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This fanon is not your average fanon. It contains different point of views, new landscapes and revolutionary bending concepts (skybending). So a well done to Master Ratava for being so creative. And let's get this interview underway!
1) Avatar: The First Skybender is a revolutionary concept in my opinion. The ideas and the landscapes and the mystery is what makes it so addictive to read. How did you come up with such a great idea?
Thanks for the compliment. Back in 2009 I just thought of "what if there would be flying lands" kind of circumstance. Then, this year, when I get back to it, I've developed the idea to "what if the World of Avatar" continents were back in time a pangea-like one-and-only massive continent, and there could have been some part of its original land that is missing from ATLA/LoK map charts, and it "went above high the clouds" (that's some One Piece, Skypea saga inspiration)... The idea is still undecided, though, but the basic basis are these.
2) It seems there are multiple villains in this fanon. Do you plan on having multiple conflicts?
ATFS is not about just one character journey. So, multiple antagonists, and multiple alliances are bound to be. About conflicts, I have planned some amount of conflicts (battles, wars, whatever kind of name they might receive).
3) I see you have planned out many chapter names. Does your plan get any bigger than names? Do you know where your fanon will go?
Some of what will happen on them are already settled. But, if you mean, drafts of future parts, no; I don't write like that. I should, because there are a lot of chatting scenes in my head that simply get lost on behalf of my lack of taking notes. I have already outlined my fanon from the beginning til the end. The main course line, I mean.
4) What made you choose skybending over any other new technique?
Because of an anime called Samurai Troopers (Also known as Ronin Warriors, and Samurai Warriors); in it, my favorite character source of power was the Sky.
5)In this future World of Avatar will the readers see some high-tech gadgets (like a better mecha-tank) - besides a floating city in a dome?
ATFS is a sequel fanon to both ATLA and LoK, and I try to accept all that is canon as truth. Some small things I don't. That's the fun about writing a fanon: it is possible to undo and re-do a canon accepted model and make it sound as canon as your skills as a writer may get you.
6) Your fanon is quite serious and seems like it will contain some dark ideas. Have you planned to incorporate some comedy at times?
I may say that comedy isn't my favorite genre (both reading/writing); I know that I don't have comedy skills... Maybe some sort of relief moments. I'm just not good enough at writing comedy... But I can promise drama/angst.
7) Why did you choose to switch personas with each chapter?
Well, the story was born this way. I wrote the first and some paragraphs of the second chapter in 2009, at that time the prologue was just the last paragraph of the one it is today. This year, I translated it, and before finishing chapter two, I wrote the prologue longer (without removing what I wrote so long ago). And when I finished chapter two, I had three narrators. I do like to try to incorporate different personalities using them. My challenge about using more than one first speech narrator is to sound differently each time I change whoever is telling the story. That shall work to me as training my writing. I really don't know if I am accomplishing this. But that's my intention now.
8) Will these personas eventually meet? I can't wait to see it unfold.
Yes. But whoever shall be the specific chapter narrator, that character's point of view will be the one followed through the storytelling.
9) Koori Kumo is a relative of Aang and Katara. Is that a hint that readers might revisit the much-loved characters of A:TLA and LoK?
Yes. And he looks quite like Sokka. (I have a drawing of him)
10) Will there be any love storylines in this fanon?
Yes. Tragic ones, but yes.
11) Your characters possess quite some depth. Was it hard to create and write for such characters?
I can't prevent myself from using the effect of catharsis; much of what they are or they are supposed to struggle is part of my own existence journey as an individual trying to become a better person. You know, the all know-it-all, full-of-oneself, egocentric, unappreciative sort of behaviours... Like fighting our own darkness within. Knowing how to embrace one's own darkness, instead of being embraced by them. Some interpretation of mine about common sense wisdom saying that the worst enemy one might find is that very one creature happens to lie beneath, hiding among the shadowy corners of the mind. The writing process is not what I may call hard, but the develop of them. Since, every character I make is somewhat part of me (and my influences) cropped out and moulded.
12) You, as an editor and interviewer, have become quite well known. Do you hope that this will help the reception of A:TFS?I hope that my contributions, my personal behaviour, my point of view, my forum threads votes, everything that makes me who I am doesn't get in the way of someone reading my fanon. I am not my fanon, and my fanon isn't me; my fanon is part of my portfolio as a fan-author. I don't want to attribute my qualities/attitudes (might them be good or not) to my fanon. I want to my fanon to get the reception it deserves despite its author figure. Just like a book shall not be judged by whoever is its author before it's read. On the contrary, the author's reputation is subdued to their creation's.
13) What is your favourite aspect of the Wiki?
The resource. Not speaking only about my home wiki (Avatar Wiki), but one behalf of others. I visit wiki pages for researching mostly. I know they are not scientific sources, and all that. But entertainment wikis are quite good at finding some show, or series (TV or Book), manga/anime, a lot of relief/relaxing material.
14) For any aspiring users, be them authors or editors, do you have any pearls of wisdom?
First of all. You shall be reminded that fan fiction writing won't get you money, or get you (necessarily) near the canon author/s. It may be someone's dream, to meet an idol, but fan fiction is not a golden pass to it.
Second: all work/dedication to any wiki page (here or other wiki) is not a paid service. If you are doing so, congratulations, I am doing it too. And remember, not everybody will act the same as you. There are policies and forum threads decisions, they are outlines to follow. But they're not laws.
Third: If you are writing fanon and (emphasis here) you want to become an author, there will be sometime when you'll have to start your own stories. Use fan fiction as write training. Read the genre you want to write as much as you can, start with the classics. Don't give up until you finish. Have more than one book project. Alternate among them. Use your personal life experiences and influences as much as you can. Don't get confused with this and plagiarism. Don't be afraid to the the first step; be brave because the first step is the hardest; the second hardest one is the last one. Giving up is not an option, that's shameful for someone whose dream is to be published.
And above all things: enjoy. Writing is about having fun with yourself; and not pleasing others, or fans, or any other people.
Just for fun
15) If you could spend a day with any character from A:TLA or LoK, who would it be, where would it be and why?
Female character from ATLA: Azula, fighting an Agni Kai at the Boiling Rock, because I'm madder than she.
Male character from ATLA (That one is difficult! I think it is a draw): Iroh, playing pai sho, drinking Jasmine Tea, and having philosophical conversations at the Jasmine Dragon, because he's the father I'd like to have had. (&) Bumi, skiing down Omashu delivery system, eating jennamite; because I'd like to try his madness to the edge. (&) Zuko, I'd like to "robin-hood" steal over billed taxes and tributes back to poor people on misruled citadels fighting beside him, as the Blue Spirit; because I'd like to wear an Oni/Tengu Mask too.
Female character from LoK: Lin, being her metalbend student, because she's my heroine =3
Male character from LoK: Bolin (along with Pabu, well Pabu is male, I think, but it is a creature, so...), to get drunk and bet who can eat more at Narook's Seaweed Noodlery or any other Republic City bar, I'd love to have a young brother (just a one or two years younger).
16) If you could possess any type of bending, what would it be and why?
Fire. That's the one I'd like to use to hurt the people who've hurt me in the past. An eye for an eye. The world will turn up blind. But, if I am blind already, why should I care? (That's pretty evil of me, but I'm not 100% altruist...)
17) I read that you're from Brazil. I've always wanted to go there. What's the nightlife like? Haha (A bit off topic)
First of all, I don't live at one of the most known cities; I'm from Rio de Janeiro, but I don't live there anymore. I grew up unfortunately on a small capital city of the northeast region. Nightlife here was kind of cool. But I had some issues (2011 = apocalypse O.O ) and I decided not to go out this year, and dedicate it to me and my self-knowledge journey. It's been kinda dull, but it's my life now.