Issue 27: August 25, 2014
Book Three: Change of The Legend of Korra has now reached its conclusion. In the meantime, Avatar Wiki and its fanon portal have seen a lot of just that lately. Change. And a lot of it. Sometimes the change is good, sometimes the change is bad and sometimes it's neither in particular. With a new season over the summertime came increased traffic and new stories being published every day. As you've probably noticed, the White Lotus Sentinel has seen some alteration in staff. In addition, there have been some policy and structural changes on the fanon side of the wiki. Even setting the list aside, the fanon portal "seems" different to a lot of people. Everything that's happened is significant, but its important to note that none of these have been quite so overreaching as the most significant change ever to come for this place: the merger. Without that endeavor back in 2009, which made the fanon portal integrated into the main wiki, virtually none of what's happened on the portal since would've been possible.
These changes are seen across all layers of the portal, from the new users and stories, to the blogs, to featured fanons and user groups. While the Fanonbender's contests have had several users participate in recent months through making writing contests a regular wiki thing again, other parts of the fanon portal that were much more active in the past no longer are. For instance, the advertising system has fallen largely inactive and the surge in activity with the new season has not quite spread featured fanons to their peak levels of participation. In addition to featured fanon, there is a page called Fanonbending that was started by Theavatardemotivator back in the day. It still exists for users to give a shout-out to a fanon they enjoyed and for deserving authors to receive a form of recognition when they first start writing on here, though the number of new templates added in 2014 is negligible. It's kind of sad to see some areas of the wiki fall blank after former glory.
Nevertheless, it's important to note that these areas drift in and out of activity all the time. This has been the case with the advertising system. It fell inactive once only to make a comeback later. Indeed, it's out of the spotlight now, and its not prioritized on the portal as before, but it came back once before, so even now it isn't completely devoid of hope. The Fanon Awards went inactive for a long period of time in 2011. Hey, the Fanonbenders group has probably drifted in and out of activity at least three times. So, with all the change that goes on, when is the portal the most "active"? Is it when the Fanon Awards are on? Is it when there are more reviews and contests? Is it when the most people are voting for featured fanons?
The answer is in the essence of what the fanon portal is. This exists behind all the reviews, interviews, writing contests, awards and even this newsletter. While these things are all fun to participate in, this is a community where people write their own fiction based off of the Avatar franchise and share their work with like-minded individuals, and in turn, read stories of others and offer feedback. Of everything on here, only that can be the be-all, end-all measurement of the liveliness and action of this place. The spirit of it lies in the users themselves. Us. Naturally, the users themselves go in and out of activity too, so each facet of the wiki gets more attention from the users occupying this one day and less the next. Sometimes one part of the wiki is more active than another. This is true for the main wiki, too, with the Standards Council, featured blogs and other venues. Remember, even though the Mother of Faces gave Ursa a new face, she was still Zuko and Azula's mother, as well as the woman that fell in love with Ikem. And even though he proclaimed to the world that he would bring an end to bending, Amon was still the same bloodbender who had been trained by his father Yakone. In short, while the face changes, what lies underneath is still there in some form of another, and that's what's most important.
|| Fanon Urban Dictionary|
- What comes after writing and publishing. Something every author looks forward to.
- *checks fanon page* "It's been 10 whole minutes since I published my latest 6,000-word chapter! Why has nobody commented yet?!"
Unexpected emotional instability
- What occurred at the end of Book Three when some users realized that Bryke didn't totally destroy past beliefs from the original the series or destroy any last vestiges of emotion the characters should have had.
- Wait, you mean it's not happy?! Korra is genuinely—*gasp*—sad. They have.... feelings?! *faints*
- Someone who strikes suspicion in every author by leaving generic comments that could apply to any fanon.
- "All your comments ever say is 'Great Job!' I don't think you even read this chapter! Boy, you're a vague commenter."
Love the Fanon Urban Dictionary? Miss any definitions? See the complete
In the last issue of the White Lotus Sentinel, there was a column talking about how the new material we have been receiving through The Legend of Korra could help revitalize the fanon portal, as well as how the portal itself is hanging onto life by a thread. The author wondered why new stories filled with new ideas aren't coming out, even though we're receiving new material almost every week. The answer I would give is that new authors aren't taking chances precisely because we are receiving new episodes every week, and that is why, even though the portal is seemingly in danger, it will eventually thrive again.
Though I am new to the portal, over the past couple months I have gotten a taste of what it is all about. I also have heard stories about what the fanon portal used to be like, thriving with authors and stories both new and old in the time between the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the beginning of The Legend of Korra. During that time, the continuity of the show was metaphorically set in stone. As fans of the show had no idea it would continue, they took it upon themselves to create their own versions of what would happen after. This led to a huge amount of post-war fics popping up, with the only thing constraining them being the imagination of their author and a set of unchanging rules and events that were covered by the series.
But everything changed when The Legend of Korra attacked. The continuity was no longer set in stone, but in a state of flux (hopefully not the temporal kind). Certain authors found their stories to no longer be fanon, to no longer fit with the continuity of the show. I think I can speak for many authors on this portal when I say that we strive to write, not just fanfiction, but fanon. We want be able to see our stories exist in the same universe as the show we love. We carefully design our plots to fit into and work around any revelations that come up in the show. What The Legend of Korra has done however, is make writing that fanon harder to do (not that's a bad thing, I love getting new episodes of Avatar). In order to have their fanon "fit" with the series' continuity, writers have to be prepared to change up parts of their stories at a moment's notice, lest the series contradict it. For example, I started writing my Legend of Korra fanon in between Books 1 & 2, and so I had to change a few elements of my story to accommodate things such Korra's character regression, and Republic City's new government when the second book was finally released, not to mention other challenges that came from the revelations in Book 3. It is this, the threat of constant change, that I believe puts off new writers from writing Legend of Korra fics.
To add to this, some of the main mysteries of the original show, which acted as starting points for fanfiction, are now being filled in by supplementary material. The comic series The Promise began showing us the events that occurred after the Hundred Year War had ended. Another popular fuel for fanfics, what happened to Azula after she went insane, is now beginning to run dry, due to The Search answering those questions. And so far, The Legend of Korra hasn't really provided us with any big gaps to fill in with fanfiction, and if those gaps seem to appear, there's no telling whether or not they may be filled by the end of the series. There is an uncertainty of what will happen in the show's future.
To use an analogy, the series' continuity nowadays is a stormy sea; not only due to The Legend of Korra, but also due to the comics, which are wrapping up the various mysteries and fanon starting points from the original series (I have seen quite a number of fics whose vision of post-war Azula was rendered non-canon due to the release of The Search). This lack of mystery, and lack of gaps for fanon writers to fill in, takes away incentive to cross the sea. However, there are still a few writers who are planning to brave these dangerous waters, and those authors need to be prepared for anything, lest they be consumed by them. The majority of writers, however, would rather wait until the sea calms down, and they can sail on the calm waters that they feel safe with, and when new mysteries and incentives come up. I fully believe that once The Legend of Korra ends, more fanon will be written, and while the portal may not achieve its former glory, it will thrive again, with new writers and more fanon updates. Even though I love The Legend of Korra and don't wish it to end, I still anticipate the day when new authors start using their ideas to create imaginative post-Korra stories, or stories that fill in gaps and explain unanswered questions from the series itself, and most of all, when fanfiction here will thrive again.
| Interview with Suzon99|
Today, I'm here with Suzon99 in what must be one of my latest interviews yet. I'm going to be talking to him about his poem, Crossroads of Destiny. It tells the abstract tale of Zuko, and was a pretty interesting read. How many stories, poetry or prose, are told from the point of view of a scar? Poetry analyses was never one of my strong suits in school, but why bother when I can just ask all the questions I need? ^^"
So, Suzon, what inspired this one-shot?
-I watched the entire series in a weekend and was astonished with Zuko's character development.
Why did you choose Zuko?
-For me, Zuko was always the hero in Avatar. Sure, Aang and his friends were trying to save the world, but Zuko was the interesting, dynamic character who underwent the most change. It would be unfair to say any character is static in ATLA, but compared to Zuko, nooone was as dynamic. This made him the perfect character to capture the angst I wanted to deliver.
What made you decide to write a poem instead of usual prose?
- I had been reading some poetry in school, and figured that it could make for an interesting change of pace on the portal.
Are there any advantages/disadvantages with writing this way?
-Some disadvantages would have to be the rhyming. It challenges you to write a sentence that not only fits in context, but also ends in a specific word.
The theme was obviously 'Crossroads of Destiny', but why?
-The crossroads are a really important time in Zuko's life, and a defining moment for the series. As I said in my author's note, a half season later, Zuko made the right choice. He was always conflicted. He knew his choices, and he didn't make the right choice until it counted.
How did you write this?
- Line by line, word by word. As if I was building a wall. I started from the ground up. The ending was where I began, working my way backwards.
It's only short, but did you ever get stuck at any point?
-Yes. I originally wrote this from Uncle Iroh's perspective, but I needed to make a certain word rhyme. To get over that, I changed this to the scars perspective, but Iroh's ideals shine through, which I think only benefits the story.
What kind of story did you want to tell with this poem? Do you think you achieved that?
-I wanted to tell people that there is always a chance to make a change. I honestly can say that I achieved that in the words of my prose.
It's less than 200 words—do you think you told all you could in that frame?
-Yes. I considered making it longer, but I decided that if I dragged the story out, it would compromise power for length.
Are you planning on writing anything more?
-I have three series in development. The first one, 'Law & Order: Republic City' is a take on crime in Republic City, and the metalbending police first. The other two, well, people will see soon enough.
Why freeform? What made you choose that style over another form of haiku?
-I actually wrote this originally as all Haiku, and it just didn't have the impact I wanted. I ended up rewriting it and winging it, and it just came out. Although, it's not actually freeform, if you look closely, there are slant rhymes everywhere.
There you have it—a short interview for a short poem. Any Zuko fans should definitely give this one a shot!
- The next contest prompt is 'extreme temperature'. Good luck!
- 156 new fanon articles have been created since last issue:
- 1 news & updates
- 1 location
- 7 one-shots
- 23 new series
- 14 character pages
- 111 chapters
- 151 comments were made on all fanon articles
- The newest fanon article is Book One: The Beginnings, Fire, by AkiraNasuki
| Fanon report + the upcoming Awards|
Greetings all, and welcome to the NEW WLS~! (we're working on changing the banner to a nice, new, snazzy one, so the changes are going to keep coming ^^" )
It's been a big few months for the wiki, what with the latest season of Korra (and having 38% of the season leaked beforehand -_-). We've had so many new users come in and, quite a few new stories, too *points up* That being said, a majority of them are still OC, with LoK-flavoured fanfic still only being written by a select few authors *ahem*
We're still not getting a huge number of comments, though—less than one comment per article created. That means that some articles—more than just the four extra—don't have any comments at all.
But, I'm not going to focus on that today. I just thought the statistics were interesting ^^" This is supposed to be just a general fanon-portal update notice, and what better way than to start off with the monthly contest?
The monthly contest has been far more successful than I had ever expected it to be. We've had at least three submissions each month. The June contest has had the most submissions thus far with nine (and the prompt was 'character's life threatened. go nuts' o.o ) with this month and the last (currently) tied with four.
Last month, the winner was Kyoshidude with the Taku of The Kyoshi Chronicles. Sparkstoaflame has won the two rounds (1 and 3) she has entered in with chapters to her story Chasing Serendipity. PSUAvatar14 took out the round three prompt with his secretive one-shot, I Won't Tell.
Now, why am I telling you this? Well, for starters, I just wanted to share some of the talent we have on the wiki. We have a lot. And, not just that, but it's widespread. Eighteen people have participated in the contests, and 27 articles have been submitted. That's awesome! And who knows, if you keep participating, something good might happen ;)
Alrighty, though, moving on from that. The featured fanon series and articles. This month, Fire World (that story Minn reviewed that got over 9? It was featured in the most recent BSST issue? In January? Yeah, that one ^^" ) was the featured fanon series, and by the looks of it, it's already picking up popularity ^^" It really is a brilliant take on an interesting concept, and I know she's going to come back and finish it. Trust me!
Kyoshidude's The Avatar and The Crane is the current featured article. For some reason, it's harder to feature articles—why? I think it's easier (or should be) because it's easier! Anyway, TAaTC is a canon-character one-shot featuring a small snippet of Aang and Katara's future together. Short and sweet, it's one of the best examples of what a one-shot should be.
This month, Harpalyce's now ancient story, The Book of Primal Illusion is nominated to be featured (and seriously, if the story doesn't get you, her artwork will ^^" ), while chapter 8 of Jtwin1's story, Avatar: Neo Revolution, has been nominated for the article feature. The amount of effort and love Jtwin forces into his story is just unbelievable, and I encourage all of you to go and take a look.
There is a reason I went through all that, and I'll probably spend another 600 words talking about it, too.
The Fanon Awards.
Yep, that's right. The fanon awards are coming up again, and frankly, I'm worried. That stuff above was the good stuff. Now comes the not-so-good. See, this month, only four different people have left votes on the FFS/FFA nominations for this month. A large proportion of the comments are on only a few different stories—85, to be exact. That's a little over half the number of stories that were written.
We only had three people nominate to be Fanon Award Councillors (with a fourth declining nomination). This is... well, I've never seen it before. We had nine last year, but those users who tried out have fallen from the wiki a little—I barely see any of them around here anymore. Life got busy. But, what about all the new people here—the new authors? And, even the old ones that are still hanging around. If we can't even get the five councillors, what hope do we have to get the five fanons for each category? Even last year, there were a few categories that didn't have the five nominated.
If no one is commenting, how do we know if people are reading? And if no one is reading, what reasons are there to even host the fanon awards? They were started in order to appreciate the fine work of this wiki, but if people are only reading 'past' fine work (ie. stuff that has won previously). Take Minnichi and her story. Everyone still loves SHiE, and probably will for a very long time. But, if that's the only story people are reading, there is no point to the awards. She can't win again. The fanon awards are there to also encourage users who may not have had that one hit that gets them noticed, like maybe users like ARG have. His new story didn't take long to be known all across the wiki, and that's because people remember his talent from Avatar: Energy Saga, back in a time where, admittedly, the fanon portal was more popular in terms of commenting. As ARG said in his article, it all comes back to you guys. We can host the Fanon Awards, but only you—the community—can make it successful.
So, I want to set a challenge for you. Go and find a fanon—a random fanon (all you have to do is hit the random page button, really—and comment on it. Try and find one that doesn't have any comments. Just take a look at the hidden skill we have all through the portal. You won't regret it :) After all, if you comment, other people might just take a look at your stories, too
❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
| Language, Dialect and Atmosphere|
Good, now I’ve got your attention, I shall get started immediately. Language is an important part in fictional writing, especially in fantasy and science-fiction. Language often adds (or at least can add) to the atmosphere of a fictional work, and not only in terms of style, phrasing, descriptions and all that stuff, but also in terms of multilingualism, a good (fanon) example of which would be Alone, in which Spanish often is often used in interaction between Hispanic characters. In fantasy and science-fiction (I’m just referring to both because of their relative similarity on that matter), there are three to four categories when it comes to multilingualism:
- Fully multilingual (not always including the author’s mother tongue): works in which the author has taken great care of languages, in the case of fantasy and sci-fi often constructing languages just for the sake of multilingualism. An excellent (and likely the only) example are the works of the great (somewhat insane too, I mean, a whole language family just for fiction!?) J. R. R. Tolkien, with the various Elvish languages, the Black Speech of Mordor, Westron et cetera.
- Partially multilingual: The author rarely is a linguist who is capable of constructing languages for his/her works, is he/she? Most of the time, the author just uses their own mother tongue for dialogue, inventing words of otherwise rather unspoken languages of his/her fictional world when use of the mother tongue is insufficient or unwanted. An example would be George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, in which almost the entire continent of Westeros speaks a language that just happens to have evolved into the very same language that we call English, while of other languages (Valyrian and Dothraki), only single words are used.
- Partially/Fully multilingual: Works that actually began as partially multilingual but then, for whatever reason, became fully multilingual. They may or may not still retain unrealistic features (mainly the unrealistically wide spread of a single language), but feature several languages. An example: Game of Thrones, based on A Song of Ice and Fire, with the aforementioned languages constructed just for the series, with the limited given vocabulary serving as a base.
- Monolingual: What many works tend to be, sadly, though multilingualism wouldn’t fit some all works… Anyway, works of this category are exclusively written in the author’s mother tongue, or rather, in the audience’s mother tongue, though some previously non-existent phrases may or may not be included to make it appear a bit… more believable. ‘Tis the wiki of an excellent example for this category.
Now, where am I headed with this? Excellent question indeed. Next question. No, seriously, it’s about linguistic diversity within the boundaries of monolingualism. Frankly, another (additional) language wouldn’t quite fit into the Avatarverse, would it? And, even if, who would construct it? We could use a language that already is in existence, like, I don’t know, Basque, but… no. Just… no.
A language that is spread over a greater area or has a high number of speakers is doomed to evolve into dialects. Well, every language is, but in such widespread ones, the dialects can become mutually unintelligible. That means, though technically speaking the same language, two people, for example, a Swiss German and a Lower Austrian, can’t (fully) understand each other when speaking their respective dialects in their purest form. And that example is about dialects spoken in an area approximately the size of… the state of Mississippi (about 25,000 – 30,000 km²). Not to think of what would happen to a language that is spoken on an entire planet, not to mention the fact that it’s entirely impossible for a language to stay more or less the same for bloody ten thousand years, and therefore, Wan should’ve spoken some kind of… PIE (NOT THE KIND OF PASTRY!) or Proto-Nostratic, depends on whom you ask…
No, this isn’t about whether Zuko wanted his honor or his honour back, whether Uncle Iroh should sing “Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall” or “Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn”, or whether the US should finally (officially) adopt the meter or the metre. This is about using various real-world features of dialects and accents (of/in English) in fanons to make them more atmospheric. Sadly, dialects often have a rather bad reputation, as they’re said to be archaic, a sign of a certain degree of… lower class-ness and even lacking education, and whatnot, whereas in fact, dialects are an essential part of a region’s identity, and such they can also be in your fanon. We’ve already got a character with an Indian accent and one with a Russian accent, as well as some others with a sort of personal accent. Naturally, their number was kept low to make the show as intelligible as possible. But does that stop you, er, us, the authors, from including accents and dialects in our fanons? Not really. I mean, sure, dialects and especially accents are hard to represent in written form , but it is possible, and in written form, communication between a – to outsiders – rather unintelligible dialect and those unfamiliar with the dialect is eased. This also counts for (related) languages altogether, for example can I, fluent in German and English, understand Dutch, Swedish and other Germanic languages to some degree. The only hindrance would still be the written form of dialects and accents, but for that, I suggest just to attempt to phonetically represent it within the boundaries of English orthography (which is quite difficult due to the irregular pronunciation of English), and if nothing else works… IPA. No, seriously, just write it like you think it is best represented. For all I care, you can use the Cyrillic Alphabet to do that.
Actually, in some cases, vernacular expressions and forms are already used, but most of the time, only by some few, uh… uneducated provincials (of that I’m guilty myself, by the way). But that’s not enough! Let the residents of the Lower Ring speak Cockney, let Omashu become a Glasgow patter colony, make the Northern Water Tribe a new Australia, the Southern one a new New Zealand (just the dialect(s), not the sheep), give your villain a German accent, those on Fire Nation outer islands an Appalachian dialect, and the nobility all over the world a truly snobbish – and perhaps somewhat archaic – Received Pronunciation! Ah, to Koh with it, let Yinglish be the language of the Air Nomads! Don’t be reluctant about dialects and accents – if nothing else works, at least they can add to the atmosphere of your story.
HAVE A FANON ARTICLE IN MIND? REVIEW? INTERVIEW? ADVERTISEMENT? OPINION? REQUEST? SEND IT TO ONE OF THE EDITORS AND YOU'LL BE IN THE NEXT ISSUE!