Blow out the candles people!
Living History is a year and a day old today!
That's right: I posted the first part of this story on Fanfiction Dot Net on August 7, 2003. At this time last year:
- I was still gung-ho about writing the Where Fools Go series. Only two, After Happy Ever After and Steady Red, Storms Ahead, have been written so far.
- In fact, I was in the middle of writing Steady Red, Storms Ahead, although I hadn't posted it anywhere yet.
- I was also starting work on Mars Rising
- I was a "freelance writing" and squeaking by on occassional writing jobs and a lot of hours working as a bookseller at Borders
- I drove a 1990 Buick Century
- I lived in Beverly (next door to Salem, Massachusetts)
- I was seriously contemplating moving back in with my parents if my job-hunting luck didn't change
- I did not have an LJ account, not even a free one
- I had not met any fanfiction writers in the Buffyverse
One year later:
- I have a very cool full-time job writing about medical pharmaceuticals. I mean, someone actually pays me to learn new things and write about it
- I drive a 2000 Saturn SL with manual transmission (RIP Buick)
- I live in Waltham (really close to Boston)
- My financial situation actually looks somewhat rose-y
- I have a paid LJ account
- I met first Lori Bush (twice)! Then the lovely nikitangel. Then ponders_life. I finally met a whole mess of you at </span> writercon just this past weekend.
- Okay, I gained 20 pounds because of my new office-based lifestyle, but I'm working on losing it by being more diligent about the gym.
I mean, really, talk about a turn around! All I need is an actual date and we can confidently call it a hairpin turn.
Living History actually has its roots in a challenge issued on the XanderZone fanfiction Yahoo!Group.
The key points of the challenge:
- Set immediately after Chosen
- A group of people come from the future via a spell to seek help in saving the world of the future
- They’re awestruck at meeting Xander, but may or may not know who the other Scoobs are.
- No B/X or W/X. If you must have a pairing, keep to either F/X or D/X.
- No incredible inventions from the future capable of killing vampires from a distance.
- (Optional) Xander has a choice to stay with the present-day Scoobs or leave with the future group.
Essentially, member UncleRand had an axe to grind and this challenge showed it in spades. At this point I was so sick of all the Buffy-bashing that seemed to be going on everywhere in fandom (not just on the XZ), that I grabbed it before anyone else could. My evil plan? Turn the whole blasted thing on its head and write a story with my ideal Scoobies (as screwed up as they are even in Living History).
The original idea was to turn it into a fluffy romp a la Terry Pratchett. It was a good plan. A great one, even. One small problem.
I'm not Terry Pratchett.
Plus, I think too damn much.
The problem was the time frame. It had to take place within months of Chosen. No matter how hard I tried, I still couldn't get around the fact that Buffy and Xander would still be in mourning; the Scoobs would still be trying to figure out what the hell their next step was; there'd be a lot of disturbing questions that would have to be raised; the new Slayers would be figuring out just what it was they got when Willow juiced them up; the interpersonal relationships between everyone would be brittle...
You get the idea.
So, needless to say, Living History barely follows the basic premise of the challenge. It's not Xander-centric (even I have to admit that). Xander is one of the main characters, yes, but it's really more of an ensemble piece.
All of the Scoobs (and a few new Slayers) are revered by Catherine and Comapny.
Shipping? Only in the hinting. The funny thing is: people can see W/X, D/X, and even Vi/X shippiness in this story, which definitely wasn't the intent. I can't wait to see what happens when Buffy and Xander finally have a real conversation in a later chapter. They'll be seeing B/X, too. All this despite the fact that F/X is the stated ship (such as it is, which isn't all that much). No worries. The F/X readers are actually pretty happy with Living History, too.
Well, at least they don't have fantastic weapons that can kill vampires at great distances. Plus, I seriously doubt Xander's going to be invited to the future for a "visit."
Some weird facts about Living History:
- The Council Honoria was named after Honor Harrington. The Council Educationary was named that way because I couldn't think of a better one.
- I somewhat tied the general theory of time travel in this story to, of all things, Red Dwarf. Turns out I was following Pratchett's ideas as well.
- The last 50 pages were written before the first page.
- I've only re-written one character point-of-view in the last 50 pages: Willow. That's because her story radically changed when I hit upon the idea of her mind skipping around the future when she touched the Grail. The rest I've only tweaked to keep details consistent with earlier parts of the story.
- I've written approximately 490 pages so far for this fic alone. It will probably top out at 600 pages.
- I still have at least two Q&As on deck: Kennedy and a final interview with Xander and Faith in tandem. I haven't decided if I'm going to write one for Andrea, one of my OCs who's a little bitter about being a Slayer. I'm coming down on the side of "no" for that last one.
- I've thrown out several major sections because they didn't fit in. One of the most notable: Catherine and Company (with the Scoobs' help and Giles's credit cards) raid the Cleveland Heights Borders Books & Music so they can bring dictionaries, encyclopedias, and books back to the future.
Things I would change about Living History if I could:
- Buffy's ambivalent state of mind would've been shown a little sooner in the story. Until you get inside her head, she doesn't come across any different than, say, S5 Buffy.
- I would've placed the earlier Q&A's slightly better to fit with the flow of the story. I also would've thought about what my goal was in writing them (besides trying to be funny, I mean). The purposes of the Q&As have evolved from funny asides to actual character pieces.
- The beginning wouldn't be quite as light and fluffy. A few people have FB'ed and said that my track record is why they stuck with the first few chapters because (and let's be honest) the first few chapters were kind of silly. I'd still keep it light, but I'd cut down a little on the silly, mostly because there's an almost "whiplash" change in tone when I figured out I'll never be Pratchett. In fact, you can actually see it happen in Chapter 12 when Robin's and Xander's differences in personality explode into a nasty clash between the two while Faith and Catherine watch.
- I'd deal better with the exposition when Faith and Xander find out what the "-rah-sen" honorifics after their names mean. It sticks out like a sore thumb (at least to me) and I find it a little cringe-worthy because the story practically stops just to get this information out there.
So...there you have it. For anyone interested, the fun facts and figures about the Fic That Ate My Brain.
Don't forget, up to 57 can be found here
Continued from here
Again, special thanks to hpchick for pointing out my "disappearing Giles." It was fixed in the previous part and it's also fixed here.
Faith moved to chase the other Slayer, but Charlie stepped in her way.
“You can’t go,” he said in a voice that brooked no argument.
“She’s got no idea what’s waiting for her down there,” Faith protested.
“You’re needed here.” Charlie crossed his arms. “You have to keep the other girls away from Willow until I finish titrating her dose.”
Charlie sighed. “I have to start with a small dose of sedatives and work my way to a larger dose...”
“Until she’s knocked out. Got it.” Faith looked over to the increasingly restless group of girls. “You gonna be okay if I turn my back on you for sec?”
“It’s gotten so dark. So dark,” Willow muttered as she wrapped her arms around herself. “I feel cold.”
Charlie tossed the witch a worried glance. “The neural shut-down is still holding, but the best way to make sure it stays that way until we can get her back to your household is to put her under. We should be fine. If not, I’ll let out the loudest scream you’ve heard this side of a blood vid.”
“Blood vid?” Faith waved her hands to stop him from answering. “Forget it. Get going doc.”
Charlie gave her a curt nod and immediately turned his attention to Willow. He was muttering something encouraging while Willow shivered. She was repeatedly apologizing in a weak voice and trying to fall into a crouch while the doc held her. The look on her face…
Tragedy. It looks like a fucking tragedy.
Faith stepped slowly away as her formerly fuzzy feelings finished evaporating. She’d reached her limit and hoped like hell that she wouldn’t be hearing any more future talk from Willow. She slid over to Robin and did a quick check. He was still out of it and trying to close his eyes for that nap.
Faith stood up and jogged over to the group of filthy girls. They were all focused on Willow and whispering amongst themselves. There was a definite “on edge” feeling. Terrific. Hell of time for them to remember just how witch-y Willow could be.
“Yo! I need one of you ladies to keep an eye on Robin here.” Faith kept her voice as level and as business-like as she could. “He got whacked on the head and we need to keep him awake until we can get him to the hospital.”
“What’s wrong with Willow?”
The girl nodded.
“Nothin’ you have to worry about. She ran into some bad mojo and the doc’s gotta get her home before he can fix her up right.” Faith hoped she sounded reassuring. “Robin’s the one who needs an eye. Andrea? Think you could do that for me?”
“Don’t make me issue an order. I got a lotta crap to cover before B gets back. I can’t watch Robin and help everyone get their shit straightened out. Capece?”
Andrea looked around. “What do I need to do?”
“Keep him awake. Make sure he don’t wander off. We’ll get him off your hands as soon as we can get wheels to the hospital.”
“Why not just call an ambulance?” Tammi asked.
Faith held up a finger, “One, we might have more wounded, and if we start calling a whole buncha ambulances to this cemetery, someone might start asking real uncomfy questions. Two, if there are more wounded, we’ll have to spin the right lie to explain why so many people are bleeding. If we only got Robin to worry about, we need to come up with a mugging story before we can get him help. Three, we need time to get everyone not wounded out of here because…”
“We’re all a little hard to explain,” Tammi finished for her as she waved a hand around. “Have I mentioned that this sucks?”
Faith grinned. “Welcome to the big leagues. Anyone know where Kennedy is hiding? What about Jee— I mean Giles?”
“They’re both probably with one of the other groups,” Jeanne answered. “We’re kind of scattered.”
“Right. Someone needs to find both of them. Grab Giles and drag him back here so I can give him the lowdown. If Kennedy ain’t tied up in a fight, get her here, too. I’d think she’d want to be with her girlfriend,” Faith said.
While Jeanne took off and Andrea headed for Robin, Faith tiredly rubbed her face. B had no business charging belowground like she did. If anything that was her job. She should’ve just dumped the wounded and turned right back around to go help Catherine and Xander. The last thing she wanted to do was play drill sergeant and get everyone organized so the group could clear out of the cemetery without attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Faith took a deep breath in an effort to clear her head and said, “Right. You, you, and you. Know where everyone is? Good. Go get ‘em and bring ‘em here. And each of you should grab a partner just in case anyone is still fighting what-the-hell-ever it is you guys were fighting so you can lend a hand. You and you, make sure we’ve got all our weapons, even the broken ones. Last thing we need is someone tripping over a sword or an axe tomorrow morning. Once everyone’s here, we do a headcount and find out if anyone else needs to chat with Charlie or head to the hospital with Robin.”