The "Viki Original" you haven't seen yet


I understand the challenge you are presenting, but I don’t know if I’m up for that challenge. I’m not a writer, so while I am pretty good at finding things I might not like about something that is written, I don’t feel like I have the skills to change the things I wish could be changed.

In the posts of mine that you brought over, I used the ‘ugly duckling’ reference in quotes because I’m not necessarily referring to dramas where the FL is an actual ugly duckling who is turned pretty one way or another. I’ve hardly watched any dramas like that.

This is actually the plot line that most of the dramas that I have complained about fit into. And in these, the poor/downtrodden FL is given these unattractive hairstyles, and sometimes fashion sense, to portray their ‘poorness’. But over time, as the ML takes more of an interest in them, they start to get better clothes and maybe at some point find a new hairstyle. So in a sense they are undergoing this physical change, and thus why I refer to them as ‘ugly duckling’ storylines. So my original discussion was to find a better way to portray that the FL is not in the same economic class as the ML besides using their hair and clothes. Just because one is poor does not mean one never does anything with one’s hair other than put it in a ponytail. Again, I am not a writer, so I don’t know what the answers are to this challenge, I just know that I have seen this in drama after drama, but only one example comes to mind where the poor FL was actually dressed well and styled her hair and wore makeup. And in that case it was enough to show the audience her struggle with money in other, various ways - avoiding the landlady because she can’t make rent that month, picking up odd jobs to earn extra money, selling some of her stuff to make extra money, etc.

As far as the actual ugly duckling scenario, I was thinking on this recently because I was watching a drama in which there was a very wealthy family from whom the heroes of the story needed to beg for food for their village. This wealthy family happened to have a not-so-swanlike daughter who had a hunger for beautiful men. So the heroes devised a plan to send one of their beautiful men to her to persuade her to get her family to share their wealth, so to speak. Now, the actress they got to play this character was not-so-swanlike by, let’s say, media standards. She was short and overweight with non-straight teeth, etc. Naturally, the timed comments were full of people saying that the drama was body shaming this poor actress and how dare they put this girl in the situation where she has to play an ugly character. And I really started to think about how the character of an ugly duckling is just a lose-lose situation all around. If you have an actual not-so-good-looking person play this role, the drama gets backlash because it’s seen as making fun of this not-so-good-looking person, but if you have an actual good-looking person play that role, it’s obviously not very convincing, because we all know that person is in no way ugly.

Long story short, I really have no idea how to pull off either of these scenarios. :sweat_smile:


If we reduce the ugly duckling story to its essence, it’s somebody or some group starting out at the edge of a community because they don’t appear to mirror the values of the community in some fundamental way.

They end up in the middle of the community because it turns out they mirror the values of the community better than the rest of the community . . . because the community has forgotten what those values are at the deepest level.

The whole point of the ugly duckling story is that the UD is not a duck to begin with. The UD is a swan.

Those familiar with life in the UK or under the influence of the UK know that the swans on the Thames are considered the property of the Crown, and there is hell to pay if someone accidentally injures or kills a swan.

So I can see how that trope can fit in to the basic stuff we already have. But the most basic qusetion for me is . . . who are the characters that can embody this trope?

Two brothers? Works for me.

Separated somehow? Okay.

End up opposing one another? Fine.

One good, one bad . . . or so it seems?

One loved, one hated . . . or so it seems?

One on the right side, one on the wrong side . . . or so it seems?

For ever divided, forever enemies . . . or so it seems?

BUT WHO ARE THESE GUYS??? And who will be the person or persons instrumental in reuniting them?

Three people, three names. That’s the starting point IMHO.


The only other one that comes to mind off the top of my head is ‘Accidentally in Love’ (a Cdrama) in which she has the trifecta: Her ‘ugly’ self has curly hair, she wears glasses and has fake freckles. I’ll be honest, I thought this version of her character was a lot prettier than her ‘pretty’ self, but that’s a personal opinion. I haven’t actually watched either of the other two examples you gave.

Another example, though, of the ‘ugly duckling’ that really just means ‘the poor girl’ is in ‘Hello, Me’. Again, she also has permed hair and freckles when she is poor and working at a supermarket dressed as a squid, handing out samples of squid snacks. But when she ‘finds herself’ and a better job, she suddenly has straight hair, dresses more professionally, and her freckles mysteriously disappear, if I remember correctly. Make-up perhaps?


I hear casting call. . .
I hear script reading sessions. . .


“So @ninjas_with_onions PDnim is the ML now? How am I supposed to write a script with THAT information?”
Vivi’s romantic comedy dreams come crashing down. She knew the lottery money would probably go into paying all the office’s overdue electricity bills and she’ll still be too broke to buy coffee or EXO albums.

I like this idea!
We could have TWO ugly ducklings— the ML and FL could be characters who are not-so-confident and discover that the talents they thought were useless could actually become something wonderful they can contribute to society. At the same time, ML and FL should be two very different people so we can explore two contrasting characters’ development… and we could include a nice and juicy haters-to-lovers trope. They can help each other because of their differences. Thus, we solve the inequality problem and also have the foundation for a strong relationship. We will also have nice supporting characters and found family because I LOVE that.
Reference dramas: 30 but 17(they both pulled each other out of their insecurities) and I’m Not A Robot(the ML is stinkin’ rich in this one but all the points I’ve mentioned here are covered; amazing character development and the way they both help each other in their weaknesses)


Character names. We need character names before we can send info out to agents. We need to be able to tempt agents out there in the Viki-verse with an elevator pitch.

Onion-Sama-PD-nim is on a roll, the creative juices are flowing. But we have yet to start the project. And it starts, IMHO with three characters with three impactful, symbolic names.


Nope, PD-nim is not the ML, he just has to keep things at Badger Production humming along. Badger productions is just a side story, the drama it’s trying to produce is the real story and where the writing and development goes towards. Without a script/story to produce, he has nothing to do excerpt look at blank pieces of paper at his desk. That’s where all dramas begins!


PD-nim is checking his unlimited budget, he still has half of it left but without a show to produce he doesn’t even have to keep an eye on that to make sure that Badger Production doesn’t runs out of money in the middle of production.

He picks up the 3 document holder still sitting in the In-tray, each labelled with a thick marker the project names. Kami-Sama, Bonnie & Holmes, Drivers of Destiny.
He buzzes MissWillow. She gets up from her desk and heads to the producers office, wearing a badger trail into the carpet from her desk to the office rather than on set.

“Firstly, the bad news. New Zealand is in Alert 4 so it’s a no go, no flights in, definitely not a whole contingency from Badger Production travelling all over their country ‘scouting for locations’. and it’s very unlikely we’ll get a company jolly for 2 weeks in New Zealand pass Accounts as a tax deductible.
Secondly, the bad news. Badger Production still doesn’t have a story to begin producing.”
PD-nim spreads the 3 document folders across his desk like a giant deck of cards and is about to do a magic trick. “Pick a project, any project.” and begins to wave his hand over the holders in circular motion. “Is this all we have to pick from?”
“Well we do have a late submissions from Vivi for a double ugly duckling story” replied MissWillow.
He re-reads the cold opening. “Well it’s an exciting opening, a bit too much going on, what with one dramatic event after another but then goes nowhere, people seem reluctant to pick up where it left off, the same symptoms of the other writing topics. What we should do first is draft a drama framework or story arc we can develop towards/around, then we can blend in the bromances umbrellas etc”
Misswillow returned to her desk and her bags of Snax.

She looks disappointedly at Tayto on hearing of the cancelled New Zealand trip. She presses down with increasing pressure on Tayto’s face and as the crunchy puff crackle inside the bag she imagines Tayto’s tiny bones breaking under her presses “You’re certainly no Marmite Bikki Stix”


You most definitely already won the award for most creative in a side story production. I am gasping for air while laughing so much! How did you find the ditto! -Snax! And somehow it has onion flavors. Fated! This production has a lot of good strings in the Viki-verse sprinkling 🪄 magical end results, imo :relieved::smile::smile::laughing::grin:


Miss Willow looked down at the bag of Tayto Snax she was about to consume when Onion-Sama-PD-nim came in from another looooong lunch looking both tired and gleeful.

His lottery ticket was now framed and sitting on his desk alongside photos of his family. He picked it up and gave it a smile.

He was now financially able to dine with movers and shakers from all sorts of fields of endeavor. His noontime meals were, he thought, providing him with valuable professional connections he had hardly dared to imagine a few years before.

And he believed he was developing some genuine personal connections, although he got a little tired of hearing BoJo and Nigella Lawson bickering over the wine list when they flew in for Italian fine dining, Seoul style.

“OK,” said Miss Willow.


She rummaged in her purse and took out her snack bag cutter-sealer from Walmart (for which she paid extra to have it shipped from the U.S.).

“I am both practical and flexible.”

After reducing the contents to crumbs, she zipped open four bags of Tayto Snax from the stash under her desk, dumped them in the Mega-Super-Cup-Noodle-O-Death she had just taken out of the office microwave, then shoved it to the side.

"New Zealand at Level 4 for whatever reason . . . hardly auspicious.

“I suppose,” she said (watching OSPD-nim and his lottery ticket), "that we can revert to our original plan to a large extent. The ultimate visual impact of our story would have to rely on post-production work. That’s where the bulk of our funds would probably be best utilized.

"If we re-assign some roles, rely on phones and selfie sticks for raw footage, and confine ourselves to known locales that have iconic signifiicance, we can get out and get the job done before the weather starts to turn, but you are correct, O Imaginative One.

“We lack a script. And we lack a script because, whatever kick-ass story we come up with, we lack characters with a story to tell.”

Miss Willow pulled her Mega-Super-Cup-Noodle-O-Death toward her, lifted the foil, and sniffed. She pulled a pair of chop stick out of a pencil can on her desk and stirred.

"I’m Scotch-Irish, you know. I have the second sight. I’ll just throw out what I see as the auspicious answer: three. Start with three.

"I have heard people say that the number one is the start of all things. However, one symbolizes undifferentiated potential. Two symbolizes awareness of possibilities, including negative ones. Three symbolizes action, growth, balance, order, and fulfillment.

“Start with three characters. Name them, claim them, get to know them.”

She shifted her attention to her cup noodles and started slurping. Her Samsung Galaxy A21 buzzed in her jecket pocket. She sighed, put her chopsticks down, and answered it.

“Yes? Yes. Oh, really? Left it at the restaurant? Okay, I’ll let him know.” She disconnected and looked at OSPD-nim and sighed.

“That was the Italian Battalion Ristorante and Wine Bar. The maitre d’ says you left behind a gift that the PM of the UK brought for you.”

OSPD-nim smacked his forehead. “How could I forget? We were all in such a rush to leave. Oh, I hope it’s brandy. That would be super!”

Miss Willow shook her head slightly. “Your present seems to be a gift relayed from the PM of Australia, a koala bear named Niles. Apparently he’s sitting in the office of the maitre d’ and eating eucalyptus pesto on fetttucine.”


I must have missed the pitch meeting where the story was agreed on when I was hiding in the temple. Characters will write themselves once the story is developed. We seem to be starting from stage two if we are shaping characters without knowing what they will fulfill, If we do it this way we’re developing a story around characters and would end up making things up as we go along.


So, the question is, do we have script writers?
The best part of any show for me is the dialogue.
The side-story is stealing the show right now . . .
I say PD-nim, keep tagging fans who fits the story’s characters. What’s the story?


Let’s say we develop @misswillowinlove’s Kami-sama synopsis.

We know that a couple brought a Kami shape shifting deity/spirit type thing over from Japan.

We know that some event(s) is happening because of this. So we can begin to do a rough overall story arc.
So just from me, I can think of a few possible arcs.
Strange things start happening.
Do the couple fight the kami. Is the ending with them killing the kami.
Or perhaps a lighter drama where the Kami is causing supernatural happening as a protest to be returned back to Japan where it got accidentally removed from.
Is the focus mainly on the couple and what they do to find out what is causing the events, what they do once the source of them (the Kami) is identified.
Do they the battle against the Kami if it’s an evil one or how they try to get it safely back to Japan if it’s a benevolent one.
They could seek the aid of a shaman because they only know laundry and is beyond their job description, as they either battle or try to find what is causing chaos in their lives.
So this was what I meant by character write themselves, at a stroke a major character has just worked it’s way into the story.
The Sharman can help the couple battle the kami until they kill/banish it type ending.
Or if going for the get the kami home story, the shaman can be the conflict in that the couple are trying to get the Kami home but the shaman has detected the energy of a spirit suddenly appearing nearby and is the one hindering the couple because he is trying to banish the Kami.
Once we decided on the overall arc of the drama, we can then start to refine the details.such as character development.
Are the couple out of their depth but manage to kill the Kami. Are they kind, nice people and manage to return the Kami back to where they took it from.
Is the shaman all powerful to help the couple kill the kami/ able to banish the Kami, or quite the opposite and a bit of a buffoon and proved quite useless.
And who’s to say it only has to be one shaman and not two shamans, who just so happens are, wait for it… brothers!

Or maybe just business partners in the shaman industry, creating a whole new set of possible character dynamics, including

Then refine things further with what kind of chaos is the Kami causing to alert the couple that something wasn’t right since their return from Japan.
What kind of battles/obstacles are fought either against the Kami or the shaman(s).

Even down to this level, everyone can have ideas and suggestions without needing to be creative in writing the finer details such as dialogue.


What are the names of the characters? Who are they?

Miss Willow sat silently listening to debate about Badger Productions’ ever-stymied but never defeated but never-defeated plans for a new and different K-drama. The name issue was still not decided. She sighed.

She did not have much energy to contribute to the conversation. She had had to make a hurried trip to the Italian Battalion Ristorante and Wine Bar to fetch a small and unexpectedly feisty koala bear named Niles, his special sleeping basket, his import paperwork, his pedigree paperwork, his medical paperwork, a gallon of eucalyptus pesto, and twenty-five assorted Hello, Kitty toys without which Niles would alternately rip up any sheet of paper within his reach and bite people’s hair.

Nigel, a gift to Onion-Sama-PD-nim, had accidentally been left in the restaurant where OSPD-nim had entertained his good friend the PM of the UK as well as the most famous female British chef alive.

Niles, fortunately, was at the moment, asleep in his basket.


Miss Willow ruminated as she listened to the murmuring debate from @kdrama2020ali, @leerla73, @mas4, @my_happy_place, @padmalayag, @shraddhasingh, and @vivi_1485. Her left eyebrow quirked slightly as she noticed several employees of the accounting firm down the hall lurking in the doorway, including @anthonyparker80_342.

She stood up on her chair, teetered slightly, and pulled out a snack package from a section of the offices’s drop ceiling that revealed a well-designed storage bin when one sound-deadening panel was pushed aside.



Sitting down again, she removed a hair clip that expanded into a butter knife, and she began spreading eucalyptus pesto on a Carr’s Table Water Cracker.

(Hobby Lobby)

(Bon Appetit)

The answer was simple. Go to the Internet and chose random information about Korean names, the way she randomly chose and ordered her various esoteric snax.

As Niles snored gently in his basket, Miss Willow munched a cracker and tapped the Opera browser app on her smart phone.

Half a box of water crackers later, Miss Willow looked up and said, “I think I’m on to something. To start with, a female character name that is symbolic of beauty and uniqueness and the binding force of all human relationships.”

“Typical BS,” said a muffled voice from somewhere near the Hottie Posse filing cabinet.

“Oh, ye of little faith. Check out what I’ve underlined. Group chat message coming at you . . . now!” Miss Willow firmly pressed her smartphone screen, and the information went forth . . .

The room fell totally silent except for the buzzing and trilling of cellphones. Was it a good sign or a bad one?



“It’s so random,” said @leerla73, “Just like some people I know who shall remain nameless. How is this going to work for a whole cast of characters?”

“You figure it out,” said Miss Willow. “How many characters, how many cell phones, how many Badger employees to run rampant through the Internet? We’ll get it done in 15 minutes tops, and then we can all go out for lunch . . . Korean beef on the boss, no limit.”

The room was alive with the sound of tapping . . .


@kdrama2020ali was too busy browsing through the many Hottie Head Shots to listen but quickly perked her ears up when she heard “Korean Beef on the boss, no limit.” Gathered up said “Hotties” put them in her monogrammed tote, smiled and said. “Let’s Go”



Ae-Ra is a very pretty name. You could make her a Kim, Park or Lee to mean that she blends in with the crowd/ is an average person with nothing very special about her at first glance.

I was thinking of giving the ML a name that could be made fun of. Giving him the surname “Gae” is just too cruel, so I was thinking of “Boo” because no matter what post a person holds, it will always seem like he is at a rank lower.
Example: “Sajang” means “President/Chief” but the guy will be called “Boo Sajang” which is a pun meaning “Vice President”.
“회장” means “Chairman” but the guy will be called “부회장” which means “Vice Chairman”

I am not a Korean scholar

I got the idea from an MMTG episode with SEVENTEEN as guests… their main vocal’s name is Boo Seungkwan and everyone teased him about it.

For his main name, I wanted it to be nice and hero-worthy.

or Dae Hyun


I mean I wanted to watch Penthouse 3, on Viki with other viewers, but no use Viki has not released it yet fully. Today is the last airing episode of Penthouse and I’ve been waiting crazily for more than 2 months !!!


You’re such a good writer! Whenever I read something you wrote, I feel as if I am back in my library and going through books faster than speed of light.


Penthouse 3 was recently extended by 3 episodes. So the total number of episodes now is 14.


At the rough outline part, the characters don’t need to be named yet, I deliberately kept them as ‘a couple’, ‘shaman(s)’ at this stage just to show that the overall story can be done without naming them.
The couple could just as well have been a Korean couple that went on holiday in Japan, in which case you would have to come up with two Korean names, but that’s too ordinary, later you come up with the idea of a Korean female goes to Japan, meets Japanese man, in which case now we’re having to find a Korean girls name and a Japanese boys name in order to fit this part of the story.

Eventually every significant character will have to be named (now you have to name Ah-Heul’s parents)
You may get away with the odd Thug #1, Thug #2 characters that played a significant role in a scene but never referred to by name.

As an interesting side note. When I got to the naming the characters stage for Take Me Home, I was doing the same researching on the internet for Korean girls names and Japanese boys names, and I was putting so much effort in merely naming the leads as if these characters were my babies.
Although I did change the Japanese ML later to work in a nickname (things couples do)

and by the time you get to having name the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, bootcamp drill sergeant, the support staff of the Atonement program,etc it’s a case of ‘meh, pick a name any name.’ :rofl:

That’s just from a western perspective, I’d suspect most Koreans would shrug and wonder what’s wrong with that :thinking: if it were in a Korean drama broadcasted to Koreans.