144

[Work, life, balance, and K-dramas] Less murders, more endings


Chicago Typewriter

By @Cloggie

I’m a writer and it was around the time that my first novel was published that I also made the very smart decision to ditch my day job. It wasn’t that I thought that being a writer meant that my life was going to be like in Chicago Typewriter but more that I had a lot of stuff going on health-wise and the combination of writing and other work was getting too hard. I needed to change my life.

The decision of what “had to give” was surprisingly easy. This was about four months before I discovered K-drama. So now I found myself in the situation where I had a lot of time on my hands. My schedule is that normally I spend half a day writing (seven days a week), then I read a lot and I watch TV during lunch and dinner. But once I’d given up my day job, I realized that the writing, reading, and TV watching all had the same theme: I write crime fiction, I read the books of my fellow crime fiction authors and I watched… well let’s just say that I watched a lot of stuff where a lot of people got killed.

I came to the conclusion that this clearly wasn’t very healthy! Having fictional characters die in everything I did all day wasn’t a good way to be. I needed to find a balance.


Just Between Lovers

That was the moment that I found out that if you do not want to watch dramas about serial killers, or people getting killed in small villages over orchid collections, there wasn’t actually anything much good on U..K television. I’d seen all the period dramas already and watched North & South more times than I’m willing to admit. I was left with watching never-ending soaps or some terrible day-time dramas.

I turned to Netflix almost in desperation. I found a U.S. series called Friday Night Lights, about American football, which I absolutely loved and I binged through all five seasons. Now what? I randomly watched a documentary about Korean twins who’d been adopted by two sets of parents in different countries. That was interesting.

Then came the point that everything changed.

Netflix said: as you liked that, why don’t you watch this?

I read the synopsis of their suggestion and thought: okay, I’ve got nothing better to do, a series about a guy getting a heart transplant is a very good way of spending a few hours. And that was that. I was hooked. Sure, it was a little bit about someone getting murdered, with a car, but it really was about figuring out what you need to do now that you’re not instantly going to die. Even though Netflix didn’t know anything about the reasons why I’d given up my day job, they couldn’t have recommended something better. The weird Netflix subtitles only added to my enjoyment of the drama, even though they were really puzzling for a bit. I got to episode 16 and… it ended! There was no season 2, 3 or 4. This was The End.

I was in love.


Falling for Innocence

Endings are very hard to write. I always struggle with the endings of my novels, especially creating an ending that doesn’t just resolve the plot but is emotionally satisfying as well. It had long been a pet peeve of mine that those TV scriptwriters got away with not having to bother and could just let their series go on for season after season until they died a death. Not here! There was an ending! I didn’t particularly like the ending, I thought they should have stopped after episode 15, but I loved the fact that there was one.

My first K-drama finished (I might have watched it twice in a row), I scoured Netflix for more. I watched some very interesting and some truly dreadful dramas. I watched some dramas that I thought were great but that I now cringe at. This was before I knew all the tropes: Oh, he gets to go back in time, to fix something that he couldn’t do for 20 years. That’s so interesting! Ah, okay, “confessing” has nothing to do with crime. Phew. Now I understand. He’s got amnesia! This is so original!


Operation Proposal

I even watched a 36-episode family drama in which one of the storylines featured a high-flying career woman who financially supports a stay-at-home husband which also had a transgender character in it. I had no idea how different that was.

Having finished most of Netflix’s K-dramas — it was a random and eclectic introduction to what’s out there — I went on to find more. Then I found Dramabeans and at roughly the same time I discovered that my Samsung TV had a Viki app… And the rest is history. I watched a lot of K-drama, spent a lot of time here and published two more novels.

I love K-drama for the variety of stories that they tell and because they end. Even if I hate the ending.

I still largely stay away from the serial-killer crime dramas, even though I watched — and loved — Tunnel. People ask me all the time what I’m watching, hoping to get the next Serial Killer Drama recommendation. I sometimes tell them the truth. And sometimes I even explain why I don’t watch what they think I watch. Just to keep a balance.


The Best Hit

RELATED POSTS

Tags:

144

Required fields are marked *

Awesome post! No wonder you wrote such a good defense of the TOD.Who will understand the necessity and appropriateness of that better than a crime fiction writer.
P.S- If you don't mind, can you please tell the name of the novels you wrote? I would love to read them.

13
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Yes, I had a lot of fun with the ToD.

I'd feel a bit bad posting the title of my novel here. Don't want it to seem that I'm just promoting my stuff. But I'll send you a message via MyDramalist. Thanks for being interested in them...

5
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I would be interested as well! But I’m not on MyDramaList, can you send me the titles through rabb.it? I’m always looking for new crime writers!

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you! I sent you a rabbit message

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

i too need to know ur novel.. though m not a book person but ill try to read it for sure..

0

@cloggie, no problem! You can send me a message on MDL.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I want in as well! I DEVOUR crime fiction! pretty please!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you so much - I've sent you a rabbit message!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I want them too! my MDL username is sweetgirl_haz

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't know you were a writer! That's so cool!
Operation Proposal was my third drama (I was also watching what was abailable on netflix) and I remember thinking the amnesia was so heartbreaking. I didn't realize at the time how big of a trope it is 😆

7
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

My first drama was Falling for Innocence, then Padam Padam, then possibly My Love Eun Dong, and then I think Operation Proposal.

But it was odd starting via Netflix because I didn't even know which actors were supposed to be great and famous.

6
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

How was My Love Eun Dong? I've been thinking about watching it because GOT7 Jinyoung is in it but I don't know anything about the plot 😄

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

There were some weird things about it but I really liked it in the end. I remember that there was a scene where the famous actor does a press conference and they are asking him questions about 'how small his face is' and I was like: is that a good thing? lol

Oh, it does feature amnesia.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

After watching dramas, I now find myself noticing when people have a small face. I never would have noticed things like that before. Dramas have changed me 😄

4

My first kdrama was My Love Eun Dong as well. Was not really a fan of kdramas at that point or after. But I gave them another chance. I love your writing, but think I’ll pass on your crime books! I can’t read those, I get too invested and it’s too real.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

No need to read my books - you can just continue to read my ranting about kdrama on here :-)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The very first Korean related show I watched was Dramaworld. Then my first three dramas were Naeil's Cantabile, Playful Kiss, and Operation Proposal. I'm so glad I discovered DB and Viki after that. The options on Netflix were pretty limited and often not very good *Playful Kiss* 😆

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I even watched Cain & Abel or that drama where UEE plays a professional golfer. Seriously, I saw some very odd dramas

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I remember seeing that golfing one on there but I never clicked on it 😄

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That was probably for the best...

Even though she was very likeable in it and it was quite an original setting for a drama.

2

Nice post, well written, I wasn't expecting neither Cloggie to be a crime fiction writer nor the "Falling for innocence" picture popping up while reading haha ^^ + it's from one of my favorite scenes when he wants all the couples to break up , aigoo I'm smiling just thinking about it, I'll go rewatch it on YT after. Anyway it was nice to read about your journey to dramaland and the tropes discovery ^^ . It would be great to add the drama tropes in your novels, those tropes can be pretty effective but sometimes not so fancy *cough* truck of doom *cough* x) . Since you mentioned Tunnel, have you watched Signal ?

8
16
reply

Required fields are marked *

Here's the scene from "Falling for innocence" on JTBC YT channel (+ there are English subtitles !) , of course it's full of spoilers if you haven't watched the drama =P
*off to spend some time on JTBC YT channel haha*
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sor4xCWlss4

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for posting that clip! That made me laugh so much all over again

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're welcome :) , also have you watched the webdrama "High end crush" ? The story is similar, there's also Lee Si Eon (the male secretary) and the main couple do some cameo in the drama :) ! It's not the drama of the year but I laughed a lot while watching it :)

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'll look that up!

1

I killed a character on a pedestrian crossing with a car in my upcoming novel. So clearly kdrama influenced!
But at least it's not a truck

20
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

"at least it's not a truck" haha good one :) , I guess amnesia will be featured in the next one pwahaha ;)

5
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

As soon as I've figured out how to do amnesia in a believable way...

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

a believable way, err let me try :

"The kimchi slap was so powerful that he falls on the floor unconscious. He wakes up later at the hospital but he can't recognize his girlfriend....it was amnesia."

Totally believable, don't know why K-drama writers haven't use it in that way, feel free to use in your novel :)

*l might be laughing too much*

12

If I use that in my novel, I'll put you in the 'thank yous' in the back, @kudoran

Or how about this likely scenario: a character cries so much that they have to be rushed to hospital. When they're put on a drip, something goes wrong and they end up in a coma. When they come round weeks later, voila, amnesia.

8

Omo omo thank you :) , if you ever publish it , please let me know hahaha (because it will happen one day, I mean such great ideas gotta be published for the world to know pwahaha).

Here's another killing idea (lol) the character walks under the rain, then catches a cold for which he needs to go to the hospital to get a drip but unfortunately the rain was so dangerous that he dies.

*l might be laughing too much...again*

6

@kudoranan June 7, 2018 at 11:13 AM

I cannot believe that I have thus far missed seeing a kimchi slap. I guess they don't do them in sageuks, which was the only genre I watched in the beginning.

I rectified that oversight a few minutes ago. Man, that looks painful. Who would want an eyeful of lactic acid laced with chili flakes. Reminds me of that scene of Jimmy Cagney shoving half a grapefruit in his moll's face at the breakfast table in some gangster flick. Yikes.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I still have a real soft spot for that drama because it was the first one I watched but I don't dare watch it again, just in case (>100 dramas later) it's not as good as I thought it was at the time

4
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I rewatched some scenes on YT and laughed a lot, but rewatching a drama is another matter ^^' , sometimes it's better to let the memories untouched ;) , that's why I rarely do rewatch a drama.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved that drama but haven't recommended it to anyone and would never guess someone could START with it and turn into a bona fide, addicted Beanie! Reading your story made me think that the power of kdrama is very strong indeed.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL at @bbstl. You never know. I somehow managed to get addicted to Kdrama after watching DR. JIN, but it probably says more about me than about my gateway Kdrama. In any event, it led me down a wonderful rabbit hole, and for that I'm grateful. ;-)

Like you, I met my first Truck Of Doom in that first show, too. Not to mention the hunky Mr. Hand Towel, whom I did not know from Adam. LOL.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

IKR? My first full kdrama was Phoenix, which I still can't see fully objectively but no one ever mentions, so it must be considered pretty awful. It sure hooked me for good. I'm really thinking that most of us start with something pretty weak but it's still strong enough.

1

Me too: "I love K-drama ... because they end. Even if I hate the ending."

15
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's one of the best reasons to love them. I too hate that American series don't have to be well plotted, they just continue on getting more and more outrageous (jumping the shark).

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh dear lord yes and I remember even watching the rerun of the show where the expression jumping the shark came from it was like being given ice cream and finding a cockroach in the middle.

I was also really drawn to the short time 16-20 eps compared to multi season US shows or 100+ episode mexican novelas where something would always be screwed up.

And then the other thing that drew me to drama is that i love that the men are more expressive in their sadness i.e crying. Mexican actors hardly ever do and when they try i just cringe because they wail too loud. And in american tv shows you see them brooding but never much more expressive. And when i saw Kwon Sang Woo cry in Stairway to heaven I fell in love. And now its been 13/14 yrs of drama watching escapism.

I love it because it has a beginning middle and an end; even if that ending made me cry tears of despair. 😭😭😭

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Excellent write-up, @cloggie! Not that you need me to tell you that! But I definitely love your writing style, and agree with what you said.

It drives me up the wall when shows go on and on with no end, and eventually I become sick of the characters and stories I once loved. I've always wondered why American TV shows needed to have so many seasons in order to be considered successful. We end up butchering what we wanted to say in the first place because we need filler, and more drama.

So yeah. :) Dramas end. And it makes me sad, and I don't always like the ending. (If AOY doesn't get a third season... *shakes my first*) But I am very glad that they end.

10
28
reply

Required fields are marked *

I once wrote a very long rant on here about what would have happened if Go Back Spouses had been a US TV series - with never-ending seasons.

US series seem to go on until nobody is watching it anymore. That's why there are so many crime dramas: that way each season has one story but they can continue with the characters

10
19
reply

Required fields are marked *

Exactly! I think I have.. two US TV shows that I like that were not little miniseries things, and one of them I'm still upset with. Stranger Things is good because they've already set a finite number of seasons, and Gilmore Girls... I'm still upset with Gilmore Girls.

2
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

Stranger Things is so gooood. Sorry, I saw your comment and had to fangirl. :D

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

No, no, no! Don’t apologize! Can we chat about it together sometime? I will absolutely take every opportunity to rattle on about how much I love it. 😂

2

@bammsie Anytime. :D I am always available to chat all stranger things .... things.

1

Do you have Rabbit or MDL? I'll rattle away!

0
1

Thank you!

1

Gilmore Girls and Ally McBeal for me. They both needed to end earlier on a better note (before totally changing what was good about the main characters).

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gilmore Girls had three seasons.

That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

4

I LOVED Gilmore Girls for a good three seasons. But obviously it ran too long and had to make stuff up in order to extend the runtime, because characters started falling apart and needless separations and angst occurred that drove me bananas. ☹️

4

@mindy Exactly. Except then I wouldn’t get my Luke and Lorelai. *pout*

2

I loved Ally Mcbeal, part of why I named my dog Ally and my handle here as well!

4

I used to watch American series but like you said, I stopped caring. If you make me wait 1 year to get on with the story, I will move on to something. #sorrynotsorry

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And I’m not watching something for 10 years and watch break-up to misunderstands to cheating to lying to

get to that one couple that I stopped caring about 5 years ago.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'd love to read that rant on Go Back Spouses! Where would I be able to find it?? Its one of my favourites that I've seen more than once and each time I still bawl my eyes out.

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

oh! wow! thank you!

1

Ooo, thank you, Cloggie!

0

It's pretty much about the same things as this post actually.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@bammsie Bam Gent ~ Currently Euphoric Over Truths Untold June 7, 2018 at 10:35 AM

I've always wondered why American TV shows needed to have so many seasons in order to be considered successful.

High episode counts are not a matter of being considered successful in a critical sense. In order to go into syndication (sold for broadcast after the original season), 100 episodes have to have aired, IIRC. At 20 episodes/year, that's 5 years.

Much as films make money via ticket sales, broadcast rights, DVD sales, and merchandising tie-ins, TV shows make money via commercial sponsorship / advertising time and syndication. I don't know how online and digital media figure into it, but there must be money being made by those means as well.

2
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the info, Pakalana! I don't think I like that system.. but it is very good to know.

How 'bout TV shows start getting Subway to sponsor them, instead?

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Actually, back during the Golden Age of TV in the 1950s, major corporations sponsored entire shows. For example, MARLON PERKINS' THE WILD KINGDOM (Mutual of Omaha insurance); THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (historical documentary; PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE); UNITED STATES STEEL HOUR (drama omnibus, IIRC). It was pretty much what had originally been done in radio with the corporate sponsorship of "soap operas" (serials sponsored by makers of consumer products such as dishwashing, hand, and laundry soap, Ivory Snow, and food such as Ovaltine, Wheaties, Post cereals, Kellogg's [THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES extended theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=iA5DTejequw%5D etc.).

At some point it became prohibitive for a single sponsor to foot the production expenses, so multiple sponsors supported a single program. Particularly in the case of game shows and talk shows, in-kind sponsorship was done, and you'd see notices that the gentlemen's suits were supplied by Botany 500 and Hickey Freeman, or cars and hotel accommodations were provided by Ford Motor Company or Sheraton Hotels, etc. American Tourister luggage was a frequent sponsor. Cigarette companies were huge advertisers. Non-prescription pain relievers such as Bufferin, Anacin, and Bayer aspirin -- and Alka-Seltzer for upset stomach -- advertised a lot. But I don't ever recall seeing the kind of PPL that is done in Kdramas when I was a kid watching American shows.

SubWey is actually not doing so well, and is going to be closing hundreds(?) of locations in the US, according to a news item I read a couple of months ago.

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

How fascinating! I must go back to watch some of my old favorites then, and see if I can recognize anything.

I’m not particularly fond of Subway, but that’s unfortunate! :(

1

@bammsie Bam Gent:

How could I forget to mention that Geritol ("for iron-poor, tired blood") was a big sponsor of THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW?!?! I think that Sominex (over-the-counter sleep aid) was also a Welk sponsor -- and the "lovely little Lennon Sisters" used to sing the commercial -- unless I've slipped my clutch and mis-remembered. ;-)

1

Oh! How cool! I must go and rewatch and see!

0

You're absolutely right @pakalanapikake, a series is financially 'successful' if it goes over 100 episodes. I once went to a conference about tv script-writing and the big theme was: how to get to that 'five seasons'
stage.

The way the financial side of those TV shows work is just so different from kdrama. Guaranteed audiences for seasons 2,3,4 also means that they can charge higher rates for the ad slots within it.

Netflix tries to do different things and be disruptive (because they have a different commercial model) and commission another kind of dramas. Not always successfully but I like that at least they try...

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie,

Thanks for explaining the financial considerations of American TV production. There's another angle for scriptwriters, who might opt for residual payments versus being paid more up front. If you're lucky enough to work on a smash hit, residuals/royalties could become a significant future income stream, as it does for songwriters.

When I was in radio in college, it was common knowledge that market share (as measured by quarterly? Arbitron and maybe Nielsen ratings, broadcast radius, signal strength, etc.) determined how much a station could charge advertisers for air time for their commercials. In newspaper and magazine publishing, it was certified paid circulation, back in the days of hard-copy.

I did radio because I loved music. The main way you made real money was by selling airtime. (The TV show WKRP showed the sales side of the radio business.) Sales was not my thing. I never expected to work in commercial radio, but was referred to an unusual station by a buddy who had worked there early in her own career. The station hosted local ethnic programming, and the producers/hosts of each show were responsible for securing their own advertisers and sponsors. The formula worked very well, and the station is still in existence. I was hired as a licensed operator (technical staff) to ride herd on the transmitter and FCC-required logs. It was basically a minimum-wage job. I enjoyed the environment, and it gave me a break from my mentally-draining day job. But I was never going to get rich doing it. The money was in sales, and also syndication, if a personality's show became successful. Think of the late Casey Kasem's widely-syndicated show AMERICAN TOP 4O.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for putting my post up! And coming up with a much better title than I had...

11
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great post! Like you I like that K-dramas have an ending and only one season (for most). I get an beginning, a middle and an end in a reasonable amount of time, even when I am binge-watching.

After watching 13 seasons of Grey's anatomy in 3 months, I can't do another American series.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Whenever I see that a k-drama is going to do a second series, I feel a bit sad. Luckily it doesn't happen that often.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I tried to like Mystery Queen Season 2... I've learned my lesson.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same. :( Such a disappointment.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great essay! :)
I'm with you - one of the things I love about Kdrama is the fact that the stories have an ending (not always a good one, but...) and don't drag on for years and years. I think that was part of the reason I got addicted. When the first one was done, I immediately needed another. :)

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, if a drama is going to disappoint me, I'd rather it does it at the end of 16 episodes then after years and years :-)

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

😲😲😲@cloggie I feel like this post is straight from “She Was Pretty” when Siwon reveals that his fun loving average employee character is actually a renowned writer 🤗🤗

Wow, I feel you on the tv watching front! I mainly watch BBC murder mysteries (I’m an Agatha Christie fanatic hehe) and kdrama, because I’ve been burned by American shows going on too long and making me dislike the characters.

13
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

In fact, I'm just a fun loving average writer :-)

I love Agatha Christie too but I've seen adaptations of almost all of them already. Plus, you know, I was trying to cut down on the number of fictional characters getting killed in my life on a daily basis.

7
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was addicted to Agatha Christie in high school. I read all 80-ish of her Poirot and Marple books (mostly under my desk during history class, lol), and I only guessed the killer correctly twice, I think.

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I first started reading her in highschool, because an aunt sent me several of her paperbacks for my birthday. I ended up staying up all night reading “Murder on the Orient Express” and getting a nosebleed in my excitement to find out the killer!

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Good aunt!

1

Yeah, I’ve watched nearly all of her movies... I actually got up a Miss Marple cosplay that I used a few timed last year! Though no one at the American geek events ever knows who I am...

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

What has the world come to? I was a confirmed Agatha Christie reader in high school, too. ;-)

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

This makes me wish y’all were in person so we could do a Beanie book club 🤓☺️

3

@pakalanapikake, @blnmom and of course @cloggie!!!
I love @hotcocoagirl's suggestion!!!
*pleading Bambi eyes* ^^

3

You can never watch North and South too many times. Especially if you mix in some Horatio Hornblower to mix things up a bit.

I think endings are why I continue to watch kdramas. Even though the ending may be seriously wacked, or just plain frustrating, you can put the drama away and move on. US series drag on and move in circles until they wring out everything that was even remotely interesting, and leave us with a limp rag that I no longer give a crap about.

Also, as an avid mystery reader, I’m curious what you have written.

9
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Are you on MyDramaList? Then I'll find you and send you a message about what I've written

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes. Thank you!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I just today read about Richard Armitage being in something that's about to come out. Argh! What is it? I'll report back.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ocean's 8?
(I had to look up Richard Armitage's twitter account and found it mentioned there - no idea if it's good as I haven't seen it).

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

North & South, Hornblower and Agatha Christie all mentioned in one thread. *fans eyes like Bo Young*

@cloggie so you did tell us about your life in the end hehe. I didn't know you were a professional writer, but I'm not surprised. :)

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie
The 'you' in my head makes so much sense now that I know you're a writer ^^
"He’s got amnesia! This is so original!" is probably my favorite part lol how nice to watch dramas without knowledge of the tropes and kdrama ways! Did this happen to you too with Falling for Innocence?A friend of mine wanted to watch it mainly because I'd been obsessed with Heartless City when it aired and she was the one I'd turn to everytime with "you're NOT going to believe what happened in today's episode!!!" so when they announced this one with both JKH and YHM, she wanted in. She's watched only a handful of dramas so I think I had more fun laughing at her reactions of "I never saw that coming!!" (even when, to me, it was obvious it was coming) than actually watching the drama!
Also, I'd love to read something of yours someday!!

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Some of the rom-com storyline in Falling for Innocence was obvious, but I do remember being totally surprised when the ToD took out a minor character!

Amnesia, time skip, confessing at the right time, and 'if they kiss they're the OTP' were definitely kdrama tropes that I had no idea of...

I watched Heartless City as well (because JKH) and it was much more obvious to me what was going to happen in that one - including the ending.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha, "He’s got amnesia! This is so original!" I laughed pretty loudly. Great post!

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"He’s got amnesia! This is so original!"
I'm at the car repair shop and almost just spit out their complimentary coffee across the entire waiting room 🤣. I well recall my own early days of kdrama watching when everything was so fresh, your essay really brought that back. I found kdrama by hitting one wrong digit on the remote, I thought I was dialing up a BBC show (about a priest in Ireland?) and got the network next in order instead which had a show in Seoul. Little did I know I had no objection to subtitles. As you say, I was in love.

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I now have this image of you wanting to watch Father Ted and getting Boys Over Flowers (or another kdrama) instead ...

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

So, you have compelled me to search out what it was! This goes back a long way, it looks like I gave up "Ballykissangel" for the kdrama "Hotelier". I had been to Seoul and I just stared at the screen transfixed and thinking I was hallucinating as they kept showing panoramic views of the city. My viewing life has been utterly out of balance ever since!

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah, BALLYKISSANGEL. Sweet. ;-)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Super fun read! I remember when I started watching dramas, not knowing any better, I pretty much watched anything I came across. I am now more selective and I love K-thriller/suspense dramas.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"He’s got amnesia! This is so original!" LMAO. But it definitely felt original the very first time I came across it when starting my K-drama career!

Also, I don't typically read all the Theme of the Month guest posts, but I saw the header picture was Chicago Typewriter and I just HAD to click on it because that show is so underrated and I love it so much and I want that beautiful home library.

Great post, too @cloggie! That's so cool to hear you're a crime writer! I love reading and watching crime stories, and while I enjoy writing fiction myself -- I'd never want to write a crime/mystery. I enjoy consuming and not creating that genre. :)

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hello fellow writer! Yes, that library in Chicago Typewriter is all kinds of awesome.

It does always annoy me a bit when the writing life is shown as being terribly glamourous and that's why I loved the depiction of writers in both JBL (even though she's a cartoonist and I couldn't draw anything to save my life) and in BTLIOF.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow, cool, you are a writer. I love that!!! One of my dreams!
You know, this falling for innocence drama, I just read the recaps, not even fully, because I hated the plot, the main male character, the female lead, everything!!! But if it made you discover Dramaland, then, it was worth something!!!
I have never been too much a tv watcher, because well... since being a teenager I was a book worm, and also, southamerican television is... well... not exactly original, while northamerican television prove to be eventually too much saturated of violence, immorality and more violence, so no... it became a no-no for me.
And then I also discover Dramaland, and there you go. Since 2013 I read less and watch more, but mainly Kdramas. My point is, maybe out of different reasons, I feel identified with you. And your post kind of allows me to ask you something: would you say that korean dramas in general convey more depths and emotions than regular western television shows from the same format? Like, if you compare korean dramas with modern British/American dramas... would you agree Koreans provide deeper meanings, better acting, more creativity????
I am curious of what you could say.

Thank you a lot for posting.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's very interesting this question of Korean vs British/American dramas. I watched some Korean movies too and was surprised that I found them quite similar in genres/acting/emotion as their UK/US equivalent.

So for me, it probably has something to do with the 16-episode format. It gives a drama the scope to have interesting side characters, but still needs a story-arc that finishes. If I compare it to some UK/US dramas where they have 6 or 10 episodes per season, then there is less room for all of that?

When there's the never-ending seasons, you can often watch episodes out of order (with something like House or CSI), which means there isn't one main story.

I love stories and the sheer number of stories that kdrama puts out there is astonishing! If you look at how many dramas premiere every two months, I can see why they end up having to be very creative with they stories they tell, just to get them made!

And we have the privilege of watching the best ones, either because they get recommended by people here or on other sites. So from a huge output, we get to see the good ones. No wonder we love them...

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Since we are on the topic and you have a viki account can you please also send me the novel title, i would love to read them. :)

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

And it was a wonderful post. :)

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Erm how do I find anybody on viki? I've figure out how to send messages on rabbit and mydramalist but not on viki yet

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Its not difficult, just log in to viki.com on web (you can't message from app) and use your viki account, on top right you will see msg box and you can use my username not the display name to send me a msg. You can also search there. I guess you will find it out to be easy as well.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

yeah, I saw that.

The problem is... how do I find your username? If you message me (my username is cloggie on viki too) I'll respond to you.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Cool, i will do that once i manage to get my home, i have crossed four countries in last 15 hours with flight cancellations and rerouting

1

This is such a great essay, @cloggie!!

So much of what you say rings true for me as well.
When I first read about tropes, I didn't even know what a trope was! I fell for all of them for the first few dramas I watched.
And yes, they come to an end. What a relief!! Who wants to devote YEARS to watching a show that never delivers?! Okay, so many endings fall short, but the fact that these shows have a beginning, a middle and an end is much more satisfying overall.

I'm not surprised that you are a writer... I would also love to read your work. Could you please send me the titles via rabbit? Thank you!!
*hugs*

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

How awesome @cloggie that you are an actual published writer! I enjoyed reading your post. Falling For Innocence (or Beating Again, the title I know it by) was my third (well, technically 2nd because the other was a web series) drama I watched and also through Netflix's recommendation. I also got hooked by it, but never really heard anyone talk about it before. It reminded me a little of the movie Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny, but you know with ktropes!

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, I know it as Beating Again too. I still think that drama did something interesting ... I love how it's hooked all these Netflix viewers and turned us all into kdrama addicts

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I still actually think that Beating Again/Falling For Innocence did something interesting underneath the rom-com fluff.

It started out as a pure revenge story, but then it changed and showed that once you've got your revenge (which I think happened about half-way?) you need to find another goal in life.

But maybe I'm just defending it because This Drama Was My First. You know, me and this drama are now fated.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can talk and defend my first drama too even though I know it's not the best out there. You love your first one because it allowed you to find better ones:)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow, thank you for writing this! With just a few details shuffled around (such as the number of books published and our gateway dramas) your post bears striking parallels to my own drama/writing journey. Well, except that endings aren't my problem. My problem is *always* the Mushy Middle!

I came to dramas during a very stressful time in my life, both personally and professionally. I'd quit my career job to write, my first novel was a disaster, and my personal life had complications. KDramas helped me cope with feelings overload!

But yes yes yes, along with you, I *love* that dramas have endings. Even when I hate them. I've been burned by too many canceled American shows to even start one now unless someone tells me that it's actually completed its run and has a satisfying ending. Otherwise why bother? Terrible model for storytelling.

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hello fellow writer!

What happened to your first novel, if you don't mind me asking?

I don't have to much of a problem with the middle because I like to write things with a Midpoint Turn, which keeps the mushiness in check. I always look out for that turn in dramas too - I want something to change around episode 8 of 16...

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL, my first novel. What happened was that I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote 10 full drafts of that dang book (ten. full. drafts.) and got rejected by 30+ agents and pubs before it found a home. Every rejection was encouraging, though, and got me a bit closer to publication. So, you know, it's the classic tale of how I failed my way up.

What I figured out between my first and fifth book is that outlines and I don't agree (which is a huge surprise because IRL I'm a *planner*). It turns out I'm an organic storyteller. Often the books I wind up writing are very different from the ones I think I'm going to write. The beginnings I can control, and the end point doesn't really change, but the middle is anybody's guess.

Oh yes, that midpoint pivot! I love those! When I first started watching dramas, I would get all wrapped up in the storyline and feel totally satisfied that the couple has *finally* smiled mistily at one another in complete understanding (and maybe *touched fingertips* or *lightly brushed lips*) never expecting the hammer to drop.

Now I know. As soon as things start looking up, I'm on the alert for the long-lost-brother or the Truck of Doom.

*dun dun*

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

A post is percolating about how drama watching has changed my actual storytelling -- because that's totally happened.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

We clearly have a lot in common: my first novel got rejected by 15 publishers before it finally got out in the real world.

For me, the ending always changes and then I have to go right back to the beginning to make everything consistent. I won't go through 10 full drafts, most of the time, but will easily go through 5 or 6 for each book.

I don't know if drama watching has changed my storytelling, but it's definitely made me much more aware of it. And I love the pivot where you think the drama (or book) was about one thing and then it turns out to have been about something completely different...

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great write up @cloggie! Do let us know the names of the books you have written so that we can enjoy them with the rest who have already read 'em :)

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie you are such a wonderful writer. Something about the way you write makes me feel are speaking to me, right next to me. I completely agree. An Ending- whether it be good or not so good- is still an ending. And that, in many ways, is a blessing

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

You summed up one of the reasons why I love dramas! Whether we like it or not, there's an ending and we can move on and not have to sit through 20ish seasons of a show only to have a couple break up in the end. Because what else can they do after twenty season? (Yeah, I'm talking about you Shonda Rhimes). I just want to be able to move on from a story and find another one to watch. But shows like Strange Forest and Age of Youth definitely deserve more than one seasons since they're so well written and not necessarily focused on a main love story. Anyway, I just want to express how endings are the one aspect of Korean dramas I really appreciate as a viewer who doesn't like to get tied down by multiple seasons. Eventually, the multiple seasons do a disservice to the characters and you begin to question why you enjoyed shipping them in the first place.

On another note, I enjoy my 9 to 5 job but sometimes I day dream about becoming a writer. Mostly that involves people watching at a coffee shop while I attempt to write some young adult fantasy series. Didn't think to include drama watching in my day dream. You are living the life!!!!

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, @cloggie. I truly enjoyed reading your essay.

"People getting killed in small villages over orchid collections" sounds like MIDSOMER MURDERS. Detective Inspector Tom Barnaby and sidekick Sgt. Troy are two of my all-time crime-solving faves. ;-)

One of the things that I appreciate about Kdramas is the finite length, although many of them end in a less than satisfying fashion. A rare few make me wish they could continue, but that only courts a delayed ending that would probably curdle my love for the story and its characters. It makes me further appreciate the wisdom of actress Deanna Durbin, who retired at the height of her fame rather than being abandoned later by notoriously fickle fans. Always leave the audience wanting more. ;-)

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! It was Midsomer Murders - well spotted!

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The tip-off was "small villages" -- hehehe. With "orchid collections" a close second. ;-)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I kept thinking Hamish MacBeth, but knew that was wrong.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie, I had to come back to tell you that a few weeks ago The NY Times had an article bemoaning the state of American tv and how it just goes on and on. I wrote a comment noting the Korean model of 16-20 episodes and done, and that it's pretty much all I watch now. I think I got 7 or so "likes", so a few votes for change 😉

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@cloggie Thank you so much for this post! I related to this post so much in terms of TV viewing: I cannot count the number of times I have watched North & South hahaha I adore its soundtrack! Honestly, the type of TV I watched before transitioning to K-Dramas is pretty similar!! Now I really want to read one of your novels :D

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Someone else who loves Friday Night Lights! Possibly the only TV show I've seen where I could have handled another season, though they did send it off in the best way possible. I'm not sure if you've seen any This Is Us - it's another US show that gives me a distinctly FNL vibe. Slowly working my way through it, though it has been hard to commit to another multi-season American epic when there are so many k-dramas out there waiting to be devoured.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved Friday Night Lights . I was totally addicted to it, even though I know nothing whatsoever about American Football and have no interest in it. But that tension between sport and study is so great, especially with the husband & wife - Coach & study counsellor set-up. They both want what's the best for those kids but don't agree on what 'the best' is.

Isn't it also sad that these 17/18 year old kids are famous and for many (most?) of them this is the best time of their life - even without life-changing injuries. They'll never get that fame and respect in later life again.

Such a great series...

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! I thought it did such a good job of revealing the pressures these kids face - thrust into a harsh and unrelenting spotlight, only to be cast aside when they’re not useful anymore. I loved seeing how Matt, Riggins, Smash and Street all dealt with that in different ways. There were so many strong and complex female characters, too. I may have bawled my eyes out from sheer joy several times :’)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

great way to discover kdramas and how Netflix helped you too....
when we start out in kdramas our heart wants to watch as much as we can and that too in short span. but now looking back feels what actually i was thinking to even watch it let alone be a frantic fan of....
freelance writing... such an interesting job you have... great write up. Hope your health is all good now.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks @kdramaswimmer! My health issues meant that I had to make some life-style changes, but that's all fine.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hi @cloggie! I'm late in responding to this post, but may I also ask you for the name of your books? ^^ I'd love to read them.

Also, I'm super happy to read that you're a writer. I actually quit the legal field for a while a couple of years ago because I wanted to write. Sadly I'm far too young to have any substantial savings and that impulsive action wasn't sustainable. XD My biggest take-away is to wait, write as regularly as possible until I have a decent book on my hands or decent savings; and just be patient. ^^

I dunno if it'll ever happen but I loved your post and it's taken me ages to write this comment because essentially it sounds like you're where I want to be years from now.

3
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

and me too..not the profession wise but the freelance part inspires me the most.
Ok and i think your decision to quit wasn't wrong at all... you at least tried something which you always wanted to do..... and it must have taught you something which you couldn't hv learned any other way....

i am planning speculating and then giving up on it for last 2years now....
now you are my inspiration too @greenfields

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hahaha no I'm not an inspiring person, but thanks @kdramaswimmer. It taught me a lot indeed, and it wasn't a very plesant experience/lesson to learn either. So I'd say don't worry about your hesitation? It's normal and natural.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hi @greenfields, I personally think my life is great - even if there are a lot of people who think it's a total failure. But we don't care about them!!!

I'm careful about myself and about my writing. Without substantial savings, there is huge pressure to succeed and produce, which I think would be bad for me (and severely reduce my kdrama watching time!)

I often used up my holiday allowance to give myself time write. Even now famous writers like JK Rowling wrote whilst doing another job until she had a book ready that someone was willing to publish. That tension between money and being creative is a real tough balancing act.

I'll send you a rabbit message about my books!

Thanks for your lovely comment. It's been fun finding all these fellow-writers.

3
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

We absolutely do Not care about them! ^^; No one can define success for ourselves but ourselves.

As I now have you on rabbit, I shall respond to the rest there. :) But briefly yes - I learned to look at the fact that most writers I read started out in other professions before moving to writing full time. So I'm not rushing it either anymore. I'm glad I quit when I did, the lesson was a valuable one.

1
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

(quit law*)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

No, write it here @greenfields! I don't have rabbit. Just kidding. I realise it may be too personal a story...It's just interesting for me to read that you quit your field for a while and were able to return. I'm always told that in the academic world, once you leave it's hard to come back. Pressure much.

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

🤣 I'll be honest - My young age (meaning I start from the bottom anyway) & education (from one of the best law schools here + LLM from the UK), helps. By that I mean I get a call for interview from 3/10 places I apply to, within the legal field. Zero from outside - because law is not good for anything else.

But it hasn't been easy. I've fallen behind my peers by a few years (e.g. I sat for the bar exam earlier this month, not two or three years ago) & had a couple of missteps just in getting back to the field. I like to think that what I lack in work experience, I make up for in off the beaten path life experience that I could use for my writing. ^^

The younger me did not know the implications of what she was doing, I think, but it really is fine. I've come out happier for it.

2

Thank you for telling me about this @greenfields! it is inspiring, even if you don't think so :)

2

@wishfultoki - inspiration is for success, this is caution. But thank you. ^^ Good luck with what you're considering, if anything at all.

1