Writing Fanfiction: A Conversation With Mywebfoot on Writing, Shipping and Publishing, Plus a Chance to Win Her New eBook!

TFG1I’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 HallCoffee PrinceThe 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.

collageSoGongWhat 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.

SJSGHJCollageI 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. 🙂

TFGCover

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. 

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35 thoughts on “Writing Fanfiction: A Conversation With Mywebfoot on Writing, Shipping and Publishing, Plus a Chance to Win Her New eBook!

  1. Wow, great interview with a really good sogong fanfic writer. Now, I wanna have a shot on winning the free TFG ebook, so, here it goes. I love the sogong couple because they just worked together for the first time, and already, they look like long time buddies, that have known each other for a long time, and just realized their feelings for each other due to the skinship onscreen. Another reason why I love them together is the way SJS seem to be very comfortable with her, and became a more talkative person than he used to be. They’re also both talented, and they look perfect for each other. I really do hope they announce their relationship, if they aren’t, I’m happy with a photoshoot together post TMS.

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    • Glad you liked reading this :). SJS did seem to be very comfy with her didn’t he? They always seemed to be having a good time, and I do agree that Gong Hyo Jin brought out a different side to SJS than we normally see.

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  2. What a great article and interview! I’m too much of a newbie to know much about MyWebFoot or Soompi, but now I’m going to find out about both! I now already adore MyWebFoot, thanks to your interview! Thank you for introducing me to another facet of the drama world!

    Like

    • I’m glad to introduce you to another way to indulge your drama obsession haha. The Soompi forums are awesome for hanging out with fellow drama obsessives and to collectively squee or commiserate, and if the show’s a hit it’ll can get pretty intense. I lurk mostly but I haven’t been back since The Master’s Sun because no shows hv caught my attention since then. So yeah, check it out!

      Glad you liked the interview! I’m very new to fanfic, my last encounter being way long ago during the X-files!! So yes, it’s been awhile, and webfoot’s SoGong stories and my shipping inclinations were a happy convergence. Good times 🙂

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      • I’ve taken a quick peek over at Soompi, I have a feeling that when I have more time I will get sucked in there very easily. And I don’t think that is a bad thing! Lol It is so very encouraging to see that WebFoot got herself published through hard work, love from her fans, and support from the community that so adored her story!

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      • I know! Stay away unless you hv time to spare, as it does fan the flames of obsession with a particular show which can get really intense. Yeah, I had hoped that writers like you might get something out of Mywebfoot’s story if you do want to be published someday 🙂

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      • That was what I figured too! And since my busy time at work is only just barely settling down I don’t really have that much time to spare lol. So for the moment I’ll bookmark it and then venture back when I know I can be sucked in for a few hours.

        Indeed! I was totally inspired reading this article! As I slowly (really-really-slowly) write my drama it is amazing to see someone so talented and with such a huge fangirl heart make it big!

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  3. That was an interesting read!!
    It’s always nice to read about fanfictions authors. I enjoyed Master’s Sun but never to the point of reading fanfictions, so this made me want to check a few fics about them. 🙂
    Thank you!

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  4. Great interview!! 😀 Fascinating to hear about the the birthing of an ebook.. And out of fandom shipping love, no less!

    And woot! for finding out about another Singaporean who’s active in the k-scene ^^ Well. I’m sure there are others. I just haven’t found them yet. 😉

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    • Thanks for reading. Glad you found it interesting. Fanfic is all about wish fulfilment so really, it figures so much of it are about ships that never sailed *sniff*. And yes, I do believe there are loads of Singaporeans out there, I suspect a couple I follow are but I’ve never got a chance to confirm!

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      • So.. I totally wasn’t going to enter this giveaway coz I don’t usually read much fanfic, and I liked but didn’t love Master’s Sun as a drama. BUT. I mosied on over to mywebfoot’s tumblr page and read the excerpt she posted – just the excerpt, not even the sneak peek at the first couple of chapters! – and now I REALLY, REALLY want to read that book! So I told her so, on twitter, and she encouraged me to come on back and enter anyway, so here I am! ^^

        Here’s my why:

        I’ve loved Gong Hyo Jin as an actress for a long time. When I first saw her in Pasta, my first impression of her was that she seemed sorta plain and ordinary to be headlining a drama, but she grew on me, SO MUCH. I love her natural, earthy charm that she brings into every single role, and I love how she seems to have no hangups about not conforming to the usual Korean standards of beauty. She manages to have a healthy sense of self-confidence in her own brand of beauty, and she’s got such a gung-ho vibe about her too. I loved that she did Project 577, where she basically hiked for miles and miles and suffered and appeared without makeup on camera – the works. And yet remained so likable, charming and accessible. I always think of her as one cool chick, and I’d love to see her get her own happy-ever-after.

        I first encountered So Ji Sub in MiSa, and while I didn’t love the show, I could see the angsty bad-boy SJS appeal. He endeared himself most to me not in Master’s Sun, but in his foray into rapping and making music. Everyone was making fun of him and dissing him as not-a-rapper and for his wacky fashion sense. But when I watched the MVs and a couple of BTSes, I really liked how earnest and sincere he seemed, in spite of the widespread mockery. All I saw was a man who had a sincere love and passion for something, and who just wanted to do something he loved. And I saw too, that sweet dork that lived beneath the celebrity veneer.

        While Master’s Sun didn’t hit it out of the ballpark for me, I did appreciate the great chemistry between Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub. And reading that little excerpt, I could *totally* see the man-dork fall for the bright, confident cool chick. Ahhhh!! That fanfic is probably way more addictive than the drama it’s based on!

        Like

      • WHEEEE!! I’m so happy you came back and joined in the fun!! Isn’t it great?? She really nails So Ji Sub’s voice I think, and the free spirit bohemian vibe that Gong Hyo Jin emanates. Now can you see why her fic totally sent all of us shippers into the delulu heaven (or hell, depending on your POV)?? She wrote such great sexy flirty scenes
        of them interacting on set. And funny too. There was one chapter of Song Seung Hoon teasing SJS about her, while *ahem* working out at the gym. I dunno if that’s incorporated into the book (I’m still reading it) but gosh, those fics were so fun. You should totally ask her for the links to those too!

        But you’re right though, in that the fic and this whole shipping experience ended up being more exciting than the drama itself as a whole for me. Others obviously feel differently, but I’m glad it was a commercial success for both actors coz I lub them and they totally owned those roles. And it’s interesting you appreciated his foray into music which I’m not too familiar with but you are right that one may doubt his skill but not his sincere love for hip hop. I’ve seen him talking about music being his first love but growing to love acting much much later.

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  5. DDee I’m so glad you got webfoot to do this interview! I loved her fanfic and spazzed until each chapter came out. You were on the same soompi thread that I was, so you know how we all spazzed over her writing 😛 OMG, and she so pegged some of her scenes! When I got the Director’s cut DVD and saw some of the new BTS stuff, and it was like Webfoot was a damn fly on the wall, I screamed LOL.

    Ok, so I want a shot at this book! Why do I like SJS and GHJ? Because both of them are so “real”. You see alot of actors and idols that are genuine and sincerely good people but these two stand out with just a few others, IMHO. Maybe it’s their age and experience, but there doesn’t seem to be one ounce of ego or superiority about either of them. They truly enjoy their work and try so hard to do he best job possible. That’s why I like both of them, in a nutshell 🙂

    I am still a serious SoGonger, just not as bad as I was before when I hit delulu land on a daily basis. It died down a bit for me, then I got the DVD and it my ship’s sails gathered wind again!

    Like

    • Oooh boy yes do I remember eagerly anticipating her chapters! Gawd, I just spent waaay to much time on the drama forum first, then when SoGong happened I ditched that (coz really it was so hard to keep up with the number of posts) for the couple thread and spent waaaay too much time there, half of it waiting for webfoot. Remember the chapter about the rooftop kiss?? Hoooeey that one kept me up for awhile, had to calm myself down hahaha. I didn’t see the DVD BTS though!!! Did they really give us the goods?? SBS really knew what they were doing with those and spoiled us silly. I’ve now realised that most drama BTSes are so damn boring either because the actors aren’t nearly having as much fun as SoGong were or the clips weren’t put together as well a TMS’ was.

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      • Hahahaha… The DVD has some GREAT stuff, and as tight fisted about money as I am, it was the best $120 that’s ever been spent from this household 😛 If you lived close to me, I’d invite ya over to watch! The pictures and stuff included were awesome too. But yeah, the rooftop kiss chapter… Holy Cow, that threw some major fuel on the fire for my little shippy heart 🙂 The BTS vid of the scene where she’s possessed by the french woman that wants SJS… yeah, webfoot had that scene exactly right! Like, does she have someone on the damn cast telling her? Because the whole shyness with the kiss, etc, it was all there! Delulu land might be a real place that, if you make it there, you get some psychic insight 😛

        SBS knew how to hype those two well, of course they made it really really easy. The pair of them together is just so dynamic. I miss seeing them together 😦 It’s great when a couple, just being themselves, makes you smile and laugh because they are just too cute. They were the very first OTP to do that for me. I’ve added a couple of more since then, but only Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun have come close to these two for me. Yeah, I adore those two together too. Although Choi Jin Hyuk and Ji Hyo from Emergency Couple may move right in too 😛 They have been the only BTS that I’ve seen that I’ve enjoyed since seeing TMS’s. The chemistry makes it so much…I don’t know, MORE.

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      • Sorry I meant to reply sooner but the holidays took it’s toll on me. So as I was gonna say, I do hope someone somewhere posted those DVD BTS on youtube or tumblr or something because them feels have come back over the course me putting this post together and reading your comments as well. I do think the whole crew though, was totally shipping them! Didn’t one of the crew troll them in one BTS? Egging them on and saying something like, that kiss sucked do it again? I’m not making that up right?? Surely I’m not that delulu.
        I haven’t checked out Emergency Couple yet, and call me crazy, I’m not feeling the chemistry between Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim So Hyun, as much as I love them both. I just don’t fancy KSH much in role, it’s just not doing it for me I’m afraid. Maybe when I marathon it when it ends, I’ll feel different.

        Like

  6. Pingback: The belated OCDrama digest 2th – 9th Feb: Lunar New Year edition | obsessive compulsive (k)drama-watching disorder
  7. 2 days of TMS, few hours of scrolling through the SoGong thread and i find myself reading this inspiring Q&A on the third day, more so because i myself am an aspiring writer. Thank you for the right questions and those great answers, i hope to take forward and remember always. Thank You.
    Love
    Ress~

    Like

    • Gosh that’s so nice to hear Ress! Warms me cockles :). Best of luck in your writing journey. And welcome to the TMS and SoGong fandom! We’re good folks here. A little delulu, but ;P

      Like

  8. Pingback: The OCDrama Digest 2nd – 9th February | obsessive compulsive (k)drama-watching disorder
  9. This article was very insightful to webfoot’s thoughts, so thank you for writing such a lovely article. As for why I love So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin as a couple it’s because they have a spark and a chemistry that doesn’t appear with other couples. Maybe it’s just because they’re ‘veterans’ now or maybe the characters call for it but, as generic as it sounds, I love their chemistry together! Even their NG scenes are just chock full of laughter and they seem at ease with each other.

    Like

    • Glad you found it useful Teresa! I do agree that they totally gave out comfy, friendly vibes on set, and it’s clear they enjoyed working together so so much. You can’t fake responses like that!

      Like

  10. Pingback: Review: That Far Gone [Master's Sun Fanfic] | The Fangirl Verdict
  11. Great interview! I spazzed on TMS and the couple thread with webfoot and everyone else! I am so happy she got to make us, her fans, happy with SJS & GHJ fanfic! I bought the book and read almost all the time! Makes me relieve those amazing scenes lol

    Like

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