Monthly Archives: December 2013

No Other for your sweet love

Here’s installment #2 of my Kpop for Writers series: Super Junior’s No Other.

I classify Kpop artists into three categories: you have Kpop with rock (bands like C.N. Blue), Kpop with Hiphop (groups like B.A.P, BigBang, Beast), and straight pop groups. Super Junior would be considered a straight pop group. Every single member is a singer –  no one raps (except Eunhyuk on occasion, but it’s so light, it’s hardly considered rap), and no one plays instruments. They all sing, and they all have beautiful voices on their own. Super Junior is your quint-essential boyband.

One of the cool things about Super Junior (SuJu for short) is their subgroups. Some Kpop groups will have members break off to do other things under a different name. SuJu, for instance, has, most notably, Super Junior M (Mandarin), who put out Chinese music and K.R.Y (stands for the three members KyuHyun, Ryowook, and Yesung – the three most swoon-worthy voices from SuJu) who do really powerful ballads. Yeah, that was a really long, choppy sentence, so I hope you’re still with me.


Yesung – add some black glasses, and that’s my character, Hazel, dead on.

The other cool thing about Super Junior is that they have twelve members. Yep, twelve. Their numbers have dwindled some due to two serving in the military (it’s mandatory over there) and one dropped to do acting. I was immediately sucked into Super Junior because of one member: Yesung. Not only does he have the most gorgeous voice ever (seriously, youtube him – his nickname, Yesung, means art-like voice), but the moment I saw him, my jaw dropped, and I blurted out loud to an empty room: “Holy SH**, it’s Hazel!” Yes, Yesung is exactly how I pictured my secondary main character if you just put a pair of glasses on him (and those photos do exist, ladies and gents – chyeah Google!).

Okay, so enough about SuJu (and Yesung) – I brought you here for music! I now present you with Super Junior’s “No Other.”

If you don’t watch the video, you can already tell by the music that it’s dripping with a sickening sweetness. There’s something pleasant about how the lyrics roll off their voices, like the feeling you get when someone you love surprises you, or a phone call from a friend you’ve long lost touch with.

We arrived on the same road, we’re just the same, how surprising, how grateful, it’s love

There’s no one like you, even if I look around it’s just like that, where else to look for?
A good person like you, a good person like you, with a good heart like you, a gift as great as you
How lucky that I’m the person who will try his hard to protect you, where else to look for?
A happy guy like me, a happy guy like me, the guy with the happiest smile like me

Taken from the refrain – this song is your typical, super-sweet love note. Watch the video if you haven’t already: cavity-inducing gestures of love. Seriously. You’ll need a dental visit after.

Suggested scenes: Put this on repeat for your characters’ love confessions, marriage proposals, or any scene where a character does something nice or romantic for another. Moments of pure frolicking happiness between two love-birds. Maybe not so much for crushes, but definitely for deep-seated aches of real love between couples with longevity.

One last batch of lyrics, the mini light-rap section:

You know, I’m a little bit shy sometimes, you don’t know but you’re burning like the sun, please understand my feelings
Even those girls that appears on TV shows are sparkling, you’ll always be the one in my eyes (I’m going crazy crazy Baby)
Hearing you tell me that you love me, I have everything in this world, You & I, You’re so fine, is there no one like you?
I love you Oh, please know it, to me there’s only you, that I see you as my everything


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Crooked for your crazy broken heart

Okay, so now that I’ve done the introduction (if you haven’t read it yet, click back a post) I can kick this series off with G-Dragon’s Crooked.

Don’t watch the video, just listen to the song first. Go on, I’ll wait.

What does it make you think of when you listen to it? It’s upbeat, but there’s a hint of something more underneath. Can you hear/ feel it? It sounds like it should be a party anthem, but the way the refrain is done in a choppy manner and ends in a downward run of notes gives it a hopeless feeling.

Now watch the video. It looks like some punk kid trying to start trouble, losing himself in clubs, picking fights with people on the street. Keep going to the end. What do you see? Exactly. I admit I tear up at the end of the video every time.

In english, the second half of the refrain is this:

Leave me alone
I was alone anyway
I have no one, everything is meaningless
Take away the sugar-coated comfort
Tonight, I’ll be crooked

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The song is about losing someone and going nuts on a binge of troublesome activity to fill that void, but it’s still there, eating you alive.

Recommended scenes: Your MC suffers a devastating heartbreak and has no way to contain his/her feelings. The MC proceeds in a downward spiral of unhealthy activity to cope with a loss or a devastating event. I think of Will Herondale when I listen to this. Got a menacing character with a tragic past? This song’s for them.

Other noteworthy lyrics – second verse:

I’ll put on thick eyeliner, use a whole can of hairspray
Leather pants, leather jacket with a frown
I want to hide my pain and become even more crooked
So you can feel sorry, I’ll spit toward the sky
You’re scared of my crude words and my rough eyes
But actually, I’m afraid, I want to go back but I have nowhere to go
I want to love but no one to love, what am I supposed to do?
I can’t turn it back

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Feel free to use this song for your desperate scenes of heartache. Happy writing!

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Introducing Kpop

My last post gave me an idea.

I mentioned in my Pitch Wars Bio that I have an exorbitant amount of Korean Pop music to inspire any writer. Well, why not do a blog post series? If you haven’t read that post, here is the reiteration:

“Not knowing the Korean lyrics is actually a good thing. For one, you don’t need to know the lyrics to feel what the song is about. It’s like classical, except… not. It allows you to focus on writing your scenes without a singer putting words into your head.”

So, that’s what I’m going to do, starting with the ever popular G-Dragon and his most recent song “Crooked.”

Leave your conceptions about pop music at the door – Korean Pop music (Kpop) is not like American pop music. Kpop artists range in genre from ballads to rap to electronic to rock, and some groups have multiple genres even in their own groups. Take G-Dragon, for instance. He’s know for his crazy antics and his ability to both rap and sing. He’s also a group member of a Kpop group called BIG BANG.

Within BIG BANG is T.O.P (I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that they like to use nicknames. A smart choice for companies who see their stars going internationally). T.O.P has a deep, smoky rap voice. I’m not kidding. Most people I introduce to Kpop cant believe the tone that comes out of him. Also in BIG BANG are DaeSung who has a powerful ballad voice, and Sungri who is also a singer. Then last, but not least, is Taeyang who has a soulful singing voice but is also adequate at rap.

If you pair G-D and T.O.P (or Taeyang) for a duet (“Baby Goodnight” or “Turn it Up”), you’ll get some pretty good rap, coupled with some very good singing (and I hate American rap). In songs where Daesung is the vocal lead  (“Love Song” or “Wings”), you get beautiful melodic music that may have some hints of heavier stuff in the background.

This post has gone on way too long, so I’ll save my run-down on G-D’s “Crooked” for my next post. I’m sure my explanation on the diversity of Kpop hardly did the genre justice, so I suggest to give it a listen. For BIGBANG, I suggest you start with Fantastic Baby (electronic/rap/melodic), Bad Boy (hiphop,melodic), Love Song (melodic with some hiphop), T.O.P’s Turn it Up (rap).


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Pimp My Bio – cake is not a lie

Okay, so, better late than never. The end of November, complete with a string of migraines, has been a whirlwind for me. But here it is – Pimp My Bio!

By now, some, if not most, of the mentors have already selected their mentees. If you don’t know what Pitch Wars is, you’re probably not around the writing circles of Twitter. In that case, you should be logging into Twitter and following the ever-wonderful Brenda Drake (who is also a secret Google ninja assassin).

The mentors themselves had a chance to plead their cases on why they should be our mentors. So now it’s the potential mentees who get to tell the mentors why they should pick them. So, now I present my list:

1. Gamers Unite! I’ll be your World of Warcraft healer if you’ll help me bind my book’s wounds. I will be your Water Temple dungeon guide and teach you how to slay Anduin. And if you’re really craving some competition in Mario Kart or Dr. Mario, I’m your gal. Trust me though, you don’t want me on your FPS team. Seriously, I’ll be stuck in a corner somewhere with my gun pointing at the ceiling.

2. I will Nerd-out with you. Zelda & Warcraft? X-Men & Batman? How about Harry Potter & Mortal Instruments? Anime, manga, and all the things Japanese? Korean? I will fill your nerdy void! Just name your topic and from my mouth will spew a plethora of fangasm.  I like all kinds of fantasy, Asian cultures, cosplay, video games, comic books, and the oxford comma. Seriously, I do.

3. ALL THE KOREAN POP MUSIC! I can give you some awesome song suggestions. Seriously, if you want some fun music to listen to while writing, I highly recommend Kpop. Not knowing the Korean lyrics is actually a good thing. For one, you don’t need to know the lyrics to feel what the song is about. It’s like classical, except… not. It allows you to focus on writing your scenes without a singer putting words into your head.

4. ALL THE CAT PICTURES! Do you have an adorable kitty? I want to see! I have a kitty too! I will show you! Weeeeeeeeeeee! Cuteness abounds! I can’t post any pictures right now, though, because my laptop is dead and I’m writing this from my boyfriend’s work laptop. When I first wrote that last line, I wrote “work boyfriend’s laptop.” That could have been awkward. But, yes, cats! If you haven’t been to my about tab, you’ll find my lovely Jaden there. ^_^

5.  As a graphic designer, I have thick hide (+100 dexterity and strength) from countless projects verbally torn apart in front of me. I understand that second opinions are often the necessary to spark that bigger and better idea. Sometimes “Killing your baby” (Yes, that’s what we called it in design school, however morbid it sounds) is essential if it means sewing a frankenstein that encompasses your vision better than you could have thought alone.

And if that wasn’t enough, my twin sister has her own cake business. I can get you cake! Lots of delicious cake!

So pick me, mentor – the cake is not a lie!

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NaNoWriMo Recap

NaNoWriMo is over, and for those of you who follow me on twitter, you may have realized that an “I won NaNo” post was conspicuously absent. Did I win? Technically no, and yet, I did.

Last year was my first year doing NaNo, and I went into it with a vague idea. I got one chapter written and then fell completely off the wagon. I can’t really remember much else, but I know it was a total failure.

For this year’s NaNo, I chose a piece I had been developing for a little over a year. Now, don’t judge me, but the reason I didn’t do this year’s piece last year was because I had already started writing it. Yes, but this year, I didn’t care. Here’s why: I knew it was a story I would have no trouble chugging through. It’s a piece dear to my heart and encompasses two very real things in my life – losing a best friend to cancer while still new to my 20s and getting stuck in a dead-end job just trying to make that break into the field I studied in college.

Since I already wrote sections of random chapters (1-4k), I used that as a bit of a reward system for NaNo to keep myself going. Bonus words! Call it cheating if you will, but it really helped me push through more than I thought I could. So, reason #1 why I lost – about 10k of my words were pre-written, but that was only adding about 1-4k every couple of chapters.

Project REUTSway

Now, I did hit 50k words total for the month. Reason #2 that I lost, if you’re going by the rule that NaNo needs to be a complete 50k novel – the novel itself topped out at the end at 34k. The rest of the words came from a little side project I did with the awesome REUTS publishing company. Their weekly short story contest, Project REUTSway, was a fun, challenging break from the grind of my novel. I never received top looks for the any of the weeks, but I loved the stories I got to write (and the complete judging isn’t over yet!). I wrote: Snow White & seven vampires set in Italy (think Masque of Red Death), a ghost Rapunzel shortly after the Salem witch trials, an incubus as a male version of Ariel who accidently falls for a siren, and a Japanese take on Beauty and the Beast where the beast is a Jekyll/Hyde shapeshifter as both Gaston and Beast. Crazy times be had, for sure. Pending the results, I will post my stories here, which won’t be until January.

What sucked

When I started NaNo, I had a beautifully designed spreadsheet that would keep track of my word counts and my overall count toward the goal. Then, in a glorious fit of luck, my laptop died. “Put some roses over it, because it’s not coming back to life” dead. Thankfully, (all of my thankfully) I was able to back up my NaNo piece as well as a few other writing projects and my word count sheet prior to the complete meltdown. I had to continue NaNo through my iPad (which still sucks, even though I have the keyboard attachment) and my boyfriend’s work laptop. Neither one would read my word count spreadsheet, so I have not been able to update it. Super bummer.

Pitch Wars

And then to top it all off, Brenda Drake’s exceptionally fantastic Pitch Wars accepted submissions yesterday. That means the tail end of my NaNo days were squandered with much query writing and fixing the first 5 pages from critiques. So, needless to say, November was a busy writing month to me, regardless of not winning.

What I learned from NaNo:

1. Don’t edit – write. I started NaNo and ended up killing almost a full thousand words because I decided to edit. That was a tough lesson for me to learn, considering my first novel was written and edited at the same time. If I got stuck on what to write next, I went back and edited a chapter. No. Not in NaNo, and actually, I probably won’t do that again.

Even though I had done a ton of research on Seoul, South Korea before NaNo, I ran into parts where the characters decided they were going to pop into a shop or a place to eat or go somewhere like the Banpo Bridge. At first, I’d stop and google some things, but after doing this a few times, I realized I was eating up precious writing time. And getting super distracted. “Yes, I would like to learn more about South Korean cocktails, that might come in handy later.” No. I eventually got into the habit of just writing “then they go into the SHOPNAME and they eat – research their food later, but it will probably be something light like a sandwich or some kind of finger food.”

Why it works: I got to stay in my writing flow. No interruptions made it easier to just keep spitting the words out. And even just writing yourself notes about what to add or change later will help me significantly when I go to edit. I will already know what I need to add or research, without having to read back through a half-tried mess several months later.

Also, when you train yourself to just keep writing, you won’t talk yourself out of exploring ideas that might actually turn into something great. I almost did that a few times, and I ended up just pushing through with it and telling myself “well, if it sucks, I can yank it out later.” Most of the time, it didn’t suck.

2. PLOT before NaNo. Nothing against pansters here, but I have always been a plotster. I had an outline going into NaNo, but it wasn’t very detailed. It helped more than I can say. Last year I got stuck, because I didn’t know where I was going or what was going to happen next.

Fear not, pansters! Plotting doesn’t take that creative whim away. For instance, I knew my MC would go out and take in the sights of Seoul. What ended up happening is that she wouldn’t go by herself, because she’s too cautious, so one of the band members offered to go with her. Then I was able to completely explore his depth of character… and I might have to switch my love interest. I don’t know yet. Pants moments happen. A lot! Did I think my star dancer would get injured in the final performance? No, but it happened. Those crazy characters never want to do what you tell them.


My NaNo profile might not say “WIN,” but I still feel like I did. It was a month of pure writing focus, whether I wrote my second novel, queries and crits for Pitch Wars, or short stories for REUTSway. I did win, because I learned way more than I expected to. I got 2/3 of a new novel finished, and I got to challenge myself in ways I didn’t think I could handle.

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