Final Author's Notes

Well, here we are – fifteen years to the day and well over half a million words later.

I wanted to make a separate update just to say a few things that might be too long for a regular author's note. I think, after all this time, there's just too much to tuck away at the bottom of the epilogue. I did something similar back when I first discontinued the story to announce that it was over, but I never imagined I'd come back to Distorted Reality over ten years later to finish it at last.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you so much to everyone who has read this far and enjoyed the story this much. Thank you to those who were here since the beginning on and those who joined the ride on ArchiveOfOurOwn after I came back from my decade-long hiatus. Thank you to the ones who silently enjoyed it and to those who reviewed every chapter. As my update gaps got longer and I lost some readers, I just want you all to know that I appreciate all those who stuck around! In all that time I thought this fic was discontinued, I had this sense of guilt sitting at the back of my mind for years and years and it was never far from my mind for too long.

I want to extend a special thanks to Rocket Axxonu. Back during the hiatus, I remember logging into my old fanfiction account pretty much on a whim and discovering a PM asking to adapt the story into a webcomic. It had been sent months before, but of course I accepted! Since then we've kept in touch and now I'm happy to call you a good friend. It's all thanks to you (and all the free time I had for the first few months of the COVID pandemic, and partially Avatar coming back to Netflix) that I came back to writing Distorted Reality in the first place. Now the webcomic is probably more well known than the fic itself and that is awesome! It's been such a pleasure and a privilege to see your art skills grow - it was fantastic to begin with and it has only gotten better. Thank you for being an inspiration and a sounding board for all my half-baked ideas. I never thought I'd meet someone who loves Hama more than I do. :)

Every day when I think about how much this fic has blown up from the silly little AU I started writing in high school, I'm blown away. Even before the hiatus, people were making art. Translating DR into soon to be four different languages. Writing their own fanfiction inspired by this or "lost chapters" set in this world. Making videos and trailers. So many wonderful and creative things were born from DR and they're all such a gift – it's such an amazing feeling to think of how this fic inspired that much and I cannot express my appreciation enough.

Not only that, but DR has also expanded in other ways. Thank you to CowTrain – not only for your friendship and frankly professional and in-depth reviews, but also for creating the DR subreddit! Thank you to SenseiLokiNovels for creating the Discord server and a lovely place to hang out. Thank you to boomerang95 for creating an Instagram page and starting your own animated opening, complete with voice acting! And an extra special thank you to Madam Melon Meow and C for the titanic undertaking of adapting this fic into a spectacular audiobook version (and also creating and moderating the subreddit with CowTrain). Thanks to all of you, this fic has gone beyond just these fanfiction websites to reach audiences in other mediums and corners of the Internet, and I appreciate it more than I can say. This isn't everyone, but please know that I am so thankful regardless.

Now that all my gushing is over…

What's next?

For a while, I considered writing a sequel. In the original version of the story, pre-hiatus, I did have one in mind wherein on Aang's journey (with Canon Katara in tow) back home to his world, he got sidetracked to a few other mixed up worlds and had to help those worlds' versions of his friends overcome their foes. I even started to consider a sequel for the post-hiatus version of DR, which involved Aang making it back to his world and Azula trying to find him… with some time travel in the mix this time in the form of Korra and friends appearing. But I eventually decided against it.

I still need to go back and edit/rewrite some of the old chapters from before my hiatus, but I think I'll be taking my time with that. The end of Book 1 and the first half of Book 2 still need to be completed. Other than that, though, I think I might actually take a break from writing fanfiction for a while! Who knows – maybe with the new Avatar projects coming out soon I might be inspired to write again. I've been considering coming back every so often to do a casual anthology series about my headcanons and interpretations of different past Avatars as a worldbuilding and short story exercise, so maybe to keep the creative juices flowing I'll write that eventually. We'll see.

So with that, I think we're finally at the end. I sound like a broken record at this point, but thank you, thank you, thank you all so much. This story means so much to me and I'm thrilled it brought some level of enjoyment to all of you over the years. For the final time, let me know what you think – either of the finale or the story as a whole or both. Or if you want to just drop by and say hello or let me know what Distorted Reality has meant to you after all this time, I'd love to hear it even if you've never commented before.

Be well, everyone. I'm so glad to have shared this journey with you all, every step of the way.