Issue 28: September 28, 2014
So here we are in another "in-between" time for the wiki. The summer's over and the last season ended a while ago, though the wait will not be nearly as long for this coming season as it was for the preceding books, and that's really an understatement. With the Fanon Awards and the next Fanonbenders' Contest also both around the corner, the fanon portal has certainly evolved and changed a lot since the time before the first season of Korra was released and when all that stories on here were based on was ATLA. Amongst different genres and premises which vary more widely than the traditional "after-the-war" norm, stories come in varying lengths. While we still have plenty of long series, there are more one-shots on here now than there have been in the past.
I've always like to read, and to write stories which I feel challenge what we consider to be the norm in some way or another. Things that you can find that are worth reading come in varying shapes and sizes, as they always have, but they're a separate breed either way, and they each require their own thought process to put onto the page. The simplicity of short story comes from it drawing in a singular concept and bringing it to life. The beauty is in the delivery. Creating a good short story that you can be proud to be the author of always takes time and effort, but writing the first draft should always be relatively easy once the idea comes to mind. You pretty much just take it and run with it, and as you write your story, more ideas can come to you along the way, which is a part of writing every author enjoys.
Long stories are something else entirely. What separates a one thousand-word tale from a one hundred-thousand word tale is not merely taking the same principle and multiplying it by a hundred. While a short story can spend its whole time revolving around something simple, a longer story cannot. Sure, there can be overall themes, but there needs to be a lot of expansion to make a longer story, and the characters are going to be shown as much more complete, so their growth is much more complex, whereas in shorter stories their growth could consist of a single step and some of the background characters can be characterizations more than characters in the fullest sense of the term.
Furthermore, it's very hard to create a longer story without some plan in mind. While I'm all for writing on the go, writing longer stories can require some elaborate planning stages. This can be especially helpful when there are a lot of elements to work with. For some scenes in my stories Energy Saga and Dragons, Sieges and Volcanoes, I've resorted to drawing charts just to keep track of where each character is when there's a lot going on, such as during some of the battles in major cities. And that's only a short term thing. With a longer storyline, there are typically sub-plots, and each major character has their own journey, so weaving those plot-lines together and matching all the major points in the story together can be a major hassle.
Now, the next couple of Fanonbenders' contests should give everyone who participates a chance to experience both, even if they've done more of one or the other in the past. For the month of October, we'll be breaking tradition and specifying length, whereas the story can be about anything you want, as long as it relates to Avatar. We're going with a 1,000-word limit for the month of October. As for November, the same month as NaNoWriMo, the task is to write 50,000 words, but you have the whole month to do so. This is my second year participating, and I intend to reach 50k once again. It averages out to 1,667 words every day, which is doable as long as you keep writing and leave the editing to December and beyond. Remember, though, it helps to plan with longer projects, so in order to keep writing for the whole month you may want to begin planning in October before you start writing come November.
|| Fanon Urban Dictionary|
- Something shorter than a really short chapter of a short story.
- How many brief drabbles can you write in the time it takes you to write a short chapter? Say that ten times fast.
- A really long comment with loads of feedback, and a numerical unit attached to it.
- So when's that review of your fanon coming out? Probably once you forget you signed up for it.
- A short review with more compressed feedback, and usually without a number.
- A comment! A comment! What's it say? "Good chapter!" Wow....
Love the Fanon Urban Dictionary? Miss any definitions? See the complete
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| Building with the Blocks Bryke Gave Me|
After Avatar: The Last Airbender had finished its run with an amazing finale, I immediately went looking for a source of information on the show. I found this wiki, and I immediately began to utilize its well-written and concise articles to learn all I could about the show. This wasn't done for any particular reason initially, but as my research went on, I found the Fanon Portal. Writing was becoming a passion of mine, and I'd already been to two writing conferences. Up until I'd found the portal, however, I hadn't considered that I could test my skills by adding to a universe—to a story—that I had become heavily invested in.
I've always been an imaginative, creative person (my grandpa says I spend too much time in my own little world, but it's better there, I swear), so the gears immediately started turning. I read fanons like Avatar: Wanted and Guardian, and I was subsequently inspired to write my own take on the direction of the characters from our beloved show. So work on Avatar- Aftermath and Burning Earth began. Little did I know at the time that it would turn into a massive multi-fanon project that spans four years and counting. Bryke gave me the building blocks for one story, one instance, and I've since spun it off to make a new universe that combines canon and fanfiction elements as best as I can manage. I've noticed that we don’t have too many stories in that vein on the wiki; I can only name less than a handful of examples. Energy Saga and DSV—by AvatarRokusGhost—are two fanons which also share a universe (and an entertaining one, at that, check it out). The Slash Trilogy and subsequent works are another. It’s interesting to see what other authors have done, and even more interesting to see what that has led to.
Honestly, it's been really weird to see my own little universe kind of just form around one little story like it did. I now have one-shots that come periodically, and I use those to further shape and grow the characters that I have come to fall in love with. I guess the entire point of this article is really how writing this huge universe—with the building blocks Bryke gave me—has affected my life. It really has. I've met so many great people on this wiki since I joined, many of whom I call friends to this day.
At any rate, I guess you could say that in writing the Spirit War Trilogy, I've grown a lot as a writer, and I've met a lot of cool people. My experience building the universe of stories and characters that I did has ended up being a lot of fun, and I'm not quite done yet. From Yun Zhen to Moro Kenshi, I've made new characters from an idea that began the moment that awesome finale was over. In short, I'd like to just say thanks for the opportunity, and I look forward to what the fanon portal has in store after the Legend of Korra is over.
There are many different genres, and those genres split off and fracture into even more specific versions of themselves. Take romance, for example. You call it romance, but is it fluff, WAFF, or smut? Well, I'm not going to be talking about romance today, so disregard that.
Alternative universe fics.
That's right. The dreaded AU. To a wikian, it's as bad as OC is to FFN (and don't even get me started on AUs featuring OCs o.o). Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit; the wiki definitely doesn't have as much bias as FFN. But, what is an AU fic?
Well, as I mentioned above, it can really be... anything. In its most broadest definition, an AU is a story that deviates from canon plot to a significant degree. This can be anything from killing Aang for good in Ba Sing Se, or it could be a complete change in the world so that it no longer remotely resembles canon.
However, there are many other types, too. Crossovers are stories that take elements from one or more fandoms, and fusions are stories in which the characters of a fandom are written into another. Then there's the creepy stuff; omegaverse, crack, genderswapping. Yeah. That stuff. Even I don't look at that stuff *shudders*.
So, how do you write an AU story? And keep the characters, y'know, in-character? Well... it's the same characters. The trick is to keep them the same, but just give them different challenges. A popular one for ATLA is the 'high-school AU'. Aang is still the flighty kid with too much heart. Katara still loves people unconditionally, and is the best friend/sister/group member anyone could ask for. Sokka is the kid who had to grow up too soon, but he's funny and still cares. Toph is rough and abrasive but has a hidden feminine side. Or something like that.
It's my personal belief that AUs are... sandboxes. They're testing grounds to try and see how certain characters would react to certain events.
Of course, some really are complete crack. Crack is usually defined as something completely unbelievable, and usually for humorous purposes. Usually also smutty, but not always. As I can attest, they're great fun to write because it's usually just pure nonsense.
So, how do I write AUs?
Well, for me personally, it's usually a desire to add a certain element not available in canon (like, say, movies). They also might start out as character studies under certain conditions ('what if Azula was good and Zuko was evil?') and can progress from there. The other way is to take a single canon element and change it ('what if Yue didn't die?'). Some people don't like AUs because they deviate so much from canon, and others love them because it opens up so many doors. If you think about it, most stories are AUs, unless they're designed to fit into canon as a backstory, but even then, it has the chance of being Jossed or retconned (see "Beginnings, Part 1" and "2").
I really urge everyone to write an AU at some point. They're just... fun. They don't have to be long or plot-heavy. The most important thing to remember when messing with the world, though, is to keep the characters in-character. They are now the glue that holds the story together with the original canon/fandom. You need, at the very least, one thing the same, otherwise it's not an AU, it's a completely different story ^^"
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to shoot me a message. And if you just wanna talk AUs, well, I'm up for that too :P
Fanon Word Search
- The Fanon Awards are starting soon! Don't forget to start reading and commenting!
- The councillors are being decided upon
- Lady Lostris won round five of the Fanonbender's contest!
- The Fanonbenders are looking for a few fanon editors. If that's your jam, join ours ^^"
- The next contest prompt is a 1,000 word limit. Good luck!
- 91 new fanon articles have been created since last issue:
- 1 battle
- 1 organisation
- 2 news & updates
- 8 character pages
- 8 one-shots (one being a poem)
- 12 new series
- 60 chapters
- 145 comments were made on all fanon articles
- The newest fanon article is Chapter 18 - Fond Farewells, by ATLALOK
Hey, everyone~! The WLS here, back with another on-time issue ^^" We're trying this whole 'let's try and be sort of regular with these issues each month', so expect them around this time. Also, if anyone has any suggestions, send them in before the last weekend of the month and you'll be added ^^;
The next few months are going to be massive. We have a new season coming out, and with the supposed return of Toph
(asdfghjkl <3 omg I can't even *v*), I suspect that there will be quite a few new stories (and new users. Come on, it's the... last.... season..... :(
Anyway, onto the news report.
Last month, Lady Lostris took out the Fanonbender's contest with the latest chapter of Heiress of the Nile, though it was close with Mage and his one-shot. We didn't have many submissions, but the ones we did have were all of great quality. This month's prompt was 'extreme temperature', and while it was even harder to wrangle up submissions (sorry, guys!), they are all absolutely fantastic (and no, I'm not telling you who won yet).
Moving on to the Featured Fanon Series/Articles, they are pretty darn awesome this month. On the series side, we have Harpalyce's The Book of Primal Illusion, a Zutaran story that actually feels genuine. There are interesting villains and new allies and if you find it hard to get into the story, at least there are some awesome pictures in there ^^" (though I do strongly recommend the actual story). For the featured article, Jtwin1 The Weeds of Wealth got through, and trust me, it's part of a story that you should all take a look at. Seriously. Oh, look—AU ^^"
This month, Conspiracy is nominated to be the featured series. It follows Team Avatar as Sokka is accused of conspiring against Zuko. We all know he didn't do it. Don't we? There are two stories nominated to be the featured, In Pursuit of Perfection, by Sparkstoaflame, and Before the Walls, by The 888th Avatar. The first is a one-shot based around Artist!Azula, although Sparks makes sure to keep her in her insane character, while the second is the first chapter of The Six Hundredth Day, a series of short stories abut Iroh and the Siege of Ba Sing Se.
Onto other news, now. The Fanon Awards have been postponed until after Book Four, giving everyone a chance to read other stories and make sure yours are the best they can be. We're in the process of picking the Councillors, though nothing has been decided upon.
The Fanon Fact Finders are looking for work! There have been few authors signing up for interviews lately, while the FRS seems to be constantly full. Come on, who doesn't want to talk about their story? ^^"
Another note is that the Fanonbenders are looking for applicants. We're always open to nominations or requests, though we are looking for people with a strong history of editing in the fanon namespace (and not just your own story ^^"). If that sounds like you, come and let us know!
One final thing I want to mention is the enactment of a new... sort of system. It's going to be like the contest—and it's going to be part of it—but it focusses on commenting. We want you to find a fanon worth reading, and we want you to get as excited about it as ARG gets about Candy Crush, or I get about... Toph ^^" All the details are still being finalised, but make sure to keep an eye out ^^" Who knows, good things might happen~
Do you love animation? Have you ever wanted to work at an animation studio? Have you ever wanted to help make a show in the Avatar universe? We'll you're in luck because right now, we are hiring for the production team for the animation studio 'Akia Studios', a newly formed British company with the intent to fully animate and release the fanon, The Restoration of Hope, as an 11 episode epic!
With a budget of around £5,750 British Pounds (that's over $9,300 American dollars) we are prepared to pay you for your contribution to the company, be it a Writer, Producer, Animator or Artist, Assistant, Editor, Advertiser or anything, you will be receiving pay for your work on the Restoration of Hope!
If you have anymore questions or would like to sign up, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea for this article came from a chat thread I've been having with Henryjh98 for quite a long time.
He asked me this, and I thought it would be a nice theme to explore here, since WLS is fanon oriented, and I presume most of its readers keep track of some story here, and are/were/will be also fanon writers ourselves.
WARNING: this article isn't about fan fiction writing. It's about original writing. I do like to talk this out, because when I began to write stories, I have done fanon. It's not something to be ashamed (as some readers think less of it). I know fanon writers that don't have this urge to write original stories themselves, but if you're like the other type, your fingers are burning to write your own material. I know it. Mine were for quite long.
Remember that the ways to publish vary from country to country, so I'm sharing my experiences here in Brazil. And, yes, we usually don't hire literary agents (there are a few writers around that do, but the majority of us don't; it's kind of a "new" thing, and there are some "fake" agents, so it's hard to trust somebody claiming to be a lit agent at first sight.)
Speaking of literature, I mean fantasy/sci-fi and similar genres, there are a bunch of small publishing houses eager to be a writer's partner. Beware to look closer and see through your own eyes if the publishing house you choose is really gonna be what you, as a writer, needs them to be. Choosing a Publisher isn't the same as picking a book at your favorite store, or the library. You have to split your reader from your writer self, and see what's best for the "writer part" of you.
First: In the end of 2012, I took part on a short story selection (it would be my dÈbut). After that the Publisher Editor went nuts online on facebook, and used the publishing house profile to attack some fellow writers, I resigned my story from the anthology right after seeing this nonsense. So, you know now what I mean when I say: choose well who you trust your career to. People may not be as noble to think you (as a writer) don't share your editor's thoughts or behavior.
Second, and not less important, is to check how deeply is the publishing house marketing and promotion politics. Are you sole being responsible about your own marketing actions? Are they available to do so, along yourself? Will you have the time, and patience, and knowledge to strive alone? Is it ok to hire some expert?,...even if they're a friends' favor; or is it really necessary to pay for some professional help?
Third, and one of the most important things to chase after (even before) writing is: you HAVE TO KNOW what you're writing. So you can send your stories to the right house. If you write chick lit, you won't be able to send it to unless the one you choose really publishes this subgenre. If you don't know how to identify your story genre, I suggest you take a look on this wikipedia article here. Also, there's another genre list that'll help you to find it out. ;P Oh, and please, do search for the right narrative form, too. Knowing your story from the very heart of it will not only help you choose who to send it, but you'll be able to talk about it freely and full aware of its qualities and specifications. It'll also help you search for competitive books about the subject, and see if your idea is really original, and discover hoe to bend it in a way you, and only you, might be able to write it. A true is: most of the plot ideas are already taken, and you shall be surprised on how writers remake them to look as if they've never been written before. ;)
By saying so, I'm gonna share one bit of advice more: you won't be a writer 100% of the time. Nowadays it's barely impossible not to be your own revisor, marketing manager, researcher, and even agent (at least, here in Brazil.) AND besides all of the writing process activities, you still got to work. So, as far as I know, my writings aren't paying my bills. YET. "Yet", please keep that in mind. Having a life out of writing isn't as easy as dreamy speeches say, but if you don't make it a goal/dream you shall give it up before you go insane, or depressive. :/
A special point, before choosing your future publishing house you may want to pay attention to a few things: what kind of cover paper, inside paper, ink, and editorial stuff such as diagramation and text revision do they use on their books. I know this sounds really useless, but when you'll have in your hands a book of your own, you'll see what I'm talking about.
As I said before, maybe you even would like to consider some coaching and beta-reading sort of intelectual help you can find. Coaching is not for free, either having a literary agent. However, making your most interested friends to read your stories is one of the most benign things you can do (please, do it before sending your manuscript to any publisher.) Remember to know who you trust your stories (if you're sending a file, send it as a closed pdf, doc/docx are open ones.) And more: copyright it as soon as possible (as soon as the first draft is done, and then right after the "last" revision.) Search for your country writing register department, ok? They say when you publish anything online your rights are granted, but trust a document, not ONLY some IP proof.
After choosing what will your publishing house be (I DIDN'T SAY after sending them your story ^_^ ), you might wanna know another thing or two. I love to write about this issue. This follows to some topics I'd like you to pick for the next WLS Issue:
1) How to write what readers will read? (It's different from what you, as a reader, read...)
2) How to discover the story you want to tell? (It's about not only which genre/subgenre the story will be...)
3) How to create your readers platform and make it grow? (I'm structuring this my own one for quite some time now, it's tiny, but it'll spread, I hope! :3 )
Thanks Henryjh98 for the idea, it was so much fun to write this. I wonder if WLS readers will like it too.
See y'all, next WLS \o/
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!