INTERVIEW: KPOPCHILD, PT. III

Here are some Q&As between readers & kpopchild:

Linh: Hi. I’ve been reading your fics for a long time. I wanted to know if you’re thinking of writing anything after Wolf & Sheep.  

Hi Linh. ^^ Yes, I’ve been working on Wolf & Sheep for 7/8 years now (I can’t remember -__-) I honestly didn’t think nor expect it to take this long, but it’s either persevere with the story or give up, and I don’t like the latter option as much. To answer your question though, yes, I do plan on writing still after Wolf & Sheep.

I hope Aziraphale and I can finish our joint fic Masterpiece which has been on hiatus for a while now due to both our hectic schedules and our own fics. I won’t guarantee another fic from me (at least not the size of Wolf & Sheep), but as long as Min Woo is still on the scene, I’m pretty sure I’ll hang around.

J K: While writing, any habits to keep you focused and/or inspired? 

JK! Hello! ^^ Hmm, habits to keep me focused on writing? Avoiding ‘real’ work helps! LOL You guys know exactly what I’m talking about. Procrastinating to do other things by working on your fanfics is a terrible habit and I don’t recommend it at all.

A better habit is listening to movie soundtracks (film scores), oh yes. Anything by the popular guys like Craig Armstrong, Clint Mansell, Tyler Bates, Hans Zimmerman, James Newton Howard, and Howard Shore will do. Soundtracks, of course, can greatly influence the feel/mood/emotion of a character/plot/chapter, though I tend to change my mind later on about the mood or feel of a chapter, so I go back and forth and drive my editors nuts. Nevertheless, epic music is essential for epic inspiration.

Lastly, what helps me focus on the story is talking about it openly with my editors for consistency and good ideas. One of my editors, who is a close friend, lives in the same city as me, so when we get together, I will often talk about Wolf & Sheep with her (whether we’re shopping, eating out, going to the movies, etc.). I’m thankful that she tolerates me because many normal people will just grab me by the shoulders and shake me while screaming, “They’re not real, you had too much coffee, it’s all in your head, OMG STFU ALREADYYYYY!”

J K: Hardest character you’ve ever written/had a love-hate relationship with?

Hardest character I’ve ever written? I would like to say every single one of them, but for sake of not rambling on and on, I will say Tyce, who is the lead female character from my most current fic Wolf & Sheep. I don’t seem to have any other stories because I’m always talking about Wolf & Sheep, but seriously, I can’t remember much from my older fanfics. It’s like being married to a person for the past 7/8 years and you can’t remember your ex’s face. LOL

I chose Tyce because over the 7/8 year span of writing Wolf & Sheep, her character has changed quite a bit. It was difficult keeping her character consistent due to the long amount of time it took to get from the very first chapter to where I am now. Also, a writer can change/grow a lot in 7/8 years, so everything from the way I write to the way I think and how I perceive the world are very different now compared to 7/8 years ago.

Readers may not notice the character change as much (they may just assume it’s because of the certain events that causes a character to change, such as growing up, trauma, being jaded, loss of innocence, etc.), but one of my editor points out to me all the time that I’ve “got to bring Tyce back” and I’m just sitting here wondering where the hell did she go? I think I would have had better luck keeping her consistent had I finished Wolf & Sheep in 2 years compared to the 7/8 years and continuing. I also wish she had more depth to her, but that means going back to re-write most of the entire story. Maybe if I were to ever publish this story someday, I will consider it, but for now, I think I can afford to be a little less anal.

J K: A gasoo/actor(?) that unexpectedly inspired you to write. 

I honestly do not have a proper answer for this question (not if the key word is unexpectedly), but the closest actor/celebrity (aside from Min Woo) who inspired me in some way is Jo Seung-woo. He was so damn sexy in the movie Tazza, and he looks like Min Woo. =P

kpopchild: The “blue print” of Tyce’s house is… a blue print to help me write a better description and to remember which room is where, etc. I do several of these sketches for my story settings, everything from room/placements to the type of cars each character drives.

Patra86: You have a writing blog on livejournal to share your thoughts about the characters and the plot and your plans for the story, is it to connect with your readers aka do you expect them to react to your thoughts ? Or is it purely to help you with your writing… Or maybe you keep this journal for another reason?

If Wolf & Sheep was a DVD, the Animate Wolf blog can be considered as part of the bonus features. I started the writing blog as a way to share my writing issues/struggles with readers and other writers, or just anyone who is bored enough to tolerate reading my blog posts.

Although the blog is pretty much wrapped up in Wolf & Sheep, I do have an entry here and there that is plainly about writing problems; often, I would refer to Wolf & Sheep for examples, but the main purpose of the blog is to share my general thoughts and experiences as a fanfic writer while doting on the more ardent Wolf & Sheep readers with extra tidbits/discussions/surveys/previews whenever I can.

I don’t expect my readers to follow the blog, nor do I expect reactions to any of the things I post. I don’t think any of the entries on my blog are interesting (maybe amusing, yes, but not interesting), and I don’t blog often enough to make a big deal out of it.

Patra86: This fic has been running for a long time, do you think it influenced your life in the same way your life and you growing up have affected the way you see your story?

‘Growing up’ has changed the way I write (for the better), but it has not changed the way I see my story [Wolf & Sheep]. Thanks to maturity and my better-than-an-English-teacher editors, I try to write with logic nowadays (at least for the world of Wolf & Sheep). I try to pay attention to details and I try to research things like weapons, medical tech/terms, certain locations, etc, while at the same time keeping in mind my character, Tyce, because the story is told from her limited point of view; she doesn’t know everything, therefore, neither do the readers. I’m not always accurate or certain about the things I write, or even the level of believability, but of course, I’m not writing a college text book, so there’s room for creativity and imagination.

[fancracked’s side note: Thanks to the readers who sent in questions! The rest of the questions are from kpopchild and my interview. This is the final part for anyone who’s been keeping tally ^^]

What’s been inspiring you as of late? 

I don’t watch Korean dramas consistently, but they often provide tidbits of inspiration from time to time when everything else fails.

Anyone who’s ever seen a Korean drama knows just how different they are from regular movies, everything from the pace to the twists and chaos. They are the ultimate chick-flick in disguise, and I’m not a chick-flick person, but I will tolerate Korean dramas, although I tend not to finish watching them (and if I do, it’s because I’ve skipped episodes 8 through 14).

Just have to ask from a fangirl perspective — Has Shinhwa’s comeback given you any new ideas/inspiration for Wolf & Sheep or newer ideas? ^^

All the guys in Shinhwa are looking really good nowadays. Yes, their comeback has helped to kick my butt into gear as far as writing/updating is concerned. I took so long with the current Wolf & Sheep story (which is part three of the trilogy) because 1.) Min Woo and I were on slightly bad terms around the time just before he went into the military and 2.) he [often my muse] was gone for two years.

I’m not blaming him for the lack of motivation/creativity, but I just fell out of the fangirl loop so bad that it was difficult to dive back into writing. I like writing fiction in general, but I started writing fanfics in the first place as a way to express my Min Woo obsession, and thus, I didn’t want to write a ‘fanfic’ without the ‘fan’ part, so that little personal conflict pretty much rendered me a lazy writer for a while.

Nowadays, I’m not as lazy as I am a busy. Thank goodness Shinhwa is back (they’ve been nothing but awesome), and yes, Min Woo and I are back on good terms again. As for newer ideas/inspiration, they come and go, but I’ve learned to focus on one story at a time so as to improve the quality of my writing and to avoid confusing myself.

graphics cred to kpopchild for sharing. thanks ^^ – fancracked

If you could adapt any of your fics into a movie/drama, what would it be and why? 

I always entertain the idea of Wolf & Sheep being turned into a movie (but I only mention it to my editors because they can tolerate my la-la-ness). I say movie instead of drama because even though the story is a tad complicated to be crushed into a two-hour movie, Korean dramas are a bit too conservative (not graphic enough).

Of course, if making Wolf & Sheep into a drama was a big possibility then I’d cast Shinhwa, FlytotheSky, and 1TYM; it’d be a disastrous drama because more than half of them cannot act for their lives. LOL I don’t know if there will be a producer crazy enough to finance the project.

As a mini aside, I always find it fascinating to compare and contrast what writers/creators like vs. what their readers/fans like from their personal work. I’m wondering what some of your favorite lines/scenes/passages that you’ve written are ^^ 

A few of my ‘favorite’ scenes/excerpts from Wolf & Sheep (nothing special, haha):

Wolf & Sheep I, Chapter 25

He just stared at me with that pleasant face and didn’t say a word. The look was adequately telling me he wasn’t going to let me sleep on the couch. The minutes would pass us by and we would still be staring at each other if we didn’t come to an agreement. Compromise, Tyce. Compromise.

I sighed. “If you don’t touch me, I’ll share the bed with you.” I wasn’t too happy about it, but I trusted him enough.

He blinked at me once more, not sure if I was kidding or not. The color of his eyes slowly turned back to normal, no longer bloodshot. He seemed more awake now. Taking a step back, he looked at me as if I had just said something I shouldn’t have. He was thinking something naughty, I could tell. God, I hoped I was wrong.

Wolf & Sheep I, Chapter 43

“Come any closer and I’ll serve your mother’s head on a silver platter for you.” I pressed the blade into the skin and drew some blood to illustrate my point. She made a small whimper of pain.

“I thought we checked you for weapons,” Mike said calmly.

“Your boys didn’t get very far.”

He narrowed his eyes at me, and as if a dark cloud suddenly came over him, he looked like he wanted to swallow me up, satisfied that his mother’s life was in danger and pleased that I had the guts to do it. Both were disturbing to me. The other two men were waiting on his command, itching to go for their guns while Jong Min just kept trying to blend in with the walls.

“Why dig your own grave?” he said. “You have no way out.”

“I haven’t died trying.” I squeezed my arm around Jin Hee’s neck and she just about chocked, scratching at my arm in a near state of panic.

Mike finally noticed his mother after a long moment. “Let her go and we’ll talk.”

“I don’t want to talk.”

“You want to get even?”

“You killed Min Woo.”

He smiled; he knew what I meant and just how serious I was. I would kill his mother and not flinch.

Wolf & Sheep II, Chapter 11

“Happy Birthday, Han Min Gyu,” Jin said rather insipidly after I’d began cutting the cake. He pulled out from underneath the table a bottle of wine and placed it on his knee before uncorking it with his functional hand. “You drink wine, don’t you?”

            Brian’s smile did not falter as he answered, “Sometimes, when necessary.”

            “And when is it necessary?”

            I thought it was strange and unusual for Jin to be asking such questions on a whim, but it could be a change for the better. I didn’t dare butt in until curiosity got the better of me and I asked, “How much did you drink before coming here, Jin?”

            Intense, poignant misery seemed to shoot down his neck as he thought about it. “Five? Six? No. Eight. I don’t remember. I’m not drunk, sweetheart.”

            “I’m not your sweetheart.”

            He scoffed. “Neither are you his.”

Wolf & Sheep II, Chapter 33

Jin cut a sharp corner with the brakes screeching and burning rubber, then sped off again down another street to avoid a stream of black cars coming from the opposite direction. Great. We had cars, motorcycles, and the police chasing us now.

            “I picked the best looking piece of crap in the lot and it’s going to be outrun by a motorcycle,” Jin said as he pulled out his gun again. A motorcycle was coming by my side and catching up quickly. I lowered my head out of the way as Jin shot through the window. The car swerved from the wet road, and he had to get both hands back on the wheel to control it. The motorcycle was gone now, but two more were approaching fast.

            “Do you have another gun?” I asked.

            “No.”

“Let me shoot.” I held out my hand to him, and without arguing, he gave it to me.

“Don’t drop it.” 

I’d never used a Magnum before. Most guns had a black handle and silver barrel, but Jin’s guns were all silver because they were either custom made or gifts from Andy. The gun was heavy and a bit big for my hand, but the solid weight helped steady my aim. I just hoped the recoil wouldn’t be too shocking, otherwise I’d lose seconds in shooting and that could be a matter of life or death.

The window was broken now with small shards of glass everywhere. The second motorcycle came up on my side again. The driver had a gun already aimed, but I beat him to it and fired first. I missed and hit his tire instead. Within an instant, the motorcycle had flipped and crashed onto a concrete threshold on the side of the road. 

“You did that on purpose,” Jin said.

“Do what?”

“Missed.” He swiftly switched lanes and I could tell he was getting irritated.

“The guy still flew twenty feet! I don’t think blowing his brain out is necessary.”

Wolf & Sheep II, Chapter 34

By the time I’d made it upstairs to see where Jin had gone, I found him kneeling beside a large tub, the sleeves of his shirt rolled up with his hand halfway into the water. I leaned against the doorframe and folded my hands together. “You’re not cleaning weapons, are you?”

He smiled softly. “A bath for you.”

A bath sounded good. I walked into the bathroom and looked around. There was a sink in one corner with an oval-shaped mirror. On the opposite side was a little blue shelf that had towels and soap. The white curtains were closed over a large window that nearly took up an entire wall. A thinner towel was draped over a chair that sat at the foot of the tub.

Jin turned the water off, got up, and dried his hands with the towel. “It’s ready.”

I nodded, but didn’t say anything. I waited until the silence grew between us, hoping he’d get the clue that I needed to bathe in privacy.

“Are you still shy around me?” he finally asked, sitting himself down on the chair by the end of the tub as he knew more than I did that I was reluctant to undress and bathe with him in the same room. He stared at me with a glint of humor peeking through his brown eyes. “I’ve already seen you naked so get over your dignity and into the tub.” 

“You’ve seen me naked, but you’ve never seen me bathe. I think it’s different, Jin.”

He crossed his arms, chin raised in defiance. “What if I want to watch you bathe?” 

“What if I say no?”

“Then the water will get cold and this is the only hot water that you’re going to have for the rest of the night. I had to boil water, you know. It wouldn’t be fair not to reward me.”

I leaned over him and placed a kiss on cheek. “This would hardly be a reward. But you can stay and talk to me. You just can’t watch.”

Truthfully, I didn’t mind, but I wasn’t about to just strip down and give him a show. I reached down to the little blue shelf beside me and found a set of very thin washcloths neatly folded in one corner. I took one and stretched it out before folding it over itself to make a blindfold.

“Where’d you learn to be so cruel?” he asked with a look of dismay. Or maybe he was hoping I’d change my mind. Either way, he didn’t protest when I tied the cloth around his head, covering his eyes.

“It’s a girl thing. Don’t take it personally.”

When I was sure he couldn’t see anything, I took off my clothes and slipped into the tub. After a minute or two of looking at him suspiciously, I let myself sink in and relaxed. The water was a little hot, but strangely perfect. Jin leaned forward and traced the edge of the tub with his index finger, a delicious smile playing on his face.

“Do you know what my strongest sense is?” he asked, his hand gliding across the surface of the water gently.

“Sight?”

He dipped his hand into the water and touched my ankle. Carefully, he scooped up the heel of my foot into his hand and lifted it out of the water to rest on the edge of the tub.

“My other senses are finely tuned when sight is neglected.”

“Well,” I shifted a little, trying to settle down into the tub. “Should I tie your hands up, too?”  

Omo… that last part made me want to go back and reread the fic! But continuing on, who are/were some of your most beloved writing/creative “heroes” you’ve followed through time? ^^

I admire a lot of different authors, but the short and sweet version: I love Laurell K. Hamilton, who is a kickass author beyond words, and my good friends (from Soompi) saharial and Aziraphale, who are hands down amazing [fanfic] writers.

Ah~ before wrap up, I’m wondering if there’s anything that we haven’t discussed that you’d like to talk about in more detail? ^^

I can’t think of anything else. If anything, I think I talked too much! LOL

Thanks so much for sharing your time with us ^^ <3 I’m wondering if you could share some insight & final thoughts before we end.

Dear fanfic writers, there are no right or wrong ways to write fanfics; we’ll all eventually learn the ropes and find our own comfort zones. It’s okay to recycle popular clichés. It’s okay to write 39292929382282 fanfics about the same celebrity, and it’s okay if he’s rich and sexy and stunning in all of them. It’s okay if all your readers disagree with you. It’s okay if you only have one reader. It’s okay if all your fanfic writing friends stop writing fanfics and you’re the last nutcase still around. It’s okay if you end up battling a year-long writers block. It’s okay to go through five rough drafts before settling on your final revision. It’s okay to accept defeat and it’s okay to be humble when presented with good opportunities. It’s okay to daydream (be hardcore about it). It’s okay to refer to our characters as real people (because our imaginations are extraordinary and should be admired as such). It’s okay to handwrite your fanfic. It’s okay to kill off everyone at the end of the story. It’s okay to turn 25, 30, or even 40 years old and still identify yourself as a “fanfic writer”. Do whatever the hell makes you happy.

As to the rest of the wonderful people that ‘kpopchild’ has met along the way, thank you for the good times and memories. Cheers.

– kpopchild/Mai

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