Thursday, September 01, 2011

Short Story Special: "Goong Ae Oh" by Kangkyu Choi

I lead a small group at the Banseok Army Barrack Church. One of the privates in the group is a 20-year-old Kangkyu Choi, who is a budding novelist. He recently wrote a short-story for a writing competition, and with his permission, I'm posting a summary of the short story here, translated to English. I wish him all the very best.

The story revolves around four characters, two boys and two girls. They all attend the same creative-writing course at uni. We have the boys Sunghyun and Jinwoo, two good friends from high school. And then there are the two girls: Mina, who was good friends with Sunghyung and Jinwoo during high school; and Sun-ae, the new girl in town and the protagonist Sunghyun's love-interest. The creative-writing course is assessed in the form of a short-story competition, and they are to team up in pairs. Jinwoo and Mina form one team, and Sunghyun and Sun-ae are assigned to each other by random draw. Sunghyun has a hobby, which is taking pictures of the clouds in the sky using his smartphone, and then uploading them on his blog, called the "Goong-Ae-Oh" (which means The Crow who loved the Sky). The blog has quite a following. Sun-ae also stumbles upon the blog, regularly leaving encouraging comments as her avatar, Reviatan. But the twist in the story is that Sunghyun and Mina share a secret past: during their high school days, they both participated in a short-story competition. Sunghyun pulled an all-nighter four days in a row and burned out after completing his story. He asked Mina to submit it on his behalf, but when she read it and saw how amazing it was, she switched the two works, and went on to win the competition with his work. Sunghyun was devastated when he found this out, and he gave up writing altogether for years, taking up cloud photography instead (this is how he came to start his blog). To cut a long story short, Jinwoo and Suna-ae find out about this 'past', but they help in the reconciliation process. Moreoever, this time, Sunghyun and Sun-ae go on to win the competition with their joint-piece, with Jinwoo and Mina getting the runner-up prize.

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