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Now this is quite something... If I can get my next scheduled review done before Saturday, I'll actually be (gasp) on time again! The world must be ending! But to discuss the fanon featured in this blog, I now offer you my commentary now on Avatar: The Bending Prodigy by Godsrule and , a fanon which proves that Agent Appeal (see the WLS urban dictionary) truly does exist! Giving the Dai Li such a role from the start... Smart move, guys ;)
This review will be addressing Godsrule primarily as an author, as he's the one who conceived the fanon and, from what I've seen, is the writer of everything I've read so far. So about the fanon, I sure ain't complaining about the huge Dai Li presence! Nice creativity there! However, like in all of my reviews, we'll find out how a seemingly simple yet epic idea like the Dai Li (among other things) can become quite detailed, and how one must be careful to handle it correctly...
- Plot - 7.0: The only reason for this, really, is the fact that the whole story so far is one chapter. There simply isn't enough time to set up a full, well-rounded plot yet, and I eagerly anticipate how it will grow from here. For the time being, however, I'll have to deduct for the currently missing elements. We can pretty much see who the protagonists and antagonists are, but where they'll go in the story and what the central conflict is just hasn't been developed yet. Also, the ideas presented so far don't seem to flow together as well as I'd like, such as the interaction between the Gaang and Azula. I know that they're enemies, but as they'll surely be interacting a lot later on, there seems to be a lack of a basis that leads to those later conflicts at the moment. I can kind of predict the basis or motive, actually, but it's always important not to let your readers do the guessing for these things. Just tell us a bit what Azula's thoughts are towards the Gaang as she escapes, for instance, or why they've decided to let her train to further develop her deadly skills, of all things. The plot covers these things pretty broadly at the moment, and I'd like for it to slow down a bit to cover those details.
- Organization - 6.9: This pretty much follows what I've just said about the plot. The sentence structures and format were fine, but the information was presented much too quickly in my opinion. Things seemed out of place for both the characters and the flow of the story, for instance, when they would introduce drastically new ideas to the reader purely in the form of dialogue. The conversations, I think, were what caused most of the disorganization, and as dialogue made of most of the chapter, the deduction hits kind of hard here. When characters spoke, they revealed very important points to the plots, but the lack of elaboration and list-like manner that the points were presented made the flow of things seem unnatural. This applies especially around the details of the speakers, who seemed to have little elaboration on their emotions and reactions surrounding the dialogue. So overall, I'd suggest incorporating information more smoothly and gradually into the fanon, so that it doesn't come across to readers as choppy and unnatural-sounding. The ideas themselves I very much liked, though, which is why I really want to see this revision made so that they can shine!
- Creativity – 7.0: Honestly I think this can also be blamed on the fact that only one chapter's been released so far. When there's only one chapter, most of the creative ideas you have in mind probably aren't going to appear in said chapter. I applaud the author for his courage to tackle such a drastic idea like the Dai Li being able to energybend and all, but the current lack of elaboration does hinder its creativity. Also, always be careful once you've decided on these ideas; you can throw two things together like the Dai Li and energybending, but if you don't handle it correctly it can just sound like you're doing it just for the sake of giving the organization a cool skill. So like I said, extra elaboration would be great here! But on a final note... Be sure your characters' names are creative, too. As much as I (and perhaps others) adore my Dai Li agent OC, Yuhan Tsen, if people see two agents in literally the same room in your fanon named "Tyuhan" and "Yulahanu," they might get some negative impressions of your creativity. I do acknowledge that you gave credit to my character and all for inspiring your names, but honestly your fanon would do better if people don't see a connection to another fanon; it makes your writing stand out more as your own. And hey, why give people the opportunity to stop and think about a connection to my fanon when they should be 100% focusing on and adoring yours? Borrowing a character from another's fanon or making a tribute to them is a different story, but yeah, I'd always be careful about the names; they can cause more of an impact than you think. Moving on finally, I'll also add that you should avoid stereotypical statements like "And then you can rule the world," and such, and present the enemy's motives in a less commonly-seen manner. Other than that, though, I must admit that allowing the Dai Li to energybend is an awesomely unique idea that I'm pretty sure I won't see elsewhere!
- Writing – 7.0 (x3): A quick note about grammar first: Commas end quotations preceding words like "said," not periods. "Sentences do not end like this." Minnichi said. "They end like this," she said. The comma is there to prevent the choppy effect that your fanon currently has. Quotations are linked to the speaker, and the use of the comma reflects this in the sentence. Revising this right away will greatly help the flow of dialogue in your fanon. Moving onto content, though, the lack of details is the main issue with the writing, as I said earlier. Since it moves along very quickly, many important aspects about the characters and their surroundings seem left out at the moment. For instance, I see little to no mention of the setting or time of day, and it would greatly help if you could slow down and elaborate more on those things. Visuals need to have as much presence in the fanon as dialogue, which takes up too much of the content at the moment. Most importantly, however, one of the biggest things you can improve (as mentined earlier) is the way in which the information is presented. Aside from the unclarity, the details are given to us in a simple "list" format that can drag down the fanon and come off as dull, if you're not careful. Try varying your sentence structure a bit, or combining a few of them here and there. Overall pretty solid writing, but these are just the things I'd look into for now.
- Character Development - 6.0 (x2): Again, this can be a tough section for a fanon with only one chapter. The events at this point are just too early to reflect any major character development. A large part of the deduction, however, comes from what I said earlier was a lack of character description around dialogue. Their speeches don't seem to have much emotion, and I strongly suggest elaborating more on specific reactions in a conversation, the expressions, and just anything relating more to the literal interaction between the speakers. Without these details, we don't see much character within those who are talking. Also, be sure to provide us physical details about both canon characters and OCs. This is especially important for OCs, since we have no mental image of them, but it just makes the scene clear and easier to follow if you could describe the appearances of every character, even if just for a bit. I really like the characters so far and would just like to hear this much more about them.
- Action - Omitted: There were one or two scenes with some nice bending action, but as it was very short and as no fighting took place, I'd say there isn't enough action-related content to score accurately here. Looking forward to the kinds of epic fights that'll appear later on!
- Believability – 5.0: I'll go ahead and blame this on the one-chapter issue again...sorry. However, I felt like you could've elaborated on your ideas much more, even in the first chapter. The fanon can come across as unrealistic because of the way your characters just list these unusual ideas with little to no explanation, and also because of how casual and almost indifferent they are about said ideas. I'm aware that you could be planning to fully explain these things in the next chapter, but for now your character reactions to your ideas hinder the believability. Since they're so unusual, this has to reflect within their attitudes as well, which relates to what I covered in the character development section. So while I'm willing to buy these ideas, the other half, consisting of explanations and character reactions, seems to be missing - hence the score. You've got an impressive collection of information to work with. Don't let these things drag it down now!
Overall Score: 6.54
My advice for Godsrule: My biggest suggestion would really be to allow your fanon to progress further. More chapters would give you the opportunities to fill in the missing information. But aside from that, just slow things down and work in the details that will make your story clearer overall. It's a tale relating to the Dai Li; you can make it as epic as them! ;)
Who should read Avatar: The Bending Prodigy? Anyone in need of a new and refreshing idea oughta get something out of this one. But fans of the Gaang in general wouldn't be disappointed, either!