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The White Lotus Sentinel: Issue 26, 2 July

Fruipit July 2, 2014 User blog:Fruipit

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Issue 26: 2 July, 2014

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EDITOR
Korra Can Save the Portal: A Plea
Omashu Rocks

Let's face it: the fanon portal is not what it used to be. When I log on, which nowadays I must admit is rarely at best, I don't see the robust, magical place I used to be in love with. I don't see new authors trying their luck with a fresh idea or floods of readers pouring onto the comments section of a popular story. In fact, fanon-based edits are typically infrequent and small. As much as it kills me to say, I think we must face the reality that our precious portal is on life support, hanging on by a thread.

The Fanon Awards will be approaching soon, but how many fanons will there be to compete? Exciting, quality stories a few and far between these days, and it will be sad to watch a handful clean up the awards due to lack of competition. What I will never understand is, why? An Avatar television series is still airing on Nickelodeon. We are getting new material from Bryke to work with every week. So, why was the fanon portal more active in between A:TLA and Korra when we thought the show was over forever? Is it because the comic books have ruined the point of post-war fanons? Have we simply run out of possible things to write about?

We've lost our mojo, either because the original fanbase has gotten older and moved on or because this current series could never replace the original. One thing is for sure, and that is we do not have the same excitement and curiosity for the Avatar World we once did. We feel no passion for exploration of this fantasy universe, which means no need to write or read fanon. That's where Korra can help us. We have heard that this season will mostly take place in the Earth Kingdom, and we've already seen a handful of new, thrilling characters added into the mix. That gives room for more backstories, more cities, more kings, and soldiers, and wars: tales that need to be told.

I am urging you, the readers, to pick up this task and save our portal. As you watch this season play out, surely your interest will be struck by something new and exciting. If that's the case, why not take out a notepad and jot down a few ideas? You could really strike a chord and be on your way to writing the next big fanon. There's nothing the WLS staff, the Fanonbenders, or the admins can do to save this wiki's fanon section. It rests on the writers and the readers. Without you it will die. So please, don't let that happen. With episodes airing every friday, the Avatar World is still alive. Let's keep the fanon portal alive too.


White lotus tile icon Fanon Urban Dictionary
Staff

Fanon Award councilors:

People whom you think know everything about the fanon portal but are really just regular users who have no time, deciding to add even more to their workload.
"So, Minn's trying out to be a councillor again this year..." "oh yeah. Does she have time-" "Shh!" "But-" "Shhhh! She does have time *glances around nervously*"

Schedule:

The thing that apparently exists, but which the WLS staff never seem to be able to catch.
"A wild SCHEDULE appeared! Go WLS STAFF!" *The WLS STAFF used Procrastination! But nothing happened!* "The wild SCHEDULE used Mock. The wild SCHEDULE fled the battle!"

Staff discussion:

Code for "dear lord, they're at it again".
"Where are Fruipit and OR?" "Staff discussion." "Oh- ohh. Gotcha."
........................................................................................................

Love the Fanon Urban Dictionary? Miss any definitions? See the complete collection here!


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DEPUTY EDITOR
NaNoWriMo and Us
Fruipit

When I want to write, I try to just let the words flow. I don't usually have a word count in mind, or much of a plot beyond a simple idea. Usually it's 'character + mood + bad thing'. However, there's one time of the year that all my non-planning, mess of a tactic goes out the window and I actually try to follow what those internet guides on 'how to write' tell me.

NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know what NaNo is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and is an event that takes place all over the world. Groups of people get together (or they just sit at home) and write.

You're probably thinking 'psh, I do that anyway!', and yes, I suppose you do. But, do you write 50,000 words in a single month?

See, the aim of NaNo is to encourage people to write by giving them a feasible goal, and yet one that actually requires work. I've only done it once, but I do know that it was one of the funnest months I'd ever had, despite the difficulty had with achieving the word count.

You might be asking why I'm bringing this up. Well, last year, AvatarRokusGhost, Wordbender, Mageddon725, Master Ratava, and myself all participated. It turned into a small competition and actually, one of my greatest achievements was reaching the word mark the same day as Wordbender (who actually wrote the first draft of Air as a NaNo project. Trivia!). The reason I'm bringing this up is that we (in particular, ARG and I) have plans to do it again, and these plans really do affect our work on the wiki.

It's no easy task writing 1,667 words each and every day, and on top of that, we have fanonbender-contest duties. So, this is an advanced warning that we will not be doing a 'traditional' writing contest that month.

Instead, we invite everyone to sign up and participate! Come on, be a Wrimo :) That month is National Novel Writing Month, and that's what w're going to be doing. Writing a novel. The best part is, it can be about whatever you want. Wanna write a fanfic? No problem! Dinosaur dystopia? The more the merrier! And trust me, the feeling you get when you hit that mark is priceless :)

This article is an invitation to join us. It's an early-warning that the November prompt will be 'participate in NaNoWriMo!'. And, don't stop writing!


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The Perks of Being a Full-time Writer
Master Ratava

To begin with I dare bring upfront what's the concept of "writer". To some people it refers to those who writes original stories or novels. And only they can bear the title of "master of words and prose and poetry". Most people I came across aren't aware of fanon writing, and the ones who do know there's a whole market in writing stories that will never be there own for profit think there isn't a single benefit in writing using another's world, characters or even actual plot.

Being a "writer" recognized in the mass minds is kind of like winning the lottery. Because when they know you write, they'll want to see proof of it. And writing fanon, or writing anything rather than novels, aren't the material they expect to see. Poets and short story writers (such as cronists or novelete ones) share the same displeasure as fan fiction writers. Of course, taking the average, middle awarenessless of the non-creative. When I say non-creative, I many those who don't write themselves and hold any kind of misguided parallel assumption about what they read, if they do at all.

I'm almost fully in conscience of what may wait for my journey in the realms of pens and inks and fingertip typing (backspacing and re-typing)... Nah. I'm not even by close to fully understand what's on one's mind when they think they're self-sufficient in judging who's and who's not able to be called "writer."

When I was 15, almost 14 years ago (yeah, I'm leaving the twenties behind...) These thoughts weren't as important as they shall present themselves today. I was a naïve young "thing" who started writing a Harry Potter fan fiction, due to psychological pressure my sister and cousin put on me while they were the ones reading the first three books in the series. I don't know exactly when (liar! I know! it was at early night on the 19th of December in 2000) I glimpsed the first panoramic view of the story I actually wrote 164,053 words in the following three-to-four years... It was marvelous. It was beautiful. It was an innocent and ingenuous touch of a lonely, self-short-thought-aware misplaced boy... And I was that.

But I was/am/will-be so much more. That I did/do/will not even have the clue. As time pass by, writing becomes more and more the best part of daily activities. Homework was the easiest thing to do, when the urge to keep the characters my idol-writer brought to life forward on the story inspiration was whispering at my ears. And they even so, wouldn't be considered my own.

The story I was transmitting... I was telling... The story that was written through my bare fingertips, that very one should never be considered my creation.

Because I wasn't the one who brought it to life. I was only their foster-father. And like foster-kids, my Harry Potter fanon suddenly wandered by itself, if I had enough dignity to be its dad. On the eyes of the self-absorbed marketers, I - just as anyone who writes fan fiction - wouldn't ever be able to confirm it.

When I was 18, out of thin air my beta-reader said: "You've made it your own. Stop writing fan fiction. Start writing stories only you can."

Unfortunate or fortunately I didn't followed her advice at that time. Sometimes I feel sorry for that. So I could have a full first draft of non-counting material ready ahead of me. On the other hand, I do appreciate that I made out of my "writing" urge period a hiatus so long I even had myself unconsidered part of the arts and the function of storytelling. I wasn't even a fanon writer anymore.

Time went shortening since then. Waking up in the morning to go college. And then to work. And the gym. And social life. Smoking, drinking, going out with people I used to call friends. And falling in love. And having my heart torn apart, mended and re-torn. Until I thought I had no heart at all. Until I ended up on top of a bed. Closed in the very bedroom I gave life to my own version of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Being deprived of life itself. On medicines. Without the strength to even leave my own home and see the street.

Without the will to do anything rather than enjoy myself falling apart away of my own conscious.

It was 2011. It was before finding out about the ATLA wiki, this very spot online. I had watched already ATLA's all 61 episodes. But the first time wasn't sufficient to drag me into getting back on the writing tracks... I had to be on the bottom of my own hell's pit. So I could start to burn down the very inner-most demons, ghosts, and vampires abducting who I was back then.

On the 16th January 2012 still being laid down in bed, I registered here, and started my second fan fiction project. Not to bring life to Bryke's characters. Not to make them my own. Not even to remodel their world and see what it could be like. It was before LoK came into the screen. I used fanon writing to bring myself back.

Sometimes when you're looking too much into your own darkness, it looks back at you.

I still wasn't self-conscious about if I was being a writer. And that very time, I didn't care at all. I was writing another's story again. I haven't learn for the first time. And I was proving I still had another step up the staircase to climb. Fanon writing wasn't what I was searching deep inside on the core I had untouched in the heart I had forgotten on the corner of my mind.

My first beta-reader words kept echoing: "You've made it your own. Stop writing fan fiction. Start writing stories only you can."

It was hard, realizing I was getting better. The medicines did had good effect on me. Sometimes I didn't even remembered why I was in such delicate spot. Some other times, I got back inside the depths of my shame.

The only actual good thing that happened in 2012 to my own-writing (not including fanon writing) was a short story contest... A selection of stories to be gathered together into an anthology book. A friend of mine, one of the few that rose above the amount of people who turned their back on me when I was ill, he showed me this calling. Some calls we must answer in time. The hardest part o it is to see the signs universe send us telling to grab ourselves and take the first step forward.

This one precisely I had to retrieve from the anthology, because its publishing house was fooling, and at this moment it only released the e-book (without my short-story I hope).

2013 was the year of most changes in my life. Not only in my writing path... which I discovered to be the career I wanted, but also in my social life itself. Getting back along "friends", watching their yellow grins at me, listening to the excuses they thought were valid... Seeing that the world isn't this small as also the biggest fairytale safe and sound environment I used to think. People are the very haunters of one's mind. I still thought my heart had slipped away, just as sand through the same fingers typing now my stories.

The first semester was an 180° turn. I got three short-stories (one non-speculative-fiction romance; a post-apocalyptic zoombie adventure, and a fantasy mystery other) approved to publishing, which were released one day before my birthday on the 19th October. In August and September and October I wrote other three short-stories (that weren't this short, almost nouvelette-length tales), to other publishing houses.

At the beginning of November, on the 12th, I moved to São Paulo. I started living by myself (not this independent as I wanted to be). It was not well-planned as I thought would have been if I'd only came here this current year... Anyway... It wouldn't be another way. And I'm pleased that it did happen as it did. In mid December I started working in a shopping mall store. Which by the way wasn't bad as it seemed at first. Before 2014 came in, two of the last three short-stories I wrote in 2013 were accepted.

This year I struggle with the urge to write, the search to another job (the store one I quit because I couldn't nule myself anymore) - one that respect me and my career choice, and paying the bills (which aren't this expensive, since I don't spend much).

Waking up, unemployed, though published, wanting to write (even if I don't know exactly what), and wanting to find an activity good enough so I can profit my daytime the most (working an useful job / gym / writing / watching tv series / reading) all of those are thoughts that make me wonder if I'm in the right spot, or doing the right thing.

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DEPUTY EDITOR
The Other Self
AvatarRokusGhost

It goes without saying that everyone who writes on here has to balance the time they have for such hobbies with a busy life of their own. The great thing about fanon writing, just like any other kind of fictional writing, is that it gives one a chance to take a break from school or work or whatever else occupies one's time and allow one's imagination run wild, taking them to new lands, like a leaf in the wind. To those who fully immerse themselves in their writing, or any other artistic discipline besides writing that this could apply to, they can begin experiencing a different persona when they do. But what if it went an extra step further? What if this side of us wasn't a different persona, but a different person?

On an ordinary weeknight I sit in front of my computer, surfing the internet. I believe myself to be alone, but then I hear someone knocking at the door to my room. I jump for a moment, wondering who that could be, if it was friend, foe or intruder. It turns out that it's a curious combination of all three. Like I'm looking into a mirror, I stare at my doorway and find my other self staring back. As if he were a ghost or a doppleganger, he looks the way I do and dresses the same way I do, but in every other way possible, he's completely unique.

"Hello Other Self," I ask, not knowing what else to say.

"Hello Normal Self," says my Other Self. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing really."

"Why aren't you writing?"

"It's been a long day," I say, and it had been. "I feel I'll relax a little longer and then turn in."

"Like hell you are," my Other Self steps over and shakes my chair. "You always complain on and on about not having enough time to write and now you have a perfect frame of time, and you say you just don't feel like it? Come, close Youtube, open up Word, and let the prose come from your fingertips."

When I sit side-by-side with my Other Self, he feeds creative ideas into my head in a supernatural kind of way. I always wondered where such random ideas came from before I discovered him. Suddenly, my tiredness melts away and I have new drive in my mind to write the next chapter of my story, reveal my next plot twist, and craft my tale to the best first draft of my ability. By the time I am finished, I only barely get to bed early enough to get a sane amount of sleep for the next day. My Other Self departs and I drift into unconsciousness, satisfied with the work I put in.
 The next day, I wake up in time for a simple cup of yogurt, plus a to-go cup of coffee for breakfast as I walk out the door and drive to work. As I say hello to my co-workers and sit down at my desk, I notice my reflection in the computer screen while I'm turning it on. Then I realize it's not my reflection, but my Other Self.

"Other Self, what are you doing here?" I ask in a hushed voice, my eyes widening and turning to make sure no one nearby is looking.

"Just stopping by to tell me this new idea that I had," my Other Self tells me with the same enthusiasm as the previous night. "It's going to be great for your next story."

"No! You need to leave now. I have to work today. You're going to get me in trouble."

"I thought you wanted to write?"

"I do, but I can't now."

"Hmph!" My Other Self crosses his arms before fading into thin air once again.

Unfortunately, I'm not always at my computer at home when my Other Self comes to visit. I could be at work, out with friends, cooking dinner, asleep or out of town. He always tries to suck me into writing something, sometimes successfully, which can cause me to lose sleep by staying up too late or waking up too early. My Other Self, has no regard for other things in my schedule whatsoever, but he is equally stubborn in forcing me to accept his.

On the flipside of what happened at my job are times when I am able to write, but my Other Self, possessing the imaginative side of me, refuses to come along for the ride. When I get home, I try to approach my Other Self and write with him, but he cuts me off.

"You had your chance when I was ready to help you earlier," he shakes his head at me. "I have other things to do, too. If you want my help, you'll just have to wait until I have time for you again."

"What other things do you have to do? I only ever see you when you're with me and I'm writing." But by the time the words escape my mouth, he was gone.

And so I am left alone, ready to write, but with writer's block and unable to continue. While I've always been in favor of trying to master rules so that you know when to break them at the right time, my Other Self is far more of a rebel. And he comes up with many horrible things to do to characters in stories, which makes me wonder if that played a part in making him the way he is. Now that I think of it, I don't think I want to know what exactly my Other Self does when he's not with me. Yeah, I think I can let my imagination stop short of answering that.

Fortunately, I have a trick that I can play on him as well. Without knowing what to write, I sit down at my computer and start typing anyway. At first, I cannot think of sentences, let alone stories, so I write gibberish. After about twenty minutes of continuous typing, I hear someone at the door to my room again.

"Stop! Stop!" my Other Self yells in a panic as he enters the room once again. "Alright, I'll help you, just don't type anything else until I give you some ideas."

"I thought you had things you had to do?" I couldn't help but act a little smug at a time like this.

My Other Self narrowed his eyes. "Yeah...well, you're giving me a bad name, so I guess I have no choice."

This is nothing unusual, for the behavior of my Other Self is equally as unpredictable as the ideas he beams into my head. Since every writer has one, I often wonder what other writers' other selves are like. I'm amazed when I find that friends of mine who are also writers have better time management than I with their writing. Maybe their other selves are nicer to them. Or...maybe they've become so deeply into the worlds they create that their other selves eventually take over and become the dominant half. That would explain why many lifelong writers develop eccentricity after a while, and the very thought sends a chill down my spine.

So, next time you find yourself experiencing writer's block, look into the mirror and try to guess what your reflection is thinking.


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Review
Mageddon725
FRSimage
This review was conducted by the Fanon Review Squad and reflects our best judgment of writing and fanon authorship quality. Please don't take offense if the review wasn't positive. We always give advice!

Hey there, Mageddon725 here, reviewing Avatar: The Legend of Aang: The Red Revolt on behalf of the Fanon Review Squad. Yes, it has been quite a significant amount of time since I last posted a review, and I do apologize for that. Fortunately, now that my summer class is over, I can get on with my last few backlogged reviews. Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

The plot takes place one week after the end of the Hundred Year War. It follows the adventure of the new Team Avatar, which consists of Aang, Katara and Sokka, as they help the new Fire Lord, Zuko, defend his nation from an unexpected and devious attack and betrayal. The story also follows the resurrection of the Air Nomad society and way of life and the final battle between Fire Lord Zuko and his sister.

When I read the description for this fanon, I instantly recognized the plot, as it has been shared by most of the fanons in the “after the war” genre. That said, I try my best not to judge a book by its cover; instead, I attempt to find out if the story can stand on its own merits. Does The Red Revolt do that? The short answer is…not really. Scores:

Story – 4.0: Unfortunately, this story falls into the same trap as many of the fanons set directly after The Last Airbender’s conclusion, and it does nothing to truly add to the existing story in an interesting way. Early on, they do find a character that does bring a little uniqueness into the story. However, the addition of said character brings in plenty of other problems, as I’ll elaborate on later.

Action – 2.0: The action scenes are few and far between, which wouldn’t be a problem on its own. Unfortunately, they aren’t very descriptive or riveting when they do show up.

Writing – 5.0: While not absolutely terrible, the writing lacks a lot of polish. Sentences are rather choppy, and verb tenses alternate often, sometimes within the same sentence. It lacks the touch of an editor, or at least a second pair of writing-savvy eyes. I would suggest having an experienced eye go over each chapter and get those errors ironed out.

Creativity – 3.0: While not a complete carbon copy of the ideas that came before it, there is little to distinguish this piece from any of the others. Each fanon needs something that really brings distinctive life to the story, and The Red Revolt falters in that regard.

Believability – 3.0: To be frank, most of the issues I have with this story’s believability have to do with a character introduced at the end of Chapter 2. It’s about to get spoiler-ry, so if you have such an aversion, look away now. At any rate, Aang and Co. meet Hokai, an Airbender who was Aang’s best friend 100 years prior. He reveals that he survived in much the same way as Aang, by essentially wrapping himself in ice. This part immediately threw me out of the story, and it’s safe to say I never really got back. Hokai should be dead; the only reason that Aang survived that was because of the Avatar State, which Hokai does not have. Hypothermia would’ve been the least of his worries. Regardless, the characters aren’t really believable in any sense, which only adds to the problems and issues this piece has.

Character Development – 2.0: Characters should be what makes the story work. The plot will work itself out, but bad characters slow a story to a crawl or crush it in its infancy. The Gaang in The Red Revolt act only as cutouts of what they were in the series, if that. They have nothing that adds to them or the story, and that is a shame.

Average Score/Final Verdict – 3.2: Unfortunately, this fanon fails to capture the imagination or distinguish itself in any real way from the menagerie of stories just like it, and the characters are just conduits for the story. They’ve got no life in them. My advice would be to seriously reevaluate why and how you want to tell this story. Then, get an extra set of eyes to look it over as you write.


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Farewell from the Editors
Omashu Rocks
Minnichi

Readers, I'm sorry that I must let you know of my resignation from the WLS, but the time for me to leave has come. I am no longer able or willing to keep up with the amount of work required to be a good editor, and I could no longer be a disappointment to you, my fellow staff members, or myself. I used to love this wiki. Specifically, I used to love this fanon portal. Unfortunately, however, the portal I used to know has been long gone. Now, fanon updates are rare and readers are rarer. If I'm going to write a successful story, it will require 100% of my time and energy on the portal, and I simply do not have enough spare time to dedicate to any other function. I am walking away to preserve my mental sanity and at least try to keep the portal a generally peaceful and calm place. I wish the best for the remaining staff, and I will continue to read and enjoy every issue heretofore I am sure. But for now, I must resign from my position as a member of the staff.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My dear fellow authors, I regrettably have to assure you that this is not a WLS-goof. The Laogai Inquirer can publish one crazy issue, I can be a psycho Dai Li-dictator editor one day and say "just kidding I love the WLS and want it back" the next, but when Mr. Rocks and I say that we can no longer be your editors, that means we really can't.

This would have been something I didn't feel needed an announcement, but as this does set our fanon newsletter up for some drastic changes, we thought it was worth a heads up. OR has his reasons for resigning, but I personally will say that mine are completely due to a schedule I just can't manage anymore. The truth is that I do still love our fanon portal a lot. I would love to do a lot of things, make the community as fun as it can be, throw contests and leave rambling feedback on writing, etc. But it's all just caught up to me. Crazy Agent Minn who doesn't sleep has become crazy agent who doesn't sleep and still can't finish anything on the wiki without taking at least a month. I have to be honest with myself and recognize that it's time for you guys to find someone who can deliver what they promise - when they said it'd be delivered. If we want to encourage activity to return to the portal, we need some active users to do it... And today, I'm of no help there.

In light of these changes, I personally encourage anyone interested in trying out the WLS gig not to hesitate to let Fruipit or ARG know. It has truly been a pleasure to serve you authors as one of your WLS editors, but it's time to see what we can do with a new and more active staff! I will still be around as an FRS reviewer and writer if you want to say hi. But for now, I sign off my last article as editor. See you guys around! -- Minnichi (talk) 00:01, 2 July 2014 (UTC)


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