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In the midst of the contest frenzy, Minnichi wonders if anyone's paying any attention to fanon reviews these days! Crazy new things appeared because of them too, like how my ominous orchestra was discovered or the rise of the Rocks pun. But life in the FRS goes on, and today I'll comment on New to Ba Sing Se by Snip101, an intriguing look into the uprooted lives of Fire Nation War refugees who must rediscover home in Ba Sing Se.
I can see a promising journey to read about here, even if it's only two chapters long at the moment. Besides, it's going to focus on Ba Sing Se, where there're Dai Li agents - ahem I mean the characters seem well on their way to deep growth. I see great interaction already and a definite hint at something epic to come, though two chapters are going to be a little tough to work with for the scores. But we'll see!
- Plot - 7.6: This is really just based on what I can literally see out of the two chapters so far. And naturally, a fanon this early in its stages can be a little lacking in the plot, namely antagonists. However, most of the deduction comes from the untaken opportunities I saw to lead towards a central conflict. There're many things you can establish in a full, solid plot even in two chapters, and as of now the events seem general and somewhat unrelated to the summary I saw on the main page. It's hinted at a couple of times, but I'd like to see a stronger pull towards the main idea of this fanon, which is the utter destruction of the village(s) that starts off the great migration to Ba Sing Se and beyond. No amount of dramatic introductory statements can suffice, on that note, and I'd just like to see more incorporation of the central idea into the first chapters. The fanon will lose its sense of direction without. But forget that - the author needs to hurry up and get to the part with the Dai Li already! That's the most important thing to do, of course. (Just kidding! ...Or am I? o.o)
- Organization - 7.0: The lack of direction that comes from the vague plot naturally ties to organization. The way things are presented now makes the events go by kind of slowly and without purpose. All the author needs to do at this moment is think of one idea to tie every event and every last speck of dialogue together, even if barely. As soon as he can establish that harmony, the fanon will flow much better and definitely establish a sense of strong organization. I wasn't confused or something, which meant there has to be some solid organization existing already. But as always, just giving a stronger push to improve.
- Creativity – 7.0: Hmm... As much as I see a promising story, this fanon is based on painfully common ideas. This isn't something the author or I can control, what common ideas are these days. But as this is a category, I have to look at what's out there and compare. Aside from fanonss, refugees being uprooted already appear everywhere in the show itself, and it's going to take some work for the author to make his tale stand out. My suggestion is to stray from familiarity whenever you can, especially when it comes to naming characters. When their names include "Joo Dee" and "Chit Seng," it can be difficult to see the fanon as something entirely unique. So embrace the challenge, and work to make your characters different in any way they can be. You can do it!
- Writing – 7.7 (x3): Like in most reviews, I can tie this to one main area of improvement in the fanon. There's a slight lack of connection in the writing, which makes it understandable that it would appear in the plot and organization as well. In this category, however, connections have to do with the descriptions. To be specific, the writing describes certain things very nicely, but leaves other things very vague or general. A sense of "journey," for one, isn't present; characters just move here and there, and the scene shifts kind of meld together and make it less obvious that the setting has actually completely changed. One of the biggest things is that I notice the entire uprooting of the village and fleeing from the Fire Nation is entirely skipped. While this is optional, I thought that it would be critical to provide at least a glimpse of what the horror was like as they ran. Instead, it's a very subtle mention that Chapter 2 already starts in Ba Sing Se and that they've settled down. Seeing as it's such a huge change, the author either needs to give a snippet of the attack of the Fire Nation, or better gear the mood at the start of Chapter 2 to reflect that they truly are in a new place. He does this already, but in my opinion a bigger stress on their attitudes about the unfamiliar will better suffice for the total shift in environment. That's the main issue I'm getting at, but other than that I'll remind the author to check for typos (e.g. missing periods) and other minor grammar errors periodically, which I don't think were intentional. But I very much appreciated his attention to location detail, like houses and furniture among others, which many forget during the excitement of writing.
- Character Development - 8.5 (x2) A very impressive feat for two chapters. We already see lessons learned, inner struggles, doubts, and just growth overall. No complaints in that area! Buttt the deduction comes from some other random things. In particular...I have no idea what anyone looks like, literally. It would most definitely help to include some memorable faces along with the deep dialogue. Also, be careful as always before deciding to tell us when a character feels a specific emotion. Chances are a single word won't be enough to portray it convincingly, (e.g. "He was disappointed.") so be prepared to describe everything that would make you think someone in real life is feeling that emotion. It can range from facial expressions, movement, tone of voice, to even a statement about the eyes - you know what I mean. You've probably seen it in real life, after all! So why not transfer those details here? Other than that, veryyy nice character development. And with two chapters, kudos to the author!
- Action - Omitted: I'm pretty sure there's no action yet just because of how early it is in the fanon. And if there's no action, how can I assign a score? One less category to ramble about, huzzah!
- Believability – 9.0: Well, a good thing that comes with extremely common ideas are extremely believable ideas! The fanon doesn't stray much from the principles that the canon storyline have put in place, and I don't see why any of this wouldn't happen so far. I decided to nick off a point, though, since the whole Fire Nation destruction thing was omitted and their escape wasn't explained. One just can't help but wonder!
Overall Score: 7.85
My advice for Snip101: Your fanon is in its slow stages, but these are some of the most critical times to pay attention to. Just make sure to do anything to help the flow, to give us a better idea of the plot, and just to make yourself unforgettable with this tale. Looking forward to hearing about the Dai Li - ahem I mean the rest of the story!
Who should read New to Ba Sing Se? I think it's a given that Ba Sing Se-oriented people like me will probably like this fanon. Other than that, it's a promising adventure for anyone out there. Don't be afraid to look!