Contact information: PM me on Soompi/Writer’s Asylum
Online aliases: angelfightrJ
Forums most frequented: I don’t go on forums much nowadays, but the ones that I’m on the most are Soompi and Writer’s Asylum. I used to be on other forums too like Ficaholics and several YG forums, but they’re either no longer around or I’m no longer active on them.
Completed fics: Home Run, Summer Magic, Smile
Current fics: Hide and Seek, The Last Crane, Unhappy Wedding Guests (latter two are short stories and may not be finished)
Additional information: Hardcore YG fan and college student who collects letters and ticket stubs, wants to travel around the world, and dreams of being happy and successful one day. Loves reading, writing, music, films, languages, tea, daydreaming, and looking at travel photography.
Hello Jane!! Great to finally get to do this interview with you (: ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself? (:
Hi, Phimmy! First off, thanks so much for giving me this opportunity. I was super excited and happy when you asked me for an interview. ^^ As for talking about myself, I’m not sure what to say here because I’m really bad at explaining who I am and what I’m like. I’m a bit of a paradox, I guess…I don’t really make sense because a lot of things about me and my likes and dislikes conflict with other sides I have to myself. :/ Sorry, I’m so bad at questions that ask me what I’m like haha T_T…I never know what to say. I guess the best way to know more about me is to talk to me! Oh and also, I tend to ramble/talk a lot which is why some people call me “the essay composer.” :x I guess you can take it as a warning for how this interview will go.
You’ve always been a familiar face in the fic/kpop world ^^ How’d you get introduced to kpop/fics?
Well, I’m of Korean descent so I grew up listening to Korean music. It was always on the TV and radio at home. My earliest kpop memories are of artists like H.O.T. and S.E.S. performing on TV…and my first celebrity crushes were on Tony and Kangta! I was probably about four years old then, but I’m still very fond of them. It kind of makes me sad when kids go all “Who’s that old guy next to *insert idol name here*??” nowadays. They’re not old (and neither am I T.T~~~)!
In terms of fics, I started reading them in middle school. I was on FF.net for a while, but moved on to kpop fics when I stumbled across a forum and ventured into the fic section one day. Now that I look back, the first ones I read weren’t that good, but I thought they were so cool at the time. I was so addicted to them and they always made my day better. It opened up this whole world for me…and I became friends with a lot of the authors on that forum! I think that’s part of the reason why I was inspired to try my hand at writing. It looked fun and I started getting all these ideas in my head that I wanted to write down. My first attempt at a fic was horrible though haha. I never finished it and I deleted it off the Internet. I remember having G-Dragon, BoA, Baekkyoung, and Bi/Rain in there though! XD
Eventually, I moved to Soompi 2 or 3 years later. It was a bit nerve wracking to put up a fic at first because I was so in awe of all these talented writers with much more experience, but I did it and here I am, about 8 or 9 years later. Wow, that’s so weird to say…I never realized it’s been so long! I just counted the years right now and I can’t believe it’s been almost a decade since I’ve started. Weird how time flies by so fast. It’s probably because I’m getting old haha.
We’ve talked about this before lol but I’ve always thought of you as a YG’er. ^^;; I believe you started out with 1tym, right?
Oh goodness…you’ve gotten onto the topic of YG/1TYM. I’m going to try to stop myself from writing a ten page essay, but I don’t know how successful my attempt will be. :P Anyway, yes, I guess you can say I started off with 1TYM. As much as I loved all the artists I listened to while growing up, I never became conscious of fandom until 1TYM came along; they’re the reason why I started to go on forums in the first place! Before them, I never realized there were all these huge communities online. So yeah…I got into them in 2003 when my friend made me listen to “Hot Ddeuguh” while we were on a field trip. For some reason, I thought she said it was by Fly to the Sky so I was really confused. I was all, “What??? Wait, when did FTTS make music like this? This doesn’t sound like them!” but my friend cleared it up. I thought it was amazing though! I never heard anything like it so when I got home, I looked up everything that had to do with 1TYM and the rest is history.
They’ve been my number one group all these years and they’ve had a huge impact on my life. It’s really corny to say, but it’s true. Whenever I felt down, they always made me feel better and stay strong. ^^ I’m still as in love with them now as I was back then and I’ve learned a lot of lessons by being a 1TYMer hehe (patience, for one thing). I’ve been waiting for a comeback for close to 7 years now and even though a lot of people gave up, I still have hope that they’ll come back one day. When they do, I’m going to be a huge mess. I’ll just be all “MY OPPAS ARE BACK! KADSLFASDFDSA *INCOHERENT BABBLING AND SOBBING*” Haha…they’ll always be my oppas. Not sure how to explain what I mean here, but I guess it’s like this: everyone has their “oppas” growing up…you know, THE oppas (or oppa) that rise above the rest. For some of my friends, it’s Shinhwa. For others, it’s DBSK, g.o.d., Sechs Kies, etc. Mine’s 1TYM.
In terms of being a YG fan though, the answer’s complicated. I’ll say the simple thing first. I’m a fan of every artist that’s been under YG with the exception of Keepsix only because I never managed to find their music anywhere. It’s a little complicated when it comes to when I first started liking YG. The easy way out is to say that it started when I liked 1TYM because I was also listening to “Fly Gentlemen” a lot around that time too. I really liked that song, but I didn’t bother finding out who it was by until a little while after I started liking 1TYM. This is also when I started to like GD hehe ^^’’…in a way, I grew up watching Jiyong and Youngbae grow up which is partially why I feel like a proud mom rather than a fan when it comes to them lol.
But anyway, back to the point. I would say that that’s when I started liking YG, but then I came across Jinusean’s “Malhaejo” shortly after becoming a YG fan and I was surprised because I knew the lyrics and I remembered it from my childhood. That song came out when I was five! Oh and I used to avidly watch this show called Bbo Bbo Bbo when I was little and Jiyong was on that haha which might explain why I was so frustrated years later when I looked at his baby/toddler pictures and thought he looked so familiar LOL. I tend to remember very random, useless things which not very helpful for school T^T. Imagine I thought he was cute when I was 3 or 4 though? So crazy…it sounds like a fic or something lol. Anyway yeah I really don’t know how to answer this one @_@! I’ll just sum it up like this: I’ve been a hardcore YG fan for about 9 years now, but I guess YG has always played a part in my life whether or not I knew about it at the time.
Also, I’d just like to say that I find it funny that I never really wrote about 1TYM even though I love them so much. My fics are all about Big Bang! I don’t know why…but I do know that this answer’s getting ridiculously long so I’ll stop it here. XD I lovelovelove writing about Big Bang though…and Jiyong’s my muse hehe. Okay okay, I’ll shut up now.
You’ve taken down a lot of your fics for editing. What prompted you to do so?
I got writer’s block a few years back and I couldn’t get around it for a while. I had to take a break from writing fics in general, not just that one fic (which was “Raining Sun” if anyone’s wondering), and when I came back, I realized a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was very dissatisfied with my work. I think most writers go through that stage where they reflect upon their writing and realize that they’re not satisfied and that’s what happened to me. It wasn’t very surprising that it did. I started writing RS in 9th grade after all. I had to start over again in 10th or 11th grade because I didn’t save it on my computer (very very stupid! For those of you reading, ALWAYS save your work) and the forum I posted it on shut down, but still, I started when I was young and my writing has changed over time. I matured as both a writer and a person so a lot of the things I wrote became things I got very embarrassed about. To be honest, I was really mortified that they were on the Internet for everyone to see so I took everything down.
The only fics I left up are The Last Crane, and Unhappy Wedding Guests. Hopefully those will stay up haha…oh and I also have that little drabble I wrote for the Soompi ficathon over the summer. I was really happy that it was nominated for FOTY by the way! It kind of shocked me to be honest…and made me very happy and touched. I never thought I’d ever get nominated for FOTY so it’s a huge honor and then I was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness when I found out my drabble tied for first place in the category it was in.
I’m nodding along to everything you’re saying! I think many who read this can relate. Growth is good ne.
Looking back at my old writing makes me realize how far I’ve come. I’m by no means a great writer, but I wholeheartedly believe that I’ve improved a great deal. It makes me happy because I get very discouraged when it comes to things I want to be good at. Sometimes I never even start because I don’t think I’ll ever be good at it, but writing, among other things, is proof that I can be just as long as I keep at it. It makes me feel proud of myself because I would’ve never imagined myself at the level I am right now (although I still have a long way to go) and it’s all because I kept writing and writing and writing.
It’s all about practice, in my opinion. People might shoot you down in the beginning, but you just have to roll with it. Take their words into consideration. You can almost always find constructive criticism no matter how harshly the comments are written. I know this from personal experience. For the first fic I ever wrote, I got this really mean flame and I wanted to cry or write a nasty reply back, but I thanked the person for taking out the time to even read what I wrote let alone writing a response and asked if she could help me by specifically pointing out what I needed to fix. She was really surprised and said that she didn’t expect me to be so rational and nice when she wrote something horrible. She eventually became my beta. So yeah usually no matter how harsh someone’s being, you can almost always get something from it. I got pointers as to what I need to improve on and a beta which is amazing! Always have an open mind…and keep on writing and reading. Trust me, you improve a whole lot just by doing those two things. Write as often as you can even if it’s a line or a short drabble; it doesn’t have to be a huge chapter or 1,000 page novel. Read as much as you can as well because you just start to pick up on things even when you don’t know it at the time. You get exposed to different styles and techniques so read everything…fics, novels, poems, plays, the list goes on.
Ahh, I’m going off on a tangent. Sorry! Anyway, in terms of how my writing has evolved, I’ve noticed a few changes. For the most part, they happened without me realizing it due to all the writing I did. It just happened as I kept practicing. I got a better grasp on various literary techniques; I learned how to just let all the metaphors and etc. write themselves rather than trying really hard to come up with good ones. I learned how to flesh out characters better although I’m still working on this. I used to write these horrible 2D cardboard cutouts of characters, but I’m learning how to make them more interesting. After all, no one’s just one particular thing in real life. And just in general, my writing’s improved as I started to read more mature things and as I grew older…I have better vocab, better grammar, better control over words.
There are other things that I also learned, but they were things I was aware of. I used to write as I went along and I realized that doesn’t really work out. I still do because I don’t like to limit myself into this tiny box especially because my best ideas tend to come while I’m writing. When I’m writing out a particular scene, something brilliant might pop into my head that I never would’ve thought of otherwise. But yeah, I learned that I needed to sit down and have some sort of structure to my plots. Otherwise, they’ll run out of steam or I’ll hit a wall and I won’t be able to continue. What I do now is I sit down and jot down general ideas of what the next few chapters are going to be about before I start to write. That way, I can give myself a clearer idea of where I’m trying to go without limiting myself too much. It’s still a work in progress though…I get stuck very easily so I’m still learning how to balance writing as I go and making an outline.
In terms of what I write about or who I write about, it hasn’t really changed. My stories usually deal with young people in their mid to late teens who are in school. I guess it reflects where I am right now too. I don’t think I can write a whole story about experiencing motherhood or having a divorce. I’m not at that stage yet where I can genuinely describe things like that.
That being said, a lot of the things I write about are things I’ve never experienced such as romantic love…but it’s different because although I’ve never been in a relationship before, I know what it’s like to like someone a lot. I know what it’s like to feel your heart flip at the sight of their smile. I know what it’s like to want to talk to that person all the time, to fumble over words, to want the best for that person. And I know what pain and loss feels like because even though I’ve never experienced certain things my characters go through, I’ve had those feelings before and I can draw from them.
I imagine that as I get older and I fall in love and unfortunately but inevitably also get hurt and lose things or people, my writing will reflect this. My characters and stories will benefit from my experiences and become deeper and richer. It’s exciting to think about because as I mature as a person and writer, I’ll be able to write about more things other than the ones I do now. It’s already started to happen a bit…there are ideas I have for future stories that are much darker than anything I would’ve ever written as a 13 year old. I don’t mean things like “whoa, drugs and pregnancy and suicide?!?!” but stuff like characters struggling to find their place in the world and battling against self-hatred to love and accept themselves – things almost everyone goes through as they grow up. Hehe but I do have other stuff that’s more “out there” too. :P!
Many a times we’ll have biases or permanent muses who we feature in a lot of our writing, and even if it’s the same ole Kwon Jiyong, he’s different in Fic A from Fic B ne. So I’m wondering if you have any favorite character(s) that you’ve written or drafted.
Hohoho, I see what you did there including Jiyong as an example. ;p For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, Jiyong’s my muse. *-* Anyway, before I get sidetracked, I’ll answer the question!
Hm…favorite characters I’ve written or drafted? I don’t really have any. I don’t know if that’s strange to say or not. Maybe it’s because my writing’s not at the level I’d like it to be yet so my characters aren’t as fleshed out as I would like them to be. I’m not sure.
Actually, there’s one that comes to mind. He was written for this fic I began in middle school. Sadly, as I abandoned the story, I wasn’t able to go that in depth with his character. I guess I can talk about him a bit though. He was the oldest out of his siblings and the older brother of the protagonist of the story. He was kind of her protector because her family and society viewed her as a monster and he was the only one to really treat her like an equal and he was very kind and thoughtful.
Basically, you’re probably sitting here going “Ah, he sounds wonderful. No wonder she likes him so much,” but the reason why I like him is not because he’s so sweet and understanding. I love him because he’s a flawed character. He wasn’t flawed in the sense that he had a bad side to him or anything like that; he was pretty normal, but like real people in the real world, he wasn’t perfect. It made him very human and that’s what I liked best. That sounds so vague haha.
Okay so basically, as I mentioned before, he was like the main character’s protector and his name reflected that and it agonized him because he really didn’t that great of a job. I think most people would say he did, but he doesn’t think so. Because of his position in society (their family is wealthy and well-respected) and in his family as the eldest child, he has obligations that forces him to act a certain way. In Asian culture, you are bound by those obligations (filial piety! Confucianism!) and he can’t break those, but at the same time, he loves his sister and wants to protect her. He tries to shield her as much as possible, but there are times where he’s unable to help and he has to stand aside while people hurl abuse at her or not do anything to help when she’s not able to do certain things because society disapproves of that. Ironically, although he gets to have more say in some matters as the eldest child, he also has less freedom to act the way he would like to.
So to sum it all up, he’s burdened an enormous amount of guilt, most of which is uncalled for, but his worries and self-hatred are also legitimate. He’s very, very precious to the main character and she thinks he’s wonderful because he’s kind of heroic in the way that Captain America is (good, upstanding, well-respected, brave, etc.), but he sees things in himself that she isn’t able to. He hasn’t really done anything to hurt her, but he’s also been a passive observer at times…and sometimes, those are the worst.
There’s this quote by Albert Einstein that many of you are probably familiar with which goes, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
He doesn’t really do nothing, but there have been times where he couldn’t step in and do as he liked because of his very real and well-placed fear that that would worsen things for her…but later on when she meets new people who love her and would fight for her, he reflects on these things and realizes that as much as he did for her, he’s also been cowardly as well. So he’s kind of a coward who’s not a coward and a guilty person who hasn’t really done anything bad.
Wow, this is horribly long. Sorry! But yeah, he’s a really interesting character to me and I really wish I got a chance to show that side of him, but I wasn’t able to. Maybe I’ll be able to make a character like him in another story one day…but yeah, his imperfections and his humanity make me attached to him. I don’t think he’s very similar to me because although I share some of his characteristics to a certain extent, he’s way better of a person than I am! Haha.
Anyway, as I continue to write, I’m sure there will be other characters who I’ll like just as much as I like him. Actually, there’s a story that I’ve had in mind for a while with Jiyong as the main love interest and he’s kind of horrible, but he’s not so much that it’s cartoon-like. He’s very bitter and he lashes out, but I’m very fond of this mean Jiyong because he’s a character who has many sides to himself too. He’s not so much a bad boy who’s a vulnerable softie inside, but a broken, lonely boy who can be as gentle as he can be cruel and that’s something I’d like to emphasize to my readers…that he’s not this Mr. Kpop Bad-boy-love-interest-who’ll-be-sweet-once-you-get-past-his-prickly-exterior/once-he-realizes-he-loves-you, he’s just a human being trying to find his place in the world and making mistakes as he grows up. Hopefully I can do this character some justice! Haha T_T.
What/who are some stories/characters who’ve inspired you through time? ^^
Actually, there are so many that I’m not sure where to start nor do I think I can recall all of them. I’ll just pick a select few that have made an impression on me through time. I’ll start off with stories and movies that I love. Uh….I’m probably going to ramble if I try to describe why I love each story/movie so I’m just going to list them if you don’t mind. ^^;; If anyone’s interested in knowing more about one of them and my thoughts about it, I can elaborate why through a PM or email or something lol.
So here they are:
Movies – Inception, Spirited Away, Up, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, The Breakfast Club, The Social Network, Trainspotting, Lilo & Stitch, The Incredibles
Books – The Harry Potter series of course, Ender’s Game, Ella Enchanted, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Wuthering Heights, The Outsiders, Norwegian Wood, any Roald Dahl or Eva Ibbotson book, Holes, Coraline, Tuck Everlasting, uh….too many to list actually!
As for fics, I do have a lot that I love immensely, but they’ll be unfamiliar to people who aren’t in those fandoms so I’ll just list some kpop ones that are among my favorites.
Fics – “This Boy I Loved” by Ji_Eunie, “Extra Sprinkles” by smitten, “I am a Robot” by i.nvalidc.reditc.ard, “Hearsay” by mariika, “The Summer House” by Moe, “Time Forgets” by lee-chan, “White Tea and Lily” by i.nvalidc.reditc.ard, “Crazy Dog” by dearskye., “Facebook Status” by elevatormusic, “SANG.MIN” by fatsoko. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of other fics, but these are what come to mind.
And finally characters. There are a lot. Hermione’s a great one. When I was really little, I used to find her annoying at times, but then I realized I was very similar to her down to some physical features (which is slightly unfortunate lol)…and then I realized it’s not that bad to be like her because she’s a very cool person. She’s fiercely loyal, the most affectionate and caring out of the trio, intelligent, brave, and well, she doesn’t really care what people think. She does the right thing even though people make fun of her for it or are unsupportive even if they’re her best friends and she has a very strong sense of justice. She treats people and creatures right regardless of what they look like or what their position is in society which is not something that everyone in the books does. I can go on and on. Anyway, I love her immensely. She’s one of my favorite characters ever and she’s written so well too! And it’s great because she’s a great role model for girls. It’s kind of sad but sometimes it’s a bit difficult to find a well-written female character in books/films…especially ones that don’t act as the protagonist’s love interest and can stand up on her own without having to be involved in some sort of love triangle. But yeah, she’s great especially because she’s not meant to be lovable all the time…it makes her that much more real to me and I identify with her a lot. There are also other characters that have inspired me in some way and that I relate to like Naruto and Sakura (among many others) from Naruto.
That being said, not all the characters I like are characters that touched me…some of them I like because they’re cool or they’re funny or sweet or fun, because of their relationships with other characters…or because they have so much depth to them or are just incredibly fascinating. Like Mal from Inception, for instance. And Sherlock and Moriarty from BBC’s Sherlock. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. L from Deathnote. The Joker from The Dark Knight. The list goes on.
Sometimes, the characters that have made an impression on me in some way aren’t even necessarily characters I like. I actually find some annoying or horrible (for instance, I really can’t stand Charlize Theron’s character in Young Adult, but she’s extremely fascinating). It’s just that despite what they’re like or what they do, something draws you to them. Maybe it’s because you relate to them and therefore you love them, maybe it’s because you can’t relate to them and they’re so different from you that they fascinate you. Maybe you want to be like them. Maybe you don’t.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that a good way to tell if a story or character is good is if it/he/she touches you in some way/makes you feel something, makes you think, or is fascinating. I think all characters and stories should try to be like that.
I hear you’ve been working on a lot of new material!! Mind giving us a short teaser or two?
Yeah, I am! I’ve had a few ideas in mind for a while and I started on one fic pretty recently called “Hide and Seek” which is about a girl who gets involved with the criminal world. I’m still working on it and there are a few things to work out, but basically, she’s hired for her forgery skills and before long, she gets pulled into a world that she formerly had an aversion and healthy fear of. Oh and of course, it stars Big Bang as gang members haha!
There are some other things I’m working on as well, but I haven’t started writing them because I just need to bounce a few more ideas back and forth in my head so I have a clearer idea of what I want to write and where I’m heading in terms of plot and character development. The next fic that’s most likely going to come out is this one with the bitter Jiyong I mentioned in an answer for another question in this interview. It’s about a girl who excels academically and has a bright future, but is kind of lost and lonely and she meets Jiyong. They immediately take a disliking towards each other, but are forced to interact with each other because they need to work on a project. They’re totally different characters in totally different situations in life, but they’re both equally as lonely and broken and it’s just about them getting through their last year of high school together, trying to figure out where they belong in the world, and doing the best they can.
There are some other ideas I have too like a light, fun tutor romcom with the two Seunghyuns of Big Bang, some superhero/superpowers thing set in the future, and this dystopian one with humans and cyborgs and their war against each other! Lots and lots of ideas hehe…now the trouble is actually starting on them. T_T
Who/what’s inspired you as of late?
I don’t think there’s anyone or anything that stands out. I get inspired by anything that’s around me so I don’t really go through phases where something or someone inspires me more than anything else. I get inspired by anything from some scenery I pass by in the car to music, from fashion photography to weather. I guess if I have to pick, the things that have inspired me the most lately has been my trip to South Korea in July with my family, “Time” by Hans Zimmer (one of my favorite composers ever and one of my all-time favorite songs) and some songs on wonderful fanmixes that people have made for different fandoms I’m in, and some books I’ve been reading. I’ve been doing a lot of reading the past few weeks and it’s wonderful because there are certain phrases and events in them that have made me think of scenes or ideas for more stories.
But yeah, in general, I get inspired by pretty much anything and everything.
Somewhat off topic, but — you’re quite the travel bug (; How does traveling inspire your writing (if it does)?
Haha yes I am! Traveling is one of the things I love to do although I wasn’t able to do much of it until I went abroad last semester. I was really fortunate to be able to travel to so many cities and so many countries over the past 7 months. Anyway, getting back to the question, yes it does! I find that traveling is good for you in general, not just for writing. You get to grow as a person because you can always learn something new when you travel. You’ll be able to see new things, experience different cultures and lifestyles, hear different languages, eat different food, and learn how to handle unforeseen obstacles that come your way. So really, it helps you grow as a person and become more open-minded.
It also helps with my writing. I get inspired by scenery and landscape a lot and by going to different places, I’m able to see things I never knew existed before and things you just need to see with your own two eyes because photos don’t do them justice. You also can take away bits and pieces of the places you’ve been to, the people you’ve met on your trips, and your experiences and weave them into your stories somehow. It’s especially helpful if you’re writing about a certain place if you’ve been there; your descriptions can be more accurate and rich in detail if you’ve been there yourself. I can tell you what it’s like taking the train from Oslo to Bergen in Norway, what it’s like walking alongside Amsterdam canals on quiet mornings, what it’s like being at Cabo da Roca and standing on the westernmost edge of continental Europe with only the Atlantic Ocean stretching in front of you. And I can do this because I’ve been there.
Of course you can always rely on things like photos, movies, and TV shows, but it just adds another dimension to your writing when you’ve actually experienced these things firsthand and are able to add little tidbits you might’ve otherwise not been able to. For instance, I finally got around to going to Seoul and despite the fact that I’m very familiar with Korean culture and it’s not like I’ve never seen Seoul through pictures and videos before, it was just incredibly different from what I imagined. I didn’t expect it to be the way it was and I thought things would look different. I’m not going to go into detail about this because it’s not that important, but I have a very different idea of what it’s like to be in Seoul now and I think that might end up being reflected in my work from now on whenever setting comes into play.
Before we end this part of the interview, would you like to send a message to anyone? ^^*
Hm…I guess I’d like to do a shoutout to a bunch of people. I’d like to thank all the friends I’ve made and people I’ve talked to ever since I got into fic writing. Nai, Janet, Cat, Jieun, Min, etc. Thank you so much for everything!