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The White Lotus Sentinel: Issue 18, 19 May

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Issue 18: May 19, 2013

50px-4357864.png Overcoming Writer's Block
Omashu Rocks - Editor

Wikipedia defines "Writer's Block" as "a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work." Here on Avatar Wiki's fanon portal, a better description would be more along the lines of "a curse Satan casts upon innocent, vulnerable users that burns our creativity to the ground and salts the Earth so nothing useful could ever be produced from it again."

Every author who has ever complained on IRC has evidently suffered from this phenomenon. Perhaps they quickly busted out the first three chapters of a new fanon and hit a wall, struggling to keep up an interesting plot in the middle of a thus-succesful story, or maybe crying themselves to sleep at the thought of having to find some way to finish a fanon they just want to die. The common denominator is people simply running out of ideas, at least temporarily. Almost all of us know this horrible feeling, though it does vary in intensity. We could spend an hour playing around with a pencil and brainstorming ideas for the next chapter, or we could be bashing our heads against a wall wondering how we could ever make a certain plot point work. To all those who have found themselves in any of these situations, I'm here to offer some advice.

Irene Clark, who according to top WLS sources is "an artist or something," says that authors should try keeping journals, writing lists, and "engaging with the text." Lawrence Oliver, not the actor but some other guy, suggests free writing and having systematic questioning from fans. Both agree that the key to finding inspiration is encouragement. Maybe that's why so many of us beg for comments in our subscription messages. I also watched a video on brain lateralization, but instead of explaining how cerebral hemispheres and the corpus callosum work, I'm going to recommend my own remedies.

  1. Watch an awesome movie. If your goal is to produce a chapter heavily relying on action, then why not watch an epic blockbuster with a lot of fighting and a lot of explosions? I've written several chapters under the influence of The Dark Knight. Spending two or more hours watching a professional movie with fight scenes and war pumps our adrenaline and can excite us just enough to sit down by a computer and type up a few hundred words or so.
  2. Read a novel. I think this works better than the movie remedy, especially for romance scenes. If you're struggling to capture the emotions two lovebird characters are feeling, reading a gushy romantic novel might just do the trick.
  3. Exercise. One of the reasons you may be bored of your story or unable to think of new ideas is that you've been cramped behind a desk for hours and haven't done anything physical. It may not be a bad idea to go on a short jog (4,000 sprints on the beach if you're me) and come back to your work later.
  4. Wear orange or yellow. This is a classic SAT/ACT tip. It is a little-known fact that the colors orange and yellow stimulate the brain. I kid you not, if your mind is going numb, stare at something that is one of these two colors. To make a long story short, it will increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and make you feel invigorated and ready to get things done. Yellow, especially, will make you more alert and decisive.
  5. Take a shower. This may sound odd, but the best ideas always come while in the shower. Think about it. You're (usually) alone and have time to think without interruption. Hot water will also open your pores and help clear your mind.

Will any of these ideas actually help you? A great man once said, "Trust me, I'm a doctor."


White lotus tile icon Fanon Urban Dictionary
Staff

Fail Troll

noun; A bitter author who believes that anonymity gives you superpowers. Apparently real knowledge isn't necessary anymore in the flaming comment...which pretty much ruins its purpose. (Note: true story) "You have one ** of a Mary Sue there. Ohmygosh she's so pretty and sweet...and STUPID...Yuhan too because she keeps on whining that he isn't there ... (a few rants later) ...the neighbors give her stuff. Yes, BECAUSE SHE'S THE ONE WHO NEEDED IT THE MOST. Yeah, it's not as if there is an old person who reallly needs food." "...Wait, what? Riya never complained about Yuhan's absence! And I don't discriminate against starving old people! What?! (Reads comment again) Okay - I really don't get it. Looks like another fail troll... Dangit, I was hoping it'd be more creative this time!" *Sighs*

Grocery List

noun; What many scenes in fanons tend to resemble. Each little thing is like a checklist in the author's mind, waiting to be scanned one by one in the shopping cart of the keyboard... "'Hanbao picked up a rock. *Check* He kicked the rock. *Check* The rock hit his mortal enemy, Regou. *Check* Regou said 'ow.' *Check* Regou threw a rock back. *Check* Hanbao said -'" "Okay, WHAT in the world are you doing?!" "Huh? I'm just writing my fanon." "Well, what's with that 'check' thing you keep muttering between each sentence?" "Oh - that's just how I write! :D" "...No wonder. It all makes sense now! You have a grocery list fanon..." "*Shrugs* 'Then Hanbao said 'ow.' *Check*"

TRIVIA: Regou means hotdog in Chinese. (And Hanbao means hamburger.)

Kohracter

noun; A unique kind of person that appears in numerous fanons. Basically, s/he has no face, and it changes constantly because the reader has to rely on wild imagination each time. This is most common for random OCs that only appear once, such as shopkeepers or 'bosses,' but occasionally it affects the protagonists too."'They paid for their food and said thanks to the waitress, an Earth Kingdom girl. Then they went into the carriage and the carriage driver said, 'yeehaw!' before cracking his whip and carrying them all down the long and awesome road of adventure...'" "Hmm...so that's 2 Kohracters so far." "What do you mean?" "The Earth Kingdom girl and the carriage driver. I only know their genders and nations! How old are they? What do they look like? Are they fat? @_@ I can't tell!" "Well -psh, just use your imagination!" "Okay..."
........................................................................................................

Love the Fanon Urban Dictionary? Miss any definitions? See the complete collection here!


50px-3565124.png

Fire and Ice
BlackMonkey

Long time no see, Avatar Wiki. Yes, it's me, BlackMonkey. After the grand finale of my last fanonitical adventure, The Avatar Rhythm, I sort of fell into the dark depths inactivity here on the wiki, I know. What was that, four months I was gone? I bet some of you wikians don't even know me. To cover that, in short I am just a monkey who is black, in no way racist, and has a knack for the fanon portal. And with the summer fast approaching, I am officially coming back.

Hold the applause.

So what am I going to spend the summer on the wiki doing, you may ask?

While I can try with all my might to not join any major projects or start groups that will take over my life, I am firmly committing myself to one huge task - my next fanon. Yeah its final. BM is coming back for round two here at Avatar Wiki.

The name of the story is Fire & Ice. Originally I was going to write this crazy sci-fi sort of thing about cloning Avatars, but I realized that it was too big a project to complete in one summer so I went back to one of my oldest plans. Fire & Ice is going to be ten chapters long so hopefully I'll be able to get it done by August or September, but don't worry, the relatively short length will not detract from its story.

I want to keep lots of it as a surprise, but in short, Fire & Ice will be about the career of a young member of the Southern Raiders in the thick of the Hundred Year War. The catch - the main character is actually a native waterbender who, in order to save his tribe, disguised himself as Fire Nation man and joined the Raiders. The story will focus on the many conflicts and inner struggles he faces as he stays undercover, holding back his bending powers and dealing with fighting against his own people. Again, this is just a general summary so there's still lots more to the plot.

Fire & Ice should be starting to pop up around the fanon portal in the coming weeks. There is not a main page yet but I am working on it, and once that's up, the rest is history. I can make a promise that Chapter 1 will be up by the first week of June. It's gonna be good.

And that's that. My next fanon is coming and you all better be prepared.


50px-4760310.png Interview of the Year
Fruipit

Ahoy! Fruipit here, with another article in mind. As you probably know by now, I'm a fanon author. I'm a fanon interviewer. And I love writing articles about fanon writing.

However, that's not what I'm here for today. Today, I'm here to chat with you about the Fact Finders. As some of you may have noticed already, we haven't been getting a lot of requests. Well, none, really. I think Bray has some interviews. Anyway, the point is, we don't have a lot to do at the moment, so all of us, Bray, Kuir and I, we've decided to try something a little different.

The Interview of the Year!

Which will probably be renamed something a little more appropriate, as this isn't the interview of the year. Well, it is, but that's not what we're using it for. Anyway.

For a bit of background, the Interview of the Year was created by Master Ratava, and it was supposed to be a giant interview we conduct at the end of every year. We didn't, and considering how slow the fanon portal is at the moment, it was decided that now is a good time, because a) we have nothing to do and b) there aren't very many people to laugh at us if we screw up.

Basically, what we're trying to do is get the community a little more involved. Down the bottom of this newsletter (hopefully) there is a poll with three fanfics on it. These stories have been chosen by us, the interviewers, as fanfics we think would be fun, nice, interesting, and (insert positive adjective here) to interview. But how does that foster community spirit?

Short answer, it doesn't. That's why there's a poll down there. We want the readers (a.k.a. you) to vote for which story you want us to interview. A special blog post and user box will be created for whomever we interview, and just like with all our interviews, the purpose is both to give their story a little more attention, and get behind the scenes, inside the authors head.

Whoever is chosen to be interviewed will be asked questions by all of us, covering all the bases and pretty much giving you all the information you could ever want. If the author is okay with spoilers, there will be spoilers. If they want to confuse you further with cryptic answers, well, that's alright too.

So, scroll on down to the polls, and place you your vote!


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50px-5047861.png Fanon Review: The Lost Scrolls by RuleroftheBisons97
Minnichi - Editor

I...have not reviewed a fanon in a long time. Since March, actually. Gosh darnit, I hate school! But while I'm enjoying the bliss of summer, I'll try my best to be punctual with these things. Really. (I won't blame you if you don't believe me ^^ But I'm trying my best!) Anyhow, The Lost Scrolls by RuleroftheBisons97 marks my return to the FRS today! This fanon focuses on the same Gaang we love, only now their adventures revolve around a mysterious scroll that brings both power and evil to whomever reads it. Pretty neat premise!

Team Avatar fanart

The Lost Scrolls is RuleroftheBison's first fanon. The fanon is about Team Avatar's adventures after the war as they head on an adventure to find and protect the Lost Scrolls while fighting new and old foes including Azula and the wrath of the Spirits.

This story throws together a good mix of both canon and original characters, without losing the spirit of the show. It's a wild, action-packed adventure that one surely can't miss in our fanon portal!

The Scores

  • Plot - 7.0: I get the central plot of the story: there's a mysterious scroll that's causing trouble for everyone and that tests their strength of mind and friendship. However, it's certain elements of the plot that I feel are either missing or not elaborated on enough. Most notably, the antagonist development currently has much less focus than the protagonist side. To have a well-balanced plot, and both should receive the same amount of attention. Also, to avoid making the plot sound general or vague, I would advise the author to delve deeper into the central conflict. While I understand that the scroll is supposed to remain mysterious, you could still elaborate on it some more without giving away spoilers. There's a difference between refraining from spoiler details and not talking about it at all; it's nature can come across as vague and general if you do the latter. Overall though, anyone can still see a good and solid plot as they read this.
  • Organization - 6.5: I understood the fanon without much trouble, don't get me wrong. Just pointing out some things here. Individually, the organization slipups aren't severe, but they're frequent enough so that collectively, the fanon can be difficult to follow at times. This is most prominent when many characters are involved; they perform several actions at once, and the names start to get lost as those actions fly by. I would say that the author should ensure that he keeps track of exactly what each character is doing at all times, and that he ensures it's made clear to readers as well. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to talk about all of them constantly - but just make sure you don't drop one too quickly before moving onto the next in the midst of an action-packed scene. Provide a little more elaboration to each action taken, and you should be fine! :)
  • Creativity – 7.2: The theme found in this fanon, like the whole idea of an item capable of bringing both power and evil, is something that tends to be common in fictional stories. However, the way the author applies the concept to the Gaang and plays it out has admirable creativity. What hinders it though, is the way the characters tend to act. Any lack of creativity here deals more with dialogue than the actual plot. Their words tend to come off as kind of stereotypical, and to fix this I'd say just make sure every characters' tone is different from each other; that usually does the trick. When many characters sound similar, they will also probably sound stereotypical, just from what I've seen. So change it up a little with everyone, and you're good to go. Aside from that though, I'd also avoid descriptions about the antagonist that say very well-known and iconic things like "he smiled evilly" or "BWAHAHA!" (Although not gonna lie, I'm fond of speaking the latter term myself >:D) Anyhow - just spruce up the dialogue a bit, it'll do wonders!
  • Writing – 7.0 (x3): The author has a nice, solid writing style that's worth a read for any user here. However, there are certain elements to it that can make it come across as simplistic and list-like. A trend I noticed is the author's tendency to use a series of several short, general sentences. Not that I encourage fancy, combined sentences just for the sake of fanciness, but remember that varying sentence structure is always important for creating a good flow. You can combine them sometimes, or change up the format another time - but just ensure that the overall 'feel' of the reading experience isn't starting to sound the same throughout the whole paragraph or chapter. More important than this sentence structure issue, however, is the way the detail is handled in this fanon. There are certain elements that are elaborated nicely, but a good amount of others that can remain vague in the reader's head. In particular, I'd say that the author should remember how the setting changes whenever a fight's going on; many elements are objects are introduced very suddenly into the scene, and it can feel choppy and random when you don't introduce them with enough detail. Remember that every new thing, like a 'pillar that appears out of nowhere,' or even a new character, has to capture the nature of its - er, "new-ness." Don't know how else to put it, but yeah. I can already tell that many of them are supposed to have the element of surprise - but to make said element reach its full potential, usually ya gotta go beyond one short sentence for a description. Even one or two extra lines will make things so much more vivid. Just try that for now, and things will flow along very nicely.
  • Character Development - 5.8 (x2): Ah...well, believe me when I say I still like the characters in this fanon. I really do! When I critique, it's just based on what an author can do to reach said characters' full potential. I see the good in them, really - but here's just what I believe can make them shine even more! This area is probably the one in most need of improvement, but it honestly isn't too hard to do at this point. Like I said earlier, it's a matter of many minor trends combining into a big impact. You can fix them without trouble, but it just makes all the difference once you get through revising all of them. Anyhow, the most notable setback in character development here is that I almost have no idea what each original character looks like. Some will have brief descriptions of clothes, and perhaps their nation and fighting style, but other than their gender I don't see much more detail. It's critical for you to make sure each character stands out as his/her own person, due to this fanon's large amount of OCs. If not, readers can start to forget who is who when many non-canon names start appearing together in a scene. What adds most to this effect, however, is the tone thing I mentioned earlier. Your OCs tend to sound very similar, and they don't receive many moments of individual reflection - especially your antagonists. There were elements like Ulti loving Sokka that I felt should have been elaborated significantly; instead, it's merely stated via dialogue once or twice before the story speeds on. Remember that each major event of a character's past should have insight, and every emotion should have more detail than just the dialogue. If you ask me, all you've gotta do at this point is spend a little extra time with each of your existing OCs, and don't focus on them as a group so often.
  • Action - 6.5: This is kind of the same score as organization, because this area was probably impacted the most by it. Action scenes are great and filled with excitement, no doubt, but it can be quite easy to get carried away and cause confusion in the midst of the fight. It's in these scenes that I lost track of characters the most, and where new things were thrown in most abruptly with little elaboration. If I could say so myself, it feels as if the action progresses a little too fast. Don't worry about the pace of your fight; action scenes usually feel fast-paced whether you try to make them like that or not, due to their nature. Therefore it doesn't really slow them down when you add more detail to each movement, weapon, and element being utilized. However, it will speed them up to an unnatural rate if you skip the important details and hop frequently to the next "sequence" in the fight. In addition to giving a "list" feel of every attack, it gives readers an extremely short and vague chance to absorb one sequence before pushing them to the next. It would feel much more natural if you could give a little more attention to every event in an action scene, and perhaps not try to jam so many of them into one fight. It would be a memorable fight as any, even with fewer amounts of "attacks," if you could stop to elaborate on each of them with vivid detail.
  • Believability – 7.0: The canon characters were overall believable. There were just some recurring traits that I found odd, such as Katara's reaction to Pakku about the scroll. While I understand that said scroll can literally change the way a person acts, thing is she was starting to behave oddly before the scroll was even opened. Perhaps that's also possible, but the way she goes about her anger is somewhat uncharacteristic and a little more insensitive than what I'm used to. That's just Katara in particular, but the other canon characters were hindered mainly because of their general dialogue, as stated earlier. You don't get many chances to capture their character when they don't speak in long sentences or say much during a fight. So to improve this area, I think it all goes back down again to more elaboration, and perhaps some toning down of 'negativity' in Katara's character.

Overall Score: 6.68

My advice for RuleroftheBisons97: I may ramble a lot, but it's in my belief that the bulk of the things I pointed out can be fixed with a simple boost of detail. Slow things down a bit, think about every character and interaction you're talking about, and just let the elaboration flow. You should be fine!

Who should read The Lost Scrolls? Do you like the original Gaang? Excitement? Action-packed adventures? Come hither!

50px-5047861.png Pride in the Fanon Portal
Minnichi - Editor

This may be a somewhat controversial topic, but there are some surefire trends in our fanon portal that ya just can't miss. Today, I'd like to address this in light of the upcoming Fanon Award Council selection and the following Fanon Awards in August. Now is a time period where pride runs high, when authors start looking at their "credentials" on Avatar Wiki and comparing themselves to other authors... It's the natural behavior preceding competition, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, I'd like to remind everyone in the midst of this pressure what you should still love most of all, no matter what craziness goes on:

Writing.

That's all you need to love. That's all you'll need to get anywhere in the fanon portal, and all you'll need as an answer to every pride-related question you may have here.

Let's begin, for instance, with the Fanon Awards Council selection. Why is it you want to be there again? Are you hoping for a title? If so, then it won't make you happy. The FAC title itself means nothing in the fanon portal, in comparison to the actual fanons. What the community will remember is your writing, not that you happened to be on a group that met one time during one year to give awards to other fanons. However, if you want to be on the Council because you love writing and recognizing other fanons' writing, then you will most likely find the experience very fulfilling and amazing, and memorable even after the end of the Awards.

Moving onto Pride Target #2: Newsletter staff! Speaking as a member of staff on both Avatar Wiki newsletters, I can tell you now that no one here signed up because they want their name to be exposed to the community or be glorified. I know there are those of you who take the "image" of this position very seriously, and I can tell you right now that no actual staff members do the same. We signed up because we want to give to the community. The title is the last thing on our minds. And it was through that same criteria that Ty was chosen as D.E., btw, because he strives to help others and not himself. Finally, I have to point out that a newsletter actually doesn't help your "image" at all if you're staff. It doesn't help anyone, really - not unless they write a memorable article. Why do we read newsletters again, and what do we remember them for? The articles. Are you going to look at a newsletter's authors and automatically deem them awesome because their name is there? No, it's only what they produce that can be memorable and perhaps worthy of praise from you. So pride is not something you should be acting on when it comes to the newsletter. For this newsletter in particular, it's your knowledge and passion for writing that will get you anywhere. People come here looking for help and interesting fanon facts; give them that sincerely, and they'll remember you.

And finally, to address the most common and infamous pride target: Your fanon. What I want to stress to every author is that if you're thinking more about the fans than your writing, fanon-writing may not be right for you at all. Where does pride come from in writing? When you can do it well, and when others recognize you for it. Why then, would you beg for subscribers, or perhaps even create "requirements" for services from you that require some kind of fan support? (This includes 'trading off' fanonbending nominations, telling an author you'll subscribe if they do the same for you, begging for comments, etc.) Are they real fans that you should be proud of when they're not there because they liked your writing? How would you feel looking at a massive list of subscribers, knowing that most of them pitied you when you begged or because they simply wanted something else from you in return? Well, if you're still okay with that, then you like the title, not writing. It will still make you unhappy in the end, because you'll notice that forced subscribers do not comment on your chapters, nor do they nominate you for much; they aren't real fans.

So in conclusion, I believe that authors here can only be happy if they prioritize what made them authors in the first place: writing. Title-seeking not only taints the purpose, but is also a need that will never be satisfied. No matter how many activities our fanon portal comes up with - councilorship, reviewers, newsletter staff and all - you will find everything so much more fulfilling if you can just remember to love writing, the one element that ties it all together. In the midst of this competitive spirit, I want to remind everyone to remember that, and to give fanons themselves a little more love.


50px-5019858.png WLS Headquarters: The Line War
Typhoonmaster - Deputy Editor

WLS Headquarters is a comical narrative by our very own Ty. This series is based on his experiences with the daily shenanigans of the fanon newsletter staff.

...

Before I ever joined the staff, I always read the actual newsletter. Mostly I enjoyed reading up on the newest fanons and urban dictionary entries. Of course there was always that recurring joke of a "Line War" between Minnichi and Omashu Rocks. To be honest, I never really understood what the whole dilemma was about. I knew it had something to do with the coding of the page, the separations lines or something like that. Either way, I always thought it was just a funny little gag between the staff. I've never been so wrong in my life.

Omashu Rocks looked over the last revisions to the newest issue. After he finished sweeping for the last bits of grammar and punctuation, he said, "Alright, it looks good enough for me. I think it's time to publish."

"Let me see that." Minnichi snatched the issue out of his hands.

The girl in the Dai Li uniform flipped through the pages, then handed it back to Omashu Rocks. "All the articles are fine, but the coding isn't finished yet," she said.

"What do you mean? All the headings, colors, pictures, everything is there!"

"You forgot to add in the dashed divider lines," said Minnichi.

Omashu Rocks folded the issue the issue and slapped it onto his desk. "I didn't forget. I specifically chose not to include that code." He took a swig from his cup of coffee and continued, "It looks just fine with solid lines, and quite frankly, there's no need for the dashed line code."

Minnichi folded her arms and rolled her eyes. "That's not the reason. You're just too lazy to actually learn the code. Every single WLS Editor has learned that code in the past."

"Well, you know what I think? All of those people wasted their time when they could've been doing something more productive."

Minnichi threw up her arms. "You are so infuriating! You are stubborn, arrogant, and refuse to change because you think you're always right. Typical Republican," she muttered under her breath.

"Let's not make this into a political contest. For that, we would need two actual candidates. In this case, you don't really make a good point. Actually, you really don't make any sense at all," said Omashu Rocks coolly.

Minnichi sighed, "If you are so dedicated, and if you are such a hard-worker, then why can't you just take the time to learn the code. It isn't even a hard code! That's all I'm trying to say."

"Yea, well I don't really feel like it."

"So what? You're just going to ignore me? I'm a part of this organization just as much as you, and you should consider taking my advice for once."

Omashu Rocks laughed.

"Why are you laughing? What is so funny about this situation?"

"I laugh because you're the one who should be asking for MY advice. Take a chill pill, and stop wearing such ridiculous clothing all the time. This is an office, not a temple."

Minnichi went deathly silent. "That crosses the line," she said.

"Whatever. As long as it's a solid line, I'm fine." Omashu Rocks thought he was funny, but Minnichi thought otherwise.

"I have to take crap like this from you on a daily basis, and I am sick and tired of it." Minnichi drew a gleaming sword from a secret compartment inside her sleeve. As a spectator, I didn't think it was physically possible for her to conceal a sword in her sleeve, as it didn't make much logical sense. I guess Dai Li uniforms are good for stuff like that.

"Oh, I see how it is then," said Omashu, accepting the challenge. He sifted through his briefcase and pulled out a white ivory sword, symbolic of the Republican Party. "I'm about to excercise my right to bear arms," he declared.

"That's cute," said Minnichi.

Then, they charged. Ivory met steel in a flurry of thrusts and jabs. Each editor dodged and returned blows. Each time Omashu Rocks tried to get the upperhand, Minnichi countered, and every time Minnichi tried to surprise him, Omashu Rocks was a step ahead. The two adversaries were evenly matched, locked in a battle of strategy, a War of the Lines.

I watched, half-spellbound, half-mortified by the battle. I didn't know whether or not to try and stop them. If I got too close, I was afraid I would lose my head (literally). I also hated to watch them fight when they should've been working together.

Then my phone started buzzing in my pocket. I answered. "Hello?" I said.

"Oh hey Mario, I'll have the usual: Double cheese, double olives, and I'll also get a large, plain thin crust."

"ARG, is that you?"

"Yea, you got my order right? I'll be over in 20 minutes to pick it up."

"Wait..what?! I'm not a pizza guy, this is Ty."

"Oh, my bad Ty. I must've dialed the wrong number. Sorry about that."

AvatarRokusGhost hung up.

I turned my attention back to the two sparring editors. Their swords were locked together, and sparks flew as they pushed.

"Solid lines!"

"Dashed lines!"

"Give in already!"

"NEVER!"

This fight had gone on for long enough. I closed my eyes and focused my mind. Taking deep breaths, I felt wind and water coursing through my veins, and I began to levitate.

The two editors momentarily stopped fighting.

"What is that noise?" said Omashu Rocks.

"I have no idea, but it doesn't sound good."

It was too late for them. I unleashed the power of the typhoon. Wind and water ripped through the office, obliterating everything. Omashu Rocks and Minnichi gasped at the destruction and began an all out sprint to the door. They barely made it out in time.

"Forget about the line war. We have a new problem to deal with!" shouted Omashu Rocks.

Will Ty be fired for destroying the office? Is the line war over? Does this actually happen in the real WLS Headquarters? Will AvatarRokusGhost ever get his pizza? These questions and more will be answered in the next installment of WLS Headquarters.


50px-5922941.png The Meaning Behind the Words
ByBray

Have you ever written a portion of a story and looked it over and thought, "this makes absolutely no sense"? There have been many times I have fallen into this pit myself, and I know how challenging it is to create a piece of writing with a gripping, meaningful story. Just as the co-creator of the Avatar series Mike DiMartino wrote: “humans are designed to find meaning. Stories can help us find meaning in what seems at times to be a meaningless world.” (“Why Story Matters: The Science of Story”) If humans are inclined to draw meaning from anything we write or read, what inspires us to share the literary works we produce? More importantly, what influences affect our writing? Why do we even find reading literature and stories to be meaningful? Great authors and literary critics alike do not know for sure; yet, one thing is for certain: there is a resonating aspect of story that touches the minds and hearts of all human beings.

Just as advice for writing a novel applies to smaller works, all tips regarding writing can be applied to fanon as well. Regarding author John Truby, DiMartino eloquently wrote: “he likens a story to all living things, in that it has several stages of growth (seven stages, to be exact), which make up the DNA of your story:

  1. Weakness and need
  2. Desire
  3. Opponent
  4. Plan
  5. Battle
  6. Self-revelation
  7. New equilibrium



(“Why Story Matters: 5 books to help you create a compelling story”).

With a plan and consistent work ethic, every story has the ability to grow into a compelling tale. As seen throughout the fanon portal, if a dedicated author puts effort in, they get results and better themselves in the process. Is it because they are naturally gifted? Or rather that their personal influence on the writing wins over the hearts of its readers? Those answers lie in the meaning behind their words.

Writing is never a straight shot. It takes practice and malleability. Authors need to mold their own stories and create their own worlds. Spice it up with creativity and personal influence, and you have a serious story in the making. Don’t just read stories and think that “I could never do that.” Go out and prove to yourself and fellow authors around you that those fathomless ideas formed in your mind were far more than meaningless - make stories that inspire others.

Sifting through fanons in the past few days, I've seen stories that can’t quite reach their true potential due to their lack of the story’s mainstay. I've seen stories abandoned before the plot even had the chance to exhibit its true colors. Most notably, I've noticed that many overlooked fanons have a reoccurring plot: the Avatar succeeding the previous one’s trials and tribulations in finding themselves and realizing their duty as the Avatar. Don’t get me wrong, this story line is what started this amazing fandom in the first place, but if you want to get noticed, you have to be original. Think up a story filled to the brim with meaning. Make it inspiring. Let the words speak for themselves.


50px-3327121.png Fanon Awards FAQ
AvatarRokusGhost - Deputy Editor

As you’ve probably seen on the general noticeboard, or heard about through some other means, the wiki is currently in the process of picking the Fanon Awards Council for the Fifth Fanon Awards. Due to a lot of questions about the awards and confusion about the process, I decided to write this “FAQ” to bring everyone to the same page. So, without further ado, here are some of the key frequently asked questions regarding the Fanon Awards:

What are the Fanon Awards?

The Fanon Awards are an annual community event held in August for Avatar Wiki, and it’s Fanon Portal where users vote among nominees for the winners of each award category. As the brainchild of SuperFlash101, they are styled after the Emmys. Like the User Awards and the two site newsletters, they are an officially-sanctioned piece of the Avatar Wiki community.

What are the categories for the Fifth Fanon Awards?

The current list of categories is here, but is subject to change. If there aren’t enough fanons or material to justify the existence of a certain category, that category can be removed from the list. Likewise, categories can also be added if there is an ample place for a new one. Such decisions are made by the Fanon Awards Council.

Which fanons will get nominated for the Fifth Fanon Awards?

Any fanon that has been published or ongoing sometime in the year before the awards can be nominated, so this would exclude fanons such as Avatar: Guardian and Kyoshi Revolts from the Fifth Fanon Awards. In each category, there are five nominees. Three are chosen by the Fanon Awards Council. Two are chosen in a community nomination voting stage when the Awards first open in August. At this point, you can nominate any fanon that’s eligible for this cycle, but self-nomination is not allowed.

Who is allowed to apply for the council?

There is no restriction on who is allowed to apply to be on the council. On this page you’ll find a set of criteria on what to consider and instructions on what to do if you think that you’re right for the council. Requests close on May 23rd.

What is meant by “element of diversity?”

The primary duties of the Fanon Awards Council are picking fanon nominees and creating and maintaining the page while the awards are being held. There are a large amount of fanon stories on here today, which is also why the council has two months in order to prepare the nominees, and there are also multiple genres. It is important that, collectively, they bring a lot of knowledge to the table. While some of the more active users know different types of fanons very well, no one knows it all. It’s not necessarily diversity among users as diversity of fanon knowledge, though diversity among users often translates into diversity of fanon knowledge, so it might be a means to an end. It was vaguely written, but it was also intended that way.

How many on this year’s council will be new members?

As of now, nine users have requested to be on the council, three of which were from the fourth council. Therefore, anywhere from two users to all five users on the Fanon Awards Council may be new.

Why do admins choose the council? Some admins don’t even read fanon.

Admins don’t necessarily need to know a lot of fanon to be able to spot the users who would be right for the position. From when the Awards were founded in 2009, the Awards Council was chosen by fanon administrators. It remained this way for the first three Awards and the first three councils, until the dissolution of the fanon admin position. Following this, the right to pick the Fanon Awards Council was “inherited” by administrators, which was later confirmed in a community forum. Last summer, the fourth council was chosen. All seven admins at the time participated and all discussion related to it took place on IRC. This year, the process is the same as it always is, save that it’s more “public” than before, and the requests page has been created to ensure fairness and transparency and to narrow down the pool of interested users.

Alternatively, we had some proposals at the time to have fanon usergroup(s) decide or hold a community vote. At the end of the day, the status quo was preserved to keep it representative for the community as a whole and because the Fanon Awards process is already divided into stages, so adding another stage for a community vote seemed like a stretch, plus 40% of all fanon nominees are selected directly by the community, so adding another long vote just to choose the council would be redundant.

Why don’t previous council members carry over, as would be the case with anything else on here?

As anyone who’s reading this knows, we all have busy lives outside of this place and a lot can change in a year. What’s important is for councilors to be heavily active in the fanon space in the right way, so it may or may not mean the same users as before. If a user who was involved before is merely semi-involved now, they may understandably want to be on the council again, but the admins are under no obligation to choose them over a dedicated, enthusiastic user who can do a good job who hasn’t served on the council before. Furthermore, as listed in the criteria, a user must be consistently active and reachable for most of the two months the council in session. Choosing “from scratch” every cycle helps the council avoid often tedious and unpleasant “removal for inactivity” processes. Therefore, the council is different from other positions on here in that it is strictly fixed-term.

The Fanon Awards Council is also different from other groups in that it does not determine its own membership (the members of the Standards Council are elected, but they decide if and when to hold elections on their own time.)

Why did [AvatarRokusGhost, BlackMonkey and Mageddon725 ] have to apply again?

See above. Also, administrators are just regular users trusted with a few extra tools to help the wiki. Being one does not give one an unfair advantage for being on the Fanon Awards Council, which hasn’t been chosen yet for the fifth awards. Just to clarify, I’m writing this article as a fan and supporter of the awards who previously served on the third and fourth councils. Nothing else.

Where did the banner on top of all the pages come from, the one with “Fanon Awards” written across it and “melon lord” Toph’s head at the center?

That was designed by Master Ratava.

Why are all the pages in the fanon namespace?

Because then it is able to be edited by multiple users, which the user blog space is not, and it allows for commenting, which the project space does not.



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!

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