Fanfic 101: What Fic Authors Have To Say About Fan Fiction

In every great fandom there is high likeliness that it will have a huge and flourishing fan fiction community. In the K-Pop fandom, fan fictions, or fics, have become a very important subset of the general K-Pop fan culture and it would be difficult not to say that a great majority of fans have read at least one fan fiction in their fandom lives.

For those who are unfamiliar with fics, fics are works of fiction written by fans, for fans. A fic writer may explore existing and familiar scenarios in the fandom (called canon) or may opt to write about the fandom in a completely different scenario (called alternate universe, or AUs). Basically, fics explore the what-ifs that usually goes in the minds of fans about something that happens in their fandom. Often, fan fictions can often take the form of fantasy adult content, inspired by the type of films you’d see on somewhere like https://www.nu-bay.com/, featuring characters that are not usually sexually involved in their own fiction.

Recently, KStreetManila asked our readers and followers if they have ever thought of going beyond reading and trying writing their own KPop fics. More than half of those who responded said that they have at least thought of writing once, while more than a quarter admitted that they both read and write fics. One even replied and said that she’s tried but “failed.” We thought the responses were interesting enough for us to write something that would help those who wish to enrich the ficdom—fan fiction fandom—by going a step forward from reader to writer.

With this, we interviewed some of your favorite fanfic authors—airplanewishes, ifallelsefails, and onyu—to give us a story of how they started and carried on with their fan fic writing and reading journey, what they have learned from this fandom experience, and what they can advise to those who wish to join the writing community. Here’s a short introduction about them.

airplanewishes has been in the ficdom for about 13 years now, six to seven of which were in the K-Pop fandom. Right now, she mainly writes for Bangtan Boys (BTS) but has written also for EXO, Super Junior, Harry Potter, and Teen Wolf. Her works can be found in Archive Of Our Own (AO3), Dreamwidth, and Livejournal.

ifallelsefails is an Asianfanfics.com author. She’s been writing for five years now. Her works are mostly fics about Super Junior, although sometimes she dabbles on Girls’ Generation, EXO, f(x), and other SMTown artists.

onyu also currently writes for BTS, but she has also written fics for DBSK, Super Junior, SHINee, f(x), Infinite, and EXO. Her works are posted on Livejournal and AO3 through the same handle. She’s been writing fics for 15 years, nine of which were spent for the K-Pop fandom.

Fun fact: All of these authors are 100% Filipino! Although their nationality is the most “personal” that we can divulge about them, we’re pretty confident that their experience already speaks for the credibility to provide insights about this part of the K-Pop fan culture. So without further ado, here’s what they have to say about fan fiction!

How did you discover fan fics and what made you write them?

airplanewishes: The first ever fan fic I’ve read was a Harry Potter one. I think I just stumbled upon one from a website and started from there. I was fascinated with how people could create their own stories, make these popular characters come to life outside of the world that’s already been created and I wanted to try my hand at doing that.

I’ve written about 10 Harry Potter fics after that. When I got into K-Pop, I think that’s where I really delved into fan fic writing. It’s honestly so much fun and I’ve met so many amazing people along the way, that’s why I keep doing it.

ifallelsefails: I was a new fan of the boys during that time, basically new to everything! And I think I stumbled on the very first fic I read in SJ-World (it’s a forum dedicated to Super Junior and their fans, by their fans) and it was a Kyumin fic (and it’s a rated one haha!) I’ve been reading fics since then but it was only when I discovered Asianfanfics and noticed how there were very little Eunhae fanfictions in the site (AFF was just a small community when I joined, I think just a year old) that I decided to write one. I’ve been in love with writing ever since I was little but I had set it aside when I went to college. Fan fiction has helped me got back to it again.

onyu: I was searching for pictures of Rukawa on Google and I got results leading me to fanfiction.net. The rest was history. Haha! In all honesty, I started writing just for fun, but now I write for stress relief, to express, and to meet people who share the same interests.

Please describe your writing style. How do you go about writing your fic?

airplanewishes: I’d like to think I have a good balance of showing and telling, making readers see and feel what characters are going through, instead of outright writing it down. I’m also sensitive to making things as realistic as possible (of course, it depends on the fic) and make sure that events and conversations that I write can actually happen in real life.

What I usually do first is create a summary of what I want to write: what is the story about? What are the themes that I want to use? After that, I write a description of the characters. I write what kind of people they are, who they’re friends with, what they study if they study, where they work if they work, sometimes even what kind of clothing they wear, etc. Lastly, I write an outline. And then I write.

ifallelsefails: Hmm I don’t really know how to describe it. I’ve written different genres, from crack to angst, and I wrote them depending on the mood of the story. Like my angst fics have a deeper tone into it, like a melancholic type of tone that would give the readers the feeling that something would go wrong, that something would break their hearts haha! Fluff and crack fics are much more light-hearted, more casual, very informal even, just like telling a story to a friend. I don’t have any specific ‘process’ in writing fics. It’s just, when an idea strikes, I’ll open up a Word doc and just write it. Oh I like setting up music playlists whenever I write fics, like a soundtrack to each of them so that I could get ‘in the zone’ pretty quickly.

onyu: I can’t really find a term for it, but I think my style relies heavily on emotion cues, on little things that pile up until a character comes to life and relationships are born. Given that, there’s a lot of action-reaction going on in my writing, as well, especially since I don’t switch POVs (and if I do, I usually do it at the very end of the fic). There’s also a lot of introspection involved in my fics, but it largely depends on who I’m writing.

I used to not have a process for writing at all, but now I’ve been developing outlines more and more primarily because I write long fics. Music is very important when I write, though, and I simply cannot write without the right playlist or at least just one song that is a perfect fit for the plot of the story I’m writing. Another important thing when I write is my maps since I use a lot of locations in my fics. Also, when I have time, I try to create a Padlet and use it as my mood board.

Do you have a fic which you think best represents you?

airplanewishes: Probably the Chen/Baekhyun swimming AU. maybe you’ll let me borrow your heart.

ifallelsefails: I would’ve said Neorago series or Oh My Girl as those were the fics I believed I will forever be connected to haha! But I think the fic that best represents me is yet to be written. I wrote the last installment of Neorago and Oh My Girl three years ago and so many have changed since then (I don’t include romanized koreans now! Haha! Oh Lord.) I have further understandings with a lot of things and I want these new learnings to reflect in the fics I’ll write in the future. I am writing a fic right now (I haven’t published it yet,) one that’s really different from previous ones I did and I’m hoping for this, if not to be the number one, one of the first fics readers would associate me with once they heard my name. Please anticipate it! Haha!

onyu: I’m tempted to say the Pokemon AU I wrote for Exordium, but I think my tennis AU for Bangtan – Challenge the Call – represents me as a writer and my style more.

What are the most common problems you encounter when writing fics? How about in reading fics?

airplanewishes: Thinking of titles and summaries are a pain! Haha! But seriously, length, pacing and characterization are things that I struggle with. I always worry about whether the story is going too slow or too fast, whether this character would actually say or do this, if they’re consistent with how I want them to be in the fic. It’s especially worrying because I tend to write longer fics and it’s harder to be consistent with pacing and characterization when it’s longer.

With reading, I’m particular about format and grammar. I find that there are fic writers who neglect these things. If it doesn’t look pleasing, most people aren’t going to read it so I think it’s very important that fics have these. As for other things, I find that showing, instead of telling makes for better fic.

ifallelsefails: Grammar! Just kidding, haha! Though I’ll admit I still struggle a little regarding my verb tenses and prepositions. I think the most common problem would be trying to make your next fic not to seem like another copy of the ones you did before. One of the biggest challenges any writer would face is being original: writing something new or making something different even with the common fic tropes (high school AU, childhood friends, etc.) And I guess the motivation to continue writing? Sometimes, well, most of the time (haha!) I get really lazy that I’d rather watch funny videos than write. It’s a little hard when the will to write just won’t come.

For reading fics, I really don’t have a lot of reservations. I read fics with not so good grammar as long as the plot’s interesting. I guess I just don’t like it when things happen so quickly with no explanations whatsoever, like characters falling in love 0.05 seconds after meeting and nothing to back that sudden emotions up save for the author saying they just fell in love. Anyway, I tend to shy away with genres and themes I don’t like so I don’t read them therefore I don’t really experience problems reading fics haha!

onyu: Other than coming up with a nice title, probably going easy on the backstory. I don’t divulge everything at once (and at all; I keep some information to myself, otherwise the Pokemon AU fic would probably be 500,000 words long), so when I have to write scenes revealing backstories, things get really intense and I get carried away.

In reading fics, meanwhile, I’ve found that some prose can be very rigid. ‘A did this, B did that, C reacted to it this way–‘ It’s all a matter of preference, really, as some like reading fics that have tighter prose, but I personally like reading stories that unfold gradually.

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