided to write it this way and not another way. Insight wise, because writing to me is a very personal thing, I definitely can notice my own path in the stories I have written. I could pick out the ones that were written during the darker moments of my life, and the ones that were written on happier days. And then, when I think about that, I would laugh and shake my head.
fancracked: Let’s talk a bit about your own fics now! :D
vifz: I think I started off writing the typical fanfic, you know, with the stereotypical plot and such. I can’t remember what inspired me to write my first fic, but I am thankful I decided to write. Over the years, I’ve tried about every genre out there, but I seem to fare the best with angst. In my folder, a majority of my stories can be found in the “Drama” sub-folder. Even in fluffy stories, my friend would always pick up a bit of angst in my writing (lol). I think of all my fics, people from the older days may remember The Condom Shop the most, because of its “racy” topic and the comic relief. I really liked that fic myself, it’s sort of like stories within a story, which is something I really enjoy writing. I really hope that one day I can go back and finish it off, but it hasn’t happened yet.
I have attempted, like I mentioned above, writing lemon. Lemon is really the guilty pleasure. But to me, writing lemon was also the biggest challenge. To use eloquent and tasteful words to describe certain mature scenarios is very difficult. Instead of saying “he stuck his xxxx into her xxxxx”, I like to find a more figurative way of presenting the concept. I would probably say the time when I wrote lemon, was also my “golden” writing moments. That would be back in 2004-2006. I have also attempted hinted yaoi, but they are more on the friendship and less so on the love. I have a lot of respect for those who can write a perfectly beautiful but discreet yaoi.
I also really enjoy writing “out of the world” type stories, like A Star’s Key. That is still one of my favourite completed works. Currently, I’ve been writing more “one shots” and “drabble” like stories. They are usually background-based stories of various groups like Shinhwa, 2pm and 2am, and I expand from them. For example, after watching Idol Army, I was inspired to write about what the 2pm members would do with each of their gifts.
I am currently working on a longer story that is based on the members of One Day. It is similar to The Condom Shop in that the setting is inside a café, and the customers one way or another would share their stories with the owners of the café. It focuses more on reality and life more so than romance, but because I am hopelessly romantic, I did throw in one to two love lines in there just for kicks. And yes, Eric and Hyesung are definitely in the story as well. I cannot exclude my favourites from this. :)
fancracked: What sorts of things have you learned during the writing process/during your time with fics?
vifz: Writing is my biggest stress relief. I find myself writing more when I’m in school than when I am out of school. In my time with fics, both as a writer and a reader, I learn that everyone will always have a couple of those “very embarrassing fanfics that should be forever trashed”. But that is not to say we should be shameful, much like how we should never be embarrassed by our past. (I am veryyyy embarrassed by my first few stories, and have not come to terms with them, yet.)
Writing is a long process, and it really helps to develop an array of skills and talents. Through writing, I improved my grammar and writing style a lot. As well, it enabled my imagination to run wild. This is particularly important to me. As I step into the “real world”, since I am ancient, being imaginative is almost forbidden in everyday life. So writing is a way to step away from reality and to just be immersed in the moment. Writing is also a way to communicate my thoughts. I love how I can transfer my feelings, thoughts, etc. into my characters, develop their interactions, and create a plot.
fancracked: A Star’s Key has a really interesting premise/situation (the “supernatural” element). Can you tell us how you conceived the plot/initial idea and characters? ^^
vifz: Oh man… this has a very funny story behind it. My friend had asked me to translate one of BoA’s Japanese songs’ titles, and I believe it was supposed to be “Kokoro No Tegami” which is “Letter from My Heart”? I don’t know what happened that day but I somehow said, “A Star’s Key”! And then… it was pretty embarrassing when he corrected me, but to make the long story short, the story was written based on the wrongly translated title. I thought that the title was too pretty to be unused, so that’s when I decided I would go ahead and try to write a fic off a title I have so randomly created.
And the supernatural element sort of fitted perfectly with the title. I always wondered about Guardian Angels and what not, so I created my own version of one, I suppose? Because I’m not the type to start with an outline, I sort of just went with the flow, let my fingers type whatever that came to my mind. A lot of the images in the fic, especially the dreams, have been inspired by “My Little Princess” MV… please don’t ask me why and how. I really liked that MV back then! If I remember correctly, I also thought of the Chinese movie, “Star Wish星願” which had been one of my favourite Chinese movies when I was still an adolescent… so I guess, it was a combination of little things here and there that gave me the plot of A Star’s Key.
fancracked: In A Star’s Key, “Jung Pilgyo” and Hyesung are sort of indirect “doppelgangers.” This isn’t so much a question as a comment — I found it a really delicious and unique “twist”! It’s one of the few Shinhwa fics I’ve read where it features an indirect doppelganger (either as Jung Pilgyo/Shin Hyesung, Park Choongjae/Junjin… I guess we could even include Andy and Eric’s Korean names in this as well ^^;;) What inspired you/how did you go about figuring out that you’d feature both Pilgyo and Hyesung?
vifz: I always had a bias towards Hyesung and Eric. And for some reason, it is easier for me to write about Hyesung than Eric (most of the time). And when I was weighing out my options for the plot, I felt that Hyesung was a better fit for a role where there is a constant inner battle. With him being named PilKyo (haha) and Hyesung at the same time helped create these two characters who really is just one person? I think it could’ve easily been sort of another character borrowing his body, but it felt more appropriate to use Shin Hyesung and Jung Pilkyo. If you think about it, Hyesung and Pilkyo are still really one person, even though they were separate, sort of like a check and balance kind of thing, I suppose.
fancracked: You made a lot of philosophical, observational comments in your narration (Pilgyo’s narration), especially about human nature. I found it interesting and also profound ^^;;; It was definitely an “extra” that made the fic that much more enjoyable to read (: ~~~
vifz: I think I’ve mentioned it before, I focus more on character than plot a lot of times, and that certainly makes the story more “philosophical”. When I wrote A Star’s Key, I was in one of my dullest times, so the observations probably resulted from my own personal angst. I am glad you found it enjoyable rather than dull. I think sometimes we read certain types of fics for certain reasons. I hope that when people read my fics, they can not only enjoy the plot, but also the story behind it.
fancracked: Since you’ve covered/experimented with a lot of different genres and styles over the years, could you tell us a bit about how it was to transition from one genre and style to the next?
vifz: Transitioning from one genre to another is an interesting progress. It is something I suggest newer writers to try if they haven’t done so already. Besides the corny saying about stepping outside of your comfort zone, trying different genres also improves your writing. I also learn more about myself while writing different types of dramas. I think the hardest to write is still comedy. Many relate comedy to newbie-ish fic, because it’s often lighthearted and not too plot heavy. But as a writer, if you can put your heart into it, it can be felt. I really hope that one day, I can write a comedy that people can admire. But somehow, I always end up putting in some angst in a comedy. As my friend would say, I can’t seem to keep things fluffy.
A lot of times, because I write multiple stories at a time, it becomes confusing. I tend to write stories based on my own mood at the time. If I am happy, my stories tend to be brighter, and when I’m stressed and such, angst tends to be the way to go. And till now, I still flip back and forth, I would write about 2pm and how they happily shared their gifts from the idol army show, and the next thing you know I was writing about how Junsu liked his fan back home but she died before he could see her (okay it was more than that, but yes). This does make things frustrating though, because if I don’t finish a story before my “mood” changes, it will most likely be left untouched for a long long time.
And even though I would say what angst is my forte, I miss my old angst style. I seriously do. I can still write angst, but it’s not the same. Perhaps, I have become more subdued over the years, so it becomes more challenging to spike up the emotions in a story. I also think that as I’ve aged, I have lost a lot of my creativity. I tried writing stories with “out of the world” elements but it doesn’t work well anymore. It really saddens me… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up!
fancracked: You touched on this a bit in your previous answer, but what are the pros and cons to writing multiple fics at a time?
vifz: I used to write multiple fics at the same time, but now I tend to stick with one before I move on to another. I think the pros of writing multiple fics at a time is that you won’t get bored from writing that same old story, and you won’t forget the many interesting ideas that happen to come across you. The con of writing multiple fics at the same time is that your attention gets spread out, and oftentimes, you end up neglecting the ones that you lose interest in. I think that’s how I ended up with so many unfinished fics, it’s because I simply lost interest.
PT. I can be found here.
The last and final part will be posted shortly ^^