How Did I Get Here? - Part II

Catch up on Part I of How Did I Get Here?

-A Shot in the Dark-

Eragon wasn’t the only thing that guided me to where I am now.  There was another creative series that by happenstance had another big impact on me.

It was only by chance that I got into it.  It was February 21, 2005 around 7pm, the time of night when my parents had usually sworn off watching cartoons on our single TV and started watching boring HGTV stuff.  But that night, there wasn’t anything particular they wanted to watch.  And me neither, to be frank.  But as I was scrolling through my cartoon channels on this rare night I had control of the TV, I came upon a new show I’d heard advertised before that I thought looked kind of stupid.  But there was nothing else good on, so I tuned in, and fell in love. 

The show was Avatar: the Last Airbender.  It swept me up in its rich universe full of conflict and hope.  From that day on, I was irrevocably hooked on the magical world of Avatar.  To this day I’ve never loved another series as much as I loved this one.  Everything from the art to the lore to the characters was beautiful and inspiring. 

-Putting the Words Together-

Early on in the series, I longed for people to connect with who loved it as much as I did to discuss how amazing it was.  So I browsed the internet and found a small forum called  This was the forum I discussed before where I discovered a love for role playing.  I made friends there that I’m still friends with today.  Some of my best memories were nerding out in the middle of the night weaving epic stories with people I called friends.  We role played our favorite book or movie universes but also sometimes branched out into unique concepts with original characters.  I wrote a little Avatar fanfiction during that time, particularly a little series I called “What If” where I took ideas like “What if Katara left the North Pole with Aang from the beginning?” and explored the concept for a while until I found a way to bring it back to the canon story.  Some of us picked up from the end of Book 2 and role played how we thought the series would go, and it ended up getting pretty wicked with the sudden appearance of light- and shadowbenders.  Our Aang died shortly after defeating Ozai and a waterbender much like the future stubborn Korra rose up to take his place.  Ah, good times.  All five of you that get the doorbender inside joke, raise your hands! 

I didn’t dabble too much into fanfiction, and haven’t much since.  As fun as it is, I have that desire to own and publish what I do, and when your idea is based on someone else’s, that can be a problem, so I would rather put forth effort in something I can say is mine.  But the role playing and fan fiction, I believe, helped me develop my writing skills.  I had to stay true to character and world build with other people.

The forum was also where I got the most feedback and encouragement to continue to compose stories.  Writing critique is always so much more helpful when it comes from a fellow writer.  They don’t just say “Wow, it’s so good!” because they are your friend; they actually give you useful feedback to help you get better.

-Good Things Come to an End-

Unfortunately, time did progress, and we all grew up and went to college and got jobs and the website went down with the ships.  But I still keep in touch with a few of the beautifully creative people I encountered. 

I didn’t like Legend of Korra as much.  In general, I felt like it moved too fast and that the main characters did things that I felt were out of their character just because the writer’s wanted them to act a certain way.  But I found the underlying lore and the villains as amazing as the original adventures of Aang, not to mention how beautifully they perfected their art style.  How Nick put Avatar on the sidelines while it continued to crank out sub-par Spongebob episodes I’ll never understand.  And the heck about Danny Phantom, man?  That was the most unique thing that had come around in a long time.  You have some sins to account for, Nick!  Cough.  I’m getting off track.

-Big Screen Calling Again-

And I don’t think it’s any surprise that the horrible fail of The Last Airbender movie (how hard is it to pronounce someone’s name right?) tried to further inspire me to get into filming.  Avatar deserves to have an amazing cinematic universe!  Every book does.

The thought of some half-baked director or studio getting ahold of my stories and trying to make movies on them honestly terrifies me, and is the primary reason I’d want to get into filming.  It’s so hard to think about a movie series that’s as good as the books.  I think Harry Potter tried the hardest and got the closest possible.  It captured the spirit of the series, where a lot of films just totally fail at finding that spirit.

I might not have pursued filming (yet!), but between Eragon and Avatar, and all that followed because of them, I’m here with pen and paper and computer.  And I’m glad I am.

-Dana Lockhart 


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