Why "W: Two Worlds" Is a Must-See for Fiction Writers

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Part fantasy, part romance, part suspense thriller, W: Two Worlds challenges authors to think carefully about the worlds and characters they create.  

The plot: Surgical resident Oh Yeon-joo (Han Hyo-joo) is pulled into the action genre webtoon W, created by her father, author and illustrator Oh Seong-moo (Kim Eui-sung). The comic takes on a life of its own when Oh Yeon-joo saves the life of the protagonist, Kang Chul (Lee Jong-suk), and becomes entangled in a murder mystery.

As W 's main character, Kang Cheol, has grown to become self-confident, logical, and meticulous. The hero's journey of separation, descent, ordeal, and return -- repeated frequently throughout Kang Cheol's life -- sets him up to seek context beyond content. When he learns of a world beyond his own, he is forced to question his predetermined configuration.

Here are five times webtoon character Kang Cheol speaks truth to power for creators of fiction as he navigates a brave new world.

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_HowCanYouDoThat1. "I was the victim of that, too."

Early in the W webtoon, we witness the shooting of Kang Cheol's parents and siblings. Because he is powerless to prove otherwise, Kang Cheol is falsely accused, tried and sentenced for the murder. Upon appeal, he is acquitted and creates  "Project W," dedicated to finding the real culprit ("Who" and "Why") while seeking true justice for criminals and their victims.

When Oh Yeon-joo suddenly appears, Kang Cheol decides to protect her despite the lack of evidence proving she isn't a culprit in recent events. When Yoon So-hui sets up Oh Yeon-joo to be captured by the police, Kang Cheol feels betrayed because he is reminded of the injustice visited upon him in the past. He bitterly explains why Yoon So-hee's action goes against everything he stands for:

"Did you forget? I was the victim of that, too. They said it didn't make sense. I was turned from the victim into the culprit in that short moment. No one looks at the context and they only look at what can be seen outwardly. And they think that that's what makes sense. I started this business to help people who were sacrificed by logic, like me! But while being next to me, you've created yet another victim!"

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_BleakSituation

Kang Cheol meets Oh Yeon-joo at the detention center and gives her a run-down of her bleak situation, based on his experience:

"Those people have already decided in their hearts that you're the culprit. They've grown so weary over the past two months. So you have to be the culprit. They'll do anything to make it true. You'll have to face contempt, fear, and they'll destroy your mental state. And that could go on indefinitely for a few weeks, months, even years. And after you've been through that entire process, it isn't easy to go back to living as a normal middle-class citizen."

Fiction Writers Tip 1:

Write based on real experience.

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_MeetingTheCreator2. "You held a pen instead of a knife."

In ancient Greek mythology, the artist Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. In W: Two Worlds, webtoon creator Oh Seong-moo has a very different view of his protagonist.

When Kang Cheol confronts Oh Seong-moo, their meeting is fraught with anger and frustration on both sides. Oh Seong-moo has tried to end the webtoon by killing the main character many times, yet Kang Cheol has survived.

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After a physical altercation, Kang Cheol has strong words for Oh Seong-moo:

"You're bleeding. I guess you're not invincible here. You're just a normal human being that hurts and bleeds, too. This is normal. This way it's fair. I was always the one who bled, died, and was wronged.

"I guess you created me here while moving around those measly fingers of yours. You probably deliberated on how to kill me here, since after finally earning your taste of money, honor, and success, you didn't need me anymore. You created me, abused me, and made my life a living rollercoaster. In return you succeeded and received recognition. Now, you want to kill me ...

"Have you any idea at all what I've been through? You are not a mere author. You are merciless and violent. It only didn't show because you held a pen instead of a knife."

Fiction Writers Tip 2:

The writer should not be the adversary of his characters.

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_Sequel3. "Do I look like a toy to you?"

After his awakening, Kang Cheol finds the answers to his questions are too difficult to accept. He no longer knows how to live. He tries to commit suicide by jumping into the Han River but is rescued from his watery grave. Unhappy that Oh Yeon-joo chose to save him even when he chose death, he challenges her, asking:

"What are you to me? Who are you to keep interfering with my life as you wish? With what right? Did you save me to play a romance game with me? Do I look like a toy to you?"

Oh Yeon-joo confesses her love to Kang Cheol. She momentarily disappears due to the emotions churned up in Kang Cheol by her confession. When she returns, the action hero becomes a romantic lead.

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Kang Cheol manages to have charges against Oh Yeon-joo dropped by publicly claiming they were secretly a married couple. As they live out this ruse, their bonds strengthen. This heightened relationship challenges Kang Cheol, who is just learning to perform sweet, romantic gestures for a woman who may disappear at any moment:

Don’t look at me like that. You might disappear again. Nowadays my heart might be malfunctioning. I am wavering too easily. Stop doing things like crying or confessing if you want to stay with me for a long time.

Fiction Writers Tip 3:

Keep in mind the inner thoughts of your characters - and respect them.

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_TranslucentSoHui4. "We are humans, too."

When Kang Chul's long-time personal assistant, friend, and love interest Yoon So-hui (Jung Yoo-jin) begins fading, he tries to understand the context for this development:

"Characters get created for a purpose within the storyline. When that purpose no longer exists, they cease to exist? From this world forever? Then the converse, when the purpose for a character becomes certain, they get cast as a fixed character. Forcibly?"

When Kang Cheol and Oh Yeon-joo find Yoon So-hui in a translucent state, he tells her she is precious to him and he will need her for the rest of his life. When she is finally resting peacefully, Oh Yeon-joo realizes her presence in the webtoon has created this problem. Kang Cheol explains:

"It’s the damned destiny that your father created. A character’s predetermined configuration. The reason for his or her existence. It’s cruel, right? How could someone come into existence for only one reason? We are humans, too."

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_DrawMeADream

Knowing that the fates of those within the webtoon are uncertain, Kang Cheol comes to accept his destiny and tells Oh Yeon-joo:

"I’m grateful for you saving me, but I didn’t know how I was going to live. But I now now. I just have to live according to my given destiny. If the reason for my existence is to chase the uncatchable culprit eternally, I must do so."

Fiction Writers Tip 4:

Characters should be encouraged to grow and evolve beyond their initial purpose.

W_TwoWorlds_LeeJongSuk_HanHyoJoo_AmIYourHusband5. "A medium to connect the two worlds."

As Kang Cheol travels back and forth between the webtoon and world as we know it, he finally

"Your father couldn’t have possibly created everything in that world. How could a writer predetermine all those billions of people? That doesn’t make sense. What he was able to decide on were only the few characters that he made. That’s why I’ve concluded this. The webtoon is just a medium to connect the two worlds. This world and that world are independent from each other. Two separate worlds. The only things that are common between the two worlds are what show up in the comic: A number of fictional characters, including me, and a few specific locations that are drawn. Variables were continuously created and we have suffered the consequences because of those variables."

Fiction Writers Tip 5:

The world you write about should share some logic with the world your readers understand.

These five realizations by Kang Cheol can help fiction writers think about how they develop characters and stories. Catch the full W series to see how Kang Cheol resolves the story shared between two worlds.

The following playlist features trailers for W: Two Worlds.

 

Posters and Webtoon Covers

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Romance in the Workplace: 5 Favorite K-dramas Featuring Office Couples

HerPrivateLife_KimJaewook_ParkMinyoung

Team-building in the workplace can make for more effective outcomes.

Sometimes time spent working closely with colleagues can lead to more long-term romantic relationships.

Earlier this year, Harvard Business Review provided the guide "How to Approach an Office Romance (and How Not To)" where they highlighted six principles to remember:

Do:

  • Know the many risks of getting involved with someone at work
  • Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies – and the rationale behind them
  • Talk through what you’ll do if the relationship doesn’t work out

Don’t:

  • Pursue a coworker if you’re not serious about a relationship
  • Date someone who you have a reporting relationship with
  • Try to hide the relationship from your manager or colleagues – it will only erode trust

Here are five favorite South Korean dramas highlighting challenges employees face when their collegial relationships evolve into something more intimate.

HerPrivateLife_KimJaewook_ParkMinyoung_Photo1. Her Private Life

First episode date: April 10, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. Dedicated art gallery curator Sung Deok-mi (Park Min-young) leads a secret life as the ultimate fan-girl of Korean pop idol Cha Shi-an (Jung Jae-won). When former artist-turned-gallery-director Ryan Gold (Kim Jae-wook) takes leadership of the Cheum Museum of Art, Doek-mi must deal with the tensions between the new and old directors while protecting her fan-girl life. Based on the 2007 novel Noona Fan Dot Com by Kim SungYeon.

Why I Love This Series: As Ryan Gold learns more about Sung Doek-mi, he supports her passionate pursuit of her favorite boy band idol. She, in turn, helps him regain his lost past and his artistic talent. The series takes you into the art world through a unique behind-the-scenes story, and the romantic chemistry between Ryan and Doek-mi is palpable.

TouchYourHeart2. Touch Your Heart

First episode date: February 6, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. After a scandal impacts the career of top star Oh Yoon-seo (Yoo In-na), she lands a comeback role as a secretary in a drama. In order to get into character to prove she is suitable for the part, Yoon-seo works as a legal secretary for six months. Her workaholic lawyer boss Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook) is notorious for being a perfectionist, but Yoon-seo's bubbly personality soon breaks down his impersonal walls and romance blooms.

Why I Love This Series: First brought together in the kdrama Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, we finally get a chance to see a real romance between these two actors. Though the journey may not be comfortable when these opposites attract, Yoon-seo and Jung-rok learn more about themselves as they deal with the challenges presented by her fame and his ethics.

RomanceIsABonusBook3. Romance is a Bonus Book

First episode date: January 26, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. Kang Dan-i (Lee Na-young) is a divorced single mother who is unemployed and struggling in life. Though she was once recognized as an expert copywriter, she cannot land a job. Desperate for work, she lies about her credentials and eventually lands a job as a temporary worker at a publishing company. She meets the company's youngest editor-in-chief Cha Eun-ho (Lee Jong-suk), who also happens to be a childhood friend.

Why I Love This Series: Romance between older women and younger men is commonplace in kdramas. In this case, the playful romance between Dan-i and Eun-ho is reminiscent of the romance in the Sutton Foster series Younger. Eun-ho's unwavering support for Dani-i's skills and talents strengthen their relationship and make significant contributions to success at the workplace.

WhatsWrongWithSecretaryKim_064. What's Wrong with Secretary Kim

First episode date: June 6, 2018
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. For the past nine years, President and Vice Chairman of Yumyeong Group Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) has groomed Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) to be the perfect secretary to deal with his narcissistic personality. When she suddenly announces that she is quitting, he seeks to understand her point of view while trying to keep her by his side. Based on the manga What's Wrong with Secretary Kim by Jeong Gyeong Yun and Kim Myeongmi.

Why I Love This Series: The perfect secretary teaches the perfect narcissist how to be a human being. Along the way, romance blooms. With a manga as the source, this series incorporates all the fun graphics and sound effects you would expect from a webtoon. A backstory about a shared childhood drama, a secondary workplace romance, and unique colleagues who offer advice and comment round out this entertainer.

SheWasPretty5. She Was Pretty

First episode date: September 16, 2015
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. After a complete reversal of fortune and looks, childhood friends Ji Sung-Joon (Park Seo-joon) and Kim Hye-Jin (Hwang Jung-eum) reunite for the first time in 15 years as employees at a fashion magazine.

Why I Love This Series: As a boss, Sung-joon is a tyrant. As a childhood friend, he is unable to immediately recognize Hye-jin, who is desperately trying to hold on to her position despite her perceived shortcomings. The romantic tension builds as a love triangle emerges among the misfit intern Hye-Jin, editor-in-chief Sung-Joon, and senior feature editor Kim Shin-hyuk (Choi Si-won). The power of first love ultimately wins, making the viewer wonder whatever happened to our teenage crush.

 

The following playlist features trailers for each of these series.

 

You can view kdramas via the streaming services Viki.com, Netflix.com, and Amazon Prime.

If you liked this post, please share, leave a comment, and check out our other posts.

 


The Power of the Press: 5 Favorite South Korean Dramas Showcasing the Influence of the Media

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In recent years, the press has come under increasing attack. In response, media outlets have adopted slogans like "Democracy dies in darkness" (Washington Post), "Facts First" (CNN), and "Pursuing the Truth Together" (WAMU 88.5).

Social media has become an echo chamber for false information, so it is even more critical for people to get their news from reliable news sources.

The following five South Korean series highlight the influence of the media on individuals and society from the viewpoint of those who are responsible for reporting the news.

PowerOfThePress_Argon1. Argon

First episode date: September 4, 2017
Number of episodes: 8

Description: Workplace drama. Kim Baek-jin (Kim Joo-hyuk) is the anchor for the late-night investigative news show Argon. When the Midtown mall collapses killing 71 and injuring many others, he and his producer Shin Cheol (Park Won-sang) fight against the network higher-ups who feed their team suspicious information about the incident. Their battle to deliver credible news in the face of corporate pressure inspires the passionate team of Argon reporters - especially new reporter Lee Yeon-hwa (Chun Woo-hee) - to put their reputations on the line to deliver facts in a world that too easily embraces fake news.

Why I Love This Series: This slow-paced series focuses less on uncovering facts around a complex news story and more on the lives and relationships of the reporters. From the junior reporters to the more seasoned professionals to the politically-minded back-stabbers, the motivations driving each individual is made clear. Despite verifying the facts before broadcasting a story, their reporting comes under intense scrutiny and their reports are repeatedly disputed. Bonds are formed and broken as the news team strives to deliver the truth in an increasingly challenging work environment.

Quotable Quotes:

"Reporters should reveal the truth only through facts."

"A reporter needs to care about people and question conventional wisdom. A reporter also needs to have an insatiable curiousity and always think about the whys and hows. Lastly, when you have a doubt, you must not let it go."

"Changing the frame is powerful. Once you change how someting is framed, nobody thinks about what was the matter in the beginning."

PowerOfThePress_Distorted_02_NamgoongNim_022. Distorted (a.k.a. "Falsify")

First episode date: July 24, 2017
Number of episodes: 32 (half-hour episodes)

Description: Legal, political drama. Journalist Han Moo-young (Namkoong Min) of the online Aeguk Newspaper is secretly uncovering clues related to the murder of his brother and reporter Han Cheol-Ho (Oh Jung-se). Seasoned journalist Lee Seok-min (Yoo Jun-sang) has become cynical after being downgraded at the prestigious Daehan Daily. Prosecutor Kwon So-ra (Uhm Ji-won) seeks to regain her position after her demotion as a result of fighting against powerful players. The three combine their efforts to cover the truth behind a series of events orchestrated by a powerful publisher.

Why I Love This Series: Themes of responsibility, truth, and trust permeate this series. Injustice is portrayed through those with power who wield it without regard for the individual lives they may destroy. With nothing to lose, Han Moo-young convinces those he encounters to do the right thing – or the wrong thing for the right reason. When our trio works together to separate fact from fiction, they leverage their respective media channels to shine a spotlight on the evildoers who had remained hidden.

Quotable Quotes:

"You are never too late if you have the courage to ask the right question."

"Helping the weak isn't justice for a journalist but common sense."

"The first duty of journalism is to seek the truth."

Pinnochio3. Pinocchio

First episode date: November 12, 2014
Number of episodes: 20

Description: Coming of age drama. When the media misreports on the death of a firefighter and his crew, the fireman's family is shattered and separated. Thirteen years later when the truth of the incident is unearthed, the fireman's oldest son Ki Jae-myeong (Yoon Kyun-sang) seeks revenge. Meanwhile, the fireman's youngest son Ki Ha-myeong (Lee Jong-suk) – who was adopted under the name Choi Dal-po – aims to resolve matters by becoming a reporter. As he and his "niece" Choi In-ha (Park Shin-hye) pursue careers as television reporters, Choi Dal-po's past comes back to haunt him – most notably in the form of Ih-ha's estranged mother Song Cha-ok (Jin Kyung), a top television newscaster.

Why I Love This Series: This story is full of all the romance, comedy, thrills and melodrama that you expect from k-dramas. As the relationship between Dal-po and In-ha evolves, they face both mundane and challenging assignments, each of which they meet head-on. Of particular note is the relationship between Ki Jae-myeong and Choi Dal-po as they navigate a world that has both destroyed and redeemed them. Excellent performances by supporting cast members in a narrative that focuses on the impact of news coverage on individual lives make this a compelling and memorable series.

Quotable Quotes:

"The truth can change the world."

"People think that reporters only relay the truth. Reporters should know that people believe them unconditionally. So you should have known that your words are scarier than those of other people. The fact that you didn't know is your mistake."

PowerOfThePress_Healer_014. Healer

First episode date: December 8, 2014
Number of episodes: 20

Description: Crime action thriller. An old murder incident involving a group who ran an illegal broadcasting station brings together four different people - an enthusiastic reporter Chae Young-shin (Park Min-young) from a second-rate tabloid website, a famous broadcast journalist Kim Moon-ho (Yoo Ji-tae), a mysterious computer hacker (Kim Mi-kyung), and a night courier known as "Healer" (Ji Chang-wook) who possesses combat and covert operation skills.

Why I Love This Series: This series powerfully depicts the impact of true vs. fake news in an entertaining story featuring action, comedy, and romance. The different approaches of the lead characters are striking: Healer is driven by instinct while journalist Kim Moon-ho takes a more carefully planned approach and Chae Young-shin chases stories down through dogged determination. As the two join hands to hold accountable the powerful forces working behind-the-scenes, they combat increasing threats by leveraging the power of the free press.

Quotable Quotes:

"Media exists to diagnose the pain of this society and cure it."

PowerOfThePress_Spotlight_025. Spotlight

First episode date: May 14, 2008
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Workplace drama. Revolving around the lives of four news reporters, Seo Wu-jin (Son Ye-jin) joins the bustling city desk of a major broadcast network, along with the other new reporters, Lee Sun-chool (Jin Goo) and Yang Myung-eun (Jo Yoon-hee). Veteran journalist Oh Tae-seok (Ji Jin-hee) serves as their mentor. When Tae-seok sees potential in Wu-jin, he takes a particular interest in her career development.

Why I Love This Series: While this has an old-school feel to it, don't let that fool you. What it lacks in current technological advances it more than makes up with an engaging storyline. This slice-of-life drama offers an interesting perspective on the inner workings of a television news team and the stories they choose to cover. In her enthusiasm to get the story, Seo Wu-jin finds herself in tense situations which she manages to turn around to her advantage. As the reporters track down and report on the next big story, they face important issues including ethics in reporting, freedom of the press, and trust in the fourth estate.

Quotable Quote:

"Our responsiblity as reporters is to reveal the truth."

The following playlist features trailers and snippets from each of these series.

 

You can view kdramas via the streaming services Viki.com, Netflix.com, and Amazon Prime.

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5 Action Thrillers to Watch if You Are New to K-Dramas

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For those who love to binge watch television series, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to South Korean dramas or kdramas. Ranging from 16- 20 1 hour episodes, kdramas offer the viewers a chance to connect with the struggles of the characters on a deeper level.

If you are new to kdramas, here are five action thrillers that offer just the right amount of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety to keep viewers engaged through the final episode.

Memories_of_the_Alhambra_Hyun_Bin_031. Memories of the Alhambra

First episode date: December 1, 2018
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Fantasy thriller. Investment firm CEO Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun Bin) travels to Granada, Spain where he becomes deeply involved in an innovative augmented reality game while searching for its cryptic creator.

Why I Love This Series: A mixture of sci-fi, fantasy and chivalry, this series brings the ultimate augmented reality experience to life with the integration of real-life characters into the game. Through the introduction of new weapons and special items, CEO Yoo Jin-woo levels up and becomes even more driven to overcome dangerous obstacles and complete the questing hero's journey.

The_K2_Ji_Change-Wook2. The K2

First episode date: September 23, 2016
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Political action thriller. Former Blackstone mercenary soldier Kim Je-Ha (Ji Chang-wook) has his reasons for becoming a bodyguard for Choi Yoo-Jin (Song Yoon-ah), the wife of presidential candidate Jang Se-joon (Jo Sung-ha). He is given a special assignment to guard Go An-Na (Im Yoon-ah), the secret daughter of the presidential hopeful. Assigned the code name "K2", Kim Je-Ha must deal with other& hostile bodyguards and the many threats to the candidate's campaign.

Why I Love This Series: Kim Je-Ha is no-nonsense and lives on his terms. His strategy and combat skills make him both liked and loathed by those who cross his path. The series offers much in the way of political intrigue and memorable action sequences with K2 serving as the fulcrum upon which the personal storylines pivot.

ThreeDays_ParkYoochun3. Three Days

First episode date: March 5, 2014
Number of episodes:16

Description: Political action thriller. On the run from the authorities, President Secret Service agent Han Tae-kyung (Park Yoo-chun) teams up with police constable Yoon Bo-won (Park Ha-sun) to find the missing President of South Korea while pursuing clues surrounding an assassination plot.

Why I Love This Series: Inspired by the real-time American series 24, this narrative weaves an intricate and action-packed story of a president facing his past, the men and women who protect him, a staff pursuing their own agendas, and the hidden political forces that decide the fate of the presidency. Themes of honor and loyalty permeate the series and provide the tension as the accountability of each of the characters comes into question.

TwoWeeks4. Two Weeks

First episode date: August 7, 2013
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Crime action thriller. Small-time gangster Jang Tae-sang (Lee Joon-gi) is a man who has been living a meaningless life and never thinks toward his future. Suddenly framed for murder, he finds himself on the run with just 14 days to prove his innocence while staying alive to save his daughter's life.

Why I Love This Series: Finally finding meaning in his life, Jang Tae-sang evades the police, the prosecutors and those who framed him. Unable to trust anyone, his ability to hide becomes more difficult. As he falls into the hands of different players who underestimate his determination, he transforms from the man he was into the man he aspires to be. As Jan Tae-sang's daughter Seo Soo-jin, child actress Lee Chae-mi's appearance throughout the series adds an element of innocence to an otherwise intractable situation.

IRIS5. Iris

First episode date: October 14, 2009
Number of episodes: 20

Description: Espionage action thriller. Special forces buddies Kim Hyun-jun (Lee Byung-hun) and Jin Sa-woo (Jung Joon-ho) join the National Security Service (NSS) - a South Korean black ops agency. As they take on the secret terrorist organization IRIS, they find themselves at odds with their supervisor Choi Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee), the NSS and each other.

Why I Love This Series: This series offers a unique blend of espionage, betrayal, romance, and action to create a memorable and tragic story. While the conclusion may shock, it is a logical outcome of the tale, and it allows for reflection in the sequel Iris II: New Generation.

 

The following playlist features the trailers for each of these dramas.

 

You can view kdramas via the streaming services Viki.com, Netflix.com, and Amazon Prime.

If you liked this post, please share, leave a comment, and check out our other posts.