A/N: The last chapter. Finished in time for the last episodes. Yay.
Let me know if anything looks wonky, ffdotnet wanted the whole thing to be a block paragraph for some reason.
I hope you all enjoy this and that the ending is okay, and thank you for sticking it out through the whole story.
The morning the results came out, Amanda was so nervous she did not bother eating breakfast. The room was filled with people talking to each other, in contrast to the quiet there had been the day of the exams. Cema was chatting with a boy sitting at the table next to theirs.
The staff were going around distributing envelopes which held the grades inside. Everybody was told to keep it closed, and a glare from Zuko was always enough to get compliance. Amanda held hers with sweaty hands and tried to focus on the grains of the table in front of her.
"Okay, everybody!" Aang called at last. "On the count of three!"
'Oh no oh no I'm going to flunk so badly!'
'Stop worrying stop worrying..."
Mind suddenly empty of thoughts, she tugged the envelope open and pulled out the paper. Her eyes shut tightly for a moment before she opened them and started reading.
Student – Amanda
All scores are out of 100
Grammar Score: 86 (Pass)
Teacher's Comment: You did a lot better this time around. I mean, you could still use a bit of work, but it's readable.
Bending: 96 (Pass)
Teacher's Comment: Pretty good!
OCs: 88 (Pass)
Teacher's Comment: Your OC was more interesting than almost all of the ones that people pair me up with in their rubbish stories. Congratulations.
Pairings and Cliches: 94 (Pass)
Teacher's Comment: Good job.
Appa's Class: 90 (Pass)
Teacher's Comment: Nice map-marking and drawings. (That second one is from Flannie, by the way. I don't think Appa cares very much about drawings.)
Characterization: 85 (Pass... barely...)
Teachers' Comments: You did alright. Nothing majorly OOC.
Overall: Pass. Congats.
She had passed? She had passed! Amanda cheered, along with a good many other students. "How'd you do Cema?" she asked, excited.
"Okay," was the answer. "I did get a perfect grammar score, though."
"Wooooow, really?" several people around her said, eyes wide.
"Before you all go back to your rooms to pack, we have several more announcements!" Headmistress Iva called. She waited until everybody was quiet before continuing. "First of all, we will be handing your certificates tomorrow! Second, we have one more lesson to give you!" At the second sentence, there was a collective groan in the room. "Oh, shush. It's not that long!"
"Alright. First thing I'd like to talk quickly about is songfics." Flannie looked around the room for a moment. "Nothing much to say. Just make sure there is a good amount of fic for every few lines of song. At least a paragraph, I'd say. And make sure that the song actually fits what your story is about! And it'd be nice if you didn't use a song that everybody else writes songfics around.
"Next is reviewing. This is important, so listen well! Firstly, constructive criticism is good. Some people don't think so. If those people yell at you, ignore them. They're idiots who don't want to get better, and all you can hope for is that they grow out of that idiocy, unfortunately.
"Of course, use proper grammar and spelling. Try to be specific – instead of 'I liked the fighting scene' try 'I like the way you described the characters' movements in the fight scene, it made it easy to visualize' or something like that. I mean, you don't have to, but it's nice. Any questions so far?"
Somebody raised their hand. "So should we point out the good stuff and the bad stuff?"
"Yeah. If you just go on about only the bad stuff, you might scare that writer off if they're new or shy. If you point out only the good stuff, they might start to think their story is better than it actually is. Sometimes you come across stories where you can't find anything wrong – no typos, no plot holes, no OOCness, no phrases that sound weird. That's okay. And you might be unfortunate enough to come across something that has nothing good in it at all. The grammar is atrocious, the characters only resemble the canon ones as far as their names, and it makes no sense at all whatsover. That happens too."
Another person raised their hand. "So... should we make the praise equal to the not-praise?'
"I wouldn't necessarily say so. Some stories don't have enough bad, some don't have enough good." When there were no more raised hands, she continued. "Flames then." Groans echoed through the room again. "If you want to flame.. well, personally I can't see why you'd want to do such a thing, but whatever floats your boat. If your receive one – and I mean a flame, not harsh concrit – just ignore it. If you're bothered by it, go eat ice cream or watch tv or read the newest chapter of your favorite ongoing manga or whatever."
"Have you ever gotten a flame?" a short, red-headed girl asked.
"Yes, I have. I just laughed them off and went back to reading. Well, if there aren't any more questions, I guess that wraps it up. Go pack up now and have fun exploring."
The next morning was her last at the Avatar School for Fanfiction Authors. Amanda ate her breakfast slowly. She had nothing else to do – she had gotten Cema's phone number and e-mail address, had fun exploring a bit, and had packed up the few possessions she had with her here (mostly consisting of her toothbrush and hairbrush).
After breakfast, they all went outside and the students sat down on the grass. One by one, their name was called and they walked forward to get their certificate (or not, for a few of them). Amanda fidgeted.
Finally, her name was called, and she carefully walked forward. And tripped over a rock. Ow. People laughed all around her, but she did her best to ignore it. She got up and kept walking.
Flannie was smiling as she handed over the certificate, holding in laughter. The two of them shook hands. Amanda was just turning to go back to her place when she heard a whisper: "Thanks for helping Aang." She turned her head back, but there was no evidence Katara had spoken to her. Flannie pushed on her back to get her moving again.
"I'm home!" Amanda called, racing down the front hallway after kicking off her shoes.
"How did you like that school?" her mother asked from a doorway.
"It was great! I got okay grades too!"
Later that afternoon, she went up to her room and turned the computer on. She saw that she still had that first fanfic sitting on her desktop. Curious, she opened it, and recoiled in horror after reading just the first paragraph. She quickly closed the writing program. After highlighting the icon and holding down the shift key, another finger hovered over the 'del' key.
Should she really delete it once and for all? It was her first fanfic! But it was so awful...
She let go of the shift key and opened up a new document instead. Hey, it could always serve as a reminder of how not to write!