Great Authors
GREAT AUTHORS

THESE ARE SOME OF THE BEST AUTHORS IN THE FANDOM, IMHO.

Over the years I have read, enjoyed and hopefully given these authors the encouragement and support they deserve. If you read, please send your thoughts to the authors.

Amy BAscianChelleChristina KamnikarCirceDark StarDeanna ZankichDeb NockelsDevil's PigletDolores LabouchereDucksFemmenerdGiaGlossolaliaHarpyIndieIndriJames WalkswithwindJane DavittJane St. ClairJoKatriena KnightsKay Teekcarolj65KitaKyra CullinanLaure AlexanderLittle HeavenLynneM PhoenixMargot Le FayeMattMatthew TimeMerMinim CalibrePersephonePoshcatPrincess Plum JadeRoz KaveneyRubywispseraCSiennaSJ SmithSophia JirafeStarletTangoTeTeslathisveryinstanttkpTrammieTreacleTrixie FirecrackerVatrixsta CrudenVictoria PWesleysgirlWiseacressYahtzeeYseult

AMY B
Chrislee says: A Smaller God took my breath away. I stumbled upon it at an archive I was not familiar with and was amazed at Amy's ability to turn a story with elements of bdsm (and let's face it- those stories can just be about the sex! *g*) into a pretty authentic look into Wesley's psyche. It's a masterful piece of storytelling and sent me off in search of more. Amy 's command of language and ear for characterization are to be envied.

Amy B says: I was a latecomer to the fandom all the way around, really. I started watching the show during my first year of grad school, which was BtVS season 6; I had friends who had a Tuesday night "Buffy Night" get-together every week, and I never went because I didn't know anything about the show. Then one night I was doing laundry and flipping channels and saw that the show was on and thought, "Why not?" My first episode was Smashed; I can remember sitting there with my car keys in my hand from the last commercial break through the credits, absolutely breathless and just waiting for it to be over so I could hop in the car and head out to buy the DVDs. A week of pretty much no sleep and constant Buffy watching followed, and I was at the next Buffy night with metaphorical bells. I didn't really pursue anything about the show on the internet until I decided that spoilers were necessary if I was going to keep watching it with a group of people; even then, however, I stuck to a few of the spoiler sites and let that be it.

The world of fanfiction was really something that I didn’t even know existed until after I finished school and moved to NYC; I was (to phrase it leniently) poor and couldn't afford much of anything, but we had a phone line and my roommate had AOL. Score. I surfed about and found a few sites that I rather methodically read my way through, and then had a few more that got added to the list along the way. The list steadily got longer and longer, and then in February of 2005 I finally decided to go out on a limb and volunteer as a beta as a way to give back a little to the community I'd been enjoying so much. I had no inclination to write at that point, and had never really thought of myself as a creative writer, but I was challenged that very first night by a friend to at least give it a chance. I started my first story, Fear in a Handful of Dust, the next evening, posted once I had a few chapters under my belt, and from there never really looked back.

I started as a Buffy/Spike shipper, and I still am to a fair extent; shortly after I started writing, however, I started experimenting with other characters and other pairings, and those are interests that I happily continue to pursue. Most of my stories are Spike-centric, although I have a growing number of non-Spike stories as well; the first non-Spike-involved story I wrote was a Wes/Lilah PWP called A Smaller God. From the writing of that piece on, I’ve just followed my instincts and my desires in terms of stories I want to tell; if it strikes a chord with me or moves into my head in any small way, it finds its way onto the computer screen. I can honestly say that there’s not a character I don’t love or find interesting or that I’m not willing to explore.

The ship stories that I’m proudest of are All the Sinners Saints, my Spike/Faith permanent Work in Progress series; By Way of Pain, which is Spike/Dru, Spike/Buffy, and Spike character study all neatly packaged into a BDSM wrapper; Reclamation, a Spike/Buffy PWP that brings a fair share of plot alongside; and the series I’m currently finishing up, entitled Whispers in a Dead Man’s Ear, which is also Spike/Buffy. I’ve also written a whole host of single-character or non-ship short fictions that I’m really proud of, particularly Carry On, My Wayward Son, which is a story that alternates POVs between Angel and his father. Additionally, I’ve recently ventured into slash, which has been an interesting sort of perspective shift for me.

In terms of other authors, I can’t even begin to list everyone I’ve read who’s influenced me somehow or whose work I enjoy; it would take the entire page and then some. Just from the authors here, I can pull out Laure Alexander, Devil Piglet, Dark Rhiannon, KJ Draft, and tkp as authors who have completely turned my head or made me sit up and take notice. It’s so gratifying to me to be in a community like the Buffy fandom, and I really can’t say enough about the people I’ve met, the authors whose work I’ve read or the readers who’ve enjoyed mine and who have become friends. The links page on my site is a pretty comprehensive list of authors and sites that I enjoy.

I don’t think I have the words to quite say how honored I am to be included here among these ranks, but I’m certainly very grateful for the opportunity.

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ASCIAN
Chrislee says: Into the Blue is a beautiful post "Normal Again" story that captured my attention from its lovely opening sentences and set me down, none-too-gently, at its conclusion. A wonderfully lyrical writer, if you haven't yet discovered Ascian what are you still doing here?

Ascian says: I write fic because when the demon in the back of my head starts feeding me lines, they're very often about Buffy. And Spike. My demon likes BuffyandSpike, sometimes to excess.

Writing is a very reactive process for me. I guess in a way fic is my natural medium, since I've been making up stories to explain the world for as long as I can rememer. Stories are like air to me, or water, or love. Everything is a story in my head, sooner or later, and it doesn't really matter whether the source material comes from life or from other fiction. Somewhere in the back of my head, I'm always stringing it out across a page.

Unfortunately, I'm also terribly lazy about the whole process, and tend to run away screaming from any part of it that looks like work. So I write when the demon feeds me lines to channel down, and when the well is dry (which is most of the time) I write nothing at all. Despite occasionally sincere efforts, I've never finished anything longer than 10,000 words. Maybe someday. As it is, though, I tend more towards shorter, introspective character-based stuff. I love picking characters apart to see what makes them tick. They break so beautifully.

My favorite fic authors are probably Nautibitz, Wisteria, AnnieSJ, Wiseacress, HarmonyFB, Macha, Glossolalia, Circe, RedRover, Kyra Cullinan and Herself. I tend to like very evocative writing rather than very plotty writing, though if I can have both I'm a happy camper.

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CHELLE
Chrislee says: My favourite story by Chelle is still The Need That Remains because it has a wonderful plot, great characterizations, angst and smut. But Chelle writes everything with care and am so happy to have her finally join me here.
Chelle says: I've been writing Buffy fanfic since Season Two/No Assembly Required. My first endeavors were laughable and I've kept them for posterity's sake. As the show continued to inspire my creative juices (which has always sounded gross to me), I worked harder to create stories that would do justice to the show. I failed a few times. But I've succeeded a few times, too.

I will always have a very special place in my heart for Buffy and Angel. At the end of Becoming II I literally had to curl into a ball and cry for an hour. My entire freaking summer was ruined after that and I couldn't read spoilers fast enough.

It was during the summer after Becoming that I realized that Buffy and Spike had been very funny allies toward the end of season two and I'm nothing if not a comedienne. And then I encountered Laure Alexander's fic and realized that Buffy and Spike would probably make good shag buddies as well. This was very inspiring.

I have authored more Buffy/Spike stories than anything else, but nine times out of ten, Angel will make an appearance. As much as I love to write Buffy/Spike and will always be extremely proud of Walking After Midnight and We Made Love, I have to confess that no story is closer to my heart than When You Come Back. That story is one that is told in Angel's voice, the story of his life and the determination he has to return to Buffy one day. I still cry when I read it. I still feel a sudden burst of pride when I get to the last word and realize that *I* wrote it and I'm one hundred percent satisfied with the final result.

All in all, I'll say that Buffy changed my life. I have met so many wonderful people and gained confidence in my writing that I never would have gotten without the support of fanfic readers. The Buffy community is a beautiful place to be and I am so proud to be a part of this site and among the likes of Laure Alexander and all the other authors featured here.

Buffy may be gone, but it's not forgotten and as long as I still have a computer, I will do my part to keep it alive and well.

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CHRISTINA KAMNIKAR
Chrislee says: I read Christina's very eloquent story Chinese Butterfly and knew that I had to read more. The story examines, well, Buffy, post "Normal Again." It's one of those twisting labrynths of a story that pulls you in with its opening line and spits you out, shaking your head, at the end. You're in very good hands here.

Christina says: I started writing fanfic when I had the classic "hey, I can do better than that" reaction to a really amateurish story I was reading... and because the show I was into at the time wasn't exploring the possibilities I saw for the characters. In the Buffy fandom, I got sucked into writing for the show by Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar. While I've never written the kind of story I'd like to for them, the lack of background for each made these two fascinating characters to play with; the possibilities were endless. Too bad the relationship wasn't.

Things that usually inspire me to write: conflicted characters (Faith, Buffy, Dawn, sometimes Xander) and the inherent weirdness of life on the Hellmouth, and how that effects them. I like relationship fic, but I haven't really written any in the Buffy/Angel fandom; my brain just doesn't tend that way for writing stories here. Of my own stuff, I'd guess that either Wide Awake and Dreaming or Runaway Trains at 3 A.M. would be my faves. "Wide Awake" is another Faith story, with dream sequences alternating with reality and internal thoughts. "Runaway Trains" is Dawn on the run, a crossover that's nearly all dialogue and friendshippy silliness. My writing style tends to veer all over the place.

Other writers I admire: Yahtzee, for the plots, the risk-taking, the surprises, and the dialogue; Rheanna, for her dead-on characterization and the sheer detail she gets into her stories; Julie Fortune, for language, style, and seeing possibilities that are even cooler than the ones we get on-screen; JennyO for being so damn prolific and fearless; HonorH for action and humor and poetic phrases that make me sing!; and my fellow Sunnydale Slayers writers, too numerous to mention, for always bringing the funny and the angst in equal measure. Check 'em out.

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CIRCE
Chrislee says: OK. I know. I keep prefacing all slash recs by saying I don't like slash. And I really don't get Xander/anyone slash...but I absolutely loved No Power on Earth, which is not only an incredibly hot Xander/Spike story, but an amazingly authentic look at Xander between seasons 3 and 4. I wasn't just reading about Xander, I was right there with him. Circe is amazing.

Circe: I started writing fanfiction because I'm fascinated by what's left unsaid, and Joss and the folks at ME are masters of planting seeds and leaving them there to sprout off-screen. Around fandom, I've become known as someone who will write anything, just to see if I can.

I'm not the kind of fanfic writer who has only one ship... I like to try and write as many different characters as possible. I'm also easily influenced ...if it "can't be done" I'll try and do it! Canon is extremely important to me. My favourite part of sitting down to write a new fic is figuring out how and where I can fit my story into the real BtVS timeline.

My favourite character to write is definitely Xander. He's Everyman. His voice is easy to capture, because he's so transparent in his hopes and dreams and fears. He can be played two ways -- a nice guy with normal human hypocrisies, or somewhat darker, with a mean, bullying streak. I have yet to settle on which I think he truly is (like all of us, he's probably both), but it's great fun to explore and try to find out.

As a writer, I use fanfiction as a forum through which to improve my writing. I've learned a phenomenal amount from BtVS fandom. As fanfic writers, we are given ready made characters, complete with baggage and context --all we need to do is see where this takes us. I've been using this freedom to experiment primarily with different ways of telling stories -- narration, tense, style, etc. I've become obsessed with point of view, and how to use it as a writing tool, and this has greatly influenced my "real life" writing.

No Power on Earth was very difficult to get started on, because I was nervous about writing gay vampire porn! My slashy friends on Livejournal got me over that fairly quickly. I love my s7 Willow POV Afraid of Me because I think it perfectly captures her voice at that time and place. I'm also rather fond of Recompense, a dark Xander story where ... well, I won't spoil it for you!

When reading fanfiction, I tend to love a darker edge to stories. I like well-written Spander or Spillow, but the ship closest to my heart is Spuffy. My favourite authors include Wiseacress and her incredible ModusVivendi and Ars Moriendi; Shannon, and her sublime story Half-Gifts, easily one of my all-time favourite fics; Annie Sewell-Jennings, whose work continually amazes me, especially The Last Summer and her new WIP, the insanely fluffy Spuffy Nineteen Hours; Wisteria, because her prose is like poetry and no one can write falling in lovelike she can -- read Sweeter than Oranges if you don't believe me; KJ Draft for her incredibly hot, and often incredibly cruel, stories; Herself for the amazing and heartbreaking What She Deserves/LovingKindnessseries and, Gwyneth Rhys, an (in my opinion) often overlooked Spuffy author whose work is absolutely wonderful. Read Somniloquoy and you'll see what I'm talking about!

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DARK STAR
Chrislee says: I admire Dark Star for so many reasons, not the least of which is her ability to tell a good story well. Her favourite story, Love Lies Bleeding, is actually mine- but she's written loads of other great stuff including a compelling, adult B/A series which begins with Hollow. And in case you didn't know, Dark Star also runs one of the best fic sites on the net, Scribes of Angel.

Dark Star says: I hadn't written anything since I was at school - more years ago than I care to remember. I was excited to find fanfiction on the web, but at that time, I could only find fluff stories. I wanted plot, and in the end, in sheer frustration, I started writing my own. This was purely for my own pleasure - I never intended to let anyone else read them. My son persuaded me to make a website, and use it to display my stories. I was horrified! Somebody might read them… But, dragged kicking and screaming into the cyber world, I found that I rather liked it, so here I have stayed.

My love is for Angel. No other character intrigues me the way he does, and I just don't want to write for anyone else. I have developed a fondness for the B/A relationship, and many of my stories now lean heavily in that direction.

Writing is a wonderful way to interact with others. It leaves something of you behind, forever, and a friend of mine once likened it to having a time machine. I rather liked that thought. I'm most fond of my story Love Lies Bleeding, because it's the first story I wrote that showed me that others really liked my work, too. A wonderful feeling that was, I can tell you. For the first time - I belonged here.

Who do I admire in the fandom? Oh, I hate that question. There are so many, and normally I won't say because I don't want to offend anyone. But since it was Chrislee who asked… I'm going to give you some of them. Ducks'' was the first website I came across, and I still get a thrill when I hear she has written something new. Maquis Leader is my favourite writer. Her work has everything I could want; humour, drama, wonderful characterisation. You never know quite what you're going to get with her stories. Jo/The Librarian is a wonderful classic writer who writes with such depth, she leaves me speechless every time. Gia can make me read AU, and make it believable; quite a feat. Yahtzee sadly doesn't write in the fandom anymore; a terrible loss, in my opinion.

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DEANNA ZANKICH
Chrislee says: I defy anyone not to be totally sucked into the emotional whirlwind created by DeAnna's story Fingerprints and its sequel Ashes. As a B/A shipper I appreciate the fact that she doesn't dismiss Angel's feelings for Buffy despite the fact that she'd rather slash the vampire. But trust me, it's all good!

DeAnna says: The reason I started writing fan fiction was to build a readership for my original fiction. I wanted to 'test the market' and see if there really was an interest in gay erotica--or at least if there was interest enough that I might be able to make a living writing it. I'd been doing some form of fan fiction since high school, but back then it didn't have such a fluent outlet as it does now on the internet. In fact, back then--it didn't even have a name.

I spent two years writing in another fandom (Queer as Folk) where I was able to learn and grow a great deal as a writer through the support of the generous reading community there. After I finished a VERY long continuous story there, I wanted to try my hand at a larger fandom. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I knew I wanted to try to write for a show that had been out for a long time and had a well-established fan base. I looked into the X-Files fandom and also the West Wing, because those two shows appeal to me on many levels (smartness of dialogue, interesting characters, cute people, etc.). A friend recommended Buffy to me but I had never watched even one episode until early last year. Yes, folks--LAST year, as in 2002.

I looked around a little at sites on the internet and decided I'd check it out. As it was, the show was in mad reruns here in the States and I had lots of access to it on regular television. I was very soon captivated by the Jossverse and bought all the DVDs that were available to buy. I saturated myself with the show and started writing my first fic last October while on a trip to Northern England. Fluids was the result of that trip and I was off and running after that.

What I love about the Jossverse is the humor and intelligence of it. And the freedom created by the supernatural element of the story. Being funny is the hardest thing to do in entertainment and I find that the most enriching challenge of writing fan fic for Buffy/Angel. Also, I get to stretch my gay erotica muscles because--please--could there BE anymore cute men collected in two shows??? It's like a hottie parade! hee hee

My interest is mainly in the character of Spike and how he affects the other characters. That's how I became enamored with Angel. I write pretty much exclusively Angel/Spike slash, but have recently ventured into other pairings--all around Angel, so far. I tried my hand at a threesome that included a female (Buffy) and it was . . . interesting to do, but not something I long to repeat. Writing het erotica isn't my forte. But there are so many lovely possibilities with the boys in the Jossverse, that I'm sure I'll have plenty to do in the coming months. lol

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DEB NOCKELS
Chrislee says: The first story I ever read by Deb was A Letter To Riley I can remember reading it on a weekend morning, surrounded by the chaos in my house and just being taken away by the story. I appreciated that Deb didn't feel the need to bash poor Riley into the ground...yes, I know he's not Angel...but frankly, who is? I loved the world Deb created in that fic...read her stuff, you'll see!

Deb says: I grew up in Yuma, Arizona, married when I was 19 (we celebrated our 30th anniversary this year), have a son who's just started his Master's program and a daughter who's an itinerant teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing children in North Carolina. I currently live in New York City and love it! I started writing fanfic around 1990, when I fell in love with the star-crossed lovers in TV's Beauty & the Beast (starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton). Of course, I discovered the show just as the writers killed off Linda Hamilton's character (stupid, stupid!), and the show was cancelled later that season. Great timing.

I rarely watch television, so it was a big deal when I read about an offbeat show on the WB called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My Science Fiction Book Club catalog featured a few excerpts from The Watcher's Guide, Vol. 1 that definitely intrigued me. I ordered the book, loved what I read, and started watching the program in the spring of 2000, just in time to see Angel leave Sunnydale - and Buffy. Deja vu. Well, for the first time in at least five years I was inspired to write fanfic again, so I did. So far that creative impulse hasn't died, and I hope it won't for a long time yet.

I don't really have one favorite story of mine - I'm rather proud of A Letter To Riley and the current work in progress, Home Before Dark, but when I read any of them over I can see areas where they could use improvement. I guess I'm never fully satisfied.

My fave fanfic authors? Oh golly . . . Ducks, of course, Trixie, and Vatrixsta , Yahtzee is an amazing writer, Serena, Phil . . . I know I'm leaving out half of them, my mind's gone blank. There are so many fantastic writers in the fandom! I urge everyone to join as many fanfic lists as they can handle, and just sit back and enjoy the wonderful fiction that comes.

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DEVIL PIGLET
Chrislee says: Drifting through the increasingly dense world of Buffy fic I was fortunate to stumble across Devil Piglet. I read (and loved) Survivors for a couple of reasons. She makes good use of the friendship between Dawn and Spike...a relationship that Joss seemed to abandon. Plus, she gave Dawn something to do other than whine. Devil Piglet is a great new writer and you should all check her out!

Devil Piglet says: Spike's always been one of my favorite characters on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I find him canny and funny and his rather horrifying pragmatism appeals to me. Despite his abundance of screen time in recent seasons, it's his scenes in Season 2 that most entertained me.

I wrote my first fic, Survivors, as a response to one of Valerie's challenges. It was an attempt to show Spike's protectiveness and affection toward Dawn -- I actually believe that this alone could have been Spike's road to redemption. Roundabout contains plenty of Spike/Dawn friendship as well, but it also explores Buffy's feral side and Spike's very persistent ambiguity. I wanted to depict his constant struggle toward goodness, with its little failures and victories along the way. Of course, since it's my story, I took the opportunity to slam Carrot Top and Lifetime: Television for Women. (I think both may be fronts for the First Evil.) During the break between Seasons 6 and 7, I ventured into the parody waters with Spike's Gift, and my most recent story, The Down Below is a more twisted tale of how 'Seeing Red' affected Dawn's previous hero-worship of her favorite vampire.

I've been amazed and pleased by the talent that resides in the Buffy fanfiction community. Great writers, great people. Glad I could become a small part of something very special.

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DOLORES LABOUCHERE
Chrislee says: I love Live Journals. If it weren't for LJs I might never have found Dolores and his wonderfully amusing and slightly bittersweet story Forgive Us Our Debts. This was my first ever Oz/Giles fic and I'll be damned if it didn't make a kind of poetic sense. In any case, it sent me off to find Dolores' site and more of his fic. I wasn't disappointed.

Dolores says: I started off writing Star Trek: Voyager fic in 1998, but I didn't take the show that seriously so almost all of the fic was parody (and that show was an easy target). BtVS was the first show that I wanted to write more serious fic for, and as I'd fallen in love with Oz's character pretty much from the first episode I saw ('Amends'), he's been the focus of most of my fic since.

I'm actually a gay guy (despite the pseudonym) which unsurprisingly means I tend to write slash - and I'll admit that my main reason for pairing Oz and Angel in the first place was aesthetics. They look nice, they should kiss! I do try to find plausible ways of getting them together, but I'm not sure it works all the time. But then the challenge of trying is half the fun for me.

Joyce is the other character I fell in love with. I can't quite explain what attracts me to her character. It's possibly the fact that she is relatively unexplored by both other writers and the show, so there's a lot of potential there. Whatever the reason I find her really fun to write and I think Kristine Sutherland is a fantastic actress.

Other than that I've written a range of rather unusual pairings, usually just for a laugh. I'm strange like that. Of my own fics, my favourite is probably The Picture, with Gap in the Clouds a close second. I find fault in pretty much everything else.

As for other authors: Faithtastic is just outstanding (although I may be biased), and I'll read pretty much anything by Kate Bolin If I had to pick one individual piece... I couldn't, but Still Life With Slash by Puca comes close to being my favourite.

Although I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.

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DUCKS
Chrislee says: I blame Ducks for starting me down the slippery slope of fanfiction obsession. Truly. Who knew? No one writes sweet angst like Ducks. She's one of the most beloved B/A writers out there, taking a well deserved spot beside Harpy as a B/A writer you must read. Ducks took a little break from fanfic, but she seems to be back and, in a fandom with fewer and fewer B/A writers, we're lucky to have her!

Ducks says: [I started writing fanfiction] wow, like... four million years ago, at least. *G* No... I started writing toward the end of BtVS Season 3 -- post-B/A breakup, because that was when I officially became obsessed with them. Plus, my addiction to all things Angel was complete about that time. I wrote a ton of truly atrocious crap that I didn't even keep, but the earliest pieces of truly atrocious crap I DID keep, and admit (somewhat sheepishly) to writing are I Remember Maireach, Angel Goes to the Shrink, and It's Always Bad News.

[I started to write] because I was fascinated by Angel, and disappointed by Joss' treatment of B/A. ;) How? Angel made me I swear, it was like a mild form of schizophrenia. I was hearing him talk in my head All. The. Time. I figured writing fic was cheaper than medication.

[What inspires me?] David Boreanaz *G* Seriously. He's just so purty, and he's got that whipped puppy thing going on that made my dating life complete Hell when I was younger. But on a less shallow note -- bittersweet and epic stories inspire me. Poetry, music... Joss' asshattery. All of these things make me want to write. *G*

[Which characters do I most relate to and why?] Angel. The whole "trying to be a better person thing" (and often failing) really resonates for me Plus, I compulsively want to hug him. Poor guy. *sniff* Second would be Old School Spike… for the smartass quotient and the utter refusal to follow rules… and also the inability to stick to a plan. *G*

[The story I am most proud of is] Bringing Him Back. Three first person POV's, two often opposing genres, really heavy emotions, and graphic three-way sex/bloodplay. I think I pulled them all off fairly well, and I'm deeply proud of the feedback I received from a lot of different sections of the fandom, most of whom seemed to enjoy it. Second would be the Something Old series, simply because people seem to love it so much. :)

Thoughts on the Jossverse. *SOBS SENSELESSLY*

You're pretty much revered in the B/A fic world. What's that like?
Revered? Seriously? That is too weird. I don't even like the word "revered"... I'm not some kind of deity, you know? I'm not even a leader. I'm just a short, fat geeky chick who has an entirely unhealthy crush on a fictional character and likes to write stories about him. How I ended up being perceived as standing at the bow of the B/A Ship is completely beyond me, especially considering how many times I've gotten disillusioned by the whole thing and just walked away. So the concept is bizarre all around. But thanks for flattering me! :) Sometimes it’s really frustrating, because I can’t seem to do or say anything on the net without it becoming a thing - I mean… why would people freak out over things *I* say? *shrug* I’m baffled On the other hand, I can't count how many wonderful people I've met because of my broad circulation. It's really encouraging and uplifting to get feedback from such a diverse group of people. My horizons have really been broadened by being involved in this verse, and I can only be thankful for that. :) That's just... strange.If you only knew me... ;)

[Advice for fic writers.] Write! Write a lot. Write often. Write whatever you want. Don't worry if it's crap. Don't worry about trends or BadFic hunters or canon when you start... just write what you want to write. The rest comes with practice. And a good beta. Get one if you plan to post on the net. But make sure *they* have good grammar and spelling habits. ;) Keep a sense of humor. Every time I lose mine, I almost have a breakdown.

Other authors/stories I admire? Oh my. There are so many wonderful authors and stories out there. I hate doing this because I inevitably forget SOMEONE, and feel bad about it. But I'll try. There is, of course, the immortal Harpy -- she was the very first fic writer I ever read, and had a lot to do with me starting my own B/A writing. Kita, I would have to say, is my all time favorite fic writer. She writes dark like nobody's business, and hers is the only Angel (besides mine *G*) that I agree with almost 100% of the time. She is my slash crack dealer, and the author of no less than four of my top ten favorite fics. She is responsible for my love of slash, and my overuse of the word Gah. *G* Vatrixsta Cruden, my evil soulmate… she doesn’t write much in the Whedonverse anymore, but her stuff is awesome. Bittersweet Legacy is a Don’t Miss. Margot LeFaye, of course. Not only an AMAZING writer, but also an all around awesome lady. I still love and miss all the old schoolers…Saber Shadowkitten, Lex, and so many of the others on TNS. Luckily, there are some amazing newer folks like indie and tango, and dozens of others over at the Babble Board Fanfic Board . I’m not at home with my trusty personal archive, so I can’t think of the others. *SOB*

Thank you to everyone in the fandom for making the past seven years so memorable. You guys rock mightily.

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FEMMENERD
Chrislee says: For those who fear that fandom may be dying, Femmenerd is proof that there are still more incredible stories to tell and gifted writers to tell them. And I love a writer who approaches characters with an open mind and heart. The Non-Mutual-Exclusivity of Perversion and Love is the first of three stories which deal with the Buffy/Angel/Spike triangle and just one small example of Femmenerd's talent and respect and love for these characters.

Femmenerd says: First of all I want to say how incredibly honored I am to be included in this list which includes so many of my favorite writers in Jossverse fandom. This is especially the case since I’m late to the party and also tend to think of myself as more of a daydreaming scribbler than a “serious” fanfic writer.

I write fanfic because…I love these characters. In many respects I believe that all of my fics are love letters of a sort both to these fictional people/worlds and also to other fans. I write fic when I can’t get enough, when I want to be intimate with certain characters—their motivations, passions, contradictions—and when I hear them “talking in my head” (in a totally non-schizophrenic way, really). So naturally most of my fic is character-driven more than it is long and plotty, although that may also have something to do with the fact that I’ve been quite distracted with getting myself into graduate school during the (brief) time that I’ve been writing BtVS/Ats fic.

I first fell in love with BtVS…when I happened to catch “The Gift” when it re-aired just before the beginning of Season 6. I never missed an episode after that. I was immediately seduced by both the lure of a young woman as heroic figure as well as the humor, intelligence, dense web of pop culture references, interlocking relationships of all kinds, and um, pretty vampires of course. It didn’t take long before I’d devoured all of the earlier seasons on DVD and in syndication. This was also at the same time that I began pursuing television studies in college and ended up using BtVS as my case study, eventually writing at least 4 or 5 academic essays referencing the show. And geek that I am, I first learned about fan fiction from reading scholarly work. My inner fangirl immediately pricked up her ears—I think I was a born fangirl but I’d just never had anyone else to play with before (I had an “Wizard of Oz” themed ensemble when I was four years old including bonnet and apron and used to write “Anne of Green Gables” FitBs in my head when I wasn’t watching Star Trek: Next Gen as a young teen). Weirdly though, I started out writing fic in other fandoms before I came to Jossverse fandom—I think I feared that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to something I loved that passionately. But now, though I’ve written fic in 6 fandoms to date (Roswell, Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, and the L Word in addition to BtVS/AtS and Firefly for those of you who are curious about the strange maneuverings of my obsessive nature), it is still Jossverse that most hits me where I live.

The list of ‘ships and characters that I write and read keeps expanding…I started out primarily focusing on S/B, but soon found myself branching out—a trend that I don’t believe is likely to stop. The source material is so rich that I just keep finding new places, people and time periods that I’d like to play with. However, I tend to only write ‘ships that I at least saw subtext for on the show. I’m fascinated with issues of heroicism, redemption and how people can challenge one another and this is generally reflected in my current repertoire of characters/pairings (essentially any combination of Spike, Buffy, Angel or Faith). But I’ll read all kinds of things that I don’t write if the writing impresses me—I myself just write what speaks to me personally at the given moment. What I love most in fic though is when it seems like the author couldn’t NOT write it—and that’s different for all of us.

Pr0n is my crutch…I say this jokingly, because much of my fanfic is erotic in nature, although really a lot of it is emotion!porn or character!porn as much as anything else.

I have a tendency to dislike fic of mine that’s more than 2 months old…Hopefully this is just a sign that I’m growing as a writer, which is definitely something that I feel that fanfic has helped me with (although I’m otherwise an academic writer, it is my opinion that writing anything aids in one’s process overall). Some fics of mine that I am most proud of are:

-The tongue-in-cheek-ishly titled Utopian Superhero Threesome ‘Verse series. It’s post-NFA Spike/Buffy/Angel in which I try to deal with all three relationships as respectfully as possible. (Oh, and S/B/A is the OT3 of friggin’ champions if you didn’t know!) Each one of these stories to date is told in a different character’s POV and I guess I’m just pleased with how I got into each of their heads—especially Angel as I’d never written him prior to these.

-And the Beat Goes On is sadly one of the only Spike/Buffy fics of mine that I don’t cringe at now. It’s very short, based around a theme/metaphor—somewhat idealistic—and is basically my ‘ship manifesto masquerading as a story. Stultiloquentia kicked my ass in the best possible way in her role as beta, and so this story is memorable to me as it was one of the first that I spent a long time with in the editing process and I (hope) think that it shows.

-Though I think I could execute this concept better today, I will also include in this list two short girl!Spike/Buffy PWPs that I wrote because I’m convinced that the appeal of Spike transcends gender. Set Season 6, the only AU aspect of them is that Spike is a butch woman—just go with it. Quite pr0ny. Breaking All the Rules and She Hadn’t Felt This Alive Since She Was Dead.

-Dreaming of We is Buffy/Faith bodyswitch porn through a post-series filter. This is a relationship that I’d really like to explore further because of the mirroring issues and the opportunities to consider the topic of “Slayer-ness.” My favorite thing about this short fic is its dreamscape structure.

-Reciprocity aka “the Seventies Spangel” is an Angel character study in the guise of darkish punk!Spike/Angel. Um, I think that you could just insert the previous sentence about Buffy/Faith here only substituting “S/A” for “B/F” and “Vampire-ness” or “Redemption” with “Slayer-ness.” This story was quite a departure for me in its darkness and angst, not to mention the fact that it was the first straight-up boyslash I wrote. And this time Kita took the role of helpful ass-kicker and really pushed me to make the most out of the fic.

-I also write Firefly fanfic, primarily Mal/River and Mal/Inara, which can be found at either my Fic Journal (or the Live Journal community I made for my Femme100 Mal and River challenge (And I will take this opportunity to publicly motivate myself to finish my Inara-centric WIP A Woman’s Worth by mentioning it here as probably the most promising of my stories plot-wise.

There are a lot of writers in this fandom that I admire…so this will of necessity be an abbreviated list: Barb C, Herself , KJ Draft, Salieri, Annie Sewell-Jennings, Europanya and Wisteria are some of the great ladies of Spuffy whose work I repeatedly come back to. I also really enjoy fic by Kita, Anna S., Lynne, Romany, Amy B., Lillianmorgan, Stultiloquentia (who also has a fantabulous recs page at her site), and more recently TKP.

But now I have warbled on inordinantly long so I will stop.

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GIA
Chrislee says: Gia's stories are a lot of fun. She takes you into unusual AU worlds and gives my favourite couple lots of chances to make with the smoochies. Check her out.

Gia says: I got into BtVS fairly late - when they started showing the reruns from the beginning on FX in 2000 I think. I loved it (which is a polite way of saying I became obsessed with it) and quickly caught up with the show through s4 since they ran it every day. I discovered FanFiction shortly thereafter - having no idea such a thing existed! I read everything I could find; the first site I remember finding was 'The Naughty Slayer' - which, needless to say after reading Harpy and Margot and Lex among others, I was hooked.

For my own writing... I wrote my first fic A Night at the Sunnydale High Library in January of 2001 and I posted it on FanFiction.net. I was more than a little surprised at the response and quickly got hooked on trying my hand at other fics. When they banned the NC-17 content, which is mostly what I write, I set up my own site, which is currently where I post my stuff.

There are so many amazing authors in the fandom, that I often find that I prefer the fics to the shows - since the shows frustrate me so much at times. More times than I remember, I've wished that ME would tap some of the wonderful FanFic writers (Margot, Indie, Tango,...) to help develop plots for the shows! I also love the idea of 'fixing' or filling in the blanks that have been left behind on the shows, which is another reason I find fanfic so addicting.

I typically only read B/A, though I'll venture into slash once in a while. I avoid all things C/A and B/S, though I tend to write C/A just so I can break them up. I admittedly have issues there. *g*

I actually don't really consider myself a 'writer' -there are sooo many better fics and better authors; but it's a fun and interesting hobby for me and I keep having new ideas, so I keep writing. *g*

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GLOSSOLALIA
Chrislee says: I loved every single word of Glossolalia's fic Hideous Courtesy. I loved how bruised and damaged both Angel and Xander seemed; motivated partly by anger and misery, partly by lust. Glossolalia's style is an intriguing mix of restraint and beauty. She dares to go beyond what we know about these characters and I challenge you to go with her. You must.

Glossolalia says: I've been writing fiction since - jeez. Mrs. Durbrow's grade 3 class. I've only been writing *fan* fiction since March '03, unless you count the Elizabethan RPS (Marlowe/Shakespeare=OTP!) I wrote to amuse myself as an undergrad. Reasons varied for adopting fanfic, but I think I can point most directly to the boredom, anxiety, and grind of grad school, all of which led me first to reading BtVS fic - Spike/Xander, actually, which both entranced me with its potential and broke my heart with its usual exposition - and soon afterward to writing it.

Persistent inspiration comes from two sources: the puzzle-aspect of looking at canon and wondering what could fit, what might happen, what didn't happen, and intellectual-emotional issues of relationships, interpretation, textuality and sexuality. Direct but more fleeting inspiration is any that passes, whether trash cans, snatches of lyrics, sensations on the back of my neck, or the flavor of coffee I happen to be imbibing. So it's an odd combination of ongoing questions and transient, corner-of-my-eye glances.

I'm drawn to the Jossverse for the utter relationality of its structure. Much as Joss would (occasionally, anyway) like it to be a black and white moral place, it plays out instead as a tenuous, always-shifting terrain dependent on emotional attachments and choices being made. Angel's the embodiment of that relationality for me - he's constantly hung between good and evil, soul and demon, and what I like best is that these contradictions can never be resolved, yet he keeps on un/living. I'm drawn most to those characters who are, or have been, shunted to the periphery: Oz, Xander, Giles, and Wes. It's on the periphery that things get dimmer, looser, more complex, where there's more room to explore the relations and questions that arise. All of my peripheral guys are studies in contrast - there is Oz's attachment to Willow yet his sudden disappearances, not to mention the incongruity of the way his quiet clashed with the primal nature of the wolf; Xander's lack of superpowers in the midst of supernatural central and the core sadness beneath his humor; Giles' messy interior life and past compared to his ridiculously buttoned-up exterior and behavior; and Wes' constant development through persona after persona, as if he's truly empty, yet, given his intelligence and conviction, he *can't* be empty.

Regarding my own work, I'm equal parts proud and confused by Book of Daniel. Only my second try at Oz, and my first at Giles, and it drew on far more of myself and my persistent questions than I'd ever imagined it would; I started it to explore why I was squicked by Giles/[Scooby kid] fic, yet ended up nearly a die-hard 'shipper. Stylistically, I think it's where I started to find my sea-legs and let myself accept and explore the imagery that came to mind without the constant mental copy-editing that used to cripple my writing. I also like Hideous Courtesy, though the title still makes me cringe, for the sick depths of Xander it took me to and the challenge of writing physical pain that it posed. Beware of Owner cemented my love for the lost Larry, took me into the Wishverse, and because it was written quickly, helped me loosen up my style and concentrate on only the key images and emotions.

Dear me. Other authors? Far too many to remember to include, but at the same time, not nearly enough for my appetite. I can't get enough of Sheila Perez, Jane St. Clair, Kate Bolin, Te, Kita and Kyra Cullinan.

I definitely fall on the style side of the style/action divide; I'm convinced that the telling's in the words, so "nothing" can happen and I'll be delighted, because everything's happening. All six of those authors have singular voices that tell stories absolutely beautifully and intelligently. What's more, the questions they're asking through their fic are complex, challenging, and *original*. Wish I could put hth this category, but she seems to have left the fandom; what she left behind is, however, stunning.

Other writers I like enormously: Meg's doing some fascinating work on S/X, Giles, and Oz which I wish she'd finish and post. Claire writes knife-sharp slash that's both moving and disturbing. Dolores Labouchere's work is twisty and amusing and sad and just all around wonderful. Rubywisp has a muscular, purely carnal style, similar to the Great Lar, that can't be beat. Minervacat quietly crafts some heart-breakingly lovely Faith/Giles and femslash that's astonishing in its simplicity. Minim Calibre's work is like winter sunlight, bright and cold and revelatory. Mer's work is so well-crafted and spotless I can only gape at it. And Real Mitzvah has a light touch, spare style, and sweet, sweet Xander that I devour like candy.

I think I can admit that I'm obsessed with fanfic - at this point, almost more than the shows themselves. The shows remain essential, but the artistry lies in where potential, questions, and character traits are taken, elaborated, and explored by the authors. Since we're all watching the same thing, I'm fascinated by trying to understand other people's interpretations, revisions, and glosses (hence the pen name) on the original texts.

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HARPY
Chrislee says: Harpy is, to many people, the Queen of Buffy and Angel fanfiction. You really can't go wrong with Harpy.

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INDIE
Chrislee says: If you haven't yet read Domestication, you must go immediately to indie's site. Trust me, you won't stop there. Indie has a wonderful, clear style, plus a great imagination and an eye for the most minute detail. I adore how she writes Angel.

Indie says: How I started writing...I always thought that fanfic was a hideously goobery thing. I tended to lump fanfic writers in with stalkers and other generally questionable and undesireable people. However, I loved Buffy and used to surf show sites religiously. I read alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer fairly regularly and every now and then by accident someone would post a fic, or a link to a fic. On a lark, I decided to give it a shot and read someone's fanfic. It turned out to be an adult Angel/Doyle piece that was horribly written and generally made my ass twitch, reaffirming every negative stereotype I had about fanfic. Some months later (and I honestly have no idea how or why), I ended up at Fanfiction.Net. The first story I came across was Ducks' The Ties Between Us. Pure Bliss. I was immediately sucked into the fanfic realm. I read almost every B/A piece I could get my hands on, but I will admit that it was my own personal goddess, Laure Alexander, that inspired me to write. TEAOW&S is my hands down, all time favorite fic ever. I worship at the feet of Laure. Up until I decided to write, I was a total lurker. I never posted on any of the boards or lists, I rarely sent feedback. Possession was the first complete fanfic piece I wrote and very nervously, I posted it to the Buffy Beta list. I received exactly one email feedback - from Laure. That was it. I was hooked. Laure was very encouraging and wonderful and even beta'd my first couple of pieces. Her support was absolutely invaluable at that crucial time.

My own work...I would say that 80% of the feedback I have received over the years is from my After Effects piece. A lot of people really seem to love that fic. LOL! I hate it. It has become the bane of my writing existence. The fic is not very well crafted at all. The language and punctuation are deplorable. The characterizations are so far off that it's almost painful for me to read. In terms of plotting, it's pure, mindless fluff. As a rule, I like much darker pieces. The story that I have written that I am most pleased with is probably Domestication. I forced myself to take my time with it and from a mechanical perspective, I think it's probably the strongest piece I have written thus far. It's a much more polished piece than the rest of my fics and it is an AU piece, which I love. I'm one of the most vocal advocates of AU. I know a lot of people are less than excited about it, but I'll pimp AU however I can.

Favorite authors/fics...Ugh. I hate naming names, and I'm sure I will forget several absolutely integral writers, but I can never pass up an opportunity to share the love. I should say from the start that I'm not someone who will read anything. I stick almost exclusively with B/A and even then, Adult, darker B/A. I tend to find authors I like and only read their stuff. It's very difficult to get me to read authors I am unfamiliar with. Obviously, Laure Alexander is the ultimate for me. I'm a B/A slut, but I will read any pairing that Laure writes and love it. Other favorites, Margot is an absoutely amazing author (and a really nice person as well ;^>), Harpy always reminds me how well the word "amateur" applies to anything I write (but in the best way, of course). Gawd, the list goes on and on ... Nymue, Yahtzee, Vatrixsta, Serena, Shayla, Kita, Tink, Sare Liz, Sharon J. Smith, Sienna, Tamara and last but not least, my ever beloved Tango, who I sometimes think might actually be my long lost twin (except, of course, for the part where her writing is so much better than mine).

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INDRI
Chrislee says: DeNile is a wonderful Joyce/Spike friendship piece (with a wonderful Spike voice ) that explores a relationship only hinted at on the show. Some Years Later is a compelling look at four of the men in Buffy's life (Angel, Riley, Spike and Parker). Indri takes each of these characters (and their relationship to Buffy) seriously. Lovely. And Indri's fic recs page is worth a visit to her site all by itself!

Indri says: I started reading fanfic in January 2002, when I was halfway through Season Five. At first all I looked for was NC17 Buffy/Spike but then I had the good fortune to stumble across Jess and Kita's Ficbitch website. Soon I found myself reading all sorts of stuff: het, gen and slash. I'll read pretty much anything now as long as it's well-written.

I started writing fanfic in March 2002. Despite my catholic reading tastes, I tend to only write fic that's in canon: even SomeYears Later is consistent with what I knew of the series at the time. I like filling in the gaps of what we see on screen and taking the viewpoint of minor characters. I also try to visualise how the main characters must appear outside their usual contexts.

My favourite of my fics is probably Foreign Devils because the words just flowed through me during a single weekend and it required barely any revision. I wish that sort of inspiration hit me more often! I've had to struggle over other pieces for much longer: Hotel Lavear took six months.

I have a rec list and more discussion of my fic on my site. Here I will publicly thank Coquette, not only for the strength of her prose, but because without her encouragement I would probably have disappeared off the Net after posting my first few stories. Feedback matters, especially to new authors!

And finally, a bio: female, born 1973, grew up in the UK, US and Australia. I'm a scientist, have a SO, no children or cats.

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JAMES WALKSWITHWIND
Chrislee says: Prolific would be an understatement when describing the collected works of James Walkswithwind. In the BtVS fandom alone, she has written 60 odd stories. Of my personal favourites: And They Dance, an unabashedly romantic Angel/Wes story

James says: The weirdest things happen when you think you're just going to write one little story for a fandom. Or maybe two stories. I started watching Buffy during second season (I think. Ask my wife.) Somewhere along the way I got caught up on reruns, and got this idea for a Xander/Angel story. Before writing it, I decided to get my feet wet and wrote a short missing scene from "The Pack".

Then I got this idea for another story, also riffing off The Pack (Dreaming of the Devil). Then I paired Xander with Oz (Stand With You). Then I was mucking about with a few things and ended up in Xander/Spike land. Angel wandered into his own show and after that posssessed-boy episode, I was very firmly in the Wes-love, which led to all sorts of Wes/Angel stories.

Meanwhile, I picked up a couple co-writers, which kept me writing a few series for..er.. four years? Maybe? This got me into the Giles love, mostly Giles/Xander and Giles/Wesley. I never did take to Giles/Ethan because there is no way you can write a good, in-character story for those two and have it end up happy. Or start out happy. Even though I enjoying torturing characters, I only like it if it's one possibility. I prefer to use characters and pairings whom I believe can be happy, if only they do X or Y or Z or some combination thereof. (I was going to add 'or maybe they're canonically happy' but then I realised - anyone who is canonically happy gets royally screwed: e.g., Angel/Buffy, Xander/Anya for awhile, and Willow/Tara and you see how *that* turned out. No one on these shows has ever been able to retain happiness with a relationship. In fact, being happy is just begging to be smacked down. Which, while dramatic for awhile, after several years it Gets Old. It's possible to have dramatic tension and horror and struggle and yet be happy with a partner.)

Anyhow. I now have over 60 stories in Buffy-Angel fandom, and I've written Xander/Oz, Xander/Spike, Xander/Giles, Giles/Wesley, Angel/Wesley, Gunn/Wesley, Gunn/Angel/Wesley, Wesley/Doyle and probably a few others I can't remember. I've been writing Buffy fanfic for five or so years, now.

But I never did write that Xander/Angel story.

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JANE DAVITT
Chrislee says: I read Jane's incredible Season one fic I'll Be Watching You and was incredibly impressed with the insight it showed into Angel's character and his relationship with Drusilla. Jane's site yielded many more fic treasures. Go see for yourself!

Jane says: I've been a fan of BtVS from 1997 when we emigrated to Canada from England and I first saw it. I started to tape it from season three, got interested in Buffy newsgroups in 1999...and had no idea fanfic existed, let alone Buffy based fic. Then in season six I became obssessed..umm, interested in spoilers and that opened up many new doors. Once I discovered fanfic, it was only three or four weeks before I began to feel the urge to write some myself. At that point, I'd only read it on alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer.creative (yes, I know; tip of the iceberg) so that's where I posted my first story, a short fic in which Buffy and Spike didn't even kiss. It was followed by some rather sad Willow ficlets, dealing with the aftermath of Tara's death, and I was hooked, addicted. Eventually I found fanfic.net...then all the thousands of fic sites out there and finally ended up with a live journal and a webpage.

So I've been writing fiction since May 2002 and I've written about ninety fics, drabbles to trilogies, G to NC-17, Spuffy to slash. I'm not fickle, just keep finding new 'ships to inspire me.

I think in just over a year I've come a long way from the woman who took nearly three weeks to write a ficlet and couldn't write a Spuffy kiss to save her life. Writing is something that never works unless you're brave and it's taken me a while to get to the stage where I can write stories that expose a little of myself. I'm not saying that doesn't happen in funny fics or PG ones, but for me the biggest hurdle was writing sex scenes that didn't make me blush furiously or cringe when I read them. It got easier the more I did and I went through a time when everything I wrote was NC -17 as I explored the layers it added to fics. Contained within that evolution was the move to writing slash. That's a hot issue, it seems, and I can only say that when I started to write it I did it because I had an overwhelming need to do so.

I have a host of favourite authors, well-loved fics, but the fic that prompted me to write my first smut to see if I could produce something that combined heat with humour was Mahaliem's Spuffy fic, Because It's Wrong. She's never written anything I didn't love and her script fic, Rising From Our Dust is one of the best, most plausible, season long fics I've read. Another author I trust completely to entertain me is Wesleysgirl. I'm on record as being incoherent after discovered Tea and Biscuits, the fic she wrote with Byrne. That fic sucked me in and enthralled me for two days of solid reading and was responsible for shifting me away from Spike/Xander as my sole slash pairing.

Now that the show is over, I'm finding comfort in the fact that the fic hasn't died away. Far from it. That's good as I still have more to say, more fics to write, and as I've watched Angel from episode one, I'm quite happy to step into the Angelverse now and then.

I want to try original fic soon, now I'm more confident, but fanfic is such a challenging, yet comforting, genre that cutting back on the time I spend writing it is going to hurt.

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JANE ST. CLAIR
Chrislee says: Jane seems to reach into the very dark and fragile hearts of the characters she writes about. I spent one morning reading one story after the other and was once more inspired by the calibre of writing out there on the net.Blood a Spike/Xander fic is bloody good. If you want to see two incredibly brittle people reach out to an unlikely source of comfort, read Mockingbird.

Jane says: Buffy started for me because I had a professor who ordered us to watch it (he said it was his only point of reference in pop culture, and he wanted to be able to explain 'Jane Eyre' in terms of Spike and Dru). I was a free-range slasher by the time I got here. It was so, so easy.

I wrote Angel (AtS) before I wrote BtVS. I think it was easier for me because I picked up AtS at the beginning and had a better feel for the characters, whereas I picked up BtVS at 'Graduation Day,' and had to play catch-up as I went along.

When I write... slash is necessary. I don't know why I don't write het, and I don't know why I do, because sometimes I do. I love Buffy/Spike as an on-screen relationship, but I've never felt the need to read or write it. I mostly feel the urge to write what's unseen, and Joss Wheedon's creations spread open realms that are never fully explored on-screen. They feed me.

I'm most proud of my AtS Restaurant Dogs series. It's such a weird, lovely thing. Deep down in my heart, though, I love Little Gods which I wrote with Te in the summer of 2001, and which let me love Oz the way I needed to.

I'm not much with the recs, but I always begin and end with Te. Everything she writes is beautiful and twisted and hurts and is wonderful in ways that are difficult to verbalize.

And Spike. Just. Yes. She is.

There are others, but I don't read much in the fandom anymore, and Te and Spike make up 80% or more of what I have saved on my hard drive.

I don't know where inspiration comes from. Probably it seeps out of the air vents while I'm sleeping. And Joss writes it into my brain.

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JO
Chrislee says: SJ Smith recommended Jo's story The Nature of the Beast on a list, so I read it. Jo's note said it was her first ever Buffy fic and I was just blown away by her writing and the depth of the narrative. Jo's a gem and so are her fics!

Jo says: I’ve been an avid viewer of BtVS and AtS since day one, but came very late to fan fiction. Having discovered the burgeoning body of work on this new-fangled Internet thingy, it never occurred to me that I might have something to contribute. However, I did want to write - I had long harboured an ambition to write something in the Fantasy genre. But I was daunted, and not at all sure that I had anything to say that was worth reading. It was then that I had the idea of ‘dipping a toe in the water’ with some short stories. In the fan fiction arena, absolutely nothing inspires me to put pen to paper other than our favourite vampire. The first two were written within days - ‘The Nature of the Beast’ and ‘Bringer of Light’ - both of which were intended to be stand-alone stories, and it was only tireless encouragement from people who read them that has produced others in those cycles. I think now that, so long as I keep finding inspiration, I’ll keep on writing.

I can’t really pick a favourite from my work, because there are only six at the time of writing this, all completed within a couple of months, and they are all my babies. But if I were pushed, I would have to choose my first story ‘The Nature of the Beast’, simply because it has put me in touch with so many very kind strangers who I hope will turn into friends.

My favourite author? Many of those in Good Words are authors whose work I really love, and would kill to be able to emulate. It would be a crime to pick just one. But I think it appropriate to mention three (I’m Pisces - we don’t do decisions) who were, by chance, the very first three authors that I came across. Had I not read their works, I might not have read any further, and might never have truly discovered fan fiction. The three that I first met were Rheanna with Vivere, Kizmet with Relating in the Aftermath and Cynamin with On Ancient Wings. They all made me cry. It doesn’t get better than that.

Me? I’m female, British, definitely older. I currently don’t have any of my normal companions, cats and dogs, but I’ve got two chickens instead, which give me the occasional breakfast egg. One’s black, one’s white and if you read my fiction, you know what they are called! The novel? It’s a work in progress now.

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KATRIENA KNIGHTS
Chrislee says: Just when you think you've read 'em all, you happily discover another terrific writer! Ahh, the internet! Reconciliation is a wonderful story about Angel trying to look Giles in the eye after he'd tortured him as Angelus. Katriena is a beautiful, assured writer and this was the first of her stories I'd read. It's not the last.

Katriena says: I started writing last summer, after renting the first season BtVS DVDs and becoming instantly addicted. I was recovering from painful X-Files withdrawal, so I needed something new. Angel followed shortly thereafter.

David Boreanaz with his shirt off inspires me. :-) Seriously, the complex storylines and relationships of this show just lend themselves so well to fan fiction. There are so many possible worlds to explore.

I think maybe A Damn Fine Ride is one of my favorites, because I took a ship I wasn't initially that invested in and made something with it that I think works pretty well. And by the end, I was totally invested. :-) My Gwen/Angel series stands high on my personal list of favorites for the same reason. And Road Trip I think is kind of cool because I really don't like Riley but I think he wrote up pretty well.

This is the first time I've ever been this deeply involved in a fandom. I was pretty invested in Quantum Leap, but back then the Internet wasn't the vast warren of SHTUFF it has since become. Some aspects of it are fascinating and inspiring. Other aspects leave me either cold or baffled. I don't like rabid shippiness--you know, the kind that ends with people on opposite sides of the virtual room mooning each other and calling each other names because they like Spike better, or Angel better, or whatever. I'm fairly invested in the Buffy/Angel romance, but I have a rule in my own fic that I never bash Spike.

I like writing about Angel, because he's hot. Gwen, because she's still so much of a blank slate. Faith, because she's cool. Buffy, because she's Buffy.

Other writers I admire include: Yahtzee. Just immaculate writing/characterizations/plots. I also have a HUGE amount of admiration for people I know who write fic in English when English is not their first language. It just boggles my mind that they can construct a coherent and moving story in a language they weren't raised in. I sure couldn't do it. :-)

I am in many ways more invested in AtS than in BtVS, but I'm sure the events as they played out in Buffy's last season will come into play in my fic at some point.

I get a great deal of enjoyment out of writing fic, but I have to find a show with enough depth to keep me interested before I can write in the fandom. These kinds of shows are, for me, few and far between, and I'm grateful to the writers of Buffy and Angel for keeping it all so incredibly complex and interesting. Most shows are just surface entertainment, but these shows really make you think.

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KAY TEE
Chrislee says: I read Kay Tee's Wesley POV story Destiny by following a link from Kita's site Almighty Gah. Since then I've been back to read a few more of her stories. Kay Tee writes alot of slash, not a genre of fic that normally appeals me, but her writing is sharp-edged and intriguing. Check her out, if that's your thing.

Kay Tee says: I'm a college student in New England, in the USA. Like a lot of people, I started writing after I felt like I couldn't find any new fic. Slash is just what I enjoy reading, so that's what I often write. I admit I'm still a little shy about it, though I'm getting more comfortable with my style Xander Wishes is still the story I'm most proud of, mostly because that was the first time I really felt like I wrote what I wanted to write, despite many fears.

I pretty much just adore and idolize Benaresq-- she's my favorite author, although there are many others I like a lot. Her two X/A series are wonderful. I'm also crazy about Reconfiguration (by Lar and Kassie), but that story literally drives me nuts because it's not being continued... argh!

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KCAROLJ65
Chrislee says: It's always a pleasant surprise when, seemingly out of nowhere, a new writer arrives. From the very first sentence, you know you're in good hands with kcarolj65. Her writing is polished and mesmerizing, her characterizations spot-on and her Spike/Buffy is gloriously complicated. She deserves to have copious praise. Go on then.

kcarolj65 says: I came to Buffydom late (mid-Season 5) and fandom even later, after finally acquiring a home computer in early 2004. I'm awed by both the sheer volume of BtVS/AtS fan fiction and the incredible quality of much of it. Fan fiction comprises just about the entirety of my reading material these days; I feel no inclination toward anything else, nor any lack, because all the important genres and themes are represented therein.

I was drawn in by BtVS's delicious mix of romance, angst and humor, the clever, many-layered writing and flawed, real characters. But the main attraction, for me, is and always will be Spike; I see him as a fascinating mixture of Don Quixote, Holy Fool, and disaffected youth. His story arc is so wide and engaging and offers so many fanfic possibilities. And let us not forget the hotness factor, which is ginormous!

While in my teens I wrote stories based on LOTR, Star Wars and Arthurian legendry to amuse myself and my friends. But until I began writing Buffy fan fiction last year (my early efforts are only fit for lining my cat's litterbox), I hadn't written anything in more than 15 years. As a result, I feel terribly out of practice and was extremely reluctant to actually post anything online. Thanks to Judy and Sue for their encouragement and help in doing so, and to the several readers who've sent feedback, particularly Chrislee.

I write slowly - no, wait, that's not true. I write very quickly when the mood strikes (key phrases and ideas usually occur to me in rush-hour traffic), cut and revise ad nauseum, and then wait, sometimes for days or weeks, for the mood to strike again. So, the overall effect is that of a slow process. I like to write canon-friendly "missing" scenes that the reader can believe might have taken place off-screen, and I plan to stick to that formula as much as possible. I appreciate that respectfulness in other writers' work as well; for the most part, I heartily dislike those that veer too far from canonic characterizations and situations to be believable.

Of the very few fictions I've finished and posted, I'm probably most pleased with "Pain", its pace, starkness and accuracy. I was pleasantly surprised by how "Spirit and Imagination" came out - I intended to write about Dawn's regrets regarding Spike post-Chosen, and ended up with a longer, more complex story from Angel's POV. Go figure. I guess we are, all of us, slaves to our muse.

My favorite fics list is long and seems to grow longer with each passing week. I was fortunate in that the first fics I ever read were Annie Sewell-Jennings' Illumination and Incandescence, which instantly showed me how beautiful and meaningful fan fiction can be. Kalima's amazing Daemons Luminati awes and humbles me every time I read it, and I love Caro's Watchers Diaries: The Apocrypha and Athene's Shades of Grey series, both excellent Spike/Giles buddy-type fics. Herself's What She Deserves, Lovingkindness and the Bittersweets Series always make my wrists ache for the blade, as do Holly's Sang et Ivoire and Vinum et Rosae. I'm avidly following the BarbVerse (soulless Spike, yum), Nan Dibble's incredible Blood Series, and Aeneas' Raison d'Etre (which is S/F - gasp - not S/B!); I'm clinging desperately to the hope that Kimi will finish her VoicesVerse series, and same goes for Mary's Journeys.

I'm very flattered to be included in Good Words alongside so many wonderful authors. Not sure I belong here, but I'll try to measure up to the honor!

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KITA
Chrislee says: I can still remember reading Echoes and going..."whoa." Kita is everything a good fic writer should be: smart, talented and dedicated to turning out unbelievably beautiful fics...even if the pairing isn't necessarily your cup of tea. I highly, whole-heartedly recommend her stuff. I want to be Kita. There, I said it.

Kita says: I wrote most of my stories cause they just appeared in my head, to be honest. It was either write them or risk sanity. I like the darkness inside of characters, and exploring it isn't something they can always do to my satisfaction on prime time tv. So I take it a bit farther, but try to stay true to the essence of the characters. At least, that's the goal. Ok, also? Spike and Angel naked together is just my ultimate fantasy. I'm strange that way. *G*

If you're looking for fic recs and URL's, the best I can say is any fic I love is already housed on one of my sites. That way, I can always find it when I need it. :} Angelslash best is on StA, Giles best is on WICS, and dark dark goodness is on Campfire Tales. If it doesn't fit on any of those, check the recs page on ficbitch The title speaks for itself. lol.

My favorite authors' personal sites would be Jess Walker, (partner in crime and ficbitchery) and Maayan.

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KYRA CULLINAN
Chrislee says: A Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes was one of the very first stories I read by Kyra. I've been trying to woo her here ever since. Ah! Success! Because I know a writer when I read one. I know someone who scratches beneath the skin of a character, who cares about what's underneath, who wants more than to just write around a story; inhabits the story instead. Kyra might worry that she'll still be writing when the fandom is all washed up but she needn't. I'll still be reading...and you should, too.

Kyra Says: I started writing fanfic (Star Trek: The Next Generation flavor) when I was about twelve years old, and haven't really stopped since.

Honestly, everything inspires me. I've had ideas for writing fic about *commercials* and that's just sad. It's like once the flip got switched in my brain, everything became source material, potential fodder for fic, from really bad sitcoms to intensely obscure books. I like trying to find the untold stories behind any surface story, new angles to explore characters, the inherent sadness and connections which underlie any situation, all of which exist everywhere, in some form or other.

I do, in fact, write other than fanfic, although the bulk of my prose fiction is fanbased, which is annoying; I wish I got as many original ideas as I do fannish ones! Mostly I write poetry, descriptive nonfiction and lots and lots of papers. Being steeped in academia means that I end up applying the same sort of critical thinking to fic as I do to essay writing, which makes me see things I wouldn't have otherwise, thematic similarities and the like.

I already miss BtVS quite a lot but absolutely won't be stopping writing! I've got *so* much more to say about the characters that I don't anticipate being sick of the fandom for a long, long time (and am secretly afraid everyone *else* will get bored and move on before I'm finished). Plus, I consider myself a multifandom author, and although right now Buffy is my primary fandom, I've written in over a dozen others and am always looking for new mediums.

As far as Buffyverse stories, my favorite of my own is probably Kyrie Eleison because it pushed me outside of my boundaries in writing a character I usually don't and because just the very idea of it is so rich and barely touched by what I ended up with. I also like Five Ways of Becoming Someone Else because Willow blows my mind with all her complexities and playing around with her possibilities was simultaneously mindblowingly difficult and fun.

I am such a massive Jossverse junkie because the characters are so vibrantly real: flawed and fascinating and unique. Everyone from the smallest bit part up is so far beyond one-dimensional that there's no way for me NOT to be enthralled and inspired and just totally awed by all the potential for interaction or character exploration. I love how the homoeroticism is intentional and intelligent and how there are more possibilities suggested by the show's complexity than I could ever, ever address completely.

Right now I'm deeply in love with all of Glossolalia's fic for its intensely good characterization and gorgeous interaction with nary a word wrong. I also adore anything written by Jane St. Clair (a huge influence), Mary Borsellino, , Annakovsky, Te , Melymbrosia and Teanna . And many many others.

Personal info? I'm 21, a literature nerd and I plan to be in school forever. My secret dream is to break into the upstart field of Buffy academia.

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LAURE ALEXANDER
Chrislee says: I can remember the first time I ever read a story by Laure. It was a miserable Saturday morning and I remember thinking..."gee, it's really too early to be reading this." Sin Wagon is one of those stories. Buffy, Angel and Spike. Is it getting hot in here?

Laure says: I discovered fanfic shortly after the beginning of Buffy season 2 while running a search online for Buffy. I found the Bbeta archive, and, after reading voraciously finally joined the list and in January, 1998 I started my first story.

Things just pop into my head. I have a very vivid imagination. I also get ideas from people who feedback with suggestions. I started writing stories when I was 13. I have a very stalled novel on my computer.

Will the end of BtVS mean the end of fic writing for you?
Oh no, not by a long shot. I have too many unfinished stories.

Which of your own stories are you most proud of and why?
Tribute. I wrote this in response to Matthew Shepard's murder, and set it around a cd of music by Gay and Lesbians singers. I actually heard from one of the artists who was very complimentary and pleased that I'd written the story using their music.

What appeals to you about the fandom/characters?
How very human they are in spite of the demons within.
I'm a 37 year old single woman with an out of control imagination and three cats.

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LITTLE HEAVEN
Chrislee says: I think I have a small weakness for well-written, angsty A/C fic. (I blame Starlet) Little Heaven's fic does not disppoint. She writes a tremendous Cordelia; a character who is at once fiesty and vulnerable, and a broody and conflicted Angel and her stories, particularly Deluge and Oblivion were both hot and angsty. So, yeah!

Little Heaven says I first started writing fanfic about August 2002, after I stumbled across some on the internet. I'd been an avid writer until I was in my early 20's, but hadn't written anything for about 10 years. The idea of fanfiction immediately captured my imagination.

I love that the bizarre and creepy and tragic takes equal place alongside personal issues that we can all relate to, and neither seems more or less important than the other.

[My favourite characters are] Angel - because he's so complex (and hot!). Cordy because of her wonderful bluntness and lack of tact. Xander because of his heart. Spike because he always got the best lines.

[I am inspired by] Good music, violent weather, reading a really well-written story, the portrayal of intense relationships.

[Other writers I admire are] Starlet2367, Julie Fortune who writes for a multitude of fandoms, Yahtzee, and Rheanna are the four big ones.

My own favourite fics are The Case Of The Missing Santas: Really my only genfic, and about as close as I could get to the feel of writing a Season 1 episode. I just loved the characters at that time. Cordy while she was still snarky, Wesley while he was still a dork, and Angel totally bemused by them both and people in general. Deluge Done for a challenge, and it combined my favourite things - smut and wild weather. I just have an attachment to it I can't really explain. Ghost of a Chance Because I got to share the process with Starlet2367, which was a huge honour. And I liked what we did with the story. I miss Dennis. Waaaah!

I live in New Zealand, I'm married with no kids. I'm the wrong side of 30! I also vid and have just started writing for the Stargate fandom as well. My other passions are cross-stitch (though I haven't had time lately!), sport (spectator only), shopping, sci-fi shows, pet rats and budgies, and music.

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LYNNE
Chrislee says: You are in for such a treat if you haven't already discovered Lynne. Start with Vicarious, which is quite easily in my top 3 favourite Jossverse stories of ALL time. It's just friggin' poetry.

Lynne says: I came late to the Jossverse, and even later to fandom. I started watching “Buffy” in Season 5; discovered fanfiction in Season 7; and didn’t start actively contributing until after “Angel” had finished its run. I thought it would be tough, breaking into such a well established community. But everyone has been welcoming and supportive, and made me feel right at home. I’m very grateful to have found such a terrific online community.

My favourite authors are Kita, Romany, Dodyskin, Doyle, Josey, Alice, and Redbrickrose. Each has a different style, but the one thing they all have in common is that they can make the language dance. As someone whose writing style is lean and sparse, I admire and envy writers who can grasp the richness and fullness of the English language, and make it bend to their will.

I once interviewed a novelist who said, “Writing is like banging your head against a brick wall. It feels good when you stop.” That pretty much describes my feelings about it. I don’t really write for fun. I write because I get an idea stuck in my head, and it won’t let me have any peace until I get it down on paper. I guess that’s what they call “inspiration.” Or maybe it’s obessive-complusive disorder. It’s a bizarre thing, this thing we do. I thank god for every reader who enjoys it. They’re the ones who make it worthwhile.

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M PHOENIX
Chrislee says: Again, I have to credit Live Journal with my discovery of M Phoenix. And I discovered her with the fic Break, a beautiful Buffy/Angel fic. But then I read You Who Never Arrived, a stunning Dawn/Riley fic and I realized that she was a writer who could tackle just about anything with a great deal of skill.

M Phoenix Says: I’ve been watching BtVS ever since the first episode aired in the UK, and I experienced the strange sensation of falling in love with a TV show at first sight. However I didn’t discover online fandom and the joys of fanfic until 2002 when the BBC’s erratic scheduling of S6 drove me to seeking solace and spoilers on the internet. I started lurking around the Existential Scoobies board, then voraciously reading my way through the Better Buffy Fic, and UCSL archives. It wasn’t long before I was addicted, and could regularly be found slumped in front of my computer screen at 8am, exhausted and bleary eyed but unable to stop reading until I’d finished just one more fic. Finding fandom and livejournal was a revelation for me, a whole world I had no idea existed. I still love it with a passion that makes me a little giddy sometimes.

A year later I started writing fanfiction by accident. I know it sounds odd to say that it happened by accident, but it really did. I hadn’t written fiction since high school, and had been suffering from writer’s block for years, then one morning shortly after seeing Chosen I woke up with a first line in my head. It refused to go away so I decided to humour it, opened up my laptop and just started typing, not expecting anything, and idly wondering what the line might lead to. 35,000 words, an insane French priest, a severed prophetic head in a box, a whole lot of fighting and industrial quantities of angst later, I finally found out. Journey To No End was prompted by a mixture of my frustration with S7 and all the missed opportunities I saw there, all the ‘what ifs?’ buzzing around my head, and a deep desire to explore the Buffy/Faith dynamic. In many ways it’s still the story I’m most proud of, and it’s the story it is because I had absolutely no idea of any of the rules about what a new writer should or could do. As a result I probably broke most of them.

It’s hard to say what inspires me to write, there’s just something about the Jossverse, the richness of the characters and the metaphors, the easy mixture of humour and tragedy, the constant shades of grey and moral complexities, the way that everyday life gets woven so seamlessly into a modern myth that actually works, that keeps me entertained, excited and always wanting more. I like to experiment with style, and I’m happy writing in any person, though I seem to be having a steamy affair with second person behind third person’s back a lot of the time. I have tried and failed to write happyfic, it’s just not in my nature, and I’m never more content than when torturing my characters in true Jossian, bring on the pain, tradition. Stories can come from anywhere, either watching the show and wondering about a missing scene or character motivation, or from a conversation with a friend, from a song, a line in a book, or just that sudden feeling of the shift and connection of ideas in the dark and twisted recesses of my imagination.

Speaking of dark and twisted, the character I most like writing is probably Faith. This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. One of the fics I’m still proudest of and most disturbed by is a short Faith first person story, Six Minutes, Fifty-three Seconds. The damned thing kept me awake all night until I gave in and wrote it. My favourite pairing is Buffy/Faith, I find them endlessly fascinating, and there’s so much to explore in their relationship that I never get tired of it. Zen and the Art of Stake Maintenance showcases some of the things I love about writing the original Chosen Two together. For some thoughts about what happens when characters get out of hand -- yes Faith, I’m looking at you – you could go here and mock my pain. Though I’m pretty loyal to my favourite ‘ship I’m eclectic when it comes to what I’ll read, and what I’ll attempt to write on request. I call to witness my Dawn/Riley fic, You Who Never Arrived; and my Nina/Wesley ficlet, Sheep’s Clothing. All my fics can be found nestling in my livejournal memories. I keep saying that one day I’ll build a website, but I’ll probably just wind up writing fic about Willow building a website for her *cough*Doogie Howser MD*cough* fanfic and never actually get around to building my own.

If I tried to make a comprehensive list of all the writers I admire, and who have inspired me since I discovered fanfic, I’d likely be here long enough for the next ice age to start. Fanfiction is the most amazing writer’s workshop I could ever have asked for and I’m constantly learning from all of these people. Apologies in advance for the many great writers I’m leaving out. , (aka Jintian), , , , (aka Ducks), , , , , and .

Thank you Chrislee for including me here amongst so many writers that I admire, I’m a little amazed to be on this list but it makes me very happy.

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MARGOT LE FAYE
Chrislee says: I'd have to say you haven't lived if you haven't yet read Margot's masterpiece "The Silken Cage." Yum. Margot is one of those writers who makes every word count, makes the characters live and breathe and moan in your ear. Margot wrote some of the first NC-17 fic I ever read and she is the benchmark I use to measure all other NC-17 fiction.

Margot says: How did I get started writing fanfic? If you go to my site, one of the first pieces you'll come across is my very first fic, All Too Human. It's a B/S piece. Written during S2. February 1998, to be exact. And, as can be seen from the dedication in the piece, written at that time, it was inspired by an e-mail conversation with my fellow Bronzer, ~mere~ Better known today as Mere Smith, writer for Ats.

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MATT
Chrislee says: The first story I read by Matt was The Long Howl, a story which I thought captured Angel's reaction to the news of Buffy's death with aching perfection. Misogyny is a Wesley POV story that is just so bitter and sharp-edged...I loved every word, especially that killer last line. Matt *so* deserves to be read.

Matt says: I started writing my first fic, Devil's Truth in late S4. What first inspired...no, drove me to write it was the fact that I'd finally realized that some issues that I considered important--like Xander and Joyce's treatment of Buffy in S3--were never going to be addressed on the show. Devil's Truth grew from there, and it began to include many, many other issues I felt needed setting right. For example, I wanted to get B/A back together, but I felt that Riley deserved happiness as well. I'm not aware of anyone else who has used the solution that I did.

Most of my fanfic now is still inspired by unaddressed issues. Sometimes, though, the possiblities of something that happens on one of the shows strikes me, and I just have to put it down, take it in directions that the show probably won't. Other times, I'm just so awed by something that's happened that I need to write my own commentary, especially if I think that people might not catch the significance.

I'd say that the BTVS writer I've admired most is Mediancat for his inventiveness and wit, and Ducks for sheer awesome body of work. Once upon a time, when I needed to retreat from the avalanche of angst that this fandom can be, I used to crack some Jenni W. stories, but she has sadly retired now. Jenni, if you see this, we miss you.

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MATTHEW TIME
Chrislee says: I can't even remember how I happened upon Matthew's amazing story Double Chain, but I do remember thinking, 'wow.' Matthew's story is eerie, erotic, intense, melancholy even. Again, slash is not a genre I would normally read, but when the writing is as good as this, it's damn hard not to recommend it!

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MER
Chrislee says: Charades is a spare and uncompromising look at Spike and Angel. The language is sharp, the mood is gloomy, it's delectable fic, indeed. If you have not yet discovered Mer, what are you waiting for?

Mer says: I started reading fanfic after Crush, with my friend Keren, because we were so upset about how Buffy had treated Spike in that episode. We started writing shortly thereafter, when we discovered how many Buffy/Spike fics made the transition from hate to love implausibly quickly. We thought we could do better. We answered a challenge on the Death Marked Love site with a story that ultimately became the first in our Strange Bedfellows series. (The sequel series, Necessary Evil, is still unfinished). The fact that I'd had a bad breakup and needed something else to throw myself into for a while probably played a role too. I started writing fanfic on my own in addition to the co-written stuff because... I don't really remember why. I had a livejournal by then, I wanted something to put in it? Something like that.

Buffy and Angel inspire me because the source material's writing is so damned good, the characters so multifaceted, the references and dialogue so clever, the metaphors so deftly handled that they work on many levels at once. The blending of genres is damned near seamless. Also because they're about the triumph of sheer stubbornness over nature, nurture, destiny, and any other damned bossy thing that comes along. I like stories about groups of people that share a mission and a belief that they can make a difference, that have moral ambiguity in spades but also a belief that morality is important, that laugh at themselves, that are not about families transmiting their issues down the generations but about taking your fucked up self and making a family of other fucked up people that's better. Also that can laugh at themselves and have lots of kinky sex.

I've liked virtually every character on both series at one time or another, but my two viewpoint characters, or point of entry characters, are Spike and Wesley. It was Spike's softening backstory in Fool for Love that transformed me from a mild fan of BTVS to a true fanatic, and it was Wesley's hardening transformation, beginning with the end of ATS season 2, that hooked me on Angel. Something about that combination of shades of grey, willingness to hurt people and being hurt by it, and vulnerable, loving too much and not being loved enough, looks good in leather, men of words turned men of action, resignation, betrayal, guilt that's too deep to be forgiven... yeah, I have a type.

I can't comment on the appeal of het and slash because they're not really two distinct appeals for me. The relationships that appeal to me the most are those that combine two powerful people, some history, some trust, some mistrust, some propensity for power games, some animosity, some finding hidden kinship/similarities with someone who's been an enemy in the past. So I like Buffy/Spike, Buffy/Faith, Buffy/Wesley, Wesley/Lilah, Spike/Angel, Connor/Angel... sensing a trend? That's not the only stuff I've written or enjoyed reading, certainly, but it's my "bulletproof kink", the one that gets me in the gut.

I don't know that I could point to any one of my stories and say "that's the one I'm proudest of." I'm proud of different things about them: I tend more to think of the lines and the tricks and aspects I'm proud of than whole pieces.

To name just to name a few of the other writers I admire: The Brat Queen is the one who first got me hooked on Wesley, as well as introducing me to the concept of fanfic and livejournal... you can see she has a lot to answer for. She does great dialogue and builds beautiful plots right out in plain sight that you still don't figure out until it's too late. Te is one of the most spot-on writers I know, I've not read everything of hers but what I have read never seems to hit a false note. Minim Calibre packs a great angsty punch, besides seducing me into Buffy/Wesley. Glossing and Hth are both incredibly lyrical, particularly in their Giles/Oz stories. And many, many more.

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MINIM CALIBRE
Chrislee says: Traces is a gem of a story. Time has moved on and so have the characters and this story finds Wesley and Buffy in a very different place. Minim creates a very melancholy world in this story, which I loved from start to finish. And my admiration for her work certainly doesn't stop with Traces.

Minim says: It's funny. I've always seen the slashy subtext, I've always thought up stories outside of canon for the characters, but I never thought I'd actually write them down and share them with others.

I started writing because I felt guilty about reading, and I started reading because I felt guilty about not reading. True story. It's not a very interesting story, so I won't get into it, but it is, as they say, true. (By starting writing, I mean seriously starting writing, as the masses of Batman/Robin slash I wrote when I was 14 are neither fit for human consumption, nor understandable outside of the circle of three people I was writing them for, and were, when push comes to shove, just an excuse to write such lines as "Holy thrusting loins, Batman!")

Once I actually started writing, I was workshopping with people like Fay, s.a., and Herself, and there was this mad spirit of creativity in the air, and perhaps fairy dust or glitter or something. It's all kind of a blur, you see. I wrote a couple of short things, Because and Restraint, neither of which are especially good, but at least I had a teeny-tiny body of work so I could say "look! I write, too!" to the guilt monsters.

About my main pairing: a funny thing happened while I was waiting out traffic. It was after Normal Again and Forgiving had aired, and damn if I didn't feel exceedingly sorry for both Buffy and Wesley, who were about as miserable as two characters on TV (exclusive of Lifetime) have ever been. So I thought I'd write a fairly cheerful, buck up cowboy sort of gen fic. So my laptop and I went to a park and sat in the rain while I typed out my idea. Sweet. Short. Gen. Fic. Honest. That was the plan. It kind of decided it wanted very much to be something else. Then it decided it wanted to be two stories, not one. (Port In A Storm and Anchored.) Then I was attempting to explain that I was writing this pairing, see... and smiling weakly at the shocked and horrified expressions on friends' faces. Many, many, many stories in that particular pairing later, I've given up explaining, and now just try to convert people so I can have more material for Latitude.

I write best when I'm either loopy from exhaustion, on a deadline, or if I've been dared. Slash, het, gen, Joyce/Snyder/Holland Manners, you name it, I'll probably write it. I write often in the middle of the night, and then re-read it in the morning with no actual memory of putting those words to paper. My longest work was the result of me overthinking while I was in the shower and making the mistake of sharing the AU I'd mentally made of my own story with s.a., who informed me that if I'd thought it out that thoroughly, I really ought to just write the thing. In some ways, the end product, Absolution, is still my baby. I mean, I love all my stories in that "aww, I made you!" way, but Absolution and I have a special relationship, because its creation was so very different from anything else I'd done.

The list of writers I have in my must-read bin is long. Too long to put all of them here, in fact. Anything s.a. writes, in any fandom, I will read. I think I've read all of Shrift and Te have ever written, and a fair amount of Jennifer Oksana's body of work. I'm so head-over-heels with Roseveare's writing, it's insane. Damn! Forgot to mention Kita, and Mer, and The Brat Queen... and... ah, heck. This is the part where I said the must-read list was too long, okay? I like dark, I like funny, I like well-crafted, and all of the above can manage all three in a single bound.

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PERSEPHONE
Chrislee says: Persephone calls The Hour plotless smut and I hate to disagree with the author, but I disagree. What if in that hour before Buffy faces Glory at the end of "The Gift," she took advantage of Spike's admission. What would that mean..to both of them? This is a great story.

Persephone says: The JossVerse was my first serious fandom, and is still my favourite. I think it is because the JossVerse is subversive at its core. From the way it mixes horror, history, humour, and pop culture, to the way it was one of the first pieces of television to have a female lead character (I think everyone knows the girl in the alleyway creation myth by now), it is uniquely fertile ground.

Part of its richness is the depth of its characterization, and my favourite authors, including Yahtzee, Rheanna , A.C.Chapin, and Julie Fortune exploit and extend that.

Characters in the JossVerse don't have to be perfect but they are never forgettable, and fanfiction authors often seize the opportunity to explore the shows' grounding in myth and legend. From Anya (Luna's Chiaroscuro), Andrew (Andraste's Living Dangerously) Dangerously), to Willow (Kyra Cullinan's A Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes), to the Romany backstory of Jenny Calendar (Seanan McGuire's Romano Drom), the sheer range is fascinating.

Fanfiction is my drug of choice. I started being an amateur pusher, as well as an avid user, back when the piece I was reading at the time made me think 'Maybe I can do better.'

Writing even the shortest story is also a wonderful way to appreciate and enjoy everything you read more fully, once you know from experience the amount of imagination, effort, and time it takes.

While it's true that I write at the speed glaciers advance, that I am at the beginning of a learning curve so steep that it looks more like a learning cliff, and that the day I write something I can be unqualifiedly proud of is still in the dim, distant and possibly imaginary future, I still love to write. I love that feeling of power, that in writing this story, I can make anything I want happen. It's quite a rush.

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POSHCAT
Chrislee says: Poshcat loves Spike and it shows in the perfect way he is portrayed in her stories, no matter whom he happens to be paired with. Take For Her Own Good for example, a Spike/Dawn story that's just *wrong* (and hot and nasty and, did I mention, hot?) There's a certain playfulness in Poshcat's stories. Go read, you won't be disappointed.

Poshcat says:

I'm fairly new to the BtVS fandom, having discovered it right around the time Buffy and Spike started to express their feelings for each other horizontally. Well, except for that first vertical time. When I discovered fanfic, it was like a drug - it made me feel high and alive and fantastic...but little did I know how much it would change me. It didn't take long before reading it wasn't enough to scratch my itch; I had to start writing it. I remember saying something like, "Hey, I bet I can write a story, too!" So I did. Fools rush in, etc., etc.

My first story was Dirty Little Secret . I managed to avoid most fanfic cliches only because I'd read so little fanfic. I hadn't even heard of cold, dead seed, for heaven's sake. ::gets misty-eyed at my innocence:: When I received my first feedback, my addiction took a turn for the hard-core. Crack springs to mind. I was terribly afraid I would turn out to be a one-hit wonder, but I learned that you have to push through that fear. Just keep writing, and then edit to within an inch of your life, that's my motto. I'm not exactly a fanfic machine - I've written maybe 10 stories. But I'm proud of every one of them (even the one where Spike drinks Buffy's pee. Um...it's sexier than it sounds). They've each pushed my limits as a writer, and I like to think each of them made my writing stronger.

Every damn one of my stories stars Spike. I focus on Confident, In Control Spike, because that's how I like him best, as opposed to Wacky Neighbour Spike. So it's all Spike, all the time, with Spike's tongue as co-star, it seems. Heh. I never set out to write quite so much porny fanfic. I mean..."erotic fanfic". Okay, no I don't. I'm sure there are many people who can read boatloads of fanfic where adventure and friendship and lovely-dovey eyes are the focus, but if I'm going to invest time in a fanfic (either reading it or writing it), somebody better be having an orgasm. In the story, I mean. Not me. Mostly. It's very empowering to be a part of a social phenomenon which caters to women's sexuality. Hollywood may not have the first clue, but Live Journal has it down to a science.

I'm not sure what the future of BtVS fanfic holds, but my guess is that while there will always be a demand for it, new fandoms will steal into our hearts. I am pretty sure, though, that there will never be a character who has the impact that Spike (and James Marsters) has had on the Internet community. Honestly, I don't know if I could survive another one!

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PRINCESS PLUM JADE
Chrislee says: I found Princess Plum Jade through a recommendation on Better Buffy Fics. Someone recommended Repeat the Sounding Joy as a Buffy/Angel story worth reading. And it *so* was. As were her other fabulously steamy stories.

Princess Plum Jade says: I first started co-writing Southern Hospitality with Velvet Blood for fun (it was the Christmas holidays, we were bored and had time to spare.) We posted it on a message board until it got to be too big, and then I created the BiNE!!! website to house romantic fiction and poetry.

Why BtVS and "Angel? They're the only shows I watch, I swear I'm not kidding. I don't actually watch TV much at all if I can help it. I'm a big reader, though. I love studying history, mythology, and the occult.

Without a doubt my fiction Remission is the baby of BiNE!!! and I am prouder of it and put more effort into it than any other fic I've written. I also really love Spoils because it involves my favorite storytelling elements: history, fantasy, mythology, and dark romance. (And I LOVE fantasizing about Angelus in that period! He would just fit right in!) Repeat the Sounding Joy has really challenged me to "stretch" because I don't really feel I relate to Buffy very well.

I really love writing Angel(us) as a more ambiguous character than he is portrayed on the show. I see Angel as having a lot of potential for darkness and I enjoy exploring that rather than just fobbing all his evil tendencies off on a psychopathic "evil twin". It's much harder to realistically portray Angelus as having any goodness in him but I still knock myself out trying!

About Ramadevi (my original character)...Rama was originally a "bit player" in Southern Hospitality and she just sort of grew into one of my main characters. Ramadevi is Angelus's one true love. NOT Angel's. The story of Remission was meant to show that Angelus once had a moment in time where he could have been truly happy; when he lost that chance, it helped shape him into the hate-fueled psycho machine we all know and--er--love?

I decided I had to use an original character because none of the female characters in BtVS "felt" right for Angelus. Simply put, he doesn't love any of them and none of them had the strength to be truly equal to him. While Buffy may be physically more powerful, she is somewhat emotionally crippled by her youth and intense love for Angel. I decided to create a really powerful character with certain fascinations that would be attractive to him. I also thought it would be intriguing to pair the "Scourge of Europe" with an Eastern female because the mindset of such a woman would have been so different from the average European when it came to dealing with a demanding male. I also wanted to write very sensual fic and since the Indian culture was much more open and less ashamed about sexuality than Europe it made sense to use that culture. I've taken bellydance classes and read the Kama-Sutra (the actual text, not the interesting picture books that are so popular, lol) just to get more "into" that way of thinking and it really changed my life.

Without a doubt, Claudia D. Christian has been a true mentor to me. I consider her Wicked Seductions of a Vampire Slayer to be the quintessential guide to who/what Angelus in the 21st century is really all about. In fact, NONE of my Angelus-related fics could have come into being without her advice and theories on who he really is. I like to think of my depiction of Angelus (in Remission) as being who her Angelus might have been when he was younger and less corrupted and evil. I also enjoy Lela Rose's and Margot Le Faye's Buffy/Angelus stories.

I adore Miss Edith's fan fiction at Drusilla's Phantom Manor. Her work, featuring a variety of pairings, is beautifully eerie and deeply sensual.

I also consider D.M. Evans to be one of the greatest writers I've ever read (on line or in print.) Her historical Spike/Dru fics are loaded with color and emotion.

Kallie Rose is another favorite. Most of her works are drenched in erotic dark fantasy! Kallie's writing style is smooth and lyrical, I really like her a lot. (Kallie does not have a home site, but some of her fics are housed at Soulmates Til the End of Time and Adult Fan Fiction.Net under the psuedonym "Kat."

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ROZ KAVENEY
Chrislee says: I stumbled upon a little post-death Buffy story called Afterwards by Roz. It was compelling despite the oddness (okay, perhaps only odd to me *g*) of the Willow/Darla pairing, and damn it, the author's name sounded familiar. Well, duh! Ever heard of a little book called Reading the Vampire Slayer?

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RUBYWISP
Chrislee says: Help! I'm becoming addicted to slash. But, hey, when the writing is as good as this and when you get Lindsey and Angel naked like rubywisp does so beautifully in Encounter, what's a girl to do?

Rubywisp says: I was a big Highlander fanfic reader before I discovered Buffy, but it was the Buffyverse that moved me to write. I think it's the characters - they're compelling, and I wanted to explore them above and beyond what we see on the show. I'm honestly not sure why I decided to write slash, since the smut is the most difficult part of any fic for me to write. Probably because I like a challenge, more than any other reason, though I'd say I continue to write slash just because it's fun. *g*

I'd never written anything beyond bad teenage poetry until I wrote Belonging, but I couldn't resist the lure of the Buffyfic. I'm most proud of Rate of Exchange because I think I successfully created a mood that I wasn't sure I could, and managed it in only about 700 words or so.

All my favorite authors and stories are listed on my links page at Wackiness Ensues. Those are my personal favorites, and the ones I think are the best, as well.

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seraC
Chrislee says: New Moon Rising is one of my favourite BtVS eppies and seraC's account of what might have happened had Willow and Oz met in Instanbul is beautiful. As are her other fics.

seraC says:: I guess the best place to begin is at the beginning. I began writing fic maybe about a year ago. It started off innocently enough. I was sitting on my bedroom floor with a cup of coffee and started thinking about Kyle from the show Roswell (this was maybe the beginning of the third season) and everything he had been through. I was also randomly thinking about the way the WB had changed its primary demographics from an African American audience to a Caucasian audience and I was holding a cup of coffee and I thought about the potential for those obscure sort of one-off characters you get sometimes on shows and WHAM! My first fic was born. The birth was followed shortly by my first Buffy fic, which happened to be an original character based on one of my wallpapers, called Escaping Twilight. It’s been an alternately excruciating and just plain painful process since then.

I write whatever happens to pop into my head, typically AU future fic. I find there is more leeway and I’m not likely to be “jossed” before I can get the fic posted. I also tend to write darker pieces and that works better, for me, when placed in the future after everything is said and done because while the show continues, in present time, there is still hope. I don’t deal too often in hope. (With the exception of Istanbul and that may be why people like it.)

Inspiration comes in all colors and flavors. An episode, a scene, a quote, another piece of fiction. I even wrote my first challenge a little while ago. After Potential aired a challenge was issued to pair Xander and Dawn. My response was That Which Survives and as I lay sleeplessly one night it kinda worked itself out. Most of the time I write with an image in mind that then gets translated into a single line. That line usually contains, for me, the essence of the fic regardless of whether that’s a feeling, emotion or essential truth. For That Which Survives the line was “When Xander sleeps he dreams of Buffy.” The idea being that Xander doesn’t sleep often but when he does he has nightmares about Buffy’s death and that leads you to his thoughts about the woman sleeping at his side and it spirals downward from there. For Escaping Twilight that line was “I was born on the Nile” because that was a story about place or placeless-ness more than anything else. Another example of the myriad of inspiration that I respond to can be found in Istanbul. Maayan had written a 2nd person POV fic in the Farscape fandom and that inspired me in shaping Istanbul. The plot, very obviously, is ep related, but the structure is Maayan’s fault.

As far as favorites of my own stuff: I like different pieces for different reasons. Granted the list isn’t long, but sometimes it shifts. I love The Downfall of Angels for use of language. I tend to see a fic in my mind like a movie reel so my goal is always to get my audience to see what I see. For the sake of the fic that may or may not always be possible, but in this one it works. Mostly because it’s PWP and all I did was describe a moment. The BtVS writers had already done the work, I just elaborated. I think my strongest piece overall is a Roswell piece, If You Would Be True, Love. As a whole I think it’s the most complete and cohesive story. Yours, Eternally has gotten the most response and I would second it as my overall favorite. It’s very deliberate and I think I got the mood just right. It needed to be creepy and intense and I wanted the reader to feel as if they were looking at the world from a side view. Just sort of aslant, so that you experience everything that Dawn is feeling without being beaten over the head with it. As Kate, my beta says, show it - don’t tell it. Istanbul has gotten quite a bit of response as well, although I don’t particularly care for it one way or another. I think partially because I didn’t slave over it. It took me half an hour to write it out in long hand and needed almost no editing. My beta gave me the green light on the first draft I sent her, which trust me, doesn’t happen often. Yours, Eternally is the only other one she has responded to with an equal amount of enthusiasm.

I avoided fan fiction for a very long time because finding good fanfic can be a rather painful process. My first real run-in was sheer accident. I fell in love with the show Farscape and went hunting for info and came across Maayan’s site Only Human which lead me to her fic No Dominion, which isn‘t even her best, but which was good enough to show me that excellent fan fic was possible. I don’t read stuff that’s pure wish fulfillment or that fans are writing for the sake of pairing up their favorite characters. I read what is true to the story and true to the characterization. It’s got to fit with what we know and if it doesn’t then the author has to build in a sense of what the progression was to lead the characters to the place where they are now. In a sense that is what That Which Survives is all about. What could possibly lead Xander and Dawn together and is it a good thing.

That aside, the authors I tend to favor are: (for Buffy) Jennifer Oksana, Kyra Cullian, Moonwhip and I’m really getting into Indri. (for Farscape) Maayan, of course! Cofax and there is one beautiful piece by Ellen Milholand called Pretend It Means Fate. I’m slowly expanding my Farscape base. (for Roswell) Doc Paul who is fabulous with original fics. Great plots and characterization. I can only wish that all his/her fic were beta’d. Elizabeth and Moonwhip. Buffy recs would include Jennifer O’s Displaced, Kyra’s A Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes and The Syntax of Things. After that I have a rec site. Excess, Folly and Delight.

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SIENNA
Chrislee says: I love it when Sienna ignores the curse. Her body of B/A fic is vast and some of the absolute best out there: well-written, passionate, and a treat for the senses.

Sienna says: I've adored and read B/A fic for years and wrote when ideas refused to be ignored. I never managed to finish anything and only started sending out fic last year. I'm probably most happy with Infinitely Gentle, because it came fairly easily and I can look at it without wincing (mostly).

Picking favourite authors is tough, but I'd have to mention: Margot Le Faye, Nymue, Trix, Starla. (It's so hard to single them out, like picking a favourite child )

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SJ SMITH
Chrislee says: Ease is Sharon Jane's take on what becomes of our heroes after the final battle. There is something decidedly hopeful about this story, even though it leaves you wanting more. Sharon Jane has a clean, true writing style and a great imagination to boot.

SJ Smith says: I have always been fascinated by a good story. I remember that most of my childhood was spent telling myself stories, some of them based on things I’d read, some of them based on history, others based on the toys I had. I started drawing myself animal related comic books around the age of four, to keep myself entertained. My cousins and friends always delegated me to be the storyteller for whatever game we were playing, whether it be G.I. Joes, Robin Hood, Star Trek or Cowboys and Indians so I would set up the scene that we’d then enact.

My first fanfiction (that was actually written) was based on a short-lived SF series called Fantastic Journey. I think I was twelve. Unfortunately, the story was never finished as my co-author moved to California soon after we started it. I really got involved in fandom around my senior year in high school when I discovered Doctor Who. My fiction, filks, poetry and cartoons for that series were published in a variety of fanzines, notably Somewhen, Rassilon’s Star and Time Log. I also got involved in the first wave of ElfQuest fandom, becoming an editor and contributor to Windwalking and Tales of the Tower as well as other EQ zines.

I started writing BtVS fiction almost by accident. It wasn’t something I’d planned on, certainly; I’ve been working with my own characters for nearly a decade, figuring out what I want to do with them (besides eventually put together something cohesive enough to publish). When the idea for the first story (which has yet to be finished, though I started writing it around season 5) came, I resisted it at first but it kept bothering me until I started writing it. Other story ideas followed. It was then just a matter of time until I found a place to post them (Fanfiction.net). I then joined a few lists and the rest, as they say, is history.

The story I’m most happy with is generally the one I’m working on at this moment of time. Mirror, Mirror is the one I’ve gotten the most recognition with though it isn’t finished yet. Perchance to Dream and Inheritance make me happy, despite the overall depression they both cause. I’m also very pleased with the series, Pieces of the Heart that I’m writing with D.M. Evans.

Favorite fan authors include Matt, Indie, Trixie Firecracker, D.M. Evans and Yseult.

When I read, I look specifically for people who write true to the characters, provide good desciptions and include a sense of humor. Not really into PWP stories; even short stories need something to hang the meat on.

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SOPHIA JIRAFE
Chrislee says: It's damn near impossible to recommend just one of Sophia's stories. So I'm not gonna. I do, vividly remember reading No Need For Lucifer To Fall, though, a long while ago, back before I'd even started to write, before this site. The light went off in my head: Oh, fanfiction can be better than good, it can be more than just entertaining it can be this. I was thrilled to find Sophia again and even more thrilled she agreed to join me here.

Sophia says: I've been writing fiction as long as I've been writing (see Molly's Christmas for an example of my early Princess Phase, and found fanfiction in early 1999.

X-Files was my first true fannish love, but times passed, the show declined and wise friends lured me into Season 6 of Buffy, where I prompty and embarrassingly fell head-over-heels in lust with one William the Bloody.

I got over it mostly, but not before I wrote a couple of Spike pieces. No Need for Lucifer to Fall and The Ghosts of Saturday Night. I still love Spike, though, and also have room in my heart for dear departed Tara, sharp Anya and sweet Dawn. Buffy is the one I care most about in the end, though, at times when I don't like her much. No one else reaches me in quite the same way.

Recently (as of 03/17/03) my writing has taken a turn for the very short, but I rather like my odd little Willow/Giles piece with the lights out it's less dangerous and my very little slayer-in-training piece Thousand Yard Stare.

I don't expect the fandom for me to end when the show does, since I never properly moved in from the X-Files fandom in the first place, so May will probably still find me typing away in my void. I've nattered on about writing original fiction from time to time, but nothing ever comes of it. I like playing with other people's toys too much.

Not having properly moved in means I couldn't even begin talk about the other writers who have have influenced or inspired me, since I've mostly sampled from an enormous buffet of delicious fic according to momentary pairing whims.

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STARLET2367
Chrislee says: Starlet is a fan of the Angel/Cordelia pairing, and I am a B/A whore. What can we learn from this? I discovered her story, Safe As Houses at The Scribes of Angel and knew, immediately, that I had found an author whom could spin a tale beautifully. Well, it had to be something pretty amazing considering it was about Angel and Cordelia! Although we agree to disagree about which girl Angel should be with, I recommend Starlet's fic without hesitation. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that Starlet could make a C/A shipper out of me. She's that friggin' good!

Starlet says: I started writing fanfic in 1998 in the XFiles fandom. When my affection for the show began to wane, and I noticed that there were actually other shows on TV (gasp!) I got interested in Buffy. That was about Season 3, which meant I happened to also catch Angel's premiere--and I haven't stopped watching since.

Despite my background in fanfic it wasn't until Darla turned up pregnant that I began to get curious about what was going on behind the scenes in the characters' lives. I published my first story, a post-ep, to head-swelling reviews--mainly because it was a C/A fic posted on a C/A board. (As my writing teacher used to say, know your audience.)

Right now I'm taking a break from fanfic to focus on some pro-writing projects. But you can bet when the series starts up again this fall, I'll be by the TV, pen in hand, just waiting for inspiration to strike.

Links to my own favourite stories: Anodyne, Lookin' For Love

And because I can never choose just one of anything, here are links to my favorite stories by other authors: Yahtzee's Phoenix Burning, Inamorata's Another Life, Kita's Thirty Days, Rheanna's For One Night Only, MSally and Rivka T's Serious Moonlight Series, Christie's Lovesick, My good friend Ebonbird's Two Breathe.

TANGO
Chrislee says: It is impossible to image that Tango does anything but write. I've never known anyone who turns out so much fiction. It would be one thing if her work was quantity rather than quality, but that is so not the case. She hears the characters, she watches them...and, she writes beautifully.

Tango says: I've written various works of fiction pretty much all my life. I always wrote short stories, poetry and have started several novels, which I someday intend to finish. As far as fanfic, I used to be a nonbeliever in writing about existing characters and avoided fanfic at all costs. Then one day, I was bored without new Buffy eps and began sifting through sites and reading fanfic. When I found a couple that were really good, I was hooked. I read all that I could and when I ran out of things to read I started writing them myself. I've been writing fanfic since Novemeber 2001.

Everything: people, places, movies, books. I have a hard time not turning things into inspiration for writing on most days. *G*

I think my favorites are The Mark, Soul Vacation, and Slayers and Witches and Vampires, Oh My! which is currently unfinished.

Here are just a few of the best stories, in my opinion. Domestication and After Effects by indie, Buffy's Diary, Letters to Whistler & Letters from Ireland by Harpy, Than Serve in Heaven by Mayaan, The Devil's Truth by Matt and Worlds of Longing by Ducks.

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TE
Chrislee says: Trust me, it will be impossible to stop reading Te's stuff once you've started. I caught one of her stories as it came through the BFA and then devoured about a half dozen more in one sitting. Killing Will is just the most beautifully violent and unsparing fic I've read in a long time. And who really has the upper hand in Sabre? If you don't know Te, you've got a lot of incredible reading ahead of you!

Te says: I started writing fanfiction back in March of '98, because a friend of mine had an idea for a story which I found absolutely hilarious and my brain immediately began coming up with lines and scenarios. I wound up co-authoring the story with her, the story became a series, and there I was.

I was pimped into BtVS about a year after that by Woodinat and Viridian5, who take their pimping seriously. I'd had no intention of watching the show, but they told me about the characters of Spike, Ethan, and Giles, and I was intrigued. I watched the show and instantly fell in love with Xander and Faith, which I think is obvious by my earlier stories in the fandom. Heh.

BtVS has, like, the Ages of Te. I was Willow. I was Xander. I was Faith. Happily? I'm healthier than the lot of them now, but does anyone ever really fall out of love with an avatar? In any event, by the time sixth season rolled around I was in love with everyone on the show and a true addict. Which was a good thing, because Angel was pissing me right the hell off. (Insert David Greenwalt rant, complete with froth, foam, and mindless vitriol here.)

When it comes to pairings, I'm all over the place. I've referred to Buffy/Angel fandom as a haven more than once, because my attitude towards fan fiction is kind of... well, part of me is never going to understand why people write things that they see onscreen every week, when there's so much other ground to explore. So finding a fandom with the institution of UCSL was, like, God coming down from on high to give me smoochies. So. I've written everything from Willow/Spike to Spike/Angelus to Angel/Giles to Giles/Kendra to Kendra/Xander to Xander/Everyone... you get the idea. I write dark, light, edgy, fluffy, horror, romance... I think the only thing you can pretty much count on with my fic is smut. I like smut. A lot. As for the story I'm most proud of... well, that changes a lot. Like, all the time. Currently, I really like the sort of, possibly, maybe unfinished Traveler series. I reread it when I moved my site, and I really think it works. It's a brutal, *nasty* thing, but it's also really... thoughtful. It makes me look smart. *g* Authors I recommend: The Spike. Come on, I have a whole page devoted to her. Read everything, but especially her Darla story Dry..

Debchan is the other portion of my Webrain, and she regularly blows me away with her versatility. She can write fluffy romance or the darkest horror or comedy that makes you pee your pants. Awe. She'll be getting a page, too. Read everything, but especially her Six Feet Under story Triptych .

I've loved Pares since we were both cruising around XF-land. She's one of the writers who cemented my love for Mulder/Krycek way, way, *way* back in the day. Read everything -- yes, again -- but especially... dude, just everything on her Miscellaneous page. Some writers get really, really funky when they're experimenting.

I 'discovered' Sarah T. at the height of my Buffy fannishness and proceeded to stalk. Once again, she gets a read everything, with an extra special nod to her Ethan fiction. She's one of the few writers who consistently kicks ass with him. However, my favorite story of hers is still Minst'ring Angel Thou, which is the first story of hers I read. Hunh. I should make her a cover.

Anna S. Man, I wanted to be her. Do I have to say it again? Read everything. The world of Buffy rejoices that she's joined us. Me, I loved Throwing Shapes beyond all reason.

Elizabeth consistently makes me read (and love) characters I neither know nor care about. It's only a matter of time before she gets me addicted to ROSWELL, of all bloody things. I especially loved Triangulation.

And Kita! Ee! Singlehandedly making me reconsider Angel as a viable character. There are very few stories of hers that I don't love, which is a feat considering the fact that I loathe most of the pairings she writes. snerk My favorite story of hers is probably Six Foot Deep, written with Jessica Walker. Or maybe Echoes. Tough call.

And oooh, Roz Kaveney does things to my brain. She's a thoughtful writer, always looking ahead to the next character arc. Hell, the next series. Check out Bed of Bones.

Jane St Clair, is lyricism. There are times when I wish she'd be more spare, but that would just break her style. She's a poet who writes prose, and that's that. Mm. Read Smoke.

Sheila Perez doesn't write nearly enough, but oh, when she does... Oz is her boy. Read Natural Blues and tell me I'm wrong.

And... dude, I have a rec page. snerk I'm tired of typing. Or, you know, go here to see what I *really* love.

As for inspiration... I get it from my friends, mostly. From chatting about the episodes and asking ourselves 'what if' until lightning strikes. Or from my dreams. Or from the voices in my head. Let's not talk about that.

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TESLA
Chrislee says: No River Like Craving is a gauzy little fic where Oz, Devon and Angel share a joint. Sounds kinda odd, right? But Tesla's pitch perfect characterizations really nails these three to a specific place and time. Wonderful.

Tesla says: What's so funny about me and the Jossverse is that I came here more or less ass-backwards. My Toronto friend and X-files beta, Maybe_Amanda was a fan, but I was all, nyah. I was into "Farscape" and "X-Files" when Duchovny was on. Hated the last season. Amanda was trying to get me to see the light, but I resisted.

I watched the last episodes of Buffy Season Five, a couple in six, and most of seven. So, I had no idea about the prior glories. Amanda had stopped watching it entirely! Naturally, I was a Spuffy fan. When Angel appeared in the final two episodes, I wondered, literally, "Who the hell is this guy kissing Buffy?" I started watching summer re-runs of "Angel" to be up to speed for Spike's return. Unfortunately, I watched "Orpheus," which is definitely not the most newbie-friendly. But there was something in the big galoot that caught my eye. So, having a holiday weekend of some sort, I went to the mall and bought Buffy seasons one and two.

The scales fell from my eyes. The next weekend, I bought Angel season one.

I also started watching "Buffy" in the mornings before I went to work, since I live in the central US time zone and could get in two hours before 8 a.m. By the time the fifth season of Angel premiered, I was madly in love with Angel and David Boreanaz. (Duchovny who?) So much so, that I was not aware of the cancellation and a Phile friend from Texas called me to console me on Black Friday, and ended up breaking the news to me. She later related in her LiveJournal that I just said, brokenly, "But that means David is out of work!"

I had seen "Our Mrs. Reynolds" of "Firefly" , but my local Fox station messed about with the scheduling so badly that I didn't see any others. However, Starlet made up for the omission by gifting me with the boxed set. Oh, mama.

On writing fanfic.

I was an English lit major in college and editor of the campus newspaper. However, I took a wrong turn and became a lawyer. However, I've been writing fanfic since I could first grip a pen. When I was in seventh grade, a friend of mine and I wrote "Wild Wild West" and "It Takes a Thief" fic; in college, another friend and I wrote "The Rat Patrol" and "Star Trek" fic, and I wrote one "Magnum, PI" fic for a Christmas present. Later, after I was married and got internet access, I fell headlong into "X-Files" fic like someone falls into a well. I didn't write it until, I think, 1998. I was just getting started when I got divorced. In the meantime, I had started making Phile friends over the internet.

After the dust settled, and I was established in a new home, I picked up a WIP and some drafts and began writing again.

I like the Jossverse better than the X-Files world, because there are more characters, more interactions, and I like fantasy. I had narrowed myself to writing about Profiler!Mulder, and I really think that I've done about as much as I can with him in the Chris Carter 'verse. However, I have plans for poor, vamped, ensoulled Mulder in my crossover.

I was never a slash writer until recently, and now I'm getting e-mails asking if I write het. Hee.

On pairings.

I'm basically an Angel/anyone person. I enjoyed writing Angel/Oz, but I think, as Glossolalia commented, that I've summed up everything about that relationship in the last story I did. I do like writing Angel/Cordelia, and Angel/Fred. Spander is a recent thing with me, and I simply adore writing Xander/Oz with Dessert_First. I've done Wesley/Faith and I'd like to do more stories with Faith, and with Dawn. The very first story I wrote was "The Loss of the One," which is post-"The Gift" Dawn and Spike.

I have a thing for original characters, I must say, but I try very hard to guard against Mary Sue.

My favorite story is usually the one I'm working on at the moment, but as I write just about every day of my life, I have to go with Sunnydale Wholesale Beauty Supply. I like it because I liked trying to answer the questions about the non-Scooby, non-evil residents of Sunnydale.

My X-Files fic is all here

Authors

I corresponded with several authors from the "All About Spike" site, and Devil Piglet was kind enough to send me several recs. Nan Dibble's Blood series is wonderful, although she writes very much her own version of Spike. I also adore the Bowiebharata by MustangSally and RivkaT, which is not surprising since I loved their "Iolukus" series of a dark Mulder/Scully. Barb Cumming's series with Spike and Buffy is also tremendous fun.

Starlet is a close personal friend, but I may say with complete truth that I adored and respected her Angel/Cordelia before I met her. I can't imagine my life without her at this point, even after fandoms come and go. I have her fic saved on disc. I think I've worked my way through all the authors on the Bugger This website.

While I'm Angel-centric and Spuffy friendly, I in no way endorse anti-Buffy sentiments. Sounds like I'm a politician, doesn't it?

My favorite fanfic resource, aside from my friends' list on Live Journal, is Silverlake I've read everything by Shrift and I'm reading everything by Mosca. Julad has a "Smallville" Clex , on that site, called "Marry Into the Family." In conclusion, Kitty.

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THISVERYINSTANT
Chrislee says: Thisveryinstant's story Flaw is a fine example of fanfiction: wonderful characterizations, raw prose and fearlessness. I wish I could say that she has scads more fic but, sadly, this is it so far. Therefore, it is imparative that you read and send feedback and encouragement!

thisveryinstant says: Story of my life: I'm always, always late. I miss deadlines. I saunter into parties after the beer is long gone. I never seem to hear the good albums until after the band has sold out. I'm 23 years old and I'm still inching toward my BA. And I fell hopelessly in love with BtVS several months after the final episode had aired.

It would be cool to hear about how you discovered the shows and what hooked you.
I actually started reading Jossverse fanfiction before I saw BtVS or AtS. Last August I randomly stumbled onto a Spike/Xander story by The Spike. I didn't know who Spike and Xander were, but it was just about the hottest thing I'd ever read. I asked for season one for my birthday, spent most of my savings on seasons two through five, downloaded the balance, and that was that. I've still got several seasons of Angel ahead of me. As for what hooked me...I love the way Buffy pokes fun at itself without trivializing its content. I love that moral ambiguity is written into scenarios that are usually reserved for second-string horror movies. The show manages to blend genre fantasy and brutal realism into a mix that constantly catches me off-guard. I love that every character is written and played with humor and compassion. I love that the writers don't pull punches--when shit goes down, we get to see it unfold in all its messy, ugly, human glory. I love that the writers play to the actors' strengths in a way that you don't see in most shows. I mean, it's obvious that the writers are also fans. How amazing is that?

In your experience as a writer, where does inspiration come from?
Hm. To me, inspiration feels like a flash of connection. Inspiration happens when unrelated trains of thought get thrown together, and, rather than the train wreck you'd expect, there's a spark of possibility. I've been thinking a lot about why I write fanfic lately. Often I'm intrigued by the issues that canon won't touch, because of time constraints or continuity issues (or sheer depravity). A show like Buffy leaves a lot of unresolved issues, and sometimes those issues touch on something that's meaningful to me. But, honestly, that's just me intellectualizing. I write fanfiction because I'm a goofy, gushy, obsessive fangirl, and the things that are supposed to simply entertain me often end up taking over my mind. I wrote fanfic before I knew what fanfic WAS. I have notebooks full of self-insertion fic written in my wobbly, fourth grade handwriting, in which stunningly beautiful older-than-their-years teenage girls with shadowy pasts and names like Bronwyn or Juliet convince Rhett and Scarlett to give it another go, or show up in Westchester, New York as Wolverine's long lost sister. I can't stop thinking about the characters, so eventually I start to write about them.

Do you have other authors you admire?
Too many to list. I'm currently in love with Jessica Walker. She has a way of getting inside a character's head, and making these incisive observations about what makes them tick. And I have to mention The Spike, whose stories got me interested in BtVS in the first place. Her prose has a kind of immediacy, spare and vivid and intense and "guhhh"-inducing. Other favorites include Mad Poetess, Shrift, Te, The Brat Queen, Glossolalia-- oh, I could go on for pages and pages. There are so many amazing writers in this fandom; it blows my mind.

Do you have favourite characters on the show? Why?
I have soft spots for Andrew and Ethan Rayne. I love Andrew's fantasies and affectations, his incurable fanboyishness and his adorable crush on Spike. (It also helps that, like Xander, I'm a big enough dork that I get many of his references.) I find Ethan incredibly refreshing--there's something satisfying about an unashamed, honest-to-god coward. He's such a crafty, pathetic little shit, and he gets such a kick out of wrecking havoc and spreading chaos. I find myself rooting for him.

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TKP
Chrislee says: I met TKP on Live Journal and didn't really know she wrote fic until someone recced Blood Types. I read it and fell in love. Althought it's true that she doesn't have a huge archive of fic (yet) every word that's been committed to paper is deserving of praise.

TKP says: I've been writing fanfiction since I was 8—before I knew what “fanfiction” was and before I knew there were other cases of the nut persuasion, like me. I’ve done a lot of fandom hopping in The Places Twisted People Write, but Jossverse has me by the throat (in the sexy dirty way) and isn’t letting go any time soon for 3 reasons: 1) the character Angel, 2) its scope, and 3) the people involved.

I’d been writing Angel for 3-4 years, before I knew who Angel was and back when I thought the show with the title character “Buffy” had to be stupid. All the original fic I’ve written features a main character seeking redemption and suffering major guilt, and I tend to only be interested in themes of hope and salvation. So Angel? Is like the climax of my various interests and literary endeavors. Yeah, he’s my orgasm.

I’m a single-minded, obsessive—romantic—personality. I get stuck on a ‘ship and everything else falls away. In Jossverse it’s B/A; it’s why I started watching the show. But what surprised me, when I really started watching, was how much I cared for all the characters. And I want to write them all: Faith for the vulnerability under her bravado, Wesley for giving me questions about morality, Spike for being just so damn cool, et (almost) al. And while I still am an eternal B/Aer in a die hard way, other relationships are important to me and I’d like to do justice by them: B/S because it’s real to me; A/Wes because it’s impossible; B/A/S because it’s a fundirtykink, etc. There’s just so much to work with. Jossverse is heavy themes, worlds without shrimp, sexuality, David Boreanaz, humanity, and more. It’s the sandbox they have for three year olds in heaven. With a cheese man.

And the castles the fans built? Make Trannsylvania look pathetic. They teach me every day I still have lots to learn about writing. Best of all, there are people willing to teach. A2zmom is my beta for what I’m working on right now, and she inspires me with every chapter. Most of my inspirations/recs for fics would lead to fics on the Sublime Archive, and the fics that aren’t there are by authors who have at least one other fic on Sublime—all except Chrislee, because she didn't archive herself—so can I do the lazy rec thing and say go there? Now?

That’s all I got.

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TRAMMIE
Chrislee says: Trammie was one of the first babblers I met, my first beta and my first on-line friend. And now I get to pimp her as a fine fic writer. Her devotion to B/A is legendary and her story, Weathering the Storm, is an AU masterpiece.

Trammie says: I never watched BtVS until Grad I & II, then started watching in season four. I seem to be one of the few who really liked Riley and I liked him with Buffy ... until I kept hearing all these references to Angel and things that had happened in the past. I was so curious I ended selling my soul to ebay to get tapes of the first three seasons (preDVD days). The first time I saw Angel and Buffy together, that was it, that's all it took. Still liked Riley, but could never see him or anyone else with Buffy except Angel, nor Angel with anyone but Buffy and STILL can't.

I'd never seen such a deep, sacrificing, epic kind of love story like theirs that caught me and still holds me as it did from the first. The contrasts and similarities, the magnetism inextricably repelling and pulling them together fascinated me and still does. SMG and DB deserve tremendous credit for making their characters so real, their emotions and actions so believable.

Desperate for more information about Buffy and Angel I started browsing online for more background. That's when I discovered fanfic, I'd never even heard of it before. Some of the first authors I read were Harpy, indie, Margot, Lex and Ducks. The more I read the more I searched for new fics.

I got to be friends with several authors and somewhere along the way started betaing fics. I have a deep and sincere respect and admiration for writers who put their hearts into their words and share that gift with the rest of us. Especially the ones who take the time to polish and present it the way it deserves to be. It's always been special to me to be allowed to help in some way in that process.

I never, ever expected to be a writer myself. No small thanks to indie that I became one. She had the beginnings of a fic, among others, that I fell in love with and couldn't seem to get out of my mind. Somehow it went from her story, to both of us working on it, to just me writing it, so I give her liberal credit for her part in it. She's given a lot of herself - her friendship, her experience, her insight and her encouragement. I found I really enjoyed writing, the feeling that sometimes scenes seem to write themselves. Not so fond of the ones that don't. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that I wrote something at all.

I have many favorite authors, but the one I love the best is and always will be Harpy. I didn't discover her until just before she left the fandom and I still mourn her loss to it. She portrayed both of them so beautifully, but especially Angel in the way I think I've always envisioned him and still do. Think my BA heart will always see them the same ... always deeply in love forever and back together where they belong when it's finally their time.

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TREACLE
Chrislee says: You must go immediately to Treacle's site and read Pen Pals, the snarky correspondence between Spike and Angel. Then, after you finish laughing you could read, All That's Left To You and have a little cry. Great stuff here!

Treacle says: When I wrote a short script-style finale for Season 6 I didn't even know such a thing as fanfiction existed. Then some kind soul at the BC&S suggested I post my scribblings at ff.net and lo, the magical realm that is fic opened up and swallowed me whole.

So far I write mostly from canon, enjoying a perverse thrill at fitting my stories in and around episode plotlines and loopholes. Occasionally though the stories stray into the realm of AU - 'Diversion', it's sequel 'Detour' and my latest WIP 'No Mistakes' being Human!Spike fics. I see fan fiction as an excellent way to develop my writing skills, and the positive (and negative) feedback and interaction between fandom writers as completely invaluable.

Fic has taught me to create believable dialogue, how to shape a story arc and (most importantly) to characterise effectively and for those lessons I will be eternally humbled and grateful to people like Herself Bittersweets and What She Deserves, kalima's, Daemons Luminati, annie.s.j's, Angels Of The Silences, harmonyfb's, Glimpses, Anna S's, Throwing Shapes & Season Noir, circe_tigana's, No Power On Earth and the ever absent throstle, Try A Little Tenderness and When A Man Loves A Woman for setting the benchmark so very high and forcing me forever onwards and upwards.

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TRIXIE FIRECRACKER
Chrislee says: Well, Afterlife just spoke to me for some reason. The whole idea that we can and do move on in life, but a part of us is always left behind just hit me in the gut. Marry that with Trixie's lovely, evocative and lyrical style and you're in fic heaven. Definitely check out her story Amen while you're at her site. All "retired" writers should write as good as this. snerk

Trixie says: I started writing fanfiction after the BtVS episode, "Sanctuary" when I stumbled upon Ducks' site and realized that maybe it was something I could try. I honestly didn't even know fanfiction existed until that moment, but the idea of fixing Joss' mistakes immediately appealed to me as I wasn't very happy with the way the shows were going.

My first story was called "Stay With Me". Unfortunately, I wish I could forget it. It was in Angel's POV. Very quick, quite fluffy, and very much to the point. It was a trend in my earlier fics to completely forget about the curse, something which I'm now ashamed of *g* I think my writing has changed drastically since then. When I started writing in Buffy POV with "Spinning on the Edge" is what I regard as the true beginning of my fic writing.

I used to be inspired solely by Buffy and Angel. However, now things are a bit different. I can be inspired by Buffy and Spike. By Buffy herself. By a quote in a book, or by something someone says to me. It isn't always simply B/A's relationship anymore. I have to look beyond that, and that's a good thing. It forces me to expand my plotlines and also deal with other characters in more in depth ways, which I actually love to do.

I guess I'm most proud of stories like Echoes of Then, Camelot and Afterlife. I receieved the most feedback for "Camelot" and it's a story that I still get e-mails about. I liked the image of Buffy in a dark, desolate planet-- fighting a war she knows so little about-- and fighting a war within herself about which vampire she wants to be with. Angel or Spike. However, "Afterlife" will always be close to my heart because it was a nicely intimate story that remained intense throughout. I don't think I ever lost my thread in that fic... and I believe I did at the end of "Camelot". I'm never completely satisfied with any story I write, but I came close to being just that with "Afterlife".

My favourite writers in the BtVS/A:ts fandoms are Vatrixsta, Ducks, Kita and Jessica Walker. My alltime favourite fanfic author is Laura Smith. She writes Dawson's Creek (Pacey/Joey) and BtVS fic. She's a Goddess and she rocks my ficwhore world.

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VATRIXSTA CRUDEN
Chrislee says: Although she is probably best known for her series, Bittersweet Legacy, Vatrixsta has written equally compelling shorter pieces including The Flow and Angels Dancing on a Pin. She has a wonderful understanding of the characters and writes a beautifully nuanced Angel.

Vatrixsta says: I was inspired to write my first Buffy fic (because I'd been writing fic in another fandom for ages -- it's been at least four years since I wrote my first) because I was missing an element of the show (B/A) and I simply wanted to see those two characters interacting again. I missed them. I've never really felt like writing fic that's identical to whatever show I'm working off of, because if the show is satisfying me, I've got no reason to look elsewhere.

My first Buffy fic was Across the Universe and I still like it, although I am tempted -- as I often am -- to take a big red pen to it every time I actually sit down to read it. I never seem to be completely satisfied with any of my fic, which is why I try not to reread it much, surround myself with betas I trust implicitly, and send it off when *they're* satisfied.

Of course, then I don't heed my own instincts, start rereading my fic, and obsess over it until I have some kind of funny aneurysm.

There's such a huge tapestry to work from (in the BtVS/Ats universe), that you can literally take the characters and the story anywhere. I feel totally unlimited when I sit down to create. Add to that how much I love the characters, each and every one of them, and it's the best world to borrow for awhile.

I was hard core into The X-Files fandom, have dabbled in Smallville, and am currently fiddling with the Harry Potter fandom.

I've always written, when I didn't realize what I was doing. The first conscious moment came when I was eight and was given my first creative writing assignment: Write a short story about an inanimate object. The title of my story was "The Magic Shopping Cart." I've never been the same since.

I'll love someone else's work, think it's completely perfect, but I have never, ever thought that about my own stuff. I *like* it, I don't think I suck (well, all the time *g*), but I always feel that I could have/should have done better, that there was one little thing missing to make it really great. There are days where I'll ditch pages and pages that I feel just don't flow right, and I'll start back at zero. I've got at least a dozen unfinished fics on my hard drive that I won't let see the light of day because I either haven't found the perfect ending, or haven't figured out how to fill in the middle properly, and I refuse to write without a clear outline.

Looking back on the stories you've written, which is your favourite and why? Eeee. Um. Well. Whatever their flaws in my mind, and I don't care how crazy it is, but it *is* just like picking children! I would say that Bittersweet Legacy holds a special place in my heart, for sheer blood, sweat, and tears poured into it. I'm very fond of a fic I just wrote, Paved, but I haven't reread it yet, so it hasn't fallen victim to my ceaseless dissatisfaction. *g* But so far as which fic always makes me smile, and is as near perfect as I think I get, I quite like Cats and Dogs. I've probably gotten the least amount of feedback *ever* on it, but I enjoyed experimenting in the second person style, and think it met with at least marginal success. It's the most I feel I've ever gotten into Angel's head before, completely *into* it, and that makes me happy.

As for which fic of mine is truly my favorite, it's one that is currently unfinished on my hard drive that about three people have seen. *g* Don't know if I'll ever finish it. I hope so. Of course, it may only be my favorite right now because it's barely half done. Sigh.

Can you see your love of writing fic ever waning? Unfortunately, no. My original novel hates me for it.

I live in L.A., spend my time walking a fine line between perfectionist and slob, and can usually be found in front of my computer, writing, thinking about writing, or talking about writing with my best friends.

Fic writers I adore: The list really does go on and on -- Ducks, Margot Le Faye, Kita, Yahtzee, Indie, Tango, Philip S., Trixie, Esmerelda, Serena,

Ducks is arguably the most influential, because when I first began rummaging around the fandom, I was getting kind of discouraged by a lack of quality fic. Then I found her site, and devoured it in a weekend. If not for her fic, it's likely I never would have gotten so absorbed into the fandom. I would kill to have Kita's gift for metaphors, or Yahtzee's for story, Indie's talent with smut . oh but I do go on. They're all my heroes.

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VICTORIA P.
Chrislee says: East of Eden is a lovely little post-apocolypse tale featuring Dawn and Xander. It's a gem, really. And so are many of Victoria's other stories. (Plus, she writes in may other fandoms, if you read outside of BtVS/Ats.)

Victoria says: The first fic I ever began (not counting the hellacious Vampire Chronicles thingy a friend and I attempted back in 1990) was an Angel story. I liked the idea of a round robin of unrequited love, magically induced crushes that would embarrass all the participants. I thought it would be a funny episode, and wanted to see if I could write it myself. Sadly, I never finished it and the show moved beyond that stage of comedy/characterization, so I've never gone back to it. You can see it here: in all its unfinished glory.That was in June 2000.

Generally speaking, the characters inspire me, things that the show has brought up and then not followed through on (Faith learning of Buffy's death, though I guess that was jossed; Xander's role as a 'comfortador', Angel and Cordelia learning about Joyce's death, Wesley's feelings during Supersymmetry), though I've never quite grasped the idiom in which the Buffy characters speak. I enjoy listening to it, but I suck at writing it. Angel is somewhat easier, because there's less of that slangy byplay - the characters are more adult.

Even though I'm a huge fan of Xander/Willow, I've found it incredibly difficult to write shippy fic about them for some reason. I still don't know why.

Music is always a good inspiration - Xander is the Everyman, so he's like the narrator of every Bruce Springsteen song - I use Bruce to get me in a Xander-writing mood. *g*

Xander is my favourite character to write about because he's ignored in canon. He's human amidst the 'special' people, and he's the easiest to relate to and the most interesting because of that. Also, Faith, lately, because she fits into every universe, and she's so interesting - we have very little backstory, but there's enough to delve into all sorts of issues of power/control/temptation/redemption.

What does the the end of BtVS means to me and fic? Heh. Now that I don't have to worry about getting jossed every week, I may write more fic. Because I'm a canon whore, and writing something and having it be completely contradicted or made irrelevant by the next week's episode upsets me, as a writer.

I haven't really been part of the fic side of Buffy fandom. I mostly played on the newsgroup - was a high frequency poster from fall of '98 through oh, fall of 2000 before getting shanghaied by X-Men Movieverse.

It's the fandom I have the fondest memories of, and some of my closest friends now are people I met in my time when I was really active in Jossverse fandom. I think it's easily the most welcoming and yet divisive fandom, because everybody's always so ready to be polarized - Angelistas v. Xanderistas, Angel v. Riley, Oz v. Tara, redemptionistas v. evilistas, Spuffy v. Spuffy-haters, Faith-lovers, early seasons v. later seasons etc. etc.

I have to say, though, that atbvs was only my second exposure to online fandom and everybody was so nice, even when arguing, so I do use it as a benchmark for courteous online behavior - we argued over everything from the way Angel's soul works to the Lie to Buffy feeding Faith to Angel and really, the majority of posters stayed civil and funny.

On the fic-writing side... as I said, I haven't really been involved in it. I post my stories to BFA-l and to multifandom lists I'm on. I was on a couple Angel/Cordelia lists a while ago, but the atmosphere was. unwelcoming and Iunsubbed. Now I get my Bverse fic fix from silverlake or Glass Onion and LiveJournal.

My own favourite stories are: Comfortador, a code to Grave, East of Eden, an attempt to figure out how the show would end. It still works, I think, even if I didn't get the details right. In the Service of the Queen, my Angel recasting of the fairy tale Tamlane. Useful, my take on Wesley during Supersymmetry.

Fave stories/authors in the fandom? Come the Day by Kyra Cullinan. Anya tries to make it as a demon again. Doorway to a Thousand Churches by Loki. Unfinished (sigh) but a great futurefic with heavy Xander/Willow leanings. Just As Foxy As Can Be by Te has to be one of the most hilarious stories *ever* , and I reread it whenever I need a laugh. The First Annual Brownie Bake-Off And Rootin'-Tootin' Jamboree by Pete Meilinger, just a beautiful, funny, sweet, mushy Xander/Willow friendship story. Underground by Meg the Legend - Shivery Xander-in-danger goodness. Hell's Rejects by Yasminke - Wesley has an experience that provides even more common ground for him and Angel to share.

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WESLEYSGIRL
Chrislee says: Two Steps on the Water was my introduction to Wesleysgirl. And, again with the slash! But this time the fact that Wesley and Angel consummate their relationship is utterly believable and compelling, as is all Wesleysgirl's fic. Check her out...you'll be amazed that she's new to this particular fandom (though certainly not to writing!)

WesleysGirl says: I adore BtVS, but Ats is my true love. From the minute Wesley appeared in L.A., I was totally smitten, and my love and respect for his character have evolved right along with him. Almost all of my own writing is Wes-centric, although lately I've been having thoughts in other directions as well.

I'm not thoroughly pleased with anything that I've written (perfectionism is a heavy burden) but I suppose the piece I'm most proud of at this point is Unwanted Gifts. I really liked (and still like) the idea of Wesley getting the visions.

I'm very particular about the quality of what I read, but if it's well-written, I'll read it - slash and het, and pretty much any pairing. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon some excellent quality slash stories right when I discovered the wonders of online fandom, so slash will probably always be closest to my heart.

Some of my favorite BtVS/Ats authors include: The Brat Queen, Wolfling, Mad Poetess and James Walkswithwind.

I'm also currently totally in love with Jennifer-Oksana's Wishing to Be Snow.

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WISEACRESS
Non-Shippy
Chrislee says: I couldn't convince Wiseacress to divulge her fanfiction secrets, but I couldn't leave her out, either. Here Comes A Candle is just one of the eeriest stories I've read in the fandom (or beyond the fandom). Everything she's written is worth the read.

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YAHTZEE
Chrislee says: Phoenix Burning is a gut-wrenching future-fic, which proves once more that no matter what happens, Buffy and Angel are destined. If it were the only thing that Yahtzee had ever written I would still recommend her, but it's not...so get thee to her site!

Yahtzee answers a few questions:

When and why did you start writing BtVS/Ats fic? What was your first story for the fandom and what do you think of it now?

I began in 1999. I had watched BTVS before then, off and on, but I did not actually become fannish/creative with it until ATS premiered. Once ATS hit my bloodstream like adrenalin, POW! I was off and running. That said, the first two stories I wrote were BTVS stories; the first was "Acid Test," in which Xander takes a long, strange trip. I think that story holds up pretty well -- it jumps around a LOT in time, but handles the jumps fairly smoothly. I don't think I understood a couple of the characters as well as I later came to, but I don't think anybody's tremendously off.

Inspiration? Where does it come from?

Good Lord. Who knows? Everybody, I think, has little ideas about the shows they watch: Wouldn't it be cool if so-and-so said this, or did that? But when a couple of those little flashes come together and suggest an actual story, with a plot and some flow through time, then I get really excited. I have story ideas constantly, but GOOD story ideas are rarer -- I tend to know them when I come up with them, and it's invariably a thrill.

You said in your LJ that you are more of an Ats fic writer, yet you do write fic about BtVS characters...why the distinction? And what specifically appeals to you about Ats (because you also said, I believe, that you find the character of Angel difficult to write...I personally don't think you have a problem...your Angel is beautiful.)

Thank you! Well, I should mention that the gutting of ATS after its brilliant fourth season -- a prime example of people "fixing" something that was patently not broken -- has turned me off the show to the point where I won't be writing, or watching, anymore. Writing off Cordelia and Connor, and writing in the newly milquetoast Spike, is (for me, anyway) the proof that the writers just don't care anymore about the show's intellectual, emotional or moral integrity.

But why did the show appeal to me so much? I connected more with these people struggling through adulthood than I did with the BTVS kids strugglng through adolescence. More of the characters deeply interested and engaged me; I felt a lot more strongly about Angel, Wesley and Cordelia than I ever did about Giles, Willow and Xander -- though I did like most of the BTVS characters. I liked the contrast with Los Angeles and its demonic world; really, after about Season Three, the dual nature of Sunnydale (small town AND house of horrors) got lost on BTVS, whereas L.A. remained a strong metaphor in ATS. Finally, I got so turned off with the degradation of the characters on BTVS that I quit watching that show altogether; on ATS, everybody was allowed to have at least as much dignity as degradation, though I have little faith that this will continue to be the case.

You've written for other fandoms...what appeals to you about the Jossverse?

Now? Nothing. Then? The idea of the supernatural and the real colliding with each other for both humorous and horrific effect. Large, strong ensembles of characters that provided fascinating individuals and relationships. Angel without his shirt. ;)

Would you feel comfortable talking about your own favourite story and why it's your fave...

Well, I can't really name one fave. There are different moments and elements that I enjoy in different stories. Phoenix Burning was the most fun to write, because I was just OVERTAKEN by this idea and ate, slept and breathed it for three months, all of which felt like an amusement park ride. Then it got such a great response, which really spoiled me! I find myself most emotionally moved by The Quality of Mercy because I felt like I really connected with each character's particular pain and strength -- even Riley, whom I hated before writing that story and subsequently became rather fond of. I am particularly happy with the scene where Wesley goes to church with Gunn and his family; I don't know if it works for everyone, but for me, it's a blend of comedy and emotion that genuinely gets to me. I think the one that I'm happiest with, results-wise, is As Time Goes By. I felt like it was fair to both B/A and A/C, and I worked really hard to make the "Casablanca" pastiche turn out right. I don't know if anybody notices, but the story's in black and white (TRY and find a color in there!), obeys the Hayes Code and switches POV at points in the story where the settings shift in the movie.

Phoenix Burning:blessing or curse? It's the story that you are perhaps most well-known for...and I remember reading it and being absolutely blown away by the sheer skill with which you created that future world...plus, me=big ol' B/A whore, so I loved that...Any thoughts about that story and the notoriety that I am assuming it brought you.

Definitely a blessing. I've gotten so many hundreds of letters, almost all of which were a joy. I think a lot of people did tend to pigeonhole me after that; I would get letters from B/A fans who were shocked or (obscenely) outraged that I wrote other relationships for both Buffy and Angel in other stories. I also got people who weren't B/A fans who wouldn't read anything I ever wrote, assuming that I just wrote for one relationship. Sometimes that would make me crazy -- but when you take a step back, there's just nothing that can wholly detract from having so many people respond so positively. And, as I said before, the writing process was as much fun as I've had in my life.

Any fic writers you particularly admire and why...

Well, anybody who knows me very well knows that I'm symbiotically linked with Rheanna. We are very close friends now -- but I was a fan before I was a friend, and for good reason. I think she has a tremendous gift for handling the most delicate of emotions and thoughts with great clarity and insight. I "met" her after reading "Blood and Water," which blew me away.

The single BTVS story that stands out most in my mind is 28 Days by Hth, who never wrote enough BTVS fic (nor, so far as I know, any ATS fic) as I would have wished. It was a Tara POV piece, and was poetic, insightful and sensual in the extreme.

Thoughts on the fandom in general...

I'll miss it a lot. But I loved the shows' themes more than I loved anything else -- any characters, any actors, any pairings -- and those original themes have become lost. So it's time for me to go.

Anything else you'd like to share about the shows, fic or you personally...

Well, after a couple of months where I COULDN'T write, due to being in ATS mourning, I'm back on the horse; I have a couple of XMM fics in the works, with some SV, LOTR, HP and XF ideas brewing as well. I may have been booted out of my favorite playground, but I have managed to find some other toys. It's a joy to be writing again and to discover new characters and new themes, which are inspiring very different kinds of ideas. I just want to thank anybody who ever sent some positive (or at least constructive!) feedback -- it's lifeblood for authors, and I genuinely appreciate it.

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YSEULT
Chrislee says: I discovered Yseult's fic only very recently when I read Cemeteries R Us. I liked it. So I read more. And then, bang, it hit me. She's a "good read." Yeah, yeah, I know...it's all subjective. But Yseult's got it all: clean prose, thoughtful characterizations, a sense of fun (it's not all angst...) and my favourite pairing. Plus, if I said, "dulse," she'd get it! *g*

Yseult says: I've been writing stories and poetry since I was in kindergarten. I took an extended break from anything literary when I hit college. There I churned out endless exciting essays on topics such as "The Importance of the Wife of Bath's Character in The Canterbury Tales" and "An Analysis of The Coda". I had little time for anything esoteric since I was working to pay for tuition. I started really writing again about a year ago. Mostly nonfiction work (but for fun). And then, god help me, I stumbled into the world of fanfiction.

A couple of things inspire me to write, really. Believe it or not, rain! I don't know why, but I do my best writing in front of an open window when it's raining. Drizzle or downpour -- it makes no difference. I wrote Vampire Overboard during a night of pounding thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Absolution was written Hallowe'en night to the soft sounds of falling rain.

Also, music. My life is filled with all kinds of music. I could be blind and live; I could never be deaf. My first fanfic piece, Just Like Heaven, was entirely inspired by The Cure. I got the idea for Random Thoughts after listening to Loreena McKerrit's "The Book of Shadows". The idea of Siul a Ruin comes from the song itself. This was a popular lament at the ceilidhs I attended as a child. As I write this, I'm listening to Doo Wop music from the 1950s: The Platters, The Marcels, and Frankie Lymon singing "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?"

And never underestimate the power of chocolate and caffeine. I live for Tim Horton's French Vanilla Cappuccino. Part of my brain knows it's not authentic cappuccino. But the part that lives off the sugar and caffeine? That part could care less. Timmy's FV is why I wrote the dreadfully fluffy (I'm ashamed to own it) Driving. SEE Coffee. Starbucks has recently invaded my neighbourhood and I spend way too much time in there with Hot Chocolate or Mochas and my laptop. Chocolate just makes me happy.

Why B/A? There's no pat answer for this. The bare naked truth is.. it's entirely David Boreanaz's fault. The man makes me drool. I could elaborate, but it would just involve complicated descriptions of more drool. It's Angel's character that keeps me writing. Fanfic is an opportunity to explore his soul, emotions, needs, fears. And, last time I checked, UPN was not showing naked Angel on my TV screen. Which is too bad. Cause they could make a mint.

On a separate level, the world of BtVS and AtS is fascinating. Good and evil are not clearly defined, pain comes in many forms, the price of honesty can be death. There's just so much you can do with this world, so many things you can write about. It's like fertilizer for the mind. I've never been captivated like this with anything else I've seen or read, although Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" sustained me for many years.

Buffy and Angel as a couple scare me. Everything with these two is intense, and I think that's what makes them exciting. Also, I like angst with my love. And with Buffy and Angel, it's first love. First love is the scariest thing I know. Nothing else compares. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I think of my first love. I suspect this is Buffy and Angel all the time.

I try very hard not to think of the shows. I prefer the first 3 seasons of BtVS. I watch it now, because, hello? Addict here. I've never seen season 2 of AtS. It disturbs me that the shows plays fast and loose with canon. (It bugged me whenever this happened in the Star Trek and X Files universes too.) I'm a latecomer to the world of BtVS. I discovered it in syndication.

Fandom is a weird place to visit. I definitely don't want to live there. But, there are some incredible writers out there.

As for Joss? Let's not go there. It's Lent. I'm trying to be a good girl and think only pure thoughts.

I think my own favourite story would have to be The Snowstorm. And yes, it was snowing that day! This story came spilling out of my keyboard. I was never happy with how Joss chose to present Angel's reactions to Buffy's death. I always felt like it was swept under the rug because of the separate network situation. It was disrespectful of the characters. The feedback for this has been unanimous in that it should come with a tissue and alcohol warning. I don't know that I would go that far, but I tend to be less emotional about my own stories.

My second favourite story? It's a toss-up between A Reason to Drown and Just Like Heaven. A Reason to Drown was written in 2 large chunks. I wrote the first half and didn't know how I wanted it to end, so I shelved it. It was only my third attempt at fanfiction. Three months later, after I had figured out my style (mostly angsty B/A), I finished it. I think this story captures the back and forthness of Buffy and Angel's relationship after he's left Sunnydale. It's told mostly from Angel's POV and his inability to completely resist his own passion

Just Like Heaven is a timeless piece. The reader knows it's about Buffy and Angel even though there's no conversation and no names. It depends a lot on the backstory (as provided by canon), and the reader makes many assumptions which fuel the plot. It's a different kind of story for me. I don't know that I could write it now. There was something about the anonymity of the characters which made me feel safer about getting feedback.

The short answer to discovering which other authors I admire to this is go visit The Archive to get a sense of what I like.

Other writers/stories whom I admire... Minim Calibre has hooked me on Buffy/Wesley. Minim's stories make my toes ache... they hurt that much.

Bleed by Ducks and Vatrixsta sets my skin on fire. No one, and I mean no one can write B/A erotica like these two. Except Sienna.

Te, of all people, took me down the slippery slope of Xander and Spike. I keep going back for more.

Buffy's Diary by Harpy is the first naughty B/A fanfic I ever read. I was scandalized that such a thing was available. And I read it religiously.

And for sheer hilarity, I have to go with Rune's sendup in Fuck You and Your Cat. I still cannot eat strawberry jam.

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