People, I included, are always complaining about how inactive and dead the fanon portal is these days. Well, it's sort of still is. And sort of not. The fanonical side of the wiki has really been coming along recently. Now with no new Korra info streaming in and trolls spamming Makorra comments after the finale, the community seems to have drifted towards fanon - which is a good thing, for us fanon folks. So part of me wants to congratulate everyone for getting into this side of the site and starting writing stories. We're getting more than we can imagine, oh, and it seems like fanonbending is the new fad these days also. Business is just booming around here lately.
And then, parts of fanon portal still are very much dead. Dead as a doornail, whatever that means. I feel like the guy who just figured out global warming is actually real. The fanon portal is really, truly, inactive, in some areas. Lets look at Featured Fanon and Featured Article voting - that's a big thing, and it used to be buzzing with activity. I think up until the second to last day of July, there wasn't even a single Featured Article nomination all last month. So yeah, that's one thing, go vote for this month.
So yeah, I see a lot more fanons being made, but a lot less fanon activities being contributed too. I really hope we have a good voting turnout for the 4th Fanon Awards, which, as a member of the Fanon Awards Council, is well on it's way. The final ties for council nominations are currently being broken, so the event will officially open and community nominations will begin shortly. There are a lot of variety in the selections we've made - lesser known fanons, popular fanons, new and old alike, so we should be attracting pretty much everyone to participate. Please, check in often, activity should start up in the next week.
Now, this is either a great way to show how dead the portal is these days, or it's a blatant insult to my system, but no one even participated in the Template:F's Promotion Contest in the past two weeks. So if anyone actually wanted to know who won the drawing for the contest this time around, there is no winner because no one even played! If you want to enter to win an exclusive userbox, recognition in the next Ba Sing Se Times, and your name in The Fanon Advertisement System page forever, please just read the current Fanon Promotion and post one or two sentences about what you thought here.
And that brings me to my next topic, this week's Fanon Promotion - Template:F! It's actually a fanon that I help Suzon write, and it's pretty good so far, (we've only got one chapter out) if I do say so myself. It tells the story of an earthbending master named Toka, who is supposed to teach Avatar Yangchen her earthbending. However, he is extremely cocky and conceited, so his veteran teacher, Lee, destroys Toka's legs in hopes to teach him a lesson about his arrogance. Now, Toka has to adapt to his new body and learn modesty and bravery to defeat a rising clan of evil deformed benders, The Lifebenders, who threaten to disrupt the balance of the world forever. Read the first chapter, write a sentence or two about what you thought, and then get put in the aforementioned drawing. It's a good deal, I'm telling you.
And that pretty much wraps up my fanon portal recap of the past couple weeks. What more can I say? Template:F may or may not begin soon, with Omar's final block in all. Readers of my fanon, expect The Final Seminar to still not come out for a bit longer, I've been very busy and might have only five or six paragraphs written so far. It's going to a pretty lengthy and action-packed chapter as far as the "seminar chapters" usually go, so be prepared for a long wait but a good piece of Rhythm.
That's all, folks. BlackMonkey, signing out.
Bending was always a tool for mankind.
Now, mankind is a tool for bending.
"Template:F", chapter four: "The Second Round"
Here we go with round two! The Winged Lemurs are frustrated about round one, and oh, does it show! Halak goes right at Kuska and blasts her back to the edge of the zone! He wants revenge on her for the round one knockout! Meanwhile, the captains are going at it. This is an interesting strategy to see fire versus earth on two fronts at the moment, and bang! A big fire blast from Shao Fung and Sagashi is back in zone two!
The buzzer rang out and Sagashi was left frustrated. He had failed on his own strategy in a matter of a few short seconds.
The Sloths' earthbender tries to pick himself back up, feeling the heat as Shao Fung bears down on him! With the first fifteen seconds gone, right now, it is currently all Winged Lemurs in an apparent repeat of how the first round began! The question is, can they hold up this time after the Aardvark Sloths bounced back last round?
Now is Kuska trying to fight back, but she does not look good right now! Halak's attacks really seem to be putting the strain to her. She is not the same girl who ended round one with a last-second knockout to propel her team, and oh my goodness, Halak drives her into the corner and she is down! Kuska struggles to her feet though, and keeps fighting! Never quitting, what else would you expect from a student of Master Katara?
Well, assuming Mr. Tao is still here, he would be disappointed in the Aardvark Sloths. They are not doing the job he said they needed to do! Right now, it is all Winged Lemurs! Miaka steps up and he hits Sagashi now! The Sloths' captain is now teetering on the edge of zone three, can he survive? Shao Fung drives back at Gitsu and throws him back a zone!
With another buzzer, Gitsu, whom had fallen to the ground from the blast, got up in frustration and quickly gathered up another fire blast.
Thirty seconds gone. Gitsu is set, and wow! A huge fire blast right near Shao Fung's face! Very close to a dangerous shot, but Mantia does not call a foul! Shao Fung looks like he's trying to sell it with his hands to his face, but no dice. Now the Lemurs' captain better watch himself, because Gitsu looks angrier than an untamed dragon! He fires a huge blast again, but this time Shao Fung dodges!
Meanwhile, Halak and Kuska are still brawling with water, as it looks like we are back to direct element-on-element duels! Kuska looks a bit spent at the moment; perhaps exacerbating a bit too much effort at the end of round one, or maybe her nerves are holding her waterbending skills back. Nevertheless; she'd better get it going or she will be in zone three!
Hey fanon portal! Minnichi's signing in for another review, in hopes that it'll distract her from all the back-to-school commercials slowly haunting her TV. Time goes by too fast! But I'm thrilled to see more activity in the fanon portal these days, and that intimidating review schedule of mine only makes me happier. Today I offer my commentary on The Lifebenders by BlackMonkey and Suzon, a fanon still in its beginning stages but that also shows endless potential already.
The Lifebenders is BlackMonkey and Suzon's upcoming fanon. It tells the story of an earthbending master named Toka. He is supposed to teach Avatar Yangchen how to Earthbend. However, he is extremely cocky and arrogant, so Lee decides to teach him a lesson. He destroys Toka's legs in hopes he will now realize he is not the best. Now, Toka has to adapt to being handicapped.
Toka is quite an interesting fellow - and wildly talented! His arrogance has no end, but the writers display it in such a fun and humorous way that you've still gotta love him in the end. Gee, thanks for only letting me read one chapter about him, guys. Update, I say!
| Click to see the scores!
- Plot - 8.0: Only one chapter is released at the moment, which hinders the amount of information that can be provided. I don't know too much about the story, and the majority of what I do know comes from the summary on the fanon's main page. Something like this is still not enough for me to consider a deduction, though; the main flaw I want to point out here is that there were many opportunities I saw for the writers to hint at a central plot, most of which weren't taken. This made the story unclear to me until the very end of the chapter, in which I realized Toka had just gotten his legs broken - and even that assumption relied solely on the fanon summary. There are still many events to come, but I believe that that Lee's plans to teach Toka a lesson could have been hinted at before it actually happened; his actions are kind of abrupt the way things are now. It's important to provide these intermediate events so that the story is more obvious to the reader and flows better.
- Organization - 8.8: Based on the one released chapter, things seem pretty well-organized, and I can see where things will probably go. Like I said earlier, though, the only unclear aspect was the violence at the end of the chapter. Aside from hindering the plot, this sudden change appears slightly random at the moment. In the grand scheme of events, this is the only one that seems to have been rushed, and that's where my deduction comes from. A little extra effort to work it into the chapter more smoothly would do great for the fanon, and I think that's pretty much all I have to say here. Nicely done!
- Creativity – 8.0: I'm sure there are thousands of creative ideas that the writers are planning to release to us later, but based on the first chapter I only see a limited amount of originality. The idea of a talented individual learning his lesson the hard way is common...though breaking his legs was definitely something I didn't see coming! There are many creative methods to go about an unoriginal idea, as we can see here, and I believe the writers are well on their way. I'm just waiting to hear a little more of the story.
- Writing – 8.3 (x3): There are hardly any grammar mistakes here, and the descriptions are very nice and easy to picture. I see room for improvement in the dialogue, though, and this greatly affects the fanon overall since the first chapter is mostly made up of conversations. It's not that there's anything missing in the dialogue description, but I just think the way things are worded are somewhat simple at the moment - particularly when it comes to emotions. We're told what each speaker feels either through their tone or through their face, but it's usually expressed by a plain statement that stops us from really connecting to conversation. It's good, but it could dig deeper is what I'm saying. Rather than describing to a reader that someone's anger is spreading over their face, for example, think about how it actually feels...and tell us that instead. Anger can be expressed in many ways, whether a character's face starts boiling red and is ready to explode, whether he speaks in a low voice with an ominous gleam in his eyes, or whether he looks like he's straining to keep himself from unleashing the entire dictionary of curse words. It's crucial to let us in on these details, or we won't feel any of the emotions being described. This actually leads back to my "naming" theory of deduction, which usually only applies to action and the usage of "he (insert element)bended," but in this case it applies to emotion. Don't stop by just telling us that someone's angry or sad, show it! The dialogue is still great and in-depth at the moment, but that last element is what'll bring it to life.
- Character Development - 8.0 (x2) The first chapter would've had a huge deduction for character development, since it's too early and none of the characters have developed at all...but the hints are so strong that I just can't do it! The fanon summary itself couldn't state more clearly that Toka's going to learn how to stop his arrogant ways, and practically everyone who speaks to him in the first chapter is pointing out his need to get over himself. It's going to happen. BUT...I still must deduct here somewhat because I don't hear too much about Toka's inner feelings. All we know is that (of course) he's really conceited, but what's his take on it? Does he feel any doubt at all, or does he feel like he has the right to be proud and show it because of his accomplishments? Does he hide any remorse when he insults his teacher, and how much does he truly care for those fangirls? His personality is shown mainly through his dialogue, and I just need to see if there's a "true self" somewhere in there. Perhaps it's exactly the same, but it should be indicated nonetheless. Also, Lee's feelings about his arrogance that lead up to the leg-breaking should definitely be elaborated on as well to reduce the randomness that occurs at the end. Still...something about Toka's fun-loving, charmingly obnoxious character draws me to him, and I must hear more!
- Action - 8.6: There wasn't too much action yet, considering that it's only the first chapter, but what I saw so far was pretty high quality. Even Toka's conceited description of his feats had pretty clear visuals. However, I think there's a slight lack of description on movement. We're told what is done and how it's done (such as turning a rock into sand, making it cut into someone's skin, etc.) but what the body's going through is still unclear. It's just as important to show the movements of bending as it is to describe the element being bent (e.g. when "sending a rock," there's a big difference between hurling it through the air with both arms and kicking it across the ground with a foot). This is just a little detail I'd like to see more of, but the action is well-done nonetheless.
- Believability – 9.3: Everything I've read so far is pretty believable. Realisitic towns, realistic characters, realistic conflicts...not much to talk about here. The only thing I might mention is that Toka could use some more backstory of how he's so talented. Right now his domination of other Earthbenders makes him sound a tad bit more godly than human!
Overall Score: 8.36
My advice for BlackMonkey and Suzon: Dig into your dialogue, and I'll pretty much have nothing else to complain about. Your fanon will continue on to become a glorious tale, no doubt, and I can't wait to see things get moving!
Who should read The Lifebenders? Anyone who appreciates a good fight will get a lot out of this one, and I can see us all enjoying the intense journey that our lovable protagonist will soon face. It's the work of two great authors at their finest, and you won't want to miss out!