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Thread: Fanfic Discussions - Spike/Buffy reading group

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    I’m a few chapters in to West of the Moon and will have it finished in the next couple days. I had time on my hands, and you can thank Tribel and Flow for my unusual participation.
    Yeah, that's just showing off.

    (I'm still loving it personally, I'll post some thoughts again when I finish Pt2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    It's a pity this is your first foray into fanfic. There are so much better and more interesting stories out there. I found West of the Moon really slow, what did you think?
    I have read a little before, just nothing long except for WFBs. I agree West of the Moon is pretty slow right now. The writer has a great voice for the characters though. Priceless is there a favorites thread somewhere? Maybe if I actually want to try to get into it you could help me towards some of the best...
    Hello cutie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    I have read a little before, just nothing long except for WFB’s. I agree West of the Moon is pretty slow right now. The writer has a great voice for the characters though. Priceless is there a favorites thread somewhere? Maybe if I actually want to try to get into it you could help me towards some of the best...
    There is a Fanfic Recommendations Thread . . . if you clink on 'Forums', then click on the 'Fanfic' sections, it's in there. It's about three pages long, and of course I've not read every fanfic, and every fanfic isn't Spuffy. If you want one of my recs . . . for you I pick Ars Poetica by Lirazel and My Life Closed Twice by anaross Both are as much about the poetry as they are about the characters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    I have read a little before, just nothing long except for WFB’s. I agree West of the Moon is pretty slow right now. The writer has a great voice for the characters though. Priceless is there a favorites thread somewhere? Maybe if I actually want to try to get into it you could help me towards some of the best...
    I've never quite understood what "slow" means (seriously - I'm not being critical ) but I'm not a plot driven person (and I skimmed the middle section). Once past the opening chapter, I liked the voices - they felt authentic. That aside, Priceless's recommendations are on the button for you - particularly the anaross one. I guarantee you'll learn as much about poetry from that as you do in class! You can then justify the time spent reading it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    Priceless is there a favorites thread somewhere? Maybe if I actually want to try to get into it you could help me towards some of the best...
    Doing recommendations is really difficult. I've read hundreds and hundreds of fanfics and when people say, for example, they like ones where the setting changes or it sticks close to canon or some such you can try to suggest some, but what people want to see stay the same and what they don't mind seeing change varies greatly. So the other side steps from canon or reimaginings of direction that the stories you recommend work with might not float the person's boat at all. We've read several stories all together and rarely agree on which are good. And sometimes opinions can be vastly different. You'll just have to read a boat load and get an idea of what you like/don't.

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    I second (or rather third) the rec for My Life Closed Twice by anaross. It is among the top three of the best fics I have ever read.

    If you really want to get into fanfic, I agree with Stoney, that you should figure out, what you want to read or not want to read.

    There are thousands of fics for Spuffy alone on the internet. There are time travelling fanfics and fanfics, that take place in alternate universes. There are fanfics, where Buffy or Spike or both are human (without supernatural powers - I hate those), there are fics with pre-chipped Spike, chipped and soulless Spike, ensouled and chipped Spike and ensouled and chipless Spike. There are Post-Chosen fics and Post-NFA fics. There are even comic season fics. There are babyfics and fics that call themselves proudly "porn without plot". There are fics, that are far more dark and angsty, than the show ever was and there are fics, that are fluffy or hilarious.

    Name your preferences and we will name you fics. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them....because we are evil

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    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    Desperately seeking a Spuffy fic...

    Okay, I have searched EF for the newest complete fics. The search engine came up with:

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=5691

    and

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/views...t=ok&warning=5

    I know nothing about either of them. I hope you two don`t know them as well ;-)

    Maybe someone else has a suggestion ?

    flow
    Did I mention I read this one a couple of days ago? Different - and I enjoyed it. And just look at the banner - it's gorgeous! Oh FGS! The bottom one - Winter Wonder Hell by Synefred.

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    From the length of this post you'll probably think that I've finished the story. Ah, don't be daft! I've only just got to the end of Part 2. I have to say, I wish we were discussing our thoughts/impressions and expectations along the way a little more. Where we think the story is going and then how it turns out. I'm not sure there is much point to me posting these mid-story rambles if I'm the only one dwelling on it so much at different stages because obviously it holds up my reading even further (such a thing is possible!!). I'm still really enjoying this story and I like that it is throwing so many questions and thoughts up. Anyway, here's what was rambling through my head as I got to the end of part 2!!

    I liked Spike's resolve to try and find a solution alongside the start of the challenge, looking into the ice queen himself, it seemed very likely characterisation. The darker, angry, frustrated tone of his journal was good in that sense too, especially for how he regularly feels in his chipped state. Hearing all the ways he tried to tip them off that were just not seen/noticed was amusing as well.

    I personally don't like the clearer separation of William and the demon that features, even stated to be a literal awareness on waking of the two, of part of William remaining, watching and even liking what he had become (although obviously that is a perception that is part of the soulless creature he has become). Despite at one point saying he talks of them distinctly but it's all him really, it just isn't being written like that in the main I don't think. Especially with all the detailing given earlier on about his siring and the demon's and William's responses/reactions at several points. The claim that the demon takes everyone differently isn't an original perspective for a fic to take, but I find it frustrating as it doesn't concentrate on the individual character/personality differences from the human with the inclusion of a demon warping who they were like canon does for the mythology of siring. The focus in canon goes to the motivations and weaknesses of the original person who is then killed and forms the basis of the vampire. Reducing Angel's experience down to the removal of his ties to his human self, making him 'all demon', is a variation I just see as such a weak character interpretation. Sadly, it's actually one you see often in fandom where people like to see Angel unsouled as totally distinct, unable to see/understand the clear continuity that exists across Angel's human/soulless/souled selves, but as presented here it is an alternate to canon in truth, if you do more than scratch the surface of the canon character.

    And this is where I often struggle with fanfics and I keep trying to remind myself that this is an alternate exploration/suggestions. Fanfics are often about exploring avenues that canon didn't go to and it seems we are going down the route that soullessness is not inherently limited and doesn't matter. I don't have to like it as much as canon (which, no shock, I don't) but it is going to be different in some ways that are needed to support how the author is choosing to go off piste and what they want to consider and explore as an alternative. So how a vampire is formed, the mythology of siring and the way the human/demon reside alongside each other rather than more intrinsically unite to create a new being seems to be what the author feels will work better for where they want to go with Spike's character in the context of this story.

    The issue still remains (and this is not grumping about the difference in and of itself because I'm accepting the whole point is writing something different and I'm rolling with it), fics I've read that go down this route seem to fail to address the issue it creates of the tie between evil!Spike and the Spike they want us to accept at the end. There is such lack of care and such violence in the choices he has made in the past that just his current mood/inclination being the only thing that is different fails to reassure me. Weight is put on him 'changing' as if the soullessness in no way puts a cap to the potential for this, just because he is 'different' and still loved as well. It's raised up as having greater meaning and so giving him greater potential. The problem is, if it is all down to freewill and nothing more is needed then he could always have chosen not to act as he did for over a century. So why should we forgive the murder, rape, torture etc of literally hundreds of people, acts that he very much enjoyed doing?! As far as I can remember, I've yet to read a story that goes down the soullessness route and adequately deals with this issue. They tend to avoid it by rewriting what acts he did/didn't do too, by trying to put a lot of it at the feet of Angel and the example he made, the lessons he gave, by changing Buffy's characterisation so she doesn't care so much and/or by citing the fact that humans can be bad even with a soul (ignoring that those that commit crimes such to the level of a vampire tend to be mentally unhinged psychopaths/sociopaths). We've had a little of some of these but the author also seems to be putting in a bit more effort than that too.

    How reliable a narrator is KnifeEdge writing Spike to be? We have Spike acknowledge that he might be better positioned to judge what to do about Riley's bitehouse reveal if he had a soul but he also wants repeatedly to dismiss the difference a soul makes (which of course he would). He says he feels regretful and then also says he 'gets' regret and guilt but just doesn't hang on to them. He doesn't care about the century plus of death and blood, all he did, acknowledges he enjoyed it but now feels like he might have messed up. Joyce's death shows him grief but it's hard to believe that this is the first time he's ever been faced with that considering his own mum, Angel's lessons in how to affect people and that not all victims will have been killed in isolation. But at least the writing is trying to form something distinct other than just his feelings for Buffy, something he's shown to consider and respond to in the story that is forming a greater tipping point for him. As I say, it isn't incredibly believable in itself but in combination it is at least another piece of a jigsaw being offered to support the AU presentation of the soulless potential for change. The discussion with Anya was used to establish the feasibility of this having depth/meaning for them as they are both integrating into human society. It's interesting to consider against her canon responses to Joyce's death for sure. Personally though I don't see Anya's situation in terms of soullessness the same though. I talked about this in the thread about her soul a while back. I feel her story contrasts to Faith's rather than Spike/Angel's, her choice to be 'bad' began when she was souled so it doesn't equate to William/Spike. But the soul isn't being written to mean the same in Spike's story here, and so the social integration aspect is an interesting comparison to choose between them. Spike talks about not having a moral compass but understanding the concept of ethics and yet needing he says to follow someone else's ethical judgments. He sees he is influenced by selfish reasons and by wanting to do right by Buffy but also feels some instinct to help is building too. Basically here are a lot of mixed and confused statements from him and this could be a good thing. It could just be the writer getting in a muddle of course, ha, or it's very deliberately there like it seems to show the uncertainty that Spike is feeling as the circumstances continue to build. But there's still a difference I think to him coming out the other end without any sense of limitation and/or dealing with that side of himself that enjoyed what he was and what he did, and the writing just deciding he can simply have a change of heart, etch-a-sketch who he was and suddenly, reliably choose to change. I'm hoping we don't get the latter.

    I'm really not sure where the writer is going and how deliberate/planned this all is. I mean, we have Buffy's and Spike's detailed recounts over the exact same scenes at points and as both their memories/perspectives are going to be imperfect and affected by their pre-existing points of view etc, there should be at the least some subtle variation I feel. But disappointingly when I checked their recollection of the dialogue in the scene with Dru and the one where Buffy returned the shirts is basically word perfect between them. It isn't realistic that they would be and so perhaps I'm expecting too much nuance in fact and despite the contradictions and uncertainty Spike is displaying he will just be shown to be fully capable of choosing to be good and there will be no issue made of who he used to be, the ties to his evil past, with a change just based on freewill made. I could be completely shocked of course, but I do think the writer is going down the route of soulless Spike being able to choose to be good reliably enough that we/Buffy are supposed to accept him soulless at the end of the story. Some of the typical weaker excuses have appeared, but as it has also been with some lack of understanding and confusion I'm hoping there will be a little more to it and that we're also somewhat exploring Spike's fallible perspective too. I'd love it if we are given better justification for seeing the separation of evil!Spike from who he 'changes' into than a lot of fics taking this stance give, other than making him a special snowflake and blaming Angel which I think is where most of it seems to hang at the moment. A few more jigsaw pieces to go with Joyce's loss, a bit more progression, for those conflicting/confused thoughts to be giving better nuance than soulless fics often reach for in Spike's ability to choose to be good unsouled. We'll see how it all moves on from here.

    There is still a chance I'll finish this by the end of tomorrow but it might be the end of the weekend. I'm then going to watch/respond to the Wrecked review so I may well miss joining the next fic with you all.
    Last edited by Stoney; 15-03-18 at 01:55 PM.

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    As I didn't know what to read next, I thought it would be interesting to go back to the Fic Recommendation thread on this board, started in 2007, and read some of the fics other members had recommended way back when. I couldn't find the first one by St_Salieri, but I have started Do I Dare Disturb The Universe by Pepperlandgirl, and so far so good. It's a Buffy/William fic and it's started well. I'm enjoying the Dawn/Buffy and Dawn/William interactions

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    I wanted to wait, until everybody has finished West Of The Moon, before I post my final thoughts, because there will inevitably be Spoilers in this post. But now I feel obliged, to respond to your post, Stoney and I also noticed, that I already begin forgetting some of the things, I wanted to say about this fic.

    First of all - we have really had varying opinions about this fic. It is true, that we have almost never have all agreed on our perception of a fic. I am a little bit ashamed, that the only fic, we ever agreed on as being excellent, was Strange Partners. Is it really a talking penis, that works for us ...... ?

    But I don`t think, that we ever had a fic, were several of us dropped out during reading, because they disliked it so much, whereas others ranked it as one of their favorites.

    This fic has become one of my favorites and that means something, because I am picky. I want to take this opportunity, to thank kimothyshma for the great recommendation. I would have surely missed that fic, if you had not recommended it and it would have been a loss.

    I like the characterization and the voicing of this fic. I do believe, the writer is spot on with every single character - something you rarely find in fics. I felt almost at home, reading Part I and Part II, because it took me right back to the show itself and the events of season 5 but with the addition of Buffy`s and Spike`s thoughts. That was such a gift, imho.

    We have mentioned, that Buffy seems a bit more immature, which is true, but I don`t really mind. I didn`t mind at all, that the writer went through events in detail, that we have already seen on the show. As I said, seeing those events through Buffy`s eyes gave a whole new perspective to them. I did not mind, that we saw those events once again through Spike`s eyes in Part II.

    But repeating the same lines word for word, was not necessary and did not add anything new to the story or the plot. That was the first flaw of the fic and it could easily have been avoided, if the writer would have cut short on Part II.

    Still, there were scenes, that were original and I loved them so much. The scene with Lydia in the crypt (it was a shame, that Lydia was shoved aside after that. She could really have been a worthwhile addition to the story). The part, where Buffy hides in thcrypt, while Spike and Drusilla talk and gets caught by Spike afterwards. I loved that. The way, the writer described Spike`s laughter as genuine and almost warm, gave me goosebumps. The scene, where Spike sets Xander`s leg. There was one part particulary from the following conversation, that I found really intriguing. Xander was referring to the scene in School Hard, where Angel used him as bait and offered him as a snack for Spike (what exactly was Angel`s plan there, by the way ?) and Spike says to Xander "That was you?"
    It has never before ocurred to me, that Spike could not have known, it was Xander, but why should he have known ?

    There was one other scene, that touched me. It was the scene, where Buffy questioned Spike in the DeSoto about his motives for saving Xander and Spike finally lets down guard just a tiny little bit and admits, he wanted to spare Buffy the grief of yet another death of a beloved one. And he is ready to instantly deny having feelings for, her, should she confront him about it. Instead she kisses him. That was very sweet. And of course a reference to Intervention.

    Then comes Part III. And everything in my post from now on will have spoilers in it, so please don`t read it yet, if you haven`t finished Part III.

    I was a bit surprised about the first half of Part III. I was thinking, we were finally getting into action mode, but we were again exploring scenes, we already knew from the show. It still did not bother me, because it was done very differently compared to Part I and Part II and I like the different perspectives, we got to see.

    Stoney saw it coming very early and mentioned it in one of her first posts about this fic. The writer is going to blame Angel for every atrocity, Spike has ever committed. That she did. The interesting thing is, that the writer came really close to the heart of things in the scene, where whole subway station is croweded with Spike`s victims from more then a century (and not even all of them.) That was it. His crimes are a monstrosity. Angel was not there for about 100 years of the 120 years of mass murdering. He might have shown Spike the way, but Spike went down that way easily and he stayed on that path long after Angel himself had left it. And that is okay (well, not really okay, but plausible within the soul-canon), because Spike was soulless.

    So how can the writer rub it into our face several times and in direct speech from Buffy, that "Spike does not need a soul" ? Why did he committ those atrocities then ?

    I do not mind fics, where Spike does not get a soul. But I draw the line, whenever a fic tries to tell us, that the show got that wrong and should not have gone down the path, where Spike gets himself a Soul.

    The second half of Part III was finally packed with action, polar bears, which turn into pets, lots and lots of snow, a couple of demon fights and - of course - some Spuffiness. That was well written. I cannot find any flaw in it. I loved the writers plot about Louhi including how she could get into our dimension. I also loved her hemchman Jack Frost and would have liked to see more of him. I liked the idea of Louhi feeding on pain and therefore needing a vampire, because they heal so much better and can take more pain.

    I nearly threw my laptop against the wall, when it came to the almost-claiming-ritual. I hate Claims in fics. Once they are done, they take your agency and your free will away from you. You are not an individual anymore, because you can always hear or feel the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Who would want something horrible like that ?

    The writer only just got past that, by changing the ritual a bit and I was even a bit reconciled with the "Spike does not need a soul"-mantra, because Spike named Buffy`s soul as the thing, that makes her stronger than him. By this the writer does at least achknowledge, that the soul is more important, than an appendix and that is more, than I have seen so far in most - or all - fics, that deny that Spike needs a soul.

    After al that has been said - for the enjoyment, while reading it, for the writing, that is outstandingly and the voicing, that took me right back into season 5 , I still rank West Of The Moon, East Of The Sun 8/10.

    As far as I can remember, I've yet to read a story that goes down the soullessness route and adequately deals with this issue.
    How could that be possibly done ? I can`t imagine any way, to deal with that in a plausible and authentic way.

    flow
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    I'll be interested to hear what you think about the Pepperlandgirl fic Pricey, I read it a while back and had mixed feelings going by what my brief note on it says. What was the Salieri fic you couldn't find, I might have a copy.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts flow, I stopped reading them once you got to comments on Pt3 but will come back to have a look once I've finished the story.

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    I'll be interested to hear what you think about the Pepperlandgirl fic Pricey, I read it a while back and had mixed feelings going by what my brief note on it says. What was the Salieri fic you couldn't find, I might have a copy.
    I'm up to Chapter 9 and so far I'm enjoying it. I am a little worried that Pepperlandgirl is going to make Willow a bad-guy, and I really hope not. I don't like the scoobies being baddies.

    The first fic was The Price of Grace by St_Salieri. The link no longer works, which is not surprising after 11 years. I googled it, but nothing appeared.

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    Ah, no, not one I've got sadly.

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    I nearly threw my laptop against the wall, when it came to the almost-claiming-ritual. I hate Claims in fics. Once they are done, they take your agency and your free will away from you. You are not an individual anymore, because you can always hear or feel the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Who would want something horrible like that ?
    I feel inadequate because I never have that sort of response to a text. I'll admit, it could be a bit of a bugger if you're arranging a surprise party or buying a present but is it really that bad? It seems to be a heightened sense of empathy and I thought empathy was the defining characteristic of being human? Isn't complete individualism a form of alienation?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Just read this Reformation by OffYourBird - http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=5398&index=1. It's in the Jumpverse series. It's nice. I enjoyed it. I'm shite at reviews.

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    I feel bad, but I got tired of West of the Moon, which was kinda my worry with long fanfics in general all along. I really want to get into fanfic for y’all, but I worry I will never have adequate time and interest. I want to try the Anaross one suggested, but I apologize in advance if there are similar results.
    Hello cutie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    I feel bad, but I got tired of West of the Moon, which was kinda my worry with long fanfics in general all along. I really want to get into fanfic for y’all, but I worry I will never have adequate time and interest. I want to try the Anaross one suggested, but I apologize in advance if there are similar results.
    My life closed is a very long fic as well. You should start with a much shorter story.

    Away.....to my favorite fics list.....


    - - - Updated - - -

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=5610

    By my favorite author a really well written season six scene, that did not happen on the show but easily could have.

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=1737

    Between season 2 and season 3 Buffy and Spike meet at a diner in L.A. Remember, that Spike is evil back then....

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=5398

    That is the fic, TriBel mentioned above. A season 6 rewrite, from Dead Things on.

    http://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewuser.php?uid=222

    A season 5 Spuffy road trip. Road trip fics are the best.....


    TriBel, as you can see, Reformation is one of my favorites ;-) OffYourBird loves her Spike soulless. I don`t remember, if I have read any fic by her, where he actually has a soul. In this story she comes up - Imho - with a very good reason why Spike is able to change without a soul. He has seen, what kind of relationship is possible between him and Buffy in an different dimension. But I still agree with Stoney, that it cannot fully explain, why he has not only been able to murder so many humans through the decades, but has also enjoyed it and revelled in it so much.

    I also want to respond to your post on individuality, but at the moment I am sooooo tired. I will come backt to that later !

    flow
    Last edited by flow; 17-03-18 at 10:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fool for Buffy View Post
    I feel bad, but I got tired of West of the Moon, which was kinda my worry with long fanfics in general all along. I really want to get into fanfic for y’all, but I worry I will never have adequate time and interest. I want to try the Anaross one suggested, but I apologize in advance if there are similar results.
    I couldn't finish it either. The story feels very slight for a story this long. There are some amazing short fics out there, just to dip your toe in the water and see what you like.
    Last edited by Priceless; 18-03-18 at 01:08 PM.

  29. #318
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    Guys, I really tried to finish part 2 before coming back to post. I'm in chapter 45 and I'm so bored. It is absolutely ridiculous that we have to go through each scene again through Spike's POV. I don't feel I gain anything from it as a reader. All we needed from him are the scenes with the ice lady. Buffy will ask "Can demons change?" and then 5000 words follow on Spike's thoughts on the matter (aka KnifeEdge's thoughts wrapped in a Spike POV in a way that is transparent and annoying).

    I think as one of my first fics, I wasn't used to critically watching the show, and all this was new to me. But now I've read it all so many times that it's really lost it's appeal.

    flow, I really appreciate your thoughts on Part 3, and I agree with pretty much all of your opinions there. Before we started, I remembered Part 3 being the slow part – but now that seems hard to imagine.

    Should I keep going? I can't seem to read more than a chapter a day and I don't want to hold the group back.

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    I haven't managed to get to reading any of it for a few days just because I've been really busy. I will try to keep reading it tonight but I'm only a handful of chapters into Pt3 (I'm at the start of chapter 56). I'm going to finish it personally. I'm finding it interesting how the writer is structuring to allow for (I assume) acceptance of Spike unsouled. I've read so many fics and used to be far more forgiving towards poor characterisation or different directions to canon, before I became frustrated by common and, imo, poorly justified alternates. I may find out I'm going to be disappointed but the writer seems to be putting more time/work into heading down a different path than most writers do so I want to see it through. But I'm uber slow and I think everyone else is going to move on to another story soon (or has already, I'm not sure). I'll post when I finish it but I'm going to watch/respond to Wrecked next so I'll probably miss out on the next read (although if it is one of the two most recently suggested I'll probably read them at some point).

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    kimothyschma I If you are at chapter 45 and feel bored, Id suggest you skip the rest of Part II and go straight to Part III. You could skip chapter 54 - 59 of Part III as well, because it is not relevant for the ending and takes us back again to scenes, we have already seen in the show.


    Stoney We haven`t started a new fic yet and I don`t know, who would be with us anyway. As you have asked, I`d suggest, that we start next Friday as a group with one of the fics I had suggested. That way you and kimothyschma have got more time to finish West Of The Moon...

    Those who are ready to start reading a new fic now, could read the other one of the two stories, I had suggested.

    Those stories were: Best laid plans by Lavender Bixby (about 100k words) and Winter Wonder Hell by Synefred (about 50k words).

    Please give me a shout, which one we should start together on Friday !

    flow
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