|| 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:
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.
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.
"Give in already!"
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.
|| The Meaning Behind the Words|
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:
- Weakness and need
- 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.
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.