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My first BtVS fanfic got nominated! Thank you! (And, WTF?)

A couple of days ago I got a message in my inbox that my first ever Buffy fanfic as been nominated in the 27th Round of the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfic Awards in four catagories: Best Angst, Best Characterization (Buffy), Best Gen Fic, and Best Quickie.

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[(My feelings are changeable but intense...)]SInce I hadn't bothered to give the poor thing a title, someone (the committee?) did it for me: Untitled (post-The Gift) which works for me. Untitle is my default answer whenever my sweetie asks me to come up with a name for one of her paintings, and I suck as badly at fic titles as painting titles (hell, I suck at LJ post titles.  If I write another fanfic, I'll ask my lovely flist for title ideas.)

Now, I'm new to this fandom, new to the whole idea of fanfic awards, had only vaguely heard of the Sunnyd Memorial Awards, so when I got that message my thoughts went along this trajectory:

WTF?  Really Are you sure? ou have the wrong girl!  (No, that's Ringer, never mind.) Cool! My writing hasn't been nominated for anything since college!  Et cetera.

But mostly, THANK YOU to whomever read my story and liked it enough to nominate it.  You folks are awesome. I feel very very welcome in this lovely corner of fandom (Look ma, I'm a real fan now! I'm not kidding when I say I didn't really expect anyone to read it, so this just made my week.  

I've looked at the list of nominees and a lot of them I'm not familiar with - hey, I'm a newbie to this fandom and have ten years of catching up to do. (I do see one of my post-series favorites on this list:rebcake's "Whose Torment is This, Anyway?") The quantity and, more importantly, the QUALITY of work (fics and metas) that the Buffyverse continues to inspire is astonishing.

The nomination that really makes my heart DANCE is "Best Characterization (Buffy)".  Anyone here who has ready anything I've had to say about the show (*points to subtitle of my LJ*)  knows that Buffy is my favorite fictional character. I am Buffy's bitch and I'm not afraid to say it. I feel for her in the early seasons, but I feel with her S5-7; I understand so much of what she is going through (sans hot vampire lover, alas).  And coming to the show relatively later in life allows me to understand and appreciate her journey, including and especially the darkest parts, more than I possibly could have if I'd watched when the show was on back in the day.

Getting the characters "right", being true to canon, and being fair to the characters (i.e., no bashing, esp no Buffy-bashing) is very important to me in fics that I enjoy.  Of course what I consider "good characterization" of Buffy, or any other character on the show, and what someone else does, may be very different things.  We all filter the show through our own personal lens, and it's one of the gifts of BtVS that there's enough complexity and ambiguity that debates and discussions on any single point in the show are on-going ten years after the show ended. Even if I suspect that complexity and ambiguity aren't always intentional, or if sometimes it's just an effort by fans to fill in the blanks caused by rushed or sloppy writing.

By extension therefore, SMG's performance my favorite performance of a fictional character. And I think it's important to point out that SMG is as much the auteur when it comes to Buffy as JW or any of the writers. A great actor can elevate - to an extent - poor dialogue, but all the great or clever dialogue in the world can't hide mediocre acting.

(I meant to post about this a few days ago and say thank you, btw, but Hurricane Sandy knocked out my DSL reception for four days.)
I agree with so many things you wrote (Getting the characters right, no bashing) and I also ADORE Buffy and I have to protective instict towards her character and I always feel her so much, when I'm writing Buffyfics myself.
Thank you - and I agree 100% with every word you said. If anything I have to guard against an instinct to over-identify with her - and worse, to "woobify" her (which I think means, to pity a character? My friend novelist Kendra Saunders warned me that when you pity a character you do the character a disservice.)

But yes I have a very specific idea of who Buffy is, and when I run into a fic that goes against that for me, then no matter how well written it may be, my reaction is to turn away. (Or Buffy being completely robbed of her personal agency.)

Some of my favorite fics make me feel sympathy for characters I don't actually even know or even give a damn about. If a writer can make me sympathetic to ANGEL, then that's good writing.

I totally agree.
In a way, for me, writing is about expressing yourself without really putting in stage yourself. I try to be faithful to what Buffy is, with her gestures or reactions, and, of course, I'm a very different person, but in some deep, emotional ways I can understand her and that helps me giving a part of myself. It's like playing someone, I think. :)
I believe you can't write if you don't open your heart to the characters, if you don't understand them, and I also believe that, doing so, you can also manage to be honest to them.
For istance, many times, in the comments of the fics, people wrote: "You make a very annoying Buffy" or "She's so wrong!" and so on. And this is a sign that I'm doing my job right. XD
I'm very obsessed with Buffy not only because she's my hero, but also because I read so many fics with Buffy-bashing that, actually, made me a more stronger Buffy-fan, but also intollerant to the hate. :)

Well done! I haven't got to reading the fic yet as I have been swamped, but it has been on a tab in my browser waiting.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you do - and no hurries. I had no idea getting into this fandom how MUCH fic there was to read and catch up with. I think it's an impossible task.
I think you could read forever and never get thorugh it. I haven't really read much Buffy fic since I started writing it (2004?), and it was beyond my capacity then.
How awesome! :)

Congrats - and very well deserved, i like your Buffy very much (although the story hurts in all the right places).
i like your Buffy very much (although the story hurts in all the right places).

Oh thank you! High praise indeed, and I'm thrilled you stopped by to read it.
Congratulations! That was a really powerful story, and with a very unique premis. Glad to see it recognized!

Thank you! As I said in the original post for it, it was really inspired by two other wonderful fics, so I don't think the premise is "unique" but I think/hope the execution of it is. (?) I'm just floored by the positive responses to it.

I was going through my notebook and saw that I had written a few months back: "The good thing about BtVS is that I don't feel compelled to write fanfic for it." Famous last words, right?
Congratulations, and yay fic! I just read it, and had my heart torn out in the middle of the library!
Thank you! That is such a huge compliment! (Ok, I am a SICK puppy.)

BTW - do you know what ep your icon is from? (Or is it a composite image? I love SMG's elegance in it. And those two sisters deserver tons of love - I adore how fiercely protective they are of each other.
I don't know which episode it's from! My guess is season 5, but that's all I got (and I could be wrong!)
I'll keep my eyes open for this shot when I do some S5 rewatch, then. Although there is something somewhat S6 about SMG's hair? Specifically after she cut it short and had those tiger-stripe highlights?

This is excellent news! Good for you!

I also agree with the identification with Buffy. Hoo boy, do I get where she's coming from. In some ways, that makes it easier for me to not woobie-fy her, because her faults are largely my faults, and there are plenty of them — though I suspect I've got a few extra ones. Heh.

Anyway, I hope this is not only nice for you, but encouraging. Hint, hint. *needs moar fic*
In some ways, that makes it easier for me to not woobie-fy her, because her faults are largely my faults, and there are plenty of them —

The Greeks would be proud of you! To "know thyself" is our life's work. (And that's very much what Buffy and Spike - and Willow and Giles and all the characters - have to do in their respective arcs.) But doing it in real life? Quite the feat. I guess that's part of what writing is about - what art is about, why we tell stories (acting, writing, painting, dance); we're writing the stories of our own lives in order to understand them, to understand what it means to be alive. (BTW - have you read beer_good_foamy's excellent meta on Buffy as postmodern hero, rewriting her own story (culminating in the Slayer Spell in Chosen)?

That said, I still want to give her a hug and a decent meal (I'm a kick-ass cook); and tell the bashers to back the **** off. Can't help it.

Hint, hint. *needs moar fic*

Oh yes it is (encouragement is ALWAYS greatfully and cheerfully accepted. And when it's coming from some of my favorite fanfic writers? Much happiness ensues!)

As a matter of fact, I've got a post-Chosen Willow & Buffy fic in mind - a fairly pointless thing. (As in "Willow, Buffy" NOT "Willow/Buffy" of course. I'm a canon hussy.)