Avatar Wiki


The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 58: 7 September

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avatar wiki's community newsletter

From the editor

It is probably without contention that many have noticed the recent disabling of comments on this wiki. Maybe even more so, older users have likely noted the lack of outrage and passion that once characterized a good majority of users and hard-line commenters in June of 2012 - when that other historical bid to remove the system was met with stubborn, and almost insurmountable, resistance; translating into pages and pages of back-and-forth arguments. It seems in the span of a little more than a year, most of that sentiment - and the users that once stood for them - has all but disappeared. All that really remains is a widespread apathy to what was once an integral part of our community, as well as some interesting analysis as to the, sadly unsurprising, turn of events.

Self-evident is the point that the strong commenting subset of users who were once the bread and butter of the wiki a year ago has effectively ceased to exist. Weakened progressively by the new forum discussion system favored by Wikia, and then, the devastating removal of anonymous editing on this wiki, this result was almost to be expected. Most have already moved on to our discussion boards. The only major aspect of the old system that seriously seems to be missed are the chronicles of months upon months of conversations, theories, and social input - and yet even that nostalgia seems to be few and far between.

As the commenting system now fades into the past, once again we are faced with the stark reality that the Internet is indeed a volatile place. It has the potential of reducing the once most beloved of things to barely worth the attention - and vice versa. Perhaps to future users, it may seem almost foolish that some were so emotionally invested in a single feature of an insignificant website - but on the flip side, they probably will never truly know of the diverse, meaningful, and interesting discussions that were once a daily occurrence there. That is just characteristic of history, and though it probably will be fondly remembered, it was just past its prime - and the wiki moved on without missing a beat.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chakomics: Power of Fandom Panel

Old, but I'm not that old. Young, but I'm not that bold. I don't think the world is sold. I'm just doing what we're told. I feel something so right, doing the wrong thing. I feel something so wrong, doing the right thing. I could lie, couldn't I, could lie. Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Hey everyone it’s the spiritual, floating sandwich in the corner of the room.

So recently (ish) June 26th, I went to a panel called “The Power of Fandom” which took place in Los Angeles, California (that state in western United States, for those of you who suck at geography like I do). Mike Di Martino was there, as well as Marie Lu (Author of Legend and Prodigy), Leigh Bardugo (Author of Shadow and Bone, and Siege and Storm), and Seth Hoffman (The brains behind The Walking Dead). There, the creators were asked questions by the host as well as some people who were attending in the audience. They also signed books…if you were patient enough to wait in the long line that wound around several book shelves(it took place in a Barnes and Nobles in one of the most crowded malls in Los Angeles). I also met a fellow wikian there and had a nice hour long chat.

Here's a picture (portrait?) of Michael DiMartino at "The Power of Fandom" panel!

Well now to the juicy, fruity, chewy, bubbly news! Yes, Trident Gum brand is renaming itself to Triton's fork!!! (Not really)...


If you’d like to hear the full official two hour long podcast, you can click here, or to watch the video (recorded by someone else on what I think is an iPhone, judging by the tiny frame), you can go here. I did record a video as well and if you want it, you can message me. The frame is quite large…but it’s kinda behind a lot of people since I got stuck in traffic and was late and didn’t get one of those lovely chair seats…And if you’re too lazy to go to either of those and spend two hours of your life that you could've... oh I don't know, mowed the lawn, I have pulled out the parts where Mike talks. Some of the parts weren’t clearly enunciated so this transcript might not be EXACTLY what every creator said, but it should be close enough. Some of the sentences may not make sense, and that’s because I stuck to exactly what the creators said, including all the "uhhh's" and the repeats of some words and all the stuttering.

Question: What do you guys think of the things the fans come up with, like fanart and cosplay?

Michael: You know the fanart is always awesome but I’m always amazed by the fan costumes and cosplay that people come up with because some of them are super detailed and they spend a lot of time with it just to come to Comic-Con. And some people have like, multiple costumes. You always go there and you see multiple Sokka’s or Mako’s. Like nowadays, I can’t wait to see the costumes. We have a lot of tattoos and Avatar logos and characters. Someone wants to do an arrow. Somebody, they facebooked me, and they wanted to do the full Aang tattoos and I wasn’t sure if they were being serious.

Question: How do you communicate with fans?

Michael: Well I guess, truthfully, I didn’t know what to do with it. It was kinda a whole new territory, like having fans [laughter] uh so yeah when Avatar started like there were message boards, and when the first episode came out, apparently people talk out of line about shows that come out! [laughter] You know it was like a totally new thing, but still! It was such a low level compared to what it is now. Yea now I’m on Tumblr and Facebook and I started a blog. Sometimes I talk about Avatar-related stuff, and sometimes story-telling stuff, and just branching out about stuff. I’m honestly still not on Twitter, I don’t understand what you do with it. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Three things is enough for me.

Question: What was it like the first time fans tried to contact you? [which later morphed into shipping]

Michael: Like way back in 2005, there-there, I mean uh shipping didn’t even exist back then. I mean maybe it did but we weren’t like ZUTARA. I was like wait what? People want Katara and Zuko to get together? Why would you want them together? Say that again? [Laughter] Why would they want that to happen?

Marie Lu: Gee why? Why all this madness?

Michael: No I mean like romance stuff, you know, obviously, but like having a name for it like that? Pairing two characters that might not even be on the same scene [it could’ve been team] together or whatever? That kind of like

Leigh Bardugo: It’s all about the subtext

Michael: Now and now we’re like oh these two oh we can ship these two [laughter], you know it’s just been random shipping. Ridiculous.

Question: Does it feel like when you’re creating stuff is it more important now to have a lush world of all these characters so me and my fellow fans just run rapid and ship and do whatever we want and that stuff or is it-are you still-is it still important to tell your stories like is it- you know what I’m saying? –like it seems like it’s about creating this world and these character people can do whatever they want with them is that not more important than this sort of similar vision of “here’s my story” or you know, do you still go with it?

Michael: Yeah that’s not important [laughter] No I mean it’s-it’s we don’t ever create stories “Oh I wanna see this costume”. I mean we think about it, but it’s not like that’s the goal. But yeah, when we sit back and when I look up the Avatar Wiki or something “What? We made up all these characters?” Like there’s characters like I don’t even remember from the whole series. But yea! This guy Juan, or guy-who-bought-uncle’s-teashop or [laughter] I don’t remember that guy

Mary Lu: Somebody ships something

Question: You know, the other interesting thing too is as you guys are going along with your journeys, you’re writing your shows and, you get immediate reactions to things. I found out recently, one of my favorite television shows was Breaking Bad, and they had planned to kill Walter White’s buddy Jesse after the first season. But because we all loved him so much “YOU CAN’T KILL THIS GUY!” Did you, in your journeys decide to alter or shift characters based on “I can’t, they’re all gonna kill me if I do this!”

Michael: As you know…as everyone knows…animation takes forever. So uh by the time you guys see it, it’s long past. I would say Season 2 er book 2 of Avatar…not Korra uh [laughter] I didn’t mean that as uh! THE END OF BOOK 2 of AVATAR uh people got very upset of Zuko’s switching, naw, he didn’t even switch sides. He became more of a bad guy and turned on Aang and uh people were, people got really upset about that. We got a fan letter at some point, uh, this is the reaction we got in the mail. They were like “How much would it cost to reanimate the end of season 2 because I don’t like what you did to it.” I mean uh yea, if you got a lot of money!

Michael: Actuall the only show recently that that happened to me and I understand “why didn’t anyone bring that show back!” I watched that show “Ben and Kate” but it’s like this really sweet sitcom, and I usually don’t like sitcoms but this one was really, really sweet and acting was great and it only lasted 8 episodes. And while I was watching it, I thought it was a really great show and everyone was watching it. But after a while, “wait it got canceled?” Like a lot of shows it was around for a while. But that show, it didn’t really have a chance to take off.

Question: Have you ever written to an author?

Michael: You know I’ve never really written to an author but uh you mentioned George R. R. Martin at Comic-Con and there he was sittin’ at the bar and I was like I wanna go say hi to him. I was very, very nervous. I understand how it was like when someone you don’t know goes up to you and so I felt very foolish and then uh

Marie Lu: Did you cry?

Michael: No, I did not cry. I tried to get into contact, so I said, “I’m one of the creators of Avatar and the Legend of Korra” and he said “Mm good” and he seemed like he’d never heard of it so I was like “it’s a great show! You should watch it!” Maybe he’s seen it by now.

Time to ask the Audience

One of the authors: Raise your hand and look really animate.

Question: I have a question for Michael Di Martino.

During the creation of Legend of Korra and Avatar, what would you say is the story plot element or character element that you least expected would make it into the final product?

Michael: Well I guess one thing is originally, we thought Asami was gonna be a bad guy, or bad girl and uh, we thought she was gonna be the one who kinda betrayed Korra and Mako and them. But as we started writing her and designing her we thought “Man, she’s cool!” Cause once she does her thing then we can’t use her anymore. She’s a bad guy. So we kinda tweaked the story, but it ended up being her dad. I mean originally it was gonna be her and her dad together. We just need one bad guy.

Question: What were your day jobs?

Michael: I mean uh, my day job before uh, Avatar, was very related to Avatar. I was an animation storyboard artist of King of the Hill was my first job. It was for a number of years at some point Bryan and I, we worked together on both those shows actually um, then uh, towards the end of that we started collaborating this Avatar idea.

Question: [How do you feel about something to do with shipping]

Michael: I have to think about that uh…I don’t really think about that that much um honestly. I really don’t think of the characters in that way

Host: I mean sometimes you must think about it…these two

Marie Lu: I had a long talk with Mike about the appeal of bad boys and why, why we ship these gentleman and that’s again about subtext and text I would never actually had wanted Korra and Amon to get together, that would’ve been horrific, but, BUT I can understand the appeal so it’s like there’s canon.

Question: I have a question of Michael. In season two of Korra, will we see more flashbacks of the Gaang?

Michael: Uhhhhh yeeenooo uhhhhh ya know Aang’s around. There’s something there... Yea it’s hard everyone wants to know stuff.

Question: [something about Amon]

Michael: Well the idea behind that was he was such a blood bender, that he could mess with someone’s energy and chi which was kinda like, and that’s kinda why Korra was able to deal with and be a defender.

Michael: Shipping wise this…people just want to know this thing like I don’t know! Like I don’t know who the dad was. [the father if Lin]

48px-3403431.png Plea for Editors

Well, as I'm sure we're aware of, Book Two of The Legend of Korra is on its way out - on 13 September, to be specific. In addition, the comic trilogies continue in their journey to the end of many mysteries - just one step of the journey to Ursa remaining in The Search.

So, why am I here today? (Certainly not because of that "gift" from KMP that I got last week...hey, is that a video camera and a laser light in here...?)

Well, I'm calling upon you, fellow Avatar Wikians, to join the editing parade toward continuing our high-quality article standard!

While we do have a good roster of editors at this time, and certainly many who have been helping in getting articles up to quality - that is not the end of the line when it comes to editing here.

One common theme I have heard in the past is "There is nothing to edit". Believe me, at times, I have had the feeling that there was nothing to do besides just kind of sit back and just hope for something, or have gone through the random pages and just haven't found something I could do. So, it's easy to get frustrated - but don't let that bring you down.

Existing articles always could use improvement - look at what happens on the articles on a daily basis. People keep finding new information to add from the Nick website, various interviews, and other canon sources. We also, for example, just recently had a large-scale expansion of comics and games articles. One good place to start is the needs help category, which - as it says - is on articles that could use quality improvement.

In addition, the articles all across our mainspace always have something to correct - perhaps some statements could use some better wording, or maybe there are grammar mistakes in there. Images in the article's body? Maybe they don't illustrate the subjects of their paragraphs or subsections well. Maybe the profile image isn't doing the right job in capturing the subject of the article? There's always our profile image change page to propose a change if you feel that way.

If you're still struggling to find things in the mainspace, don't get discouraged! We have other things out there for folks to contribute to.

  • Film articles - I know, I know, a lot of fans didn't care for the film, myself included. However, as long as you have seen it, or perhaps even read the novelizations of it - the film space would welcome your editing! Some articles are in need of expansion and would benefit from the help.
  • Transcripts - Feel free to go about the transcripts we have for all the episodes of ATLA and LoK. What could always be used is some scene elaboration along with the standard editing acts. For example, have you seen "Rebel Spirit" yet? Help us fill in some of the blanks of its transcript before it debuts!
  • Fanon - You don't have to be an author to help out in the fanon space! Help out authors' articles through adding proper templates, categories, fixing spelling and/or grammar - once again a long list of ways to contribute to this space if you are looking for ways to help out the wiki.

In conclusion, there's so many ways for editors out there to get involved. One thing to keep in mind while you're editing - don't get discouraged if you have an edit reverted - just read the reasoning for why your edit's been undone, and simply try to avoid that. If you don't agree with the reasoning, always remember to contact the user who undid your edit - this helps us maintain a conducive-for-discussion atmosphere to the wiki and our community spirit.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and join in our mission to help this wiki be the very best it can be! I look forward to seeing you along the way - and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me, any other admins, or anyone else who you feel might be of help!

How I Almost Became an Administrator

...BAHAHA, just kidding! Really. Me, a potential administrator of Avatar Wiki? That's got to be the worst bluff I've pulled in a lifetime, because none of you guys would believe such a thing, right?


Apparently...I stand corrected. In the 2013 Avatar Wiki User awards, I was very close to winning "Most likely to become administrator." Too close. So close that, for the longest time, my vote against myself was the only thing keeping me from a tie with SparksFromHades. So, what would I have done if I'd actually won this award? I'll tell you what I would've done. I would not display the userbox on my profile. I would deny ever being nominated in that category. And if asked, I would repeat to you what I say now: I am nowhere near admin material. I will not accept an award for something that I'm not. This isn't even about being modest. The facts are so painfully obvious that I can't believe I have to point them out to you now.

So, I write this article in an attempt to reach out to our community and, well, bonk you guys over the head for biased voting. I speak for all the users whose dedication went unrecognized, and for the undeserving users given awards in the past - one such undeserving user being myself. Another box you will not see displayed on my profile is "best editor in the fanon namespace in 2013." I know it isn't true. Surely, there's something to be said about a user with around 4.5k edits (total) who still can't reach the 60-day-in-a-row edit badge, versus administrator and bureaucrat Lady Lostris, who has over 10,000 edits in the fanon namespace alone. While I can believe that both Lostris and I are dedicated to the fanon portal and appreciate that the community wishes to recognize my work, there's no denying that the admin has done more than I ever could for fanons. She is a true editor, and I want you guys to remember that.

Back to the main point, though. Voting isn't something we should be taking lightly in awards ceremonies here at Avatar Wiki. There are patterns I've seen in both the User Awards and Fanon Awards this year that prompts me to address this. I know that some of you feel no need to take things this "seriously," and that you'd think an "internet community" would chill out a little. But internet community or not - you're part of it, voter. Remember that the awards are created to recognize true dedication from users. Sure, go ahead and vote Minnichi for admin, because her best friends on Avatar Wiki happen to include admins Lady Lostris, KettleMeetPot, and AvatarRokusGhost. What does it have to do with the fact that she's not even a rollback user? Or that she has never once actually told a user to stop vandalizing? Who cares how accurate these things are, it's just the internet, right?

...But is that really how you want these awards to be seen? Why have awards ceremonies at all on Avatar Wiki, if they're just going to be a huge joke to everyone? Even those of you who actually care about the titles may find it discouraging when your little userboxes start to lose value in the eyes of others. When people start to look at them and assume you either won it by popularity or because others just thought it'd be funny to vote for you. If you want our awards systems to retain any true sense of honor and real recognition, I encourage you to learn what you're truly voting for.

In the User Awards, pay attention to what the awards recognize, and not just how much you like a particular candidate. Remember that admin material does not mean being friends with admins, and that a good film namespace editor isn't the same as a good commenter in the film namespace. Learn what it means to qualify for each category, and vote for the user that truly fits those qualifications the best.

In the Fanon Awards, remember that good writing doesn't mean that which includes your favorite ship, nor your favorite canon characters in general - and of course, giving every fanon in a category a read before voting never hurts the accuracy of your judgment. Don't vote for an author just because others claim him/her to be amazing, and definitely don't vote for candidates because they happen to be fans of your writing.

And for any awards in general: If you don't know enough to make a valid judgment to the best of your ability, don't vote at all. It's better to leave your opinion out than to recognize someone based on a biased judgment.

I say all this in conclusion of the two awards ceremonies that passed this summer, based on a few quirks among users that I noticed along the way - like that glaring potential-admin award I nearly won. It is an honor to be recognized by the community here at Avatar Wiki, but if we want to keep it an honor and not some twisted popularity contest that no one takes seriously...then I beg you all to please vote fairly. I wish for the Awards to be respectable, something that recognizes users for what each category truly means. Wouldn't you feel the same, especially if you yourself are sporting an award template somewhere?

As a community, we should strive to give credit where it's due, both for the sake of our image to others and to establish fairness in general. I urge anyone reading this to consider who you vote for carefully next year, be it for the User or Fanon Awards. And please...don't tell Minnichi that she's likely to become an admin again. She's pretty sure she ain't.

48px-16445379.png Comma Rules in Grammar
Snoopy Meg

After perusing several articles on this wiki, it struck me that there are a few grammatical rules regarding commas that we seem to be ignoring, and although these mistakes are small and almost unnoticeable, they do detract from the overall professionalism of both the canon and fanon sides.

1. Commas need to be included after the country, not just the city.

Most of us understand that "Ba Sing Se Earth Kingdom" is missing a comma between "Se" and "Earth," but did you know that a comma is required after the word "Kingdom" too? For instance, we would say the following:

"The performer danced in "Ba Sing Se, Earth Kingdom, and then in Gaoling, Earth Kingdom, last week." If commas are not included after the country as well, the sentence is incorrect.

2. Commas, or any punctuation for that matter, go on the inside of quotation marks.

This rule would be more prominent on the fanon portal, and I think most of us are aware if it anyway. For those who do not know, the following sentence from a hypothetical actor page is incorrect.

Michael Michaelson appeared in "Endgame", "The Revelation", and "Welcome to Republic City".

Instead, the punctuation needs to be on the inside of the quotation marks.

3. It is incorrect to include a comma between a month and year if no date is present.

"Production began in September, 2011." <- This sentence is flawed and should be rewritten without the comma. Likewise, it would be wrong to say "Aang defeated Ozai in summer, 100 ASC."

4. When writing a date, a comma is needed after the year too.

I went through the Legend of Korra episode pages to correct instances in which a sentence would read "It was released on May, 23, 2012 on Nickelodeon." Remember, if there is a comma before the year, there should be a comma after it too. Therefore, the new sentence would be "It was released on May, 23, 2012, on Nickelodeon."

I hope this helped! There are several small mistakes like this all over the wiki, so if you find them, get rid of 'em!

from the fanon portal
48px-4760310.png Update from the Fanonbenders

Fruipit here, with fanonbending news! You probably haven't seen a lot of action going on lately, but that's going to change. With four members now, and an even number of boys and girls (yes, I'm pulling out the gender card), we have a pretty good variety of skill. I'm only a new member, but I'm looking forward to working with ARG, Minn and OR.

An extension of that not is, if you need any fanon info/advice/help, you can come to any one of us and we'll do our best to assist you.

A couple of the updates that's going to happen is a revamping of the news and updates page.

"Wait, what? That's a real page?"

Why, yes it is. I had no idea, either.

If you go to the page, you'll notice how horrifically outdated it is (it was last edited in October last year, if that gives any indication). That page is going to change to fit more stories - and more current ones, at that. The coding might actually be sorted out now to make it easy, too o.O

Another plan that we're initiating is a 'request help' page. This is a page designed for authors to put their fanon up for 'editing'. There are several requirements before your fanon is accepted onto our schedule. First of all, you need to have at least 10,000 words (in chapter pages), and it has to have been active on the wiki for at least one month. We also have to be able to see that you're committed to your story. There are a few other minor things, but that's pretty much the important stuff.

Just take a look at the page for some more information.

And... that's pretty much all from me. The details are still being finalised, but if you want any extra information, just contact one of the Fanonbenders listed above.

This is Fruipit, signing off~!

Questions for Minnichi from a Budding Author

Hello! I just finished reading your fanfiction, "Silent Hero in Emerald", and became rather unhealthily obsessed with it. Other than another author called little red cardigan from the Percy Jackson fandom, I have never encountered one with a writing level equal to yours.

I myself am struggling to ease into the wonderful world of writing fanfiction, and...well, I'm also always looking for ways to improve my writing--Google can only get you so far. So...could you give me a few pointers in writing and such? I have some questions. If you could find the time to answer them, it would be greatly appreciated. If not, well, we each have to live our own lives. :3

(The Dai Li agent replies, "Ohai there! *Rubs sleep-deprived eyes and grins crazily* I would be honored.")

  1. What do you generally think is the most effective way to draw a reader's attention in when you're starting a story?
    First step: Do not think about drawing a reader's attention when you start out a story. If that's the only thing on your mind, your writing's going to come out all funny and unnatural, I guarantee it. Remember that you're writing a story. Feel the story, not the readers. Become your characters, imagine what the world you're creating for them is like, and then just write down what you see. After you do that - after you establish a smooth, natural introduction into your fanon-world - you can go back and look over it. To decide where things could be less dull, imagine that you're looking at your fanon as you would a random cover in a bookstore. What kind of things would make you put down a book and call it "too boring"? What would make your eyes become permanently glued? Those things should be easy to answer if you look at your fanon that way. Point being, dive into the story as soon as you start writing - one that would interest you as a reader. Write to please yourself; chances are your preferences aren't that different from other average readers.
  2. When written out, I realize that descriptions of people or places or actions can sometimes sound very forced and long-winded. Do you think that there's a line drawn between the "just enough" and "excessive" amount of detail? If so, how could you possibly avoid that and gauge when to stop?
    How I answer this question for myself is literally by asking: What is the POV? Is this a moment you're addressing the readers more, trying to paint them a picture, or is the setting being observed by a character? If it's the former, then use the same principles I mentioned before and decide for yourself: When do visual descriptions drag for you? Putting yourself in the reader's shoes can tell you this. But if descriptions are purely from a character's point of view, then you have to go strictly by what matters to them. Think of their state of mind and what they're prioritizing during the moment of description. Would it be fitting, for instance, to make them 'notice' all the colors of the sky and the setting sun if they're in the middle of a crazy fight? Or should that be saved for those moments they're pondering their purpose in life/mourning over someone and sitting before a depressing shore? Furthermore, the state of mind can do wonders to how vague and excessive visuals are 'supposed' to be. Something I had to consider in my last chapter of SHiE, for example, was that my character had literally gone insane. It was no longer fitting to make him aware of every little detail of his prison and its inhabitants. Instead, I tried to make the descriptions fit more his unstable and sort of hazy consciousness; he only took note of the ever-changing "colors" around him occasionally, and he was concerned more with his hallucinations than any literal surroundings. This is just how I went about that particular example, but generally you have to be strictly aware of who's "seeing" your descriptions in order for visuals to flow right.
  3. Capturing emotions in a story is often tricky to get right. How would you suggest explaining the feelings a character experiences in an..."interesting", if you get what I mean, way?
    Ah, the big one. Well! Actually, the simple answer to this one is: "What is emotion?" As in, when someone's angry, sad, happy, etc. What does any of that mean? We all know that emotions go so much further than the "vocabulary words" that we use to name them. Try to describe everything that makes the emotion rather than throwing down that single word. Imagine that you yourself are feeling it. What do you feel? Surely not just a "word." Just write down everything that happens to you. It's not going to be the same every time, either, since the reasons that cause each instance of your emotions are always different. It'll do things to your expression, your tone, your pulse, sometimes your entire body. And finally, when it's an emotion you've never felt before... Er fun fact, my fanon is a romance but I'm pretty sure I've never been in love. Heh. Or witnessed someone die. What I did feel, however, were the stories of people who have been in love and who have watched others die. I literally went out and read what they had to say about their experiences. I sought to understand the things I've never felt before, so that I could write them to the best of my ability. That's something I encourage you to try if it comes down to it, but overall just know that you are constantly 'proving' to readers that an emotion is real by capturing every sensory detail that creates it. It should be interesting on its own, because no two instances of an emotion are ever the same, thus your descriptions should never repeat word for word.
  4. Time jumps - basically, the organization of a story: what do you think makes one scene flow smoothly to the next?
    What I usually try to do is "feel" the amount of time that has passed. This sometimes depends on the character and their own perception of time. Since I usually go by my characters' POV when I write, I determine how long something feels to them versus how much time has actually passed. If they're really bored, even minutes could "drag by with years between each." If they were having the time of their life, a whole month could just "vanish" before their eyes, as if they had just begun the experience "only yesterday." Scene shifts, however, depend more on the readers. To switch smoothly to a completely different setting, time, and POV, you basically have to get into the new "mood" as soon as possible. Make it clear that this is not the same scene as before. Describe the surroundings if need be, which often come with a different emotional 'vibe' if anything. And if time passed, you could also describe its effects on the setting, such as the colors of the setting sun versus the morning sun from earlier. If it's an extended amount of time, describe those effects on the buildings as well, such as fading paint or chipping roofs, etc. Treat new scenes almost like the introduction of your fanon all over again, in that you're re-establishing a fictional "world" in a new place or time.
  5. Action scenes: to what extent is too much explaining of "how the [insert weapon here] moved through the air" that it detracts from the intensity of the scene? To what extent is too little?
    I think that character POV is most important when it comes to action scenes, unless you're purposely trying to describe a "synopsis" to someone who's watching from the outside. It's easier if you're focusing on only one character POV, but this'll also work even if you switch back and forth between the fighters: Just describe everything you believe matters to to the character(s) in a given moment. There will be certain moves and strategies that a trained master will notice versus the more 'general' eyesight of a novice. These differences should reflect in your descriptions and really scream out to readers exactly who's fighting. As for "too much" versus "too little," like I said it all comes down to 'feeling' the moment. Would you, as a fighter, have time to notice all the fine details of a sword as it flies through the air? Or are you just faintly aware of the blade's shiny reflection in that split second it's swinging down to kill you? But on the other hand, if this battle is being witnessed by a hostage that one of the fighters is trying to save, there will be more 'time' to take in more visual details. Describe only what is appropriate for whoever is experiencing the battle, whether s/he is the warrior or spectator, and place yourself in his/her shoes to determine this. An example of "too much" is when someone who's supposed to have time only to duck randomly takes in all the fine craftsmanship of the steel blade flying at him, along with the expensive silk sash trailing from the sword handle...etc. Basing your details on how much a POV can register in a given moment will retain the natural, fast-paced mood of an action scene.
  6. And finally: The basis of fanfiction, overall, exists entirely in a pre-existing universe. Fanfiction writers, I have noted, basically take canonical events and transform them. But how would you infuse originality in that, say without OCs? What do you think makes a good, creative fanfiction, overall?
    A fanfiction doesn't have to have original characters in order to be creative. All it takes is a good idea for a good story. And what's a good idea? One that you love. It should be a pure story that makes you excited to write, and not for any 'ulterior motives' like attention, awards, or even "because [insert ship] was meant to happen!" Not that I have anything against stories with ships, but authors need to remember that even those must have a good foundation to make it work other than "I just want an excuse for so and so to be together!" To me, a great fanfiction is one that just comes from inspiration, and nothing else. Just like any story in general. You'd get bored or run out of ideas writing a story made just so that Zuko and Katara can kiss for example, just like you'd get bored doing drawing requests for authors purely because they give you more attention on Avatar Wiki. It's when you actually find interest in the story behind everything, when you look into the deeper meanings, that you discover a passion. That's when your creativity flows. The amount of creativity will depend on the person, I admit, but I believe that every author has it. I just can't stress enough that the greatest, most creative story you can write is one you write for yourself. Convince yourself first as a reader that your story is unique and lovable; if you can do that, the others will follow more easily than you think.


An Interview with Chakrasandwich

Hey there readers of the BSST, it’s been forever since I’ve published an article in here. About 3 months back before Chakrasandwich became a deputy editor, I interviewed her on Chakomics and being a member of Fanon Illustrator Insignia. So without further ado I give you CHAKRASANDWICH!

What got you started on the path of drawing?

I don't know when exactly it started, just like how you don't know when you started having memories. I remember fragments of different artistic epiphanies, but not at all a clear timeline. I think my earliest recollection is when I happened across a scribble-scrabble pencil drawing with four Sesame Street stickers in the corners that I drew when I was maybe 2 or 3. I don’t have any memory of drawing this, but my mom said I gave it to her for some holiday. I went to art class starting when I was 5 or 6 where my first drawing was of a jumping/hopping/flying pig (and if you click that link, be ready to cover your eyes from the horridness of it), which I colored with crayons and decorated with red birds, pink butterflies, blue flowers, and a sun in the corner of the paper. Later, I learned sketching, color pencils, tempura painting, and oil coloring. When I was younger, I never really drew in my free time. I just drew at art class and sometimes at school. Art class I would go a year, then take a break for a year. I often drew things for my teachers, and whenever a school project involved art, mine was always the most eccentric one (and by eccentric, I don't mean well drawn, I mean crazily decorated). I think approximately 5th grade when I quit art class, I actually began to draw on my own. I looked at tutorials, followed books, learned from my mom, watched my friend, or just learned myself. Art has since been my passion. I love doing it and it makes me happy. When I finish a piece of art, the sense of pride that runs through me gives me a thrill more sensational then drinking 50 cans of soda. I never stop learning, and I know there are many places where I can improve, but every moment of anything art-related, is never a drag, and I wish I could draw forever.

How does ATLA influence your drawing?

ATLA has actually influenced my drawing greatly. Ever since watching it, I’ve yearned to become a computer artist like the artists in Korea. I once drew Aang on a gift box for my friend’s birthday. I’ve drawn many stills of my favorite moments from both ATLA and LOK. My school planner is infested with arrows and boomerangs and gliders, as well as Aang, Korra, Katara, Sokka, Zuko, Mai, Ty Lee, Pathik, Appa, Momo, and so on. LOK influenced my drawing of Ty, as it was based on Mako. I think I’ve learned quite a few techniques for drawing characters of my own by reading The Promise and The Search comics.

As a member of FII, how easy is it to comply with assignments?

Considering I’ve only had four assignments, it hasn’t been too difficult. The first took me about two days, one day to sketch and the other day to color. The second took me a while longer, since I kept forgetting and getting distracted, but it was done within weeks. My third assignment I really looked forward to, since I got to create my own design, and I had, at the time, just gotten a drawing tablet. My fourth one was exciting as well, since I could actually delve into the details since I had no school. I feel like I put drawing as a bigger priority then it really should be (bigger than studying, for example), and so the thought of putting pen to paper draws me in (haha get it?) and I always find time to do my assignments.

Are there any people on Avatar Wiki that have influenced you?

Minnichi’s admin drawings definitely inspired me. I thought they were absolutely amazing, and her comic about the new fanon system was just comical (haha get it?). Minnichi is just an amazing artist, and sclupter too! I mean have you seen her keychains? They're so tiny and detailed and adorable! I wanted to draw members of AW as well, and so the idea of drawing Ty came up. I have many ideas stocked up on a memo in my phone, but I’ve only gotten the chance to finish about 5. Then I really wanted to share my artwork somehow, and one sleepless night, I thought of the idea of Chakomics. Only a few issues have come out, so I can’t promise anything, but I really look forward to contributing more Chakomics.

When drawing a Chakomics, what steps do you normally take?

Most of my subjects that I have drawn are not done by request, but my own imagination. They're often a funny moment shared on IRC, TinyChat, or something I noticed as a fellow editor. Most of my subjects I have sufficient knowledge about and have some trait that stands out above other people that I express through art. It's fun to express them in an overly dramatic fashion and that's where my ideas start rolling in. After the idea, I usually try to find some time where I can sit down and draw. With Ty's Chakomic, I pencil drew it on sketching paper, outlined it in black ink, colored it with good markers, and scanned it. On my more recent Chakomics, I have taken similar steps, except I scan them and color them digitally with a tablet on Paint Tool Sai.

Which part of drawing is the hardest for you?

Hmm, I'd say drawing details. Whenever I draw, I usually draw generically and leave out the details that I'm too lazy to fill in or I think is "too hard". I also am practicing how to draw on the computer, but it's been tough and it's taking the longest to get a hang of because it's different from directly putting pencil on paper. I also cannot draw weapons. I've tried, and all of my guns look like peeling bananas. Cars turn out the same way, except cars look like Abraham Lincoln hats with two half circles sticking out from the bottom. Anime is a bit tricky for me, since I just can't get the perfect proportions correct. All my drawings have been semi-cartoon-anime-abstract-characters. Noses are weird too, since I still sometimes draw them L shaped. I haven't really bothered trying to draw insects, having had no reason to, so I think if I actually tried to draw a bug, it would probably turn out like a distorted ellipse with lines coming out of the side. There are of course, many things that I am still learning about but these are all the things I can think of at the moment. Also, clothing is quite difficult for me because I try not to draw "typical clothing" but all clothing I draw ends up looking like trash bags 0_0 And this is why I am straying far away from fashion desigining! There's always something I can improve on and there's always something to change and there's always a better way to draw something.

Do you prefer to digitally color or to color it by hand?

As of now, definitely coloring by hand. It's more direct, and more physical. It's like saying "do you prefer talking online or in person". The benefits of "online" is that everything is handed to you because the computer gives it to you. It's easy to make effects of water, to color in a whole background with one click, to make an easy gradient, easy shine, easy lighting, etc. There are things you can do on the computer you just can't do with hand, like using airbrush on top of watercolor, or clicking the "undo" button and getting rid of the part where you accidentally spilled your morning coffee. But in person, you have to really work. You actually have to wash your brushes, sharpen your pencils, smear with your fingers, etc. It's a direct connection, not through a tablet or mouse. Now, I'm not flat out rejecting digital coloring, and I admire those artists on DeviantArt who can create great masterpieces with photoshop. It took me ages to find the pen tool in Photoshop, and I found it by accident by clicking on random buttons. Paint Tool SAI is easier to use, and I'm very glad I found it, but I feel, somehow, disconnected to my artworks. I can't touch it and feel all the rivets and shifts in texture.
Or maybe I'm just being stingy because I just can't do computer art that well XD

Any advice for aspiring artists?

Everyone starts from the beginning, everyone practices, and I truly believe no one is born with artistic talent. However, you are born with artistic passion and determination. If something doesn't look just right, it's okay.

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