Tell us something about yourself: Where are you from? Age/Gender? Hobbies? Anything you'd like to share.
I'm from California, female, mid-30s. I have a master's degree in literature, and design curriculum at a private college.
How did you begin writing in general?
I began writing in junior high after a teacher praised one of my stories-oooh, free compliments! My early enjoyment of it was tied to praise, but I grew to love the process. Although I loved to read
fiction, I quickly became focused on writing nonfiction and eventually became a journalist.
What inspired you to begin writing fanfic?
A few days after the BtVS episode "Grave" aired, I was wondering how Spike would react to his soul. I didn't want to wait months to see it, so I wrote it myself. I wasn't even planning to write it; I was just thinking about it, and Spike's reaction seemed clear to me, so I jotted it down. That was Aftermath
. After I wrote it I thought, Huh. I just wrote a story
I'd begun reading fanfiction in the fall of 2001. Prior to writing Aftermath
I had no real impulse to write fanfic, but I did think there was a chance I might during the summer simply to stave off BtVS withdrawal. I actually assumed I'd write from Giles's viewpoint, because I identified with his slight remove from the situation; as a reporter, I was often in a similarly distanced position.
What do you enjoy about writing fanfic?
Everything except for the snobbery it encounters, which seems so pointless and self-important.
The best description I've ever heard of fanfic is from Annie Sewell-Jennings
, who described it as free crack for readers, because they're getting what they want gratis, and also free crack for writers, because they're doing what they want and getting feedback on it. I really enjoy writing characters I've never done before and trying their voices on, and putting them into situations and seeing how they react. Sometimes their reactions surprise me.
Why have you chosen to write about Spike? What do you find interesting about his character?
I don't know if I can speak philosophically about Spike; I love him and identify with him, it's that simple. It's unimaginable for me not
to write about him. He's right there
, vulnerable and blustery and immediate.
What other characters or relationships do you find most interesting to write?
I find most BtVS and AtS characters fascinating, with wonderfully dense, layered histories. Lorne, Cordy, and Anya are particularly fun to write, and I love Giles's orderly mind. And Buffy; she's difficult and can be selfish, but she also feels very real to me-genuinely complex.
Of the work you've written, which piece is your favorite? Why?
Bag of Bones
, probably. I'd only written a few ficlets prior to that, and never written dialogue; I had no idea how I'd deal with it, with the scenes and transitions and pacing of a larger story. I was primarily interested in how these characters would feel their way back to each other after their relationships imploded in season six, but I didn't think anybody but me would be interested in them just sitting around for twenty chapters talking, hence-plot.
From the earliest plotting to posting the final chapter, Bag of Bones
took just over a year of my life. I thought it was going to take six weeks, but when I tried to move the story along for the plot's sake I could feel the characters reproaching me for shortchanging them, so the story just kept growing. I felt bereft when it was complete, but happy with how it turned out.
Which piece was the most difficult to write? Why?
, which is a ficlet from Riley's POV and fanwanks that he framed Spike as the Doctor in "As You Were." I initially envisioned it as being quite biting, but as I began fleshing it out it became increasingly broad, almost Keystone Kop-ish. I finally whittled it down to its bare bones, but it's not really as funny or vicious as I wanted it to be-although The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Secret Agents
still seems to me to be a book Riley would write, or at least read twenty times and quote incessantly.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a fanfic writer?
I think dialogue and characterization are my strengths. My greatest weakness is probably that there is sometimes so long between chapters in my series that the sense of momentum is diminished for the reader. I also have a hard time writing action scenes, and consequently leave much fighting action up to the reader's imagination. With Boomerang
, I was fulfilling a ficathon request that required much action, and really had to grit my teeth to detail a fight. Action scenes are tedious to me, as a writer and a reader. And often as a viewer.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of writing fanfic?
Finding the time, especially as I'm a very slow writer. And sometimes, with a long series, a sense of hopelessness can set in: I've been writing this for months, and it's not even half done-I'll never finish! There's also the mystery of why some pieces you love receive little notice, while others you don't think as highly of are much praised. It can leave you a bit puzzled.
What advice would you give to new fic writers?
Pay attention to the characters-if you do, they really do write themselves. And don't get bent out of shape if someone gives you thoughtful criticism-they're doing you a kindness. And frankly, it makes you look like a tool.
Do you read other fanfic? If so, what are some of your favorite stories and/or authors?
Oh, I love fanfic! Unfortunately, many of my favorite authors have stopped writing-VicNoir
and Sandra Schimmel
and Lisa Y. Drexel
, among others, and I've given up hope of Lynn completing The Chains Series
. Which, since I consider it the ultimate Spike/Buffy story, is really a pity. Thank god Rabid and Mary
and so many other wonderful writers are still going strong.
Do you write original fiction? Or fiction in other fandoms? (If so, where can we find it?)
No to both. I'm not especially interested in writing original fiction, and only the Jossverse fascinates me enough to write about it. I do write BtVS smut under another name, SeaBlue
, and I have a site for that called Blond and Dangerous.