Author Topic: Help Me With My Story Stuff, Please  (Read 2696 times)

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  • 157% Piandaoist
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on: November 21, 2016, 02:01:49 AM
    So, I started writing this story...  Never got passed the first chapter (Loopy's read my first draft).  But I was having trouble writing it, so I decided to create a sort of guide for it to help me stay on task.  I think the best way to flesh out my ideas is to post the guide and get feedback from people.  Feel free to leave criticism, comments, and ask questions.


Narrative Objectives:

This is a story about building a better system, and putting characters in place to facilitate the kind of change that takes the Fire Nation from war to peace.

Outlining the Stakes:

The Fire Nation’s greatest enemy may very well be its own internal strife.  Everyone agrees that the Fire Nation can’t fight a war on two fronts: Sozin’s war and a civil war.  The possibility of a civil war weighs heavily on the minds of the powerful elite as some of them work to maintain civil order/the status quo while pushing their own agendas.

Meanwhile, mysterious events are taking place in the Motherland.  Is this the long-foretold “Golden Age” that Sozin promised when he started his “Great March of Civilization”?  Or is this the beginning of a spiritual reckoning so great that not even the Avatar can help them?

Zuko’s obstacles:

While Zuko struggles to find balance in his life, he also struggles to find balance for his people.  Zuko’s personal struggles run parallel to the struggles his people face as he leads them down a new path toward peace and continued prosperity.

Outlining the Objectives for Zuko and his allies:
--Prevent a civil war.
--Achieve some of the goals set forth in Sozin’s great march while ushering in a new “era of peace”.
--Convince his people that the URN is a better alternative for the Fire Nation than the colonies could ever be.
--Convince the people that there are lasting benefits to entering into diplomatic and trade relations with their enemies.
--Create social stability and unity.
Prove to his people at the Avatar is both an ally and a vital asset to them, not their enemy. [/li][/list]

Specific Narrative Goals:
Secure Zuko’s reign – At the end of the story, there should be no doubt that Zuko can take care of the Fire Nation’s business and bring his people into an era of “peace and kindness”.

Neutralize Ozai as a threat – I don’t see Ozai as that much of a threat, but he should be addressed.

Neutralize Azula as a threat—because she is one!

Explore the post-war world – Fire Nation rolling over from a wartime society to a peacetime society, the Earth Kingdom as the Wild East (a relatively lawless place where anything goes), etc.…

Introduce the founding of the URN – Because that’s what happened to the colonies.

Something with Azula and Piandao (not shipping related) – Because why not?

Explore spiritual happenings – They will be critical to the story.

Story Elements:
--Family Dynamics

These elements are the fundamental building blocks of A:TLA’s narrative.  I use them as a guidepost to develop my own story ideas.


Profiles for Original Characters:

General Guiying Luang Fu
•   Age: 80
•   5 Flame General (highest rank possible)
•   Sifu (trains her own people)
•   Firebending Master
•   Marksperson / Archer
•   Head of the Police service (tied into the military/domestic forces)
•   Member of the 3rd Noble House

Guiying is a stubborn, head-strong, serious-minded woman who has spent her entire adult life serving in the domestic forces as both a police officer and a domestic general who works tirelessly to protect the Fire Nation from possible enemy invasions and insurgencies while attempting to maintain civil order.

She is a deeply spiritual woman who believes in the resurrection of the Phoenix and the return of the Golden Age of Enlightenment.

Guiying is motivated by her own sense of justice and lives by her own moral code.  She can be difficult and contrary, and has frequently budded heads with the Firelord.

Commander Soong-yow
•   Age: 41
•   Firebending Master
•   Marksperson
•   Former Fire Nation soldier
•   Armory Officer / Weapons Specialist

   Once Soong-yow served as a Commander in the Navy as part of an elite search and rescue / assault unit under Admiral Chan.  Injured in the line of duty during a rescue attempt, he was forced into retirement at the early age of 34.

He has since found a calling in the domestic forces, working to train young recruits in the use of many different types of weapons.  His experience working in small teams has also given him an ability to work well within small groups to carry out investigations and, if necessary, conduct covert operations.

Like many men who return home after years of being deployed overseas, Soong-yow—simply referred to by his friends as “Yow”—had trouble leaving the war behind.  One of his duties under General Guiying is to help other veterans under her command to acclimate to civilian life, providing support and consoling when needed.

Madam Zhang
•   Age: 116
•   Fire Nation Elder (older than 100)
•   Head of the 2nd Noble House (2nd Matriarch)
•   Firebending Master

Zhang is a rowdy lady who likes partying, public intoxication, farming her own “dope”, smoking, and showing up just to keep people on their toes.  She’s sassy, crude, and playful, but she can also become an incredibly dangerous person if she’s pushed too far.

Zhang is eccentric and unconventional, to the dismay of many in the noble class.  She refuses to force members of her clan to enter into arranged marriages, finding the practice archaic.  Her outlandish behaviors and unpopular ideas alienated most whom interact with her, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Her greatest offense to many is being an outspoken critic of the ongoing war.  There are others who share her views, but are too afraid to speak them aloud.

However, one should not confuse her criticisms for The Firelord’s War with pacifism.  She is a well-trained Firebending prodigy with unique abilities who has spent years building a private army to defend her interests.

Members of her family are bounty hunters, private security consultants to people who have “interests” to protect, and mercenaries who, for a fee, have worked as private contractors for certain military persons (like Piandao).  Her fierce reputation for brutality and her large clan of well-trained warriors makes it nearly impossible to depose her.  Azulon tried but failed, twice.

Lady Rin Ci
•   Age: 43
•   Head of the 5th Noble House (5th Matriarch)
•   Non-bender
•   Well-educated
•   A Philanthropist
•   Loves kids

Rin is a “proper lady” of the nobility who puts a great deal of emphasis on diplomacy and networking for the sake of promoting her personal agendas.  She has very little training in the martial arts and finds talking a more agreeable alternative for problem-solving.

Rin is highly regarded among many nobles both because her grandmother was an Elder who carried a great deal of influence, and because Rin is seen as friendly and warm.  But don’t confuse her “friendliness” with kindness.  Rin is only loyal to a small group of people, and she has committed acts of non-violent cruelty against members of her own family.

Rin is the Head of the 5th Noble House, a position she inherited from her grandmother—a position many in her family feel belongs to someone who is older, wiser, and preferably someone who doesn’t poor all of their family’s wealth into various charitable causes.  Because many in her family have been outspoken critics of her handling of their family business, she avoids most of them, living discretely in a secluded place in the Fire Nation simply called “The Preserve” where she pours all of her energy into her various philanthropic endeavors and business ventures.

Mika Ci
•   Age: 17
•   Nephew of Rin Ci
•   Non-bender

Mika has an interest in medicine and is an accomplished nurse who has trained under both doctors and veterinarians because he loves treating animals as well as people.  However, he’s not a serious-minded student of academic study and often does just what he needs to do to get by in his studies.

Mika is a member of the 5th House and, like many wealthy teens his age, he leads a privileged and sheltered life where he has access to personal wealth, a top-shelf education, and travel opportunities.

Mika is laid-back and carefree but, if pushed too far, will become impulsive and reactionary.  Like many young people, Mika feels an almost constant need to rebel against most authority figures.

Mika’s best friend is a girl who lives on the Preserve named Lensing.  Unlike, him, she was born into poverty and is frequently charged with giving Mika “perspective checks” so he doesn’t make a complete ass of himself in front of her family.

•   Age: 17
•   Firebender
•   Farmer

Lensing is the daughter of poor farmers who live in one of three villages within the Preserve.  She is proud, intelligent, angry, outspoken, defiant, and self-righteous.  Like many poor people in the Fire Nation (reference: The Painted Lady), the people of her village have been marginalized by authority figures and this has made her mistrustful of authority figures.

Captain Ling
•   Age: 36
•   Firebender
•   Hand-to-hand Combat Specialist
•   Captain in the Fire Nation Army’s 37th Battalion

Conscripted to fight in the war at the age of sixteen, Ling is a loyal soldier who has served with honor and distinction.  But he has also seen the ugliness of war and has lost many of his friends in battle.  If the circumstances were favorable, he would be open to a peacetime solution if it meant bringing everyone home and putting an end to the horror.

Commander Fon-Ji
•   Age: 35
•   Earthbending Master
•   Dai Li Agent

Fon-Ji was a street kid who was recruited into the Dai Li at the age of twelve with the promise of a better life.  He was handpicked by Long Feng because of his eagerness to please authority figures.  After he had saved Long Feng’s life, he was groomed to be his successor.  Now he works for Azula.

•   Age: 73
•   Firebending Master
•   Fire Sage
•   Confidant to Ozai

Like the other sages, Shen-Rai had been loyal to previous Firelords, mostly out of fear and frustration when they thought the Avatar Cycle had been broken.  However, Shen-Rei is old enough to be Ozai’s father, and he has known Ozai since he was a small child.  He has developed a fondness for Ozai that inspires his loyalty.

Shen-Rai heads the Sage Council, a collection of all the sages in the Fire Nation who are called upon to handle unique spiritual matters that, in the distant past, would have been handled by the Avatar.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 02:03:56 AM by SC »


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Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 06:28:41 PM
Your objectives make this sound like it will be a fairly long and epic story, but most (all?) of your OC's are from the Fire Nation. Do you have plans to set any of the plot in the ex-colonies?


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Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 08:05:49 PM
Your objectives make this sound like it will be a fairly long and epic story, but most (all?) of your OC's are from the Fire Nation. Do you have plans to set any of the plot in the ex-colonies?

Yes, because, even though I haven't listed them, I'll still be writing stories about the ATLA mains.  And, at some point, Zuko will have to directly address the issues of the colonies.

I had a specific story planned out where he and Aang try to unify the colonies into a cohesive proto-nation only to find out that some of them still want to be a part of the Fire Nation while others want to do their own thing (like independent states). Some of the cultural difference between colonies are pretty jarring--different local traditions, different holidays, etc...

I also have a specific story planned involving colonies that are openly trading with nearby EK villages in remote places along the EK / FN border.  The FN have left some of the colonies to their own devices as long as the taxes kept rolling in, and the EK's so poorly run that people in remote areas have had to fend for themselves.  In some cases, FN and EK people are sustaining each other through trade.  They've even created their own bartering systems since their national currencies aren't accepted across national borders.

But mostly, it will be Fire Nation-centric.