Review of Allasso Appears on Flayrah

Flayrah, a major news organization in the fandom, recently posted a review of Allasso, Volume 1: Saudade.  The review was mostly positive with a few points that could be strengthened — honestly, I’m a new editor, and I’ve long realized that my first solo work compiling a publication would have flaws.  That being said, I’m very thankful for the review, and I feel like things will continue to improve.

Alongside Allasso, Flayrah has been nominated for the Ursa Major Award for Best Magazine. If you haven’t checked out their site, be sure to do so; they do an amazing job at keeping up with events in the fandom.

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Prize Winners for Allasso, Volume 2: Saudade

Today is April 15th, so it’s time for me to announce the contest winners!  During the submission phase, we didn’t have anyone submit any art, so I’ve decided to split up the short story category — Best Dramatic Work and Best Comedic Work.  As an improviser, I am a huge fan of comedy, yet comedy in writing is very hard to achieve.  We have a few comedic stories in this upcoming volume, and I think it’s appropriate to give them merit.
 
I also wanted to add in one more category for the use of anthropomorphism.  For this, I judged based on the message that comes directly from the use of anthropomorphic characters.
 
For each of these categories, I will award $50.
 
Editor’s Choice for Best Dramatic Work — “Magtwilla and the Mouse” by Mary E. Lowd.  
Editor’s Choice for Best Comedic Work — “Greener on the Other Side” by Sarina Dorie.
Editor’s Choice for Best Poetry — “Price” by Kassie K.
Editor’s Choice for Best Use of Anthropomorphism — “No More Monday Memos” by Tristan MacAvery.
 
For the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Overall Entry and the $200, I spent hour considering several of the entries.  Honestly, I had an amazing pool this round, and every submission I accepted has something that makes it stand out.  Today, I want to recognize James Steele.  I know a lot of people might ask why I decided to publish his story “Back Road” — the story involves anthropomorphism in such an abstract way that it could happen. I don’t want to spoil anything, but in the story, a man gains heart-breaking insights about his own life as he interacts with an animal.  I cried each time I read it, and I feel the message easily rings out through the lives of those in the fandom. Whether we are victims or trying to be heroes, we all will experience the horror that comes with complete helplessness.
 
I wish to congratulate James Steele for winning the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Overall Entry.

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Cover for “Allasso, Volume 2” Released

I recently came in contact with Silent Ravyn, one of my favorite artists in the fandom, and asked her to make the cover for Allasso, Volume 2: Saudade.  I’ve never contacted an artist for something like this before, and I really wondered how she would react.  Her response?

“I would love to do the cover art for this! We should definitely talk.”

And we did talk.  Today, she sent me a link to the finished image, based off the story “Magtwilla and the Mouse” by Mary E. Lowd.  Her art always has such an upbeat joy to it, and I was glad to see that this image combined that joy with a monotone sorrow.  I’m ecstatic about this contribution.

Prize winner will be announced on Sunday, and Allasso, Volume 2: Saudade will be released May 1st in online, print, and e-book formats.

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Ursa Major Nominations

On May 15th, the nominations for the next Ursa Major Awards were released, but I didn’t remember to check until I was sitting at a friend’s house eating dog-shaped cupcakes for his birthday.  As soon as I got home, I checked the site out and saw Allasso had been nominated for the Best Magazine award.  This is an honor for someone who has just barely entered that big world of publishing.  In addition, Mary E. Lowd’s story “Fetching Asteroids” was nominated for the Best Short Fiction award.

The award is based off of voting by members of the fandom.  Please, check their site out, and vote for what you think should win.  There’s an amazing amount of talent in the fandom, and it’s a joy to celebrate these people’s accomplishments.

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Thank you, Tsaiwolf

Just a few hours ago, Tsaiwolf  posted a picture on his FA page for a story that will show up later on in Allasso Volume 2.  I personally love his art, especially this new style he currently uses; it combines a comic-book line style with  a nice colorful texture.  His previous work made me happy, but this new style sets him apart from other artists in the fandom.

Check his art out, and give him love.

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Insane Characters

Through the two submission rounds I’ve had for Allasso, I haven’t received a single piece that has had an insane character.  A few had druggies or drunks (who are very similar), but my writers have spared me the loony bin.

To my dear writers: I thank you.

I’ve been doing improv comedy for about 10 years now, and one thing I learned there is that insane, drunk, and drugged characters almost always fail.  When people watch comedy, whether consciously or not, they look for something in the characters that rings true with them.  Although insane characters can have elements of reality, they often become so off-the-wall that those elements are hidden or forgotten.  Unfortunately, this leads to a very boring or awkward scene, and neither of those is what the audience wants.  Side characters can sometimes do this successfully as long as they don’t try to become the focus of the scene.

So if you have a character who becomes drunk, drugged or insane, how can you deal with her?  How can you make her feel real?

My first recommendation is to tone the craziness back.  Think about how odd they are, and make them one step more normal.  The characters can be infinitely more interesting than the insanity.

Second, find something about the character that holds true, both when they are drunk as well as sober.  This should be the focus.  Make the insanity give us reason to think about the character’s problem, family, despair or success.

And finally, if neither of those two things does the job, then give the reader something deeper to consider.  “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, for example, shows the main character slip into insanity because of extreme sexism in her world.  Her insanity is constant in ways (the woman lost in the wallpaper), but the story is definitely not about her.

In Allasso, Volume 2, Alice Dryden’s story “Tiger Light” revolves around drugged characters in a fantastical, sexual, and oddly humorous manner.  This story will be an example of how insanity can work into anthropomorphic writing.  Be sure to read it when the publication comes out on May 1st.

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New Banner by Thay Rustback

Every time I look, I find a friend who is much more willing to help than I have imagined.  I asked Thay Rustback (fursona pictured to the right) a while back if I could commission a banner for the site, and she did a phenomenal job.  As I look at it, it really reminds me of why I chose the name of the site anyway.

Back when I joined the fandom, I went by the name of Alexandre (by which I’m still known at Furtopia).  My fursona was just a plain fox at first, but then through a series of jokes, he ended up bright pink and blue.  Honestly, my colors were flamboyant, but the strange wildness of color paralleled my own excitement of the fandom.  In this weird world, I was constantly surrounded by friends.  Nowhere else could a neon pink fox ever be taken seriously.

In the same way, I do not expect outsiders to take this site seriously, but those within the fandom will understand the beauty of strangeness.

My many thanks go out to Thay.

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