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So excited to bring you our July SOTM interviews! Hope you guys are staying nice and cool wherever you are. :)

First up, our Author of the Month: hulettwyo

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

First, I want to say a million-billion thank yous to the person who nominated me!  Oh, the scream I scrumpt when I got that email!

I was aware of the show and vaguely aware of the characters, but I didn’t properly watch the show until 2010 when I was 38 years old.  It was on the TV in the living room, and I wasn’t really paying attention because I was dinking around on my laptop.  I asked, “Why’s that guy in a wheelchair if he’s a vampire?”  Back to season one, episode one we went, and I watched it all the way through two or three times.  I wanted more of that world and those characters, so I started reading fanfic, then I started writing it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

For my first story (trying desperately not to cringe – I’m reworking it and will eventually post the new version), the question, “What could’ve happened if Spike hadn’t burned up in the Hellmouth?” popped into my head and wouldn’t go away.  I typed out a rough first chapter and thought it would, but it didn’t, so I kept typing.

My ideas for my other stories came from random places.  Songs, bits of TV shows, movies, or books, one idea came from a meme I saw on Facebook, and one was a Spuffyfied rework of a funny post I saw somewhere about waxing your hoo-ha.  I’ve written one story from a prompt about mind-reading, another story came from a discussion in a chat room when Ghost of the Robot was doing Stage-It shows, one came from a Spike statue I used to have, and one came from walking around the carnival that comes to town each June.  Most times, I’ll see, read, or hear something and think, “I can totally make that Spuffy,” and off I go.

Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Spike is my favorite character of all time.  There’s just so much you can do with him.  In my stories, he’s an abused teen, the Master of the Hellmouth, a wealthy businessman, a vampire prostitute, a recovering addict, a drummer, a sex slave, a time-traveler, an agoraphobe, a boyfriend for rent, a carny, and a celebrity bodyguard, among others. 

My muse does love to torture the poor guy – he’s so damn pretty when he’s hurting – but I do try to make my muse give him some happiness and comfort.

 

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

Trying to pick a favorite story is like trying to pick a favorite child.  Probably ‘Service Unit’ or ‘Coming Through’ for my Spike is a vampire stories.  I’m rather partial to ‘Not Long to Wait’ as well, although that’s Spike/Dawn and not Spuffy.  For my Spike is a human stories, probably ‘Oblivious’ or ‘Clean Slate’ or ‘It’s Easy Time, Until It’s Not.’  It’s really hard to choose.

The hardest to write, as far as researching and hoping I’m not completely screwing everything up, is probably ‘Bruises.’  It’s been a minute since I was a teenager, so trying to write how teens would act or react is a bit difficult.

 

As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

I’d have yeeted Angel out of Sunnydale long before the end of season three.  Not that I don’t like Angel, I just really really don’t like him with Buffy.  And bringing his brooding butt back in season seven to basically undo all the Spuffy would not have happened.  I also wouldn’t have killed Tara because she's fricking awesome and I love her.

THANK YOU SO MUCH! We are so glad to have you at SAD! You are amazing and we appreciate you!! 

____

Next up is our Commenter of the Month: VioletMoon

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

Getting into the show was such a journey, so forgive me if I get long-winded.  BtVS premiered when I was in high school, but I couldn't get into it even though I had loved the movie. I gave up after the first episode, but I vaguely knew of Buffy and Angel's romance, and thought it made for an interesting story.

Fast forward to 2006 - I had just finished binging the amazing Farscape, and was looking for a new fantasy show to love.  Bones was on the air at the time, and I was enjoying David Boreanaz’s role so much, that it made me curious to see him portray a vampire. I went on YouTube to watch some clips, but I kept seeing scenes of Buffy and Spike (and obviously, we know how amazing they are, so I was very intrigued). 

And then a friend of mine had sent me her old BtVS videotapes to watch, and this time I got hooked immediately. I ordered all the DVDs right after. 
I became obsessed. I knew all the lyrics to the OMWF soundtrack, before I even got to the third season, kind of obsessed. The love for that show, and Spuffy, hit me really hard. 

As for fanfiction - I was already reading and writing fic for another show (Third Watch). Members from that community were actually the ones who had recommended Farscape and Bones, and had also sent me the Buffy VHS tapes. So I feel like this all paved the way to the BtVS fandom.  

I mainly read Spuffy fics now...and the reason I started reading them is because I wanted more :) I still do. I want to see them have the happy ending they deserve, but also see explorations of them in other universes, angsty scenarios, comedies, etc. I  just want it all!

What motivates you to leave comments?

  • I want the author to know that someone is reading and enjoying their hard work. 
  • I’m being provided with free entertainment about two of my favorite characters of all time. You bet I’m going to appreciate that and leave you some love. 
  • If I feel any sort of emotion - sadness, happiness, comfort, etc. 
  • Even if one line sticks out for me - something romantic, a joke, a haunting description, etc. I want to make sure I highlight that line and comment about it. 

This also goes for artists and their art work! I've definitely squeed over art that has been posted here. 

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I also write! Which is another reason why I love commenting - I want to give an author/artist the same giddiness and motivation that I get each time I receive a new comment. 

This also ties in to what motivates me to leave comments  - for me, writing is very personal, and putting myself out there could be scary. So when I receive kind words on something I bared a piece of my soul on, it makes me really happy. And I want to be able to give that back. 

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

I can't really remember, but I think I started leaving comments pretty early on. I definitely remember being so excited when I first discovered fanfic, it just felt like a whole different world. 

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

Not very, because I totally understand that life gets busy (I even have a bunch of comments that I haven’t replied to yet).  But I do love the interactions and reading the author's responses, especially when they give an insight into what they wrote. 

Thank you thank you thank you, VioletMoon! We love having you here and you bring so much to the community! 

____

And that's a wrap! Hope you're all having a great summer! Hydrate! :) 

Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling

 





--Chelle on 07/05/24 10:55 pm 5 Comments

Greetings, Sunnydale After Darkers!

Congratulations to this fabulous community for another successful event! We are so thrilled by the response to the Pen & Paint event this year! It was an absolute blast seeing so much new and incredible artwork and all the varied stories they inspired. 

Every summer, since it is SAD-iversary time, we get retrospective and think about why we started this archive in the first place. Community, collaboration, fun! And we try to highlight those themes with the summer event. This felt like a wonderful way to bring artists and writers (and betas and commenters!) together in a fresh way. We hope you had a great time doing it and that artists had fun being in the driver’s seat for a change! Please let us know if you’d like to see this event repeated in the future.

There were 125 submissions to this event which earned a combined total of 1,962 comments, which is just amazing. There were 61 pieces of art and 64 fics! Seriously incredible. 

A super special shout out to Lilacsandorangeblossoms for their 12 submissions! And also to Claire, Desicat, and Harmony99 for submitting 11 pieces each. Way to go, guys!

Please know that even though the event may be finished, so long as an artist leaves their series open, everyone is still free to continue writing fic to art or creating art based on art! The open series concept is one that can be used at any time for anyone looking to collaborate with others. If you’re a writer looking for an idea in the future, there are still 18 pieces of art from the event that have no fics attached… yet. And artists, feel free to post your art in the Challenges section if you'd like a better shot at seeing a story for your art. 

As for awards, we’d like to reveal the absolute gems created for us by the incomparable JSBirsa. These hand-drawn awards feel aptly creative and special for this art-centric event. Huge thank you to her for working on these for us!

Here they are again in full size so you can appreciate them in all their beautiful glory:

All awards have been distributed. If you feel like you deserve an award that you did not receive, please make sure to let an admin know so we can help you out!

Thank you again to the artists, authors, betas, commenters, and readers for participating in this event! You all make every day here at SAD such a joy.

We love ya.



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 07/02/24 08:46 pm 7 Comments

I think we all collectively blinked, and two years passed without us even realizing it.

That’s right, it’s been two years since Sunnydale After Dark first launched, and we have all of YOU to thank for its success! We cannot thank all of you enough for the time and energy you’ve devoted to the 1,646 works currently housed on the site made up of more than 24 million words! 

We are blown away every day by the talent and dedication of our authors and artists. But we can’t forget all of our faithful readers and commenters who have contributed more than 39,000 comments in that time - without them, we’d be an archive but not a community, and over and over again we’ve heard from you that our community is what sets us apart. We appreciate all of the positive energy you pour into this place and we are honored that you’ve chosen to spend any portion of your busy lives with us. 

Just a quick year-in-review… We kicked off our second year with our Spiral Spuffy team challenge, followed by Spooky September. D’Hoffryn fixed us up with the ability to ‘gift’ fics and artworks to each other just in time for the ‘Tis the Season!’ gift event coupled with a commenting challenge. Of course, we cannot forget about the much anticipated return of the Short & Spuffy Drabble Event (with prompts submitted by our Top Commenters) in March where you all outdid yourselves as usual, and then we spent a month in recovery from the hectic drabble season before launching our current Pen & Paint event! (No big deal or anything, but P&P has already generated 112 brand new works and we’re still going strong!)

Meanwhile, D’Hoffryn’s been hard at work behind the scenes helping improve our user experience at every turn. Along with gifting, he gave us the (long overdue) ability to credit our valued betas and banner artists. He’s created visual carousels on our homepage to show off all your pretty banners and he’s updated our epub functionality to support images and incorporate banner art into the covers for each downloaded fic. He’s probably also tackled hundreds of bugs troubleshooting requests that get fixed so quickly we barely notice they were issues in the first place. All hail D’Hoffryn!

No matter how you fit in this community - and there is a place for ALL of you here - we genuinely appreciate that you’ve chosen to be part of Sunnydale After Dark. This place would not exist if it weren’t for all of you, and on behalf of your SADmin team, we are endlessly grateful to get to escape real life with you each and every day.



--GetItDone, Dusty, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 06/24/24 10:35 am 21 Comments



It's officially summer! I always hated this time of year when Buffy was airing because it meant the season was over and I'd be waiting way too long for new episodes. I miss looking forward to weekly television like Buffy! Streaming is great, but I do miss it. :)

Anyway! We're so stoked to bring you our June Scooby Interviews! First up we have our Author of the Month: Geliot99

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I watched it when it first aired on the BBC when I was 8, so I'm one of the old school fans who couldn’t take a toilet break without missing something. I only got into fanfic a couple of years ago, and weirdly (no one judge) started off with Frasier fanfiction, of all things??? And at the time, I was mid re-watch of Buffy, so that just sealed my fate. 

First author I read was Sweetprincipale on FF.net and I was hooked. Started writing shortly after (about a year and a half ago). 

 Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I usually start with slight episode tweaking and see what spirals, but I’m currently Claire’s pet writer on a leash. I’ll write whatever she wants if there's a promise of a manip or a banner. 

I also take on requests frequently which is really rewarding, especially if I can create something that will fill a void for the reader.

Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Being a Brit I find Spike and Giles the easiest to write. I feel like I can achieve fairly canon dialogue for them effortlessly whereas others I have to work for. 

However, I finished a drabble-fic centered around Halfrek last year and that was *so* fun. I’d say she might be my favourite side character I’ve taken on. I’ve also dabbled with Dru, and she is so chaotic and weird, I do love her. 

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

I’m really proud of Under The Rubble. It was my first ever fic, and I only intended it to be a one shot scene rewrite but it spiraled into a whole massive epic and is my highest rated on Ef and Ff. 

I’m super proud of In The Dark With You, it’s been really rewarding to write.

Hardest to write was You Drive Me Out Of My Mind. I very nearly abandoned it and got a major case of writer’s block five chapters from the end, but I’m so glad I finished it. 

As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why? 

Ugh, season 7. The whole of it from start to finish. I won’t rant. 

I think they should have given Dawn her own scoobies in high-school; mystery teens solving paranormal crimes. It seemed like they wanted to, before veering hard in the other direction. 

 I would’ve had more of a found family focus on Tara/Dawn/Spike, and a Tara/Willow wedding. Tara’s exit was a needless shock factor and I still loathe it, especially the “whoops we killed our gay couple” backtrack they took into Kennedy. Forever mad. (Okay so *mini* rant).

Thank you so much, Geliot99! I could get behind a Dawn led Scooby Gang! :)

________

Next up is our Commenter of the Month: Desicat

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I was way too young of a child when the premiere happened, but my father and his best friend were into it so I ended up watching with them. I got into fanfiction because child me thought romance was icky and I wanted everyone to be friends. 

What motivates you to leave comments?

I think art is made to be commented on. There are book, ballet, gallery reviews. So yeah gonna comment on work that has taken a lot of effort. 

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I both write and read. My father encouraged both because it got me to practice my English (not a native speaker)

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

I commented immediately. No lurking for me ;). One of the best parts about SAD is that it is easy to sort comment count on the most recent page so I can give a little looksie on some less commented gems. 

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

I do enjoy getting a thanks or getting some extra behind the scenes. We all love this fandom so it's always nice to interact little. But I don't expect it. 

___________

Thank you BOTH so much for being a part of SAD! We appreciate you all more than you know! Wear sublock and stay hydrated. ;)

Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling



--Chelle on 06/02/24 05:48 pm 7 Comments



You guys! How is it already May!? We are so excited to share the Scoobies of the Month Interviews with you but we can't even believe it's already MAY! Anyone looking forward to summer?

By the way, you guys are already killing Pen & Paint! Way to go! 

And here we go! 

First up, our Author of the Month: Gabby

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I was lucky enough to be a Scooby of the Month in June of last year so I don't want to bore you all with the details again, haha! To make a long story short: I started watching the show when I was about 12 or 13. Reruns would be on in the mornings so I'd catch an episode or two before school. I re-watched it a few times in high school and college with a particular focus on the Spuffy Era, then promptly forgot that the show even existed until I picked it up again in 2021, which was also when I got into fanfic because I just needed more Buffy and Spike content. I still do!     

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Here's where I start to feel like an imposter because I'm so new to the writing game. I only have two stories posted on the site, so it's not like I have a ton of examples to draw from for this answer! But I've got a few ideas floating around in my brain that I hope to get to eventually. 

Mostly–like I assume is the case for a lot of authors–those ideas were inspired by concepts that I personally like to see in Spike/Buffy fanfic. What better way to make sure there are stories covering plots, genres, dynamics, etc. that you like to read than to just write them yourself?! 

But I recently came up with a premise based on a Taylor Swift song, so music has been a source of ficspiration, too. To be honest, thinking of ideas is hard for me. I'm envious of people for whom this comes so easily! So if I end up writing something then that just means the story really excited me and got my creative juices flowing.     

Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Hmm… Well, even though she's the hardest for me to write, I'd have to say Buffy! And that's because she's so challenging for me. It takes me an embarrassingly long time to write her dialogue and POV, thinking of exactly the right words and phrases to use. Spike's voice is so clear in my head and his lines just flow from my fingertips to the keyboard. Buffy is more difficult, and I'm not really sure why!

But it's just so satisfying when I sit back and read something I've written and think, "Ah ha! Nailed it!" Those moments are few and far between, but the rush I get when they happen makes her my favorite character to write.   

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

Definitely the story I wrote for this year's Short & Spuffy! I'm enamored with the S7 Spike and Buffy relationship and how they become mutually supportive friends with just a hint of something more in that season. I love a slow burn that builds a solid foundation for the grand romance that follows, and it was a lot of fun to try to develop Spuffy gradually and organically 100 words at a time. 

It was also the hardest fic to write. I felt so creatively dry about halfway through and started hating everything I wrote. Nothing new for experienced writers, I'm sure, but this newbie was like, "What's happening?! Why is this so difficult?!" Luckily some friends talked me off a ledge and I pushed through, and I'm glad I did. I ended up loving that story and I'm really proud of pulling off a cohesive narrative while at the mercy of the wheel (whom I love).     

As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

Lemme preface this by saying: I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer warts and all. It's one of my favorite shows of all time. However, I would've liked to see more diversity (in race, ability, gender identity, etc.) for sure. To get on my soapbox for a second, representation in fiction matters. It also just isn't realistic that we only see one Latino student (I think) across all 7 seasons when Sunnydale is only a couple hours away from Los Angeles. So definitely more of that!  

And I feel pretty strongly that there needed to be a more serious discussion between Spike and Buffy about what happened in Seeing Red. It was a very big deal! And even if she has an apparently easy time separating the Spike who did that from the newly souled version, I still think it's healthy for them to explicitly hash that out (along with all the other toxicity, maybe) so they can move past it once and for all. 

All that said, I love the show so much, and am happy it exists even with those shortcomings. I also love the SAD community. Y'all are the best. Thanks for making me a Scooby of the Month, and mega congrats to all choseny, too!

Gabby, you're amazing and we are so grateful to have you here with us! Thank you!

_______________

Next up we have our Commenter of the Month: all choseny

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I shared a bit about my "Come to Buffy" moment when I was awarded Writer of the Month (Thank you all again for nominating me!). So, I'll keep my short story even shorter. I was a fan of the movie before it ever became a television show. I recall BtVS was a mid season replacement (for a show I don't remember), and at first I wasn't into it. I think the WB aired it again the Saturday after the premier, and because it was a lazy Saturday afternoon, I watched it and was immediately hooked. 

I came to fanfic through Roleplaying on Myspace many moons ago. When Myspace imploded, I went on LJ and discovered the wonderful world of fanfiction. If you're curious about Myspace RP, a few months ago I was feeling nostalgic, and I tried to recreate my old RP page as best as my memory would allow me. I was in my 20s when I rp'd. I'll be 42 on May 30th.  You do the math LOL. (Being nominated was a wonderful Bday present, btw). Anyway, if you're curious, go here: 

https://spacehey.com/peachy_keen

 I am not actively roleplaying. I was bored and some guy made a myspace dupe. 

What motivates you to leave comments?

Just like writers get that shot of happy when they receive a comment (and a like), I feel that same excitement when leaving a comment. I also think it's nice to let the writer know that someone is reading and enjoying their work. My philosophy when leaving comments is to always be kind. Kindness is free, and it goes a long way. You never know what kind of day the author might have had, and seeing that comment from you might make a difference. So, I also like to leave a little kindness for someone who is taking the time to entertain all of us for free. 

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

Yep, I write, too. :) 

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

Goodness, that was so long ago. 2007-ish. I want to say that I might have lurked a little at first when I joined LJ. I recall quickly getting over that and leaving comments for writers. 

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

It's not very important. After Short and Spuffy, I realized that comments can pile up pretty quickly, so hats off to the writers who reply to every comment you receive. I salute you! But while it's not super important, it's appreciated when they do reply. :) 

Thank you, all choseny! You are magical and we appreciate you! 

Well, that's it, folks! We hope your seasonal allergies aren't killing you! Ahhh, springtime. :)

All the best,
Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling



--Chelle on 05/06/24 04:05 am 7 Comments

Is it time to announce the next event already? Shockingly, the answer is YES!!

As we all know, the Spuffy community loves us some artists! Ever since Sunnydale After Dark began, we knew we wanted to lift up our artists and celebrate their hard work and creativity, too.

So what better way to do that than to put the artists in the driver’s seat for this summer’s Pen & Paint event? 

Often, our beloved artists are called upon to fulfill our writers’ story dreams. The artists graciously bring to life someone else’s vision. For this event, we want to reverse that and let the artists prompt the writers using their own creations. 

Artwork could include drawings, paintings, video edits, comics, movie posters, banners, manipulations, whatever else you can dream up! The artist will post their new art and the authors will write a corresponding scene or story inspired by the artwork. The length of the writing is up to each author. It could be as short as a drabble. It could be a poem. It could be a scene disconnected from a larger narrative. It could be an entire one-shot story. Just please keep it under 15,000 words as that is the maximum length of a chapter/one-shot.

How will all this work?

First, artists, post your artwork like normal, including a banner if you wish! Make sure you check the Pen & Paint event box! 

Then create an open series.

Title your series and your artwork however you wish. Once your series has been created you can add your artwork to the series. 

You are finished! Let the fic roll in and wash you in pretty words!

Now, writers, here is how you add your story to an artist’s open series. 

First, post your story like normal, making sure you check the Pen & Paint event box.

Go to the artwork you wish to add a story to. Click on the series link. In this example it is highlighted in orange:

Once on the series page, click Add to Series.

A list of your stories will appear, and you can add the correct one to the open series.

Trust us, it isn’t as complicated as it may initially sound!

Artists and authors, you are welcome to post as many submissions as you like. If an artist wants to respond to a different artist by adding more art to their series, that’s fine! Maybe a writer would like to continue a scene that another writer responded to the initial artwork with. That is also fine! We just ask that every series begins with artwork first. 

Warning: If you add a story to the wrong series, you will be unable to remove it yourself. An admin (or the author of the series) can remove it for you. Please get in touch! We would hate for you to accidentally delete your story in an effort to remove it from a series you didn’t mean to attach it to.

All submissions must be connected to a series in order to qualify for the event. The series format will make it clear which artwork inspired what creations. Our hope is that we’ll get to see a variety of interpretations of each piece of art, and it will be a fun experience for the reader to go to a series and enjoy all the different results.

Now, because this event requires some tag-teaming that might take a little extra time… we’re going to start the event May 1 and keep this event open for two months to give everyone as much time as possible to participate. When the event is over, you will still be welcome to continue, but at the end of June we will calculate awards for Artists, Authors, credited Betas, and Commenters who posted 15+ comments of 15 words or more for both May and for June (minimum 30 comments in total).

We hope this event will be a blast for everyone! Every year as we approach the anniversary of this site in June, we think about why we started this archive in the first place and how to best celebrate collaboration and fun and Spuffy in a fresh new way!

Please post your questions in the comments or get in touch with an admin here or on Discord

Happy penning and painting!



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 04/11/24 09:11 pm 19 Comments



We want to start by thanking you guys again for making Short & Spuffy such a success! Everyone who participated nailed it! And all the commenters were amazing, too! Thank you, everyone.

Our April Scoobies of the Month Interviews are ready! 

We are starting with our Author: SomeKindofDeviant


Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

Oh man, I started watching it shortly after it started airing on the BBC, I must've been 11 or so. I don't remember which episodes I started with, but School Hard is the one that got me hooked, I was obsessed the moment Spike and Drusilla appeared. Alongside rifling through the Young Adult section of the library and discovering Point Horror and Christopher Pike and the like, it kinda opened up this chasm of a supernatural/vampire hyperfixation that may have stuck around a lil while. 

My tween internet time was pretty much a mix of neopets, aol chat, and searching Buffy. Somewhere in between quizzes, windows themes/wallpapers, and wondering who on earth Buffy Sainte-Marie was, I discovered fanfiction and fell in love. Though it'd take me a couple decades or so to read Spuffy fic for the first time, after a rewatch where I finally came to see how much there is to love about the ship and to jump on board with it, and til last year for me to try my hand at writing fic myself for the first time. 


Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Chatting with friends about this, that, and everything and then noodling away on things. Poetry and music and fragments of dreams, too, often spark inspiration when it comes to vibes and themes, but all kinds of things can throw something up in the air to latch onto and chew on.


Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Drusilla. When I first started writing, I thought I'd find her hardest, but I think I've come to find her headspace the easiest to slide into. Which may say something worrying about me, but there we are. Writing her lets me have all the fun I want with imagery and the bits of my brain that fit together oddly, to let them run free and chase them down tunnels. It's oddly comforting. 

I will say I've enjoyed writing Buffy more than I expected and had a great deal of fun with her in my last story, which helped me work through a lot of the nerves I had about it. Her dialogue and thoughts are so bouncy!! 

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

I've only written a couple of Spuffy pieces, and I'll stick to those in this answer! I'm proud of both, for different reasons, but my chapter of The Mystery of the Disappearing Scoobies was the first time I tried my hand at the pair, and so there were all kinds of nerves there. I'm very proud about how it came out. I tried to bring a lil bit of something fairytale to it and I think I managed to achieve it.

I think The Dreaded Lurgi was the hardest of the two, for all that it's a bit of a crackfic, because it required actually considering an arc and plot resolution rather than just throwing things in the air and letting the next author handle the consequences of where those things landed. 


As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

I am torn because, flaws and all, the show was lightning in a bottle and has managed to keep such a place in my heart and the hearts of so many others for so many years in just the shape it is. Still, we do all have our pet peeves. I think I would change Lies My Parents Told Me. It was such a wonderful opportunity to show growth and painful confrontation of the past that I think was in some ways quite wasted, and I really wish Robin had been centred a bit more, framed more sympathetically, and that Spike had given him the coat. 

Thank you so much, SomeKindofDeviant! We appreciate you and your contributions here so much.

_____

Next up is our Commenter of the Month: bee_davie


Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

My older brother was always in charge of what we watched on television, so five-year-old me watched Buffy as it aired in 97. The episodes I specifically remember watching were Witch, Teacher's Pet, and What's My Line, parts 1 & 2. I wholeheartedly believed in magic, and that the evil creatures from the show really existed, so I was obsessed with fighting bad guys like Buffy. I even had a game plan for stomping out bugmen in my white Reeboks. 

I watched a lot of reruns and episodes here and there, but I didn't watch the show in order or anything post-season 5 until I was a teen. As a teen, I made mistakes and was initially into Angel. As soon as I saw him kissing Buffy through her bedroom window, I knew he was the one. Their story had all the elements I thought I wanted in a romance until, of course, our blonde baddy hit the scene. Spike has had a chokehold on me ever since.

I loved the show, but I always wanted more from the ending. I need my love interests to be together. FOREVER. This led to many late nights trying to fix the show in my head and create a happy ending for Spike and Buffy. My journals throughout the years are full of times when I am rewatching the show for comfort, questioning what Buffy would do in my shoes, and going through lots of Spuffy thoughts. I went through phases where they would walk around the house with me (in a totally normal, not at all obsessive way.) I was just not over them.

Fast forward to my first real job out of college. I sat beside a girl on the bus who told me she wrote Buffy fanfiction. She was the second person I ever met who loved Buffy. That conversation sent me on a hunt for fanfics and into a land where all my dreams came true. The first fic I ever read was The Butterfly Effect by cousinjean, followed by A Chance in Hell by SAD's very own Grief Counseling, who went by a different name back then. (When I discovered this connection, I was so chill. So. Chill!) 

What motivates you to leave comments?

Fics that cause:

  • Deep, intense emotions
  • Nonstop squealing 
  • Glances in the mirror that say, "Oh my god, did you just read what I just read?!"
  • Honest and true fangirling thoughts

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I am strictly a reader with ideas that I wish to write. I get preoccupied with a scenario or a witty/sexy sentence and then construct a story about it in my head. I have a dedicated Spuffy ideas notebook, but that is as far as it goes at this point.

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

I used to hardcore lurk. Spuffy was my guilty pleasure, and I didn't feel the need to share it with anyone, until one day I did. I got into a fic bingeing cycle, and after reading banger after banger, I needed to talk about it. I joined Discord to discuss, but I still didn't leave comments until The Time We Had (as everyone probably knows). Props to Dusty, who made me cry for days with such a lovely fic that led me to leave my first comment. It is what brought me to SAD. The rest is history.

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

I am not going to lie—the endorphins I receive when I see "New Reply" in my inbox are spectacular. I love and appreciate getting replies, but I understand that responding to every comment is impossible. I never wait for an answer or feel bad if someone doesn't respond. I comment because I want to. All the work writers put into stories is more than enough for me. 

Thank you SO much, bee_davie! You are incredible and we appreciate you! 

Happy April, everyone! Ready for the world-ending eclipse? ;) 

Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling




--Chelle on 04/06/24 02:47 am 5 Comments

Now that we've regained control of the site from that pesky trio, we can let you all know that awards for the Short & Spuffy 2024 event have been distributed to all authors, commenters, and artists! Please let us know if you think you earned an award that you did not receive! 

Now, let's all take a moment to thank and bask in the glory of these beauties from loveisntbrains:

Onward to the stats!

26 authors wrote a total of 35 Short and Spuffy stories. Those stories consisted of 938 drabbles.

3 authors submitted their very first story to Sunnydale After Dark for this event!

62 new members joined the archive during this event.

101 members left comments on the Short and Spuffy stories for a grand total of 14,486 comments and 12,643 likes

Bravo to everyone all around! Your enthusiasm and support are what made it such a fun event. Even the prompts came from our community, and it was a joy to unveil them every night together on Discord. We couldn't be more thrilled with how it all went. 

Big, mega, ginormous thank you to every single reader, commenter, writer, artist, and beta who joined in! We're thankful for you all!



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 04/02/24 04:10 pm 9 Comments



We're stoked to bring you the interviews with this month's Scoobies! So well deserved. 

First up, we have our Author of the Month: Girlytek

Girlytek politely declined our offer for an interview but she had this to say: Swonderful writes amazing comments and I’m super glad to see them here, and I’m honored to be SotM with them. <3

We agree, Girlytek, and you totally earned your spot as author this month! We're so happy to have you here posting your stories.

_______

Next up, we have our Commenter of the Month and as the name implies, they're wonderful: Swonderful

Thank you so much for naming me Commenter of the Month!  I'm honored to be recognized for what I consider a small repayment for the many, many hours of joy I get from the works of so many talented and generous authors, artists, betas, editors, admins, and mods. 

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I was channel-surfing and caught the very first minute of the very first episode when it first aired, and was instantly hooked.  I was soon online, reading everything I could about episode recaps and upcoming episodes, and from there, I found BTVS fanfiction.  It's such a pleasure to see the characters evolve, live on, and often improve. I particularly enjoy it when fanfiction rights the wrongs of the show but in realistic and logical ways.  

What motivates you to leave comments?

It's a combination of wanting to thank and encourage writers and becoming so invested in their stories that I feel compelled to react. I try to make it clear that when I'm annoyed or irritated by something a character does or says, I'm annoyed at the character, not the writer. It's much like Spike getting impatient with Pacey while watching Dawson's Creek. He was not upset by the writing, he was responding to the character as if he was a real person. When I get excited, or angry, it's not a criticism of the author, and it's almost always a compliment to their skill. I think that's true of many other reader comments, although sometimes authors seem to feel personally attacked, although that doesn't appear to be the commenter's intent.  BTVS characters are imperfect, as they should be. When readers are incensed, they don't always think to mention that they're upset at what Giles, Angel, Xander, or Buffy did, not at the writer who created that scenario.   

Having written for and edited national newspapers and magazines, I'm amazed at the caliber of writers here. The quality of their writing is better than some professional writers I worked with, who had to be heavily edited. These authors continue to write without financial compensation, which is remarkable, and very generous of them.  And for some writers here, English is a second or third language!  

I also appreciate the emotional maturity and psychological and political insights many authors bring to their stories, and, through their writing, to readers. BTVS, unfortunately, normalized a number of flawed perspectives, such as the TA/student personal relationship between Riley and Buffy, and I appreciate it when writers bring those issues to readers' attention so they can be better informed in their personal lives. 

  Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I was a non-fiction writer and editor for national news media (magazines and newspapers), as well as a university journalism instructor. For fanfiction, I am strictly a reader, although often I will privately message writers when I see errors. In rare cases, if it's a medical or similar error that could have RL repercussions, I will mention it in the comments. 

 Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

I was a lurker for decades before I started commenting. When I registered on sites, I didn't even use my real name; I combined the names of my friends Marilyn and James. Once I felt safe commenting, I  felt an obligation to support all the contributors who have created and sustain this community.   

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment? 

Unless it's a WIP, I often skip the other reader comments, thereby missing any replies to my own, and until recently, I didn't even know I could have replies sent to me. A moderator, either here or at another site, told me how to opt in for that, although it may be automatic here. 

It's amazing that authors take the time to respond because they're doing the heavy lifting of writing, as well as their Real Life responsibilities.  I think it's kind of them, but nonessential and unexpected.  It's been a pleasure to have discussions with several authors, both in the comments and private messages. Most recently I discovered  VeroNyxK84 here and have been reading and commenting on her old stories.  To my surprise, when she responds, it's clear she's not only read my comment, she's gone back to re-read what she wrote a year or more ago. Dusty also does that, even when I'm rereading and commenting on The Time We Had for the second and third time.  I appreciate that, but it's well above and beyond an author's role.  You're already giving so much! There are many, many other authors who have similarly responded. I'm not going to name them because I don't want to inadvertently leave someone out. 

The often unsung heroes who deserve a plethora of positive comments are the admins, mods, and other support who keep the site going and manage all the glitches, and also each person who supports it financially.  Where else can we go for excitement, distraction, support, and comfort 24/7 without leaving our homes? 

For a variety of reasons, some readers comment rarely or not at all.  Sunnydale After Dark is giving more pleasure, insight, hope and satisfaction than is evident from the comments. I'm so glad the site exists to support, disseminate and preserve these wonderful works.   Thank you, everyone!

_______

Thank you both so much for helping to make SAD such a wonderful, welcoming, and encouraging place to be. We wouldn't be here without every single one of you and we are so grateful every day that you choose to be here with us! 

Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling



--Chelle on 03/03/24 06:33 pm 6 Comments

Hello, SAD drabblers! Are you excited?! We certainly are! Because… 

It’s time to kick off March with our Short & Spuffy Drabble event!

We will be updating this list by 12 a.m. site-time with the wheel-selected prompts for the day.

If you would like to join the fun on Discord, you can click the right-most social media link on our home page, or simply go here: https://discord.gg/4XFPjXfMaR

MASTER PROMPT LIST:

 

1. Fortune Cookie Epiphany

2. Lights Out

3. Cooking Together

4. Horrible Day

5. Rock Concert Tickets

6. Orange

7. Spilling

8. Dirty Pretty Things

9. Midnight Revelations

10. Desperate for Attention

11. In Three Long Strides

12. Bright Red Confetti

13. Heavy Metal

14. Spike ignoring Buffy

15. Goes Right Through

16. Petty Disagreement/Fight

17. The Rhyme for Orange

18. Bad Weather

19. Weapon Tossing (as a love language)

20. I. Would. Not.

21. Buffy tells Spike

22. Ghost

23. You Do Something To Me

24. Not What It Looks Like

25. Remember Me

26. Math

27. Band-Aid

28. Storytelling

29. Costume Party

30. Fire

31. *FREE DAY* (This is an optional, promptless drabble day if you need a buffer to wrap up your story)

 

Happy Drabbling!



--Grief Counseling, Dusty, Chelle, GetItDone on 03/01/24 12:01 am 1 Comments

Hello hello, everyone!

Hold onto your hats because starting in March, Short and Spuffy will be back!

This event is one that we knew we had to repeat, and based on our community survey last year, you all agree!

Here’s how it will work:

We’ve gathered up drabble prompts from January’s Top Commenters. For the first 30 days of March, a new prompt will be chosen daily and at random on Discord. Join us there for lots of fun discussing the day’s freshly revealed prompt! The prompt list will also be updated in a centralized Sunnydale Press news post for easy access. 

Just like last year, we’re embracing the challenge of writing exactly 100 words per drabble! Feel free to interpret the prompt in any way you want. You do not have to use the literal words from the prompt in the drabble.

Never heard of a drabble? Wondering what this funny word is? Want loads of inspiration? Check out last year’s event here.

You may post the drabble at any point during the month of March, so it does not have to be shared on the day the prompt is revealed. This also means that if you want to wait, you can post your drabbles in the order you see fit to use the prompts. March 31 will serve as a catch-up day with no new prompt. If you’d like to write a promptless bonus drabble on this day, you are welcome to!

Your drabbles do not need to connect narratively (unless you want them to!), but please organize your drabbles for the event into one story and post each drabble as a new chapter. This will make it easier for us to count at the end. You’re welcome to make your drabble story part of a series if you want to connect it to another work of yours, possibly even last year’s drabble story!

Now for the awards, which we know you’re going to want to collect as many of as possible since loveisntbrains has graciously agreed to design them for us! clap

You can earn awards in three ways this year: by writing, by commenting, or by designing a banner. 

For commenting and writing, you will accumulate more awards the more drabbles and comments you write.

For commenters:
15-39 Comments = The Comment Hero Award
40-69 Comments = The Comment Champion Award
70-99 Comments = The Comment Slayer Award

If you write 100+ comments, you earn the ultimate grand prize! The Naked Buffy Award.

For writers:
1-9 Drabbles = The Drabble Hero Award
10-19 Drabbles = The Drabble Champion Award
20-29 Drabbles = The Drabble Slayer Award

For completing all drabble prompts, you will earn the highly coveted Naked Spike Award!

Artists will earn an award for banner contributions. Writers, please be sure to credit your banner artist!

So, in total, there are 9 pretty awards up for grabs for this event! The more you do, the more you earn. 

As always, don’t forget to check the event box when you post! And reach out if you're unsure about anything.

We can’t wait for the March madness to begin! heart



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 02/12/24 08:07 pm 10 Comments

First things first, many thanks to Claire for our wonderful new Scoobies of the Month banner! We love it! Thank you so much!!

February! How is it already February? Did January go by in a blink for anyone else? Because it sure did for us! 

We are so proud to bring you our February SOTM interviews! First up we have our Author: Passion4Spike!!

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I came to be a BtVS fan via DVDs after the series ended in a kind of backward way and became a SPUFFY shipper unexpectedly. I enjoyed David Boreanaz in ‘Bones’ and Christian Kane in ‘Leverage’. I found them both on Angel—SCORE! I watched the entire Angel series before I ever watched BtVS, because, let’s face it, that name is just DUMB, am I right? But, I wanted more DB, so I sucked it up and dove in. And, OMG, it was nothing like I expected. I loved it from the first episode, and of course, was BANGEL all the way until…

Spike.

Spike turned everything on its head; he was CLEARLY the better man, SPUFFY is clearly the OTP. I sailed off on that ship wholeheartedly.

After I finished the series, I tried to read the comics, but I apparently have some sort of 'comic dyslexia' because they were confusing to me and, the parts that I did manage to suss out, I didn't like, so I stopped.

That left me in a black void of wanting more! I’d never read fanfic before; never even HEARD of it before Willow mentioned fanfic on the show one time. One Google search later and my world changed again. SPUFFY FANFIC was a thing! I read everything I could find, starting with Nautibitz’s site, and eventually finding other Spuffy sites and writers. I was hooked!

I don’t know what sparked me to start writing myself other than I wanted LONGER stories, I wanted them starting as early as possible and going for as long as possible. I wanted to give Spike everything he ever wanted… and, of course, put him and Buffy through the angst-wringer so they’d really appreciate the good times.


Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Sometimes it’s a life event, sometimes a posted challenge, but most of the time it’s just something that comes to me in a dream or just pops into my head. Sometimes it’s ONE LINE or one scene, and I write a WHOLE STORY just to get to that ONE VISION. Most of the time the characters dictate the story. The one I’m currently posting began as a 1-3 chapter introduction to A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY that I had in mind, and turned into a 500k word epic adventure.


Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Do you mean besides Buffy and Spike? I love writing them because I want them to be HAPPY… but I also love to make myself cry, so I have to put them through hell before making them happy. I love testing their mettle, which we know is beyond the pale, and testing their love, which is beyond reproach. They are the ones who I hear most often in my head (more Spike than Buffy), and who inspire me most.

Apart from them, I’d have to say Drusilla. You can just let your imagination run wild with her and string words together that don’t normally go together and have it feel perfectly natural. She can be so many different things: bat-shit crazy, completely lucid, dangerous, funny, weak, strong, and of course, a great way to drop in foreshadowing.

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

Wow, that’s like trying to pick a favorite child. Probably everyone says that? I love different ones for different reasons… my top 3:

The Unexpected Series was my first; it got me started and it took me to places I never thought I could go. I still love that AU and hope to one day go back and ‘fix’ the first story and the plot problems it has. I feel like I got much better at writing and plots over the course of that series, which, I also hope to finish one day. I have the ending in my mind, I just got distracted.

Spirit Indestructible began as a way to write a threesome and keep it technically SPUFFY, but it turned into SO MUCH MORE. I cried SO MUCH writing it and everyone who reads it says the same. There is a HEA, so the tears turn happy, but there was a surprise character that just took over that story and I love it.

The Mortal Allies Series began as a challenge banner that had a puppy in it and it just kept going after that initial one-shot. Another opportunity to get Spuffy together so much sooner, but also SUCH A SLOW BURN. But I’m really happy with it so far and will come back to it and get more doggie adventures.

Probably the hardest of all stories for me to write are one-shots. Condensing a story into 15k words and getting in a HFN is sooo hard for me. All of my one-shots started off with at least 3 chapters and I had to rip them to the bare bones, slash my heart to shreds, and die a little with every cut, to get it down to a one-shot.


As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

There are so many things about the show that make us all crazy. Inconsistencies, characters that we hate, characters we love doing things we hate, characters NOT doing things they should clearly do… So what would I change?

NOTHING.

There is a reason this fandom is still so alive and active, why we are, after 20+ years, still FIXING things, expanding things, explaining things. Canon was frustrating and annoying and drove us MAD, but all that is the perfect storm to create the ongoing love for SPUFFY fanfic and for these flawed characters. All the things we pick apart in canon just open up so many different sandboxes for us to play in.

Woot! Thank you, Passion4Spike! So much!

__________---<---@_______

Next up we have our Commenter: MaggieLaFey!!

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I know I've told this story already, but here we go again  I remember knowing very very vaguely about BtVS, but I never liked vampires in general and used to be a bit of a misogynistic little ass, so the idea of a blond girl killing vampires did absolutely nothing for me. Then I discovered Firefly, also by Whedon, and fell in LOVE with it. So I had to give this weird vampire-whatever show a try, after that masterpiece... and the rest is history!

As for fanfics, I've been reading them since I discovered they existed, so I don't actually remember at all my beginnings as a BtVS/Spuffy reader, because it came completely naturally to me to read fics once I finished the show!

What motivates you to leave comments?

Several things, actually. There's the fact that I know first-hand how even a teeny tiny comment of a few words can make the author smile, if not make them really happy. There's also the fact that I like gushing, like, I really like gushing haha so sometimes I just love saying what I love about stuff! And also, and this is, I'll admit, quite selfish of me, sometimes I really just want to read/see more of a WIP/an author's work  and what better way to get more of my precious drug than pay it with compliments and gushing? It seems to work, and if it doesn't, I'll have given an author a smile, hopefully. Win win ;)

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

Against all my expectations from a few years ago, I also write, yes. Currently much less than I used to because I'm, shall we say, hiding from my real life much less than I used to haha. But I hope I'll still manage to find some writing time here and there for a long while!

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

My memory sucks and I don't honestly remember haha. I think for sure there must've been some lurking at the beginning. Probably. Yes? Maybe I didn't feel comfortable leaving comments before I felt I had a bit more of a grasp of the community behind this fandom. But I honestly wish I did remember!

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

What an interesting question, to me. It used to be very, very important to me; not necessarily to receive a thought-out, or even personal response, but to just know, even simply through ANs in the chapter, that my (and all commenters') words were appreciated. What I've realised in the meantime is that really, the thing I don't like is the feeling of being ignored/talking to a wall. That has more to do with me and my personal hangups than with fanfic writers themselves, though; and now I generally care less about not receiving responses, because it doesn't make me feel ignored as easily, and thus I dislike it less.

All of that said, I think we can't ignore the fact that engagement begets engagement. Yes, sometimes I am SO engaged with a story/artwork, it doesn't matter whether the author responds or not, I'll keep gushing. Other times though, especially with WIPs, if the author starts having conversations with me, engages with me, even just through catch-all ANs, I'll naturally feel more engaged, more willing to spend time and energy to find and write words to express that engagement. I hope that makes sense!

Thank you so so much, MaggieLaFey! We appreciate it! 

There you have it, guys! We hope you enjoyed the interviews this month as much as we did! 

Happy creating, y'all! 
Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling



--Chelle on 02/04/24 07:04 pm 13 Comments

Hey, all!

Just a quick update to let you know that all Top Commenters for January (writing 15 comments containing 15 or more words) will be eligible to submit a prompt for the Short & Spuffy drabble event in March. Yes, drabbles are returning for our next event! And so is the infamous Wheel. So

And get commenting!

Much love!  



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 01/08/24 03:18 pm 13 Comments










 

January not only brings a brand new year of possibilities but also brand new Scoobies of the Month! We are so proud to bring you interviews with:

Our awesome January Author of the Month: ClowniestLivEver

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

One day, I decided I wanted to read Spuffy fanfic because some friends in a different server liked them. Then I started watching the show. Still haven't finished it after all this time, but I've gotten through quite a few episodes.

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I live my life and then bunnies pop into my head. Sometimes other people have bunnies that get me thinking. Sometimes I come up with a scene or scenario I want Spuffy in and then I write that. And of course, challenges. I love challenges. Long story short, I get inspired by so, so many things, and never have enough time in the day to write all the stories I want to.

Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Buffy. She's my favorite character in the entire Buffyverse. I love her personality, her way of speaking, her internal narration. I especially love writing her when she's more violent or darker. I love intense moments, and I love an intense Buffy, and most of all I love an intense villain death. But yeah, Buffy is my favorite and will probably always be my favorite to write.

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

I'm very proud of Twice Broken, Thrice Burnt. It ended up being 91k, and I was blown away by the fact I wrote that many words for one story. There aren't a lot of stories that were hard to write. There were some I needed breaks from writing due to overexposure, but there aren't any stories that have been particularly hard to do. The closest I can get is a story that I haven't crossposted on any archives yet, even though I would like to. It was my chapter for the EF Exquisite Corpse. I did have trouble writing that one due to some good old depression.

As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

Oh, where do I start? Giles' character assassination for one. If you need to get him out of the story, there are better ways to do that than him abandoning his daughter figure while she's going through a deep depression. Xander and Willow facing consequences, and not just expecting Buffy to fix things. Buffy can't be expected to ignore her feelings because her friends want things to go back to "normal." Seeing Red definitely, both the infamous scene and Tara's death. Seriously, we already buried Larry, we can't bury another gay! Replacing Andrew in season 7 with Jonathan. Look, Jonathan being around in season 7 and then dying to protect Anya would've worked so much better in my opinion, especially with his character arc over the entire series being that he wants to be someone important. Have him learn from his terrible actions and sacrifice himself for someone else, letting everything culminate into one last selfless act. Am I allowed to get rid of Riley entirely? I'm just kidding, but I would've preferred him to be a lot more interesting and also face consequences instead of his bad actions being justified. Okay, sorry, got a little wordy there. For specifically Spuffy, I would give them more interactions during the season 4 era. And I'd include Spike in season 3 as the Scoobies' wet cat friend drunk out of his mind and heartbroken as he goes on a hunt for the Gem of Amara and tries to get his evil groove back. 

Thank you, Liv! 

And our wonderful Commenter of the Month is: Tessa

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I was in high school when the show aired, I must have been around 14 years old and was a Bangel shipper through and through. When Angel left the show, poor teen-me felt devastated and I stopped watching mid-season 4 in the late 90’s and I sadly missed out on all the Spuffy. My siblings were gushing over Spike and I was NOT interested in him haha. So stubborn teen-me never gave him a chance. 

The show was a huge hit in my country and most kids my age watched it and we’d all talk about it in school. I’d print out images of Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz to decorate my school planner and I still have those old planners, it’s so much fun to see how much young me enjoyed the show. 

Late January 2022 I found out the show was available on Disney Plus and I persuaded my partner to watch it with me. He’d also seen the show when it aired and for both of us, it was nostalgia of our teenage years. This time, when Spike was introduced I immediately loved his character and his chemistry with Buffy. I love the bickering, the UST, and the complexity of the characters. 

After Chosen, I wanted and craved more and an offline friend told me she read fanfic when the show aired. I’d never heard of it before. One Google search later and I got very invested in my first long story I found over at AO3 which led me to EF and SAD. 

 What motivates you to leave comments? 

I started lurking over at EF without an account for a few months, devouring all the workplace-friendly stories and I finally decided to try NC-17. I seemed to be missing out on a LOT. I guess this is the sole reason why most of us end up with an account. 

I checked my EF profile for this interview and my first ever comment was to MaggieLaFey! With an awful misspelling of the word ‘sharing’. Joining this fandom has definitely improved my English vocabulary and grammar. 

I wanted to encourage writers and let them know how much I appreciate their love for Spuffy and how they give us the most amazing stories for free in their spare time. It’s even nostalgic to read my first comments and to find out I am now friends with those amazing authors! Yes, scratchmeout, you’re one of those first authors I left my first comments to, our friendship was meant to be. I could have never guessed these amazing friendships would happen when I first started leaving comments to anonymous people on the internet. 

So much has changed for me in the past year, I got to know the most awesome people and when I comment now, it feels like I’m hanging out with my friends cheering them on, on their Spuffy and writing journey. Of course, I still comment on stories of authors who are new or who I don’t know yet. Commenting is such an easy and fun way to connect to others in this fandom. 

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader? 

I also write! I did not plan this at all. I’d never written anything before the Sunnydale After Dark drabble event in March 2023. I remember freaking out over the pressure I put on myself of wanting to deliver something good and funny and sexy and getting so stressed. I almost gave up because of how much I was pressuring myself to write something perfect. When I let go of this, I felt free to just have fun and write what I wanted to read myself instead of trying to please others. That’s when the fun really started for me as a writer. 

Being an author myself now, I really value when people take time to leave me a comment or a like. It’s not my main motivation to write, I mostly write to make myself laugh. I fell in love with knitting Spike and his group of knitting poker demons and I can’t stop writing them. I find so much joy in writing all dialogue established post-series, bickering Spuffy. It's my happy place in this fandom. 

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

Yes, I definitely was a lurker for quite some time. I started lurking without an account in March 2022, subscribed in May 2022 and left my first comment in July that same year. 

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

I always appreciate it when an author responds to my comment but I don’t get upset when they don’t. There are so many reasons for people not being able to do so, which I understand. I just hope my comments and likes will give them encouragement as I try to point out the part of the story that spoke to me or made me laugh or cry. 

Thank you so much, Tessa! 

We hope all of you are enjoying this brand new year. Let's make 2024 the biggest YEAR OF SPUFFY yet, y'all! <3

All the best,
Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling

 



--Chelle, Dusty, Get It Done, Grief Counseling on 01/02/24 11:01 pm 7 Comments

Happy New Year, Sunnydale After Dark!

We hope everyone had a blast with 2023’s ‘Tis The Season Event and had a chance to read some, if not all one hundred and one gift submissions! 

You read that right… 101 gifts!

We admins were so amazed by the love you all shared that GC created an additional award. We didn’t want it to be a competition, which is why we were secretive little elves about the Spuffy Santa Award, an award to the member who generously gave the most gifts for this event. Everyone who participated was generous, but we were a little floored by this particular member’s holiday spirit for giving out stories to sixteen lucky members! YOWZA-WOWZA!

Congratulations to honeygirl51885! You are one big-hearted Spuffy Santa!

And to everyone who participated, your artist, author, and beta awards are now posted! 

The comment scavenger hunt awards will be posted this week after the holiday winds down, so be on the lookout for the bronze, silver, and gold awards to grace your profiles if you submitted your forms in time. We’ll make an announcement in the Scooby Chat once they’re all posted.

It cannot go without mentioning another part of this event that members took into their own hands and created something magical. SAD Members all_choseny and Dynamite rallied together on Discord in secret to create The Merry Month of Magnus. Magnus374 has been such a huge supporter of Spuffy fanfic for years, and the thoughtfulness that went into giving him a gift every single day of the month was truly remarkable. Claire made a gorgeous banner for everyone to use, too, complete with author names and dates to keep everything organized! The talent, love, and holiday spirit you all shared was an event of its own. 

That’s what it’s all about, guys. This turned out to be one of the best events ever!

From the absolute bottom of our holiday hearts, thank you for making this community so special and full of joy. Let’s all say goodbye to a wonderful 2023, and look forward to an amazing 2024!



--Grief Counseling, Dusty, Chelle, GetItDone on 01/01/24 02:12 pm 9 Comments

We are so happy to bring you the December interviews with our Scoobies of the Month:

First up is Dynamite as our author: 

This interview has been withdrawn to protect Dynamite's privacy.

____

And now it's time for Pet35 to take the mic as our commenter: 

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

The first episode I watched was "smashed", so, obviously, I got hooked. I was 20 years old and going through my first breakup, and Buffy became a lifesaver to get my mind out of things. I didn't have internet or cable tv or anything like that back then, so I had to buy the DVDs to know what the story between Buffy and Spike came from. I remember having to ask my little sister for money and we still share the ownership of the DVDs because, of course, she loved them too. 

As for fanfic, it's a little shameful, but I didn't know what fanfic was until 2020, during lockdown. I started rewatching my favorite shows and when I finished Buffy I wanted to know if something else had happened. That's when I found out about Spike resurrecting in Angel (maybe that's why I love reunion fics so much, it took me years to find out Spike wasn't dead haha), the comics, and fanfiction. With everything that was going on around in the world, I found a huge comfort in fanfic, it helped me a lot to take my mind off things during my pregnancy. 

What motivates you to leave comments?

It's the best way I have to say 'thank you' to the authors for sharing their works and letting them know how much I'm liking their stories. Also (as many of the wonderful writers here already know...), sometimes when I read a story I just feel the need to talk to the characters and I do so through comments. Yep, sounds crazy, but writer's replies always made me feel safe to express myself however I needed.

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I've written a few things, and I wish I had the time to write more and participate in events, hopefully, I will, but, for now, I'm mostly a reader. 

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

Oh yes, I was a lurker! I didn't believe people would care about what I had to say and, I have to admit, I was very shy too! But then, I realized how much comments and likes mean to the authors and I try to leave them every time, sometimes I think that I leave too many hahaha and, other times, I don't leave them because I'm so eager to click 'next' and continue reading that I forget!

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

I have left comments in very old stories that I know won't get an answer, but I do it anyway because you never know if maybe the author still gets them and likes to, or because I just can't help myself! But I do love to get a reply. I think it's awesome to have that opportunity to talk to the writers about their works, discuss their work, or just simply let them know what a great time you are having with their story. Also, getting replies has ended up in great conversations with the amazing members of this community.

I just have to thank you all for being part of such a creative, supportive and welcoming bunch of crazy spuffy lovers, and, of course, huge thanks to the Mods for making it possible. Oh! and congrats to my co-SotM Dynamite!   

____

Massive congrats to you both, Dynamite and Pet335! And a big ol' HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone at SAD! We're so happy to have you all here!!

Thanks for everything you all do to make this place so special!
--Chelle, Dusty, GetItDone, and GriefCounseling






--Chelle on 12/06/23 04:21 am 27 Comments

Good Tidings to ALL! ‘Tis The Season has finally arrived! 

This year our holiday event is centered on gift giving, and we know there’s no one we'd rather thank more than the authors and artists who have spent countless hours sharing their work with us. To show our appreciation, we’re issuing 12 Days of Commenting Challenges! Simply read and leave comments on fics (and art) as described below. You can use this form to track the comments you’ve left. (The link above will prompt you to make a copy of a Google Doc. If you don’t use Google Docs regularly, feel free to access it in PDF format here.) Submit it back to us by December 31st and earn one of three commenting awards! 

  • Bronze: At least four ‘days’ of challenges

  • Silver: At least eight ‘days’ of challenges

  • Gold: All twelve ‘days’ of challenges

(Note: Because some of the challenges incorporate multiple comments, there are actually 16 comments to leave over 12 days.)

Most of the logistical details are included in the first page of the comment tracking form linked above, so I won’t bore you with them here. You can send/share your form with sunnydaleafterdark98@gmail.com when it’s completed; if you’re having trouble with this process please reach out to GetItDone through the site admin email, site PM or Discord PM.

We strongly encourage you to discuss these challenges and use them as an opportunity to share recommendations with each other! We’ll be setting up Discord threads for each challenge, or you can use the Chat on the home page!

 

More good news! The incomparable Grief Counseling has gifted all of us with a brand new ’Tis the Season skin, now available! And the incredible Girlytek and bookishy have gifted the community with a new themed holiday drink menu as well! We are truly spoiled around here.

 

Finally, we’d also like to use this month to highlight a new feature at Sunnydale After Dark: The gift-giving feature! This feature is here to stay, but anyone who gifts a fic or art to another SAD member in the month of December will also earn an award! Be sure to check the event box when publishing. Credited artists and betas will receive an award, too! 

 

So now, without further adieu… I bring you the 12 Days of Commenting:

On the first day of commenting, my SADmins said to me… pick an All Human fic and leave some cheery words of glee.

On the second day of commenting, the SADmins encouraged us… to find a story with no comments and leave it lots of love (three if you please!).

On the third day of commenting, our SADmins told us to adore… a story by an author you’ve never read before.

On the fourth day of commenting, my SADmins said to go… read a Something Blue fic and let that author know.

On the fifth day of commenting, those SADmins said to find… a story where Spike and Buffy use some tech to share their minds (texting, the internet, etc).

On the sixth day of commenting, the SADmins said to try … finding a fic where lots of magic goes awry.

On the seventh day of commenting, SADmins said, “Don’t wait … rush on out and find a fic where Buffy and Spike go on a date!

On the eighth day of commenting, your SADmins want you to comply… go and find a fic that makes you laugh but also cry.

On the ninth day of commenting, your SADmins did pester… and send you off to find a fic with a big romantic gesture.

On the tenth day of commenting, your SADmins said, “Don’t dally! Go find a fic that happens at least ten years post finale!”

On the eleventh day of commenting your SADmins said to ye, find some art that when you see… one makes you feel nostalgic, another tugs your heart, the final one is scorching hot or maybe just flirty.

On the twelfth day of commenting, your SADmins want you to savor it. Go find a fic that’s on one of your favorite author’s favorites.

 

Happy Commenting!!



--GetItDone, Dusty, Chelle & Grief Counseling on 12/01/23 01:53 am 9 Comments

Hello, lovelies!

We wanted to draw your attention to a few new features we've rolled out recently thanks to the great and mighty D'Hoffryn who continues to make all our archive dreams come true!

As we mentioned in our 'Tis The Season event post, everyone now has the ability to "gift" a fic to any member of Sunnydale After Dark. The giftee will receive an email notification when a new story is gifted to them. Previously published stories can be updated to include a named giftee, but no email will be sent in this instance.

We've also created a way to officially credit betas (multiple if you have 'em!) and a banner artist in your Add/Edit Story page. This will officially link them to the story!

Plans for these stories to then be visible and linked in the beta or banner artist's user profile are definitely in the works, but we haven't quite gotten to that stage yet. Stay tuned!

Ginormous splendiferic thank you to D'Hoffryn for pulling all this together for us. We hope this is another step in making every member and every role feel valued!



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 11/09/23 08:41 pm 10 Comments

Art by Grief Counseling

What to your wondering eyes should appear, but a new SAD event full of good cheer!

‘Tis the season for giving! Here are the deets on this year’s two part holiday event.

We really want all our members to feel like they can be a part of the event this year because this community isn’t a community without celebrating and supporting each other. So the first part of this event will be a commenting challenge. 

We will unveil the “12 Days of Commenting” challenge on December 1. Think of it as a fic scavenger hunt where you will comment along the way on all the treasures you’ve found! All 12 days will be revealed at once so that everyone can fit the fun into their holiday schedule on their terms. We will have a chart for participants to share and record their progress as they explore the challenge. Members who complete all the challenges will receive a special award! More details to come on December 1.

Writers and artists, we know you also want to create. So, in the spirit of giving, we ask that you create something new for a special someone of your choosing. Maybe that person is a commenter who always inspires you and makes you smile. Maybe it’s a beloved beta who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for their hard work. Maybe it’s another writer who talked you through your writer’s block this summer. Whoever it is, make it meaningful to the two of you! 

Your creations do not need to be holiday themed, but if you need inspiration, Grief Counseling has put together a fresh seasonal prompt list to stoke the fires of your imagination:

1. Unwrapped
2. Festival of Lights
3. Down My Chimney
4. Stockings
5. Under the Mistletoe
6. Last-Minute Shopping
7. Mittens, Mittens, Mittens
8. Red-Nosed
9. Holiday Hell
10. Nine Candles
11. Blanket of Snow
12. Crackling Fireplace
13. Winter SOULstice
14. Spike the Eggnog
15. Ugly Sweater
16. I Saw Buffy Kissing Santa Claus
17. Sleigh Ride
18. The Gift that Keeps on Giving
19. Bah Humbug
20. Baby It’s Cold Outside

D’Hoffryn has been hard at work developing a new site gifting functionality. Now, when you create a new story, you have the option to gift it to a fellow member of Sunnydale After Dark! You’ll find this new feature in the Add New Story page. Recipients will automatically receive an email alert notifying them that they’ve received a gift when your new story is posted. (You can also edit past stories to name a gift recipient, but they will not receive an email notification for this.)

Your giftee will appear along with all your other story’s info:

Anyone who gifts a fic during December should check the ‘Tis the Season event box in order to receive an award and be listed on the event page. Credited betas and artists will also receive an award.

Lastly but not leastly (yes, this post is A LOT!), we are excited to announce the return of the holiday party on Discord! We will post in the 'Tis The Season event channel a few proposed times for our winter bash and let the community vote on their preferred time. Expect a lot of chatting, a return of last year’s delightful (and optional) Spuffy themed drink menu, and perhaps a few surprises!

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to one of the admins!

Cheers!



--Dusty, GetItDone, Chelle, and Grief Counseling on 11/07/23 03:20 pm 12 Comments


We are pleased to bring you our interviews with the November Scoobies of the Month! Can you believe it's already November? This year has flown by!

Congrats to our author of the month: all_choseny

Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I started watching Buffy when it first aired. I was sixteen at the time. I look back and laugh now because my little sister showed me the promo, and I remember thinking, "This is so dark. Why is the show so dark?" I was a fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, and the show seemed so different. It was different but in a good way! I'm glad I gave it a chance despite my initial reservations. I'm still a fan of the movie; it will always hold a special place in the part of my heart that loves camp. However, the show got me through my teenage years, and it still resonates with me today. 

I got into the world of fanfiction right after this little social media site called Myspace imploded. I used to roleplay on Myspace as several characters in the Buffyverse, including Buffy, Kendra, Anya, Darla, and Cordelia. I also had several original characters. Eventually, Myspace started purging accounts that were considered in violation of their policy, and you guessed it, RPG accounts were the first to go. I migrated over to LiveJournal but learned the platform was too hard to continue roleplaying on. That's how I discovered fanfiction. I started reading fanfiction and thought, "Wait, I can write a whole story by myself without having to wait for someone to comment back to me to continue the story!" And that's how I got into fanfiction. In 2010 I went on a nine-year hiatus from fanfiction and the fandom, and returned in 2019 when the writing bug bit me again, and the rest is history. 


Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I find inspiration for my stories from all kinds of things. Sometimes, I might hear a song that reminds me of a character. Other times, I'll watch a movie, and the plot seems interesting enough to put my own spin on it. I definitely find inspiration from books and literature. Conversations with other people who are part of the fandom might inspire me as well. I've even had dreams that have inspired my stories. 


Who is your favorite character to write and why?

My favorite character to write hands down is Buffy. However, lately, Harmony has had quite a few cameos in my fics, and she is a hoot to write. 

I think I like writing Buffy the most because I grew up with her. We were in high school at the same time. We were freshmen in college together. Buffy feels like someone I've known my whole life, and I think I have a decent handle on her character, which makes her fun to write.

Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?

It's hard to choose, but I'd say the story I am most proud of right now is A Marriage Of Inconvenience. It's a Spuffy Regency Romance, and it is only my second all-human fic (I took down my unfinished WIP of the other AH). Not only is it all human, it's historical fiction, so I had to do a bit of research for it and strike a balance between authenticity and accessibility. I also finished that story in about 20 days, writing and posting a chapter a day. That was a huge first for me. 

The story that has been the hardest to write is my Chosen One series. I am basically rewriting the Buffyverse starting pre-series. In this fic, I've brought Buffy into the 2010s. Reimagining the Buffyverse and striking a balance between familiarity and freshness is a challenge. I often find myself getting discouraged while writing it, but I will continue to keep pushing until this story is complete. 


As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?

I definitely would have changed the circumstances around the reason Spike wanted to get his soul. I hate that episode that I will not name. I think it could have been done differently without the violence. I also think it was out of character. 

I would also change the ending of the series and not have Spike "die" in "Chosen." He could have gotten out of that cave. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it! 

_____

And another congrats to our commenter of the month: Double Dutchess


Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.

I never caught the show when it was on TV, but in 2008 a friend recommended it to me (he'd been rewatching the episodes with his wife). That year I found myself at home with what I then thought was a burnout, and I remembered the recommendation. I asked the Season 1 DVD set for my birthday, and the rest is history. I enjoyed the first season, and after that I got all the DVD sets one by one. I was working only half days at the time, and I could afford the time to watch around 3 episodes a day -- the closest to binge watching anything I've ever come! After finishing Buffy I went on to watching Angel, and then reading the comics as I was hungry for more content. I didn't really get into Buffy Season 8, but I loved After the Fall a.k.a. Angel Season 6. And, in my search for more Buffyverse content online I inevitably came across fanfic. I devoured the stories on All About Spike, but also on writers' own websites, LJ etc. I still happily re-read the classic stories I discovered then, mixed with the new stories that get published every day. It's so great that people are still producing lots of new fannish content for a 25+ years old show to this day!

What motivates you to leave comments?

I like to show appreciation for the people who put in the time and effort to create the content I just consumed for free. As a creator myself, I know how nice it is to hear from people who enjoyed the things you made. 

Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?

I don't write, but I like to make fan art, such as banners, and fanvids. With vids you can also tell a story, just not through writing but by combining video images with words from others (song lyrics). Or just by combining video images in  new ways, in case of an instrumental piece. I'm glad that SAD opened up the possibility for artists to post their work as well, and I'm very slowly bringing over the things I've made over the years (at least the Spuffy-oriented portion of my creations). I try to make banners for whatever I'm posting, which means I still get the fun of making something new in the process of posting something old. 

Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?

Oh, I was a total lurker for several years. It wasn't until I became active in fandom communities such as BuffyTube and LiveJournal, where people actually created things in addition to just discussing the shows, that the thought of leaving comments even occurred to me. This also coincided with getting active as a creator myself. This taught me the joy of being on the receiving side of comments, and that was also a motivation to leave my own, as I mentioned in answer to one of the previous questions.

Nowadays I try to leave comments on everything I read, at least on websites where I have an account. That said, I do still lurk a lot (in the more general sense) in several fannish spaces. This is because I can't handle being active in too many places at the same time, but I'm still curious about what's going on elsewhere! Fortunately, being a Sunnydale Herald editor fits in perfectly with these lurker tendencies :-)

How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?

It's nice, because it makes commenting feel more interactive and less like you're leaving a review. That said, it's no problem at all if there is no reply. I don't tend to remember exactly what I commented on anyway, so I usually don't even notice it if the creator doesn't reply, and it comes as a nice surprise if they do.

Thank you both and again and many congrats! You guys deserve it!
Chelle, Dusty, Get It Done, and Grief Counseling



--Chelle, Dusty, Get It Done, Grief Counseling on 11/05/23 02:06 pm 9 Comments

Greetings, Spuffy fam!

We’d like to pop in and let everyone know we’ve added another admin to the Sunnydale After Dark team. Everyone please welcome Grief Counseling! (AND wish her a very happy birthday! )

She really needs no introduction as she’s been a fixture in the Spuffy fic community for so many years. We all know her as an incredible writer and artist, but she’s also been instrumental in developing this archive. Grief Counseling is the creator of all our adorable site emojis. She’s designed graphics and skins for us (check out her latest, Scarlet Night!). She’s helped us troubleshoot issues and brainstorm events and, in general, been one of our loudest, proudest cheerleaders. We love her to pieces! 

We’re so thankful she’s agreed to join in and officially admin with us! We’re also thankful for this kind community full of people who always seem to step up and support each other. Keep cheering each other on!

Much love. 



--Dusty, GetItDone, and Chelle on 10/17/23 08:45 pm 23 Comments


October 2023

We are so happy to share the interviews with our Scoobies of the Month! You’ll notice that there’s a bit of a change. We’re trying out new questions, five each. Let us know what you guys think and please feel free to comment if there are questions you feel we didn’t cover.

Author of the Month for October 2023: Ginger

1) Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.
Oh dear, what a question to ask the elderly! ;-)

I was an adult when Buffy premiered, living that gig-economy life back before all the cool kids were doing it while attending grad school, so my schedule was so erratic that I barely watched episodic TV. Just happened to be home one night and caught The Puppet Show. Yeah, I know, Season 1, but I laughed SO HARD because it evoked tragicomic moments from my years as a theater kid. Caught up with the rest, or most of it anyway, in summer reruns. Anyone remember those? The moment I became enthralled, however, was in late September when a certain bottle blond strutted onto the screen and into my heart, forever apparently. A decade and a half earlier I had battled my way to the front row at a Billy Idol concert - oh, general admission, those were the days - to get a close-up look at his loveliness and can confirm all these years later that it was totally worth it. I was really into music growing up, did the college DJ thing, went to a ton of shows, including at CBGB (and used their infamous bathrooms so I’m pretty sure that I’m now immune to everything and possibly also immortal). In other words, Spike was all but laboratory-grown to appeal to me, and if such a creature existed IRL I’d have never survived past college. Then there was the SMG/JM chemistry and, well, anyone reading this understands that.

By 2000, my life had changed due to a high-pressure job and a lot of work travel. To avoid becoming a very dull girl, I actively joined a much smaller fandom for a more conventional, less impactful, now largely forgotten show that had a compelling ship - my first fandom rodeo. While active elsewhere, I was lurking in the Buffyverse, convinced that I would never write Buffy fic because I didn't presume to have anything to offer, but I read and enjoyed my fair share of Spuffy works and would occasionally be a fly on the wall on the boards. Then Buffy ended. And Angel ended. I was bereft at the idea of never seeing Buffy and/or Spike onscreen again so I just stopped engaging with the fandom. Life intervened and I dropped out of my active, though increasingly moribund, fandom a couple years after that. 

Every so often, I’d think about the Buffyverse in general, and Buffy and Spike in particular, and hunt for an old favorite fic to reread - something from one of the old-school greats like Nautibitz or Herself. I guess Buffy and Spike as an idea never really left me. Fast forward a decade and a half to early 2019; I was homebound over a winter holiday weekend with a raging sinus infection and sprained MCL. Something, I have no idea what, compelled me to Google Spuffy fan fiction to see what if anything was new and, well, there were definitely things! I dove in headfirst and when I finally came up for air, God help me, I had story ideas and commenced doing what I’d sworn I never would. What can I say, Spike tends to have that effect on women.

2) Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
All kinds of things. Sometimes it starts with hearing a character speak a line of dialogue in my head - and yes, I am aware that there is medication for that. It can start with a single image coming to mind. I’ve used fic to explore philosophical quandaries raised by the canon or even issues from the wider world that are on my mind. Sometimes a piece of music or art, or a place I’ve been to, can get the old synapses firing. My current fic is basically a way to relive a wonderful trip my partner and I took at the end of last year. Another passion of mine is travel, so I enjoy putting Buffy in places I’ve visited and loved. After years on the Hellmouth, I think she’s earned it. My favorite, most treasured inspirations come from my fandom buds, growing out of passionate, often hilarious conversations.

3) Who is your favorite character to write and why?
While I obviously adore Spike, I’ve never lost sight of whose show it was. I’m ride or die for a Buffy who survived the Hellmouth to grow and thrive in the adulthood she never thought she'd have, despite the trauma of having been for all practical purposes a child soldier. I also find other relationships (besides the obvious one) satisfying to explore like, for example, how Buffy and Dawn’s sibling relationship might grow and deepen outside of a daily life marred by near-constant crisis and turmoil.

4) Which story of yours are you most proud of and which was the hardest to write?
A couple years ago, I wrote a short character study of William/Spike across time. It was a challenge writing pre-soul, unrepentantly evil Spike because I mostly write post-canon, but it was more fun than I thought it would be once I got going. Even back in his Big Bad days he was multidimensional, which is a big reason I fell so hard, so fast. (His eyes and cheekbones vie for a close second… and this was all before we saw him in any state of undress.) Proudest? Hard to say. I’m always gratified when I manage to crack myself up. In the first Spuffy fic I ever wrote, Buffy has a harrowing experience at her 20th HS reunion. I channeled into it all my feelings about having to spend one more minute of my life with most of the people with whom I went to HS. Rereading it recently, it rings true to me. If HS was hell for most of us, aren’t we likely to bring a little hell with us to a reunion?

5) As a writer, what would you have changed on the show and why?
I’m driven crazy by the usual offenses - we all know what they are - but instead of pondering rewrites or fix-its, which I don’t think I’d be very good at, my approach to those derptacular fails is for the characters to reflect on and deal with them in retrospect. That being said, I’m good to never have to sit through Where the Wild Things Are again. Seriously, for life. I will also always regret that there was no Buffy and Spike scene in Hush, even if I believe it was a sound tactical move on the part of the showrunners. If SMG/JM had to communicate nonverbally on the heels of Something Blue, the resulting blue-flame hotness would have made their job of trying to force feed us the sh*t sandwich of Buffy and Riley even harder.

Commenter of the Month for October 2023: All4Spike

Oh wow! Thank you for the honour!

1) Tell us how you got into Buffy the show and Buffy fanfic.
I found Buffy at the beginning of S2 during the first showing in the UK. Every time my daughter phoned me, she could speak of little else, so I decided I had to watch it so I could understand what and who she was raving about. I was a bit doubtful at first, (that weird title, you know?) but was well and truly hooked from the moment Spike ran down the Sunnydale sign.

I didn't know fanfic even existed until after both Buffy and Angel had finished. I then came across All About Spike by a sheer fluke typo in a search engine and dived down the rabbit hole. Finally, I decided I needed to 'fix things' for Spike in my own way, and the seemingly interminable Coincidences series was born.

2) What motivates you to leave comments?
I comment, because I appreciated so much the readers' feedback as I wrote Coincidences. Every word meant the world to me, and let me know that a) I wasn't crazy, and b) that despite my initial writing inexperience, and inevitable whoopsies, people were willing to give up their time to follow my meandering storylines. I'm trying to pay forward that encouragement, and sense of accomplishment.

 
3) Do you also write or are you strictly a reader?
I write when I have a story to tell. Sadly, the muse went into hiding recently, leaving me with the first draft of three and a half chapters of a potential story, before she/he absconded. Wish me luck! 


4) Were you a lurker before you started leaving comments or did you comment right away?
I lurked before I started writing. After I posted my first chapter, it hit me how much the readers' comments meant to me, and after that, I've always tried to find something positive to say, so that more chapters would appear more quickly!


5) How important is it to receive a reply from the writer when you leave a comment?
I never expect it, I'd rather an author focused their time on writing more stories, but I love it when I do receive a reply.




A hearty round of applause for these two amazing members! Thank you both for taking the time to participate in the interview and for giving us such awesome answers. As always, we appreciate everything you (yes you!)  bring to this community. You guys give us daily reminders of why we’re here.

Until next time!
-- Chelle, Dusty, and GetItDone



--Chelle, Dusty, and GetItDone on 10/02/23 04:00 pm 4 Comments

Greetings, After Dark-ers! Can you believe it’s October already?!?

There’s a lot happening here at Sunnydale After Dark! First, we wrapped up our Spooky September event this weekend. You all have graced us with 30 new works for our site, including a mix of one shots, chaptered fics, art work, videos and drabbles. Awards have been distributed to 18 artists, 25 authors, 13 betas and 23 commenters. A huge thank you to Double Dutchess for designing our Spooky September awards - Look at these pretties!


Since October is still spooky season, you’ll see our Spooky September fics cycling in place of the ‘Stories that Slay’ this month. Be sure to check them out and leave our participants some love. Thank you to everyone who contributed! 

Secondly, we have some site updates to share with you! D’Hoffryn has been busy as usual. Under Browse → Events you’ll now see a more visually appealing ‘Events’ page highlighting the banners from our past events. These banners are clickable and will take you to a listing of all the past event fics. Enjoy this walk down memory lane! 

We’ve also added a much-requested category to the site - META-ANALYSIS! If you’ve written any sort of meta-exploration of Spuffy as a couple, feel free to post it under ‘Essay (Spuffy)’. If you’d like to share analysis of any other individual characters or themes of BtVS, these can be posted under ‘Essay (BtVS)’. 

**Seeing as how we are a Spuffy site, please keep any ship analysis focused on Spuffy only.

Finally, we must bring you one bit of bad news… One of Sunnydale After Dark’s founders, sandy_s, has chosen to step down from her admin role here at SAD. Sandy has done some phenomenal work here and was a critical force in launching Sunnydale After Dark and making it the place it is today. Sandy has been very passionate about her work here, but she has a very full life outside of fandom and was having a hard time keeping up with the pace here at SAD. She leaves us on good terms and we remain forever grateful for her contributions to the site. While we’ll miss her as an admin, we look forward to her continued contributions as a member of the SAD community!

 

Happy October, all! Holidays will be here before we know it… 

 



--GetItDone, Dusty & Chelle on 10/02/23 12:15 am 6 Comments

We have new Scoobies of the Month Interviews! :o) Hope you enjoy them! 

Commenter of the Month for September 2023, honeygirl51885

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I discovered Buffy while the end of season five was airing. They were showing reruns on another station and my mom and I binged seasons 1-5 that summer. I became obsessed! I read episode recaps and info. on BuffyGuide, so I’d be completely prepared for anything that could possibly happen when season six aired, but of course I wasn’t. I was flipping out when Spuffy had their kiss at the end of OMWF. Luckily, I recorded the episodes (even back in VHS days!), so I could watch it again and again.

When and why did you decide to read fanfiction for the show?

I started reading fanfiction for BtVS during the summer I binged the series, so that would be 2001. Even though I was watching the show non-stop, I couldn’t get enough and started searching for more. I don’t really remember what all I read back then, since it was twenty plus years ago, but I do remember being on a Spuffy site called the Bloody Awful Sandbox. That and fanfiction.net were my go to for stories.

When I came back to the show during the pandemic, I ventured onto fanfiction.net again because that was familiar to me. I then found Elysian Fields and that opened up a whole new world to just Spuffy fic. When SAD launched, I immediately joined, knowing it would be another lovely Spuffy-only haven.

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

When I first started watching Buffy, there were already five seasons in existence and Angel had his own show. I knew Bangel wasn’t end game, so I never really got invested in that ship at all. When Spike and Dru came to town, I fell in love with them. I just adore how he loves with his whole heart, even as a soulless demon.

I also knew that he had rejoined the cast as a permanent character in S4 (well, as permanent as you can be on Buffy). That made me really focus on him and I couldn’t get enough, especially when he and Buffy had scenes together. Even when they’re trying to kill each other, they’re mesmerizing.

Buffy is my favorite character on the show. She has her flaws and there are definitely times where you want to scream at your TV when she makes silly decisions, but she’s human and she’s trying her best. You can see that in every episode and SMG is able to give her such strength and vulnerability in her portrayal. You never have to wonder if Buffy is just phoning it in, because she gives 110% every day.

Spike is the character that really makes the show stand out for me. He has some of the best lines in the series and JM took that character above and beyond I think what anyone had imagined for him. I seriously could not picture anyone else standing beneath Buffy’s tree smoking a cigarette and think it was sweet rather than insanely creepy!

When Buffy and Spike are together, that is just TV gold for me. Sometimes on re-watches, I’ll skip through scenes just to get to them. I really appreciate how much these two have been through in the series and I think their journey together is one of the best relationship arcs I’ve seen. I remember watching S7 when it aired and was just waiting for Spuffy to get together, then being disappointed when they didn’t even get a kiss. Now, being a lot older, I truly love S7 and think that it was the healthiest and best relationship either of them had ever had, hands down. And that’s why I love post-series fanfic. I want to see that relationship grow into what we all know it could have been if we had more seasons.

What words of advice would you give other fans who comment or are considering maybe commenting on fanfiction?

I was a lurker for the longest time. I never left comments back in the day, and when I returned to fandom, I didn’t start commenting until March 9, 2021. I had read some truly amazing stories, but I had just read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Twinkles, which is a smutty Spuffy poem with art. It was so amazing, I just had to let the author know. It was a super short note (Fun, festive, and beautiful!!), but that began my obsession with commenting. I now comment on every chapter of a story I read, even if the authors are no longer in fandom.

So, my advice would be just to break out of your shell and leave some love for the amazing authors whose stories we get to read…for free!  It really doesn’t matter how long your comments are, even getting a little emoji is enough to let them know that you like their work and want to see more.

From ashcrashed:

Is there a genre you enjoy reading, but wouldn’t necessarily want to write?

I’d say the historical time travel genre is one that I absolutely love reading, but I find it very intimidating to write. Now that I’ve said that, I do have a time travel piece that I’ve been sitting on for over two years, for that very reason. I do a fair amount of research when I’m writing my fics to make sure things are as accurate as possible, and with historical time travel that would be lots of research and I just haven’t had time for that. But, I do love reading Victorian William stories!

What draws you to a particular story?

If I’m being honest, the first thing I look at is the rating. I mostly go for NC-17 stories because I love my romance to eventually lead somewhere physical. But, that’s not saying that I haven’t read lots of lower rated stories that I love.

I’d say it really depends on my mood. I love a good baby/kid fic, historical time travel is always delightful as I said above, I thoroughly enjoy some AH Spuffy, post-series is definitely a favorite, I’m always looking for romance with a bit of angst lurking around, oh and I definitely need that HEA tag. I have so many stories on my bookshelf and the only common thread among them is that they’re all Spuffy!

Author of the Month for September 2023, ashcrashed

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer? 

Initially, I watched a few episodes of S1 when it first aired. I wasn't fully invested, mostly because I was only 10 years old, but I liked the show and thought Buffy was so cool. She had the flyest outfits and was funny, and that was enough for me. I missed a good chunk of s2, but I caught a few episodes here and there. I vividly remember watching School Hard and liking Spike and Drusilla. And also Kendra’s appearance. I think her death was the first time I’d ever really experienced a character’s death on a TV show (which, being 11 at the time, is understandable). But in the midst of that was the Spike and Buffy team-up in the finale, which was fun, even though I didn’t expect it at all, and was totally confused about how the hell it happened. 

I skipped around s3 too, seeing more of the back half of the season, and by the time I managed to catch up (either on summer re-airings or syndication), s4 was well underway. I didn’t start to regularly keep up with the weekly eps until S5, but thanks to FX’s consistent BtVS blocks, not to mention the Best of Buffy Thanksgiving marathons, I was locked in and keeping up regularly. It’s safe to say I grew up with the show, which is wild to think about. It was with me through my formative years, and something I felt like was a major part of my childhood, and it’s always held a special place in my heart because of that. I also gravitate more to the latter seasons of the series than the high school years. BtVS as a whole is a great show, and I do enjoy the early seasons, but I was a bit older and able to really follow the storylines with the later ones. I graduated high school the year after Buffy ended (same year AtS finished), and I pretty much left both shows behind.

When and why did you decide to write fanfiction for the show? 

During the pandemic I did an actual BtVS rewatch, my first since the show went off the air. Even with the marathons and syndication airings, I knew of and seen all the episodes but wanted to experience the seasons in a seamless watch, now as an adult. My thoughts on the show as a whole haven’t changed drastically, I just gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the things I liked, and a more seasoned way to express my thoughts and critiques. 

It’s fascinating, returning to things you loved as a kid as an older person and seeing if it still hits the same. In some ways, it did. In others, not so much. Which is what I expected.  I've always been a writer, and my stories were original character romancelandia-type stuff.  I never really engaged with fanfic in general until a few years ago, though not for BtVS.  I’d always been on the periphery of the Buffy fandom. The interactions I’d had online in various spaces over the years weren’t positive, and I figured it was best to stay within my bubble of real life friends who enjoyed the show. I hadn’t read any Buffy fanfiction until 2020, only doing so after starting the spuffygifs blog on tumblr. 

Making gifs and edits and seeing how incredibly active the fandom still was, was pretty cool. BtVS has always been popular on tumblr, but the early days were a mess. Spike and Spuffy fans were in the trenches, and it was the same old fights you’d see anywhere Buffy fans gathered online, but things had quieted down considerably. I hadn’t expected the blog to take off, or for people to be so chill and enthusiastic, but it was nice, creating that space and getting to appreciate the show and ship in a different way. I’d see fic rec lists all the time, and decided to dive in and I was blown away at just how much there was, and that people were still writing and sharing new stories. Which is amazing, especially for an older show. 

I hadn’t been writing, fanfic or otherwise, feeling a bit blah and uninspired, but going through years of stories was like a jolt. I wanted to challenge myself, to write anything, wanting to feel that excitement again about creating things with zero pressure, get back to writing just for fun and non-work reasons, and why not, for two of my all-time favorite characters? It wasn’t about satisfying a particular need to see a certain plot, at least not initially. It was more like ‘I want to do this, to see if I can do it’. So I pushed past feeling blah and dove right into writing my first fic.

Why do you love Spike and Buffy? 

I can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think I shipped them from the start. I think I just enjoyed the antics of their dynamic and the bickering between them and never thought anything of it, until 'Out of My Mind' happened (watching that live was an experience, talk about shook!). I don’t think I was for sure like ‘yeah, this is the one for me’ until 'Intervention' with the Buffybot fake-out and kiss because what a game-changing moment. And that’s the power of Spike and Buffy (and good writing, thank you Jane Espenson) because having that kind of axis-shifting honesty after an entire episode of him gettin’ busy with a Bot is wild, but they’re just that good.

They’re extremely compelling characters. It says something about just how fascinating and full-bodied they both are, that I can return to BTVS years later after putting it all aside and still love them both. And I do, separately but of course, together. I’m drawn to complex and multi-faceted characters, and while the show isn’t short on them at all, Buffy and Spike are, to me, the standouts. They are flawed and interesting and just fun. I liked them both from their very first scenes, and even when I’ve disagreed with their choices or cringed at their decisions, they’re still characters I enjoy and want to watch.

Their individual arcs are so rich and interesting. They’re both, at their respective cores, characters who feel deeply, who think too hard, and who love fiercely. They’ve been hurt, and they hurt each other. That they come out on the other side of the messiness and violence and self-hate and they’re able to grow, not for one another but because of each other, is why they’re so damn good together. 

‘The Second Love’ stories just speak to me. The idea of not being the ‘first love’, of coming into something a little bruised and jaded, and still finding a connection. You see their whole journey, from enemies to reluctant allies, to lovers, and not-quite exes, and the in-between and after. It’s not neat, nor nice, but it is honest. 

And beyond the seriousness and drama of their relationship, they’re also so deeply unserious about one another. There’s a level of comedy and antics that I appreciate about their relationship. ('embarrassing freak couple' is one of the funniest and accurate script notes to describe their relationship). They get drunk together. They crack jokes. They roast each other, they bicker, they know the other’s bullshit and call it out. They fight a lot, with each other and also fight well together. 

They’re a team, and they understand each other. And it isn’t instant or easy, but earned through their respective solo journeys and the progression of their relationship. Because there’s something so interesting and compelling about characters seeing the ugliness and vulnerability in someone else and growing to forgive and accept those parts of themselves, and loving it and one another.

Which three fanfics that you’ve written are your favorite? Why are they your favorite?

I am totally choosing fics besides Swipe Right because it’s my first one and a consistent, expected favorite and I gotta give the others some love.

“Bloom” has been a surprising recent favorite. I say ‘surprising’ because it bothered the hell out of me for so long, for no reason other than it took forever for me to hammer out the direction I wanted to take it. I knew I didn’t want to do a full season rewrite (that is far too much commitment), but worried about the story either meandering or feeling incomplete. When I finally stopped stressing over the plot, and let it write itself out, it became what it is now, and ultimately it ended right where it should have, all along. I think I was even surprised at how sweet and romantic it is, because I feel like straight-forward romances are a challenge for me, sometimes. But I’m really proud of myself, and it. 

“Big Night Out” is just fun and a little ridiculous (as all season 4 era fics should be). It’s one of my favorite seasons to write in, because the possibilities are endless. Spike and Buffy hate each other, but there’s enough canon chaos that brings them into each other’s orbit, that their animosity can easily shift into something else, and BNO totally takes advantage of that ‘what if’. Plus I love adding in the Scoobies wherever I can . And I got to write not only Buffy and Spike trapped in a phone booth and being too damn close, but also Buffy riding with Spike on a stolen motorcycle and that’s always a good time.

“Stars for Wars Like Ours” because I love post-series reunion fics. And I like the idea of the issue between them not only being the stretch of time but also physical distance, with both Buffy and Spike moving beyond Sunnydale, growing while they’re apart, and living their own lives for a bit, and how to make their feelings work in each other’s lives again. It was fun, getting to do my own world building, too. I have a sequel in the works, with an idea that I’ve been mulling over since I returned to the show and I’m excited to finally be working on it. Plus, Sandra Cisneros’ poetry is so gorgeous and the poem the title is based on is so angsty and romantic and very fitting for Spuffy.

What words of advice would you give other fans who write or want to write fanfiction? 

Write what you want to read. It seems simple enough, but I think it’s easy to get intimidated by the legacy of the fandom and the sheer number of fics already present that starting out can feel like ‘why bother’? . And sure, there might be something somewhere written by someone else with a similar idea, but it’s not your story. So write yours. Don’t feel like you need to emulate a certain style, or follow a particular trend. If you’re a 10-chapter fic writer, who struggles with consistent weekly updates (I’m calling myself out right here)  write your ten parts at a workable pace, and make them your best. I can guarantee someone out there is enjoying what you’re putting out, and is so appreciative.

From honeygirl51885:

Where do most of your ideas for stories come from? 

It really depends. But if I can make something into a one-shot or two part fic, I will absolutely take that route. It’s low commitment and I’m forced to finish it. Otherwise, I tend to take advantage of the challenges or events, because they’re a great way to kickstart the brainstorming. And then other times, I’m listening to a song or reading something and a line will stick out and I’m like, huh. That has the vibes for a good story idea. And I’ll make bullet notes that eventually morph into a plot.  Bloom was inspired by a JM quote. Unintended (You Could Be), Falling, Nights Like This, Just to Keep You (Satisfied), they’re all song-inspired, either lyrics or titles. The Longest Day came about because of SAD’s drabble event, which allowed me to try something new because I’d never written drabbles before. Swipe Right is based on a movie. I’m never worried about an idea being overdone or anything like that, because my writing style is my own.

Do you ever get stuck writing a story (either writer’s block or characters aren’t doing what you want them to)? If so, how do you get yourself back on track? 

Definitely. Music helps though. I write linearly, despite all efforts to attempt hopping around from scene to scene. And if one piece isn’t working out, I stop completely, which can be frustrating. So I take a step back from my work, take a break, then come back and re-read what I have. 

Clearing my mind and literally leaving the writing alone for a few hours or days works well. If it’s a character issue, I ask myself why am I forcing it one way when the plot obviously wants another? Usually, if it’s not working out the way I intended, it’s because I need to shift gears. I outline a lot. Me and bullet points are besties, which can be very helpful in organizing my thoughts, but it also means me trying to stick to the bullet points and making sure I hit every beat, which can be why I’m frustrated, because the story is calling for a different direction. I’ve been learning to be more flexible, to appreciate the art of changing my mind and just letting the writing do what it does. I try not to plan so far out that I don’t leave myself room for growth, because being too rigid right out the gate is usually what gets me stuck in the first place.

Do you have a favorite and least favorite genre to write? 

Favorite, is probably angst or dramedy. I think there’s a lot of potential with both and they’re malleable enough that I don’t feel the need to stick within particular parameters. Like angst can be romantic, and dramedy can have heartwarming moments. I would love to do a BTVS-style dark horror comedy like “You’re Next” or “Ready or Not”. Least favorite, maybe fluffy? Like intentional ‘this is going to be a full fluff-fest’. I have to be unintentionally sweet, like caught off guard in a sneak attack, because otherwise when it’s on purpose it feels too…saccharine. But I think that’s just me, overthinking my work like always. 



--Dusty, Chelle, Getitdone on 09/13/23 05:56 am 8 Comments

We can’t wait to see all your spooky Spuffy fics and artwork! Remember that you only need to post your first chapter by the end of the month. You still have plenty of time!

We’d like to thank Double Dutchess for the spooktacular event banner she gifted us. She’s also designed some incredible spooky awards that will be revealed at the end of the month

There is a new and thrilling “fall” skin designed by Dusty for your viewing pleasure! Tis the season. Select your skin with the box in the bottom right corner of the site. Go to Account Info > Edit Preferences to change your default skin at any time.

And lastly, we wanted to highlight some major updates to the site this week, made of course by our resident techromancer, D’Hoffryn:

  • All text editor boxes throughout the site have been modernized.

  • Scooby chat comments can now be edited.

  • Blurred warnings are now a personalized setting under Account Info > Edit Preferences. All accounts are set to blur by default, but to have all warnings always be visible, just uncheck the box! 

As always with new updates, there will be hiccups and bumps. Please report any issues to D’Hoffryn via the D’Hoffryn Support Channel.

We hope you have an excellent September. Thank you as always for your positivity and support. It’s gonna be a great month!



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 09/01/23 09:48 am 8 Comments

@spuffygifs

Greetings!!

We are dropping in to leave a few details about the upcoming Spooky September event! clap

This event is simple. Post any "spooky" art or fic at any time during September and you will qualify for the event. It does not need to be completed in September, only started. You can do as many chapters as you wish and you can define spooky however you wish, too. Spooky can be scary, fun, playful, horrifying, mysterious, shocking. It is completely up to you!

Awards will be given for writers, artists, betas, and commenters who leave 15 or more comments of 15 words or more.

Please let us know if you have any questions!



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 08/23/23 03:32 pm 8 Comments

We have new Scoobies of the Month Interviews! :o) Hope you enjoy them! 

Commenter of the Month for August 2023, American Aurora

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I have to admit that I never watched BtVS when it originally ran. I had several friends who were fans and they were always trying to get me to watch it, but I was always flooded with work and theater projects.

The only episode I ever saw was the musical episode Once More With Feeling because that's my field. Of course, all of the Broadway musical theatre community at the time could talk of nothing else, but I freely admit that it didn't really appeal to me at the time because I had no idea where it was coming from. I only continued to hear about Buffy sporadically until the end of Season Seven, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I actually sat down to watch it.  And I was hooked! 

When and why did you decide to read fanfiction for the show?

When I was a little kid, I was a voracious reader - gorging on Shakespeare and Dickens and other lit like candy – but I was also obsessed (like most kids) with movies and television shows. And fanfiction became a particular passion of mine. 

I was always drawn to art that reacted to previous works in a perpetual ripple of influence like Dante’s Divine Comedy that took so much from Virgil. I also loved fan-created stories that transformed an already existing work into something intensely communal and dynamic. So, like any typical Gen X-er, I started to read fan fiction and became familiar with the art form.

In sixth grade, we were assigned to write an essay comparing categories (breeds of cats, for example) and I thought it would be clever to do an essay on fan fiction. So, I turned in a long twelve-page paper detailing the various fanfic genres of Star Trek – Gen, Mary Sue, Hurt/Comfort, Alt Universe, K/S, Crossover – and my very conservative older teacher wigged out and accused me of making it all up.

You should have seen his face when I showed him various fan fictions. Slash, in particular, was not as familiar to the general public as it is now and it shocked him that this kind of thing existed. He kept shaking his head as he looked at fan art of Kirk and Spock kissing, muttering, "My GOD! What has this world come to?" 

I graduated with a film degree (and ended up working in theater as a script editor/writer) but I’ve fought ever since against academic and critical disapproval of fan fiction throughout my entire life. It comes down to an inability to see beyond the highbrow/lowbrow dynamic.  Sadly, there’s also a tendency to disparage art forms like fan fiction that are associated with women creators.

Fanfic fascinates me - because I like to see the mirror reflecting back on the original work. It works on so many levels because fan writers and readers aren’t just passive consumers, but creators that engage with the original and often act as a second layer of cultural meaning.  I believe fan fiction has had a major effect on the way in which audiences perceive the original creators/copyright holders – often creating a communal wave of transformative texts that find their way into new reiterations of that world.

So, once I watched Buffy, I immediately searched for fan fiction and was really taken by the sophistication and incredible creativity of the authors in expanding the scope of the show while still staying true to its essential meaning.  I think it’s one of the strongest fandoms out there and I‘ve enjoyed reading both modern fics and exploring the Internet Archive for older fics from the late 90s when the show first ran. 

And I’m very grateful to posters from several wonderful sites like Buffy Tube and Buffy Forums who made numerous suggestions of fics to read and fan fic sites to explore – Sunnydale After Dark becoming my absolute favorite place for Spuffy!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Outside of the fact that both are fantastic original characters who bring a tremendous amount of charm and pathos to the show and are played by two dazzlingly brilliant actors, I love the two of them together because I adore what their relationship says about identity and the sense of self. 

We watch bit by bit as William Pratt makes his journey from timid momma’s boy to heartless monster to chipped menace who sometimes aids Buffy and her friends – and sometimes undermines them. And as the various outward layers are added to Spike – his accent, his name, his scar, his coat, his hair, his chip – he tries out different identities to figure out what he should be – each identity is continuously built from the ground up.

But Spike, Slayer of Slayers, begins to fragment as long-repressed emotions of his former identities as William Pratt and William the Bloody began to emerge when he falls in love with Buffy. The drama of the choice that Spike has to make – to remain Spike, Big Bad and killer of two Slayers – or become someone else entirely underlies so much of the complex meaning of their relationship.

And Buffy faces many of the same issues. She’s unwillingly called as a Slayer to fight the forces of darkness, moving from sheltered valley girl to heroic fighter who never quite fits in anywhere and struggles to maintain some sense of normalcy.  She suffers the fragmentation of her family, the sense of dislocation in moving to Sunnydale and falls in love with a vampire – albeit, with a soul.

But due to her training, Buffy psychologically separates his vampire side utterly from the Angel she grows to love, treating it almost like an affliction or a disease that Angel has to bear. There is a clear line made between Angel and the vampires she dusts – for he has a soul and they have no soul. And a Buffy who longs for normal – who doesn’t want to even think that she can be attracted to the freakish, the bizarre, the monsters – clings to this difference as justification for why she can love Angel.

She is still in this mindset (as is the audience) when she meets Spike, the unsouled monster of her nightmares. She clings to the belief in a soul as the decisive factor in determining worth – and this is why she sees him through that distorted lens. But when Angel turns into Angelus, Buffy realizes what a knife edge her trust of Angel’s souled state rests upon. Ironically, it’s soulless Spike’s love for Drusilla that creates the alliance that finally defeats Angelus.  And his growing love for her that changes their dynamic from enemy to ally to friend to lover.

And we slowly learn that Spike’s transformation is driven by his past self – his former memories as a human with all the psychological pathos that entails. And this really throws a monkey wrench into the Buffyverse – because the insistence that a soul is needed for moral compass has now been superseded by the idea that a continuous identity can override monstrous instincts. That the memories of who a vampire was can actually have an effect on the actions of a soulless vampire.

And whether Spike stays soulless or gets a soul in fanfiction, his character is driven by this apparent contradiction.  And that forces Buffy to make a decision of her own – instead of Spike dragging Buffy into the darkness as he had hoped, Buffy begins to pull Spike into the effulgent light instead through their mutual love.

I absolutely adore this dynamic – the complexity of their relationship is in so many ways at the heart of the show because it reaches to the core of our own sense of self.  The possibilities for real change – for a fundamental growth in personal identity – are glimpsed through an awakening of love.  And that love – as personified by mortal Buffy – connects immortal Spike to human time and therefore allows for the possibility of change and escaping the unchanging life of a vampire. His awareness and concern for her mortality – her burden of a short life, her courage against an impending death and her human ties to others around her – links Spike to find his own identity in a changing world. 

What words of advice would you give other fans who comment or are considering maybe commenting on fanfiction?

To avoid a neat correlation between artwork and artist where you fit the right shaped block into the right shaped hole. For some people, analyzing art works are akin to solving little ity-bity Fisher-Price wooden puzzles. Real life doesn’t work that way, of course – and I think the arts are the same.

In fan fiction, an author starts with a loosely bound series of plots and characterizations that vaguely shape their way.  But when they find the real truth and purpose driving their story – the character, the theme, the plot, the essence, whatever it may be – the author deviates from the original intent of the work to follow that discovery wherever it may lead them.

A fanfic writer has to rely on their instincts - not concentrating on mundanities like grammar or word choices or characterizations that necessarily hew closely to the original work, but slowly developing a certain flair, an original style, a unique way of expressing new ideas in the verse that are shaped into something really fine.

So many times, I’ve seen a playwright’s work coalesce around a theme that they were completely unaware of while writing their play – yet embrace it when they see it played out on a stage. Writing is a way of cutting away the marble – of shaping the clay – without necessarily knowing the ultimate form. This is why they call writing “the process.” Whether novel, play, screenplay, or fanfic, what comes out is never what the artist originally intended.

And it’s the same for commentary. Art reaches us on an instinctive level. It works beneath the surface so that we use our own experiences to “read” what is happening.  In that sense, commentary becomes a symbiosis between the author and the commentator with multiple streams of meaning enhancing the enjoyment and analysis of the work. 

Any given artist has umpteen impulses that lie dormant in their work – the job of the commentator is to tease out the unconscious and conscious themes and make meaningful connections.  So, a commentator should be open to being engaged on several different levels – some intentional by the author and some unintentional – as they read a transformative work that engages with the original in such an intense way.

There’s an old saying – strong artists don’t put others down – they lift them up. I think it’s an intensely humbling and thrilling experience to engage deeply with a writer’s work and offer one’s own unique perspective.

From womanaction:

You write such gorgeous, detailed comments - can you walk us through your process?

It’s the same process that I use when reading a new work – carefully examining the work while teasing out themes and trying to divine the author’s intention. I try to become emotionally and intellectually involved with the work to the best of my ability to understand on an instinctive level the process which led the writer to make certain decisions.

There’s nothing more exciting than experiencing a writer consciously or unconsciously expressing themselves through plot and characters. I love how it slowly reveals their viewpoint and beliefs regarding all aspects of the original work.  The time, the place, the situation, the point of view, the character reactions, the plot points all expressing a unique take on BtVS and the Spuffy relationship.

It may be that I’m too influenced by the theater, but I try to imagine the surroundings, the expression of character and the dialogue as if it were on a screen or on stage and try to viscerally react to that immediacy by marking out acting beats and subtle shifts in attitude. But I’m also often taken with the descriptive prose which creates a kind of symbiotic bond between reader and author.

And when certain passages stand out as particularly dramatic or humorous or suspenseful, I love to quote them back to the writer and spin them around and contextualize them within the whole piece to let the author know how much I enjoyed them.

What are your top 3 Spuffy genres or tropes?

Oh, I love all Spuffy genres from Fluff to Hurt/Comfort to All Human.  But I’m especially taken with post-series fics which feature a complex reunion, slow burns in which it takes FOREVER to develop their relationship and psychological studies of a dark nature that explore real-life issues such as Depressed Buffy/Depressed Spike.

 

 

Author of the Month for August 2023, womanaction

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I had caught a few episodes when it was originally on, but I didn’t really watch it through until 2012. I had a suspicion it would be right up my alley – I even had an OC at one point I named after Willow, who had always been my favorite character as a casual viewer. I also spent a lot of time in the 2000s on TVTropes, which began its life as a Buffy-specific site, and I had absorbed a lot about the show from there. Plus, I was already a Firefly fan! But I knew it was a big commitment, and that I would probably be obnoxious about it forever once I got into it (which turned out to be 100% correct), so I was saving it for the perfect moment, and that happened to be it for me. I had a couple of free hours to kill before I needed to be somewhere, and after I watched the first two episodes I was forever changed.

When and why did you decide to write fanfiction for the show?

At the time I started seriously watching, I had been writing fanfiction and publishing it to fanfiction.net for around 8 years, so it wasn’t surprising to me when I wanted to start exploring the world of Buffy fanfiction. I wrote some Angel/Cordelia and some gen before finally tumbling headfirst into the Spuffy writing world, although I do sometimes write other ships (and gen, still – see my AO3, same username, if you’re interested).

I was really resistant to shipping Spike and Buffy at first, which is why my username on Elysian Fields is kind of embarrassingly 2000s (though it may be changed by the time this is published – thanks, Dusty, for letting me know that was possible!) – I never really expected to do anything but lurk and maybe write a few comments, so I just used my old fanfiction.net username as something I’d remember!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Okay, like I said above, I definitely never intended to ship them. I was aware they were a big ship in the fandom, but I was firmly set against it. My impression of the ship was that it was all about the sexiness of mortal enemies getting it on, and I had always been someone that was more into “Friends-To-Lovers” (or, okay, “Enemies-to-Friends-to-Lovers”, but the friends part was important!).

And then I got to Becoming Part 2, and they were working together like they’d known each other all their lives, making little side comments and shooting each other looks and generally living in their own little world and I was like well, okay, I kind of get it. I don’t ship it, but you know, I get it.

I was mostly able to put it out of my mind over the next couple of seasons even as I enjoyed Spike’s character and then, well. Out of My Mind happened. And even though I knew it had to be a dream sequence, I felt my heart leap. Against my better judgment, I was all on board, even in parts of season six when I really wished I could take it back.

I say this to emphasize what first drew me to Spuffy: the way they work together, even as professed mortal enemies. The way they get each other, from day one – undeniable weirdos, “embarrassing freak couple” that they are, they get each other down to each last poetry-reading, thrill-seeking, never-have-a-normal-life inch. And what kept me away from them, the fact that they are supposed to be mortal enemies. Even when they get past actively trying to kill each other, they’re still resisting any identification or partnership with the other. The push and pull of these dynamics are infinitely fascinating.

Even more, what keeps me coming back is the sheer number of “eras” we could say they go through. From mortal enemies to reluctant allies, from unrequited obsession to confidantes, from the hottest hookup on the show to two people who are indescribably tender after hurting the other one so much…each of these phases is just one side of the complex dynamic that is Spuffy, and there are always more depths to plumb.

Plus, you know, they’re both utterly gorgeous, hilarious, and two of my favorite characters on the show. That helps.

Which three fanfics that you’ve written are your favorite? Why are they your favorite?

This is hard, because I think I’m immediately drawn to the multi-chapter fics, and I only have a few of those that are Spuffy (two of which I’ve written in the past year, which I never expected to happen!).

But I am going to pick those two anyway. For “ever waiting airports,” I’m really happy with the characterization and the pacing. This one was not especially easy for me to write – I probably did the most rewriting of any fic I have ever written, and I constantly felt like I was threading the needle in terms of this theme of semi-infidelity. I really wanted to tell this story in a way that honored all the characters and left them all in a good place, but also wasn’t afraid to look at the ugly parts. I also expected it to only be a few chapters – oops! But I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Second, I’ll go with “If Only” (which is not on SAD yet at the time of writing this – sorry, I’m working my way back through and editing in reverse alphabetical order!). I’m pleased with where that one landed tonally, and it’s literally my only Season 4 fic. I can’t say the idea is especially original, as a Something Blue canon divergence, but I found it outrageously easy and fun to write. I really like when I get to write Spuffy sort of silly and stream-of-consciousness.

Finally, I think I’d pick “It’s Wrong!” I have written so many “season 6 but not depressing” Spuffy fics at this point that I’m worried it may just be my brand, but this one is probably my favorite. On a reread I’m always pleased at how packed and parsimonious it is in telling a little arc for Buffy, and while it’s entirely indulgent (of myself) that suits me just fine.

What words of advice would you give other fans who write or want to write fanfiction?

Write what you want to read! If you’re not enjoying writing something, there may be a reason for that. I saw a post the other day that said “fanfiction should be funfiction”, and I think that’s right on the money. There were a few years I hardly wrote anything because it wasn’t bringing me much joy (probably not a coincidence this was during the most intensive years of grad school), then one day I felt like writing again and so I did! If I stop enjoying it, I’ll stop. Similarly, never forget the Two Cakes Rule. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or write the best fic ever on your first try (or your hundredth try!) for people to be really excited to read your story.

That said, there are ways you can push yourself to make sure you stay in the habit if that’s something you value. For me, it’s writing a chapter ahead on a multi-chapter fic, so I can look forward to the fun of posting and potentially receiving some great comments. For others, it’s writing on a schedule (a total joy-suck for me). I like outlines; some people hate them. There are some challenges/events I really enjoy, like gift exchanges or the recent Spiral Spuffy event, and there are other ones I know will feel like more of a stressor to me so I sit them out and enjoy being a reader. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but you don’t have to do everything. 

From: American Aurora:

Reading all of your fics, they seem to be divided between one-shots and longer pieces. Which do you prefer to write and do you approach each type of fic differently?

This is a hard one! I really like the feeling of things being done. I have abandoned lots of fics in my time (mostly not Spuffy, although there is one over on EF that I won't be moving here since I abandoned it in 2015), and I hate doing that, so I tend to have a constant level of stress when writing something multi-chapter. So I probably enjoy writing one-shots more, but the ultimate sense of accomplishment is better when I do manage to finish a MC fic! Because of this, I do tend to plan out my longer fics more, but otherwise my process is really similar. Honestly, even for longer fics, I tend to get the first chapter or so on the page before I really decide what the rest will look like (because if I don't have fun writing that first chapter I probably won't write the rest - I have a lot of first chapters on my computer that will probably never see the light of day). Sometimes I have an idea for a longer fic and then it turns out I'm happy with it as a oneshot when it's done.

I was really taken with the level of understanding and empathy that you extend to almost every character in your work despite their flaws. How difficult was it to keep certain characters sympathetic despite some rather dubious actions (such as Riley or Angel)?

That means a lot to me, thank you. I'm very character-driven (in my writing and in what I like to read - and what I take from the things I read, watch, etc.) so I'm always trying to work through different characters' mindsets. Sometimes I will write at least an outline of a chapter/story from multiple character perspectives to make sure I'm not losing their story and POV. In fics like "airports" I have a clear place I want the characters to end up, and in some ways the plot is shaped mostly to allow them those chances (even if the development ends up "offscreen"). I enjoy this approach, but I don't think I could do this for characters I don't already have some level of empathy with. Warren stands out as a Buffyverse example of a character I would find it difficult to write as a character and not just a plot device with dialogue.

You do an incredible job of depicting both Buffy and Spike’s POV in so many fics so that the reader sides with both of them equally – how hard is it to keep that delicate balance?  

I feel like these questions illustrate what makes you such an effective and amazing reviewer, because you really get at the heart of what different authors' goals are and there is no better feeling as a writer. This is the thing that keeps me up at night sometimes. I'm currently working on a sequel to "Magic Fingers" in Spike's POV and the biggest roadblock has been trying to get a real sense of where Buffy's mindset should be and how much Spike (and readers) can pick up on it. Sometimes I find it much easier to write Buffy's POV because she often holds back on her thoughts and feelings much more than he does, and her actions can be opaque (or even seem irrational) if we don't get a good sense of what's going on internally. My biggest worry with writing Spike is more about making sure he doesn't come off too well, lol. I love a trying-to-be-good!Spike, but emphasis on trying, so my biggest struggle writing him is usually about striking that balance between his instincts and his better angels and figuring out when he's likely to listen to each. Luckily, they are my two favorite characters, so I don't mind spending some extra time with each of them to try and figure these things out!

 



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle, Getitdone on 08/14/23 03:35 pm 5 Comments

 

Congratulations to all our participants for the Spiral Spuffy event! clap

It’s hard to believe we started talking about this event and forming teams back in May, but it’s been a wonderful summer of keeping up with these collaborative team fics. Huge thanks in particular to all the writers, artists, and betas who worked hard on these five very unique stories that will be a part of Sunnydale After Dark’s history forever. You’re all amazing and it was a joy to see each contributor’s unique fingerprints on every story as they came together.

Awards have now been distributed! If you commented on all five stories at least once, you should have received a commenter award. Awards were also given to all credited betas and artists. sandy_s worked hard to create unique award sets for each team based on their stories. Here's a sampling of them all for your viewing pleasure:

 

Please contact an admin if you feel that you are missing an award from your account!

Lastly, it doesn’t seem possible that the next event would be starting so soon, but we’re keeping it simple this September and wanted to give all you planners a heads up. 

To celebrate the fall season, we’ll be hosting a Spooky September event. There will be no chapter minimum or maximum requirements. So long as there is an element of spookiness (which is up to your personal interpretation) and your first chapter is posted before Oct 1, your fic and/or artwork will qualify.

Let us know if you have any questions. Much love! airkiss



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 08/07/23 12:56 pm 10 Comments

We have new Scoobies of the Month Interviews! From this month on, the interviews will be posted on the 15th of the month to give the Scooobs time to respond and the rest of us a deadline. Where did July go?

Commenter of the Month for July 2023, Marina Eulalia

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

My daughter has been watching Buffy at least once a year for the past twenty years, and she'd occasionally tell me that she wanted to watch it with me. I kept wondering why in the world? She knew I was not into sci-fi, fantasy, horror... and teen shows? I was 73, and my TV and film tastes were pretty well established. Then her dad passed away quite suddenly last April (2022). As he was truly my BFF, even after we separated eons ago, his loss and the subsequent grief hit us both like a freight train. The following September, I went to her place to spend some time and share some mutual comfort with her, and she got me started on the show. I was immediately fascinated by the unusual mix of genres, and the constant humor lacing through it, which we both really needed. Not to mention the exceptional way it was filmed, the wonderful dialogs, the outstanding acting. Each episode seemed to me to have been produced like a feature film. We watched all 144 episodes in record time, then once I was back home, I did two more rewatches back-to-back. Needless to say, it took half a second for Spike to become my favorite character—I have a history of attraction to bad boys who are also smart, have an acute sense of sarcasm, great looks, can show deep devotion, and are basically rebels, all of which was made evident as soon as we met him. Of course, given the circumstances, "The Body" had me shamelessly sobbing. I love musicals, and when we reached "Once More With Feeling" I was jumping out of my shoes. The growth over the years of each of the characters blew me over. The whole show was both cathartic and gripping, with its myriad levels of depth and meaning, even triggering a lot of metaphysical thinking.

When and why did you decide to read fanfiction for the show?

Along the way, I discovered that YouTube had an infinite amount of BtVS videos, and Spuffy videos in particular. I watched, and watched, and watched. I joined and became active on the James Marsters Facebook page, where I documented his entire acting career, because I'd found him to be such a superlative actor, surely he'd have been given other formidable roles (IMHO, no, not really). In this overall tableau of my basically Spuffy obsession, I kept returning in my mind to the fade-to-black scene:

18 INT. BASEMENT AT BUFFY'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Spike holds out the amulet in front of him, letting it dangle from its chain, and stares at it thoughtfully. Buffy walks down the stairs. Spike stands and faces her. [Thank you, SAD Transcript  Library!]

I'd read that Whedon had decided to leave how that night played out to the viewers' imagination. Okay, but I needed that imagination to be properly fleshed out. I'm primarily a reader. I can't remember when I haven't started and ended each day with some reading, sometimes whole week-ends and the bulk of my vacation time. I'd never even heard of fanfiction, but in my various Facebook BtVS wanderings I began to see some references to it, so I pulled up my search engine with a single goal, which was to find how others had written out that "missing scene." The first of these that came up was on SAD (yay!). I decided to join last November, but I got all muddled with remembering my ID and password, couldn't get back in, and finally in February, I wrote to the SADmins, got an immediate and very friendly reply, and then just... closed my eyes (metaphorically speaking) and dove into the deep end. And WOW! I had no idea! The multitude of genres, the brilliance of the writing, the warm and fuzzy sense of community among the authors... I was thrilled to say the least. At first it was something of a maelstrom. My first read was The Time We Had, by Dusty. Not a sci-fi fan, remember? But I kind of liked time travel, so I tried. Can say I was enchanted but mostly confused, and then, whamo! It was a WIP! WTF? Then the March drabble event kicked in and I gleefully joined the daily crazy spinning of that carousel!

Anyway, long story short, after nearly drowning in a whirlpool of long and short completed or WIP stories and trying out every genre (I had never read any smut, and was quite taken aback! though not unpleasantly...), figuring out the acronyms (most of them, anyway), the frequency of updates, I managed to whittle my appetite down to what I pretty much knew I was going to like, what parts of the show I needed to have "fixed" (because yes, to me BtVS as is, is pure genius, and part of that is the absolute NEVER a happy ending for anyone, ever, and that is pure frustration, which is part and parcel of, well, life... so thank you you talented writers, for mitigating the inherent frustration of life), how to pace myself in the reading, etc.  It's been quite a ride :).

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Well, first it was Spike (see above). I was running around feeling like a teenager in love with a fictional character. Geez. That had never happened to me. I was totally Spike POV and was angry at Buffy. On the rewatches, though, I began to be able to put myself in her shoes too. And bam! Their story crystallized in the form of one of the truly Great Love Tragedies—The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, The Tragedy of Tristan and Isolde, The Tragedy of Bérénice and Titus (Racine), The Tragedy of Spike and Buffy. They may be characters in a pop-culture TV show, but to me they are way up there among the Greats, in how they materialize, in a sense, the impossibility of absolute love. They trigger a lot of thinking on the power of love (I'm from the peace-and-love generation, Love has been the only form of power I have mostly managed to wield in this life, and by now I know it's not enough. Essential, but not enough). Not to mention that Spike personifies unconditional love, and devotion, with and without a soul. Also, Taoism has been a great help to me in the often hard task of living. Buffy and Spike, to me, are like the Yin Yang circle of life; she is the light with a permanent spot of darkness, and he is the darkness with a permanent spot of light. Without both, there is no life. I was a Philosophy student way back then, and that never stops, somehow. Oh, and did I mention that I'm in love with Spike? And Spike would not be Spike in all his depth without his love object, which can onlybe Buffy. Voilà.

What words of advice would you give other fans who comment or are considering maybe commenting on fanfiction?

Just do it. You have a legion of authors of all ages, all degrees of experience, living in different parts of the world, in the midst of their very busy or not-that-busy part of their respective lives, simply giving you the fruits of their talent, creativity, and imagination! If you're an avid reader, you know books are expensive. And all of this is yours for free. Now, you also know that when you've "created" something, anything (could be a fancy meal) your reward is for those to whom you've offered it to tell you that they liked it, and even better, how they liked it. So do it. 

At first, I was just "liking," Facebook style. Sometimes adding a this-made-me-feel statement. I read others' comments, and was a little intimidated. Mostly they seemed to come from other authors (I later found that was not always true), and how could I be up to such standards! Not a writer, here! Just a reader! I soon overcame that obstacle and just went ahead, in the above-mentioned diving fashion. It is, for me, the best way to show my appreciation. I'll write all kinds of comments, depending on the time of day, on whether I'm reading on my phone or on my computer, how much time I have, and many other factors. Sometimes I wonder if what I write makes any sense. It can be a description of my emotions, I could be zooming in on the effulgence of the writing, could be wondering about what's actually happened and what will happen next. Don't feel there is any particular "format" for commenting. Write what comes naturally. I actually always read others' comments, which are fascinating, and also useful because some commenters actually help to get a "previously on" for WIPs that you don't remember well since their last installment—Magnus comes to mind: thank you, Sir! Many authors respond to your comments (don't forget to set your notifications for those), which is totally wonderful, and sometimes delightful conversations ensue. Some authors do not appear to respond to the comments, but I will provide comments anyway, because I assume other readers must also, like me, read the comments too, whether or not the author has responded. I also have a bunch of stories set aside with a "review!" injunction tagged to them because I hadn't had time to comment when I'd read them and really wanted to. I will. Maybe. Eventually. Hopefully.

So comments all around, everybody, and yeah, just do it.

From Maggie:

As a commenter myself, I like receiving responses to my comments and/or seeing in the author notes that authors are happy to receive feedback. Do you have a favourite kind of interaction with authors, in this sense?

Of course, I love to receive responses to my comments. It's kind of like the beginning of a distance relationship ;), and in any case makes the authors a lot more real to me and gives me some insight into what fuels them to offer their creative work so generously, which remains something of a mystery to me. So that is definitely my favorite kind of interaction. I always read the author notes, which may very well inspire me to give some feedback even if my time is short when I'm done reading. In fact, I sometimes respond to the author notes instead of to the story! I am particulary impressed that beyond the time the authors carve out of their real life to write, they also take time to respond, even if it's just a "Thank you!"

Again, though, even if there is no response from the author, which I totally understand (see above, not enough extra time, or maybe even they might have taken a break from fanfic... I sometimes read stories that were written quite a while back and anything is possible), that will not necessarily keep me from commenting, because I may not be the only person who also reads pretty much all the comments attached to a story. There are many factors that will determine whether or not I comment, but I never, ever force myself to do so.

Do you have a favourite kind of genre/category of fic to comment on, and why?

That's an interesting question. But I have no real answer to it. I do have genre/category preferences to read, so those will be more likely to inspire me to "say something"... sometimes anything, really. I could possibly be "categorized" as a canon-nut. I'm still mesmerized by Whedon's genius (and that's unlikely to change)--which included putting together outstanding actors, writers, and crew members--but obviously, if I'm here, it's because I need more, or simply need things to turn out differently. I believe I've tried out all the available genres and categories, to find that for instance, Horror is not my cup of tea, so (in that one experimental instance), that's all I was able to say, all the while impressed with the talent involved in the writing of it. Discovering the wealth of genres and categories has been quite a ride! Back to canon, though, since I will never read the comics but I'm still very post-series curious, my comments will probably involve questions (did this really happen or is this you making it happen?). Dunno. I'm really kind of a haphazard commenter :).

I’ve seen from your bio that you’ve discovered this fandom (and Spike!! Same on the falling madly in love with him!) recently, and that it makes you feel young. I love that! Do you want to tell us more about that side of your fanfic experience?

This is almost an embarrassing question, innit? Having a humongous, all-encompassing, mad, teenage-type crush on Spike at my age was a complete shocker to me. I did not resist it, though. On the contrary. That crush energy is so good and delightful. Also, it was a first, because even as a pre-teen, the objects of my fantasy crushes were real people (singers, or actors--not the characters they may have played), unattainable but real. Then as I grew older, said objects became attainable real people, not necessarily attained but attainable. The fact that Spike was a fictional character made the attainability factor disappear. So no holds barred, and nothing to expect ergo no heartbreak or disappointment on the horizon. No pain, all pleasure. Does that make sense?

Giving it some deeper thought and consideration, though, and if I really must pinpoint what makes me feel young, particulary in the fanfic I've discovered, I can safely say that it's given me a place in my imagination to rekindle my, ahem, long-expired-in-real-life sex drive, a.k.a. Eros, a.k.a. the life drive, which, I have to say, is a great asset in the very latter part of the life cycle, which is basically where I am now. Having, I might add, fully taken advantage of the life drive in the part of my life when it could be fulfilled, so no regrets.This is just an unexpected bonus, and is adding enjoyment to my life overall. Powerful stuff, you witchy, talented writers!

And okay, the age regression can materialize in the fact that I sometimes imagine that the pillow I'm hugging when I'm falling asleep is... Spike's sexy-and-also-comforting chest, which I read so much about in fanfic. I can almost feel his arm around me as I'm drifting into dreamland. 

I hope anyone who's reading this is laughing. I am!

 

Author of the Month for July 2023, MaggieLeFay

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I’ve never been a fan of vampires (I’m still not, with the exception of the BtVS ones haha), and I had a bit of internalised misogyny back then, so whenever I encountered mention of Buffy online, my first reaction was “A blonde girl killing vampires? Noo thank you”. (Yes, I was that obnoxious. I apologise to the world for my past self.)

But then I watched Firefly by Joss Whedon, and fell in LOVE. Back then I still used facebook (it was 2015!), so when the same nerdy page that raved about Firefly kept sharing Buffy posts… I had to give it a chance.

And then I fell in love again! This time much, much more long-term.

When and why did you decide to write fanfiction for the show?

My memory isn’t the best, so I honestly don’t remember a precise moment, or a precise reasoning behind it. I just know that at some point I started imagining a post-series reunion, and slowly but surely I started writing more and more of it, until it was done! It was incredibly exciting for me, because while it wasn’t my first-ever fanfiction, it was my first-ever in English (not my native language) and definitely my first-ever LONG story. Before writing that I genuinely did not think I’d be capable of writing a story longer than 2-3 chapters and finish it. It was amazing!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

The very first reason is that they make me laugh. I’m not the greatest fan of the bad boy trope in general, but Spike worked so well for me because he was ridiculous so often. Absolutely NO shade to anyone who loves the trope through and through, but my favourite thing about arrogant characters is when they’re ridiculed, so the fact that he was fun and hot AND that at some point he became comic relief, too, was part of the charm for me! And then, the writers kept giving him real feelings, passion, development, and real growth… all that mixed with the fun made such a powerful mix that I’m still smitten haha.

And Buffy, of course, is absolutely hilarious too. Her language is one of the very first things I fell in love with! As I mentioned, I used to have a bit of internalised misogyny, so some of her more feminine-coded characteristics made it harder for me to like her at the start. But I am so glad I grew out of that, and through rewatching the series I’ve fallen in love with her, too.

I love the two of them together so much because I find them brilliant. I didn’t like the s6 sex era because I don’t like seeing characters I love hurting each other like that, but the rest of their story is just, beautifully captivating. And the ending, with Spike’s sacrifice and the fact that they weren’t back together, has made me thirsty for more, so here we still are!

Which three fanfics that you’ve written are your favorite? Why are they your favorite?

This is not super easy to answer! But I’m gonna go with:

The (Demon) Parent Trap: this one is the first one that came to mind, even though when I started it I didn’t like it. But it is so full of banter and UST and flirting and tenderness and shameless fun, basically everything I’m looking for these days in fics haha. (Well, there’s smut too, but I haven’t written that yet!)

Wrong Place, Perfect Time: I have fallen so in love with these characters, it’s almost stupid! This is also full of banter and fun, and when I was writing this story I was really starting to try and be more realistic with my writing (of course, not always managing that!), and I love the result of that effort.

The Blue Eye of the Storm: I consider this story far (faaar) from perfect, but it’s my second long story that I’ve finished, and I’ve learnt soo much about writing while doing so (THANK YOU BOOKISHY!!). I remember writing it so consistently, and for so long, and being worried about it being too basic and not entertaining enough… but in the end, it’s just as slow and tender as I wanted it to be, so I love it for what it is.

What words of advice would you give other fans who write or want to write fanfiction?

Try! And if the SAD drabble event taught us anything, maybe try with drabbles. ;) They’re so much fun, and the word count limit can be helpful, when you’re not sure you could write a long story!

The other big advice I’d give is to fantasise. Not all writers do it this way (fantasise about the story first, write it after), some want to discover the story as they’re writing. That sounds like magic to me! But personally, fantasising a lot about a certain story makes me want to tell it.

Last but not least: if you can, find a beta. Someone who can help you out and join you on the journey as they help you write your story the way you want to tell it. Try to be as clear as you can with what you’re looking for in this relationship, and go for it!

Is there a particular Spuffy moment from the show that you go back and rewatch for inspiration in your writing?

Ah, I hope you won’t retract my Spuffy fan card for this but I don’t really rewatch the show anymore haha. But the Spuffy moments that might have inspired me the most are probably the Fool For Love slayer-killing speech (with all those amazing Spike flashbacks!), the Intervention kiss (after Glory’s torture), the conversation between them in Never Leave Me (after the First has triggered Spike to kill people) and the Touched speech (after the Scoobies send Buffy away in s7). I think it’s these scenes because here I can really see the best in their character development, and the way he and Buffy can actually be so incredibly good for each other, if given the chance.

From Marina: 

I've noticed that you sometimes write in the All Human category. To me, it's hard to imagine Spuffy without Spike's status as a vampire. What is it that pulls you in the All Human direction?

You know, I think there’s several factors! The first thing that really matters is probably inspiration. The AH stories I’ve written so far are all part of the same “universe”, and my inspiration for the very first story in this collection was quite casual (a podcast that has nothing to do with Buffy, ‘Welcome to Night Vale’). From there, I kept going back to this version of the characters… and I fell in love with them. 

The other big factor is that AH versions of Spuffy, while usually a bit further from the original characters, can still retain some chore Spuffy characteristics that I enjoy a TON. To me, what truly matters is that I can enjoy a fic’s version of these characters, whatever that may be.

Plus, it might also help that I’m not a fan of vampires in general. I’m a fan of and love these vampires, and these characters, but I love them even as flawed and complex human beings with no supernatural elements added to them.

There's also a fair amount of your work in the Erotica, Porn with or without Plot, etc. genre. If it's not too personal, can you elaborate on your source of inspiration?

Oh, I love this question haha. I think there are two versions of my answer, the short and long one.

Short version: I am rather horny, plus I’m a bit of a nerd about sex. ;)

The long version is that, aside from my own (pretty compelling) imagination, I actually have plenty of sources of inspiration when it comes to smut scenes. First of all, other fics! Fics have taught me so much about my interests, my curiosity, my kinks, and all the things that aren’t for me but that I still find fascinating.

Then there’s my nerdiness. When I say I’m a bit of a nerd about sex, I mean that I love love love learning about it. All of it! Psychology, relationships, physiology, sex toys, kink and sex (kink and no sex, too!), how things can be done, how they can go wrong, communication, bodies, connection, mistakes, improvements… I find everything about sex endlessly fascinating. I realise that for many people, it’s better to have sex than to learn about sex, but honestly I’m equally interested in both (if not more in learning about it, if I’m honest!).

So, this nerdiness is a HUGE fountain of ideas when it comes to smut scenes. I read fics with smut, read straight-up erotica, watch educational videos on these topics, listen to podcasts, read articles, and all these things give me ideas and make me think, What if Spike and Buffy did that? What if they tried this act/kink/position, but did it differently in X and Y ways? And then, well, I want to write about it.

I could honestly go on and on about this, so thank you for this question!

 



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle, Getitdone on 07/23/23 11:19 pm 10 Comments

by Dynamite and Dirtyaim

What a year it has been! stake

In one year’s time we have accumulated: 1,108 members, 91 creators, 19,484 comments on 1,051 stories with a total of 17,899,853 words.

When we started this archive, we never expected numbers like that. We talked dreamily about a small, cozy archive with a fun and friendly vibe. We wanted our own place, a clean slate, where anyone and everyone could join and feel like they were valuable, where creators could just create and fandom could simply be a good time! Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a show with a long, complicated history. The fandom itself has become just as historic and just as rich— with many personalities and stories of our own. This is something to be proud of! But it’s also something that can overshadow the common thread that runs through us all, which is a love for this show and these characters. 

Sunnydale After Dark is about the love. It’s about connections and joy in finding that story or artwork that speaks to your Spuffy-loving soul. It’s about those beloved friends you’d never know unless you’d found this corner of the internet together. It’s about enjoying this fictional world in whichever way you want to. It’s about embracing the people who don’t always see things the way you do, and saying “Hey, we have this love in common, and that is more important here than all the many things we don’t share.”

Every choice we’ve made this past year at SAD has been about preserving that love and nourishing a culture of positivity. It’s been about welcoming and including as many people and viewpoints as we can. That’s why we decided to be more than a fanfiction archive and to invite artists to be as much a part of this creative community as the writers. It felt to us like for decades, the artists had hovered around and put just as much love into their creations as writers had, but like their work was homeless, living only on the periphery of fandom in social media spaces. How many times had we seen artwork shared with no clue where it had come from or who the artist was? That didn’t feel right. No one would ever do that with fic. So giving artists space here to get the recognition they deserved was one of our primary objectives and it worked out so well and is rewarding to this day to see all the creativity that has blossomed as a result of making that one decision.

Speaking of artwork, nothing embodies the spirit of Sunnydale After Dark better than the extraordinary mosaic at the top of this post created by Dynamite and Dirtyaim. When they reached out to us about the possibility of a community art project in which the combined talents of all our Spuffy artists could come together to create one stunning piece, we knew it was the perfect symbol for what we strive for here every day. Not only because of the amazing art, but because this idea was not from the SADmin team. This idea came from the members to celebrate the members and was organized and run by the members

We love when that happens. 

We love that Tessa and LJ94 decided to organize and run a Buffy watch party. We love that flow highlights a special piece of artwork every Friday. We love that Julikobold and others started having morning coffee time together in The Alibi Room on Discord, where readers and writers chat all day long about anything and everything. We love that Grief Counseling showered this site in adorable emojis and wrote her own prompt list after the drabble prompts were so much fun we needed more! We love that bookishy and Girlytek created the ultimate Buffy-themed drink menu for our holiday prompt exchange party. We love our diligent commenters like Magnus374, Rea, and Marina Eulalia (to name a few!) who put so much energy into supporting our creators and of course, of course we adore those creators filling this archive with art and fic! 

We couldn’t possibly list all the incredible ideas and contributions you all have made.

We the SADmins think of ourselves simply as the facilitators of this community’s ideas. We want to curate and deliver the things that our Spuffy fic and art community want most. The ridiculously talented D’Hoffryn is here to make this website run lightning fast and without error, but he also loves building the things you all dream up! We have 1100+ members. You all are bound to have brilliant ideas that would never occur to us. So please never hesitate to share.

In light of the sharing, we have created a one year feedback form! We want to know how everyone is feeling, what things you’ve loved, and what things need work. If you’ve had an idea for a really cool event or site feature you’d love to see, this is the time to share it with us! Fill out as much or as little of the form as you wish. We’re excited to read everybody’s thoughts.

Hopefully, all of this explains a little bit about why we wanted our one year Spiral Spuffy event to showcase teamwork! We hope this event experience allows different members to get to know each other and come together to create five unique stories that we can all enjoy. Look out for the first chapters of each of these fics being posted today! 

Thank you for being a part of this community. Thank you for celebrating this fandom and our creators with such passion and kindness. And thanks for making this past year so much fun and such an incredible success!

Much love! heart



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 06/22/23 08:25 am 21 Comments