Fic: Damaged Goods

Title: Damaged Goods
Author: bickazer 
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Word Count: 967
Characters: Fem!Zuko, Iroh
Rating: T
Warnings: Gender bending, buckets of angst, sexual references
Summary: Iroh watches his niece touch her scar, and wonders what she is thinking.
Author's Note:  This is the first Avatar fic I've ever written and felt confident enough to show others.  I've been a fan ever since the show first aired, but this is my first time participating in fandom, so I'm a little nervous.  Especially since this is, well, a genderbend fic.  Then again, much as I love Zuko as he is in the canon, I somehow believe he'd be 150 percent more awesome if he were a girl.  Because I'm weird like that.

Also, this is my first time writing Iroh, and it took me forever to get him right.  Even now I'm not all that satisfied with my portrayal of him, so of course I made him the viewpoint character.  What was I thinking?
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Fanfiction and Respect

 Well, let's see if I can do this again.  The sad thing is I almost finished writing the post before lj ate it.

For the past two weeks, I have been trying to write an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic. Makes sense, right? I love the show, I love the characters, the plot, I love everything about it. When I love something, I want to write for it. I want to write all sorts of insane, cracky, fun, bizarre adventures; I want to pour my heart out on the page and have myself a jolly good time and remind myself why I love the show so much in the first place.

But I just can't do it. Every time I write a few lines, I stare at them, decide 'the characters would never act this way!' or 'bleh I'm getting worldbuilding details wrong!' and I erase the whole thing in one fell swoop.

Needless to say, this is distressing me a lot. Have I lost my fire for writing fanfiction? I have been turning out a lot more original writing as of late - maybe I've just outgrown fanfiction. But that can't be it because I'm still (on the side) writing cracky Kingdom Hearts and Stargate Atlantis AU's. So why can't I do the same thing for Avatar?

I've done some thinking, and here's what I've realized: it's because I respect the canon too much.

Of course I respect it! Who wouldn't? It's a well-written adventure of a show with great visuals and top-notch characterization. Unfortunately, this doesn't leave a lot of room for the fanfic writer...or at least one like me, anyway. You see, I realize now I have a lot easier a time writing for media in which I do not respect the source material. I don't respect Kingdom Hearts or Stargate Atlantis, so I can write every character as an OOC slutbunny and come up with bizarre ships and create nonsensical AU's and I feel none of the embarrassment that I do about writing fic for something like, say, Avatar or Revolutionary Girl Utena. Don't get me wrong, I love KH and Atlantis, always have and always will, but love is not the same as respect. I love them in spite or even because of their flaws, not because they're engaging stories with stellar characterization.

And because they have shitty storylines and plot holes big enough to drive a semi through and thinly sketched archetypes instead of characters, I can go insane writing fanfic. The possibilities are endless and limitless. I'm free to have the characters interact as they never would in canon, I'm free to give them backstories, I'm free to fanwank elaborate explanations behind plot holes. If I don't like the canon worldbuilding or find it restrictive, I just toss it away and invent my own AU and put the characters in bizarre roles. And I don't care.

You could argue I'm being unfair to the canons - and anyway, how can I possibly judge whether a work is worthy of respect or not?'s pretty easy to tell when the creators put a lot of effort and love into a story. It shows up in excellent design, tight writing and plotting, and above all realistic, convincing characterization. Can someone really argue that Nomura cares more about Kingdom Hearts than Mike and Bryan do about Avatar? And there is plenty of evidence out there that Mallozzi and his bunch didn't give two shits about Atlantis, if anything actively hated it near the end - whereas there's evidence that Ikuhara was deeply committed to and invested in Utena. Can anyone but the most stalwart fan insist that Zexion and Demyx, and Rodney and Sheppard, are really better-written characters than Aang and Zuko, Utena and Anthy?

Once again, I'm not denigrating certain works; of course I love them, I love them to pieces, but I recognzie they aren't works of genius and it's precisely because they aren't works of genius that I'm able to write fanfiction for them! I never feel like I'm ruining the characters, or that my efforts won't add anything to the canon - if anything, make it worse. There's no room to explore if the canon is already pretty much perfect. What can I add that the creators haven't said already, and better? And if I throw away the canon worldbuilding to set the story in an AU...well, it feels like I'm telling the creators 'your original world and story aren't good enough.'

Yes, I know it's a bizarre hang-up and I really should get over it. It's not like Mike and Bryan will ever find my melodramatic steampunk Jetko AU or something, and even if they do, I'm sure they'll see plenty worse. As evidenced by the size of the fandom, plenty of other people don't have the same problems and happily write Avatar yaoi, Avatar Mary Sues, Avatar AU's, Avatar shipfics. Why can't I? What can I do to break this mental block?

Because I want to write Avatar fanfiction. I want to go insane with crack and pairings and melodrama and angst. I want to have fun in this fandom, and it sucks that ultimately, my respect for the source material is preventing me.

Writers block

 I hate not being able to write.  Hate it hate it hate it.

I've been in an extended writers block for several days, and it's pissing me off.  Worse I know exactly what's blocking me - the prospect of having to write a really long and involved action scene.  This is a scene I wanted to write for a really long time (plus once I'm done with this arc I will finally move into the most interesting arc in the story), so it's really really annoying that I am absolutely unable to churn it out.  Maybe that's exactly why I'm unable to write it, because I've built up such high expectations surrounding it.

I wonder how I was ever able to complete that novel that summer, since its final third was nothing but action scenes.



So, character profile stuff.  The stuff that'll actually make this different from the millions of vampire stories out there.  Sheez, why do I bother pursuing something so cliched?  Ah well, follow your dreams and so on.

LJ CUT OF DOOM!  Cuz this is long.  Ignore any formatting issues because I still have yet to get the hang of this lj cutting business.

Collapse )Holee, what a load of nonsense.  Oh well, enjoy it anyhow.  Maybe someday I'll actually get around to writing this.  But first I must finish my math homework.


For those of you on, you know of my Kingdom Hearts vampire story Tainted but Beautiful.  For you wonderful NYC girls and everyone else, don't read it because its plot is nonsensical and there's oodles of sex and violence.  OLD SHAME.

I do like the world I've created, so for that reason I've been thinking of coopting it into a real original story with a real plot and everything, not the nonsensical rambling that the story actually is.  Currently all it is is a file of vague plans and character descriptions, and two "maybe scenario" short stories.  Which I'll post later.  Right now is the vague plan and character description time.

So.  We have a world, which is a kindof darker, more noir-ish, version of our own.  The main setting is a big gothic city, NYC or Chicago or some random fictional city.  So basically it's Gotham City, but there is no "goddamn Batman" (what a sin, you should be shot, Frank Miller). There are lots of vampires and werewolves, though, which exist side-by-side with humans and are humans' natural predators.  Vampires will be the main focus.

Vampires are feared, and rightly so.  Most of the ones who humans most often come in contact with are made vampires, savage and mindless brutes.  The leaders of vampiric society, however, are purebloods--sentient, beautiful vampires who are born as vampires.  They're rarer than made vamps because it's very rare for two vampires to conceive a child.  Gee, this is all old hat to anyone whos' read the fic (which you shouldn't do).  Since they don't let ordinary humans see them, purebloods are a very mysterious force, and subject to lots of inaccurate pop fiction depictions (more on this later, it's important).  All vampires aggregate in covens (what is Twilight?  Never heard of it!); they used to be organized in families, but during the Enlightenment era covens affiliated by region and ideals and liberty-fraternity-equality, not blood, took over.  French Revolution stuff, oh boy.  There's a reason my avatar is Napoleon, and that's not just 'cause Napoleon is one badass mofo.

As long as their have been vampires, there have been vampire slayers devoted to killing them.  All slayers (except those affiliated with the Catholic Church...) belong to a worldwide Slayer Society with regional chapters and stuff.  I can't decide if it works more like a nonprofit group/club, or a corporation.  Most slayers are "human slayers," ordinary people who've trained in weapons and spells and stuff.  The mainpower is held by the slayer families, who are also the only slayers technically allowed to slay purebloods.  The slayer families augment their children with the blood of extinct magical crfeatures (dragons, fairies, unicorns, and the like).  This, however, is kept a closely guarded secret.  Notice parallels between vampiric and slayer society?  It's intentional!

Vampires, even among purebloods, are highly stratified.  At the top are the powerful coven leaders, some of whom can even withstand direct sunlight.  The lower echelons of the ierarchy are filled with warriors, scholars, guards, mages, trackers, and the lowest ranks, incubi and succubi (the nightmare demons).  Screw accuracy to folklore.  It's my mythology so I'll do whatever I want to it!  All vampires (well, purebloods at least) have enhanced speed, strength, reflexes and can summon familiars, and have powers unique to their stations (magic for mages, draining vital energy for the nightmare demons).  They are weak to silver and sunlight and having their "true names" revealed, which has nothing to do with Earthsea or the Bartimaeus Trilogy.

This is getting rather long andI don't feel like lj cutting so characters go in another entry.

So yeah.  The crud that comes out of my mind.  It's probably exactly like every other vampire story out there.  Sigh


I got deferred by Yale.

For some reason, I think that's even worse than outright rejecting me. The suspense, it kills...
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Sunwhale Summer

I come bringing a little short story, barely over 1K words long, that I wrote up while working on my NaNo to regain my lost inspiration. It's not perfect, nor even that great, but for some reason I'm quite fond of it. It's the first time I've ever written interactions between these two characters, and the first time I've actually written a story set in this world. I've had this world (called "The Golden Lands") in my mind for some time, but the most I've done is jot down a few worldbuilding details.

The unique thing about The Golden Lands, I suppose, is that I don't have a huge epic grand story plotted for it--I mostly use it as a setting for exploring different characters and their personal situations. Which means I probably won't consider any story I write for it for publication.

One last note is that there is a male/male relationship in this short, though it's completely innocuous and you can pretend it's friendship if you want.

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I'm well aware that the prose isn't the best; I dare venture that it sucks, but this was written late at night while I was frustrated enough to want to bang my head against my keyboard due to writers' block in the middle of NaNoWriMo. Which explains a good deal.

This isn't meant to be a masterpiece of masterful prose; it's meant to explore two characters and some elements of a world. I mainly want critique on the worldbuilding and the characterizations, especially on whether it makes sense or not.

I might write more featuring these two, I might not. Currently my NaNo and another project (on my fictionpress) are absorbing most of my attention.


I effin' hate life. To get writer's block at 47K into my NaNo? What is wrong with the world?

3K words cannot be this hard to write!

*bashes keyboard*
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The Child Intended

This is essentially the premise for an idea I've been throwing around in my mind for upwards of two years already. I've planned it mostly as a TV show (yeah, I can dream that one day I'll be successfull enough to be a showrunner like Ronald D. Moore!), but if that fails, then I can see it maybe as a graphic novel limited series. But nothing else, really.

The story is pretty much based on the idea of "fantasy vs. science fiction", and quite literally too, in the warring nations of Gelda and Generati. But it goes much deeper than that, and dare I say, becomes much weirder to boot.

The Child Intended
Arthur Stars owns a small independent bookstore in Los Angeles, that sells mainly fantasy novels. He lives with his girlfriend Mandy Phillips, and though is always struggling to make ends meet, he leads a fairly happy life--he is, after all, doing what he loves. One day, Arthur watches a news special about poor orphans in Vietnam--and gets it in his head to adopt the poor orphan featured prominently in the special: eight-year-old "Vivian." Over Mandy's protests, Arthur ends up adopting Vivian, and comes to love her very much. Mandy, however, is disturbed by Vivian. The girl acts just a little too...mature...for being so young, and there are times when Mandy swears Vivian's eyes mysteriously flash crystal blue. Not to mention Vivian seems inordinately interested in a few musty books that Arthur's long kept tucked in the corner of his bookstore--which strikes Mandy as odd, because they're written in a language that as far as she and Arthur know, doesn't exist in the world.

Everything comes to a head one day when Arthur and Mandy get in an argument about Vivian--Vivian shows up, and thanks Arthur for "giving me the knowledge I need", confusing both Arthur and Mandy. Her eyes flash blue--and a brilliant white light builds up around her. Arthur realizes she's disappearing, and without thinking leaps up and tries to grab her. Mandy tries pulling Arthur back before he disappears too, and Vivian tries shaking them both off, simple telling Arthur, "goodbye." Both Arthur and Mandy, however, don't end up back in the bookstore--instead they find themselves in an expansive field in a strange land they've never been to before. The two become even more disoriented when a band of soldiers rides toward them, shouting something about a "downed Generati ship". Arthur and Mandy are only saved from the stampede when a boy, garbed in a peasant hunter manner, grabs them and drags them into the forest.

This boy is Simon Dejourney, an upbeat sixteen-year-old, who happily informs Arthur and Mandy that they are in the Nevarin Forest in the Lenly Province of the planet Silvaria, of the Nation of Gelda. In Simon's world, apparently, there are two nations--the technologically advanced spacefaring Generati, and the planetbound magic-practicing Gelda--that have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. Arthur and Mandy are flummoxed, and Simon becomes shocked himself when they inform him where they came from. He realizes they must be from another universe he calls "Eden," and takes them to his wise old grandmother. Simon's grandmother tells Arthur and Mandy about the "Child Intended"--a child rumored either to bring order to the universe, or destroy them. Arthur is shocked and infuriated to discover this: in his eyes, Vivian is still his daughter first and foremost. She then gives him a mysterious, iridiscent white stone which she calls the "Intention Stone"--it grants the bearer to the power to, if he truly, with all his heart and with not a single fleck of doubt, wills for something to happen, it will happen. Arthur demonstrates this ability when, under the grandmother's direction, he summons an entire forest, astonishing both him and Mandy.

"Why did you give it me?" he asks.

"You have that look to you," the grandmother says cryptically. "And you're searching for the Child Intended, aren't you?"

And so Arthur and Mandy find themselves irrevocably a part of this world, as participants in a quest that even they don't fully understand. Vivian eventually reappears across the universe, using her ability to instantly move from point to point, now blue-eyed and calling herself "Via, the Child Intended." Both Gelda and Generati become obsessed with hunting her--and soon the Nations turn on Arthur and Mandy as well, the Edenites connected to the Child Intended. Pursued on all sides, desperately searching for Via, the two find themselves caught in a mystery that permeates the very fabric of the universe--a mystery that may, for Arthur, hit closer to home than he could ever suspect...

The next post, I believe, will be the backstory (which is revealed piecemeal throughout the story itself). It'll contain spoilers like all hell, but I suppose it doesn't matter since all this is subject to change anyhow.