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FFF - Nirvana, by Ty

Fruipit December 26, 2013 User blog:Fruipit

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Sokka as therapist This blog is an official interview of the Fanon Fact Finders. We hope you enjoy it!

Nirvana


Hello, everyone! Fruipit here, with another exceptionally late interview. Despite that, it has been my utmost pleasure to talk to Ty about his piece of art, Nirvana.

This story well and truly is just that; art, at its finest. The words of this story not only paint a picture in your mind, but they provide the sounds and smells and the feeling of being inside the canvas. I don't have a small summary for this story, because there isn't one. Ty doesn't have one, so I can't use that. This story is one that can be summed up in a few simple words, but cannot be explained nor understood until you travel with Wake and Grace, and experience what they experience. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that adage can't be applied to this when the words are the picture.

I could waffle on all night about this, but I think you get the point: read this story. Trust me, you won't regret it.

From an interviewer to an author...


First question; how are you?
I'm doing well. A bit nervous to hear back about my college decisions this week.
Ohh, is it looking good?
I think I have a fair chance, but one can never know with these types of things

Well, good luck with it! How have you had the time to fill out these applications when you've been so busy working on Nirvana? Twenty three chapters in five months is no small feat.
I actually began writing Nirvana last spring around April while I was on break. In fact, when I released the first chapter of Nirvana, I had already begun writing Book Two: Fall. I like to write that way so that I don't get caught in the infamous writer's delay. Unfortunately, with the release of Chapter 23, I have officially used up my storages of chapters…so be wary of updates. As for the college applications, I firmly believe writing Nirvana, and Fanon in general, has helped me with writing those cretinous essays. I've become accustomed to writing often and creatively, so that bodes well for those silly admissions officers.

You answered my next question! So, how long do you think it'll take the rest of the series to be released? You've put a lot of effort into this series thus far - are you worried the quality will degenerate as you become busier and busier?
Nirvana is comprised of five books: Origins, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. I hope to finish Fall this January into February depending on how much I write. That being said, I will have taken about a year to release two books. To give an estimate, I think I will complete the series in about a year-and-a-half to two years from now. As for the quality, I think it will only get better because the story gets deeper and more complex, the only thing that may slow down is the speed with which I release chapters.

Oh dear lord. You sound like you have your work cut out for you. You plan to do all this *while* juggling college/university?
Yes! But I will have more time in college because I won't be running track every day, and classes aren't as long, though there are other distractions...

Oh? Such as, you know, school, perhaps?
Studies, sheltering homeless animals, conducting youth groups, crocheting sweaters for orphans: everything you'd expect.

See, and now I don't know how serious you're being. Studies? Pft, gimme a break. As long as the creative juices keep flowing, I don't think people will care if you're a little later than you have been. Speaking of creativity, do you feel as though the almost poetic writing style you use is *your* style?
I believe my writing comes across as "poetic" or "eloquent," as described my Omashu Rocks, because what I'm writing about is, in my opinion beautiful. I've imagined the scenery and emotional details of Nirvana so many times in my head. The chapters don't come quickly at all. I never sit down one day and say "Today I'm going to write a poetic chapter about meditation and philosophy." The ideas run through my head constantly, changing and forming with each new thought, so by the time I begin writing the scene is very specific and precise. I think that's why my style is the way it is.

So, it's like a mini-episode, and you're the director, changing it to fit?
I definitely imagine chapters as epidodes. I imagine all the facial expressions, sounds, even the supposed music that would fit. To say I'm a director wouldn't be entirely accurate, though. It's more like I'm a crazy fan of this story, and I excitedly think of ways to make it better everytime I daydream.

So, what 'episode' would be your favourite? Both to write, and read?
My favorite one to write was Chapter Thirteen just because it was the first giant plot twist. Up until then, everything was sweet and rosy. It was fun (smiles deviously) to tear everything to shreds. As for my favorite to read, it has to be Chapter Twenty-Three because I intended for it to be just "epic," like many moments in Avatar are. I wanted it to have a spine-tingling, finger-numbing visceral effect. My favorite chapter OVERALL is the last chapter of the entire story - stay tuned.

Stay tuned for the next year and a half? Oh, dear, and they call me a sadist. It's good to know that you love your writing as much as the readers. Have you ever had a moment where you thought, "Oh my god, what the hell have I written?" after publishing, but people still love it? Where you suddenly had no faith in your ability, but came out victorious?
I can't say that I have. I do a ton of revisions and I only move onto a new chapter and publish once I, personally, enjoy what I've written. I run the chapters by Bray before publishing, too. He always catches all the awkward fixes, which is nectar. People tell me I'm confident (cocky - I'm working on being humble :/) but my personality translates to my approach as a writer. I am usually confident that what I publish is more or less what I want it to be.

Part of the reason chapters can take a while, I presume? What is the hardest part about writing a new chapter for you?
Starting. Believe me when I say it, I have the entire story pretty much planned out. I know exactly what I want to write about plot-wise. There should be really no excuse for me having trouble writing chapters, alas taking a seat, tuning out distractions, and actually writing is by far the hardest part about Nirvana. This is partially due to the fact that I'm always tired from schoolwork or track, and I ultimately choose to crash for a nap instead of write.

Oh, I believe you. Now, something a little different, and something I've always been curious about; how do you pronounce Wake's name? And, how did you think of it?
Huh. I figured the pronunciation of his name would be obvious, yet this is the second time I've been asked the question. To quell any further speculation, his name is pronounced the same way as "Wake up." Admittedly, I came up with the name extemporaneously when I was thinking of cool main character names. I figured it sounded pretty unique and fit the fact that he, as a person, is very out of the ordinary. It does hold certain themes, though. The ideas of "leaving something in the wake" and "waking up to a new life" are recurring themes in the story.

It's too obvious - that's why we missed it. Who is your favourite? And why?
My favorite character is Grace because she is the eyes of the story. The story is told through her. I think she is the most enjoyable character to write because she's so multi-faceted. While Wake is so unique in that he doesn't understand his identity, Grace's personality, in my opinion, will shape the story. She grows up so much over the course of 5 Books. Grace at the beginning is far different from Grace at the end, but it's her journey that shapes her, and that's why she's my favorite.

Will she 'develop' *more* than Wake, or just differently?
They certainly develop differently. To be honest, they both develop drastically. They come from the same place, the same Island, so part of the journey is seeing how far they end up from the beginning. As far as developing "more" than Wake, it's impossible for me to tell since I haven't written it yet, but I can promise you that they both endure different forms of conflict and undergo development because of this. It's always crazy to compare Aang from Sozin's Comet to Aang from "The Boy in the Iceberg." Aside from his crazy voice change, he has really come into his own. I hope the same can be said for my two main characters.

Can you tell us what some of this conflict might be?
No.

Oh, well, okay then... This is obviously the 'adventure' genre, but will there be any romance?
Of course

How did you feel when you saw Nazgullow's quite frankly amazing picture? What did you feel when you saw it?
I won that picture from Minnichi in January 2013. It took roughy 10 months of switching from different Deviantart artists until Naz came up clutch and accepted my proposal. I had thought and muddled over the scene in my mind for so long that when I finally saw it it was a huge sigh or relief and admiration. It is inexplicably surreal to see one's own characters, especially when they look that amazing.

Ten months? Oh, wow. Then end product was definitely worth it, though. Now, something about the writing;
This story has an odd mix of flowing, almost poetic language, and colloquialisms, yet you manage to make it work. Is this done on purpose? You have these incredibly detailed and beautiful descriptions, but then suddenly you'll say 'a tall skinny guy with a large white bird'.

Ah. Yes. I like to portray certain things as being beautiful, especially the landscapes and nature, but I also like to call to mind that the main characters are regular people, teenagers. If I wrote about them with the same poetic style they would seem almost otherworldly and impossible to relate to. Sometimes I like to portray the goofy sides of their personalities or their imperfections through the language. In Avatar, Aang could be a sagely, wise person, but at the same time he was a complete air-head. I always try to go for that mix.

Is that why you also have their actions portrayed like that? Such as Hunter 'chilling' on Wake's head?
Yes. Hunter was chilling on Wake's head because I think the word evokes kind of laid-backness (if that's a word).

I think that's a word. Ah, English. So, we have a laid-back predator bird, a warrior woman, a man with no origins, and a new character, as of chapter 15. What can you tell me about the monk, Sihki?
Sikhi is sort of the personification of curiosity, innocence, and freedom that, in my mind, defines the Air Nomad culture. I wanted to write about a younger character, too. His role in the story is very important. The way he sees the world and interacts with other people will have a great impact.

So, everything in the story has a meaning behind it? Don't you have something you've just added that only has superficial meanings?
I wouldn't say EVERYTHING has a meaning. It's not like Nirvana is some kind of lofty allegory of the human flaw or something like that xD. It's just a an adventure that akes two young people to far away places, both physically and spiritually. That being said, of course there are deep meanings behind certain things, but at the same time there are light moments that are simply that, just normal human interactions.

Though the title is symbolic ...

I'll bite; what doe the title symbolise? Does it have more meaning than the simple definition of the word?
Sorry I can't tell you that one (can't take all the fun out of the story), but I'll leave you with one thing: the title is somewhat ironic.

You're a terrible person Dx okay, can you tell me anything about Hunter? Like, what is an osprey, and why did you choose it to be a hybrid of a dove?
Momo and Appa were such vital characters in Avatar. They had great personalities and even entire episodes dedicated to them. I wanted to bring the animal element of Avatar to my fanon by making Hunter an important character. He's more than just Wake's pet, that's for sure. An osprey is an awesome bird of prey that catches fish by diving and scooping them up with it's talons. I crossed it with a dove to give it a pure white color and a type of purity.

Will we see an entire chapter dedicated to Hunter?
I hadn't planned one, but now that you mention it, yes! It sounds like a fun idea.

I look forward to it >:D How are you developing the personality for a non-human character? Is it ore or less difficult?
I try my best to write Hunter in the same way I'd write any other character. He has strengths and flaws like a person, and I think treating him like one makes it easier than expected.

Why did he become friends with Wake? Allow himself to be tamed?
Hunter and Wake met when they were young. They were both orphans so they understood each other. Hunter was too small to catch food for himself, so Wake fed and raised him. It's not really about allowing himself to be tamed; he's just friends with Wake, so they stick together.
They stuck together through mutual necessity? They both needed a friend?
They just like each other! They're friends! It's not like they have ulterior motives or anything haha

Sorry heh you're the type of author that could make the most superficial thing have the deepest meaning. Moving on!
In one of the more recent chapters, Wake and Grace began talking about how sailors refer to boats/ships as female. Does Wake's boat have a name?
No
Idk what to tell you!
The boat doesn't have a name

Why did you keep the Old Man's name a secret, right until the very end?
The revealing of his name coincides with the nature of his relationship with Wake. The Old Man is not his parent, and although they were always close, there existed an invisible wall, simply because of Wake's introverted personality. At the end, the revealing of the name is more important for Wake's character because he views the Old Man in a completely different way.

So that *was* symbolic? Does the name have a special meaning? It sounds like a fairly wizened Sanskrit name, just following the same 'Nirvana' theme.
It means Hope.

Hope? Fitting, for Wake, that the man who raised him is literally 'Hope' (and don't tell me to ignore that, because I won't :P) I don't think I asked – how do you feel about this story?
I could talk about Nirvana forever! I originally had a summary on the main page to give readers and idea about what they were getting themselves into, but I decided to take it down. It's impossible to sum up everything about this story. In short, I want to write something that has an effect on people. When I finished watching Avatar for the first time, I was both sad and happy. I was sad that such an awesome thing was over but happy that such a thing existed in the first place. My goal with Nirvana is to create something beautiful, not just with descriptions but with themes and characters that become real. There are so many elements that go into Nirvana and they are all swirling around in my head. Hopefully, after the story is all said and done, it will resemble all of the images and dreams in my mind.
Do you believe you are?
Do I believe I am what?
Creating something beautiful.
You know what? I think I am. And I'm not just saying that or trying to brag or anything. I sincerely love writing Nirvana, and I feel so fulfilled when I read the words on the pages. For me, it's a beautiful thing, and there's still so much story left to tell. It's really just the beginning. Hopefully other people will feel the same way as I do, at least a little bit.

Well, what has the fan reception told you? Does it sound like people are as moved by your words as you hope them to be?
I have some of the best readers ever. They always leave the nicest advice for me after chapters. I have to give a special shout out to Kyoshidude, Sep, ARG, and Henry for really inspiring me to keep writing. I've received overall positive feedback, and it looks like people understand where I'm coming from. Thanks guys!

When Nirvana inevitably ends, do you think you'll continue writing Avatar fanon?
I'm almost certain that Nirvana will be the last Avatar fanon I write.
Oh? Why is that?
I'm not sure I'll have any more Avatar stories left in me after this. Besides, I'll probably be graduated from college by then XD
It's the story I've been wanting to tell. It's MY story. And there's only ONE such story. If that makes sense.
The height of your fanfic career?
Yes. Haha. The height of my fanfic career.

So, do you have any advice to give to other authors? Or the readers and moral supporters?
Write what you love and don't worry about what anyone else says.

From an author to a reader...


Now I have a question for you! What was your overall takeway from the story so far?
I thought you had an interesting, completely original idea, and added a tiny influence of Avatar that just turned the whole thing around. Even though we haven't seen a huge amount that would make this a 'fanfiction', what we *have* seen has more than justified it. Because it's truly a unique story in that it doesn't seem to be set in the Avatar World, and there are no blindingly obvious 'oh, that's so ATLA'
You've kept it refreshing and original, but still make it completely enjoyable for someone who wants to read fanon. Do you know what I mean? I feel like I'm making no sense...

I know exactly what you mean. It's one of the things I wanted to do, too. I was inspired by Avatar, but it's not really a "fan fic" with shipping and obvious ties to any characters like Sokka or Zuko. The only thing that is the same is the Avatar universe, spirituality and though we haven't gotten too far, the landscapes. I wanted the story to unfold as if someone was dropped into the Avatar world with no prior knowledge and had to experience it for themselves. That's why I haven't named any landmarks or places or even used the word Avatar. It's kind of like taking a known universe and rediscovering it. That's the feeling that drives the story and my writing it. The thing I loved most about Avatar was the amazing world Bryke built, with all it's culture and depth. I'm trying to do the same thing with writing. *trying* now does THAT make sense?

End


(ps. yes, it did make sense...)

It was an absolute pleasure to interview Ty, and if anyone out there hasn't dropped him a message yet, you're missing out. He is just a brilliant person as he is a writer, and was extraordinarily patient when it came to this interview. It was a fantastic read, and well worth it. Even if you don't have time for the serial stories, read some of his other stories — you won't regret it. This is Fruipit, signing off~!

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