After being diagnosed with "panditis" (panda-eye disease) by Lady Lostris herself, you'd think Minnichi would learn by now...but apparently not! Let's get to the real point here.
Today, I'm happy to tell you that we, the Fanon Illustrator Insignia, have had a surge of team spirit along with an incurable need to get our hands on some more character designs to draw. For those of you who haven't caught on yet, we are a usergroup that gives out free custom illustrations for your fanon upon request. We just like art! And fanon authors like character drawings. So in other words, it's a perfect match.
The recent influx of new members has also seemed to introduce a "new generation" to the FII; almost all of us sport a handy tablet of some kind to clean up and digitize our sketches, so that the final product is free of all those smudges and uneven coloring. Now how about that?
Personally, I couldn't be more honored to be working alongside some of the amazing artists in this little group. Watching them tackle their requests and seeing the beautiful things that they can make from a pile of text is not only inspiring, but a great learning experience as well.
But most of all, I'm really happy that I'd have the opportunity to join a group like this; not only do I have a chance to practice my illustration skills regularly, I get to have feedback from the authors that request them on what to fix. I improve, while authors get a nifty picture - it's a win-win situation! So today, I invite any fanon author interested in an custom illustration to come check out out the FII page. Placing requests is generally as simple as just letting the artist know - although I will point out some drawers will have minor requirements that come with their 'services.' Kugumi, for instance, will ask you to subscribe to her
Moon Drops as a small courtesy for all the hours she'll put into your drawing.
I, on the other hand, require that you look at your writing before you look at my drawings. In other words, I turn down requests that were made only for the sake of a pretty picture ^^ I'm only trying to prevent authors from becoming dependent on fanon illustrations, but you can see the details on the request page.
Anyway, the Illustrator Insignia is giving you a chance to have access to some nice images along the way of your fanon journey; I just encourage you to treat it as no more than an added bonus, not as something that would motivate you to write, and definitely not as something that would garner success for your fanon. With this in mind, it's not too much to ask for you to be patient, should you choose to request. On behalf of my fellow artists, I'll have to point out that drawing a character that looks like an actual person can take several hours; there's a reason why the creator of my fanon's main image would've typically charged $50 on Deviantart.com. While I'm anything but a professional drawer, however, I just want to emphasize that for as long as you are asking us to utilize our talents for something you can't create yourself...please don't get demanding.
As much as we love art, it's really no fun if you're constantly poking with "Are ya done yet?" or better yet, getting annoyed over some mental deadline you've set for us. And most importantly, you should be more concerned about writing or improving your fanon first!
Last but not least, since I know someone's bound to ask me this: No, I haven't stopped offering professional illustrations from others, despite studying illustration myself. The best writing gets the best pictures from me - and since my drawings are not the best, I'll still leave that honor to my Deviantart.com friends who practice art as their career. As always, I only offer them for "epic" deeds like winning big writing contests or being the ultimate fanon community-helper, because that's just my lovely reminder that only great authorship gets ya anything good in the fanon portal ;)
Anyway, what are you waiting for? Want to see more of our artwork? Want to have your own? Place a request on the Fanon Illustrator Insignia page today!
noun; Something that can be incredibly hard to think of at the moment. "This is where the quote should go! Oh gawd Minn needs inspiration..."
noun; A cruel, unfortunate habit of authors who believe that slamming doors is the only true way to prove that their character is angry. Those poor slabs of wood aren't going to last much longer at this rate. "'That's it,' yelled Hanbao. 'You're making me REALLY mad.' And then he slammed the door.'" "...Uh, that was nice and all - but seriously, you gotta cut back on the door abuse." "What do you mean? Hanbao was really angry!" "Yeah, but you could've gone about writing it without the random wood violence... And wait, when was there even a door?! I thought they were standing in a hallway!" "Whatever, you just don't see my literary greatness. I'm not talking to you anymore! Hmph!" "...Wait, are you mad -" "WHY YES. I am. I...(steps in front of the exit)...AM!" *Slams door and leaves* "...What in the world? It's even worse in real life!!!"
noun; A plague that can strike any author at any given moment. The lucky ones may recover shortly. The less fortunate can turn delusional and give up on writing itself for a while. (Based on real events is the following...) "That's it, I'm going to start Chapter 19 of Silent Hero in Emerald and write to the finish! Don't try to stop me! >:D" (6 hours later) "I was doing fine...but then...the writer's block...came and took my action scene... It's dragging, I've written myself into a corner, and I probably have to start all over again, and, and... ARGH!!! It failed, Lostris. IT FAILED!" "Well hey, at least this tells me you actually came up with ideas of your own and weren't just being my lousy copycat** author B-)" "Haha whatever, you're the cop - wait, that doesn't even help, dangit! *Throws glass vase*" (Days later) "So Minn, how's SHiE coming long?" "Oh hey, ARG! ...I will not speak of the new chapter." (Ominous music) "Uh...well alright, then! *Laughs nervously*"
**Trivia: Lady Lostris and Minnichi have extremely similar writing styles. One of many recurring gags ^^
noun; 1. Care or preparation in advance; foresight. 2. Prudent management; economy. 3. Divine care and guardianship. 4. God.
noun; the subject of a great debate that stemmed from Ozai's quotation, "Now the universe has delivered you to me as an act of providence." On one hand, AvatarRokusGhost believed the usage of "universe," "providence," and the given situation clearly made a direct reference to God. Typhoonmaster and Minnichi, always the skeptics, backfired with the logic that the Avatar world is based on spirits and nature. Did Bryan and Mike intend to reference God with their usage of "providence," or were they just using a general, epic sounding line to set up the battle? After referencing multiple dictionaries, the three writers discovered the meaning relies on connotation.
noun; interjection; a random eureka moment when a writer has a revelation. "As he read the nutrition facts on the back of the carton, the clouds in his mind cleared and the idea gushed forth with divine inspiration. He knew exactly how to start the next chapter." (Also the catchphrase of Jimmy Neutron)
WLS Headquarters is a comical narrative of the daily occurances at the WLS Offices and the staff's shenanigans.
"If I could escape -escape-
And recreate a place that's my own world -own world-
I could be your favorite girl -forever-
Now tell me boy now wouldn't it be sweet?"
I woke up to my custom alarm, and boy was I ready for my first day of work! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I smelled a hint of lilac in the air. I decided to walk to the White Lotus Sentinel Headquarters.
Perhaps I was optimistic, or maybe I was simply naive. Nowadays people wait in traffic, settle into routine, and feel reluctant to get out of bed to go to work. I hoped I would never become one of those people while working for the WLS. Deep down I knew I'd never really get tired of writing articles and working with the other editors. It's just what I like to do, so while I was admittedly nervous, my excitement far outweighed any hesitance.
I entered through the revolving doors, tempted to spin around a couple times, and made my way past the fountain in the main lobby. Recently, the WLS headquarters underwent a few rennovations, including new vending machines, cafeteria, employee lounge, and even a courtyard to take strolls during break. Of course work came first, so I wore my favorite tie and jacket; I had to look official for my first day on the job.
My office was pretty nice, fit with a computer, desk, swivel chair, all the necesities. It lacked a mini-fridge, though. I made a mental note to address that problem later. I figured later I'd bring in some other stuff to brighten it up. After organizing my files and workspace, I decided to go greet my fellow co-workers.
"Good morning everybody!" I said cheefully.
AvatarRokusGhost popped out from his office.
"SHHHHH." He whispered, "Minnichi is sleeping."
"What?" I said, "I've never heard of such a thing."
He pointed over to the adjacent office, and sure enough Minnichi slept at her desk with a drawing tablet, keychains, and what looked to be a Dai Li pillow. She began stirring and murmuring under her breath, "Mhmmshh ...Line wars .... mhhnm ....hello Mr. Rocks .... the Earth King *yawn* has invited you to Lake Laogai."
I respected Minnichi so much for her dedication to the fanon portal, whether it be as an author, editor, or reviewer. For that reason, I couldn't wait to work with her. She's also a really interesting person to talk to. Just don't hate on the Dai Li or bring up Zutara on fanfiction.net lest a rant will ensue.
"She's been up all night working productively and not procrastinating," said AvatarRokusGhost.
Before I could even respond, a screech of burning rubber and the rev of an engine sounded outside the headquarters. I looked outside the office window to see Omashu Rocks slam the door of a poorly parked Ford F-150 with a Romney bumper sticker. He stumbled across the sidewalk and took a long, hard look at the revolving door.
Omashu Rocks, also known as OR (for the sake of brevity), is one of the most goal oriented contributers and a really outstanding editor. He took the WLS and brought it to the next level with his determination. He also has a tendency to create spontaneous political debates with his presence.
"Omashu Rocks always comes into work drunk on Mondays," said AvatarRokusGhost.
The Head Editor walked into the office, his shirt un-tucked. He looked at me and squinted.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"Uhhh I'm Ty. I'm the new Deputy Editor," I answered.
"Right, right. I completely forgot about that. Wow, that was some party last night," he said.
I got the feeling he may have brought up the "party" because he was too embarassed to admit he was up all night in his room listening to Taylor Swift and reading up on foreign policy.
Then, Omashu Rocks poured himself a cup of coffee, downed it, and poured himself another. As he sipped his second cup, he glanced over at the calender. Then, his eyes widened and he spit out the coffee in a spray.
"Hey people!" he exclaimed, "We have an issue due tomorrow morning! Let's try to get this one out on time! I need to do a better job of telling you guys in advance next time."
AvatarRokusGhost turned to me, "He says that every week."
This was true. Even with deadlines, the WLS always found ways to fail to meet them. Each night before an issue, the employees frantically rushed about, doing anything they could to piece together any excuse for articles. Around 4 A.M the issue was complete: Print and publish.
"What do we do now?" I asked.
He shrugged, "I don't know, but I have to go give a speech at the Most Popular Authors' Convention. See ya Ty." Then, he left through the revolving doors and stepped onto a palanquin.
AvatarRokusGhost, also known as ARG (at least in my mind), had a lot of duties besides working for the WLS. In a way, he was an embassador for all things fanon and a hero in the eyes of many. He also is pretty good at trivia, almost better than me, but not quite.
With that, I stood alone in the middle of the office, very puzzled by the situation. It was me and two half-conscious co-workers. I wondered if we would ever finish an issue on time. My first day on the job already started, but it wasn't at all what I thought it would be like. Well, I might as well start by writing some kind of article.
Will the WLS Staff ever get their act together? What happens when Minnichi wakes up? What kind of shenanigans will happen next time in the WLS Headquarters? These questions and more will be answered in the next issue! (whenever that is)
Romance in Fanons: Going Beyond "I Love You" Minnichi - Editor
Well, since my one (and only) ongoing fanon is most prominently a romance, I thought it was about time I addressed this. What authors sometimes don't realize is that incorporating love into a fanon is harder than you think! Believable, tolerable, non-cringe-inducing love, that is. Although the principle is the same for all writing, it's in my belief that the genre of romance depends on this most strongly: "Show, don't tell." If you think about it, real-life romance is full of that "prove it" stuff all the time, with constant lectures about how "actions speak louder than words." So why shouldn't the guidelines for 'real' love be the same in fanons?
Speaking of "showing," I've got a quick little show for you! Presenting Disney's Oscar-winning animated short: Paperman.
In my opinion, this is one of the finest examples of what makes romance work, because it proves that showing alone will do the trick. Not a single word was spoken throughout the video - but to many (including me), that's some of the most beautiful romance on screen. I provided you the video so that you can have something to actually reference in the midst of my ramble, but to break it down:
1) Emotions require expression. Strong emotions like love require even more of it. This alone was one of the things that caused Paperman to make such an impression on viewers. Remember that words mean nothing without the expression behind them. If you have dialogue, then it'll include things like tone, but body language is critical if you really want to bring your writing to life. Don't just go for the old "he had butterflies in his stomach" or "he could only blush and stutter." Really think about why those effects happen. Generally speaking, you should be able to describe those 'first crush' meetings like how they occur in real life; you're naturally just drawn to this person, and it's not just because you're staring at a pretty face. If anyone sounds awkward, it's probably because they're so overly eager to see the special person again, and they're doing a bad job of hiding it. Either that, or they're thinking too hard about looking 'normal' that they end up looking weird instead. So talk about it! If someone 'stutters,' also mention what they'd *meant* to sound like instead. And most importantly, remember that romance is an interaction between two people; even if it's unrequited, don't ever forget to describe the corresponding body language from the second character as well. Point being, don't ever forget to include details about those little expressions that take place during romantic encounters.
2) Remember the circumstances, and remember that love needs time to develop. One of the worst things you could possibly do for your fanon is to throw out an "I love you" before establishing proper development. It's the most common killer of romances, and those three words should be handled with absolute care. And honestly, when in doubt: just compare it to real life. When would you more likely believe an "I love you?" After you've just met the person, or after you've grown to know the person like your best friend, are happy when they're happy, and could see yourself spending the rest of your life with them? (Well - at least to me, that's how an 'I love you' should work.) Think of those three words as "true love," and not just something to say because it sounds nice and dramatic. When you can prove that two people truly love each other - which takes many meetings and/or character bonding time - then it's the right time to use the words. And honestly, if you've proven the love already, you'll see that you don't even have to state it directly to convince others! Back to Paperman: notice how the guy doesn't just swing the girl into his arms and kiss her. The video is portraying romance in a very natural way, in that he's acting on a strong desire to see her again and have a chance to know her better. Though their chemistry is great, it's simply too early to jump into typical 'head over heels' gestures like kissing. And as you can see, you don't need those things to make a great, believable romance at all. Always remember that keeping things natural comes first.
3) Finally... "Actions speak louder than words." Still as true today as ever! If you're going to throw love into your fanon, remember just how powerful of an emotion you're dealing with; there're going to be some things that a person in love simply *must* do. First off, remember that people in love typically describe their partners as literally *everything.* The soulmate will grow to be more important than everyone else in the world. The lovestruck one will start thinking more of how to make the other happy, as opposed to himself/herself. So the attitude you describe has to really reflect such a priority. Your characters don't have to jump in front of bullets for each other or something; there're many ways to establish importance. In Paperman, this was demonstrated by the guy's defiance of his own boss; he was willing to ditch his office (and possibly job) on a slim chance of meeting the girl again. The significance is that the chance, no matter how small, was still worth it to him. Aside from 'pivotal' actions like that, however, remember that someone in love is likely to be thinking about their special person a lot. It doesn't have to be 24/7 (also a little cheesy), but remember that they'll always consider the love to be a part of their life. If they're going to do plan something big later on, the love interest will probably be considered in that plan at some point. If they're worried about others' safety, it's probably the loved one that they're thinking of first. And most importantly, if a loved one is suffering, they'll probably drop anything and everything to do whatever they can.
That was quite a ramble, I know. But the point is that love is a big deal! Just look at the way real life regards it. So in conclusion, while I hope that some may get something out of the ramble, I want to stress this most of all: Do not incorporate romance into your fanon if you're not going to go beyond a simple "I love you" and cute scenes. Your hero doesn't need a love interest to be a good hero. And if it's there, be assured that it will take tons of elaboration and extra effort for it to sell. It's very easy to fall victim to "cheesy" romance, and quite honestly that's something I myself am still trying to avoid. The key, though, is to at least be aware of what you're dealing with, so that you can strive for better. Don't take lovers lightly, even in writing!
I have a riddle for you: what happens when six writing prodigies come together and combine the best parts of the fanon portal? No, I am not writing of some fantasy paradise that we can only dream about. I am simply praising the new "it" fanon on Avatar Wiki,
Vortex. I have mentioned this upcoming legend previously in my articles, but I'm not convinced that I've gotten my message out effectively enough. This time, I shall be quite clear. This. Fanon. Is. Amazing.
I don't believe describing the plot is necessary here to attract readers, but I guess I will anyway for any possible holdouts.
Vortex, takes one character from each of the author's most popular fanon and throws them into one incredible adventure. A "vortex" of chaos is the reasoning behind their travels from world to world, each universe representing one of a different fanon. If you are still reading at this point, it means you haven't clicked one of the two links I have provided and still need further evidence. Perhaps you have already read the first few chapters and were put off, possibly not satisfied with where the fanon was headed. To these skeptics I say "fear not." I too, was not thrilled with the original villain, an Airbender named Olaiayoauauauauoa, or something like that. The character was a bit of an oddball, who wasn't very interesting and is certainly forgettable. HOWEVER, with the addition of Lady Lostris to the team came a new villain, Eris, who is 10x as awesome and 10x as evil as Oyileouaeahawaii.
To sum it up, our favorite characters come to life in an epic adventure between our favorite worlds written by our favorite authors, hence why this should be your new favorite fanon.
In other news, I am currently hosting my second comedy writing contest. The first competition was a huge success, and a lot of hilarious pieces were submitted. Don't miss out on your chance to make me pee my pants. Hey, that rhymes.
ATTENTION: I am using the rest of my article space to inform you that the annual
Fanon Awardsrequests for councilorship will be opening soon, as it is May 2013. If you are interested in being a councilor for the next FA's, keep a close eye on that page!
In all writing, especially fictional writing, descriptions are key. The descriptions of settings and characters set the entire tone of the story. Apparently we, as human beings, formulate an opinion of someone within the first seconds we meet them. Based on appearance, demeanor, actions, we subconciously conclude things about the person without even knowing them. A week ago, I got in an elevator with a guy talking loudly on a bluetooth headset.
"Oh, I know."
I only encountered the man for around 30 seconds, but I already hated him. For all I know, he could've been a great guy, but to me he came across as that guy who talks with bluetooth then gives you an annoyed look if you think he's talking to you. So, what does this have to do with description? Well, it shows how crucial descriptions are. The first description of a character or setting sets the entire basis of the reader's opinion. Of course there's character development, but it's important to start off on the right foot. Just look at Sokka and Katara.
The first time we ever meet the two Water Tribe siblings we immediately learn a couple important details: Sokka is comical, and Katara believes in equality. Those two points are very prevalent throughout the entire show, and I thought Bryan and Mike did an excellent job with that introduction. Another great introduction, perhaps the greatest introduction of any character in any type of media, is Toph's introduction in "The Blind Bandit." I mean, the very first thing you see her do is mock a guy, then proceed to destroy him in 3 seconds with crazy earthbending. It's safe to say that trend continued for the rest of the series.
Now, time to tie in these points to the element of description. I can't really offer concrete advice with examples for this, but I'll do my best to stress a few key things to remember. First of all, make sure you, as the author, completely understand your characters and settings before you write them. You have to know them better than anyone. Know exactly what they look like, sound like, think like, eat like, sleep like, dance like, everything. For settings, ask yourself: "What does it sound, smell, and taste like?", "What is the overall feeling of this place?", "What makes it important?". Your descriptions should answer these questions and many others. Convey everything you want your reader to know.
Great descriptions go deeper than just physical looks. In fact, I've read many great books that don't even describe the characters' looks at all. Sometimes it's best to let the thoughts and dialogue of a character create their image. While it's important to create a first impression of a character or setting with description, don't forget to continuously describe and add to them, giving subtle hints and details now and then to show the changes. Sometimes when I write, I take a step back and immerse myself in the world I'm trying to imagine. That helps me flesh out my descriptions and really pay attention to detail. Bottomline, putting in quality time to improving descriptions can add a whole new dimension to your writing. Writing fiction is all about putting a dream, an image, into words. Capture every aspect of the vision in your mind and put it into words with your descriptions. If you have questions you can message me Template:Wall! Happy writing :)
Sup, Avatards! Yet another interview that I completed a while ago, it's just taken me forever to write all the blurb. Why? Because I love this story. I do. I think it's amazing, and after talking to the author for months (wow, that doesn't sound creepy or anything...) I offered to interview her for the Fact Finders. So today, I'll be talking with Pegelia Von Borrador about her story, The Last Prom King.
Obviously, it's a modern AU. About Aang defeating Ozai. By becoming Prom King. Okay, pretty much the Fire District control the school, through Ozai becoming Prom King. Apparently, it's a big deal *shrugs*. All our favourite characters attend a mixed high school, and it's up to the Gaang to convince the students to vote for Aang for Prom King.
This story is about teenagers, so discretion is advised. Especially around Toph. They are all slightly older than the characters of the show, and it is quite obvious that the author had a lot of fun in her teenage years. It is only rated a 'T', however it's a pretty hard teenage, featuring sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well, not really the rock and roll, although Toph and Sokka both play guitar. There are themes of depression and angst which are absolutely heart-wrenching to read, but definitely showcase Peggy's remarkable skill at creating a well-rounded story, and characters with substance (unlike a certain movie I watched the other week *ahem*oblivion*ahem*)."
This story is absolutely beautifully written. The style the author employs keeps you on the edge of your seat - literally. Any Kataang or Tokka lovers will love this. If you like angst, or have ever paired Zuko with Suki, you won't be able to stop reading. If you ever wanted to get inside Azula's head, or thought there was something more going on with Toph, this story won't disappoint you. And finally, if you love the romantic tension that Aang practically exudes throughout the entire show, well, your spine will be tingling with each new chapter.
But, that's enough from me. You want to hear about teenage Aang defeating teenage Ozai with the help of, in the author's own words, "a beautiful art student, a varsity jokester, a rich runaway, and one of Ozai's own best friends."
Starting with the general questions, where did this idea stem from?
I have no idea! I was writing kind of a more serious Toph story and it just kind of popped into my head – modern high school AU. It's been done about twelve thousand times, but somehow I knew that I just had to write this, and Aang was going to be fighting for Prom King. I wrote the first two chapters in like, one night, and I was hooked. Had to keep writing. The rest is history ;)
How much planning went into this story before you began posting it?
Absolutely none haha. I hardly ever plan – it's one of my greatest weaknesses as a writer, but I actually kind of like the feel that it gives my stories. Like, my characters are living by the seat of their pants, just as I am. Before starting the story, I really just decided: am I going to follow the events of the story; what's the major shipping; who's the main villain/antagonist; how am I going to structure this AU. I probably thought for a grand total of ten minutes before writing. The rest of it – character's backstories, etc – is all decided as the story progresses.
You mentioned that you have been writing for over 9 years - is that just fanfiction?
It was originally fanfiction – I wrote a hundred-page fanfiction for Teen Titans that I never posted on the site (cause it's s***). Then I started getting twitchy and wanted to write my own characters, so I wrote two original novels back to back. Then I needed to take a break, went back, did fanfiction. Ever since then it's been kind of a back and forth between novels and fanfiction. I totally would have had this latest novel finished by now if fanfiction wasn't so damn fun!
Can you tell us a little of the novel you are writing?
Well, it's a young adult fantasy. It follows the adventure of four high-school girls, who each control a different element (kinda like Avatar, except that the idea for this story was conceived in 2004, before Avatar was ever on the air! That's actually what got me into Avatar; when I talked about the story so many people kept saying 'Just like Avatar!' that I finally decided to watch it). It's a fun fantasy – prophecies, villains with magical powers, and four raunchy, clueless teenage girls trying to save the world.
If you write original stories (which resemble ATLA anyway), why do you also write fanfiction?
Well, I tell people that it's just like how a guitarist at the end of the day just wants to relax and play some Beatles. As writers, we need time to take a break from the pressure of our own characters and plot lines and allow ourselves to grow as a writer using other people's characters. Fanfiction has taught me so much about writing, actually – how to create memorable characters and situations, how to respond to criticism. Also, it gives you a chance to develop your own skills with situations and characters that you might never get the chance to write in your own stories.
What would you say to get people to read the story if they are uninterested in the summary you've already given?
I would say that I try to make this story as realistic as I can. It's a lot like the usual high school experience – there's humor, romance, heartbreak, action and drama all rolled into one. Also, it's much heavier than the summary implies. There's a lot riding on Aang winning Prom King. Maybe I should revamp the summary, now that we're talking about it…
You feature teen drinking, swearing and raunchy themes; why do you feel that the characters should act this way?
Couple of reasons. 1) That's just how I talk and act haha. I played drums in the band in high school and my high school experience was defined a lot by the rebellious side of being young, doing stuff your parents tell you not to do just to do it. 2) I just think it's more realistic. It's tough to grow up in this society, and these kids have the added pressure of trying to work against this regime at the same time. It's not realistic that they wouldn't give in to temptations to drink, have sex, smoke, cuss, etc. Plus, I don't think it's a big deal if they do. They're always safe about it (except for Toph, but that's a different story). I think it makes them so much more relatable as characters. 3) The story would be boring as f*** without it haha.
Just touching on Toph, you go into a lot of detail about why she acts the way she does. Will the readers ever learn of the other characters backstories, the motives behind their actions?
Way to call me out on another one of my greatest weaknesses haha! Yes, I will, eventually, but God, it's just so fun to write Toph. Also, I can relate to her problems, so it's just laziness that it's easier to get inside her head than someone like Sokka or Zuko.
Why did you give Toph such a violent past?
I just felt it was realistic in my world. She still has her crazy controlling parents, but because she doesn't have earthbending to channel her frustrations, she has to find ways to act out. Also, she's three years older than she is in the series, so I think it makes sense that by age fifteen, Toph would have seen a lot of the world and gotten into a lot of s***. It lets her be the messed up one of the group, kind of the basket case. None of the other characters really fit with a violent past like that. Plus, it makes her ten times more badass.
Did you ever consider any other way for Toph to be discovered by the group?
Not at all, actually. I just think it was perfect the way they did it in the show, so I wanted to preserve that. It really sets the tone for her character – she's tough, tomboyish, and does not take her blindness as a handicap. Just like Katara was introduced from the beginning as the motherly, beautiful figure and Suki as a traditional warrior, so much of Toph's personality is caught up in her being a blind fighting prodigy that I just had to keep it.
Obviously she had to stay blind, and you managed to take on board the fundamentals of her personality; but, why mixed martial arts?
Cause it's so cool! Also for practical reasons. I wanted Toph to be a fighter, but I knew she couldn't do anything like boxing or wrestling that depends on pure strength, cause in this world she didn't have earthbending to draw her strength from. So I kind of settled on MMA cause it's got that strength aspect but also depends on agility and quick strikes. Also, Korra was inspired by an MMA fighter, and so I drew inspiration from that.
Now, Toph and Sokka both play guitar, and you tend to make them sing and play when you want to convey a strong emotion. What makes you choose the music you feature?
I really only try to use songs that are really important or essential to the plot. Usually it's a song that I'm writing to that just strikes me and I know the scene will not be as good if I don't use that song. A lot of the songs are important to the characters, too, like 'Hide and Seek' by Imogen Heap that was used at Yue's funeral. That song has sort of become a rallying point for the characters. And especially with characters like Toph and Sokka, who are musicians, music is incredibly important to them. Toph, especially, isn't very good at expressing her emotions verbally, so she uses song as an avenue for her feelings. 'Sympathy' in Chapter Seventeen in the best example of this – her way of expressing her pain, frustration, despair, and anger, all in one song.
In chapter 11, Toph mentions that a lot of the servants her parents employ don't like her. Why is this?
I think it's because they all see her from the perspective of her parents. She was a terror of a child, because she was blind and confused and angry, and then became a rebellious, grumpy, insolent teenager. They never really took the time to understand where her rebellion came from, how her parents suppressed her by not allowing her to grow into her own person. I think it can best be stated is that most of the servants, like most people, refuse to look beyond the blindness and see the girl.
What is 'pickleball'?
Pickleball is this super random, kinda nerdy game. It's like tennis, but with thicker paddles. It's normally played in elementary schools and high school gym class. The idea of playing pickleball as an actual sport is kind of laughable, and I can totally see Air Nomads doing it!
Why Prom King? Why not class president, or school captain?
Well, class president was, for my class, always the overachieving students, the ones who actually wanted to make something of their lives. Plenty of people won class president who weren't really that popular or well-liked, they just won because people didn't care about class president. But Prom King is the crème-de-la-crème of the class. Prom King is only won by the most popular, most well-liked, and (usually) most attractive kid. Even though they have no official duties, the attitude of the school when a super-nice, super-sweet boy won Prom King as opposed to a popular asshole would be vastly different. Also, more people vote for Prom King than class president. I don't know what a school captain is haha!
You have followed the canon plot in an AU story absolutely terrifically, having Aang need to overthrow Ozai, introducing Toph as a fighter and bringing everyone together. Has there ever been a stage in your story where you really didn't want to follow the canon story, but knew you had to in order to progress the story, like when Yue died?
Sometimes. Not really when Yue died – the symbolism of her death was absolutely crucial to the story, so I probably would have gone ahead with that even if it wasn't canon. The one part I had trouble with was Jet. I'm not sure how I feel about Jet as a character. I think I might have done him differently – either make him more of an asshole or make him more of a potential mate to Katara. But he serves a really important purpose in establishing the Kataang romance, so I went ahead with it like they did in canon. Might kill him too. Haven't decided haha.
For people who are not American (myself being one), would you be able to explain Homecoming Dance, and the significance of Prom?
Homecoming Dance is the first dance of the school year, generally in the fall after a very important football game. There is a Homecoming King and Queen, usually seniors, who are voted for, but the significance isn't really that big of a deal. Anyone can attend the Homecoming Dance. Prom is in the spring, the last dance of the school year. You can only go if you're a junior or a senior, or as the date of a junior or senior. Some schools require Prom to have dates, but some don't (mine didn't). Both dances are very formal – ball gowns, tuxedos. Prom King and Queen are usually juniors, so they can come back to crown next year's Prom King and Queen. Usually, sophomores aren't allowed to run, but I switched that for the story ;) Also, I've never ever heard of a sophomore winning to Prom King, but we'll see how that goes in the story…
Are we going to see more of Katara in her Jasmine Dragon uniform?*
Uhh…totally forgot that was a thing haha. Probably, now that you reminded me of it! That's the problem with writing long fanfictions. The story's almost 250 pages long and sometimes I just straight up forget s***. #authoressfail
I guess you've also forgotten about the Tsungi Horn Escapade that led to Aang being found out by the Government, too?**
Another thing I forgot haha! Sure, maybe! That could be fun to talk about. It's definitely a humorous story, so it might be good to break up some tension later in the story. I've got some heavy s*** coming up.
How did you think of the last names?
It's kinda random. I want them to sound Asian, because the idea of any of these kids being white is just so…ugh (M. Night Shyamalan). Aang Nomad comes because I was lazy; Hatori is the first Japanese-sounding name I could think of; Zuko and Azula Agni, obviously from 'agni kai', and I think Ozai's last name is Kai for the same reason. Mai Lau and Ty Lee Tjong I looked up as common Chinese last names; Zhao Furo, because I think it's 'fire' in Latin; Yue's last name, Misong, actually means 'moon' in Korean; and Suki Kyoshi and Toph Beifong were obvious.
You focus a lot on characterisation; how the characters would act in our world. With some of them, this accentuates negative traits, such as with Jet and Toph. Why do you focus so much on the negative?
I hope I don't focus too much on the negative! Jet's an asshole, so I'm okay if I accentuate his negative traits. But with characters like Toph or Azula or Suki, who come off different than they do in the series, it's because I'm trying to imagine what these characters would be like if they were not only in a completely different universe without bending, but also older. This means that Toph tends to be bitchier than the show, or Sokka is more flippant, or Suki is more callous. Also, hopefully they will be less negative as the story continues – right now they're all dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, so they're probably gonna be really negative characters for a bit.
With the characters, what made you decide to introduce to introduce Zuko as an ally so early on?
I just didn't want to go through the whole two seasons we had of the show where Zuko was a bad guy haha. He's hot, he's good, Iroh is awesome, and why don't we stop beating around the bush? He's a very important character because he becomes the first Fire District kid to really get behind Aang's cause. Also, Zuko ships are SO DAMN FUN. Maiko is one of my favorite ships in this story – I love the tension they have.
Will we see him come back soon?
Yes! I miss him dearly. Next chapter is a lot of Zuko/Azula feels. I'm deciding if I want Azula to become good or not. And of course, Zuko will be a huge factor later in the story – we need him to help convince the Fire District kids!
After Katara dropped Haru, we haven't seen much of him. Will he come back?
Haven't decided! Maybe. If he came back, it wouldn't be as a love interest for Katara, since Kataang is pretty much a solid thing at this point and I don't want to put my poor readers through the struggle of watching our young lovers get distracted by all these random other people. Also, Haru just seems like such a one-dimensional character to me. If I wanted to keep writing him, I'd need to give him a Pegelia-worthy tragic past ;)
Why did you make his parents dentists?
Haha, it just fit in the story. It occurred to me that every single character in this story has a sob story, and that's just not realistic. So, I guess I broke canon with that one. Haru is just normal and hot. Actually, maybe I'll bring him back in just so I can have Sokka make fun of his ridiculous moustache…***
Gyatso is made into a more awesome character than first anticipated. Do you think his character is really important for the story? What are your plans for him?
I do think Gyatso is important! You know, unfortunately, I can't just have a bunch of teenagers living alone like they do in the series. So Gyatso fills that role of being the responsible adult. But he had to watch his entire culture be destroyed, so he's filled with the same indignation and rebellion as Aang – it's just in a different way. That's why he's so in favor of Aang's rebellion. He knows he's too old to really make a difference, but he loves seeing his grandson fight for it. I don't know that I have any plans for him…continue being awesome! Also, Gyatso is the resident matchmaker, which is hilarious.
You keep the romance between Katara and Aang ambiguous and tense. Is this on purpose? Why?
Oh, totally. It's pretty ambiguous and tense in the actual show, too! They clearly like each other, but there's so much tension and awkwardness and sometimes anger, and to top it off they're fighting this epic battle. That's kind of what it is in the actual show. Also, they're in high school.
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Which means realistically, Katara would be a hot to her, and Aang would be a normal fifteen-year-old boy. He fantasizes about boobs and sex just like every other kid! This sometimes gets overprotective Katara pissed off, so that's where a lot of the tension in my story comes from.
In a recent chapter, you added the characters of Onji and Hide. Why did you do this? Do you have any plans for them at the moment?
I literally did it because a reviewer asked me to! I got a review saying I should add more characters, and I needed Kataang tension, so I was like, 'Onji!' I might have some plans for them, like maybe Onji helping to convince Fire District kids. The story's gonna get more political the closer we get to Prom, so I'm sure they'll play a role
We are finally getting to see some of Katara's mothering aspects in the Toph chapters - was this done purposefully, or do you feel as though each character took the situation and ran away with it, making their own decisions? Why?
Nah, that was all her. About 90% of the time, when my characters do something, that's because I put them in a certain situation and just saw how they acted. With that scene, I set it up for the characters hearing Toph cut behind the door, and when they finally got the door to open, of course the first thing Katara would do would be to take charge of the situation and mother Toph. I generally only plan the first and middle scenes of a chapter. The rest of the chapter, it's just the characters acting themselves. That's when I know it's a good story – if I have to dictate to the characters what to do in every chapter, it means I haven't done my job and developed them enough.
Did you write this story with any specific type of reader in mind? Who do you think enjoys the story the most (not including myself :P)?
Haha well, you're one of my favorite fans! I don't know, I think I was planning for high schoolers (obvs), and people who wanted a more serious high school AU. But my readers seem to be a very diverse group. Some of them love the humor, some of them love the drama, they like different ships (I've gotten the best suggestions for the ships), some of them drink and cuss, some of them don't. But for some reason they all keep coming back!
Is there anything you want to tell your fans out there that you haven't said in the authors notes?
Yes – thank you so much!! Honestly, this fanfiction is one of my favorite parts about life right now. I love the relationship I have with my readers, and I love hearing their reactions to each chapter. I only got into Avatar this past November so I'm very new, but the fanbase has been so wonderful and loving (except for the crazy shippers). I just want to say that whether you review or not, I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my crazy story, and I hope you continue to enjoy it! Thanks, Fruipit ;) Mwah! Pegs
So, there you have it! One of my longer interviews, this story holds a special place in my heart if only because of the angsty, depressing Tokka feels. If you guys do get over to FFN and take a look at the story, leave a review saying what you think. Don't forget to tell her I sent you!
*/** NB: Since this interview, several chapters have been released, explaining the Tsungi Horn escapade, and we do see Katara working at the tea shop again.
What's your take on fanon illustrations?
I think they're wonderful and can really bring more life to a fanon, especially if the story's already good.
Well...as long as the illustrations can match the writing quality and do it justice. Or maybe the other way around.
Psh, illustrations are what bring the zing to the fanon bling! Pretty pictures, gimme more! Text alone is boring.
The image in my head of the characters is always better! Same reason why live-action always fall short.
Does your fanon's protagonist have a love interest?
Of course! Don't you know that *all* heroes have love interests? It's practically a rite of passage.
Yes...but I really think s/he deserves that love interest. I wouldn't put it in there just to have romance.
Nope. My hero's a lone wolf, and will continue to be so until s/he dies. Because s/h'es just cool like that.
Uh, I don't exactly write these "fanons" you speak of. But wait, I can write love! Roses are red, violets are blue...
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