Writing Lessons From Avatar: The Last Airbender

There’s a stereotype of children’s entertainment being overly simplified and poorly written, and unfortunately, that’s true for a lot of children’s shows. Every so often though, there comes someone who puts time and effort into what they create, because they understand that children can be just as smart and perceptive as adults.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of those shows, and today I want to talk about just a few of the things we writers – even adult writers – can learn from it.

Beware, spoilers ahead!

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Fantastic Fathers in Fiction

Father’s Day is a day meant to celebrate our dads, grandfathers, and other male role models in our lives. I’ve been blessed to have a great relationship with my own dad, but unfortunately, fathers in fiction tend to get a bad rap. They’re usually portrayed in a negative way, if they’re present in the story at all.

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My dad and me (Sorry I couldn’t find a picture where I’m not being ridiculous)

Despite this, I still believe there are a lot of good fathers and father figures in stories, you just have to look closely for them. Since I did something similar for Mother’s Day, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite fathers, grandfathers, and father figures in fiction.

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Rules for Spoilers

Spoiler (n.)

  1. Information about the plot of a movie, TV show, book, video game, or any other form of media that ruins the viewer/reader/gamer’s enjoyment of the media in question.
  2. The kind of person you don’t want to be.

Chances are, we’ve all been spoiled at some point in our lives – and no, it’s not the kind of spoiled that happens when your grandparents give you all the chocolate chip cookies you want. Perhaps someone once told you about how Harry Potter ends, or you know what happens in that particular episode of Sherlock, or maybe you know Sheik’s true identity despite having never played Ocarina of Time. Sometimes, spoilers are okay – you probably don’t care about how Harry Potter ends if you don’t plan on ever reading or watching it – but other times, they ruin things we would’ve otherwise enjoyed.

But that begs the question, what makes a spoiler spoil-y? When is it okay to discuss potential spoilers in public? How do I avoid them?

There isn’t a one-size-fits all formula for every single creative media ever made, but I have put together a few of my personal guidelines to give everyone a safe and spoiler-free existence (hopefully).

Because I need examples, there will be a few common spoilers mentioned below, but I’ll be blocking them out in white text and brackets [like this], so if you want to see them, highlight it with your cursor.

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My Top 5 TV Shows

I was never one to watch a lot of TV. Even as a kid, I didn’t watch a lot of cartoons or other shows that most people of my generation remember fondly (it probably didn’t help that my family didn’t have cable television). The same held true for me as I got older, but in high school, I realized that TV shows weren’t just random cartoons and evening sitcoms. They could be just as interesting as the books I loved, just in a different way. Pretty soon, I found myself with a Netflix account, checking out a whole new world of storytelling.

This week, I want to share some of my favorite TV shows. There are many that I love, but these five are the ones that I find myself re-watching time and time again, and they’ve never stopped being interesting to me.

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