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

First up is Dynamite as our author: 

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

When I was a kid, my grandma took all us grandkids to the $1 movie theater. 10 grandkids riding in the back of an old Ford pickup to North City. We’d stuff our pockets with Faygo sodas and Little Debbie snack cakes and sneak them into the theater. When I was 11, she took us to see the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie. I loved it! Team Pike all the way! (Until Spuffy.) I used to play Barbies. I’d pretend one of my Barbies was Buffy. Buffy and my Flo-Jo doll would battle demons together. 

When the show came out, I was in High School.  I screamed ‘Hell, Yeah!’ when I heard the show was coming out. But, I didn’t really connect with Season 1. Then Season 2 hit and Spike and Drusilla walked on screen! I was hooked… for a season. The show lost me completely during Season 3. 

In High School, I was a theatre kid, it’s a requirement to read and write fanfic. 

After High School, life, college, motherhood, and moving around the country took me far away from fandom. My career in disaster management has required me to live in places without TV or internet. For a lot of years I didn’t have the bandwidth (literally) for fandom.

Fast-forward to 2020, I was working COVID-19 response. I started watching old shows to destress. A friend suggested I retry Buffy. I binged the sh*t out of that motherf*cker! Season 5 and 6 turned me into a ride or die Buffy fan again. But, it ended too soon. As much as I love Season 7, the ending left me wanting more. I tried AtS, but it wasn’t for me. 

A friend of mine who is very active in fandom suggested fanfic. So, I Googled Spuffy fanfic. I’d say the rest is history but… 

July 2022, I woke up one morning without feeling in my left leg and half blind. Overnight, I’d gone from being an avid runner and long distance hiker to barely being able to walk down my driveway. Quick response and amazing medical care saved both my eyesight and use of my legs.A few months later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).   

I’ve regained my eyesight and most of the use of my legs. Writing Fangs Out and the Spuffy community helped me get through a stressful time in my life. I don’t know if I could have stayed as positive as I did throughout all the uncertainty and treatment without the Spuffy community. 

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Burlesque class, pole dancing, in the middle of a mosh pit at a DIY punk show, IM’ing Dirtaim, Discord conversations, music, movies… I’m an avid long distance kayaker and hiker and urbanex photography hobbyist.  I love mixing all my hobbies. I’ll hike or kayak 5-10 miles, stop to rest midway through and write and take photos. Often I’ll be mid-lake, in the middle of a ghost town, or up on a mountain peak writing smut. 

Who is your favorite character to write and why? 

Oh, that’s a hard one!

 I love writing so many of the characters, Buffy, Spike, Glory, Oliver Pike, Jenny, Tara, Willow, Angel, Angelus, Darla, Drusilla, Sineya, Nikki, Doyle, Cordy, Dawn… 

My mother had a brain aneurysm when I was 12. She was in a coma for months. When she recovered, her personality had changed. She is now legally blind and disabled. Me and my sister, who is four years younger than me, were passed around for a while there between family members so my dad could concentrate on my mom. I really relate to S5-7 Buffy and her relationship with Dawn. 

I’m also a 90s punk rock kid at heart. I am still very active in the punk community. I dropped out of college, and basically ran away from home when I was barely 19. I ended up working at a punk/goth club, where I met my sexy, tattooed, bad boy pool hustling future husband. Most weekends I can still be found in a pit somewhere. I love to write that anti-establishment, anti-conforming, violently hyperbolic, outsider protagonist designed to protect a romantic, soft center POV that is Spike. 

I also love writing Oliver Pike for many of the same reasons I enjoy Spike. His is Spike’s prototype. Unlike Spike though he isn’t given much canon backstory or appear in as many fics, so he’s a very clean slate. 

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

That’s like choosing a favorite child! 

Use It or Lose It was my first fic. I made so many mistakes with that fic. I deep dive into Slayer mythology. It’s a complex story that deep dives into slayer mythology and retcons a lot of the holes the series left. That story holds a special place in my heart.

Fangs Out, The Key Saves Spuffy, and 42 were all a joy to write. Fangs Out was very healing to write for me personally. 

Sunshine and Who Said Love Is Fire felt so emotional to write because I could relate to Spike in the wheelchair at the time. They were such interesting headcanons to explore. 

Fireflite and Edge of the World are like writing poetry. The staging is so vivid in both of those it’s almost another character. 

Girls Invented Punk Rock, Not England is both a fic and a zine, it will have a little bit of everything. I am pushing so many of my boundaries and diving into my punk background with that fic. I’m probably proudest of the 2nd person fic within a fic in that one. 

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

Even though I prefer the show. The movie still holds a special place in my heart. Buffy is meant to subvert horror stereotypes and be a feminist icon. Unfortunately the show often failed in those goals. To push the envelope a little more, I would have brought some of the elements from the movie over to the show. 

Buffy in the movie isn’t a child soldier. She’s a High School senior. She is eighteen. 

There is no Bangle-style relationship in the movie. Buffy in the movie has  been reincarnated multiple times for hundreds of years. She’s older than both Angel and Spike. 

In the movie, Buffy is confidently and openly sexually active. Her friends are accepting of her sexuality. There is no virgin stereotype. 

Movie Buffy wears comfortable clothes to fight vampires instead of impractical female superhero trope style mini-skirts and heels. 

Buffy in the movie goes out of her way to say that she is like every other girl. She’s a reincarnated woman. Her origin story doesn’t have the consent or other problematic issues the show does. 

Of course, the movie does have its own problems. 

____

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 03:21 am 9 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 12:53 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 07:41 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 02:20 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 01:06 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 07:45 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 03:00 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 10/01/23 11:15 pm 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 04:56 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 08:48 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 02:32 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 02:35 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 11:56 am 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 10:19 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 07:25 am 21 Comments

We have new Scoobies of the Month Interviews! A huge apology for the delay on my end in posting these...RL has been a bear this month. 

Commenter of the Month for June 2023, Gabby

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I first started watching Buffy when I was 12 or 13 (if anyone is wildly curious I'm 30 now). The show would be on before school so I have very vivid memories of like, random S1 and S2 episodes and daydreaming while in class (oops) about fighting vamps alongside Buffy. I also watched it a ton during high school and the first few years of college, but only focused on S5-S7 for reasons that are not hard to guess. I had no recollection of S3 or S4 whatsoever (sorry Faith, Riley, Maggie, and Adam, love u <3). 

And then I quite literally forgot about the show for like a decade! Didn't watch it, didn't even think about the characters, even though it's tied with Gilmore Girls for my favorite show of all time - it was like it just didn't exist. Then on a whim I jumped into S6 in 2021 during the pandemic, followed that up by rewatching the whole show several times (bizarrely, this was the first time I had ever watched Buffy in linear fashion from episode 1 through 144), and haven't looked back since.

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

In 2021 when I got back into the show! I'd never read any fic before for any fandom, but BtVS and this couple in particular just compel me in a way no other show or couple does. That's not to say there aren't other pairings that I enjoy! Spike and Dru are the goth vampire couple of my dreams, and I'm actually a huge fan of Angel and Cordelia. Even though I'm sure I'm missing out on incredible work by super talented authors for other couples, my fic reading habits basically revolve around Spike and Buffy.  

And I decided to dive into fanfic because I wanted to see more of this duo. I'm just never completely satisfied with what we got on the show (see question #5) and since I'm not a comics person the only other place for me to turn to is fanfiction. But luckily new authors are joining the fandom every day even though the show ended 20 years ago, so hopefully I'll never run out of new material for our favorite couple!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Buffy and Spike are perfect for each other, in this essay I will

Okay but for real, I just think they complement each other SO WELL. They're both excellent fighters so they make a great team in battle. Buffy has a tendency to get a little too serious and Spike's great at injecting some levity into her life. Their banter is top tier. They're brutally honest with each other even as their support never wavers. Buffy inspiring Spike to better himself and get a soul and his speech to her in Touched prove that they bring out the best in each other. BUT they both also see the darkness in each other and in themselves, and rather than run away from it they embrace that aspect of their natures and are whole together. In conclusion, their relationship has it all.   

As for each of them separately, I mean…Buffy's so strong and brave but also kind and selfless and is funny and smarter than she gets credit for. She's a hero, you see! She's not like us. And Spike is endlessly fascinating to me. There's so much depth to him. He's an evil vampire who's killed thousands but loves his girlfriend and his mom. He's impulsive. He's emotionally intelligent. He's charming. He's rude. He likes soap operas and Manchester United and the Ramones. There are so many layers to this man he's practically an onion, and it makes him one of the best characters of all time imo.

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

Like a lot of people I was just a lurker at first. I'm extremely outgoing in real life but am a shy little lamb on the internet, which is kind of funny because it's usually the opposite right? I think it's because whatever you say on the internet is more or less permanent and public, and it's easier to misinterpret because there's no way to read tone or facial expressions, and I'm constantly worried about saying the wrong thing or offending someone. Plus, I don't think my thoughts are particularly clever or insightful so like, who cares what I have to say? In any case, those fears and insecurities held me back for a while. But I eventually reached a point where I was like, these authors put so much time and energy into their stories FOR FREE, and deserve to be showered in love and appreciation and have people engage with their work even if they find what I personally have to say uninteresting or long-winded. 

All that is to say, if you're considering commenting but have misgivings, maybe it'll help if you think about how it'll make an author's day for you to drop a note, whether it's just an emoji or straight up essay, so that they know they aren't just shouting into the void. They put in so much work for us, we can absolutely return the favor! I also think it's best to stay positive. If I come across something I'm not a fan of or disagree with I just don't mention it, or couch it in a compliment sandwich if I do. We're all about the love here.

From LJ94:

What’s your favorite genre of fic? Are there any tropes you never get tired of reading?

I'm a huge fan of the established relationship genre. I feel like we saw plenty of Buffy and Spike in a tumultuous relationship on the show, so I'm just always desperate to see what a healthy relationship between them looks like. How do they talk through their issues? What are their dates like? Who is doing the dishes between all the apocalypses? Getting them together is always fun, but I wanna see them actually work through the trials and tribulations of a long term relationship. Established Spike and Buffy in a drama or comedy is my go to. And I have a thing for reunion fics. It's what naturally follows after the end of AtS for me, and I just wish we could have SEEN that. Sigh, alas.

Relatedly, what might inspire you to read a fic outside of your usual repertoire?

If I trust the author! For example, I'm not a huge fan of baby/kid fics just because I feel like those have a tendency to get too sappy and I need my Spike/Buffy to be snarky, but Dusty is a literal queen so I took a chance on her But Baby and loved it. I also don't read a lot of all human fics because part of the appeal for me is the vampire/vampire slayer dynamic, but because Maggie is another brilliant Spike/Buffy author I read her The Lawyer/Cop Files a while back and was so glad I did - it's incredible! And Violetta just started a feral!Spike story which is another trope I haven't dabbled in too much, but I'll read anything she blesses us with.

Thank you SO much to whoever nominated me! This was fun, and I'm very glad to be a part of this community even in my own small way.  

Author of the Month for June 2023, LJ94

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

So, this is a bit of a funny story.

I had this weird period in high school where I would watch TV shows based solely on the DVD box cover. Sometimes I’d read the description on the back, sometimes I wouldn’t. I had just finished FarScape, and the cover of Angel caught my eye. I had literally never heard of the show before, and went into it totally blind.

Let me tell you: jumping into S1 of AtS with zero context of Buffy, or that this even was a spin-off in the first place, was confusing as all get-out. I spent the first two or three episodes convinced we were going to get flashbacks that gave us some backstory about this girl Angel kept pining about, and how the hell he knew this Cordelia chick who he seemed to have nothing in common with, but only getting increasingly confused. I eventually caved and used the power of the internet to deduce that there were a whole three seasons of a completely different show that preceded this. I HAD heard of BtVS before, I’d just always thought it sounded silly so I’d never given it a shot. But now I was intrigued, and the Buffyverse had me in its clutches. I put my Angel watch on hold, watched the whole of Buffy, and the moment I finished “Chosen”, I watched the whole thing again. Now it’s been over a decade, and it remains my favorite show.

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

I’ve always been a writer! I used to take creative writing classes, I have thirteen journals dating back to 2015 in my closet, and several unpublished novels on my hard drive. But I didn’t start writing Buffy fanfic until a few months ago. I was on my 7th full rewatch of the show along with my roommate who was watching for the first time, and I was inspired to read some fic. Combine that with the fact that I now have a job that allows me enough free time to get back into writing – the fanfic writing was basically inevitable!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

I love Spike and Buffy for the same reason I love most of the characters on this show; they’re flawed. Everyone is imperfect, nothing is black and white, sometimes the ‘heroes’ act like villains and the ‘villains’ act like heroes. I love that. I also love how both of them change and grow so much over the course of the show, and how a lot of that is through their relationship with each other.

I will admit, Buffy herself took some time to grow on me. I haven’t exactly been a teenage girl and find it pretty hard to relate to her in earlier seasons. I didn’t actually come around to connecting with her until S6 – her mental health struggles resembled some stuff I was going through when I first watched the show and I finally felt like I understood her.

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

So, I only have five Spuffy fics under my belt at the moment (although my brain is always bouncing with ideas). But for now I’d say:

A little more time – It was the second story I wrote for the fandom, and despite being just over 3000 words apparently it made a lot of people cry. It’s a post-Chosen fic – Buffy grieves Spike, and talks to some headstones.

Amateur Night – This was the first story I wrote with a friend / beta (the wonderful Tessa!) and that was super fun. It was also my first crack at anything remotely smutty, and my first illustrated story! So, a lot of firsts, combined with the fact that its just a really fun romp, makes this one an easy fave.

Dawn the Vampire Slayer – My current WIP. I’m incredibly proud of this one for plot reasons. Not only is it a non-linear story, but it also features a Wishverse that posed a really fun challenge to construct. Basically, Dawn wishes she was the slayer, and I challenged myself to go through canon and write flashbacks that ONLY make changes that would result from this one difference.

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

I think one of my favorite tricks since I’ve started a multi-chapter is to have a few chapters ahead pre-written. If you’re like me, and you feel pressure to post consistently but your life isn’t exactly consistent, it can alleviate a lot of stress! So if life decides to screw you over for a week or two, you still have something to post, and when you find time to get back to writing it can just be fun.

And I think my second piece of advice is that if a chapter or a section feels like a slog to write, there’s a chance it might be a slog to read. Step back, figure out whether its actually writer’s block or the scene just isn’t working. My favorite trick for getting past this is to swap perspectives, or jump right into the middle of a scene if I’m struggling to start it.

From Gabby:

What's your writing process like? Do you have everything planned out ahead of time or do you just wing it?

I’m a big ol planner XD. Mostly because I love foreshadowing and recurring themes and that kind of calls for foresight! For my current WIP I had pages and pages of planning for all 22 chapters before I even started writing, because there’s mystery I want to build up to and timeline shenanigans I want to get right. That being said, sometimes things come up organically, and I can’t say no to where the fic wants to go!

I also have a bit of a strange writing process in that I don’t write linearly. I’ll write a few paragraphs of one chapter, then a bunch of a another.

How do you stay inspired/deal with writer's block? I imagine there are times when words just pour out of you and times when writing is like pulling teeth!

The non-linear writing helps! Like if I’m stuck on a chapter or a scene, I’ll just hop to another part of the story, and that sometimes helps to get the juices flowing for the part I was struggling with. Also if I’m bored I’ll also sometimes change POV, or tell something with a flashback instead of exposition, because that helps keep writing new and exciting. I tend to be of the mindset that if it feels like pulling teeth, there’s something wrong with the scene, so I usually stop and give it a total overhaul.

Are there any characters/genres/concepts you haven't gotten to yet that you'd still like to explore?

Hmmmm, so as I said, I’ve only been writing Buffy fanfic for a few months now, so there’s a lot I haven’t gotten to yet. I will say I’ve always wanted to write a Hell’s Bell’s rewrite, because that episode GUTS me, and I already have a few ideas. I want to save that wedding gosh darnit!

As for characters, I’ve actually written almost everyone from the main cast. Love me an ensemble fic, the group dynamic is one of my favorite things about the show. I definitely want to write more Cordy and Spike friendship - I think we were robbed that they barely overlapped on both AtS and Buffy, because their banter would have been legendary.

 



--sandy_s, dusty, Chelle, Getitdone on 06/21/23 04:23 pm 9 Comments

The UI Pains me

Behold D'Hoffryn! Lord of Arashmaharr, he that turns the air to blood and rains death upon lesser websites!

Greetings After Darkers,

As many of you may know, I am your techromancer and resident vengeance daemon. For those who do not know me, know that I am here to unlock the potential of your fandom by improving this website and keeping it running smoothly. While my role here is a quiet one, I want you to know that I am here, listening to the screams of frustration that pierce the dimensional walls of the internet.

I have been working on a few new UI elements in an effort to modernize SAD and its underlying frameworks, and would like to invite you to make wishes of me and my fellow admins. Make your voices heard, show me inspiration like Ms. Rosenberg did with Warren Meers, tell me your vision. Let me elevate you all. If you have ideas, please seek me out, here is my talisman, #dhoffryn-support.



--Dhoffryn on 06/16/23 05:49 am 21 Comments

Hello beautiful After Darker people,

We are working on a little celebration for Sunnydale After Dark’s 1 year anniversary, which is only two weeks away!!

The lovely and creative Dynamite and Dirtyaim are putting together something very special to help us celebrate. This project will showcase all the artists of this community who make a submission, but they need your help!

We’re asking anyone who would like to contribute to submit 1-5 pieces of new or old Spuffy artwork, manipulations, and/or banners they’ve created and love the most to this Imgur account. To upload, you will need to login with the username SunnydaleAfterDark1YearCelebration and the password SADart2023. Make sure you name your images (either in the title or caption) with your artist penname so that you can be credited for your contribution.

If you encounter any difficulty with Imgur, you’re also welcome to email images to Dynamite at pass.the.dynamite.molly96@gmail.com.

Please submit all artwork no later than June 16! Thank you, all! thanks



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 06/08/23 09:48 am 14 Comments

@spuffygifs

The teams are here!! The teams are here!!

Well, you all voted and chose Spiral Spuffy as the name for this event and, well, we couldn't wait til Monday to share the teams! It was just too exciting.

With GetItDone leading the organizational charge, we've spent the last few days sorting out our teams and are very happy with how things have worked out. Everyone was able to have at least their second highest ranked genre choice, but most people got their first. We are a diverse community and this was proof again that there's something for everybody!

Here is how the teams will break down:

Authors and artists, if you haven't already, please check your emails for details on how to contact your team and get started! The Discord channels are already made and waiting for you.

Also please note that Marina Eulalia would like to volunteer to beta event fics for anyone in need of a beta.

Some reminders:

  • Teams post their first chapter on June 23 (Sunnydale After Dark’s official anniversary!) and each following chapter weekly.
  • The story will be complete after each team member has contributed one chapter.
  • Teams who may want to continue their story are welcome to do so with a sequel fic, but for this event we’d like only one chapter per author.
  • Anyone who comments on all Spiral Spuffy fics at least once with a comment of fifteen words or more will receive an award.
  • Anyone who betas a Spiral Spuffy chapter will receive a beta award. Writers will need to credit their betas in their chapter notes in order for us to give this award.

If anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to a SADmin!

Most importantly, HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!!! clap



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 06/03/23 06:13 pm 10 Comments

GIF by @SpuffyGifs on Tumblr

Greetings, Spuffy lovers!

June approaches! Can you believe it? We cannot. Because June means one whole year of Sunnydale After Dark!! We are so thrilled to celebrate our one year anniversary with you all, but to do it properly, we are going to need your help!

See, this community was founded with the goal of being inclusive. Every reader, writer, and artist matters. Everyone gets to share their voice and every voice is important. It’s what makes this place so great. It truly feels community-led, community-inspired, community-grown.

Which is why we hope you'll love our next event sunglasses

In honor of collaboration, our next event will be a round robin style writing event. There will be multiple stories written a chapter at a time by different teams of writers.

Here’s the plan! 

Fill out this form where you will indicate what genre of story you are most interested in writing. The SADmins will do our best to put everyone on the right team to have the most fun and tell the best stories possible! 

After we’ve got our teams in place, the SADmins will share contact information and preferences amongst team members. You and your team members can use the communication method of your choice, and if you like, we can create a private Discord channel for your team to use to collaborate.

As a team you can decide how and to what extent you'd like to collaborate on planning your story. Your team may choose not to plan at all and surprise even each other or you may choose to have a rough outline! It’s completely up to you. 

An important note: each writer will maintain creative control over the chapter they're writing. 

Remember the goal is to have fun and celebrate the community! Nobody should ever dictate what other people do with their own contribution. Please contact an admin if there are any issues with the group dynamic. We’re always here to help!

Each team member will have one week to write and to post their chapter. Writing order will be decided upon by the teams themselves. 

Here’s the timeline:

Submit Interest Form by June 1.
Teams will be announced June 5.
Teams post their first chapter on June 23 (Sunnydale After Dark’s official anniversary!).

All dates are according to site time, which can be found beneath the chat box.

Naturally, when this event ends will depend upon how many people sign up! The story should be completed after each team member has contributed one chapter. Teams who may want to continue their story are welcome to do so with a sequel fic, but for this event we’d like only one chapter per author.

Artists, please note that there is a section in the Interest Form for you to indicate interest in contributing banners and/or illustrative artwork for these collaborative fics. You can sign up to write, to make art, or both! How artists contribute to the story will be left up to each team and artist to decide.

Commenters, anyone who comments on all SAD-iversary fics at least once with a comment of fifteen words or more will receive an award.

Betas, anyone who betas a SAD-iversary chapter will receive a beta award. Writers will need to credit their betas in their chapter notes in order for us to give this award.

We know you’ll have questions and we look forward to answering them, so bring 'em on! Here’s to an exciting summer of reading and writing! flirty

PS, join us on Facebook to vote for the official event title!



--Dusty, sandy_s, GetItDone, and Chelle on 05/20/23 08:20 am 4 Comments

Whoohoo! We have new Scoobies of the Month Interviews! I hope y'all enjoy them. 

Commenter of the Month for May 2023, Magnus374

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Probably around 1997 or 1998 when they started to show it in Sweden. A blond girl with short skirts and high heeled boots, of course I liked itπŸ™‚ Soon I was drawn in by the characters and the humour and I liked Spike from the start. After the first 3 seasons, the show changed channel and I couldn't see it anymore. So where around 2008 I came across fanfiction which made me think about the show again. I stopped reading bought all the seasons and watched it.

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

I was unemployed around 2007 and 2008 and came across Spike fanfiction, which made me watch all the seasons, then I returned to reading and found some Spuffy sites and a couple of those was still active, Spuffy Realm and the Elysian Fields and the rest is history.

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

I like both as characters but the way they complement and balance each other and make each other better. Spike brings life to Buffy and she grounds him and connects him to humans. There's also the fact that Slayers and vampires are both hybrids. Vampires are more demons and slayers are more humans, together they are balanced (without the soul). Simply put, they are right together.

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

Don't be afraid to start, you don't have to say much. When I started I often said things like "nice" and "this is good,”  just to show that I have read it and liked it, then it became longer especially when the author responded. If I don't like something I mention it but I always tries to say more good things. You should always be careful about this though, I have gone too far a couple of times, always apologise if that's the case. It's the writer’s story, not your story.

From Julikobold:

How do you find the time and energy to read so many stories and comment so consistently and always content related?

I admit that I have asked myself that questionπŸ™‚ I suppose that I've got used to it over the years. When I started commenting on the sites I was on, there were perhaps 2 or 3 new chapters each day, so I even had time to read old stories. In the beginning I also avoided all human stories. As more and more people posted stories, I sort of followed by reading more. I have the problem that I tend to enjoy everything I read and that makes it much harder to not read. I must admit that my commenting also was a kind of competition thing. On Elysian fields I found toplists on who had posted the most comments and I realised, I can become number one, which I didπŸ™‚ Anyway, the truth is that I have started to reach my limit. At some point I probably will have to choose which stories not to read and that will be difficult for me.

From the admin team: 

What’s your favorite type/genre of fic to read?

This is actually a very tough question for me since I tend to enjoy every story I read. It's not really a genre thing, what I really like is stories gets my mind going. I can read something in a story and get an idea in my mind and just run with it. It's also fun to guess what will happen in a story. So I can't really give a straight answer to that.

How do you think being a male in a female-dominated space gives you a unique perspective on fandom?

I actually don't think so much about that, but I do notice that at times I can understand the male characters even when I'm not supposed toπŸ™‚ and at times I can have trouble following the logic of some female characters. So there clearly is a difference in how we think. One thing I often do in a story is trying to figure out a reason for some actions other than it being about men wanting to control women. For example the creation of the first Slayer. I don't think they chose a young woman just to be able to control her, I believe it had to be a young woman. I don't know if I have a unique perspective but at some times, I do see things differently.

Do you ever find it difficult to comment? If so, how do you push through that?

I can have trouble sometimes for different reasons. I comment on basically every chapter I read and sometimes I have trouble coming up with something new to say. With English not being my first language, I tend to reuse phrases a lot and I don't want my comments to sound too much the same. Then I try to turn around the words a bit or add some words.

More problematic is when something I really don't like is happening in a chapter. At times I simply avoid saying anything about that part of the chapter. Often I do mention it but points out that I like how it is written or saying that it's my problem that I don't like it, and sometimes I try to explain how I think. Most of the time I also brings up things I do like in the chapter to balance it out.

There's also a classic solution to having trouble commenting, keep it short and just say something. 

It's an honour to have been chosen thank you all.

 

Author of the Month for May 2023, Julikobold

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I watched the first season on and off, when it was originally airing but I didn't get really hooked to it. That might have been part bad dubbing and part the airing time in my country (Saturday afternoon) but also that I really was over the broody vampire thing (too much Louis from Interview with the Vampire). I catched School Hard by chance and was intrigued by Spike and Dru, so I watched the rest Season 2 for the two of them. I really got into it with season 4 and Spike's return. I prefer the later seasons as they are darker and for me more interesting.

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

I wrote a little one-shot about a year ago and thought was a fluke. Then the March SAD drabble event happened and it really got me started. So SAD is fully responsible for my deep dive into writing fanfic. And I'm happy about it. 

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

They are both flawed and real. I prefer layered characters over perfect heroes. Their relationship is messy but rooted in a unique friendship and respect. And Sarah and James brought so much emotion into these roles, I just love watching them - and to read about them.

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

The drabbles are very dear to my heart. They got me into writing and I still like to do it regularly. I try to write one per day, but I don't feel bad, if it doesn't always work out. They are fun.

Spike3 is very special for me. It was inspired by a discussion what to do with three Spikes and once the idea was in my head, I just wrote it down. Keeping the three voices of basically the same character separate and distinctive enough was challenging and headache inducing. I'm really happy when readers comment, that the distinctive voices worked out.

It is too difficult to decide on a third. They are all my babies. They are not perfect, but I love them and can't play favorites.

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

The first advice is stolen from Teuntje: Write what you want to read. Don't brood too much about what readers might like, only what you want to write. Your audience will find you.

And, just do it. Start writing and don't be afraid. The community especially on an archive like SAD is very supportive.

From Magnus374:

English is your second language, how do you manage to write stories so well in another language? Is there a special method?

Thank you. That is always my biggest concern, if the language is believable. I have no real method. I read a lot and have been watching shows and movies in English for about two decades. And that resulted in a wild mix of AE, BE and some other dialects. I also need English for my job, as I work in an international environment. That is all.

Your stories often has an important character beside Buffy and Spike, is there a character you really want to use to give us a different perspective but haven't been able to work into a story?

I love writing the less used characters with distinctive voices. Right now I can't think of anyone specific I would want to use but I'm sure the characters let me know, if they have something to say. I never expected to write an Andrew POV. He just insisted and I complied. 

If you had to choose a different partner for Buffy and Spike, who would that be, and why?

I'm Spuffy at heart, but I always identified with Spike the most. Therefore I just want him to have a partner who respects and loves him. Give me that - no matter if someone from canon or an OC, and I'm happy for him. A good writer can sell me almost anything. 

For Buffy I read only Spuffy. I'm just not interested in any other ship for her. But I'm sure there are great stories out there who have that, I just don't seek them out.



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle, Getitdone on 05/12/23 05:56 pm 10 Comments

gif by @Spuffygifs on Tumblr

Hello, After Dark-ers!

We wanted to share with everyone that we’ve officially added a new member to the SADmin team. Everyone say hi, hello, and welcome to GetItDone!

You may recognize GetItDone from her delightful fic comments! But GetItDone has also been working quietly in the background of SAD for a long time now. She was one of the beta testers who helped us work out problem spots before the site even launched. She has helped many authors on this site with the labor of uploading their fic libraries to the archive. She's helped D'Hoffryn troubleshoot tech issues. She even coordinated the White Elephant prompt exchange for us and introduced us to the beloved Wheel on Discord! For this we will always be grateful wink

Needless to say, we know she’ll be a wonderful asset to the site and the community because she already has been! Big thanks to her for joining the team and helping us get all the things done. And big thanks as always to everyone here for being so immensely supportive. Lots and lots of love to you all!



--Dusty, sandy_s, and Chelle on 05/07/23 11:26 am 15 Comments

Hey, y'all! Trevor Carlee graciously agreed to do an interview on SAD! Thank you so much to Trevor for agreeing to do the interview (and answering all the questions!), especially with how busy he is! And thank you to everyone who submitted interview questions (your name should appear after your question)! :o)

We hope everyone enjoys reading about him, his love of the Buffyverse, his art, and his podcast with Kristin. 

Please see the end of the interview for where to find his work! :o) (The banner for the interview has caps from Doomed, which is the next episode he and Kristin are covering on their podcast...new episode out tomorrow!)

Interview with Trevor Carlee

About the Buffyverse

How did you get into the Buffyverse? 

I originally watched the movie when it came out and was relatively indifferent. I remember enjoying it but not thinking anything of it. So I wasn't inclined to watch the show when it was announced. It wasn't until all the promos were stirring about "What happened to Angel'' and "The curse" and all that. I was like "Oh! That show is still on?" So my first episode was Innocence and boy oh boy is that a doozy. I fell hook, line, and sinker.

How old were you when you started watching Buffy? (Niamh)

I was about 9 or 10 when I watched the movie (can't remember if I watched it in a theater or rented it from Blockbuster). And I was 14 when Innocence aired and my life changed forever :)

Which BtVS episodes is/are your favorite and why? Which season is your favorite and why? (Tessa)

Innocence is definitely one of my faves because it's what hooked me. Also Becoming Parts 1 & 2 (I actually hope to edit them down and screen them in a theater one day. Maybe on my 50th lol). That finale just feels like a movie. I remember seeing that as a teenager and being blown away. Nothing had been done on television like that before.

Some other faves are Fool For Love, Normal Again, The Body, The Gift, Once More With Feeling ... I feel like I'm falling into a trap of just listing every episode haha

I want to say season 2 is perhaps my favorite season, which is rooted mostly in nostalgia. It was just so pivotal to me at the time. But if we're going off the now, I'd have to say Season 5 probably.

Which Big Bad do you like most and which one is your least favorite? (Tessa)

I think my favorite big bad is probably ... oh boy that's a tough one. I love the overall presence of Glory, but I think The Mayor is probably my fave. I love how much depth he had as a villain. 

What are your thoughts on ships in the Buffyverse? (Maggie)

I think ships are fun and such a great way to keep a franchise alive and kicking. I also love ships that aren't even romantic. One of my favorites ever is Jeff and Abed in Community. I get choked up every time they hug on any of my many rewatches because their connection is so deep (IMO) and I love that people get to express their love for that in any form, whether it be art/fanfic or talking about it online with peers.

I do wish the people who are angry about certain ships could just find peace though lol

What was the moment when you started shipping Spuffy? What are your perspectives on Spike? (The Sunny Slayer)

I'm not sure if there was a specific moment. I think they always made sense from the beginning and as it was happening live I fully accepted it because the show and the actors do such a great job of prepping you for it. I'd imagine Something Blue was the metaphorical chip implanted in my brain that told me "This is happening and this is good.

And I absolutely LOVE Spike. He's funny, charming when he wants to be, and absolutely adorable.

What draws you to Spuffy compared to the Bangel ship? (Tessa)

I think Spike and Buffy just have so much time to grow and explore each other, so I'm drawn to a fully fleshed-out relationship. Unfortunately, Buffy and Angel had a few months of getting to know each other before he lost his soul. And then when he came back it was melodrama out the butt until he left. There wasn't really anything for me to hold on to.

All that being said, I ATE UP the melodrama of Bangel as a young teenager.

Which Buffy character do you identify with the most? Why? 

I probably identify most with Oz. I'd love to say Cordelia because she's who I aspire to be like, but I'm more of a quiet, monosyllabic type (among other people at least - I'll talk up a storm by myself). Also red hair.

Who was your least favorite of Buffy's love interests? Why? 

I feel like Parker’s too easy of a target. Probably Riley .. and mostly because they dragged it out far too long. 

I heard you were in the Marines and introduced your comrades to Buffy. Can you tell us an anecdote of what it was like when you watched the show with your fellow Marines? What were their reactions? (The Sunny Slayer)

It was fun. I was SO confident in it back then, but it was also 2001. So Buffy was still airing and it was in the zeitgeist and it hadn't aged yet. I remember excitedly watching it with them just KNOWING they would love it. I've since experienced people not being super into the show, so my confidence isn't as high when I recommend it anymore. But it was so cool to just be three or four Marines huddled in a small barracks room watching each batch of episodes (my mom would ship out a few episodes so we could binge them and also to save on shipping).

As they are comic book fans, what specific story arcs are a Must Read for people who dislike/disavow the comics? (sabershadowkat)

Well, obviously, I think watching the Spike/Buffy story hit its highest potential is #1. Domestic Spuffy is a sight to behold (and oh boy, that one moment when she sees in his mind there are not enough heart-eye emojis in the world). I also really liked the internment camp storyline and the “new magic” storyline, they were super interesting. The FINAL final story was a great way to tie everything up IMO (and even closes out Faith's Mayor storyline). I also think the Angel/Faith comics are a great dive into who Faith is.

What is it about Buffy (the character) that you like the most? (Niamh)

I love her perseverance. No matter what, she keeps pushing. Fighting gods and monsters with zero hesitation. I love her so much.

What is your opinion of Willow and Xander? (Niamh)

I didn't fully realize how deep Willow's problems were and how it didn't all just start in season 6 until many years later. And not even FULLY fully until doing this podcast where I'm watching it so critically. I still love her though. Xander however; I never really clocked the stuff he was doing/saying to be bad back when it aired, but it is one of those things where every time you watch, you're like "...yikes." But he has redeeming qualities too so I'm not gonna throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Honestly, I just watched the unaired pilot and THAT Xander was so much better. I really wish they went that route.

What is your perspective on Dru? (Syn)

I love Dru so much and wish we got more of her. We at least get a good chunk in Angel, but she's so electric when she's on screen, I always want more. Her entrance in The Trial (in season 2 of Angel) is one of my favorite entrances ever.

Has your opinion of the characters changed with your own maturity? And if so, how? (Niamh)

Yeah. I don't think drastically, but more so I've found nuance to certain performances that I didn't really appreciate back then and I've, as mentioned before, come to realize and acknowledge the more problematic sides of characters.

Which vampire would you let bite you? (ClowniesLivEver)

I don't know what this says about me, but probably Dru.

If you were Buffy's creator/writer, how would you have changed the final season (season seven)? 

Honestly, I absolutely love season 7. We'll see how I feel watching it critically while recording the podcast, but I really dug the (structured) "race to the finish" nature of the storytelling. It even has some of my all time favorite episodes (Help, Conversations with Dead People, and Lies My Parents Told Me). I guess if I was changing anything, I'd not make Giles do some of the things he does or act the way he does, but that's just because I don't want Buffy and Giles to be at odds with each other selfishly.

About His Art

What made you decide to start creating fan art and animation? Any tips for fan creators creating in fandom now? 

Honestly, I've been working as an editor for television for about 15 years, and I'd been doing motion graphics as side work. I always avoided 3D work because it seemed too difficult. Then one day I just took the dive and got into it and fell in love with the whole process. I wanted to improve and not lose interest so I set a goal for myself to create an art piece for every episode of Buffy. That way I always had a reason to go into it if I was ever bored or couldn't think of what to do to improve my skills.

And I figured tying it around Buffy (my all time favorite thing in the world) would keep me inspired. And it's worked so far! I did the same thing for my Buffy: Into The Slayerverse animation. I figured I might as well tie my first "big animation project" to something Buffy so I'd be motivated to finish it.

Regarding tips, I'd say "Release it!" Whatever the art is that you think isn't good enough, just put it out anyway. There are a good amount of my pieces that I wasn't happy with and I just put them out there because I needed to move on. And on most of them I got some really great comments telling me how it was their favorite one or how it moved them. Art is different for everybody and we're our own worst critics.

What's behind your stylistic choice to not include faces in your art? (Maggie) (And Niamh)

This actually started because I was new to 3D and I barely knew how to do what I was doing, much less make accurate faces lol - so I figured I'd do the low poly art style and then it just kind of became my thing. I think it also really helps bring the focus to the overall piece. It's a fun challenge trying to get people to remember an episode with as little information as possible. Although I do get the occasional "Is that Darla or Buffy" comment haha

How do you go about deciding what to model? What software do you use? What advice would you give people starting out on 3D modeling? (ClowniestLivEver)

I use Blender (which is free) for all of the 3D modeling. I use Photoshop to do some finishing touchups (but you could use something like Gimp, which is free - I just happen to be comfortable in Photoshop.

Regarding deciding what to model: Sometimes it's super easy. I had the idea for Fool For Love when I started making the art and had to wait till I was in season 5 to do it. Sometimes it's tough and it takes me weeks to think of something. If I know what I'm gonna do, I just kind of hop in and start building and moving.

I typically start with all the characters, get them into place, then position the camera, then I start building the set. After that I work out their clothes, all the textures, etc. I usually do the lighting about halfway through and then I just kind of keep tweaking until I'm happy or exhausted.

My advice would be to just keep doing it. I kept dipping a toe in 3D and abandoning because what I was making looked like ass. It wasn't until I did the donut tutorial (a Blender tutorial series on YouTube) that I felt fully confident in my abilities. And then making consistent Buffy art really boosted my confidence as well. 

Has anyone from LEGO contacted you about making actual Buffy sets based on his animation? When will they be available?  And I'm not joking! I would buy some. (Jasna) 

No one has contacted me yet, no. I think someone from Lego Ideas retweeted one of my animations, but that's about it. Hopefully one day!

What is your favorite Lego piece - which of the little component pieces - and why? (Syn)

I don't know if I have a favorite Lego piece. I suppose just the standard 4x2 brick? I'm sure I sound really basic.

Have you always been into Legos? What was your favorite set as a kid? 

I actually have! When I was a kid, I would build all kinds of things out of Legos. I don't think I ever had sets (not sure how prominent they were back then?) I just had a bunch of random Legos and I would build all these things and keep them in an empty cabinet in my mom's house.

What does your family think of your fanart? 

My kids love it. They like watching me make it and ask what certain things are. They always ask if Spike and Buffy are married (they’ve never seen the show) even if whatever I'm working on is literally them just in a room together. So even Spike and Buffy with no faces standing in a room together have enough chemistry to transcend generations lol - They also constantly ask me “Do you have a new Lego animation we can see?”

My wife likes my art and my animations too. She's even helped me with some. For instance, with my Passion piece, I initially just recreated the scene where Angel snaps Jenny's neck and I wasn't feeling it at all. I showed it to her and said I couldn't figure out why I didn't like it and she reminded me that I typically create my interpretations of the episodes and this was more or less just a shot from the episode. Which led to one of my more popular pieces.

So, an exception to that advice above, sometimes if you're not feeling your art...start over!

When can we expect to see more Spuffy in your art? (hellishyen) What is your next big project (like the Dark Willow one)? 

Haha, well we're definitely getting close to a point where it'll be hard NOT to make every art piece a Spuffy art piece with where they're going in their relationship. But outside of my episodic ones, I'm not sure. I kind of just do them when the inspiration strikes.

I have a couple "big" projects that I'm putting together. I don't want to say them officially though. Not for any kind of secrecy, more for my own mental health. If they turn out not to unfold or not be what I expected, I'll think "But I said on that one site X months ago that I was going to do this! They're gonna be so disappointed!" And then I'll spiral haha. But I have a couple cool Buffy-centric projects in the works. And then obviously I'll keep making the little moments as often as I can.

Once I get to a comfortable amount of patrons, I’ll be in a healthier place to spend a lot more time on the bigger projects. Right now, I just dip in when I find slivers of time.

Is there a scene from Buffy that you will never attempt to LEGO? Why? 

LMAO - I think we all know one very specific scene I would never attempt with Lego. And we all know why. I'd rather not elaborate so as not to trigger anyone.

Would you ever use fanfic as source material for your art? 

I've actually been thinking about it lately. I read my first fanfic a few weeks ago. Someone mentioned online that they wanted to see Buffy riding on the back of Spike's motorcycle. So I animated it. And then Holly (from Elysian Fields) wrote a quick fanfic as a companion to it. So I read that. And then it got me thinking that it'd be fun to bring some fanfics to life. We shall see.

About Another Buffy Podcast

What made you decide to do a podcast about BtVS? Have you done other podcasts? 

Kristin and I met through her husband (who I went to college with) and her best friend (who I also went to college with). We quickly realized we both loved Buffy and would constantly geek out over it. Then one night she was just like "Let's just do a podcast." We both had our own podcasts at the time, but this just started as a way for us to have a reason to talk about all aspects of Buffy, without really thinking about an audience or anything. We just wanted to pour out all of our thoughts on Buffy in one place.

I used to do a gaming podcast a looooong while back. And then more recently, I did a podcast called "Trevor Loves Everything." My friends typically joke that they don't take my recommendations seriously because I love everything. So I did a podcast where I'd invite friends on to talk about movies that most people hate and that I love. My guest would be someone who also hates the film and we just had a fun conversation about said movie. It's still up and available. I haven't done a new episode in years, partly because of the pandemic and partly because ABP has taken up most of my time.

Pros and cons of podcasting? 

Podcasting is a great way to just get all your thoughts out and recorded somewhere. It's like journaling I suppose. Unfortunately, it's also a lot of work (depending on what you put into it). Kristin and I record twice a week (which also means watching two episodes a week - so 4 hours) and then I edit the next week's episode usually on Friday. And each episode takes approximately 3-6 hours of editing depending on how much we talked and how much I need to clean up our time delay. Also finding the clips and incorporating them takes a good amount of the editing time.

10 Hours might not seem like a lot, but doing it on top of work and taking care of kids (and animating and creating art pieces) can get very exhausting. But it's such a great outlet that it never feels like a chore.

What will you do after you are done with Buffy (and Angel)? (hellishyen)

Oh boy, I'm not sure. I guess we'll have to start figuring that out when we get closer to the end, but we have a few more years until then.

Where are you in recording (I know y’all are ahead) and how do you feel about it eventually ending? 

We are currently in the middle of season 5 of Buffy and Season 2 of Angel. Right now, we're very excited because we're covering some of our favorite stuff. I'm sure being near the end will probably hit us once we're nearing the end of season 6 though.

Will you cover the comics?

Yes. We currently plan to cover the comics unless something changes. I'm actually super looking forward to it because I only ever read the comics once. I'm pumped to dive deep into it all.

For those of our membership who haven’t dipped their toe into listening to your podcast, what would you say is unique about “Another Buffy Podcast” that you think people resonate with? 

What I've noticed is people say it's like chatting with your friends about your favorite show. I think that's because we didn't really approach this like "Let's make a Buffy podcast and do X, Y, and Z to reach certain audiences." We just kind of started talking about our favorite show and anyone who wants to come along for the ride is welcome!

About Fandom

How do you deal with people commenting in a negative way about the Spuffy ship to you? (Tessa)

Usually, any negative or unwanted comments, I just ignore. I typically respond to every comment (as long as I see it, Social Media is finicky), but those negative ones I just ignore (or straight up delete). I don't like giving fuel to the fire.

Do you enjoy reading fanfiction? Why or why not? 

I enjoy the idea of fan fiction and I want to read a bunch of it. I just don’t have a lot of time. I read that one I mentioned earlier because it was a fast read. I’ve got books piled up to my right as I’m typing that I still haven’t finished and they just stare at me all day. 

If you do, what do you enjoy about fanfic? 

I have peeked in on fanfic stories here and there out of curiosity (read a paragraph or two) and I really love how well some writers can speak in the language of the show I love so much. So I know when I do step into fan fic, I'll fall down a never-ending hole haha

I would be interested in hearing more of his perspective as a male fan of the show. I know there are lots of guys that are fans of the show, but our Spuffy fic community is more female-dominated. (bruskiboo)

It's interesting, most of my straight guy friends have seen and enjoyed Buffy but none of them are as into it as I am. The people I geek out with the most about the show tend to be women or gay men. Even in high school, the friends with whom I talked about Buffy were girls. I don't have any intellectual insight to add. I just have a lot of passion for the things I love and am unapologetic in talking about those things, hence "Trevor Loves Everything" haha

Has negativity ever impacted your art/creativity, and what advice would you give other creators who have gotten negative feedback?

I wouldn't say it's impacted my art because I'm just gonna keep doing what I do. But it has affected my mental health.

Two things that help me get through:

1 - I try to approach those negative comments from a place of empathy. I imagine the people going out of their way to be negative on the internet are very emotionally unstable and are lashing out. So I try to understand it's just a hurt person trying to hurt someone. 

2 - The second thing I do is give it no oxygen. I reply to and like all of my comments (again, as long as I see them all - apologies if I never replied to you). The negative ones just sit there alone (unless someone comes along and fights them in my comments) and disappear into the fold.

Sometimes I'll delete comment threads or mute them if people fight in my mentions and I don't want the mental exhaustion of reading it all. I deleted an entire post on Tik Tok because a whole war was starting in the comments and I was like "No thank you."

So I guess my advice is that your mental health is the most important and do what gives you peace. No one wins internet arguments, everyone feels like shit (except for the trolls...don't feed the trolls). 

Where can people find your works (links, prints, etc.) and social media? (Also would you let us showcase some screenshots of your art when we post the interview? Or could you make us a little something?) 

Thank you so much! This was fun. You can check out all of my stuff on my site www.trevorcarleeart.com. There's a link to my shop there where you can buy all my art prints. 

Also, if you aren't following me already, I'm on all the socials (Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, YouTube) with the same name @trevorcarlee. And if you want, I have a Patreon. For $5 a month, patrons can vote on my next Lego animation for that month. I post in-process behind the scenes type stuff. Also, I'm going to start posting some sneak peeks of my upcoming projects before anyone else gets to see them. But it'll all come out eventually so if you'd rather not spend $5/month and wait till it hits YouTube that's totally understandable too. I'm just happy anyone is enjoying what I make and I want to spend as much time as possible making it all, hence Patreon haha.



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle on 04/30/23 03:28 pm 8 Comments

Hello, friends!

A few months ago, you may remember we introduced our Fandom Links page. A resource we knew we wanted on that page was episode transcripts, which can be such a valuable tool, especially for fic writers. We reached out to this community and we hunted on our own, searching for a great transcript page to refer our members to, but we never found one that checked all our boxes.

So why not build our own?

Visit our new Transcript Library!

This was a fairly ambitious undertaking— probably more ambitious than we realized at the time! A lot of incredible fans of the show have worked hard to transcribe these episodes, but the formatting was all different. Some transcripts were full of holes. The sites were dated, some only accessible through the Wayback Machine! 

There was a lot to sort through to say the least.

What we have now, though, is a searchable transcript library, which can be filtered by Buffy or Angel episodes. You can search a specific line of dialogue if you’re not sure what episode it’s in. You can search a character’s name and see every episode in which it appears. Find out how many times the phrase “sod off” was used. The possibilities are endless!

The transcripts won’t be absolutely perfect. It was a tedious process combing through them. So if you do find any glaring errors in them, please let us know so we can correct them! 

We’ve used a mix of source transcripts for these, sources which we found in so many different places credited to so many different transcribers that we aren’t entirely sure who made what and how to thank them for their selfless transcribing, but thank them we do. 

And, of course, we thank our resident techromancer, D’Hoffryn, who makes all our website dreams come true.

We hope you find this new site tool helpful! If you have any ideas of your own for fic writing tools and resources we could provide, be sure to let us know!

Lots of love from the SADmins,



--Dusty, sandy_s, and Chelle on 04/13/23 08:01 pm 22 Comments

Hey, everyone! Here are the Scoobies of the Month Interviews! I'm so sorry for the delay. Hope you enjoy them! 

Commenter of the Month for April 2023, violettathepiratequeen

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I was watching it out of obligation at first! Some friends of mine had always pointed to it as their favorite show, so in February 2020 I picked it up and was like OKAY I will drag my way through this probably corny supernatural show, because I know people who say it’s the best. 

But RIGHT away I fell in love with Buffy and all her Scoobies, and even though it was still just a cute thing I was just watching out of obligation, the minute Angel lost his soul I sat up and took notice like “oh, this is a REAL show!” And ummm it only progressed from there, and by the time Spike died in the Hellmouth it was my favorite show.

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

I definitely decided to write first, because I noticed S7 has some missing scenes just begging to be filled, and since I was on A03 anyway I just looked up the Buffy/Spike tag to see how others were writing them! I was really just floundering at first because I wasn’t sure what I wanted, lol, so there were a multitude of stories I read in those early days that I wouldn’t read now. When I discovered the existence of exclusively Spuffy sites, my world changed in the very best way, and it became so much easier for me to find what I liked and who were my favorite authors to read! I’m still so excited there are exclusively Spuffy sites. I’m just blown away by HOW much love and excitement there still is for this ONE specific pairing that there’s still such an active and engaged community for it!

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

I loved Buffy right off the bat for ALWAYS being clear on what the right thing to do was. She strove for other things— normality and cheerleading and having friends and boys and a social life— but she always set that aside without question to either save the day or just be a good friend. “Witch” is my favorite S1 episode because of… many tiny little things, but one in particular: Willow casually mentions that she and Amy used to have brownie pigouts on the sly, and when Amy (or who we thought was Amy) doesn’t make it on the cheerleading squad, Buffy immediately invites this girl she just met over to her house for brownies. This is the THIRD episode, and already this perky little valley girl is showing how kind and empathetic she is! 

I took a little bit longer to get on the Spike train… and I think, again, it was his goodness that got me there. His truce in Becoming Part 2. Did he go to Buffy for selfish reasons, and there really wasn’t a speck of goodness to be seen there? YES, but the fact remains that he DID put aside his demonic tendencies and teamed up with the hero to save the world, sticking to his word so that Buffy was able to fight Angel alone and not have to worry about Dru (or Spike!) attacking her, too. And every time after that he did something endearing or funny or so inexplicably GOOD, I just fell more in love with him. He tries so hard, even if he doesn’t always get it right!

And I love them TOGETHER because their journey to romance makes a lot of sense to me. I’m actually really picky about romances in the media, and a lot of the time I just don’t buy the love they’re trying to sell. I’ll like two characters together, sure, but usually just as a “meh” thing, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen two characters with personalities and similar journeys and both the need and ability to love in similar ways and who just CLICKED so well that I need them to be together, always, and not have any other character come in between that. It’s definitely an obsession, lol, I’m not proud.

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

Just be positive in whatever you’re saying!  Writing fanfiction is a hobby and means of escape and no one is getting paid for it, so unless the author has explicitly noted that constructive criticism or feedback is okay, it’s safer and kinder just to mention what you liked, and not point out the flaws or anything that didn’t sit well with you.

From VeroNyxK84:

As a commenter and reader do you have a favorite ‘setting’ (i.e. season, genre, category, etc) that will make you click on a story right away, even with an overflowing bookshelf?

Season 7 is like a siren call for me; I always jump all over one of those stories when I find a new one! There aren’t too many S11 fics, but if anyone writes one of those I can guarantee I would devour that immediately, too. And this is very specific, but Spuffy between S2 and S3? Chef’s kiss. HappyWhenItRains, scratchmeout, and handwithquill all have fics set in that time that are definite comfort fics for me!

WIPs vs Completed: do you have a preferred ‘status’ when you start reading a new story?

Completed, definitely! I try not to start WIPS at all but I sometimes will if I know it’s being regularly updated (I started reading Dusty during “Pretty Petals,” because I was so impressed that she was updating every day or so!) If I come across one that hasn’t been touched in a while I won’t touch it either… my heart just can’t take that, haha. 

Is there a story (or more) that completely wrecked your emotions but ended up making the list of your top fav?

Too many to count, lol. I’ve got three that stand out in my head as ones that both destroyed me and left me lying flat on my face for a solid week just thinking about them, but also ended so beautifully that I crawl back to them for rereads. None of them are on this site unfortunately, but for those who know… West of the Moon, East of the Sun by KnifeEdge, Because He Needs Me by DreamsofSpike, and Sideways by GoldenUsagi. I’m in serious danger of just ranting for hours here about why those were so amazing to me, but here’s some hints: Mr. Gordo, a Spike who trusts Buffy implicitly even when he’s seemingly broken beyond repair, and ALL the cuddles I could hope for. 

Thanks to whoever nominated me— last month was such a CRAZY one for comments that anyone could have won this, and I’m blushing so much that you guys picked me!

 

Author of the Month for April 2023, VeroNyxK84

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I already gave an extensive answer to this question in my Commenter of the Month interview back in January, so I'll try to be concise.

Long story short: Year 2000, a classmate in high school made me try to watch but I didn't like it (I tuned in to 1x06 The Pack) so I dropped it without a second thought. 

Year 2004, spring, Italian TV had a S1-S5 re-run marathon with daily eps, preparing for the release of S7 (yeah, a whole year later… don't get me started). They skipped S6 because I think they were afraid of a parents movement called ‘MOIGE’ (battling against what they deemed to be inappropriate TV content, and Buffy made it into their black list - the level of censorship we’ve had, sometimes even when airing at night, was insane) 

Anyway, I got hooked because of the marathon so I watched S6 on DVD and S7 too, because DVDs were released in October while our stupid TV aired it in December. The end… or was it just the beginning? πŸ˜‰

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

It was shortly after I joined SAD last summer. I spent a while just reading stories (even before registering) and it took me some time to come out of my shell with comments, too. 
But there was this Challenge I found in my early exploration of the site that wormed into my brain and before long I started playing with different scenarios in my head, imagining how a story following that Challenge could turn out. So I kept having these scenes crowding my head and they were demanding to ‘come to life.’

At the time there was a Grand Opening event going on, which was what tempted me to try. So I opened Google Docs and I put together what ended up to be the first chapter of my WIP… and I was super nervous about it because I was attempting to write fiction in English (not my native language) for the first time and there was a part of me who kept saying “What do you think you’re doing with this? Did you read the other stories on here? Do you really want to make a fool of yourself like that?”. I can be my own worst enemy. πŸ™ˆ

Thankfully I have a native friend who is also a BtVS/Spuffy fan and she graciously agreed to check my work to make sure my English was acceptable and readable. For a short chapter there were a few things that I definitely got wrong, so I’m glad she checked it first. πŸ˜‚ And then I made that nagging voice in my head shut up and I published my first chapter, right on the Grand Opening event deadline. So I got my first award and my first super kind and encouraging reviews. 

The rest is simple… I was infected with the writing bug, and I haven’t stopped since then. Looks like you’re stuck with me. 

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Again, I already gave an extensive answer to this question in my previous interview, so I’ll shamelessly copy-paste a few sentences from that. 

I love Spike and Buffy because they’re deep, complex and layered both as individuals and as a couple. Their journey from enemies to unexpected allies to somewhat enemies again to reluctant partners to friends to lovers… it was bumpy and tumultuous, at times painful but also undoubtedly fun, and it touched so many aspects in their relationship which I believe is part of what makes them so special.

They inevitably drifted apart but found their way back into each other’s life, cementing their bond with the strongest adhesives: trust and acceptance.

They made me laugh and cry, feel sad and happy and furious, they broke me and then healed me. It was one hell of a ride, but darn, it was ‘bloody well’ worth it in the end.

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

Mmh… I only have 9 stories in my bag at the moment (and two of them are artwork collections), but I’ll try to answer.

Perfect Clarity—This my current WIP, my first ever Spuffy story and my baby. It’s the one that opened up the world of fiction writing for me, and despite the title it’s probably full of imperfections, but I know I’ll always cherish it also because of what it meant to me in a trying period of my life. About the story: Simply put, I’m mixing elements and events from S7 to make more room for a Spuffy romance. That was the core request for the ‘Selflessly Yours’ challenge, in short.

Deliverance—A missing scene one-shot set in S7 after Buffy frees Spike from the cave where he’d been held captive by the First and Turok-Han. Surely done a million times before, but I decided to write it anyway because for plot reasons I skipped Spike’s capture in Perfect Clarity and I needed to fill that huge blank that was left on the show for such a pivotal moment in Spuffy’s journey. How did they go from the cave to Spike helping with the training of Potential Slayers? That’s the question I tried to answer.

I’ve Been Feeling Everything—This one was my entry for the Scooby Celebration event and it’s a ‘hybrid’ story with 2 artworks and 1 one-shot (last chapter). 

It’s my first and only (for now?) NC-17 written content, a Chosen fade-to-black missing scene about the night before the final battle. I’m fond of it because it made me come out of my comfort zone, attempting to write my first smutty scene in what, in my view, was also a meaningful context. 

I wanted to make them ready to cross that line again while entering a new territory which felt both familiar and entirely different at the same time. I wanted to give a bit more build-up to Buffy’s ILY at the Hellmouth, and I also planted the seed for a post-series story in their final dialogue. Which will be my next long-fic project after I finish my current WIP. (Read my answer to violettathepiratequeen’s 1st question below for better explanation on this point) 

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

As a newbie writer I don’t think I’ve got much to say to anyone who’s already writing… most people here have been doing this for so much longer than me, I can only learn from them.
I could probably be more helpful to those fans who are just starting or would like to start but are feeling nervous or unsure. I’ve been there not long ago (about 8 months, give or take) and I remember perfectly what it feels like to hit that publish button for the first time: scary and exciting. I still feel some of that even now, I’ve simply learned to roll with it and enjoy that bit of adrenaline rush. I can't talk about other sites because I’m exclusively on SAD, but I’ve found the most welcoming and encouraging environment here, so if you have a story idea… take a deep breath and go for it! And be prepared to never stop. There’s no coming back, and you won’t want to. πŸ˜‰

As for what to write, follow your heart. I worried at first that my story(-ies) would not be what people wanted to read, but I soon realized there’s many people with many different tastes and you can’t possibly please everyone. So I’m just writing what I feel is right for me and my stories and I’ve been enjoying it immensely. Whenever I find someone enjoying the journey with me, it’s a beautiful feeling and a gratifying added bonus. But basically I learned to be my own fan first. 😘

From violettathepiratequeen:

Is it easy for you to stay focused on whatever you're currently writing, or are you tempted to start new stories whenever the idea strikes?

I try not to be tempted. I have a Google Doc with a list of ideas and sometimes I go back to it, especially when I’m a little stumped with my WIP. A couple of times I wrote one-shots just to get my mind in a different mindset. So far I’ve eagerly and happily been part of all SAD events, which always provide a fun break and exciting challenges.

I regularly check the Challenge section and save those which sound like something I’d like to write, but if they require more than one-shots I just let them be for the moment. 

Because I’m stubbornly refusing to start any other WIP before I finish the one I’m currently working on. Depending on the moment, I’m finding it hard to keep a regular writing schedule and I hate to leave a story waiting for updates for too long. It’s a personal issue I have with myself, and I can’t even think of keeping more than one WIP going at a time. I mean, technically I have 2 artwork collections that are also WIPs and even those are nagging me! πŸ™ˆ So I only let myself be tempted by one-shots and events. I seal all other ideas in boxes for later use. And if I lose the momentum for a particular story… I sigh and move on. πŸ˜‰ 

There are so MANY great Spuffy scenes, but are there any that still have a big impact on you when you rewatch them?

Wow… tough question. All of them? 😝

There are a few that always make me wish I was watching them for the first time. Over and over! And I’m aware it’s a very predictable list, but it is what it is. The iconic scenes from School Hard and Becoming pt II are at the top of the list together with Fool For Love and Touched. The beginning of After Life follows closely and I have a soft spot for drunk Buffy on a kitten poker not-date with Spike. πŸ˜‚

What are the kinds of tropes/concepts/scenes you're ALWAYS excited to write when the time comes for them?

Once again, I fear I’m quite predictable.

I love to have Spuffy bickering and teasing each other, sometimes driving each other mad, too. I love to have scenes where they have a connection and understanding with little to no words. Where they’re supportive of the other, but also ‘brutally’ honest and don’t refrain from calling the other out if needed. Last but not least, I also love to shove them in domestic and fluffy settings. I’m currently having them adjust to the joys of platonic bed-sharing (ok, maybe Spike is not 100% joyful about that XD)… snoring, covers hogging, kicking, clinging, personal space invasions, uncomfortable crotch reactions and morning bickering about all the above. Probably not the most exciting scenario for many people, but I’m a big old softie at heart and I can’t escape from that… I’ve already given up and accepted my fate. 😝

I’d like to close this by saying I’m honored to share this month’s SotM with violettathepiratequeen, both her fics and comments are an absolute delight, and so is she.
Thank you everyone for the incredible support you’ve shown from the start. SAD is my happy place — I’m grateful for every single word of encouragement and praise, and also for all the stunning stories that are hosted here. My bookshelf and my heart will never be empty. ♥️



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle on 04/05/23 06:28 pm 6 Comments

Hello, After Darkers!

Now that we’ve cleared out all those pesky evil lawyers, we wanted to thank everyone for the unbelievable level of enthusiasm and participation for the Short and Spuffy event. Blown away doesn’t begin to describe how we feel about the past month.

Here are some fun-filled drabbly facts! buckleup

30 authors wrote a total of 36 Short and Spuffy stories.

Those stories consisted of 1013 drabbles.

4 authors submitted their very first story to Sunnydale After Dark for this event.

81 new members joined the archive during this event.

84 members left comments on the Short and Spuffy stories for a grand total of 17,932 comments. Those comments were only for the drabble event fics!

It’s safe to say we had a blast! En masse! writing

And because we promised the lovely and vocal Discord users who joined us every night for wheel spinning prompt-choosing time, we will now reveal which admins are responsible for the agony, er um the inspiration of each prompt:

sandy_s’s Drabble Prompts

  • Drowning
  • Boxes on a shelf
  • Scent
  • Attainathon
  • Blue and green
  • Kitten
  • Side by side
  • Sacrifice
  • Indirect sunlight
  • The French Quarter

Dusty’s Drabble Prompts

  • The lies you told
  • Crashing
  • Pretty chains
  • Make a choice
  • Lost
  • Message to the moon
  • I think I love you
  • The clock stops
  • A little clue
  • Tempt me

Chelle’s Drabble Prompts

  • Pain
  • Joy
  • Making up
  • Loving you is easy
  • Should we break up?
  • Too much damn drama!
  • Angst is my oxygen
  • Hurt and Comfort
  • Too quiet
  • Just let it all hang out

You can officially lower your pitchforks now. The drabbles turned out amazing!! And really isn’t that what matters? wink

We’ll also confess our April Fools Day roles while we're at it: sandy_s played the part of Buffy, Dusty played the part of Angel, and Chelle played the part of Spike, which surely surprises no one.

Who knows if these guys may grace the archive with a return one day...

All authors, artists, and commenters should have the appropriate awards (and there were a lot of ‘em!) in their profile now. If you feel you are missing one you should have earned, please contact us so we can sort it out!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you thank you for helping this place thrive and uplift.

We love you all. thanks



--Dusty, sandy_s, and Chelle on 04/02/23 05:03 pm 14 Comments

A little note from Chelle, Dusty, and sandy_s, who are back at the helm!


We’re thrilled that we were able to create havoc and unleash our inner demons today— your participation and outrage was very enjoyable! We had a blast creating this little detour and are happy to return you now to our regularly scheduled program.

You all are the whole reason we’re here and we can’t begin to thank you enough for all the love, camaraderie, and participation. We’ve never seen so many wonderful drabbles and so many thoughtful comments as we have this past month!

And now the SADmins are signing off to…

Oh, wait. Spike? Buffy? Angel? What are you guys still doing here?

“You hired us for this shit, didn’t you?” Spike demanded, chin jutting out proudly. “Took all my time away from Buffy and her sweet—”

“Do not finish that sentence!” Angel snapped. “What he meant to say is that we were happy to help out the fandom. The stories here are— well, they’re… stories. About Buffy and Spike. And maybe I felt a little bit left out. But even I can admit they’re amazing.”

“They are. They are amazing!” Buffy declared. “And we’re very happy that this fandom is still so popular and that Sunnydale After Dark’s recent drabble event was such a success.”

“I had a starring role. I’m dead chuffed. These writers know where the real meat of a story is.” Spike leered at Angel.

“Spike.” Buffy sighed.

Angel shook his head. “Our point is, we’re grateful. And whether you’re writing just Buffy and Spike or, I dunno, including the guy who happened to be pretty significant to Buffy and Spike’s lives, um… or I guess using the whole ensemble—”

“Even Xander?” Spike interrupted.

“Even Xander,” Buffy snapped.

Angel growled, “Can I finish?”

“Go for it.” Spike pouted.

“The point is!” Angel shouted. “Sunnydale After Dark welcomes everyone. Even me. Which is pretty awesome. And, uh, that’s why I’m officially dropping the lawsuit. Even if I have to deal with some angry demon lawyers to do it.”

Buffy snorted. “There are a whole host of reasons to drop your ridiculous lawsuit.”

“Trying to be nice here…”

“What Forehead is trying and failing to say is you are all a wicked talented lot and we’re your willing puppets. Do with us what you will.” Spike wrapped both arms around Buffy. “Make it dirty if you can.”

Happy April, everyone!

We hope you have a fabulous rest of your month.

Drabble awards are on their way soon clap



--Chelle, sandy_s, and Dusty on 04/01/23 05:08 pm 13 Comments

The law offices of Wolfram & Hart seek to remind the users of the Sunnydale After Dark fanfiction archive that any and all participation in this site’s defamatory and slanderous activities will be considered affiliation with the site itself. 

This includes:

  • Reading illicit and/or defamatory content
  • Distributing “cookies” of any kind
  • Commenting on Sunnydale Press correspondence
  • Conspiring in the “Scooby” Chat Box
  • Posting additional fictional content

The following members have already been flagged for demonstrating significant culpability for one or more of these crimes:

Spike
Buffy
ClowniestLivEver
Hannora
Grief Counseling
loveisntbrains
PuckRobin
Magnus374
bruskiboo
Dusty
Slaymesoftly
Girlytek
VeroNyxK84
Teuntje
honeygirl51885
Pet35
D’Hoffryn
MaggieLeFay
violettathepiratequeen
HerselfNYC
TheUnexceptionableQuinn
Tiny Tabby
GetItDone
sandy_s
scratchmeout
Darla
Lady Emma
Chelle
Stephaniem191
VioletMoon
Passion4Spike

This list is but a fraction of today’s offenders. Punitive actions will be taken for those who are deemed guilty in a court of law, possibly a demonic court of law. The particular court and dimension of ethical and legal standards will be determined at a later date. 

Please see previous letter for details of potential consequences for continued participation. 

For now, this is your final warning. 

Cease and desist.



--Wolfram and Hart on 04/01/23 11:04 am 22 Comments



--Wolfram and Hart on 03/31/23 08:00 pm 29 Comments

Hi, y'all! Here are the Scoobies of the Month interviews for March 2023! Hope you enjoy reading them...

Commenter of the Month for March 2023, Dusty:

How did you come to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Through a podcast I listened to a long time ago! The podcasters were actually studying and dissecting Outlander, which I loved fervently. They were starting a new podcast about Buffy and I had enjoyed their analysis and trusted their judgment on what was good so much that I hopped over and started watching the show and listening to their episodes. Very quickly I couldn’t wait a whole week to watch along with them and blasted through Buffy. This was around 2015, so I was pretty late to the Buffy party.

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

At some point, I discovered that there were canonical comics continuing the series! Hallelujah! I borrowed those from my library and diligently read them up til season 11, which was current at the time. S11 had so much Spuffy and I just adored the thought of them holed up in that camp together, going through something dark trying but being a solid COUPLE. I used to write fanfiction for another show (The Pretender) and so I knew what it was and thought “oh I bet people have written all sorts of stories in this fun setting! I mean, he’s BITING her!! How thrilling!” It brought me into the world, but it turned out, I couldn’t find the story I was looking for! So I worked up my nerve and began writing what I envisioned myself. So really, I started reading and writing almost simultaneously because of that. 

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Oh boy. Well. Because they are formidable. I am a big believer that the most satisfying relationships are ones in which people really contend with each other and challenge each other to be better. It’s that old saying about throwing two rocks in a bag and they will scrape and knock against each other until they both come out polished and shining. Is that a saying? Pressure turns coal into diamonds? Something like that! Metaphorically! I just love how they challenge each other and they’re so honest and they don’t hold back because they’re strong enough to do that. They’re hilarious but also passionate. And something about them not getting a real coupley run on the show makes it all the more satisfying to read it in fic.

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

Just do it! You may feel your six words of encouragement are nothing or not good enough to bother sharing, but those six words actually mean a lot. As an author, I sometimes get comments apologizing for the “ramble” but that’s silly, too! Every word from 1-100 (or 1000, ahem GetItDone) means a ton to authors and comments are like little thank yous for writing. Sometimes just leaving a hilarious GIF will brighten someone’s day. It really doesn’t take much. And if a line or a word they used really stood out to you, share that! Authors love knowing what resonated. 

From honeygirl51885:

Did you start commenting on stories as soon as you entered the world of fanfic, or were you a lurker to start?  If a lurker, what made you write your first comment?

I did lurk a little at first! But not for very long because I have THOUGHTS to share! So I can’t remember exactly what drove me to make those first few comments, but I remember they were on Sigyn’s stories, so it was probably that I felt some sort of visceral feeling (since she’s so good at that!) from whatever she was writing at the time. It’s usually a powerful emotion or beautiful writing that inspires me to really ramble at an author and share my thoughts!

As someone who gives and gets comments, what is your favorite type of comment to write (i.e. general praise for the story, listing favorite lines, starting up conversations with the author, etc.)?

I feel like I try to do a little bit of both! If a line jumps out at me as being particularly amazing, I do tend to quote that and tell the author how much I loved it. I started doing that when I realized how much I enjoyed seeing what lines my own readers were responding to. It is fun to ask the author questions, but also I don’t want the story spoiled so I feel like I don’t do that as much. I just try to share my enthusiasm for whatever comes next, whatever that may be. And I try not to comment with or impose my vision of what I THINK should come next so that the author doesn’t feel pressure or guilt when they know it’s not gonna go that way.

Has a comment ever made you make changes to your story?

Ha. Ohhhh, you asked the wrong author this question… or maybe just the right one! ;)

In minor ways, yes! For example, in The Fairytale I had Dawn playing the role of Rapunzel (long, silly explanation goes here) and a brilliant commenter called her Radawnzel and I thought that was hilarious and had the characters do that from then on out. Other commenters joked so much about wanting a Spuffel threesome fic that I eventually just wrote Embers because of it! So I do listen and get infected by commenter ideas.

It’s when the comments are negative that it gets tricky. Only you as the author know where the story is truly going, so you have to consider that when comments are inadvertently (or not inadvertently) pressuring you down another path. Be strong! I know personally I get a really defiant “dig my heels in” kind of feeling when my choices are being questioned. I get the urge to prove myself and that’s not always good because I know I’ve overcorrected, too. Sometimes I’ll want the readers to have a certain reaction like “be mad at Spike! He’s doing something wrong here!” and when it feels like everyone’s okay with it or forgiving him too easily because we love him so much, I will just want to push things further until they’re in the emotional place I want them to be. Which is maybe not always pure to the story or what should happen! But it’s hard not to do.

So while I don’t think I’ve ever made major changes because of comments on my stories, I have felt the pressure of them and their expectations. I have worried that I’ll disappoint people. And I think the worst thing that ever comes of that is it makes me sometimes rush through what I know I want to do (which then doesn’t do the moment justice) because I’m just tired of fielding backlash and am ready to move onto something else that’s more fun. Luckily, these instances are definitely the exception and this community is so supportive overall. I cannot complain. I only share the negative experience to illustrate how powerful a comment can be and how those little criticisms can slither into authors’ brains and grow big trees of doubt. Um. Just go with the mixed metaphor there and remember to be kind with your comments. That’s all I’m trying to say!

Author of the Month for March 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 then tuned in for seasons six and seven as they aired. I became obsessed that summer in between seasons five and six. I read episode recaps and info. on BuffyGuide so I’d be completely prepared for anything that could possibly happen when season six aired. That’s also when I discovered the world of fanfiction. 

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

I started writing general fiction when I was in fourth grade and really got into writing when I was in seventh grade. Buffy was the first show that I read and wrote fanfiction for.

I started writing during season seven because I was so desperate for some Spuffy togetherness that just wasn’t happening on air. I was a senior in high school at that time and very much an introvert (haha, I still am). I never posted any of my work, but I still have the two stories that I started writing back then. They are actually handwritten on notebook paper. I reread them when I came back into the fandom during the pandemic and boy oh boy were they some schmoopy, sweep you off your feet romances. I’m still very much into the romance, but I like to think that I’ve come a long way from those super sappy days.

When the closures happened, I revisited the fandom like so many people did and I fell in love with BtVS and Spuffy all over again. I did most of my reading on FanFiction.net and then I discovered Elysian Fields and joined Sunnydale After Dark when it kicked off. I was always a lurker, even back in the day. Then finally on March 9, 2021, I left my first comment. I started coming out of my shell and soon the writing muse was pounding on my door.

I hadn’t written any fiction or poetry since I was an undergrad in college, so it was very daunting to come back to this style. I had tons of ideas rattling around in my head and that’s where they stayed for months because I was positively terrified that I wouldn’t be able to write fiction again. When I just couldn’t contain my ideas any longer, I sat down one day in May 2021, and started writing. It was literally like opening the flood gates. The words just poured out of me and it was such an incredible high. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Why do you love Spike and Buffy?

Watching the first five seasons on fast-forward and with the added insight of knowing Angel left and Spike was there to stay, I saw the Bangel relationship develop and it just didn’t do anything for me. Plus, Evil!Angelus and Poor-Me!Angel were total turn offs.

When Spike came to town and stayed permanently, I fell in love. His character was just so original, witty, and…COOL! I was 16 at the time and totally down with the bad boy persona. Who am I kidding, I still am, but only if he has bleached blond hair and happens to be a vampire.

Spike is my favorite character, apart from Buffy, and I love his development throughout the series. I was on the edge of my seat when the season six finale aired and he got his soul, and I love the fact that he got it for Buffy of his own volition. That being said, I don’t believe Spike needed his soul to love Buffy. He is truly a unique vampire in this verse and that makes him such an interesting character to read and write stories for.

I truly love the character of Buffy. She is strong and compassionate and works her ass off for absolutely no reward other than knowing that she saved the world…a lot. She is the very definition of selfless and I think that is an amazing character trait to have. I also love that she does not wallow or complain—ever. She’s had more than her fair share of hardships in her life, but she takes them all in stride and keeps fighting the good fight.

In the end, I truly believe Spike and Buffy are a perfect match and they belong together. 

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

Oh boy. This is so hard because I love all of my stories. I know that sounds conceited, but I think all writers love their work, otherwise we wouldn’t spend the time on it. But since I have to choose three, here goes.

  • Come Back to Me – This was the very first thing I started writing on that day back in May 2021, although I didn’t really get into it and start posting it until October of that year. When I originally outlined it, I was trying for a story with about twenty chapters and hoping to hit 75,000 words. This ended up being an epic with 175,000 words. It’s the longest thing that I’ve ever written and I posted it weekly without interruption until it was complete at thirty-two chapters. I was so proud of myself when I finished this piece and it holds tremendous sentimental value for me.
  • From Here to Eternity – This was a birthday gift fic for the lovely violettathepiratequeen. It’s an angsty AU fic that I find myself revisiting anytime I need to get into that mindset. It stemmed from the idea of Spike and Buffy living hundreds of years alone in the world and then finding each other. I fell into such a trance when writing this piece and I slip back into it anytime I reread it.
  • Ties to the World – This is another angsty story and one that I actually didn’t like at first. I came up with this idea that I liked well enough for a Road Trip Challenge. When I started writing this story though, it felt like a very sluggish process (I think because there isn’t a lot of dialogue in it until the end) and I just wanted it to be done. It came together, but I didn’t feel a real connection to it like I normally do when I’m writing my stories. In fact, when I sent it to my beta, I told her, “Here it is. I like it, but I don’t love it.” She came back telling me how much she enjoyed it and I thought, “Ok, I’m glad it’s working.” When I posted it, I got so many comments from people telling me they loved the piece and wanted a sequel for it. I actually had to step back and say, “Really?” I went back and read it again, this time with the comments fresh in my mind, and I fell in love with it too. 

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

I know it’s been said before, but that’s because it’s true. Just do it!

I know firsthand how terrifying it can be to start writing, but if you take the step, you unlock all these doors to so many wonderful worlds. I write because I constantly have ideas buzzing around in my brain, but the benefits I get from writing are tenfold. I find it to be a form of stress release and that’s so important to have in your life. It also provides me with an emotional release that at times I really need. We all go through reading phases where we’re craving something light and fluffy, or dramatic and angsty. Writing is the same way. I find my stories develop based on my current mindset and that can be very cathartic. And finally, it allows me to connect with others who share my interests and passions. Yep, I’m talking about all you Spuffy shippers!

Questions from Dusty:

Which character is the hardest for you to write? Which one is the easiest?

When I read this question Xander and Willow were the first to pop into my head as the hardest to write. Then I thought about it some more and, yeah, I think I’m sticking with them. I find that all of the characters have their easy moments to write and their difficult moments, it just depends on what you’re having them do. But, I think Xander and Willow are the most difficult for me because I don’t include them a lot in my stories, so their voices are harder to find.

I find Spike to be the easiest to write and I often write from his POV. I think it’s because of the accent. I love a good accent and I love hearing his voice in my head. I also really like to swear and Spike is more likely to do that than Buffy, haha! I write a lot of sex scenes as well, and Spike is definitely the easier POV to write because he’s more comfortable with the sex talk.

What would you say to other authors when they're feeling discouraged from lack of feedback or interaction with their story?

I write first and foremost for me. I either have an idea bubbling inside my brain that I need to get out, or some challenge was issued and I HAVE to complete it. Obviously, we all post our stories because we want people to read and enjoy them, and the best way to know that that is happening is through likes and comments. But, at the end of the day if I’m happy with what I wrote and I want to read it, then that is all that matters to me. I have stories that I really love that haven’t gotten much attention. It is a bit sad, because you want all your stories to get the love, but it’s going to happen. You can’t get bogged down by that aspect of writing and posting, because it will most definitely affect your desire to write.

I know that’s easier said than done, but you can’t control how people will respond to your work. You can control how you feel about it though. And if you love it, then nothing else matters and you’ll keep wanting to write more.

Do you plan your stories out in detail, just wing it, or something in between?

I’ve done both, but I pretty much fall right in the middle. Got Your Six had an incredibly detailed outline, complete with some dialogue and pre-written scenes. It’s one that got tabled until later, and then when I decided I was finally going to write it, it was really hard to get into a groove. My plan was so detailed that I felt like I knew everything that happened and there were no surprises left to write. It took a while to get into the writing process with that one, but once I did the detailed plan was nice because I knew exactly what I had to write for each chapter and used it like a checklist.

I’ve also just sat down and written a story that popped into my head with absolutely no plan whatsoever; Off the Page and One Good Day are examples of that. For the most part, when I get an idea, I create a new Word doc and jot down some notes. I’ll add ideas and dialogue to it when inspiration strikes and then just let my muse take me wherever it decides to go for that story.



--sandy_s, Dusty, Chelle on 03/05/23 08:21 am 15 Comments