I’m always thinking of ways to try new things with the blog, so I’m hugely excited to share this Q&A with Mywebfoot, a fanfic writer I got to know of by
stalking lurking on The Master’s Sun threads during that hit drama’s run last year.
Mywebfoot’s series of So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin couple fanfics called That Far Gone sent plenty of shipping hearts a flutter (including mine) with her witty and descriptive scenes written in So Ji Sub’s voice telling of a deepening relationship between the actors on the TMS set. The actors’ crackling chemistry on and off-screen played a major part in my enjoyment of the show and is largely why the SoGong couple as they’ve been named, has a legion of dedicated and loyal fans.
Spurred by the popularity of her series, Mywebfoot decided to expand those chapters into a full-length eBook now available for sale. She’s also very kindly made one free copy available for one lucky reader, but I’ll get to that later!
Here she shares a little more about the process of writing and the importance of finding a supportive community on her journey towards publishing her latest work:
What’s behind your pseudonym Mywebfoot?
Web for the World Wide Web, Foot for footprint. It’s an old pseudonym I made a long time ago when I made my first personal website. I used to develop websites, and the idea appealed to me that being ‘webfooted’ meant being surefooted on the web. The ‘my’ just got added later, because ‘webfoot’ is a pretty popular pseudonym.
Where abouts in the world are you based?
Singapore! The Little Red Dot! I get this question quite a lot, with many people guessing I’m based in the States. I think it’s because I spent many years living there, so some part of me is a little bit American too.
How did your Hallyu journey begin? Did it start with dramas? Variety? Or music?
Hmm… let’s see. 2010. I stumbled across Gong Yoo’s and Yoon Eun Hye’s Coffee Prince kiss on Youtube. Does that explain everything? Then it was Dramabeans for Coffee Prince recaps, Donnapie’s Tumblr, Boys Over Flowers and once you’ve BoF‘ed, you can never turn back. 🙂
Ah so Coffee Prince was the gateway, like so many of us! Still one of my all-time faves. And what’re some of your fave K-dramas?
All time? City Hall, Coffee Prince, The Greatest Love, and of course The Master’s Sun. Keep telling myself to catch the great classics of K-drama like Autumn in My Heart, but it’s hard to go to the past when there are so many goodies in the present. 😛
Have you always been writing creatively?
Not at all. I’ve always enjoyed it, but never imagined I could put out a 40,000 word eBook. Sometimes in my head I try to calculate the total number of published (online) words I have written since I started this fanfic journey, and I think the number easily crosses the 100,000 word mark. For comparison, The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien (not that I am comparing myself to him, just using it as a mental measure), is at about 150,000 words. It boggles my mind.
So I’m guessing you’ve blogged or kept diaries? Or did you really just start in earnest with the Lee Teuk-Kang Soo Ra on We Got Married fanfic? If so you’ve come such along way in short time 🙂
Really rare blogging/diaries. Actual writing only started in February/March 2011. It seems like I’ve always been doing it.
What lead you to writing about this pair in particular and what made you decide to turn it into an eBook?
It was So Ji Sub’s cryptic-gruff personality. I had trouble (and still do actually) reconciling that with what I was seeing in the BTS’ and interviews. The more I dug, the more the contrast intrigued me. There is no better way to get me writing than to fascinate me with an unanswered ‘why?’
The decision to expand into a full-fledged eBook came after repeated requests from readers. I had only just completed the previous eBook at the beginning of the year, so I had absolutely NO intention to write another one so soon, if at all. As I explained then to my readers, having done it completely on my own once, and having read more about it, most writer’s work need the input of an editor before it becomes book-worthy.
Still one reader’s persistence paid off, because she took my objections and swept them away with a ‘then crowd-source the funds!’ demand. Even then, I wasn’t sure, and I told myself to just put up the site, and to let the money speak for itself. If there were enough funds, I would do it. It not, then…. But in IndieGogo, there is a choice – you can choose to the All-or-Nothing option or the Flexible Funding option. I made a mistake, and I chose the Flexible Funding option, which meant that I was committed from the moment I received the first funds!
When the going was tough, I often asked myself what I got myself into, but looking back now, no regrets. None. The people I’ve met, the generosity with both money and time that they’ve shown, it’s been amazing. I’ve had publicists, proofreaders, and designers come out and simply offer help. I’ve had people pop by at random times during the writing process and ask me how I’m doing and to ask me to keep going on.
That’s an amazing journey! So very if-you-build-it-they-will-come :). You mentioned when the going was tough, what were some of the challenges you had to go through?
The toughest time was meeting criticism. I was marketing for funding, keeping the online fanfic going, and trying to get the word out, and in the middle of all that I was criticized for trying to cheat people of money/being greedy. A few of my existing readers on Tumblr jumped in to support me right away, which was very sweet of them.
In the end, I learnt a very important lesson; There will always be someone who doesn’t like your work. I was affected at first, I won’t lie, but then I learnt to use the negative voices as a mental spur to work harder and live well. There is no revenge as sweet as living well.
I take it that this whole process of working with an editor is new and if so, how do you feel about it? What did you learn?
Yes, it’s new. I learnt a lot of grammar and sentence structure awareness! I learnt to defend certain creative decisions, but to let others go when it made sense. And I confirmed that an editor is a wonderful thing to have—he/she acts as a mirror to your writing, viewing it with fresh but critical eyes.
I discovered your fic at Soompi’s SoGong thread during the height of my ‘delulu’ days shipping SJS and GHJ. That has since faded (I lack staying power, unfortunately), but it wa tonne of fun and added to the whole experience of live-watching the show. Plus finding fellow obsessives who could talk you down from the ledge, so to speak, was awesome. Was it the same for you?
Absolutely. One thing I do miss about writing and publishing online versus writing an eBook is the chance to share and discuss what I’ve written almost immediately after completing a chapter. It’s not about the praise and thanks, though I do appreciate that, but it’s the chance to connect about something that is hard to speak of in my real life. 🙂 People would look at me funny!
Speaking of people in real life, how supportive is your family of your K-fic writing?
LOL, very. My husband is a sweetheart and my champion. My oldest child demands his child-friendly version of the book as if it’s due, (I already gave him the earlier book that way), and my younger one tries to read over my shoulder. I tend to shut the world out when I write, but they have been very good about putting up with mommy ‘tippy-tapping’ away.
Shipping RL celebs/actors is mostly likely an unrewarding endevour since it’s so unlikely that ship will ever sail. How on earth do you do it since shipping can be such an intense experience?
Ah, that. I don’t count on it to sail. I don’t leave it up to them puny humans who don’t have a clue how right they are for each other. I write words, many, many words, and make the story end in my head in a satisfactory manner. I think the technical term is sublimation, the colloquial term is ‘spazz’.
For aspiring fic writers who may one day want to publish their work, any advise to offer?
Get online first. Talk to your readers. Two pieces of advice I read somewhere work for me very well. Firstly, ‘You don’t know the book you’ve written until you know the book your readers read’. It was the online feedback to the initial version that helped me to focus, sharpen and strengthen certain themes that TFG had.
Secondly, ‘You can’t edit a blank page’. No matter how bad the writing, just write it. Then go back and edit viciously.
Ah, the same advise could be applied to aspiring bloggers too! So it’s safe to say without the online feedback and support, the book wouldn’t have gotten made?
Absolutely. It’s crowd-funded—In the end the supporters gave USD1040. By some miracle, it fit: USD1000 for the editor, and USD40 for the exact royalty-free photo on the cover. Considering that in some donor’s countries, the minimum donation of USD 5 amounts to a 5-digit sum that can buy you a day’s worth of meals, the faith that people put in this project has been mind-blowing. Artist and musician, Amanda Palmer, who crowd-funded an album to the tune of $1.2 million US dollars, likens the experience of crowd-funding to throwing yourself off the stage and letting the audience carry you.
I’ve said this before, I actually hate asking for money because I have a lot of pride. Selling something in hand is one thing, asking people for money to do something is quite another. Doing so was both a humbling and an uplifting experience.
What’s next on the horizon? Have you moved on from SoGong (and TMS)? Has any other couple caught your eye?
No other couple caught my eye. Right now I am finishing the sequel to Shattered [Mywebfoot’s first eBook] called Blink, which is Eun Hyuk’s story. It was 75% done but got sidelined when TMS started.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult Fiction recently–John Green and Trish Doller are the two I would recommend right now. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for fantasy. Bradbury, Asimov and Clarke for science fiction. Nora Roberts and Linda Howard for romance. I also re-read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland regularly. It was the book my father taught me to read with. I can still recite all the poems. 🙂
THAT FAR GONE eBOOK GIVEAWAY!
If you’d like to get your hands on her eBook, just let me know why you love So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin as actors, entertainers, fashionistas, as a couple, or any which way you like ’em, in the comments by 14th February.
I’ll select a winner and the book will arrive in your inbox courtesy of Mywebfoot herself. Easy as pie! 🙂
Thanks again Mywebfoot!
[Update: Congrats hjlyon! You’re the lucky winner of the eBook which will be promptly emailed to you (the winner was chosen at random). Enjoy :)]
That Far Gone is available for USD 4.99. For excerpts and to buy click here. To find out more about Mywebfoot and her writing click here.