Written for another writing contest, this time the prompt "Write an Epic Fight Scene", Live Another Day features a battle between Hakoda from the Southern Water Tribe and a 'mysterious' waterbender.
Brilliant story! The plot twist at the end was unexpected and worked really well. The back-and-forth style of describing one opponent and their attack and then how the other countered made for an exciting and memorable story. A simple yet elegant story that serves its purpose well.
The whole setup for this fanon was superb; the surprise attack, the battle itself, and the reveal at the end of the fanon made for an exciting story. It is a little nit-picky, but I would say that perhaps the jump between the first paragraph and the initial attack could have used another sentence or two before the action starts. The suddenness of the attack is obviously what is great because it comes out of nowhere and is unexpected, but perhaps by having another couple of sentences of the setting or something else it would draw the reader's focus back into the present time happenings, as the paragraph before had gone into detail on Hakoda's past. Like I said it is incredibly minor, but perhaps could help the build-up flow a tad more naturally. But it still functions beautifully in the story and the unexpectedness of the moment was really well done.
I don't recall seeing any mistakes, so if they were there they probably weren't very distracting. Excellent!
Writing Style: 9.4
If anyone is looking for an example of how to write a good action scene then this fanon is perfect. What made it a great story was not just the fighting itself but also the way the story progressed, and the interspersed memories of Hakoda which came up every so often. With that said, there was one part where things could have flowed a little easier, which was just after the short section about Hakoda fighting the Yuyan Archers during the war. Even just a couple more words like perhaps "much like the ice spikes before him" or something along those lines at the end of the paragraph would make the connection between the waterbender's attack and the Yuyan Archers' arrows a little more obvious. But this wasn't a huge issue. A little more description of the setting would have helped the story, as even though it is obvious that it is taking place in the Southern Water Tribe it may help readers picture what is going on a little easier. But all in all this category was done really well in this fanon.
I love the way Hakoda was described in this fanon. His years of experience as a war veteran shone through not only his actions but also through his memories and thoughts which were sprinkled throughout the story. A little more description of what he had on him at the time may have helped as there was a bit of confusion in the earlier moments of the battle, but this is discussed later on in the review. The only other thing would be to perhaps include a bit more description of what the waterbender looked like, but obviously not enough to give away who they were.
This category was a bit of a paradox, as the biggest deductions came from here but also the biggest positives of the story. Let me start by saying that the battle itself was brilliant; ARG has done a great job at creating a fight scene which is exciting and entertaining.
The deductions came from a slightly confusing moment which when reading the first time through, was a little jarring. When Hakoda first charges out to face the attacker, he somehow had three different weapons at his disposal, though there was no mention of how he got them. Hakoda was first described in the story as 'tired and weary' and inside his hut, which gave the impression that he was simply resting or relaxing and would most likely not have a shield, spear, and machete on his person. This is why it was a little jarring that Hakoda somehow pulled out his weapons after the initial attack from the waterbender. As touched on the Characterisation section, even just including a couple details about Hakoda having his weapons with him, or perhaps quickly grabbing them after the initial attack, would have fixed this issue. Once the battle actually began there were no issues with the fight itself, and it certainly is an exceptional example of how to write an action scene well.
I could definitely see this happening; Hakoda and the waterbender (who still won't be named in this review) both have that kind of relationship. The ending reactions of the characters were a little strange, as you could expect Hakoda to have more of a smug grin or light-hearted smirk after his victory, but for the most part it worked well.
Overall Score: 9.53
Why Read This Fanon?: A great and exciting story which is easy to read and entertaining. Anyone looking for something shorter yet intense will surely enjoy.
This story about our favourite multi-personality disorder suffering character from the Avatar series was also written for a competition, and managed to win the award "Using a Deranged Narrator". And this one-shot certainly did that, but also explored a minor character from the series in a way that was entertaining and memorable. Here are the scores:
Now, one of the criteria for this competition was a word limit of up to 1000 words. And that's no easy feat in itself, so I applaud ARG for crafting a funny yet deep one-shot in such a small amount of words. It's not so much a pacing issue, but perhaps more time could have been devoted to the end of the fanon. Here, we learn more about Dock and his past, and although the beginning of the story was funny and entertaining the end is what readers really take away from the story as it goes into that depth that was really intriguing and memorable. As reflected in the score it's only a minor thing, and the story functions beautifully as it is.
Again, a category done well in this story. It begins on a more humorous note where we get to pick up many of Dock's mannerisms that made him such a funny character in the series, and although these are inserted throughout the story, the last part of the one-short takes a more serious turn where we get to find out about his past, and why he is the way he is. It's the transition between these two parts that incurred a slight deduction here, mainly because it is a little bit of a time-jump that isn't known until the last sentence. Dock tells us that he met Buzai in the morning, though in the final sentence tells us that it is getting late and presumably, it is night. Of course, poor Dock is as the award suggested, 'deranged', but perhaps having a sentence or two about Dock heading home later that day or something would help the whole transition flow a little better.
Writing Style: 9.3
This story is written from Dock's perspective, and so the style of writing and Dock's characterisation are closely tied together. The way each sentence is written often shows little quirks and mannerisms of Dock, and makes for an entertaining read. Because of this however, some moments like the scene with Buzai eating the 'fake' two-headed fish are a little unclear, as in Dock's mind Buzai was really enjoying the gift. But overall, it worked well.
Dock was beautifully portrayed in this story, and we get to see many of his little quirks throughout the story. Buzai, though a more minor character, was a little harder to pinpoint. His reactions seemed just a little off, and although we do get some explanation about why he and his family don't have a lot of tolerance for Dock and his mental illness it could have been elaborated a little further.
Apart from some slightly confusing movements in the scene with Buzai and Dock mentioned above, this was done very well in this story. Obviously no fight scenes, but the characters seemed to move and perform actions in a clear and interesting manner.
Nicely done in this category as well. There were just some issues with Buzai and his actions/attitudes towards Dock that didn't quite seem believable, and perhaps with further elaboration this could be remedied. But all in all, a very believable story indeed.
Overall Score: 9.57
Why Read This Fanon?: Some of the best stories about canon characters I think are the ones that change the way you see that character, even when re-watching the episodes themselves, and this story certainly does that. It takes a minor character and develops them in an entertaining and hilarious way, and is most certainly worth reading.
It seems Tenzin hasn't quite learnt his lesson... :P Once again Tenzin returns to his favourite mail series he is subscribed to, though this time things are different; instead of Ong, this sequel series is called 'The Legend of Morra', and more importantly, all of his siblings and friends are into it as well. In this story we also see a parody of how the Legend of Korra fans reacted to the series.
It is clear that this sequel has improved a lot since the first one-shots introducing us to Tenzin's obsession over his series. The plot progresses well, and apart from the escalating battle moving a little too fast, it fits the story really well.
As mentioned above, the flow between the arguing of the siblings and them resorting to violence could have been spaced out a little. Of course, any fan of the Legend of Korra could recall how out-of-hand things got with the Korrasami debate (which is why it did suit the story so well XD), but it did feel a little as though it escalated too quickly.
Only a couple of mistakes this time around.
Writing Style: 9.2
The biggest positive in this category, much like many of the other parody one-shots, comes from the dialogue. What the characters say is funny, entertaining, and worryingly accurate to what happened over the internet in regards to the book 4 finale! So well done ARG! There are two areas slightly lacking in this category, the more minor one being description of the setting. Later on in the Fire Nation this was done fine, and there were some cool and clear descriptions of what the palace looked like in particular. It's more in the beginning where things could have been expanded a little. Of course as fans we know what the Water Tribe and Fire Nation look like, but by adding small snippets of what the air felt like maybe, or what is seen by the characters, it can give a story a more well-rounded feel to it.
The more major issue was to do with the dialogue scene. As said before, what characters said was done really well, it was more the fact that in the scene it was almost only spoken lines and how characters said things. Now, this does suit a fast-paced discussion where replies are shot back and forth quickly, and the inverse would be even worse; having screeds and screeds of narration after a character has spoken only a couple of words (which I know I am guilty of!). But sometimes information can be given without a character saying it and still do so without slowing the conversation, perhaps something like this, "'... and others would agree with me,' Vaimera said, referring to the countless fan-written letters she had subscribed to detailing their hatred for shipping Morra with Diko." That way, it could break up the dialogue so it feels more like a story and less like a script perhaps, yet not slow the fast pace of the conversation. All in all, the fanon was written very well and neither of these issues detracted from the story greatly.
I loved the diverse cast of characters in this story, particularly when it came to the brawl at the end. Most of the time characters seemed to behave how you would expect, though a couple of Vameira's lines regarding the story didn't quite gel with her personality, though it was a parody of comments made about Korrasami so it is understandable. Apart from some characters being a little too quick to start fighting I would say this was a near-perfect job in this category. Well done!
The movements and fights were really well written in this story. I particularly loved the moment where the different shipping supporters would take the lead in the battle and each time cry out their preferred shipping pair. The movements were great, and the whole battle itself done in a tense and exciting manner.
Seeing as the build-up to the battle not being believable was more of a character issue there were no marks deducted for it here. There weren't really any other issues in this category either. The story progressed really well and never had moments where things seemed a little off. I would say that in a normal world there probably wouldn't be a secret slide to a secret room in the Fire Nation, though it definitely fit into the world of Avatar and made for a nice touch.
Overall Score: 9.76
Why Read This Fanon?: If you loved the last two prequels or are a fan of ARG's writing in general then you will surely enjoy this one as well. It is entertaining, and as mentioned quite accurately parodies all the comments and discussions surrounding the finale of book 4.
Taking a much different tone than many of the other stories, 'Playing With Fire' deals with themes surrounding ARG's ongoing series, Dragons, Sieges and Volcanoes. And it's only 500 words long as well! The story includes some incredible descriptions and word choices, and all in all, adds to the way the readers view the ongoing tale of Ratana and the Hundred Year War.
Some of the categories normally included in my reviews have been combined due to the style of the one-shot.
Organisation (includes Plot and Believability): 10.0
A short but excellent story, particularly because of the writing elements in the story which will be discussed further, but also this category was done well indeed; the intro and moving through events that shaped Ratana and playing on the idea of 'lessons learnt' was an interesting take in describing the series.
Writing Style: 9.5
As mentioned above, some of the best bits of the story came from the writing elements. There were great descriptions of characters and actions, and intermingled lines from "Leaves from the Vine" which were a neat addition to the story. There was also a nice foreshadowing going on with the line about Ratana possibly jumping/falling into a volcano, which we know will happen at some point anyway because of the inspiration behind the story, but it was nice to tie that future event into it and remind readers where the story is progressing. One thing to add would be that at times the poetic style of the story became a little vague at times, not much of an issue, though it is understandable given the small word count prompt.
It was a little hard to judge this category seeing as the characters weren't so much doing or saying anything in the present, but rather the one-shot was an overview of the story thus far and Ratana herself. So I'll start by saying that Ratana was characterized really well, exactly how readers of DSV will know her, especially when comparing how this one-shot describes her reactions to the events mentioned that happened during the series. The small deduction comes from something a little nit-picky in that a couple of times in the first paragraph the pronouns 'our' and 'us' are used, and when reading through it gives the impression that there is a narrator for this piece. Now there are some clues as to who it could be but it isn't really mentioned further throughout the story nor confirmed that there even is one, which as reflected in the score isn't really a major issue and may in fact be resolved later on in DSV, but in the story itself it was only slightly misleading to not have that question answered. All in all characterization was done really well however.
Some pretty epic-sounding descriptions of fire and setting things ablaze in this story, and it suited the story really well. Everything else action-related gelled well with the story too.
Overall Score: 9.88
Why Read This Fanon?: Fans of DSV will enjoy this one-shot which portrays themes from the story in an interesting manner, and has a couple of foreshadows which will be important events in future chapters. It also features some neat writing techniques which anyone will enjoy.
Overall Score for Part 2: 9.69
Overview of ARG Presents Part 1 and 2:
So first off, I have to apologize to ARG (and in fact everyone signed up for a review with me so far...) about taking my time to get reviews out, but without further delay let's have a look at the overall scores and advice:
Overall Score for Part 2: 9.69
Overall Score: 9.10
Overall Advice: I mentioned in the last part that with a collection of one-shots like these that span over a number of years when they were written an improvement in writing can be seen. In particular, these more recent one-shots truly reflect the quality of your writing at present, and to go back and change the earlier ones would only be for a matter of consistency rather than improving skill. With these later stories a greater diversity of themes is also seen, with one-shots like 'Playing with Fire' having a more serious tone, but the comedy genre is something you seem to have down-packed as well. All in all, you've done an excellent job in crafting these stories and it will be interesting to see what one-shots are published next.