|| Fanon Revisions: Now, Not Later|
Minnichi - Editor
When I first joined Avatar Wiki, a trend I noticed right off the bat was the fanon portal's revision habits. Simply put, authors here tend to improve their fanons "by the chapter." Reviews are written, critiques are made, commenters get picky, but any issues will just be straightened out in the subsequent chapters. We don't look back on the flawed chapters, we just make the later ones better.
...Anddd I strongly believe that this is a habit all authors should avoid if possible. Looking at it as a whole, I can see why this trend is natural here; Avatar Wiki is a community. We help each other improve, and we promote stories. We're given many chances and lots of patience from readers, often because they can see the good we do for the community outside of our writing. Sometimes it comes down to a matter of friendship, in which a reader knows that his/her companion is a sincere author at heart and will stick through any chapters, flawed or not. But all of this doesn't change the fact that each and every part of your story is there for a reason, and that each flaw you ignore will impact it negatively as a whole. Most importantly, leaving your flaws in the earlier chapters - especially the very first chapters - will show every new reader a watered-down, mediocre version of your story. That's the first impression they'll have, and perhaps a permanent impression if it's enough to demotivate them from continuing.
How do readers know that your later chapters "get much better"? The answer is that they don't. The reviews may say so, and maybe the commenters and subscribers will say so, but we ourselves will not actually 'know' better quality in a fanon until we read it and feel it ourselves. Before then, there is no guarantee that we'll even make it that far. Some users here may be content having existing fans to convince the new ones that yes, this story does indeed get better. But as an author, do you really want to give new readers something to "endure" until your true writing quality kicks in?
The way I see it, a fanon is not meant to be a "road of progression." Readers don't intend to see live writing improvement as they go, they're expecting quality from the moment they look at the first chapter. On that note, there exists two different types of consistent writing quality: the author who doesn't feel any need to improve and writes with the same quirks the entire time, and the author who drives every kind of revision through every chapter until they all match his/her full potential. The latter is what you should strive for. Also, you should recognize that fanons you consider 'consistently great' are most likely the latter. It's quite difficult to hit good quality the first time, and even so we're always improving as authors. Just to share my own experiences on the matter, fun fact: My own attempts so far have produced at least 5 full-chapter revisions for the first 14 chapters of Silent Hero in Emerald, in all its 10k-word-chapter glory. There was a time when my dialogue had no speech verbs, when Riya was way too giggly to be human, and when I described a broken heart with literally "the shattered pieces of his broken heart." While these fixes mostly took place on fanfiction.net and while the later chapters demanded less severe revisions, you'll still see me adding in things occasionally just to make sure the 'mood' is portrayed effectively. And of course, typos are endless. But readers don't see this. They see the most recent product of revisions, and that's what they judge.
My goal as an author is for readers to see writing quality as it is now, and not "Oh, look how much better it got later!" Because many times, you're not going to get a chance for "later." Perhaps it works on some friends of your fans, but think about how many potential readers you're warding off. To the several of you who wonder, this is probably your answer to why the fans just stop appearing at some point, or why the "hype" dies down even though your story's getting better. Your current fans know you, or perhaps your reputation. What creates new ones are your very first fanon chapters - the ones that are meant to hook a reader, to make an impression that tells them that this is something they have to continue. Now, are you really supposed to catch their attention with a version of your story you know is mediocre?
If you really want to show readers what you're all about, start from Chapter 1. More importantly, do your story a favor and make every part of it shine with the same quality. Your later chapters need the earlier ones to strengthen them, and readers need to see your true potential. Know a flaw anywhere in your story? Now's the time to revise it. Literally.
The End of an Air-a: Another Interview with the Author, by the Author [Spoiler Free!]
Interviewer: To those of you who don’t know, the final chapter of Air was posted on July 9th, marking the end of an era.
Wordbender: I think you mean ‘Air-a’.
I: Oh, haha, of course. My mistake. So how do you feel, now that you’ve finally finished such a huge project?
WB: You know, I thought I would feel relief, mostly. This story has been on my plate for almost five years, being published for the last year and a half. I’ve been getting antsy, ready to take on a new project.
I: But now that you’re here…
WB: Now that I’m here, I’m very sad. And happy. And kind of shell shocked. I sat down to publish the Epilogue, and as I brought the page up it hit me. This is it. The end. The last time I will ever post an Air chapter, ever. Even if I do eventually publish again, it won’t be the same. It won’t be Air, some of my readers might not be the same, it will all be different. And that’s really sad, because I’ve had a great time. I have amazing readers, who leave wonderful comments, and I hope that in the future I continue to get those, even though the story is finished. I know I have at least one latecomer in OR, and I hope I get many more.
I: Air was your first fanfiction. What do you like best about the genre?
WB: I love playing with someone else’s character and, yeah, I’m gonna say it. Sometimes I like kicking back and not worrying so much about every little detail. Like avoiding ‘was’ at all costs. I’m looser with my writing in fanfiction (which is probably a horrible habit) so it makes it more fun and less technical. I really enjoy that. It’s also awesome to climb into the skins of an existing character and imagine how they’d act. But the best part by far is taking one of the extremely minor characters and expounding on them. (LEE!)
I: So what do you plan to do, now that you’re finished?
WB: I really need to get back to my original stuff. I’m dying to get back to it. I’ve got a middle grade novel about one hard month’s work from being maybe almost ready, and I’ve put it off long enough.
I: What about the Wiki, do you plan to stay? Or does the end of Air also mean the end of Wordbender?
WB: Heavens no! I’m still working on Vortex (first couple of chapters coming soon, guys, and to quote Puon-Tim –new and improved!) But I also plan to read up on all the poor fanons I’ve been neglecting (sorry!) and LoK Book 2 can’t be too far off, so…
I: We can only hope! Will we see anymore fanons from you in the future?
WB: Other than Vortex? Well, that’s still up in the air, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got plenty of ideas, it’s just finding the time. I’d like to, someday, but I don’t know how far off that someday is. But I promise, if I ever write another, you will know about it.
I: I sense another session from my favorite interviewee in the potential future.
[both laugh, to prove this isn’t a conceited joke at all]
I: One thing that really sets your story apart from others is the almost complete lack of original characters. Why did you decide to do this?
WB: My intention was not to create something entirely new, which explains the rarity of original characters, but instead to expand on the characters already there, which in turn explains the intense Longshot and Smellerbee and Toph and Haru subplots, as well as Lee’s role in the Earth Kingdom.
I: Among its accomplishments, Air has been awarded double Fanonbending status, scored high in its reviews, possesses a loyal fan base, was Featured Fanon last July, and boasts a Best Supporting Female Character in the fan favorite Princess Ursa. Um, I can mention that, can’t I?
WB: [nervous laugh] Oh, I’m sure it’s fine. After all, if I can’t sing my praises even as my own imaginary interviewer, who can?
I: So how does it feel, to have your story be so accomplished?
WB: Amazing. And really surprising. I mean, it’s always a bit of a shock when you find out that people like your work. I always feel a bit like Jim Carey in The Mask: They like me. *sniff* They really like me!
I: Why did you decide to end Air the way you did?
WB: It just seemed to fit. An epilogue provided the little snippet into the future I needed to answer some of the remaining questions. As for the, er, setting, I had decided long ago to end with the third edition of The Boy in the Iceberg. Zuko has always been my favorite character, and I guess it was kind of homage to him and how far he’s come. I really love that he recognizes his progress and his mistakes, and that’s something everyone should learn. Plus, there was the irresistible humorous aspect as well.
I: So…would I be spoiling anything major if I brought up the musical number?
WB: I don’t think so.
I: And I don’t suppose you could sing it for us? I’m just guessing there is an actual tune.
WB: There is, indeed! I had to make sure it sounded okay before I wrote it.
I: So will you sing it?
WB: I’d love to, but I don’t think it would really come across in text.
I: Good point. *sigh* Any chance we might hear it someday?
WB: Oh, there’s a distinct possibility.
I: My, my, that sounds promising! Got a little something up your sleeve?
WB: Only my arms. Why do people always insist pointing out how small they are?
I: [laughs] You’ve got one musical number under your belt, and a few more promising song titles. Do you think you’ll ever write an entire Avatar musical?
WB: Actually, I was thinking about that when I wrote out the number! It would be great fun someday. I think it would be even more fun to actually get a bunch of people together and record it for YouTube. Let Bryke show that at their next Comic-Con panel! But I was actually wondering… Well, it’s kind of a crazy idea, but I was thinking about hosting a contest.
I: Be still my beating heart!
WB: ‘Puon-Tim’s Third Edition of The Boy in the Iceberg Musical Contest!’ I’d have people write up a song about one of their favorite ATLA moments. Or even LoK, if they really wanted to. What do you think? Would people go for it?
I: It certainly sounds interesting. I don’t know, what does everyone think?
WB: As a bonus, I might even be persuaded to put up a video of ‘The Banishment Song.’
I: I think the people say yes! Any last words before we finish?
WB: As always, a huge thanks to my readers. They’ve kept me going when the writing got tough or boring –on the wiki and off– and they will never know how much I truly appreciate them. Special thanks to User:LuukATLAFAN for his tearful adieu to Air. Oh, and if you haven’t, read my fanon. It’s going to need some love, now that it’s ended.
More information on the Puon-Tim Musical Contest to follow soon on Wordbender’s blog. Look out, everybody; the wiki will come alive with the sound of MUSIC!
Hello fanon readers, writers, and enthusiasts. For those of you who don’t know me, I am DancePowderer. I am coming to you on behalf of the Fauna Council. The council is undertaking a new project. Much like how the canon Fauna in the World of Avatar page documents all the canon animals, we would like to make a page very much like the canon page, but for animals only found in fanon. Due to the vast amount of fanons that exist, there is no way that the active members of the council could ever hope to compile everything ourselves. That is where all of you come in. The best way for a project of this size to succeed is if it is a collective effort. And contributing couldn’t be easier. Simply leave the name of the animal, its native habitat, and a link to the chapter/story where it can be found (if found in multiple chapters, choose the one you think best describes it) on this page here. Together, we can put toge
ther a fanon bestiary worthy of praise. Any and all animals are welcome provided that they have not appeared in the ATLA or LOK canons. In the end, it will be called Fanon:Fauna in the World of Avatar. Please help us see this project through to fruition. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
The Wonders of getting back after all this time
It's been a while, I know that well. I can't even tell when was the last time I edited here before a week ago. But I can tell that it has been almost an year...
And what an year!
Maybe you're new and you've never seen me around. I don't blame you, that's my fault. However, I've got some good points to justify my absence.
I registered back in January 16th, 2012. And by the second month I was fooling around, I debuted my fanon. It was my one and only distraction, because I was on depression (taking some medicines, so I could at least get out of the bed.) But let's talk about good and happy stuff.
Before writing an Avatar fanon, I wrote (but still not finished) a Harry Potter one, back when I was 15, I wrote it until I was 18... And at that time I decided:
"I'm gonna be an author."
They say dreams are meant to become true. But I think dreams have nothing to do with reality. Goals do. If you have a dream, make it become your goal, then (and only then) you might try and be successful on it.
Last year I "departed" right after the Fanon Awards, and the Contests Season (October?!?), because I discovered my first short story selection.
And it opened my mind to a whole new kind of writing. One that I still have many difficulties. Such as finishing plots...
This year I'm gonna be published for the first time. I've taken part in a total of 4 selections, submitting 4 different short stories (most of them with closed-that-may-be-opened-again plots) since last year. And my confidence is untouched (LOL) because I've got 100% of acceptation... (Someday I'll face deception, of course... But "what do we say to the Death God?", "Not today"... Or something like that... ;P )
"So, what do we have to do with all your writing success, Ratava? Do you think we're interested in what you're about to say?!?"
That's the point. Some writings start at being written for ourselves. If we aren't pleased with what we write, than what's the point in making someone else read them?
My story, my experiences, my goals, and all the consequences of making a decision (Such as submitting a short story to a selection, or getting back around here, that was my sanctuary in 2012.) are not exclusively mine. I know there's someone who should become a published author anytime soon, who by the way I'd like to be his Portuguese-translator ^_~v, and there's a lot of new members, that I don't even know their usernames... who may have been passing through difficult times, and aren't able to see the light at the end of the tunnel... Just as myself back in 2011.
Showing everybody here what my efforts had paid me back is the only manner I could find to say thank you. Even on the harsh discussions on IRC, or the "bullying season".
Unfortunately all my short stories were written in Portuguese, and bound by contract I may not translate them myself and publish here. So you have to trust me. (That's what a liar would ask, I know, I know.)
Changing subject, before anyone asks more...
"And do you have plans around here, Ratava?"
Let's say I'm on probation, hit by this AW spell... I intend on being around, at least chatting with whomever wants to chat with me. :D But as soon as my schedule allows me I want to get ATFS back on its trails. It's not a promise, and it doesn't means that by the end of this year it'll be completed... But I may say, before finish reading my favorite fanon, I won't even open the forum or the usergroups pages... xD
I hope you didn't get bored... =P It's just my "hey I'm alive" hello.
See ya. ;3
|| My One-shot Contest and the Interview of the Year|
Typhoonmaster - Deputy Editor
Hey just giving a friendly reminder and perhaps a rude awakening to those of you who intend on participating in my one-shot festivities. The deadline is on July 28th so if you are still struggling with an idea, you better get cracking! Also, be sure to leave your vote for the Fanon Fact Finder's Interview of the Year. The contestants this year are Dragons, Sieges and Volcanoes, Moon Drops, Silent Hero in Emerald, and The Kyoshi Chronicles! All contestants and even people not participating should comment their votes on my blog page! Time’s running out!
If you’re sitting there wondering, “What is Ty talking about? What is this contest he speaks of?” then I’m here to tell you that I am in fact hosting a one-shot competition, and a pretty fun one if I may say so myself. There are fantastic, and I mean magnificent art prizes to be won like this, this, and this. That’s right, I’m talking about those professional artists on Deviantart. So if you are an aspiring fanon writer, a seasoned veteran, or just an admirer of fine art, you may want to throw in an entry ☺
I intended for this little advertisement to be brief so I’ll just leave you with the link to my contest and call it a day: Ty's One-shot Competition
Fanon Word Search
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!