[Interview #8] Luigi - "Its with my friends that I can get through my tough schedule"
Today I am joined by Luigi, a young author from The Philippines whose passion for writing began when he was a child, and though he is under pressure to study hard for High School, he has aspirations to study film and go to Korea one day! On GoodNovel, he has authored many books including
Unheard Feelings ,Find The El Dorado, The Ten Promises , etc.
By Alex N.
October 19, 2020
Interviewer: You are still in high school, so when did you start writing books then? All the way back in elementary school?
Luigi: I began writing back in 2012, when I was 12 years old at the back of my notebook. I am an imaginative person and I always write my ideas in my notebook that serves as my compilation book. Honestly, I imagined that notebook is the physical book version of my story. At a young age, I dreamed to have my own book under a publishing house here in the Philippines. A year after, a writing platform became popular here so I decided to join and share my story with other people as well. It was kind of difficult for me since I didn’t have internet or laptop back then. But no one can stop me from writing so I saved money and go to the internet cafe near our house instead. Though around 2016-2019, I started writing less.
Interviewer: Oh, why did you write less during 2016-2019?
Luigi: One of the factors is my busy schedule back then i.e school work. Also, my writer's block occurred due to depression I have experienced before.
Interviewer: Yeah, school has a lot of exam pressure and decisions on what to do in the future. So are the books you write all from before 2016 then?
Luigi: No. All my stories in Goodnovel are fresh and new. This year made me come back to writing which I think is the perfect timing for me.
Interviewer: Because of free time during the pandemic?
Luigi: The pandemic would be one of the reasons also. Besides, I realized that I must continue my plans when I was young to pursue this path and publish a book soon.
Interviewer: What do you study in high school?
Luigi: I am currently a Grade 12 studying Humanities and Social Sciences. I really love studying social sciences. I don't have any regrets since this has opened my eyes to see the reality in our country. My favorite is Film Studies. When I was in 6th grade, I love creating videos to keep myself entertained. I also love doing graphic design, video editing, and directing school projects. 2nd course that I would like to take is Law. I would like to use what I have learned about for our society. I would like to defend people from juvenile delinquents.
Interviewer: Do you write stories from what you see and experience in society?
Luigi: Frankly speaking, no. For me, our society is too toxic. The reason why I am writing is to escape from the reality and forget about the cruelness in society. I try to filter out the negative contents on my story and focus on the positive aspects/experiences of my life and society. So for my book Unheard Feelings is based on what happened in my life for the past few years: the students who finished their studies, their everlasting friendship, trust, support and the communication to each other even they met new people in the present time.
I still remember before when I find our math subject difficult and they taught me how to solve it. Though now we are enrolled in different schools, we managed to help each other including our research project. Helping is a small act but can truly be appreciated by others. Its with my friends that I can survive through this tough journey.
I also consider Unheard Feelings as my first full-length that was written in English though I have English stories before but I didn’t finish them due to lack of my vocabulary beforehand. This shows how much I have grown.
Interviewer: Yeah, I hated learning dx/dy and stuff like that. A lot of our authors on GoodNovel are from The Philippines, may I ask why do Filipinos speak/read really good English?
Luigi: Almost all young Filipinos can speak in English fluently. First, Americans colonized us for years that makes us adopt their language. Second, the Philippines is a bilingual country. That means our second language after Filipino is English. Also in our education, once you started studying in schools private or in public, there are English subjects until the tertiary level. The last factor is big companies here in our country require their employees to speak in English so they can communicate with other people and clients smoothly.
At school, some teachers are strict and require their students to speak in English when it comes to recitation and other performance tasks. Maths is studied in English as well as science, social studies, etc.
Interviewer: And afterwards, where do you want to go for university?
Luigi: I am planning to study at University of the Philippines, it is one of the most prestigious universities here. If I could pass their entrance examination, I will pursue my dream career to be a filmmaker. After graduating in that path, I would like to seek opportunities in South Korea since they prioritize art crafts. If I would be given a chance to study there, I would like to get masters degree.
Interviewer: Oh, why do you like Korea so much? Even one of your books on GoodNovel is set in the Joseon dynasty (historic Korea).
Luigi: Haha, because their movies, TV series including their variety shows are very budgeted yet you notice that they rely on creativity and efforts to make it successful. From cinematography, to acting skills, units in the background, and music, all of it is planned really well. I learn techniques from them for my film class.
I get a lot of ideas from Korean pop culture. Regarding my book set in the Joseon dynasty, I was inspired by Scarlet Heart Ryeo. To make my story unique, I chose Joseon because it's easier to understand. And yeah, I conducted research about it and voila: I made an interesting plot (for me). Also KPOP songs gives me ideas and inspiration to make new stories. One of my story entitled Find the El Dorado is inspired by the song of Kpop group named EXO.
Interviewer: Our authors are primarily female and you are actually the first male author I have interviewed. Why do you feel there are less male web fiction authors?
Luigi: Well based on my own perspective, the reason why the number of male authors is less than female is that they can express their feelings easily. Whereas men usually find it harder to express their feelings through words and possibly more easily through action.
In my group of friends, I’m also the only one who has less interest in mobile games or sports. Some of my friends said that my talent was unique and they wanted a talent/skill like me as well. They also said composing a 100-word essay is difficult but for me: I can do it in minutes. Since joining Goodnovel, I’ve also made new friends such as Harold and Angela Carver, they’re both really nice and I enjoy talking to them.
Interviewer: Probably because you’ve been writing since you were 12. And compared to when you were 12, do you feel you have improved a lot?
Luigi: Lol, thanks. Definitely. Reading my past stories, I will burst out laughing at my grammatical errors, cliché lines, and storyline. I feel embarrassed at myself at that time (but I think that is my best skill back then). But because I know that I am improving day by day. I am not saying that my stories now are perfect I still have a lot to improve.
Interviewer: Do you find it easier to write in Tagalog or in English?
Luigi: For me, it's 50-50. Even Tagalog is my mother tongue, sometimes I find it difficult especially when I forgot a Tagalog term of a specific word. I remember that I challenge myself to write a pure Tagalog story but I ended up finishing it with a Taglish medium (mixed language). Whilst writing in English helps me practice my English skills. I can even watch Hollywood films without subtitles.
Interviewer: How do you manage to write books and study for school at the same time?? I feel high school for you is also a lot pressure as is everywhere around the world.
Luigi: Yeah, I feel the pressure of the school works since I need to meet the passing grades to enter my chosen university. The only solution is time management. When I was in Junior High School, I just use to cram back then. When I entered the Senior High life, I taught myself to divide and manage time better. At first, it’s hard but now I’m used to it. Presently, since we are still in the quarantine and the online classes have started, I set a schedule every day. If I don't have classes in the morning, I will eat first then start writing. If it's in the opposite scenario, I will write an update before I sleep in the night. You can be productive if you know how to manage your time appropriately. And to avoid stress, I always treat myself once in a while.
Interviewer: Last question, you are nearly an adult now, what do you want to do in the future?
Luigi: Since I was a kid, I have all sorts of plans in my head for the future. Most of them are not permanent and they abruptly vanish.** But I know that my passion is to produce films and create stories. I would love it if my works could be adapted into film, and I would love to direct them as well.**
To those people who feel tired, learn to rest, but also to persevere. I also want to show how arts are important to my country. I noticed that elders keep disregarding and underestimating artists which isn’t right. Since I was inspired by my idols, I would like the next generation to get inspired by my own journey. I started without any knowledge but now I write with confidence. I hear a lot of negatives comments about my passion but I did not give it any care because as long as I am happy, then thats all there is. Always remember to be the best you can be. Don't let others dictate your life and you must follow your own journey.
Interviewer: Thank you Luigi for your time today.
Luigi: I'd like to thank friends who are supporting me on this journey. To Jonel Squad, I am not going to say all your names. You know who you are. To my other friends, Sheree, Ariane, and Shannen. Also to some of my Senior High friends, thank you so much!