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FFF Interview - Chasing Serendipity by Sparkstoaflame

ATLALOK September 20, 2014 User blog:ATLALOK
Sokka as therapist This blog is an official interview of the Fanon Fact Finders. We hope you enjoy it!

Serendpitity (noun) - 1) An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. 2) Good fortune/luck.

Hello fellow Avatards! ATLALOK here with yet another interview for the FFF. This time, I interviewed Sparkstoaflame about her story, Chasing Serendipity, a completed, modern day AU in the eyes of Asami who meets a girl (AKA Korra) who is fasniated with eternity. Lets see what Sparks had to say, and believe me, she's got a lot of good stuff to tell...

1. How are you?

I'm doing great, thanks for asking! :)

2. Your fanon has already been completed. Are you just trying to get your work to be more noticeable?

No, that was not my motivation. Take it or leave it, but I never thought about it that way when I signed up. ^^" I wanted an interview because Chasing Serendipity is definitely the favorite story I've written to date, so I thought that it would be nice experience to be asked questions about the fanon I had such an enjoyable time writing, and what questions may have been asked about it.

3. What inspired you to write this fanon?

I was actually watching the news. I saw a report about how an autistic boy in New York City was found wandering away from his school, and how several cameras had caught his progress, just walking around the city, before he vanished. He was found maybe a week later in a ditch, as a mutilated corpse, and his death was decreed later as a hate crime. (And yeah, it became the article Asami sees in Cycles.) I'd always been, um, "interested" I guess you could say in hate crimes, and basically discrimination in general. Just, why do they occur? And such. So that got me thinking, that in the world we live in today, there's just so much hate thrown against people of color, and also Caucasians as well. There's this whole concept of supremacy and sometimes it's just like, we're sniping at each other on the basis of the color of our skin.

So I thought that as the Water Tribe, they may be quite misunderstood in a modern world like ours: they live in, you know, tribes at the ends of the Avatar world, and even the name "tribe" carries a rather simple weight with it, when most people think about the word. And then you have the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. "Kingdoms" and "nations." So in contrast, the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation were advancing at such a rapid pace by means of technology, while the Water Tribes stuck pretty dutifully to some more traditional ways. I thought that some of the people in the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation would have thought of them as pretty primitive for not, you know, trying to advance in the way the people of their respective nations had been, so it kind of spiraled out from there.

4. I like that you wrote this fanon in second person; it gave the story a neat effect to it. Why did you write it like this?

Because it tickled my fancy and nothing else. :P

In truth, I wanted to give the story a more "realistic" effect, I guess? As if you were looking through Asami's eyes: I am talking to you as if you were her. I am addressing you, as if you are undertaking the actions that Asami commits. I also know that second-person is generally frowned upon in fiction writing, for whatever reason. (Well, not for whatever reason. I mean, have you ever read one of those stories where it's all third or first person, and then suddenly in the middle of the story, without any warning or line breaks, the author addresses you by "you," and you're like "???") But I myself have enjoyed second-person works of fiction (ex. "Blink and Caution"), and I think they're really wonderful when they're written well, which I think is hard to do. So it was also a mini-challenge for myself, writing like this and writing in second person often.

5. Chasing Serendipity is about eternity and immortality; a concept that is on a deeper level than LOK itself. What is it about these themes that made you want to include them in this fanon?

Oh, that's a tough one. Ah...Chasing Serendipity draws from a lot of my real life experiences, whether I read a news article about the themes or they were questions I had pondered over myself, so take it how you want knowing that.

I was always fascinated by the idea of eternity and immortality, and I still am, although to a lesser degree. I wondered when I was younger, "Why do I have to die? Why to people have to die?" Because back then to me, death is the end of everything you. You, as a unique individual, simply don't exist anymore: one day you blink, one day you're gone. I was scared of that. So how does the whole idea of death affect someone who's undergone the pain of someone close to them, who was still young and still had a whole life going ahead for him/her, who then died through no fault of their own? And then sometimes, I'd begin to wonder, "Why them? What did they ever do? Why couldn't they live for longer? And longer, and longer, and longer?" I, personally and totally to myself, don't really believe in an afterlife. So what if we did live for eternity?

And then eternity and immortality, I don't think that they're really words about life, either. Relationships are eternal, even though you as a being have died: you carry on your relationship to other people, because they still live, and you still have a memory of them. That's the ultimate point I think I eanted to stress in CS, that honestly, someone really isn't "dead" when they "die." You still carry on memories of them, you will pass them on to others you know. So in a way, everything is eternal, and everything is immortal. It's a cycle.

So I really wanted to write about that, if just to get some of my thoughts down onto paper before transferring them creatively into story. Combined with the whole news story I mentioned earlier in the "inspiration" question, well, I guess there's that.

6. Why a playground for all of these memories to take place at?

The way I see it, playgrounds are like sacred ground for children. Who hasn't been excited when they were younger to swing on the monkey bars, slip down on slides, climb ladders and slide down fire poles? I think that playgrounds are really an innocent place, where many friends are made and happy experiences are created. So it made sense to me to include the relay of memories between Asami and Korra, from when they were younger, to take place at a playground.

7. Alqaq is Korra. What is your intention with making Korra have a different name?

It wasn't a different name so much as a title in a different language. Alqaq does in fact mean "older sister of a male" in Inuit. (At least, according to Wikipedia. o.O) I used it as more of an affectionate term for Akua, referring to her like that when he was younger in chapter one.

8. I know it's an AU, but you write Korra to be a very mysterious character; a polar opposite of who she is in LOK. Why'd you write for her to be this way?

That was kind of an accident, actually ^^" I wrote her like that in the first part of the story I had written (which ended up being something, uh, Souls I think), and then I just rolled with it. Although to me, she was written initially more reserved and "mysterious" in Chasing Serendipity, because she had already gone through a pretty traumatic event, what with Akna and all. While in LoK, it was the end of Book 1 when she got her bending stripped away, and that apparent "lowest point" was hit. I am not saying that Akna’s death for CS!Korra was her overall lowest point, but I would still say it was pretty darn close. So an event like that would have, in my eyes, made her more cautious about what she was saying, giving less of herself out that she did in canon.

9. Knowing that Asami is a high-class citizen, why would Korra and Bolin take her to a streetfight?

Well, Mako is Asami’s ex-boyfriend :P So Korra and Bolin’d might have just wanted to tease her about it, because that’s what they do. @_@ Also, the conversation that Asami and Korra had on the way to Republic City - I’d say that Korra would have wanted to show instead of just tell about the pretty bad conditions of the more decrepit sections of the city, as well as some of the more lawless (hence the street fighting), to show that it isn’t all shining and paved with gold and a "city of opportunity" as I think Republic City would announce itself to be. (Kind of like many cities in the twentieth century, and America considered as the "land of opportunity" as well.)

10. Guns? I know it's an AU, but why guns?

Well, it’s modern, and a modern counterpart of our world today (plus the bending, of course). And considering it’s modern, well, all the benders have their fire and earth and water and that’s all well, but I’m sure that the non-benders would have come up with guns by this point, for more defense for themselves.

Oh, and guns, because I’d bet that it was a more surefire way to , you know, kill someone without causing so much of a mess as burning their whole body with firebending.

11. Asami and Korra share a romantic moment together in the last chapter. Why did you write for this to happen when it was both unclear if they got together in the end and Korra was already with Bolin?

It was chaste and...not really romantic in that sense? ^^” I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear. I think in some cultures, expressing great gratitude would be given by a kiss on the lips. So the kiss, it was essentially just her expressing that heaping, heaping mountain of thanks to Asami. Yeah, I probably could have made them hug, but I thought that the kiss would be more personal. So, haha, no she wasn’t cheating on Bolin or anything ^^”

12. Why only four chapters? Why'd you end it here?

I’d always meant for Chasing Serendipity to be a short story. I get disillusioned with longer stories, and it’s easier for me to write with longer chapters and shorter tales, if that made any sense at all. When I planned it out, I told myself “okay, you’re going to write about this, this, and this in terms of plot, and this is how the storylines will progress and this is where they will converge. These are the possible ways I want the story to end.” It turned out that I needed no more than 4 chapters to write about what I wanted to write, was four chapters. :P

13. How does it feel that your fanon has won a couple achievements in the Fanonbenders Fanontastic Fanon Contest?

Well, I’m happy about it. :P I’m glad that my writing has been selected as a winner in the contests, in a pool of other amazing authors and their stories.

14. Any advice you'd like to give for someone that is planning on writing an AU?

Write about the characters in an AU setting that you’d really, really like to explore. And I mean love to. I find that, for me personally, if I start on an AU that I kind of like - not love, but simply like - I’ll quickly get bored with it, and it will be discontinued. So I would say, find one that you’d really like to develop the characters in and you’d just love to tell a story about. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast, maybe alien invasions or a dystopian, yeah. Hey, if that be the dynamics in the infamous high school AU, go for it. :P The thing about AUs is that you really have to develop the world they’re in, because they’re so diverse. I mean, when you think about the characters in a canon setting, it’s kind of easy (well, I mean, as easy as any world-building can be :P). But you have to build everything up from scratch, essentially, when doing an AU. Such as, in modern AUs - there are so many modern AUs out there, what kind are you doing? Coffee shop, college, research lab - heck, I’ve even seen one with Target. You know, the supermarket, “Expect More, Pay Less”? Yeah. So be descriptive, that’s for certain. Find something that inspires you. :) 

15. And finally, any new fanon ideas you have planned for us?

Well, I have a fetish for AUs, so yeah. ^^” One of them is up right now - or at least, the main page is. @_@ It’s called Incandescent Beats, and it’s basically canon divergent with a supernatural twist, featuring Korra in the second/third person (I really don’t know what to call it by this point o.O) and Asami, because the two of them need to interact more with each other, whether it be platonically or romantically. :P I also really hope to get the first chapter up for the contest this month ( three days...haha...) but that seems a bit unlikely. @_@ So there’s that. I also have some other half-baked AU one-shot ideas swimming around fruitlessly in my head, but it’s likely that 99% of them will never see the light of day. 

Well, that's it for now! Special thanks to Sparkstoaflame for letting me read her fanon. As for the rest of you, if you're wanting to read a short, well written, and interesting fanon while you wait for Book 4 to premiere, I'd highly suggest reading this one. Chasing Serendipity may only be four chapters, but each one gets deeper and deeper both physically and emotionally. The way that it's written really makes you feel like you're the one in Asami's eyes instead of herself and you just can't help, but get lost it the surreal world that Sparks created. And on that note, farwell until next time! :D 

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