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Avatar Wiki:Creating a fanon

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Joo Dee This page documents an official Avatar Wiki policy.

It is a widely accepted standard that should normally be followed by all editors.

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Guides and advice
Creating a fanonFanonbenders

Starting a fanon of your own may seem a bit tricky sometimes, so here is a guide with some useful tricks and advice for new fanon authors. If you would ever encounter any issues, don't hesitate to contact an administrator and they'll try to help you out to the best of their abilities.

Creating a fanon

Pre-production

Before starting a fanon, it is useful to know wiki mark-up, the code that wikia uses. If you're a new user, you probably use RTE (Rich Text Editor), which still has a lot of glitches. To save yourself a big headache, it's best that you have a user account, go into your preferences at the top, and click on editing, uncheck "Enable Rich Text Editor" and make sure to hit "Save Change". Whenever you'll edit a page from then on, you'll do so in "source mode," which enables you to view the coding on a page directly, thus minimizing the chance of any glitches to occur and mess up your page's layout. In case of any troubles, leave a message on the administrator noticeboard.

Another indispensable step before actually starting to write is to make yourself familiar with the fanon policies we have on Avatar Wiki. By knowing and following the rules, you exclude the chance that your story pages will ever be moved to your userspace.

A useful tip before actually publishing your fanon on the fanon portal is to plan a bit of it out beforehand. This doesn't mean that you should've worked out every detail on paper before putting it on the wiki, but having a list of the major characters and/or locations the story will be in, and some major points in the fanon's plot, a general idea of what the story will be about is always useful to prevent future writer's blocks.

A trick to see how a page would turn out without officially posting it, is to create a sandbox. To do this, you simply go to your userpage, and add the name of your sandbox behind the url given there. Next, follow the link to that page. It will say "This page needs content. You can help by adding a sentence or a photo! Add to this page!" You then click the button "Create" which is located on the same place the edit button normally is, and start adding content to the page. After you're done, just click "Publish" and you have created a sandbox.

E.g. If Vulmen would want to make a sandbox for his fanon, named "Fanon:EoK", the sandbox's link would be http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/User:Vulmen/Fanon:EoK.

Main Page

Main article: Create fanon page

To start off your new fanfiction, it's best to create a main page, which will act as the hub of the fanon by containing links to chapters and characters, providing information on the story, and show news and updates.

There are two ways to make a page: either go to the fanon portal, which may be easier for newer users, or go here. If you use the second option, however, remember that whenever you create a fanon article, the prefix Fanon: should be added in front of the name.

E.g. Fanon:Eyes of Katara

Type in the name of your fanon story and choose whether you want to create a page with the "standard" layout or a "blank page." Either way is fine to create a page, but the blank page is easier to work with.

  1. To make sure that people know that the created page is a fanon page -and thus fiction- and that it belongs to you, you add a {{Property}}. Go here and copy and paste the code found at the top of that page to your fanon, and fill it in according to the guideline given at the bottom of the template page. Note that when you leave a parameter blank or delete it from the coding on your page, it will not show up. Another important thing to remember is that if you wish to alter the template's color by filling in the "nation" parameter, you don't need to capitalize the words.
    E.g. It's nation = fire to make your template red, not nation = Fire, which will not work and turn your template to the default colors of the site, being brown.
  2. Go to {{Infobox series}} to copy the code there and paste it on your page. Fill it in like you did with the property one above. For more information about the usage of template, read the fanon templates guide. With the addition of this template, your fanon main page will have an infobox telling all the main facts about your story.
  3. Next, you can start adding the actual content by writing things in. To neatly organize your page, you can divide your text in different part by putting in "headings"; they're made with equal signs like this: == Heading Name ==. By adding two "=" you'll create a main heading. To create a sub-heading, add three "=", and to create and even smaller sub-heading, add four "=".
    Commonly used headings are:
    • Plot - Under this heading you write in the plot, let the reader know what your story is about, but make sure you don't give away any big spoilers or ruin the surprise fans like in chapters.
    • Characters - Here you put in the characters, and maybe a short description. This could include their gender, weapon, political position, and/or profession. As your story grows bigger, you can create character pages, to which you can link to from the characters list you have on your main page. To link to your character's page, add {{F|the character's page's title}}. Note that you don't have to include that Fanon: prefix when using this type of linking.
    E.g. {{F|Kaibi (Eyes of Katara)}} shows up like Kaibi (Eyes of Katara).
    E.g. {{F|Kaibi (Eyes of Katara)|Kaibi}} links to the same page as above, but shows up like Kaibi.
    • Chapters - You can also make a list of all published chapters, with a link to the actual chapter, and the unpublished ones.
  4. As you reach the end of your page, you are obligated to add the {{Author}} template. This will provide a heading and a single sentence with a link to your user category, which will hold all the works you've ever created.
  5. Next you'll have to add the {{DEFAULTSORT}}. More information about its usage can be found here.
  6. Last but not least, you have to add categories to your fanon page, so everyone will be able to retrieve your works later by just some simple clicks. For a complete explanation about categories, you can read the fanon categorization guide. For the specific categories that are to be added on a fanon main page, you can just skip to this part.
  7. Hit "Preview" to see how your page has turned out, and if it is to your liking, hit "Publish".

Chapters

Chapters are going to be the most important part of your fanon. After all, they actually tell the story. It is advised to first create several chapter pages before starting to create pages for characters, battles, and locations. Create a new page, add the prefix Fanon:then your chapter name, and you can get to work.

Title

You'll notice that some authors prefer to specifically state the chapter number and/or their fanon's title between parenthesis in their title (E.g. "Chapter 1: Two Separate Lives (When Air Nomads Walked the Earth)"). There is no set format for this and it is left to the authors preference. Note that if you use this format, it is easier for passersby to immediately notice the chapter number and the fanon series it is a part of.

Content

To start your chapter off, first put a {{Property}} template at the top of the page, so the readers know who wrote the chapter, and what the rating of the content is. This part is mandatory, so make sure you don't forget it. Next we put in another clean-looking infobox, the {{Infobox chapter}}. Click the link, copy the code, paste it onto your page, and fill out the right info.

Now that your page is equipped with the necessary templates, the actual content can be added. There is no set length requirement for a chapter page, but make sure that there is sufficient content so the reader has actually something to read. Try to vary your wording usage, in order to bring color to your writing and avoid being repetitive, and use proper grammar, not many readers will be interested in sitting out a chapter that is packed with spelling and/or grammar mistakes. If you know that this isn't your strongest side, consider asking another person to be your editor.

Things to note:

  • Make sure to always capitalize the first letter of a name and the first letter of a new sentence.
  • Separate your sentences by using appropriate punctuation.
  • Divide your text in paragraphs. It is tiresome to read a whole wall of text, so make sure to make it lighter by dividing it up regularly.
  • When depicting a conversation between people, make sure to start a new line whenever a new person takes the word. Note the you'll either have to leave a white line between two lines or use the <br />
E.g. the preferred and most neat way to separate sentences is by leaving a white line between lines:
"Might I see your swords?"
He flushes. "My swords?" Reaching back, he curls his hand about the hilts but not move extend them, trying to meet her gaze; she stares at him coolly, though her mind is a jumble of half-whispered memories. "It's against the rules for someone to see one's swords without defeating them in honorable combat - "
"Oh, the rules." She waves a hand nonchalantly. "I don't believe in them except when it suits me, and at the moment, it doesn't suit me at all."
E.g. Using <br /> to separate sentence. Note that this coding will not add a white line, it will only enable the author to start a new sentence on the next line.
"Might I see your swords?" <br />
He flushes. "My swords?" Reaching back, he curls his hand about the hilts but not move extend them, trying to meet her gaze; she stares at him coolly, though her mind is a jumble of half-whispered memories. "It's against the rules for someone to see one's swords without defeating them in honorable combat - " <br />
"Oh, the rules." She waves a hand nonchalantly. "I don't believe in them except when it suits me, and at the moment, it doesn't suit me at all."
  • Refrain from using abbreviations, but rather write everything in full.
E.g. Write "See you later," not "c u l8r."

Mandatory additions

Once you've added the content to the page and you're satisfied by the its form and layout, you add the {{Author}} template and the {{DEFAULTSORT}} at the bottom of the page. More information about its usage can be found here. Don't forget these two things, as they are mandatory to add to every fanon page.

Categories

In the end, you add the appropriate categories to your chapter page, which would be the Category:A to Z (fanon) and the Category:<Fanon name> chapters (fanon). After you've added the chapter category for the first time, you still have to create the actual category. For more information about categories in general, read the fanon categorization guide.

Publish

You can click the "Preview" button to overview the layout of your page one last time and if you are completely satisfied, you can publish the page by clicking the "Publish" button.

In order to maintain a clean layout, it is advised that all the chapters after your first chapter following the same format you've chosen on that one. This doesn't not mean, however, that you can't alter the infobox's color on each chapter.

Other fanon pages

Beside the main page and chapter pages, there are still a multitude of other pages you can create for your fanon. These pages include: character pages, battles, locations, events, organizations, and even governments, all of which have their own infoboxes, being {{Infobox character}}, {{Infobox battle}}, {{Infobox location}}, {{Infobox event}}, {{Infobox organization}}, and {{Infobox government}} respectively.

Don't forget to add the prefix Fanon: and note that when you create such a page, the {{Propertyother}}, the {{Author}}, and the {{DEFAULTSORT}} are mandatory to add.

Title for characters

For the page title, the name of the character -without titles, e.g. Aang instead of Avatar Aang- is usually the chosen title. Just as with the chapter titles, some authors prefer to include their fanon's name, or an abbreviation of their fanon's name between parenthesis at the end of the title. This is just author's preference, so you're free to chose whether or not you want to follow that format. The only time you are obligated to include your fanon's name between parenthesis is when you're creating a character page with the same name as a character that appeared in the series, or already appeared in another fanon series.

Tips

These are the same as before when creating a chapter page:

  • User correct spelling and grammar. If you can't do it by yourself, there are always people willing to help out, so don't be afraid to leave someone a message, asking for their help. Even the best fanon authors have had some sort of help.
  • Divide your text by using headings like explained before. Commonly used headings are:
    • For characters: history, abilities, personality, and relatives.
    • For locations: history, and geography.
    • For battles: history, and aftermath.
  • The appropriate category should be added to each page. More detailed information can be found in the fanon categorization guide.
  • At the bottom of the page, a navbox can be added. For more information about this template, see here.

Images

It is always nice to provide some visual aid to accompany your words. This is where the images come in. In order to keep the images on the site organized, there are some rules and guidelines to consider.

  1. Read the image policy, specifically the bit concerning fanon images.
  2. If you want to use an image, peruse the wiki's image database of already uploaded images that can be found here. It if preferred to use an image that is already uploaded and used elsewhere instead of uploading a new image.
    Note that if you want to use an image that is made by a user, usually an image that can be found in the Category:Art (fanon), make sure that you contact the artist of that particular image first before you use it.
  3. When you upload an image, make sure to properly license it. If you fail to do so, the image may be deleted. You can read the policy about licensing here and more information about filling in the required parameters here. Note that you're only allowed to upload up to three new images for any fanon page you have. This does not mean, however, that you should. Always try to use existing images first.
    When licensing a fanon image, the "license" parameter should be "fanon", or in the case you've created an image yourself "fanon-self" or "self".
    • fanon: for any image taken from a TV series or movie that is used solely on a fanon page
    • fanon-self: for fanart based on elements from the Avatar series used on fanon pages
    E.g. A fan-made image of someone bending, even if the person does not resemble a known character.
    • self: for fanart that has nothing to do with the Avatar series
    E.g. A fan-made image of a tree
  4. There is no set limit on the usage of images on a fanon article, but add images in good faith. You don't want to overload readers with images, as they divert attention away from what's truly important: the story itself. Make sure that when you add images to to a page, that page will still be "writing with images" and not "images with some writing." If the latter is the case, chances are that an administrator will come by and delete some of the excess images.
  5. The preferred image sizes are:
    • 300px for images used in the {{Infobox series}} on the main page.
    • 250px for images used in infoboxes other than the {{Infobox series}}.
    • 200px for images used on the page itself.
  6. You can also ask the Fanon Illustrator Insignia create an image for you.

A final word of caution

Before you start your fanon, know that the policies are held in high regard on Avatar Wiki, so make sure that you've read them all before starting your fanon. This means that when you violate the policies by making a page that does not reach the set fanon standards, if you publish an incomplete page, that page is subject to movement to your userspace by any user on the wiki, so make sure that when you publish a page, it is completely finished. This doesn't mean that you can't edit it any more after its punishment, but this means that your page should have enough content and decent spelling and grammar.

When your page is moved to your userspace, you'll get a message, {{Fanonmoved}}, alerting you that your page has been moved and provide you with a link to its new location. Having your page in your userspace means that it is no longer considered to be part of the fanon portal. The page is to remain there until you've expanded it enough or fixed any other issue for what it was moved. When you think you've brought your page up the standard, you should contact an administrator by leaving a message on the administrator noticeboard, inviting them to review your page's quality before they -and only they- can move it back to the fanon portal.

Continuity

Making a fanon

You should know, it's not easy to make a fanon. You have to write out chapters, and maybe character pages, battles, events, etc. You have to organize it, and hope that people like it, and keep reading it. It is a lot of work, so think it through before you begin. Please don't just make one and leave it to die.

Fanon standards

Make sure you read the fanon standards and the rest of the policy pages. If your fanon gets moved to your userspace, don't get angry. Just improve the page and request one of the the administrators on the administrator noticeboard to review it. Only they are meant to move a page back to the fanon portal, so please refrain from doing this yourself.

Fanonbenders

The Fanonbenders is a usergroup that is specifically created to aid users with their fanons by helping out with the spelling and grammar, template fixes, and/or rewrite the story -without altering the message of the tale- to bring it to a higher standard. So if you feel you need help with your fanon articles, feel free to contact the Fanonbenders.

Readers

One of the hardest parts to get your fanon to be successful is to attract readers, as this is the one thing that you cannot do yourself. You cannot force anyone to read your fanon, but there are some things that you can try to shed some more light on your story and bring it to people's attention.

  1. Alter your signature to include a link to your story. This way, whenever you leave your signature somewhere, people will be provided with a link to your story as well. If you don't know how to do this, just ask another user and they'll be glad to help out.
  2. Ask the Fanon Review Squad, a user group founded for the sole purpose of reviewing fanon stories, to review your story. People can read the reviews they've made and if you have a good score, there is a chance that people will start to read it.
  3. Ask the Fanon Fact Finders for an interview to draw more attention to your fanon and to yourself as an author.
  4. Sign up for the Fanon Advertisement System to get word about your story out there.
  5. Read other fanons and leave comments. Under the motto of "you scratch my back, I scratch yours," this might get you some more readers.
  6. Meet the fanon community, go onto IRC.
  7. Never give up without a fight. Even when you have few readers, keep making those chapters to the best of your abilities, keep the story flowing and one day, those readers will come.
  8. Keep the standard of your fanon high, so one day it may even win some awards. The possible awards are:
  • Become featured fanon or fanon article of the month and have your fanon of article displayed on the fanon portal's main page.
  • Win an award in the official site-wide Fanon Awards, somewhat like the Oscars but for fanon stories hosted on Avatar Wiki.
  • Participate in the Fanonbending award system, on which users can nominate a fanon to get "Fanonbending status." Nominating and voting can be done here.

Leaving messages on user's talk pages, or in comments on their fanons, or even on canon pages, asking people to read your fanon is not the way to gather more readers, as those messages are often considered to be spam, and are subject to deletion for said reasons. Just keep working hard and the recognition of the fanon community will come.

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