Friday, September 3, 2010

Conclusions-- for literary analysis

I'm having fun coming up with conclusions for non-existent literary analysis papers (to show students how to write a conclusion). For ex:
For a Hamlet paper:
The plot of Hamlet is initiated when the ghost tasks Hamlet to take vengeance, but it is individualized by his unusual reaction to the command. He could have reacted like his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and just obeyed orders. Or like Laertes, and like the typical hero in a Renaissance revenge drama, he could have steeled himself to kill with pleasure. Yet Hamlet is too much the thinker to give in to emotion, and too skeptical to surrender to someone else's will. In Hamlet, Shakespeare has again created a man we moderns would recognize, a cynic, a skeptic, an intellectual. But Hamlet's own time rewards action, not thought, and his ultimate tragedy is that his refusal to act causes the deaths of those he loves and the loss of his father's kingdom.

This really makes me want to go back to school and write more literary papers. I know, I know, what a sick desire.
Alicia

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Intrepid Volunteer Driver

Years and years ago, I wanted a volunteer job where I could help without writing. Or talking much. I don't have a lot of other skills, but I figured I can drive. So I started delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly. Easy, low-stress (though sometimes depressing when one client's name disappears from the list-- there's usually no good news then).

Last year, after a friend went through cancer treatments and every time had to scramble to get a ride to the hospital, I decided to drive for the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery. So I'm also doing that now. Hmm. I have to drive tomorrow. I think I better get my car washed.

Anyway, I'm a writer, and so of course I think, "There ought to be a novel in this." Everyone gently suggests it sounds sort of boring. But I'm still thinking of that: The Adventures of a Volunteer Driver!

I think in the future, on the web, we might see a lot more serial stories because they replicate the immediacy of blogging and social media (even if in fact they take many hours to write). I'm think shorter, linked stories, like a series of stories about an intrepid volunteer driver! You finish reading one, and if you're still awake, maybe you click the link to the next.

No, I haven't actually had any adventures as a volunteer driver (though driving through a flooded street to faithfully deliver a meal might count-- my car wasn't the same for weeks). But I have had the potential for adventure. It's just with my natively cautious approach to life, I always cut off adventure before it has a chance to bloom. I just need to create a heroine who isn't so adventure-averse.

Really, it could be a FASCINATING series!

Alicia

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keep It Positive: Advising in the Affirmative



Keep It Positive: Advising in the Affirmative


By Alicia Rasley, University of Maryland University College Effective Writing
Center



Writing center tutors and advisors serve a special role with student writers.
We're not their peers in the classroom, as we have a special expertise and a lot
of experience. But we're also not their professors; we're not here to judge them
or grade them or, heaven forbid, contribute to their moral development. Our
mission is to use our skills and experience to help them improve this paper and
also to improve as writers.

There's another complication when advising online, as we do at the Effective
Writing Center at the University of Maryland. We have no face-to-face
interaction. We have only the papers themselves, not the students, to work with—
so we can't use smiles and facial expression and vocal tone to convey our
friendly intentions. We have only our typed words. That makes it even more
imperative that we use our words carefully to imply friendliness, helpfulness,
and confidence. And that means that we have to (as we remind the students) know
our audience and what will work best with them.

Let's think about what it's like to be a student coming to a writing center for
help (and in the case of the EWC, a student in an online class coming for help).
These are seldom students who are confident about their writing ability (the
confident students seldom ask for help, even if they need it!). They might have
gotten a bad grade on a paper, or been referred by their professor. They might
be ESL students (non-native-speakers) who are aware that their writing is not
entirely fluent. They might be native-born students who have been warned they
are ill-prepared for college courses. They might be math or science majors who
have never felt comfortable with a writing assignment.

Just keep in mind that most students who think they need our help are feeling
the pressure of negativity. They are defensive because their professor gave them
a grade lower than they think they deserve. Or they are anxious because they now
know their writing isn't up to the expected level. Or they might be weighed down
by years of poor grades and poor evaluations. Or they might be affected by
society's pervasive biases:

• "Boys are good at mechanical tasks, not verbal tasks, so most are not good
writers."

• "Most girls aren't logical enough to organize a college-level research paper."

• "Those who grew up in an oral culture might excel at spontaneous oral
expression, but they'll never manage the structured aspects of academic
writing."

• "Students from inner city and rural schools will never overcome their
educational deficits."

• "Adults simply can't learn to be fluent in a second language."

• "Young people right out of high school don't have enough life experience to
have anything to write about."

• "The brains of older students aren't malleable enough to learn new tasks."

• "No one with learning disabilities can expect to conquer the complex issues
involved in putting together a good paper."

You probably have heard these or other not-so-subtle verdicts, and so have the
students who come to us for writing advice. They might believe them, but we
can't. We have to avoid the generalizations and concentrate on the specifics of
this student and this paper and this assignment. And most important, our tone
and word choice must reflect our confidence that this student writer can make
this paper better and learn to be a better writer.



Top Ten Principles of Positive Advising:

1. Student writers own their own writing. We're here to help them achieve their
best, not to dictate what and how they should write. Our purpose is to help them
find control over their writing, not take control away from them.

2. Students are capable of making unbelievable progress, given incentive, aid,
and desire. I have seen an isolated international student go in two semesters
from belligerent silence and barely literate prose to being a classroom leader
and the best writer in the class. I've seen a student in the lowest remedial
writing class respond to her professor's comment ("That paragraph was so sad, I
found myself crying") by honing the paper, overcoming all sorts of grammar
issues, and eventually winning a freshman essay award. Far more often, I've seen
students improve from getting Ds in the beginning of the semester to getting Bs
at the end—not that an dramatic improvement, you might think, but enough to go
from fear of academic probation to hope of Dean's List, from the prospect of
flunking out to "hey, maybe I could handle grad school."

3. Students want to learn. They wouldn't be in college otherwise. And remember,
many have made immense sacrifices to get here—they might have left their
families and homes, or they might be working two jobs to earn tuition money, or
they might have had to silence the negative lessons of a lifetime of
underachievement. They are ready, willing, and able to learn, and we just need
to make sure we're their ally in that quest.

4. We are not here to judge or grade. The professor will grade this assignment
and this student, but we're not here to assess, just advise. Most important, we
must avoid making moral judgments. Hey, maybe this student is a slacker who
wants us to do his work for him. Maybe she's just trying to slide by on her
family connections. But we can't know that, and even if we could, it's not our
problem. For those of us who also teach courses, there's actually a great
liberation in the realization that here in the writing center we simply have to
help students learn more about writing, and that we’re not responsible for their
moral development or final grade.

5. Empathy is essential, but so is humility. We can't know every student's
individual needs, so we have to use what we know of ourselves and other writers.
That is, some students out there might respond to "tough love" or "calling their
bluff." But we certainly can't tell that from their papers. We do know what kind
of approach would work with us, and has worked with other students and
colleagues. Always consider, "How would this feel if it were happening to me?"
But we should also know that we're not the measure of all things, that we will
not always get it right, that we can't be all things to all students. So…

6. First, do no harm. Yes, we aren't going to be a great success in every
encounter, with every student. Maybe we don't explain things in a way that this
student understands, or we're focusing on what the student considers irrelevant
issues in the paper. But with a positive, open approach, we can make this
encounter pain-free even if we can't assure its helpfulness. This will make it
much easier for this student to return to the writing center with the hope that
the next advisor can be more compatible. This is, by the way, a good reason to
end each encounter with an invitation to return.

7. Shame is the enemy of education. Many of our students will be all too
acquainted with being shamed, with feeling inadequate. If we take a rebuking,
admonitory, or exasperated tone in our advising, we could be pushing that
"shame" button. And that makes many students shut down. They need to feel
confident of their ability to learn and improve, and that's something we can
affirm, increase that confidence with the right tone and the right approach.

8. As advisors, we are particularly sensitive to the power of words to affect
the reader. Words are, after all, all we have in these encounters. But we are
more capable than most of choosing words and assembling them to fit various
purposes. We wouldn't be writing center advisors if we weren't good at this! We
can anticipate the conscious and subconscious effect of our sentences. We are
confident enough in our own skill to experiment with different word choices and
different sentence order for different purposes. Most important, we believe that
our words can have emotional, psychological, and educational consequences, and
we know we have the awareness and empathy to make those positive for the
students.

9. Our aim is better writers, not just better papers. Let's face it. We could
just rewrite the paper for them, and they'd get a better grade! But if we do
that, we're not helping them to be better writers. It's a difficult balance,
because many, if not most, students learn from models and examples, and it's
tempting to just write out a great thesis for them to show them how it's done.
But they'll actually learn more about how to write a thesis by being shown an
example and then having to write their own version. So we should always stop
short of doing it entirely for them, so that they can learn from the process of
writing and revising.

10. Not to get too mushy, but in our position, we'll never lose by acting with
love and hope. We don't need to worry that students are trying to take advantage
of us or deceive us or cheat us. We are fortunate that students are never our
adversaries because we are not their bosses or competitors or judges or parents.
We're just here to help, in the hope that we can make at least a bit of a
difference. And we can.



So here are some positive tutoring techniques I've acquired from experience and
learned from my many wise and compassionate colleagues:



Describe Before You Prescribe:

Sometimes just saying what this paper is or what you see will help focus the
writer on the aspects of the paper which are most important:

This looks like you've already made a good start! I see this is a
comparison/contrast essay. Your topic of the two types of commercial leases is a
good one because, as the professor requested, these two have something to do
with each other but are not identical.




You can take advantage of this "description" paragraph to subtly reiterate what
the paper is supposed to involve, and to set up for later suggestions (for
example, you might later remind the student that she needs to have a paragraph
about "tasks"):

Congratulations on your progress in writing this career-exploration
assignment for EDCP100. I see from the assignment requirements that this paper
can be built on aspects of the profession, like the tasks, the opportunities,
and the salary.



Another example:

This is all very interesting! I see you're supposed to explore how a company
will handle opening an office in a new country. I was intrigued by your findings
of the cultural differences and your thoughts about how to deal with them. I can
see how you can develop this into a comparison/contrast analysis.




Just describing what the paper is, what the writer was trying to accomplish,
what the purpose is, can courteously keep the focus on the writing task, while
acknowledging the student's progress just getting to this point.

What a controversial topic! Pretty brave of you to tackle it and the ethical
and biological issues it brings up.

---

What a timely topic now! With the recession going on, probably most of us are
concerned with job security. So I can see how this topic lets you explore both
the problem and the solutions of late-career layoffs.

---

Natalie, I learned a lot about the use of poured concrete in construction while
reading your paper. Clearly, you have extensive knowledge of this topic. I
didn't realize that concrete has become such a versatile material to use in
houses. Nice work! I was really interested in learning more about how poured
concrete can be used in fixtures. You mention that concrete can be used to make
bathtubs and sinks, and I was hoping you could say a bit more about that, and
what the result is like? Thanks!




You can make some observation about the type of paper or project, from your
experience:

Synthesis essays are difficult sometimes to organize, but they're great
training for upper-level courses. They help us to evaluate sources for
credibility and logic.

---

Annotated bibliographies are sometimes a pain to put together, but they really
are a big help when we start writing the research paper. We can just look at the
bibliography and remember which sources are useful and why!






Praise Works

Allow yourself to be impressed. If you've read a couple thousand student papers,
you might have to refresh your sense of wonder. We do get jaded! But try to
train yourself to look for something to praise in every paper, like the topic
choice or the title. Just one "good job!" can bolster the writer to regard your
suggestions-to-come as helpful.



Don't be smarmy—students can tell false praise. So make sure that the title
really is good, or the topic choice is a smart one, so you can praise truly, and
be specific about why this is praiseworthy:

This title really draws me in and makes me wonder what the other three
placements were!

---

You chose a great topic. It's especially timely this year, when so many people
are out of work and needing suggestions about how to make a good impression in
an interview.




Also use praise as an opportunity to point out what the student is doing right.
After all, the student might not know what they're doing right, and they need
that if they're going to do it again! Writers have to know their strengths as
well as their weaknesses, so if there's anything that is better than the rest of
the paper, point it out. So say what's good and –very important-- why it's good.
Letting them know why this works will help students learn to analyze their own
writing for the effects it will have on the reader.

Your paper has a tight focus on the incident and what it meant for the
industry. Good! The thesis previews the development of information in the paper.
In fact, the way you've written this thesis, the paper almost organizes itself.


---

I think your intro does a good job of defining the context of your topic! I
wasn't sure what you meant by "study groups" in the title, but as soon as I read
your introduction, I understood what you were examining.

---

I like your use of headings to organize the points of your analysis. That makes
it easier for the reader to follow the development.




Tell what they did right and why it's right:

I found your points really valuable for understanding the creation myths, and
I like the way you end the paper using that keyword "create"—it's like closing
the circle of the paper.




Compliment by describing:

I loved the interview with Clara Windmiller. The interview situation so much
makes history seem vivid and real, as it affected a real person.


---

Here, I just want to say, this is a really good paragraph opening, stating
not just the topic of the paragraph but making a specific point, and making it
in an interesting style, and you integrate the quote just right:


One of the challenges of going global is, obviously,
distance. Distance is challenging to new businesses, not only in a geographical
sense, but also in what economist Wilfred Beckerman calls a “psychic distance”
(Isenberg, 2008, p. 108).




You're a trained reader, and what you observe and describe might help the writer
figure out what's been put in the text (and to decide whether it should be kept
or not).



Tell me more!

The three most appealing words in the English language are: Tell me more! Use
this to encourage writers to expand and amplify their thoughts—but be sure and
get specific about what you need to know.

Also, the last paragraph about your stepfather and everyone else being
distant is really intriguing, and so sad too. But I did (again!) want to know
more. Was this just your perception because of your illness? Or was he really
distant and why? Are your coworkers really distant, or do you have some idea of
why and what’s going on? The way you end the paper just leaves me asking more
questions, which means you did a great job getting me interested! But you don’t
want to leave the reader hanging, worried about you! Can you just add a bit more
that explains what this all means, or what the reality is, or what happened?







The student writer needs to know what's right as well as what's wrong. Take some
time to develop the "this is right" part, and don't worry that you're getting
too effusive. Say what's right and why it's right, and then move from that not
to "what's wrong" but "what you can do now that could also be right." The
spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, and all that. :) For example:



I like the way you start with a couple examples of the dangers of
hypertension in young people. That immediately makes the importance of your
issue clear, and the bad results that would come from ignoring it. So often, I
think, we think of hypertension as a disease of the elderly, and I think you're
right to focus on its danger for younger people too. Think about using
statistics that reflect that focus (what percentage of younger people face this
problem) so that your reader doesn't get distracted by facts and figures that
mostly apply to the elderly. That's a good topic, but it's not YOUR topic, which
is about hypertension in the young, and that's maybe an even better topic!




--

Another example, moving from praise to specific suggestion:

You know, until I read your paper, I didn't realize how common identity theft
is! You do such a good job explaining the scope of the problem and why computer
users need to watch out for the danger. Your examples of people caught up in
this crime really helped show that it's something that can happen to all of us.

    I just wonder if after you talk about each example, you can
characterize what the common problem between them is— how were the hackers able
to exploit the insecurity of the system, maybe? Or maybe just say, "Both of
these incidents show how easy it is to exploit insecurities in corporate
systems..." or something like that? That sets up your thesis about the need for
this security. :)




--- Another--

I like it that you're addressing the consumer as that shows that you have an
audience in mind. (That is, you're not trying also to include food manufacturers
and dieticians!) A focused sense of the target audience can really help you
organize the paper because you can consider, "What does this reader need to
know?" So when you develop the end part with the recommendations, just make sure
these recommendations are aimed specifically at consumers, who might not be all
that acquainted with the more scientific language!






Sometimes you don't even have to praise, but just observe something fairly
neutral, but couch it in an interested tone, like:

This is such a controversial topic!

--

I've never read this book, so I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about it.

--

I was intrigued by your take on recividism and wanted to know more after reading
your introduction.




Something to point out is when they've done something effective, like summarized
a scene well or chosen a good example. Again, explain WHY—why is this a good
example?

This paragraph is about one really great example of success and image
standards, height. You found a helpful example of how it really is true that
image affects success, and you made it even more striking with that horrific
description of the leg-lengthening surgery. Boy, that truly brought home for me
how dangerous this is! And that shows better than anything how much pain some
people are willing to go through to meet society's standards of "the right way
to look". Great work!




One "Great work" or "Nice sentence!" can make the student eager to earn more
praise. I remember one student wrote to me to tell me that a chance line of mine
("You have such a gift for humor!") helped him decide to write up his
grandmother's funny story and send it to a magazine.

If you are affected personally by something a student writes, say so:

I am kind of embarrassed to admit it, but when you wrote about your father
calling you "my little girl," I cried. That was so touching, and the way you put
it revealed the love between you.


Don't worry about being too effusive. Really, honest praise honestly stated is
going to sound just right to the student:

Okay, I have to tell you this! When I read that line about how the
professional establishment is like a dog that steals the dinner ham right off
the stove, I just laughed out loud. I couldn't get the image out of my mind,
some guy in a suit and tie on all fours, gnawing at the ham and growling at
anyone who comes nearby. In fact, my husband kept asking me what was so funny!
Just wanted to tell you—you sure kept me entertained tonight!




Put the qualifier first, and the praise second. Not: This shows a good
instinct for source selection, but that the documentation isn't entirely
accurate.


But:

The documentation format isn't entirely accurate, but this reference list
shows that you have a good instinct for source selection!






Notice that it helps to get effusive in the praise part, and this is a good
place to use "you" to personalize without sounding accusative. "You did a great
job listing all the major causes of the war" sounds affirming and empowering by
showing that the responsibility for the good work belongs with "you".



Explain when something really works, and have that lead into suggestion for
improvement—

Here's a link to a list of transitions. I can tell you really get the reason
for transitions, to make a connection between two ideas. I was noticing that the
transition "therefore" will help your reader understand the connection between
your point about law and your point about professional codes. You might look at
that list of transitions and see if any of them can help make similar
connections in other paragraphs.






Focus on Results

Instead of highlighting what is wrong, focus on what the results will be if it's
made right:

Not:

Your sentences are too wordy and vague. You can see here how you're burying
your central point under too many adjectives.


Instead:

Good point about the different types of tastes! Maybe you can go through and
revise so that your sentences are tight and concise and your good points really
stick out, as here:




Sometimes just describing what's there is positive, and then you can add
something that is a helpful suggestion to improve what's already there:

This is so interesting, the adjustments a company must make when doing business
in a new culture.



I found your analysis just fascinating. It made me think of other parallels
to Othello (Achitobel as Iago, maybe?). Great work!




Also, use quotes from the paper whenever you can, and don't just TELL the
student to revise, but SHOW how it might be done, always pointing out that this
is just an example:

Here's an example of how you can trim out words so that the essential point
really stands out for the reader:

The reason for this injury is that it's caused by the pronation of the foot as
it hits the ground over and over.

…can be trimmed to:

This injury is caused by pronation as the foot repeatedly hits the ground.




Something to point out is when they've done something effective, like chosen a
good example. Again, explain WHY—why is this a good example? Then move into what
can be made better:



This paragraph is about one really great example of success and image
standards, height. You found a really helpful example of how it really is true
that image affects success, and you made it even more striking with that
horrific description of the leg-lengthening surgery. Boy, that really brought
home how dangerous this is!

Notice that near the end, you get into a more general subject of how the media
has persuaded people:

"Manners, accent, clothes, hair, job, home, even
personality: All are now seen as objects of individual control that express
something important about who we are" (Elliott 486). All of these are aspects
that the media tries to persuade people they have to perfect in order to be
successful in a society consumed by its own unobtainable images.
Sadly many
people believe this and instead of making their own statistics fall into a
growing trend of plastic surgeries or other altering procedures to achieve a
success they could have had without changing.


That part in bold is a really good point, and I think it might deserve a
paragraph of its own, with its own topic sentence with states your point about
the media, and then maybe explain how that has an impact on viewers. :)






Try to state what will happen positively if they do it the right way, rather
than what will happen negatively if they do it the wrong way:

Negative:

Also you have a citation of "Bible.com." A couple thoughts here—first, since
you're just talking about the events of the story, and that's in the Bible,
think about whether a reference to a website (rather than the original source
material, the Bible) is helpful. So often using a website as a source (rather
than the actual document) can diminish your academic credibility—you don't want
the professor to think that you just read a summary of the real story.

Positive:

Also you have a citation of "Bible.com." A couple thoughts here—first, since
you're just talking about the events of the story, and that's in the Bible,
think about whether a reference to the original source material, the Bible will
be more useful for the reader. Using the actual document rather than a website
as a source can improve your academic credibility—you want the professor to know
that you did in fact read and absorb the real story. :)

 



Minimize to Make Improvement Seem Possible and Within Reach

If you make a big deal about issues, the writer might feel overwhelmed. Even –
especially— if the paper has many, many problems, try using a tone that says,
"This is no big deal. You can fix this." For example:

You have a lot of sources there! That's good. The reference page shows how
many sources you consulted when you wrote the paper. I'm just going to note a
couple issues that jump out at me on your References page:


I use the "couple issues" even when there are five problems on that Reference
page. I figure the minimal "couple issues" will sound like something anyone can
handle, no problem.



So diminish your adjectives and descriptors. Not "You have a lot of passive
voice in this paper," but "You have some passive voice."



You never want to sound like you're chiding or rebuking the student (that's not
a tutor's role). So always imagine how you'd feel if someone made these
suggestions, and if you feel defensive or overwhelmed, what word changes would
make you feel more empowered and capable?



I even try to use softer words than "problems" (like "issues" or "glitches").
One positive way to say "You have some reference problems" is to use instead the
term "fixes," that is, focusing on not what is wrong but how it can be made
right if they "fix" it.



Whenever you think you might be being critical, temporize and soften:

Not:

Here is a sentence that just goes on way too long.

But:

Here’s a sentence that might go on too long.



Little language changes to increase positive tone:

Use "and" instead of "but". For example:

You have mini-sections that are kind of like the assertion (point),

NOT: but there really isn't much support or development after that.

INSTEAD: and I wonder if you can develop each more with examples and ideas from
your sources.


So try to use "And" (additional information or suggestion) instead of "But"
(contrasting):

Feel the difference here:

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE (but) You seem to have done research on your topic, but you
will want to be sure you are using your research as effectively as possible.

and

POSITIVE EXAMPLE (and) You seem to have done research on your topic, and you
will want to be sure you are using your research as effectively as possible.




Also notice that the "you seem to" has a vague sense of suspicion, like the
student is trying to put one over on you and only "seems" to have done research.
So why have it? Just:

You have done research on your topic, and you will want to be sure you are
using your research as effectively as possible.








Recurring issues:

Sometimes there's a kind of big issue (like sentence fragments) which just
recurs and recurs. Present that repetition of problem positively, because it
really is true—if they find and fix this in every case, their paper will be
improved a lot, and they'll have learned to watch for that. I try to take them
through the process by copying a couple examples of the mistake from their
paper, and then showing and explaining the solution, and then suggesting they
look for that throughout the whole paper now and apply the same logic as they
revise.

This is just one error that recurs, and if you find and fix all these in your
paper, you'll easily and measurably improve your writing. Pretty soon it'll be
second nature! Here's an example of a sentence that can be fixed and how to fix
it:

(example)

See? That was easy, wasn't it?




That gives them the tools and the incentive and the confidence to learn to fix
this. Here's how I put it recently in a student paper studded with a lot of
comma splices and fragments (I first used examples to show what I meant and how
to fix):

Now keep in mind, this is something you don't need to "get" right away. That
is, know that this is something you want to work on, and when you get done
writing a draft, look to revise these sentence types first. Look for sentences
that have two "clauses" which could be sentences on their own (subject plus
verb), and then look for sentences that start with a how-where-what-when type of
word like "Instead" or "Besides" or "Although" or "When". There are many, many,
many of these "subordinating conjunctions," so don't bother memorizing them all
(or the term— we English teachers need to know that, but you just need to notice
in revision). Just watch out for those, and remind yourself to revise to
separate the one element of the sentence from the other. You'll find it's second
nature pretty quickly. And remember, if you don't get it right the first draft,
that's fine. This is really about revising and editing, not drafting. Always
keep in mind, you don't have to get it perfect the first draft! Once you learn
this revising strategy and start watching to use it as you edit, you can wait
until the second draft to fix.




Ask Questions, Don't Give Commands

Question marks help to affirm the writer's control and soften the "command"
aspect of advising. They also remind the student that the purpose here is to
learn information and communicate to the reader. Questions replicate the process
of exploration by keeping things open, by helping students gather the confidence
to experiment, to explore, to speculate, and being assured that they won't be
punished for a lack of immediate certainty. Our questions could inspire the
students' own questioning.

You sure have chosen a controversial topic! And I think you explain the
consequences of the controversy well. I just have a few questions:

What is autism? Can you give just a really quick definition so the reader can be
up to speed on that?

What made some people suspect that vaccines might play a role?

Why did the researchers suspect that one chemical?

What has been the result of eliminating it from vaccines?

Can you think of anything else the reader might need to know to understand this
complex issue?




Questions reiterate that the writer is the one in charge here, who makes the
choices that create certain effects. For example:

I see that you are giving the counterarguments of those who disagree with
your position. That's a good idea, I think, because it makes you seem fair in
considering all angles. Can you make it clearer that these points are not your
own? I don't know, maybe can you start that paragraph with something like: "Some
opponents claim that…."? What do you think?




Some advisors even use question marks after statements (not just questions) to
draw the student into speculating.

Now you mentioned that you wanted this to be more a one-sentence thesis, but
both sentences here make important points. Can these two be combined by first
trimming everything that isn't necessary? Maybe we can get these down to one
concise sentence? Let's try.




Sometimes students need help with "amplitude" or development, and it can be fun
for you and illustrative for them for you to explore the topic and ask questions
as you give suggestions. When you ask questions, you are giving a reader's
perspective of what is interesting and worth expanding.

I'm wondering what's unique about the 60s, why the decade really highlighted
the intractable problem of poverty as you're saying. For example, why was the
decade of the space program, and of civil rights, and of women's rights, so
associated with poverty? It must be such a sharp contrast, with so much progress
being made in science and civil rights, that the 1960s still had that central
problem of poverty which especially affected the immigrant community, as you
show later.

Can you think about using the thesis to show a contrast between the optimistic
events and then the poverty? I'm asking this because poverty, it seems like, was
and is always an issue, and how do you make your own focus on the 60s unique?
Well, maybe it's the contrast between the otherwise great progress in other
fields, but little here in this major issue. That's just a suggestion, but think
about a two part thesis, the "positive" –but- the "negative", like The 1960s
were a time of great progress in (name 2-3 things), but (put in here about
poverty).

Experiment with this sort of two-part thesis—often it's a great way to establish
a unique point, presenting both the positive and negative. :)




Try to "give it back" to the writer by challenging her to think deeper, and show
the confidence that she can do so:

Think about ways you might draw the reader in. What works for you when you're
reading an article like this? Do you like maybe examples from real life? Or do
you think some good statistics might work here to show the depth of the problem?
What do you think would work best to intrigue the reader? You know your target
reader best—what will work?

----

What do you think? Is the most important thing the definition of the job, or the
requirements for qualification? You might try putting the most important thing
last. Experiment and see what you think. Maybe see if you can expand each of
those into a paragraph of its own— that will really show how much knowledge you
have about this subject.






No Shame Allowed!

Also be careful to avoid "rebuking" words. As I read this (below) over, I felt
rebuked by the "but" ("But you're doing it all wrong!" is the way I interpreted
it), and the "Remember" ("You're so dumb, you have to be reminded!"), and I was
really put off by that "you should always," because it sounded like I was being
ordered to outline:

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE! You have a lot of great information, but I think that
organization could help deliver that info more logically.

Remember, the whole point of paper organization is to give the reader the
information when the reader needs it, in the order the reader needs it, and this
draft is really disorganized. That's why you should always outline your drafts.




Here's how I rewrote that so that it feels more affirmative and friendly:

You have a lot of good information about your topic! I think that
organization of these points could help deliver that info logically to the
reader. The purpose of paper organization is to give the reader the information
when the reader needs it, in the order the reader needs it. You can do that here
by identifying each of those good points you have and using each as the start of
a paragraph. Just try sketching the points in a quick outline, and you'll be
amazed at how easily that lets you see what's missing (what more the reader
needs to understand), move them around to be more logical, and also where you
can add development like evidence, examples, facts, and analysis.




Don't overuse the writer's name, as it can seem admonitory or accusatory, like
"Sam, I know you want to make this the best paper you can. Sam, what I'm saying
is, you should stop fragmenting sentences."

Instead, try just using the name at the start ("Welcome to the writing center,
Sam!") and at the end ("It was great working with you, Sam."), and in between
only when it seems natural and friendly.



Also, the word "you" is can be both positive and negative. It can draw the
student in, but also sound a bit like and accusation. So experiment to use 'you"
in positive ways, not in an accusative way:

You might find that outlining after you write a first draft can help organize
your thoughts. You might try that with this paper, just a sentence or so for
each paragraph. You don't need to worry about Roman numerals or all that formal
outline stuff! This is just for you to help you organize.

---


You could really get my interest right off by using those striking statistics
to show that this is a problem for all of us, not just the elderly. Can you
maybe add a sentence to that effect to the paragraph with the statistics?






Use Examples and Models to Show (Not Just Tell)

Many if not most students learn from examples, which show more than tell what
you are suggesting. But be careful not to be too directive. Give examples and
advice, but don't write it for the students. It helps to make the example close
to but not identical to what they might need. Like here, the paper might be
about bioengineered food, and my example is related but not exact ("Let's say
this paper is about chemical additives in prepared foods"), so that they can see
a model of how a thesis might look, and then apply that to their own subject.
Just make it clear that this is an example, not a direct suggestion. I always
say, "This is just an example!"

Now when you're going after consumers—Us!—you might want to start something more
"inviting" than a definition. Think about what a regular person, not a
professional, needs to get interested in the subject. What will draw that sort
of reader in? I know that I'm always drawn in by something that relates to my
actual life. I want to read on because I feel that this topic must be relevant
to me. So let's say this paper is about chemical additives in foods. We might
think of starting with a dilemma that is sure to interest the consumer, like
(this is just an example!): "You're standing in Aisle C of the grocery store,
staring at the dozens of jars of spaghetti sauce. You pick one up and read the
list of ingredients, but "Tomato" is the only one you recognize.... (and then
maybe explain that all those unrecognizable ingredients are food additives?)."

Then you can go into your point about how the consumer needs to get educated
about additives. By making the paper START with something personally relevant,
you will be drawing the reader into read the meaty parts of the paper. (Sorry...
couldn't resist using a food pun there!)



Another---

You have some great connections between the poem and the Biblical imagery. In
literary analysis, it often helps to have the first sentence in the paragraph
about a connection to use the literary terminology. That will make it clear that
the paper is about the way this poem uses the literary device of imagery or
personification--- it keeps the paper focused on the literary device use and not
the poem as a whole. So here:

It is easy to see why David is made out to be like God.

Think about how you can use one of the words you have used before to indicate
the literary device, like "image" or "analogy" or "allegorize", like:

Dryden also uses the figure of David to represent God.

Or…

The character of David is clearly meant as an allegorical stand-in for God.

Or…?





Self-awareness Is the First Step to Self-improvement:

Also see if you can get the student to specify what they're worried about, as
then you can affirm them for being good self-critiquers, and also give your own
suggestions:

You asked about the flow, and you're right! That's an important aspect to
making a paper easier to read and understand. I see that you want the ideas to
flow logically from one to the next. I did see one idea that seemed like it
could be better somewhere else.


I had "one idea that seemed misplaced" above there—but notice that I tried to
replace it with something a bit more positive. Not "it's wrong here," but
"here's where it could be right."



Focus on the good results the writer can achieve:

It might help just to remember that it's not just quotes you get to cite, but
any fact or figure you get from an outside source. This means you can cite more
sources and bolster the credibility of your evidence by showing that it's based
on government or scientific data.


--

Something I've learned is to use specific words when I can— a specific word
("Two pencils" rather than "some pencils") will increase your credibility as it
will let the reader know that you paid close attention.

She flipped the papers over and shoved them beneath a
folder. Two pencils rolled off the desk.




That's going to be more positive and affirming than a "rebuke" like

When you use a vague word like "some" rather than a
specific word like "two", you'll really decrease your credibility, and you don't
want to do that, do you? 
NOTTTTTTTT HELPFUL




Usually the student will be asked to identify anything they're worried about.
And if they do, it's good to repeat what they've already identified as an issue:

You said you need more development, or at least more organization and words,
and the place to set that in motion is the introduction. That's where you set up
the context and scope—what you are going to discuss and why it's important. Now
I see from your introduction that you're going to talk about the Middle Eastern
culture, but not just about that, also about the misperceptions of the culture.
So let's keep that in mind:

1) Perception

2) Reality


Can you add a bit to every aspect that goes into this perception vs. reality
aspect you've set up? That will give the reader more context and more
discussion, AND also it will add words to help you meet the minimum-- and
without padding!



Affirm the student's power, and serve as a model by being open to experiment
and improvement. As an advisor, you can recognize the writer's control, but also
bring your own sense of the playfulness that goes into good writing. I like the
term "experiment" because it conveys the sense that the writer can change things
around and see what works, without losing what's been written.

Try experimenting with paragraph order and see which works best.



You might experiment with this and see which paragraph order you prefer.



The English sentence is really flexible, and sentence combining is fun to
experiment with. Try different sentences



Sometimes if you read this aloud, the right wording will just come to you.
You’ll “hear” in your mind it as an alternative. Try reading aloud and
experiment with different variations and see if this will help you find just the
right word.




Just keep thinking of how you can give the control back to the writer. Make
suggestions, but then ask:

What do you think?

Or

Does that work better, or can you think of another way to do this?



One way to give back the control to the writer is to do a model revision of a
problem but then assume they will revise the rest of the essay with that in
mind. Present yourself as just giving them the revision resources (the example
you did and maybe a link to a helpful website).

Your points are good, and the reader will be able to get them if the
sentences are just as tight and meaningful. Here's an example of a sentence that
you can "power up" by trimming and reorganization:

There are many reasons why schools, at least grade
schools, also known as elementary schools, might want to in the course of the
schoolday make some time to let children have a recess time to break up the
academic schedule so they have some time to play, including relaxation, time to
destress, exercise, learning to play and share with others.



---

One way to trim is to reduce the sentence to the bare point, and then add
back in whatever you think you really need (like I think "so" is really
important here—why should schools do this?):

Grade schools should let children have recess so they can
get some relaxation, playtime, exercise, and cooperation opportunities during
the schoolday.


What else do you think is important here? Just try that—reduce it to the basic
elements, and then add back in whatever else will help. But notice how, when you
start with the basic point, the sentence will end up easy to follow even if it's
long and detailed.


-----

So as you revise the essay, look for other sentences that could be simplified
with simple experimentation like this. If you want information on eliminating
wordiness, check out this page from Christopher Newport University:




Can you just feel how much more helpful that would be than a "rebuke" like:

NOT: You have a lot of vague and wordy sentences that
really get in the way of figuring out what you mean. You need to trim out all
the deadwood and get to the point. Right now I can't tell what's important and
what's not, because there's so much junk in your sentences.




Sharing Your Experience

Teachers and tutors have more knowledge of how writing and reading work than
most, and try sharing that. We have to be tutors, but we're drawing on our
experience as both writers and readers, so share that wisdom:



I've always found that it helps to read over the paper not with an author's
eye, but with a reader's, watching specifically for what could confuse the
reader. Often the writer sort of mentally "self-corrects" without seeing
potential problems for the reader. Here's a line that confused me as a reader,
from the first paragraph:

He was attempting to create a divesting problem within the water computer that
he would later resolve.


Now did he in fact later resolve this? "Would" implies that he actually later
did that. Or was his plan to disrupt things so much that only he, the fired
employee, could fix it? If so, you might want to say COULD (was capable to)
later resolve. It's just amazing how much meaning a single word has for a
reader, and you might experiment with that powerful aspect of language.

He was attempting to create a divesting problem within the water computer that
he could later resolve.

Try different words and read the sentence aloud, and "hear it as a reader"—think
about what each variation would mean if you were reading this. Always remember
that you have a whole lot of experience as a reader, and that experience gives
you a lot of knowledge that you can use as a writer!




---

Establish a common issue:

I'm like this too! I tend to write longer sentences. Let's face it—you and I
just have complicated thoughts. :) Anyway, I always check and see if my longer
sentences can be reduced a little. I know that as a reader, I find long
sentences are harder to read and understand, and also I find that the longer my
sentences go on, the more likely I am to wander into sentence trouble! So I try
to read the longest sentences out loud and then focus on trimming the extra
words and simplifying the word order.






Model good writing behavior.

We are writers too, and we know how hard it is sometimes to write well. And we
probably have all come up with problems to watch for and ways to improve. When
you see a problem you have yourself, suggest what has worked for you—just put
yourself in there



One problem I have is I sometimes have to search for specific nouns, not
generic ones like "people" or "things", and to avoid using pronouns like "it" in
important places. So I'm training myself to model that in my comments and
suggestions, for example:

So it the heading might
look like this:






Ease up on the absolute rightness of "the rules" and explain why they work here,
if they do.

I know we teachers and tutors always say this, but I find over and over that
it's true: Topic sentences at the start of most of your paragraphs can really
help both you and the reader mentally organize the material, and make it much
clearer that the analysis is your own thinking. That's something the professor
will be looking for, that easy sign that you have figured out how all this fits
together.

Here's an example of such a first sentence, and how you might give it more power
and meaning.



Here's an example of a good topic sentence you already have:





When possible, use formatting—bulleted lists, numbers—to make the information
more visually accessible:

The paragraph is the basic building block of a short essay. A good paragraph
should have the following qualities:

1.) It should be centered around one idea.

2.) It should have a clear topic sentence.

3.) It should contribute toward proving your thesis.

Of course, it’s easier to say than it is to do!


Also remember to use "bling" like exclamation points and smiley faces to lighten
things up.



Have fun even as you talk about boring, basic things like format:

Most college papers are double-spaced. I think that's so professors can read
easily without reading glasses! So check your assignment requirements to find
out, or ask the prof. Just make sure you double-space using the formatting
function of your word processor rather than double-return at the end of each
line. To format double-spacing in Word, highlight the whole manuscript, click
"Format" on the menu bar, then "Paragraph" on the list, then "Spacing" in the
dialogue box, and choose "double". That will double-space the manuscript. But
don't forget to delete all the extra returns, so or you'll end up with quadruple
space, and believe me, you don't want to end up with quadruple space. :)




Self-deprecate, but don't undermine your credibility as a tutor. Be
self-deprecating about other aspects, like your technology expertise:

Here's a graphic about clauses, and don't laugh. It took me forever to make.
I'm better with words than with text-boxes, as you can tell!!! :)




Crazy English

Let's face it. English has some oddities, like you pluralize nouns by adding an
S (dog/dogs) and you pluralize verbs by taking the S away (walks/walk). One way
to build commonality with student writers is to acknowledge when this rule or
spelling doesn't make a lot of sense. This will actually save both of you time,
because you don't have to search for some non-existent logical explanation.



So "Its" here is a possessive pronoun, and does NOT take the apostrophe.
(Yes, I know that's confusing—with a noun, an apostrophe means possessive, but
not with a pronoun... what genius thought THAT up?) I notice that my
grammarcheck picked that up and put the squiggly green line under "it's" there,
and that might be something to look for, as apparently it flags that issue.
Here's how it looks with "its" as a possessive pronoun:

Freud reduced human consciousness to its basic parts.




Or:

Here's where it gets confusing.... A couple times you use "its". This sounds
the same as the possessive pronoun “its,” but you actually mean the contraction
“it’s,” which is short for “it is.” This is a very common mistake—I make it too!
And the only way to make sure I get it right is to ask myself which I mean. If
“it is” doesn’t fit there, then I don’t use the apostrophe. But here, it's "it
is one of the most..." so I need it plus the apostrophe S (or just go with "it
is"):

it's one of the most physically damaging drugs that people can use.

Here actually is the opposite: Jeremy got addicted to its fast-paced

"Its" here is a possessive pronoun, and does NOT take the apostrophe. (Yes, I
know that's confusing—with a noun, an apostrophe means possessive, but not with
a pronoun... what genius thought THAT up?)




Acknowledge the complications here. Grammar, spelling, syntax—these are not
always logical and not always easy to grasp, and you can form a little
commonality with the student by acknowledging this. This might paradoxically
make the student feel less out of control—"So it's not that I'm stupid. It's
that this is complicated, and even the tutor says so!" It's important to follow
this acknowledgement with some strategy, of course, like:

This is where we tear our hair out! "S" at the end of words in English can
mean either possessive ("the war's casualties"-- apostrophe- S) or plural
("wars"). What happens when you have a possessive (the noun "possesses" the next
noun), which is also PLURAL??? Well, you put the apostrophe AFTER the S ("two
cats' fur flying while they fight"). (I know… someone should have designed this
language better! )

What I always do is think: Possessive or plural? I've just trained myself to
check whether this word needs an apostrophe.


---



I had to look this up, because I'm with you—"Rumba", etc. are names of
dances, and so I thought they'd be capitalized too. But no—turns out they are
not capitalized. I think the style manuals are getting really restrictive these
days about capitalization. Anyway, here's a link to an online capitalization
manual that has most of the rules and examples.






Mentioning the Minor

In some papers, relatively minor mistakes can make a big negative difference in
the professor's response to the paper. So if you can find those and show how to
fix them, you can really help the student focus on the more important stuff. For
example, in some upper-level courses, only papers with accurate documentation
can get passing grades. So even if that missing period at the end of the APA
reference entry might seem trivial to us, we're not grading the paper. So we
might point out not "how important this is" but how the student can avoid
trouble by getting this right. Like:

Documentation is such a picky process, and especially in upper-level classes,
it's so important to get right! The best way to do it is to find a reliable
manual and follow every step exactly. No need to waste any creativity.




Read as a reader. It can really help if you just describe what you felt—as a
reader—as you read the paper, especially if you felt kind of led off in the
wrong direction. This is another of those "easy fixes" that can make a big
difference—the writer might just need the problem and solution pointed out.

Your introduction introduces the different types of clinical psychology
practices, and I thought that the paper would be about that, about the variety
of practices and how they work. However, the paper after that focuses on the
problems faced by schoolchildren, and I realized that you're really writing
about the role of a school psychologist exclusively, not all the other branches
of psychology. I was kind of confused, especially as your focus after that first
paragraph is so good and confined to school psychology. So think about making
the introduction match the rest of the paper by focusing even the first
paragraph on psychology in the schools. Think about, for example, why we need
psychologists in schools. You could start (just an example) with something about
how teachers can't deal with all the problems presented by students, and then
give an example of a student with a psychological problem that the teacher can't
handle, and end up with a thesis about the importance of school psychologists to
deal with issues like this. That way from the very beginning, the reader will be
going in the direction you want. :) I think it won't take much revision at all,
because it's only your introduction that doesn't completely match. Match that to
your paper's focus, and I think you have it!



Apply what you know about the writing process, like the difference between
writing and revision:

There are many, many, many of these "subordinating conjunctions," so don't
bother memorizing them all (or the term— we English teachers need to know that,
but you just need to notice in revision). Just watch out for those, and remind
yourself to revise to separate the one element of the sentence from the other.
You'll find it's second nature pretty quickly. And remember, if you don't get it
right the first draft, that's fine. This is really about revising and editing,
not drafting. Always keep in mind, you don't have to get it perfect the first
draft! Once you learn this revising strategy and start watching to use it as you
edit, you can wait until the second draft to fix.






Provide Models and Examples:


Many students learn from example, and in fact, a good precise example can go a
long way to showing them what your explanations really mean. So although you
don't want to do the student's work, see if you can provide examples



This is such an interesting topic! The twenties was a wild decade with so
much change going on, and those changes were the causes of so many later
changes. Because your focus is on change, I am wondering if you might want to
put in a reason for: Economic and social prosperity had become harder for many
Americans to achieve, especially African Americans.

An easy way to do this is to put a "due to" at the start of the sentence, like:

Due to ... (what? Demographic changes, or the war, or ???), economic and social
prosperity had become harder for many Americans to achieve, especially African
Americans.




See what I mean? You're presenting an effect—something that happened—when you
talk about the difficulty of achieving. Can you quickly say the cause, why it
happened? If you can do it really quickly, you could just say, "Due to several
factors, economic..." and fill in the blanks later in the paper. You're right to
keep the introduction short and more generalized than the paragraphs where you
go into depth.





Second-language students:

ESL students pose a special challenge. Most tutors are trained to read the
papers of ESL (English as a Second Language) students and can identify common
problems that are just about inevitable in a paper written by a non-native
speaker. So many of the things native English speakers just get right
(especially articles) really aren't very easy to learn as an adult. So we know
that a student from another language culture might drop the "a" or "the" in
front of a noun, and it's no big deal. But we have to remember that for many
professors, this minor issue will stick out as a major marker of non-fluency
(and indeed, it is the quickest way to identify an ESL paper).

In fact, I once got a paper to advise that the professor termed "unreadable,"
and I couldn't figure the problem out, as it was a well-organized, thoughtful
paper. Then I realized that the lack of articles branded this "non-fluent," and
would be difficult to get past for anyone who wasn't trained to read ESL papers.
So I understand now that just helping ESL students with this one minor issue can
make an important difference in how their writing is accepted. I try then to
point out that this is a minor issue, easily remedied, that if fixed will let
the reader concentrate on the depth and development of the ideas. I also suggest
that they ask a native speaker friend to read the paper over just to find these
fluency issues. This can give them permission to seek help, but also reassures
them that missing articles does not in fact mean their papers are unreadable.

With ESL students especially, it helps to point out what they're doing right,
and gently suggest "a few ways that will create a better presentation for this
good analysis." That sort of reassurance can make an impression that lasts far
beyond the tutoring time. I once had a student who grew up speaking a native
African language and French, and he had a terrible time with articles, as his
native language didn't use them, and in French, they're linked to gender. But he
had created a useful grid to help organize his source material, and I praised
this as a structural tool and asked if I could copy it to show other students
how a grid could lead to a better analysis. He was pleased with the compliment,
and agreed with me that anyone who could create such a good grid could surely
handle articles. A few weeks later, he emailed to say he'd gotten an A on the
paper, and added, "The professor mentioned how well-organized my material was! I
think it was my grid that did it!" His confidence grew enough that he ended up
becoming a mentor to other African students. You never know when something you
say will have the effect of making a student want to strive and achieve and give
more. But I can tell you from my own experience: Praise – given honestly and
freely—can transform, especially students who feel lost and inadequate (as we
all would if we were trying to learn in a new language).





Affirmative Advising: A Learning Process

Advising in this affirmative way doesn't always come naturally, especially for
tutors trained as teachers first! So you might find it a bit mechanical at
first. I know that I have had to train myself to read over my advice before I
hit "send". I go through each paragraph and, keeping the essential meaning,
revise to make the information more accessible and friendly.



Of course, being positive doesn't mean ignoring problems, just presenting them
as solvable and then concentrating on the solutions. It's a very pragmatic way
of advising, in fact, because the focus is on "what works"—and so the results
can be dramatic, both for the student (who might feel more empowered and
excited) and for the advisor (who won't be so cranky!). Try it yourself in the
next few sessions, and see if your attitude and approach benefit from the
positive focus.



And by being affirmative, we're helping our students learn perhaps the most
important lesson to learn early in their college careers: In the university,
asking for help is its own reward.

Fan fic as a preview of fiction's future

Conclusion
Fan fiction calls into question the very "authority" of "authorship," which might, in fact, be mostly a 20th Century construct. Shakespeare, of course, recycled plots from classical myth and from lesser contemporaries. The Odyssey has spawned a long list of spinoffs, from the Tennyson poem "Ulysses" to Joyce's novel to – just in the last decade—the novel Cold Mountain and the film Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? Jane Austen (especially her Pride and Prejudice) has inspired a dozen or more related stories, including the popular Bridget Jones novels and films, and even a series with Austen as a detective in Regency England (and now a version with zombies). Whedon himself has frequently used myth and fairy tale (his musical episode, Once More With Feeling, borrows extensively from the Persephone myth, for example). Some fanfic even follows Shakespeare's lead and borrows from classical literature. One of the most prolific and talented fanfic authors, Lady Paperclip, re-does Arthurian legends in contemporary settings. (For a chastening experience, google her and read some of her Torchwood fic—she's only 18, and she already writes that well!) But by ignoring the "gatekeepers" of producers, moneymen, and publishers, fan-fiction also returns authority to the author, turning the observer into a participant, and recycling discarded materials into a new form.
Fanfiction more than other forms of art prizes connection, between the new story and the original series, between the writer and the reader, between prose and other media, between the unknown future of fiction and the long past of story.

The biggest objection presented against widespread self-publication on the Web-- the inability to sort wheat from chaff-- proves not that big a problem in fan-fic. Readers make their reading decisions based recommendations by trusted sources, archival on particular websites, and targeted contest wins. (There are literally dozens of award sites for Buffy fiction on the web, where fans nominate and judge the best stories in certain categories, like Best Alternative Universe and Best Angst.) The enormity of the offerings – so many fandoms, so many ships, so many styles—requires the reader to decide priorities quickly, discovering that, for example, the level of prose control can be discerned in a single paragraph, and that only certain ships ring that personal bell.
The fan-fic phenomenon is the forerunner of a massive increase in web-based art. And just as fan-fic has sort of sorted out (everyone soon figures out who the best writers/vidders/etc are in any fandom), there is a conscious rebuke to the notion of the "gatekeeper" which has kept many literary agents employed while keeping good but unrepresented writers out of the bookstores.
Fan-fiction, freed of the demands of the marketplace and the priority of moneymaking, is explosively creative and has invented many new forms and recycled others. In fact, the very limitations of fan-fiction—the inability to make money, the legal uncertainty, the relevance of canon, the use of someone else's characters—become paradoxically liberating.
"Where is the money?" is the question many writers will ask. With fan-fiction, there is no money, of course, and writers could get into legal trouble if they tried to charge for their writing. However, television and radio have turned into major industries without charging directly for their content, and so, perhaps, can web-based art.
But the future of fiction can be seen in fan-fiction: Niche-driven, edgy and perhaps outlawed, with the use of new technology to create multimedia experiences and innovative experiments in form and language, a community of writers and readers engaging in collaborative work, with emphasis on linked stories and shared universes, and above all intense interactivity. This is fiction at its most elemental: No limit, no fear, and no net.


Works Cited

Blasingame, Katrina. “'I Can’t Believe I’m Saying It Twice in the Same Century . But Duh . . .’ The Evolution of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sub-Culture Language through the Medium of Fanfiction." Slayage 20, May 2006.

Buck, Peter. Liner notes for "Everybody Hurts." In Time - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003.

Casey, Bernadette; Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French, and Justin Lewis. Television Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge Books. 2008.

Chaney, Keidra, and Raizel Liebler. "Canon vs. Fanon: Folksonomies of Fan Culture." Presented at Media in Transition 5: Creativity, Ownership and Collaboration in the Digital Age.

Edwards, Lynne; Elizabeth Rambo, James South. Buffy Goes Dark. London: McFarland. 2009.

Gileswench. "Fanon Terms." 6 April 2009 .

Kirby-Diaz, Mary. "Story-oriented and Series-oriented Fans." Buffy and Angel Conquer the Internet. ed. Mary Kirby-Diaz. London: McFarland. 2009. 62-86.

Kustritz, Anne (September 2003). "Slashing the Romance Narrative". The Journal of American Culture 26 (3): 371–384.

LJconstantine. "Reality by Consensus." .

Meades, Rob. The Drabble Project. 09 March 2009 .

Melusina, "More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Canon and Fanon." 8 April 2009 .

Mendelsohn, Farah. Speech. World Fantasy Convention. 1 November 2008. Calgary, Alberta.

"Five Things." Octaves of the Heart archive, 04 April 2009 .

Onishi, Norimitsu. "Thumbs Race as Japan’s Best Sellers Go Cellular." New York Times. 20 January 2008. . 1-2.

Stafford, Nikki. "Buffy, We Hardly Knew Ye." Toronto Globe and Mail, April 26th, 2003. Retrieved April 10, 2009 from
http://www.wickedsky.com/gileszone/page_essay_fanonterms.html

Fan-art and fiction cited:

Fan-art and fiction cited:

Anna S. The Spander Stories. 02 April 2009 .

Anna S. Season Noir. 02 April 2009 .

Cummings, Barb. "A Dark and Stormy Night." 3 April 2009 .

Dibble, Nan. Enemy of My Enemy. 31 March 2009 .

Dibble, Nan. Old Blood. 02 April 2009 .

Fallowdoe. Spiegel Im Spiegel. 02 April 2009 .

Herself. "Who Am I?" 05 April 2009 .

Jo the Librarian2003. "Vampyr." 25 March 2009 .

Leslie, Magpie, and Lori. Eyes Only/Watching Over. 8 April 2009 .

Martin, Cyn. "That Layla Berk." 25 March 2009. .

Martin, Cyn. The Code of the Watchers. 26 March 2009 .

Nwhepcat. Pentimento: 52 Moments That Never Happened to Dawn (and One That Probably Will). 03 March 2009 .

Quinara, The Spikeid. 08 April 209 .

Rose, Anne. Buffy and Spike, Lost in Cyberspace. .

Slaymesoftly. "Who Needs Five Gold Rings?" .

Snowpuppies. "Dawn Summers, Matchmaking Genius." 3 April 2009 .

St. Salieri. "Vampires and the Women Who Love Them II: The Vampires Speak." .

Stultiloquentia. "Campfire Tale for the End of Days." 2 April2009 .

Tales of Spike. "A Reckoning." 21 March 2009 .

The Green Chick. "Rhymes with Gleaming." 31 March 2009 .

Wesley Girl, Magpie, & Byrne, Tea and Biscuits. 3 March 2009 .

Special thanks the fan communities of Livejournal and Tea at the Ford, who shared their insights and examples of canon, fanart, and other topics.
Also, thanks to Buffyworld.com for the use of their transcripts of series.

Alicia's fan fic article

Reviving Buffy: Fandom as a Denial of Death

by

Alicia Rasley, Indiana University-Indianapolis


Presented April 11, 2009
Popular Culture Association Conference, New Orleans

Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.
Wallace Stevens

More and more, the mark of a true pop-cultural phenomenon is the growth of a fan-community and especially fan art. This phenomenon existed before the Internet (Star Trek fans used to mimeograph and mail their ST-based-stories to each other), but like so many other social activities, fan art has exploded on the Web. One of the more creative communities is based on one of the best television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS), which was created by Joss Whedon and played on the WB network and the UPN network from 1997-2003. In fact, the end of the show in its Season 7, far from killing the fandom, has allowed for a creative volcano of stories, music videos, comic books, poetry, series continuations (called "Season Eights"), and "intra-canonical" documents.
The end of the BTVS series coincided with two transformative media events: the use of DVDs to collect completed TV shows, and the growth in Internet-based social communities. The DVDs meant the series could attract new fans even after its end, and also meant that existing fans didn't have to rely on VCR tapes or reruns for inspiration. (The digital nature of DVDs, in fact, made creating music videos considerably easier.) Fans also quickly exploited social communities like yahoogroups and Livejournal to gather and exchange or post stories and other art (YouTube is especially welcoming to fan music videos, called vids). Both of these developments meant that BtVS has had a second life, one engendered not by a production company but by the spontaneous creativity of those who were merely consumers in the first life.

Recycling of Art = Denial of Death
Science-fiction and fantasy shows on television often have an impact beyond their meager ratings, first, because their viewers include more academics and media-workers, but also perhaps because their speculative nature invites inquiry, imagination, and analysis. SF/F shows are also more likely to have season-long and series-long dramatic arcs, with the plot and character development carrying on from one episode to another. In contrast, a "realistic" show like Law and Order is relatively closed to speculation, with its single-hour storylines and narrow, trial-based endings (either guilty or not). So despite L&O's lengthy tenure at the top of the Nielsens, it has garnered little in the way of a fandom. There is no space for fans, only viewers, because the show, like most TV shows, invites observation instead of participation.
BtVS's continuing underground popularity might seem baffling, given that it was broadcast only on two minor networks, suffered "criminal neglect" from the Emmys and other awards, and had only a small audience. But as Stafford observes: "It might only have (had) about five million viewers every week, yet its cultural significance far outweighs its seemingly small audience. In contrast, shows such as ER or The West Wing, both well-written, well-acted programs with four times the viewership, are not considered worthy of study and fan dissection, certainly not to the extent that Buffy or its spinoff show, Angel, might be" (Stafford, 2003).
As Stafford points out, BtVS's small audience included many academics, writers, and media-savvy fans, who amplified the impact of the show by parsing each line and storyline until they became part of the cultural dialogue. (For example, in the liner notes for their teenaged-melancholy anthem "Everybody Hurts", REM's Peter Buck wrote, "I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me.")
As ever, culture is most profoundly changed not in the middle but from the edges.

Buffy as Open Text
The outpouring of fan-art came about because BtVS is what Barthe called "open text," providing the depth and ambiguity that almost dares fans to add their own interpretations (Casey 209). The Internet amplifies this phenomenon, so that BtVS, like Wikipedia, becomes an "open-source" text, endlessly variable and collaborative. (The existence of the DVDs, of course, eternalizes and reifies the original text.) In fact, the end of the series has made space for the contributions of fans in many media, but particularly in the story-based medium of fanfiction. The series' own exploration of death and the denial of death is echoed by the "recycling" of the characters, plots, and themes by devoted fans. Just as vampires rise from the dirt of Sunnydale's graveyards, so have many thousands of stories risen from the end of BtVS, illustrating the vitality of the show years after its supposed death.
Fanfiction depends for both terms and themes on what Casey et al call polysemy: "words, images, or texts that have a number of different meanings." This term (from Barthes) defines an open text as one which invites the reader or viewer to play with meaning, to search for symbols and metaphors which might add layers of significance to the text" (209). BtVS fanwriters take this a step further: They are both the viewers who discover the symbols and metaphors and the creators who use these to provide new, alternate meanings, thereby deepening the original text.
Barthes's term "play" is significant. Many fanartists call what they're doing "play" as opposed to "work" (what you get paid for), and it's the spirit of play that allows for the multiplicity of layers added by their art. Even the notices used to disclaim any illegal use of copyright amplify this notion of "play":
Disclaimer: This is Joss's sandbox. I'm just playing in it. (In fact, there's an archive of Buffy fic called "The Sandlot.")
Disclaimer: Joss owns ‘em, I just play.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Just playing for fun.
Disclaimers: The Usual Suspects. We don't own them. We just like to play with them.
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine, but Joss said we could play with them. Thank you, Joss!
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and Warner Bros actually own Angel: The Series. I play with the characters on occasion, but I try not to screw them up too much.
The most important and liberating feature of "play" is its safety. There are few dangers in the sandbox. There is no chance of cancellation, and no chance of editorial rejection. Writers can revise whenever they discover mistakes or clunky prose. The relatively small audience is generally helpful and forgiving, as commenters tend to be self-selected (that is, they only read in the sub-genres they already enjoy) and pleasant to a fault (most don't comment at all unless they like a story). Writers have learned to be self-deprecating in the story summary that precedes most fics, explaining, for example, that they aren't happy with the scene and plan to revise, or that they're trying something new and it probably didn't work, or that this idea got hold of them and they have to write it even if it's lame. By apologizing ahead of time, the writer not only anticipates the reader's objections, but also diminishes expectations, precisely the opposite of what is done in commercial fiction (where the "blurb" seeks to raise expectations).
The fan-art community is not precisely closed, but does not advertise itself. One section, the vid-makers, is the most private, because recording companies are not seen as fan-friendly (this might have something to do with their siccing the FBI on college student downloaders!), and might assert copyright to stop fan-vidders from using recorded music. (This has already happened on Youtube.)
This means that generally the most accessible fan-artists are the fan-fiction (fan-fic) writers, as they have little fear of cease-and-desist orders. Mutant Enemy, Whedon's production company, has always been remarkably open to fan endeavors—ME writers have appeared at fanwriter conferences, and Whedon himself has been mentioned fan-fiction approvingly. Accordingly, this paper will focus mostly on the fan-fiction community and the fiction's role in "the denial of death" of Buffy and the series.

Recycling as Reviving
The fanwriter's credo might be: Everything can be recycled.
This is something Joss Whedon himself made use of—for example, when he created the character of Spike, Spike was never meant to be a series-long character (the fan popularity of the character and the actor kept Spike alive, or undead). However, the initial entry of the character set up, six seasons later, for his exit: In Season 2, Spike comes to town as the "villain of the week" and knocks down the Welcome to Sunnydale sign. When, in Season 3, he next enters town in his newer role of the "wacky neighbor," he drunkenly plows into it and knocks it down again. Then, in the very last episode in Season 7, when he assumes his final role as a hero, Spike causes an implosion of the desert which swallows a vampire army, all of Sunnydale, and himself. The final object to fall into the crater is the Welcome to Sunnydale sign.
In fact, Whedon himself constantly reused material in new, creative ways that are remarkably close to the opportunities that inspire fan-artists— spinning off a new series (Angel the Series or AtS) for Angel and using it to rehabilitate two secondary BtVS characters of ill repute (Cordelia and Wesley), restoring Spike to life to revive AtS (which was reportedly going to get cancelled unless the popular Spike actor James Marsters joined the cast), reusing minor actors from series to series (Nathan Fillion had a minor role in BtVS and became the star in Firefly).
Even now, Whedon makes use of evocative themes and lines. In his new show, Dollhouse, he recycles not only the actor Eliza Dushku (who played Faith in BtVS), but also the question of identity. In the pilot, Echo (Dushku) echoes Spike's crooned line from his first episode, "Who do you want me to be?"
Memorable Buffy lines even show up on other shows. The BBC show Torchwood, in many ways an homage to the Buffyverse, brought in James Marsters for a continuing guest role—a role remarkably like Spike, as it happens. When he enters the episode, he quickly kills a mugger, and then sighs, "Thirsty now," in a clear recycling of Willow's line (itself recycled from Season 3 to Season 6), "Bored now."

Copyright What?
There are a few rules that come into play for fan-artists meant to keep their recycling on the safe side of copyright infringement (though in typically raffish fan-artist fashion, these are honored more in the breach). The first is the disclaimer of any ownership of characters in the story (what Busse calls a "paratext"), and this appears on most fan-fiction stories (though it's questionable how much protection it affords if Whedon should ever assert authority). A typical disclaimer appears at the top of a fic:
Title: Thought You Should Know
Summary: Spike wrote a letter to Buffy before the final battle in Not Fade Away. What happens when Buffy finally discovers Spike is back from the great beyond?
Characters/Pairing: Spike/Buffy, Connor, Angel, Nina
Genre: Romance, Angst
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Spoilers for the end of Angel Season 5, After the Fall and up through Issue #23 of Buffy Season 8.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Just playing for fun.

A typical story heading states the "pairings" (many fan-readers read only one romantic pairing, or avoid certain pairings, and some prefer "gen-fic," the term for fiction without any romantic pairing at all) and the sensuality rating (which uses the MPAA ratings devised for films). It also provides spoiler warnings, a holdover from the during-series days when some fic-readers might not have seen the latest episode. (BtVS aired later in Europe and Canada than in the US, but internet-published fiction appears simultaneously everywhere.) But perhaps the most significant line is the one disclaiming ownership of characters. True to their tricksy nature, writers often use this to make a wry comment or mock-rebuke to Mutant Enemy for the canonical treatment of the characters:
Disclaimer: Joss creates, I borrow.
Disclaimer: Joss and Mutant Enemy and those folks own the characters. I just found some moments within their stories, or made up some of my own. No copyright infringement intended, and the writer receives no profit from this story.
Disclaimer: All hail Joss from whom all these characters flow.
Disclaimer: Joss owns 'em, I just love 'em up when he's too mean to them.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, Etc, Etc....own them all. We’re just smutting them up for fun.
Disclaimer: I don't own. If I did, you can bet your life, Angel would have been wearing a lot less clothes.
Disclaimer: The plot is mine and nothing else, blah blah blah, Joss is God and the "Grrr, Arrrgghh" monster could kick my ass. Don't sue. It's not nice.

Careful fanwriters also post on sites that are friendly to fan-fiction, such as fanfiction.net, Livejournal, or anyone of the many archives devoted to a particular fandom (or subfandom therein). This generally assures that few non-readers are going to stumble on a fic and object. Fanwriters usually use pseudonyms, though some post their real name on their websites. As most fandoms realized they have little fear from the originators of the characters, there has been less attempt to hide the real identities of writers as any kind of legal protection. Now, it is more likely that an academic or published author will resort to a "fan-name" just so the dean or the editor won't stumble across that great dom/sub Spangel slash fic just posted. Most fanwriters are "out" within the fan community, introducing themselves with both their real names and their fannames at Writercon and other fan conferences.
In fact, some of the fan-artists who have "real" art careers use fanwriting as an escape of sorts from their own discipline. One bestselling novelist says that she makes fan-vids (music videos) to relax from a day of writing her original fic, as the creation of a video requires the use of other parts of the brain than writing. Another example is Cyn Martin, who makes a living as an illustrator for graphic novels and comics. Her fanfic is not visual but intensely word-based— ingenious "Giles as Jeeves" configurations with Wodehousian wordplay. (She has done a bit of fan art, but it's characteristically distinctive, including prayer cards for Spike and Angel to hand out in hopes of getting some believers to pray for their souls.)
The anonymity of fanwriting affords writers unique opportunity to experiment with new forms and new techniques more or less in private. For example, after a summer's immersion in the Jeeves books, Cyn Martin took this chance to try out her inner-Wodehouse, creating a sort of dual-action fanfic (Giles as Jeeves, or sometimes Bertie):

Those who know Rupert Giles may well describe him as a sort of keen-eyed jungle cat, a veritable skein of instinct and poise and coiled alertness. R. Giles and vigilance are synonymous in the right circles; Rupert Giles, they'll tell you, is one fellow who lets not down his guard. A watcher's watcher, so to speak. It takes, in short, a threat of no common obscurity to nip up and prong the two fingers into Giles unaware.

Therefore, if I tell you when I walked into the solar and came smack up against the grinning and gnomishly repellent mug of Ethan Rayne that my resulting consternation was extreme, you may take my word to the automatic teller.

My head swam. My mouth may have gaped. A gurgle or two may have escaped my stunned and bloodless lips.

That sort of playfulness, the melding of inspirations, would not fly in literary circles, where "originality" is prized, or in commercial publishing, which seldom values intricate prose. And there is always the chance that the writer will miss the mark entirely, sprinkle whimsy with too heavy a hand (though Martin never does), aim for emotion and hit only sentiment. But in the shadow world of fanfic, failure can be shrugged off with Dawn's Season 5 insight: "Some nail polish experiments are doomed before they even begin."
And in the safety of the shadows, where failure has no lasting consequence, writers can give freedom to experimental impulses, paradoxically increasing the chances of true innovation.

Canon and Orientation
BtVS has always been a show that generates discussion and analysis, but it has also always inspired participation in the form of art by fans. Kirby-Diaz distinguishes between series-oriented fans and the story-oriented fans, the former "consuming" and the latter "producing" culture: "Together, they provide the momentum needed to maintain a fandom long after a series has been cancelled or has ended its run" (Kirby-Diaz 63). The series-oriented fan is more likely to be the one who watches episodes several times and analyzes the arcs and tropes, finds repeated motifs, keeps track of the series actors and writers, transcribes the shooting scripts, collects memorabilia, creates websites with lists of the songs in every episode.
The story-oriented fan is more likely to create fan art that plays off or extends from the storylines, the characters, and individual episodes. Often story-oriented fans make use of the creations of the series-oriented fan (fan-fiction writers owe a particular debt to those careful scribes who provided the episode transcripts collected on Buffyworld.com).
These are not, of course, exclusive categories—fans like Rahirah write both analysis and fiction, for example—but series-oriented fans, when they do write fiction, tend to be more interested in amplifying or exploring "the canon," that is, what has been on the show. For example, a series-oriented writer might create a document that is mentioned but not developed in the canon, like the famous collaborative work Lydia Chalmers's Thesis. This was inspired by the Season 5 comment of a watcher visiting Giles and learning that Spike is in town, "I wrote my thesis on him!" Another canonical creation is the Vampyr Book, the image of which appears in the opening credits of nearly every episode, and has inspired a "Foreword" by a librarian, who warns that misuse or overdue status will be punished by "an enforced collection order, a fine not exceeding £2,000 and/or a sentence of damnation for a period not exceeding 30 years" (Jo the Librarian).
Story-oriented fans, however, are more interested in plotting their own stories based on the characters and plotlines. So they tend to honor canon only when it's useful. In fact, the canon issue provides one way of categorizing fanwriters (see appendix for an attempt at taxonomy). Most writers agree that canon is what appeared on the show and on AtS also, as the two shows were constantly intertwined – for example, Wesley left BtVS after being fired as Buffy's Watcher and soon showed up on AtS, unemployed and hungry, and most famously, Spike "died" saving the world at the end of BtVS, and was resurrected as a ghost a few months later on AtS. Interestingly, however, few fans would include in the canonical material the comics overseen by Joss Whedon and continuing the Buffy story into Season 8.
Writers can be distinguished based on how closely does they hew to canon. Readers often make decisions on what to read by considering how important the writer makes canon. Some writers, for example, restrict themselves to canon-fidelity, only amplifying and never contradicting what was on the show. These writers might expand a moment that is alluded to but not shown in an episode (Oz, for instance, mentioned that he had been to the Far East to learn to control his werewolf urges, and a canon-faithful writer might set a story in a Buddhist monastery, with Oz being tutored in meditation). Others might just rewrite a scene as a short story, providing one character's inner thoughts, such as Buffy's thinking when she is breaking up with Spike (internal point-of-view being one advantage offered by prose).

Canon and Jossing
The end of the series brought writers a unique liberation: from the fear of "being jossed"—having Joss Whedon's story (the official one) take a turn that their own fiction didn't take.
Fanwriter Eowyn_315 explains, "Being Jossed is when you write a fic that, at the time is consistent with canon, but which is contradicted by a later episode. Example: stories written prior to 'Fool For Love' where Angel is Spike's sire were 'Jossed' by that episode (where it becomes canon that Drusilla actually turned Spike into a vampire). It also applies if you wrote fic about 'what happens next' only to have the next episode contradict it. (Thus, you can only be Jossed if you write fic while the show is airing.)"
The end of the series makes Jossing obsolete. Writers know what happened in the series and won't be surprised—except for those new fans who started watching BtVS only in DVD, and have been inspired to write prior to watching the whole series. What writers still have to deal with, however, is criticism that they are not honoring "canon"—what is concretized as the official truth by what happened in the series.

However, most fanwriters respond to accusations that they have departed from canon with the attitude, "And your point is?" That is, they use what storylines, character traits, and events are helpful and illuminating, but don't hesitate to vary from the series. Many writers will accept canon until a particular moment, the moment usually the fic starts. (After all, one fanwriter points out, "Why bother to write a story that Joss has already done?") For example, rahirah's Barbverse stories accept canon up to Season 5, but then veer off in a plausible but different direction (Spike and Buffy become a romantic couple, and Spike never gets his soul back). Herself similarly tends to use canonical material as the past of her stories, but wherever her stories start, that's the end of canon. For instance, in one of her fics, instead of going to LA after "killing" Angel (end of S2), Buffy goes to New York, where she encounters and sleeps with a forcibly-ensouled Spike. This story makes use of canonical events, but twists them to create a new story-reality: Willow tries, as in the original, to re-insert Angel's soul, but her spell goes awry and the other vampires in the vicinity (Spike and Dru) also get new souls.
"Alternate universe" (AU) fics tend to disregard even parts of canon that many viewers consider essential, like the Sunnydale setting and the stable time period. AU fics are often more dsystopic than BtVS ever was. For example, Anna S.'s Season Noir series is set in a Sunnydale where the sun never rises and a demon-Nazi army has taken over. Many are post-apocalytic and far more grim than the series, like Spiegel Im Spiegel by Fallowdoe, where Spike and Buffy must find their way to each other across a blasted American landscape. AU fics often ignore not just canon but also the brighter mien of the series, with characters who go on fighting evil even after evil has won.
Some story-oriented fans disregard canon altogether, such as those who read and write the "AH" or "all-human" fics. In a typical AH fic, say, Buffy and Angel are homecoming queen and king at Sunnydale High, and Spike is the leather-jacketed motorcycle-riding bad boy who seduces her away—no vampires, no slayers involved. These AH stories focus on the characters and imagine what they would be like if they were merely human and set down in a human world. So even shorn of his Master Vampire status, Angel is still a leader, the quarterback of the football team or the principal of the high school. This highlights what might be seen as the "true self" of the character when what the writer regards as extraneous (vampirehood, slayerhood) is deleted.
The disclaimer at the top of each story tells if a fic is AH or AU, or suggests if and when the story is set. "Post-Grave," for example, will usually mean that the story accepts canon up through the Grave episode (and then presumably is non-canonical after that). "During (episode)" generally means that the story is inserted into the canonical events.

Extending from the Canon
While the series was going on, fanwriters had to risk "being jossed," that is, projecting events into the future that might be rendered non-canonical by the next episode. Most slash writers ("slash" means a homosexual pairing is at the center of the story) didn't have to worry about that. They'd already chosen to write non-canonically by presuming gay relationships that weren't likely to come to pass. (Supposedly Whedon had planned to make Xander the gay Scooby, but liked the Tara actress so much he "gayed up" Willow instead. So Spander – Spike/Xander-- might have become canon, at least in an alternate universe.) Some slashwriters have become particularly adept at using canonical events to insert a slash-reality into the series.

Fortunately, even early fanwriters, writing only to the cognoscenti, could count on a certain series-savvy of the reader and a familiarity with its fictional forms, as Anna S. shows in one tossed away paragraph of in her Spander novel, Sidelines: "And it seemed like seconds later that they heard a car pulling up, Giles's familiar and tired tones, Riley's laugh. They swept in, Giles wearing a shirt made for mocking, and there was hugging and exposition and a general collapse of relief before anyone noticed Spike." This expeditiously connects the time of the scene to a particular episode and season ("A New Man," Season 4), and extends the canonical action (Buffy rescuing Giles) another few minutes to give Xander an opportunity, albeit a grudging one, to ally with his new roommate Spike against his old friends. The paragraph uses a prop in the episode (Giles's unGileslike shirt) and the series's characteristic meta-shorthand ("there was hugging and exposition") to insert the Spander romantic turning point into the reader's existing database of Buffy events.

Breaking out of Canon
Some writers go from what could happen (that is, the twice-roommates status and the oddly complementary personalities of Xander and Spike certainly could set up for a romantic relationship, though that didn't happen in the series) to what couldn't happen. A whole mini-genre of "Five (or some other number—five is the most common) Things That Would Never Happen to (character)." which paradoxically explores, through what didn't happen, what could or should have happened to a character. By deconstructing the impossible, the writer can inspire the question—why wouldn't this happen? What about the situation or character makes this unlikely? What happens instead?
A lauded example of this, one that stretches from drabble (very short) to almost novella length, is nwhepcat's Pentimento: 52 Moments That Never Happened to Dawn (and One That Probably Will). The 52 moments never happened to Dawn because they take place in Seasons 1-4, where Dawn was probably not even a gleam in Joss Whedon's eye—she made her first appearance in Season 5, already a teenager, inserted into the family, complete with faux-memories. In drabble form (100 words per entry), nwhepcat uses the "entrĂ©e" of the implanted memories to put Dawn at the scene of many of the most important moments of the series (like Faith taking over Buffy's body). For the reader/viewer, this replicates the disconcerting moment in the first episode of Season 5, when Dawn initially appears and, after a moment of confusion, Buffy (and everyone else) accepts the new reality of the Dawn-that-is/was. As the memories of the characters (including Dawn) are altered to create a space for her, only the viewer could recall the Dawnless BtVS. Nwhepcat explores this disconnect through Dawn's viewpoint and false memories, revealing not just how seamlessly the girl was inserted, but also the sharp loneliness of the two Slayers (Buffy and Faith). (Nan Dibble's novel Old Blood performs a reversal of this, where Dawn is removed from Buffy's life and only Spike retains any recollection of her.)
The "Never Happened" device as an experimental narrative format plays with the entire notion of fiction (which, by definition, didn't happen), and focuses on the special quality of fan-fiction— innovation within familiarity. Only readers familiar with what did happen can understand the character conversions revealed in the broken mirror of the "never happened".



Fan forms and Drabbles
The fan-community is remarkably sensitive to the story and even outside events. For example, recently Andy Hallett, who played the demon Lorne in the Angel series, died very young after a long battle with heart disease. Within 24 hours, one of the most popular fan-fic writers, Rahirah (here using her real name, Barb C), posted this tribute to Lorne on her Livejournal:

Coda
by Barb C
Rating: G
Characters/Pairing: Lorne
Author's notes: RIP, Andy Hallett. You'll be missed.

Humans. Demons. In-betweens. Strutting and fretting their hour on stage, singing their hearts out. He gives them what they came for: Buy low, sell high, you'll find love on Flag Day, sweet cheeks. A good seer's honest, but not too honest, even (especially) with himself. Every song's got a coda, and Lorne sees them all, past the new love and the old pain, the hope and the fear and the resignation. Young and old, human and less so, mortal and immortal - sooner or later, every single one of them takes their final bow.

Lights out, curtains closed.

That's all, folks.

This makes use of several of the materials of the combined series: Whedon's love of Shakespeare; Hallett's own singing style and theater experience; the character Whedon and Hallett created together; Lorne's signature phrasing (sweet cheeks), his telepathic gift, and his comic technique of mixing the sublime (the coda) and the trite (that's all, folks).
But it also makes use of a couple common fan-fic devices, such as the use of the standard disclaimer as a message in itself ("RIP, Andy Hallett") and the drabble form, which in its pure state is as exacting as a sestina—100 words. In this way, a Real World event after the end of the series can be memorialized inside the new universe of fan-fiction.

The drabble as a form of story was not invented by fanwriters, but (according to one account) the invention involved both vampires and Monty Python:
Drabble is played sitting around a fire, while sipping brandy and partaking of pleasant conversation with friends. The first person to finish a novel wins.
The first game of Drabble, a name coined in a 'Monty Python' sketch, was played at the beginning of the (19th) century. The winner was Mary Shelley with 'Frankenstein' and Polidori, who didn't actually finish during that stormy weekend, came second with 'The Vampyre.' (Meade)
The first known drabbles to be confined to 100 words came out of the science-fiction community and collected into The Drabble Book by Beccon Press (100 words, 100 authors, 100 shillings price). The proceeds went to charity. Quickly, there came a fan-fiction connection; a subsequent volume celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Doctor Who? television show (a fan-fiction favorite) (Meade).
Some fan-writers specialize in drabbles, experimenting with the sonnet-like task of focusing a moment or an emotion into a short word-burst. Already there are variations on the drabble form, including one that is exactly 1000 words, and another that requires only 10 words. One fan-writer, nwhepcat, has made a career of collecting drabbles into long series that become something like novellas, including her masterwork Pentimento: 52 Moments That Never Happened to Dawn (and One That Probably Will), 52 100-word drabbles inserting Dawn (Buffy's younger sister, who appeared at the ago of 14 in Season 5) into the events of Seasons 1-4 (when she didn't yet exist).
The drabble form prefigured the development of keitai shousetsu, or Japanese cell phone stories—stories of about 70 words sent to cell phones daily and later sometimes gathered into books (some of which have become bestsellers). Like fandom, this is still primarily the work of women and girls, some actually using text-messaging as a medium (Onishi 1). The latest invention is the "Twitter novel," short novels composed in segments the length of a Twitter message (140 characters).
The task is for both drabbles and these cell-phone/Twitter stories is to create meaning without waste, a distillation of feeling or a single quick impression. Drabbles in fan-fic have the advantage of dealing with characters the reader should already know. So the reader of the RIP-Lorne fic would know that Andy Hallett had died, and that Lorne was a performer with a particular style and gift. Similarly, the readers of the Dawn drabbles would know that she did not exist until Season 5, that she is just an adjunct of her powerful sister, and that she has had crushes on Xander and Spike. Some of the art of drabbling comes from knowing what the readers will know and accepting that as a given, and not wasting words on establishing character identity or setting. Often the drabbles are narrated in deep point of view, so they waste little time on exposition and character identification, relying on the reader's knowledge to fill in the blanks.

Inventions
The drabble, though not invented by fanwriters, has been used with the sort of innovation within strict discipline that sonnet-poets inhabited. Other fanfiction forms are more individual and present truly post-modern innovation to the story form.
In Buffy fandom, fan-artists have taken existing forms (e.g., TV series, music video, novel) and played with them in new ways to create new forms, new genres, and indeed, a new way of creating and communicating art. For example, one fascinating invention is what's known as the "Five Things meme," in which five things that might or might not have happened are described about one character, revealing something about that character. (There are many collected in the Octaves of the Heart archive.) A small sample of these is:
Five Names Not Found in the Watchers' Diaries By Lynne
Five Memories of William Angel Wanks Off To By SpankSpike
Five Kisses Spike and Buffy Never Shared (And One They Did) By Cindy
Four Outfits Buffy Never Got to Wear, and One She Did By biggrstaffbunch
Five Decisions Ethan Rayne Never Made By Mireille
5 Movies Faith Really Loves (and Who She Watched Them With) By Vesica

Buffy fans are likely to be tech-savvy and comfortable with the online environment, so it's not surprising that common internet devices like eBay are used as frames for fics. For example, slaymesoftly's "Who Needs Five Gold Rings?" centers on an eBay auction where Dawn competes for a skull-ring (like the one Spike gave to Buffy when they were "engaged" by a spell gone wrong) with a mysterious Mr. Aurelius (the name is a tip-off to fans).
Buffy fandom evolved along with the Internet, and not surprisingly, some fics make use of common new-tech forms. Tea and Biscuits exploits two, as a matter of fact: It was written as an RPG (role-playing game) among three writers, and much of the story takes the form of a series of emails, some rather steamy, betweem Spike and Giles and Wesley.
One section of a similar RPG, Eyes Only/Watching Over, involved the same trio, with three writers taking the parts of Spike, Giles, and Wesley, and posting to each other using a Livejournal blog and the comment section (for example, "Wesley" posts about arriving in Los Angeles and encountering his dangerous ex Lilah. "Giles" and "Spike" post comments of warning and support).
This form, now called "commentfic," employs both of the popularity and the comment function of Livejournal to create an ever deeper descent into a story, with readers becoming writers, the observers being drawn into the participation. (A Livejournal community is now devoted to comment_fic, with prompts like: Gile/Oz, nightmare.) Stultiloquentia describes this as:
Fic written in a comment to an LJ post (which imposes a word count limitation), generally in answer to a short prompt. Generally happens in one of two ways: either an author who's feeling the need to pound out some drabbles will holler, "Commentfic! Give me prompts!" or oxoniensis will holler, "Panfandom Porn Battle VII this weekend! Send prompts!" Then everybody rushes in and drops a prompt, generally in the form of a pairing and a random noun or adjective or two, and starts doing anticipatory finger warm-ups. Porn ensues. The appeal is that it's so low-pressure -- don't think, don't edit, don't stress, just write something. And it's a really cool community activity, because everybody's playing at once. And if someone grabs your prompt, you get a present.
Commentfic is fiction being invented before the reader's eyes, and becomes akin to performance art, as Stulti observes, "It's why theatre is still alive even though movies are shiny -- the community aspect, the whole audience gasping at the same time, the tension of watching a hugely skilled but no-net performer.... You've discovered the textual equivalent."

Avidrosette, as she watched this sort of fic happen in paian's Livejournal blog, remarked to the originator:
The high-wire act of writing it in this form adds this fascinating, extra-textual layer of drama, too. It's such an amazing tease; you have us all breathless. It's interesting the way the form demands that each installment (whether one comment or several) have its own defined arc. As much as I want more, more, each installment satisfies, a mini-story in itself. Your instincts and control here are extraordinary.
The form has repercussions on so many levels. As others have said, the recapitulation of the story's observer/subject dichotomy [the fic had a voyeurism plot] in the relations of the watching reader/performing writer adds this mind-bending layer to the whole experience, as if the story were reaching off the page to encompass the reader and writer as active, mirroring players. You've turned the fourth wall into part of the stage.

These new forms of story exploit the willingness of the self-selecting reader to appreciate and understand not only the originating story and characters, but the format on which the story is based, be it the Livejournal blog or the epic poem.
Traditional media get some recognition in fic, of course. In a satire of both vampire books and TV talk shows, St. Salieri's Vampires and the Women Who Love Them II: The Vampires Speak, brings together (in transcript format) Spike with Bill Compton of HBO series True Blood and Edward Cullen of the book Twilight (that book certainly reads like a Buffy/Angel fanfic). No surprises here—Spike cannot conceal his scorn for his guilt-ridden compatriots, and in fact, outs Edwards as a mere vampire wannabe.
An even older technology is used in Clipping Service by powerofthebook, which uses a series of newspaper clippings to describe life after the death of Sunnydale. An ancient form has been used by several writers: the poem, usually playing off Spike's human past as a failed romantic poet. There are "Spaikus" (Spikian haikus), a Spike poetry chapbook, and even Quinara's epic poem in the form of the Aeneid (The Spikeid):
I
Of bloody awfulness and fallen towns,
O Calliope, would I sing if you
Would lend your aid. And, wow, I sound a bit
Pretentious, don’t I? Sorry ‘bout that – what
I meant to say was this: I’ve got a plan,
But I would need your help to pull it off.
That’s only if you’re interested, of course.
I’d like to think you would be – after all
It twists on all your favourite themes: there’s war,
A man (less seedy than Aeneas), Heav’n
And Hell (though not so much of Purgatory
Because I found that kind of dull – except
For Lethe at the top and Eden, but
They’re still not really necessary). That’s not
Forgetting romance either; naturally
There’s quite a bit of that. But anyway,
The main thing I should tell you is: it’s got
A bunch of vampires!

Meta-Fiction
One of the wiliest of new fiction types is fanfiction about fanfiction. These post-modern stories are often called "meta-fiction" (as distinguished from "meta," which is the term used to describe in-depth non-fictional analyses of BtVS episodes), and often play with the notion that somehow Buffy characters create or discover fanfiction. These meta-fics are usually tongue-in-cheek, making gentle fun both of fan-fiction and the characters. For example, rahirah comically acknowledges the power of the reader, which is much greater with fanfic than with commercial fic, as Dawn and her collaborators (and Spike, who provides research material) brainstorm the next chapter of their vampire fic:
Janice sulked further. "Nobody cares about that plot stuff. Everyone's waiting for the vampire smoochies. People are starting to leave bitchy feedback asking where the next chapter is, and if we don't give them hot bitey sex fast, we're gonna lose half of them!"

As in most good fiction, the progression in meta-fiction is through character conflict to character change. So Anne Rose has a pre-Smashed (the episode where Buffy and Spike first have sex) Season 6 Spike come across a yahoogroups list of Buffy fans from the near future (there was a dimensional rift—don't ask), and when he realizes they have access to the "highly addictive spoilers" (which he interprets as "oracle prophecies"), he joins the list as "William" and asks them what Spike ought to do to win Buffy's love. The listmembers respond with a flurry of advice—Spike shouldn't take any eggs from any doctor, he should not make any wisecracks about killing a Slayer, advice that should help him avoid some of the mistakes he is about to make in the actual show.
In another famous fic,"Dawn Summers, Matchmaking Genius," Dawn discovers that Tara is writing fanfic (Harry Potter/Draco slash, "my OTP," she explains—OTP= One True Pairing, the reader's favorite romantic couple), and also "RPS—real person slash" about Spike and Xander. Inspired by this, Dawn does a magic spell to get Spike and Xander together, and then takes credit for their new relationship.
Meta-fiction creates a small conspiracy between the writer and the reader, who can both be counted on to be familiar with the forms, the tropes, the conventions, the cliches, and the challenges of fanfic as well as of the series. But these fictions are usually really fictional; the stories do not use the actual fanfic writers as characters, to avoid the dread "Mary Sue" accusation (a Mary Sue is a character usually based on an idealized form of the writer, distinguished as one critic put it, "by the presumption that all the cool people want to sleep with her"). What makes it "fan-fiction about fan-fiction" is the use of BtVS characters encountering fan-fiction with consequences in the character world. What makes it "meta" is the commentary is creates about the processes of writing, characterization, and plotting.

Other Inventions: Fanon and Jargon
Fanon are fan-fic-created tropes or ideas which are not in canon, but might as well be, as so many writers have used them, or as Chaney defines it: "Fanon is the ideas and concepts that fan communities have collectively decided are part of an accepted storyline or character interpretation... (T)he concept of fanon is best illustrated as an example of folksonomy, a user-generated classification used in Internet social communities; or as a 'tag' – an aggregation of content emerging through bottom-up consensus by the public, or in this case, fan communities " (Chaney 1).
For example, it is canon (shown in the series) that Dawn has crushes on both Xander and Spike, but it is fanon (generally accepted by fan-writers) that she hates Angel. As the canon recedes into the distant past, fanon becomes more influential. Fanon is sometimes seen as just mistakes fanwriters make, but most define fanon as "concepts that do not appear directly in canon, but are widely accepted and used among the writers of fanfic. For example: Buffy's 'real' name is Elizabeth, Xander's parents are physically abusive to him" (Gileswench).
Melusina and other fanreaders list a few of these memes:
• Giles is seen as the "daddy" for the Scoobies, who otherwise lack father figures.
• Spike plays the guitar.
• Giles is an alcoholic.
• Vampires refer to those they've sired as "childe".
• Spike calls Xander "whelp".
• Buffy smells like vanilla.
• Vampires have "magic saliva" device, able to close wounds by licking them (though this would seem to be counterproductive for the purpose of drinking blood).
• Spike's nickname for Tara is "Glinda," aka "the good witch."

Some readers object to fanon as inauthenticity, even heresy, especially when it contradicts canon. But others take a more inclusive view; as Melusina points out, this is a quite organic outgrowth of a collaborative fan community: "Someone describes Xander as addicted to chocolate ... and someone else thinks, 'Hey, that makes sense!' and includes it in her story and someone else picks it up from her, and so on and so on."
In fact, nothing becomes fanon unless many writers and readers find that the item fits what they know of or believe about the characters, as Melusina points out:
Fan inventions become fanon because they resonate with readers and writers - there's a kind of collective agreement that ... Spike would call Xander pet / whelp / nummy treat (it may annoy the hell out of you, but you have to admit that a significant group of fans must like these inventions, or they wouldn't have become enormously popular). Fanon can be invented whole-cloth, but it's often extrapolated (or wildly exaggerated) from hints in canon (Xander's parents are neglectful and alcoholic, which gets transformed into "Xander was physically or sexually abused by his parents"). In an ongoing series (especially one where the writers frequently interact with the fans), bits of fanon can even be integrated into the show as a "shout out", becoming canon. (Melusina)

Some writers make elaborate justifications for their inventions, pointing perhaps to a deleted scene on the DVD or an interview with the actor as proof that their fanon is really canon. Others see no reason to justify their invention or repetition of a fan meme beyond, "I thought it was cool."
The divide between those who decry fanon and those who celebrate it replicates the divide between the series-oriented fan and the story-oriented fan. LJConstantine, a series-oriented fan, objects to fanwriters borrowing too many memes and "facts" from other fanwriters:
Writing fan fiction based on other fan fiction results in stories that distance fan fiction even further from the source material, not unlike a xerox copy of a xerox copy. After time, the crisp clean lines of the original are completely blurred and the picture many not even resemble the source any longer. And there is a hidden danger: if a reader believes, due to fanon, that a character would react a particular way to a situation or stimuli, or has a backstory that conflicts with what you have written, then the writer can be hit with backlash despite the fact that the story in question adheres to series canon. In some worlds, fanon is considered more valid to the readers than canon, consciously or unconsciously. And from this kind of attack, there is no defense. How can there be, when the attack itself is not based on logic, but emotion? The fact of the matter is, fanon can become a very dangerous animal when any group of readers and writers reach reality by consensus.
This view presents the canon as the "text" and the original creators as the "authors" who have authority over what is true and what is not. Fanon, in this view, is dangerous because it muddies the distinction between fiction and reality (well, the reality of the original fiction). In fact, the fanon could end up being more attractive than the canon, and that would be analogical to the lie becoming more appealing than the truth.
In contrast, Chaney sees fanon as a sign of the true community aspect of the fanfiction writers: "We propose the idea that the concept of fanon is best illustrated as an example of folksonomy, a user-generated classification used in Internet social communities; or as a 'tag' – an aggregation of content emerging through bottom-up consensus by the public, or in this case, fan communities. " (Chaney 1). This view, more descriptive than prescriptive, presents the collaborative aspect that creates fanon as a sign of the meritocracy of fanfiction—if indeed, fanon is more attractive than canon, why shouldn't readers have access to it? "Reality by consensus" becomes not the threat but the promise of a fiction democracy.
Intriguingly, this debate has a pre-echo in the inability of characters in the first two seasons of BtVS to distinguish vampires from humans. So in the very first scene of the series, both the viewer and a victim are fooled by the vampire Darla, who is pretending to be an innocent schoolgirl—complete with parochial-school uniform—about to be date-raped. This theme of the attractive deceiver continues later in the first season when Jesse, Xander's best friend, is used as bait to attract the Scoobies (Buffy and her allies) into a vampire lair—they don't realize that he has been turned into a vampire. Buffy herself is a victim of this deception, falling in love with Angel before she realizes that he's a vampire (itself echoed a season later, when she sees Spike and thinks he's human—Spike immediately proclaims that not only is he a vampire, he's here in town to kill her). The ability to pass as human is usually shown as the most insidious weapon in the vampire arsenal, as Spike entices the sullen student Sheila into his arms, and then takes her to his vampire-mate Drusilla for dinner.
For advocates of canon, fanon is like the vampire pretending to be human—a deceiver using deception to drain the lifeblood from the authentic.
But for most fan-writers, fanon becomes – like vampires—more compelling and creative than the original. In fact, one of the greatest achievements in fan-writing is to create a "meme" that is picked up by other writers and used with the same appreciation as canonical events.

Myth Creation: The Vampire Code and the Fanged Four
Many of the earlier fanfics attempted to expand on an area tantalizingly hinted at in BtVS—the vampire mythos. So one early trend was the creation of "the Aurelian code" (Angel and Spike were in canon members of the vampire order of Aurelius), and vampire rituals. For example, Nan Dibble's Enemy of My Enemy has Angel entrapping his grandchilde Spike with the "Supplice d'Allegance," a torture ceremony designed to re-establish the authority of the master vampire over his family.
But very soon, the second generation of Buffyfic began to play with the myths established in the first generation. So rahirah's "A Dark and Stormy Night" adds a bit of parody to the meta-fiction device, as Dawn and her friends quiz a disbelieving Spike on the niceties of vampire ritual:
Janice slumped into a sulk. Dawn sighed and made another entry in her notepad. "OK, last question. What's the punishment if a vampire defies their sire?"

Spike eviscerates every vampire myth as, well, a myth, and forces the girls to explain why they need this information, eliciting this meta-moment:
"It's a, a literary project," said Janice, cringing back against the pillows. "For, um...female empowerment via intertextual appropriation. And smut."
"We have forty-two reviews on bloodandroses.com," Megan said, puffing out her chest. "And seventy-six on VampireDiaries.com!"

In this way, fanfiction becomes a collaborative venture, sharing not only a universe and a set of origin myths (the series), but also obsession with both the past (the myths) and the future (feedback).


Signs and Signage
The slang of BtVS is already minutely catalogued (by Michael Adams, among others), but fanwriters go beyond using "unmixy" and "butt-monkey". They use ordinary terms which have ordinary meanings when used in the episodes, but take these seemingly trivial terms and built edifices of meaning. A couple examples are used in fanfic to connect Spike to his two lost pasts, the vampire past taken from him when he was "chipped", and the human past he refuses to acknowledge.
The first is "eleven pounds," which got its start when Spike hears that Dracula ("yes, that Dracula") has come to Sunnydale:
SPIKE: Dracula? (scoffs) Poncy bugger owes me eleven pounds, for one thing.
Some fanfic writers have used this "eleven pounds" to refer not so much to a debt, but to offer a tantalizing glimpse of Spike's aristocratic vampire past, where he hung out with the likes of Dracula. "A Reckoning," a story by Tales of Spike, limns a high-stakes poetry game with the soon-to-be-famous Dracula, and provides Spike's moral judgment against the vampire who "sold out the secret to how to kill us (to Bram Stoker) just so he could be Count Famous."
Similarly, the word "gleaming" is used in fanfic as a clue, an entry, to Spike's human past. In the episode "Fool for Love," a flashback shows the Spike-to-be William wandering about a posh Victorian-era party, asking the servant for a rhyme for "gleaming" so he can finish his poem: "Oh, quickly! I'm the very spirit of vexation. What's another word for 'gleaming'? It's a perfectly perfect word as many words go, but the bother is nothing rhymes, you see." (He has even more trouble finding a rhyme for "effulgent".)
The notion of Spike pretending to be "always bad" when he has this secret romantic past has been irresistible to fanwriters. (Even more fic-inspiring is the revelation that his terrifying nickname William the Bloody started out as "William the Bloody Awful Poet.") Many later fics have played off Spike's bent for poetry, such as The Green Chick's "Rhymes with Gleaming," which ends with the poet wandering weeping down the wrong alley and meeting his fate, Drusilla:
"Screaming. Of course. Screaming rhymes with gleaming."

"Fool for Love" led to many lost poems of William the Bloody (some collected into a chapbook written by the Tea at the Ford contributors). In fact, Joss Whedon himself gives homage to the poetic Spike (and perhaps a shout-out to fan-poets) in the very last episode of the combined series (that is, in AtS Season 5), "Not Fade Away," when Spike, assuming he will die in the last battle, goes to fix his greatest regret—he reads that "gleaming" poem at a biker bar, in a poetry jam (well, there are cowboy poets, why not biker poets?), and when it's greeted with applause and cheers, promises an encore with his new poem, "The Wantonness of My Mum." (The lines of this poem, never read on the episode, were immediately filled in by Sylvia Volk for the William the Bloody Chapbook, though she might be a better poet than Spike.)

Jargon
Fanfiction has its own jargon, of course, most of which crosses fandom. Here is a sampling:

Archived: There are many archives of Buffy-inspired stories and other art, collected usually by a reader and/or writer who asks other writers if she can "archive" their stories, that is, put them up on a single website with other fics. There is a clear advantage to a reader who wants pre-screened, recommended fics, but the advantage to the writer is not so clear.

Beta: This term has carried over from the software industry. A beta-reader offers to read a story before it is posted and point out plot problems and grammar issues. Many writers acknowledge their betas in the disclaimer section, and certain betas are prized for their skills and tact.

Canon: The definition of this is generally "what actually happened in the show." Every writer seems to make a different judgment of how much of canon to observe. For example, some writers write only within the canon—rewriting parts of episodes by going into one character's head, but not changing any events. Others write stories that don't affect the canonical events but describe something that didn't happen on the show. This can actually be rather extreme; for example, that the "Doctor" who asked Spike to guard the Suvolte eggs was... Doctor Who. Others, like rahirah, accept canon up until a certain moment (her stories are canonical up to S5, but take off in their own direction after that). Others, like the AH (all-human—i.e., Spike and Angel are not vampires) and AU (alternate-universe—e.g., a Nazi-like military unit takes over Sunnydale) fics, don't accept any authority of canon, or accept only what works with the story. Readers too decide how much of canon they require in a story, and choose accordingly.
Many writers, for example, have chosen not to accept the comic book Season 8 as canon. Canon for most fanwriters stopped with "Chosen" (the BtVS finale) and/or "Not Fade Away" (the AtS finale a year later), so even the fanwriters who abide by the canon won't present Buffy as bisexual (as the comics do)— that would get in the way of the major challenge of getting Buffy back together with one or both of her vampire lovers.

Challenge: Many fics are written to a "challenge" or "prompt" like "Write a Christmas fic with Xander in a Santa Claus suit." The fics created as response to a challenge sometimes prove the writer's aphorism: "Limitation is liberation." Many a good fic have been created in response to a prompt like:
Dracula.
'Good' BtVs character as a major character.
'Evil' AtS character as a major character.
A chess piece.
Someone mentioning "All Hallows' Eve".

Feedback: Authors who post their fics on sites like Livejournal and Fanfiction.net usually receive feedback from readers in the form of comments. Buffy-fic feedback tends to be of the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" variety, but some archive venues (fanfiction.net) get more constructive (or destructive) comments. Feedback is often the only remuneration writers get, so they sometimes beg for it, with some of them proclaiming that they are "feedback whores" who live for comment.

Jossed: This is a fan-writer phenomenon that describes the experience of writing a fic during the series (often during the summer break from episodes) that present a "future" which the series return rapidly contradicted. The "Jossing" refers to Joss Whedon, of course, who has come to be regarded with exasperated indulgence by writers who often prefer their own version of the future. An example are the many early-series fics which present William (the human who became the vampire Spike) as an Artful Dodger sort, a pickpocket/beggar from the lowest dregs of London society. These fics were are "jossed" by Season 5's "Fool for Love," which give William's canonical origins—he grew up rich, a Mayfair mama's boy who wrote bad poetry. Fanwriters are nothing if not resilient, spinning on a dime to incorporate this new and intriguing understanding of Spike into not just fics, but "William the Bloody" poetry. Far from limiting the fictional world, "jossing" created ever more opportunities for fiction and even new fictional forms, as both the "jossed" original fics and the "correct" fics still are available to be read, requiring only a flexible mind from the reader.

OTP: One True Pairing. This is how a writer or reader designates the one relationship she primarily follows in fan-fiction, and the most popular of these usually have a blended title (as "Bangel" refers to Buffy/Angel). For some reason, the most common OTPs in Buffy include Spike (who in canon was the most faithful of men, having only three lovers in 120 years): Spike/Buffy (Spuffy), Spike/Xander (Spander), and Spike/Angel (Spangel). (Alternative pairings include Spillow, Spara, Spoz, Spesley, and Spiles!)

PWP: Porn without plot. This is usually a short erotic scene without any attempt to connect it to a plot. Ideally, it tells something about the relationship, but seldom causes any change to the romantic couple. This is another example of fanwriters using self-deprecation in describing their work.

RPF: Real-person fics use as characters the actors who play the characters in a TV show or film. For example, one recent fic has James Marsters (Spike) giving a pool party and inviting Vince Kornheiser (who played Angel's son) and Gareth David-Lloyd (who plays Ianto in Torchwood). Many fic writers and readers avoid these stories as invading the actors' privacy, but this is a thriving sub-genre which incorporates RL (real-life) events of the actors' lives, like Kornheiser getting a role on the new cult-hit Mad Men.

Schmoop: Schmaltzy scenes or stories. Writers often label a particularly sweet scene with a "schmoop-warning!" to ward off accusations of sentimentality. Certain ships (Buffy-Angel, Jack-Ianto in Torchwood) are more likely to elicit schmoopy fic than others. Certain moments (Buffy discovering that Spike still lives) also inspire even cynical writers to schmoopy heights. Schmoop usually has a happy ending. Anything emotional and unhappy is labeled "angst".

Ship: This is short for "relationship," and can be both a noun and a verb, as "I ship mostly Cordelia and Wes, but sometimes I ship Willow and Tara." There is also a keyboard character which signifies a ship, the forward slash, as in Willow/Tara. This term (slash) has been used for decades to signify fics that feature homosexual relationships (Kirk/Spock, Spike/Xander), but the actual slash-mark is used for all ships in Buffydom. (A dash marks a friendship-- Spike-Dawn—without sex.)

Verse: "Verse" is short for "universe", and defines the perimeters of the fan community or purpose. For example, "Jossverse" refers to anything creatively connected to Joss Whedon, whether it's his XMen comic books or his television shows. "Slayerverse," however, refers only to his works (and related fanworks) that have vampire slayers, like BtVS, the Fray comic series, and the film that inspired the show. Some fan-fic writers actually have their own "verses" when most of their stories take place within a set of parameters, as Barb Cummings (rahirah) writes in the "Barbverse," and the primary parameter of her many stories is that soulless Spike and Buffy became romantically bonded early in S6. Other fan-fic verses are "herself-verse" (Herself has a less-included 'verse, the Bittersweetverse) and "Nan-verse" (the sequential-action novels of Nan Dibble).

WIP: This is an acronym for "Work in Progress," and refers to an unfinished fic. Some WIPs will be forever unfinished, as the author might have moved on to another fandom or stopped writing. Readers can be demanding if they like a WIP, even emailing the author and requesting another chapter. Hence, many readers refuse to read a fic until it is billed as "completed," and some writers won't post a fic a chapter at a time, as is conventional, but only when it's completed. This is analogous to the common complaint of TV fans: "As soon I got attached to (TV series), it got cancelled!" Famously, two Whedon shows (AtS and Firefly) were cut short without a true ending to the series arc, and thus remain forever WIPs.

"House Style"
Fan-fic might present more innovation in form than in prose, but as Katrina Blasingame asserts, "The power of fanfiction lies in its language, language in flux, because it incorporates popular culture references that change meaning from moment to moment and from person to person. Yet the language of fan-fiction also depends on textual stability rather than the permeability of visual media." With the internet, fan-fiction language can change rapidly, as a phrase or term gets repeated from one story to another and becomes a "meme" or motif.
As fan-writer Stultiloquentia points out, there are evolving several fic "house-styles." She mentions particularly the "LJ style" (after Livejournal, a popular membership community which hosts many Buffy fans), which she defines as "highly transparent, unaffected prose that mimics the television camera, rather than calling attention to itself" and offers an example from her "Campfire Tale for the End of Days":
So. A very long time ago, Demons walked the earth. Stomped, also. Flew. Slithered, swam, percolated, oozed. I don't mean the puny hybrids nowadays passing for demigods — the bogeymen, vampires, jinn. I mean the big ones, undiluted, uncontained. Demons the size of space stations, teeth and tentacles looped, looped again and swarming. Grumpy buggers, largely. Took up obscene amounts of space, made life hard for other earthly beasts and beings evolving best they could in the cracks and puddles of their castles.
The speech-like punctuation ("So.") makes even an omniscient narrative what Sylvia Volk calls "immersive"— so deep into the viewpoint that the prose takes on the rhythm of conversation, reflecting the Buffy's show's emphasis on snappy dialogue and, indeed, the more voice-intensive dynamic of a television drama.
The fan community Tea at the Ford (TAATF), on the other hand, utilizes a more formal style in its 3Deep Season 8 (that is, expanding the series to a final additional season) novel. While 3Deep is set up like a television season, with 23 episodes broken into a dozen scenes each, the story uses the development of a novel, with narrated action and character viewpoint driving scenes. As a collaborative project, the 3Deep series features a variety of narrative voices, from the taut action-oriented propulsion of DutchBuffy to the poetic introspection of macha. But because there is a single editor, the voice variation is smoothed out, and the overall narration is more omniscient and the diction more formal than the individual writers generally use:
Illyria plowed past Spike, wearing her mask of rage like armor. Bone crunched and shattered in her hands. Only a puny handful of demons could brave the alley's narrow confines at once, a number of deaths entirely insufficient to fill the Wesley-shaped hole within her.
Gunn collapsed against a dumpster, curling into himself. The burning rain streamed into his wounds like molten lead. He couldn't hear his own moans over the drumbeat pounding of rain on his skull. Something broke and gushed inside as he sagged back against the garbage bin, and he slid down the grimy metal to the ground, his eyes closing with the finality of a coffin lid shutting.

Just as the invention of the mass-market paperback created new novel forms, so the different delivery options available on the Internet influence the story and language. The conversational style of the LJ style is reflective of the conversational nature of the Livejournal/blogger format, where an individual fanwriter might post chapters and scenes as they are completed, and invite ongoing feedback from commenters. The interaction is immediate, and inevitably affects the story, as the writer often goes back and makes edits in completed scenes, or might even changes the direction of the story based on comments.
TAATF is a closed community, where only members post and participate in the story. The process is collaborative among the writers, but once the episode is completed, it's posted for the public. The writers solicit comment and heed it when starting a new episode, but there is less back-and-forth with readers. The more omniscient, formal style reflects the more traditional delivery, as well as the collaborative writing and editing which blends the individual voices. However, the very nature of prose fiction, coupled with the greater interactivity of fan-fiction collaboration, still makes reading this an "immersive" experience.
TAATF member Sylvia Volk remarks that fan-fiction, even the more omniscient sort, tends to remove the "proscenium arch" (Mendelsohn's term) or stage which television and film screens inevitably project between the reader and the character and action. "That's not to say television and movies and plays aren't immersive," Volk observes. "But they immerse me as if I'm there in the room, as interesting things happen to people I care about. Whereas text can immerse me as if those things are happening to me."
One great advantage of prose fiction is the ability to shove the reader into the mind and heart of a character with a deep first-person or third-person viewpoint. In this way, fan-fiction can amplify (or even contradict) what has appeared on the screen, or give a new glimpse into the motivations or self-deception of a familiar character. For example, Herself returns in the story "Who Am I?" to the theme of death robbing the identity. Herself has also examined this theme in another series by making William (Spike's human self) into a character, showing Buffy what Spike might have been without death. Here, however, the viewpoint immerses the reader into Buffy:

But still she could not escape her thoughts. I’m not really here, this is not really me.
The reason his chip didn’t know her. Not really human. Not really alive. Just a sort of reanimated thing, a Buffy body with memories. Because otherwise, there’d be more ... more something. Wouldn’t there? Wasn’t there once? She remembered all kinds of things ... Just more. Instead of this emptiness.
Kissing, grinding slow and heavy and sweet, his voice in her ear telling her her beauty, his pleasure in her.
So good, he was, her demon, her man.
She was sure that Buffy, if she was here, would have fallen in love with him by now.
"Who Am I?" by Herself

First-person narration has been traditionally used to give readers the experience of inhabiting the mind of another person, and in fanfic, writers often make an effort to try and replicate the inner voice of a character. Here, Cyn Martin abandons her usual irony and Wodehousian voice to portray the broken thoughts of Spike—not spoken aloud to Buffy-- the night before his sacrifice (using the myth of Layla as a motif). She posts a characteristic "schmoop warning:" Spike is wallowing in the sweet slavery of love, which I must recommend, btw.
Right, okay, didn't act like a fierce lover: acted like a servant. Didn't please you entirely. Just a slave again, a slave of love and you. Kissing you, slipping your pretty panties off, tonguing you, lipping you, loving you, holding you down.
You are so very hard to please. Why isn't that enough? Don't squint at me. Don't be hard and petty, I am going to die for you. Don't you get it? This is it, after all, be a little kind. Don't be so hard and crazy -- this is all I have to give.
Relax. Pretty one. There is no tomorrow. Only my lips on your rapturous smelly folds. Funny. Please don't find fault with me now. Hush.
....
Shhh. Sleep. We are none of us immortal. Tomorrow will take care of itself.


Straight and Slash:
Much has been made of the preponderance of slash (homosexual) relationships in fan-fiction (see Jenkins, Russ, Bacon-Smith, Lo). (As if in demonstration of the principle that the norm is always male, no matter how un-norm the community, "slash" refers mostly to male-male pairings, while female-female pairings are relegated to "femslash". Heterosexual relationships are referred to not as "straight," but as "het".)
But this doesn't seem to be as much an issue for fan-writers, who are more likely to become focused on a particular character or pairing than "slash" or "het" in particular. Each pairing in the Buffy-fanverse often offers certain traits that relate to the particular combination of characters. "Spander," for example (Spike/Xander), might be described as "best friends who sleep together," emphasizing the common "guyness" of the two men (both like sports, music, cars, beer, and billiards) but also their shared vulnerability and idealism. "Spangel," in contrast, tends towards more of a son-father dynamic, with Spike as the scapegrace young scamp, and Angel as the long-suffering but besotted authority figure. (There is far more "dom/sub"—domination-submission- in Spangel works than in Spander, which is more inclined to the "hurt/comfort" meme—one gets hurt and the other nurses him back to health.)
But often the urge to merge begins with the partiality to a certain character, and often the most popular characters are the ones who get the most action, slash or het. In the Buffy-fanverse, that's usually Spike (Angel, by the way, has his own 'verse, where he gets to mingle with almost everyone, including Spike). Because of his status as a romantic hero (flashbacks even show him as a human poet with the romantic abandon of Keats, if not the talent) and his unequalled ability to love obsessively, Spike is something of a protean lover, able to fit almost anyone, even minor characters ("Spandrew," for example, is a small but thriving genre that pairs him with the ingenue-like Andrew, perhaps because only an obsessive lover could love Andrew). It is Spike's character, not the particular pairing, that makes him a good candidate for romantic stories.
This holds true for most of the characters, which is a tribute perhaps to Mutant Enemy's ability to create rounded characters who can be known and yet can be predicted to change if the situation changes. "It's all about character," one Giles-centric fanwriter says. "I like to explore what Giles would be like with different partners, whether that partner is Spike, Xander, or Anya (my favorite). I think fanwriters aren't as likely to impose limitations on characters. We know one character so well, we can imagine him or her as a child, as a gay, as a straight, as elderly. Sexuality is just one aspect of what we are exploring."
In fact, "slash" and "het" are somewhat limiting terms for Buffyverse writers, some of whom don't stop at two partners. For example, Sadbhyl has written a series of fictions billed as "revolving around the threesome that should have been, Giles, Joyce and Ethan Rayne." Wesley's Girl has another trio (Giles/Spike/Wesley) that makes perfect sense if successful relationships can center on common national origin (British) and choice of drink (whiskey).
As Kustritz observes, most slash-writers are straight women, and in Buffy fandom, the writer's own sexual orientation is seldom predictive of the preferred sexual pairing. An example of this is rahirah, who is a gay woman who recently married her longtime partner. She is not drawn as might be simplistically predicted to Buffy/Faith or any variety of femslash or slash, for that matter. Rather she writes some of the most romantic Spuffy (Spike/Buffy) stories.

'Verses and the Return to the Question
One of the greatest compliments in the fandom community is to be seen as (as Faulkner would put it) "sole owner and proprietor" of a 'verse. A "verse" is a truncation of "universe," so "Jossverse" refers to everything that Joss Whedon has done in television, comics, and film. However, usually in fandom, 'verse refers both to the author and a particular set of world/character/situations that the author has used more than once.
There are two basic types of 'verses in the Buffyfanverse. The first is the setting and situation for a continuing series of novels and short stories, which are usually linked by character and plot, and often chronologically ordered. The major example of that is the Barbverse, created by rahirah (Barb Cummings, http://sleepingjaguars.com/buffy/). The conceit of this 'verse is that after the events of "The Gift" (Season 5, when Buffy sacrifices herself), Buffy is resurrected and Spike, to save her life, must refuse to attain a soul. This allows the exploration of the question posed by the series, "Can you love without a soul? Can you be good without a soul?" It must be said that the Barbverse exploration of these questions is considerably more coherent and deep than the series. But fans read the Barbverse stories less for existential questions and more for their portrayal of Buffy and Spike as a loving couple. The timeline provided on the Barbverse site helpfully links events to specific stories that extend into Buffy's late middle age, when she and Spike host a houseful of their children and grandchildren, some human, some vampire, as congenial as most families. This long series returns to those questions frequently, and answers them: Yes, of course you can love without a soul—just look at Spike. And Yes, you can be good without a soul, but it never gets easy—just look at Spike.
Another major 'verse in the Spuffy spectrum has little of the sunny optimism and humor of Barbverse. Herselfverse, named for the author known as Herself, also keeps returning to a question—Can love last? To explore this question, Herself has created several alternative versions of how Spike and Buffy love, each time facing them with the sort of conflict that only arises in Buffy's world, and yet has its counterparts in real relationships. Her major continuing series, the Bittersweet series, forces Buffy and Spike to deal with time travel, two children conceived with Spike's human self (hence the time-travel), mutilation, the turning of one child into a vampire and the seduction of the other by Angel. Another series has Buffy (after S2's alliance with Spike to defeat Angelus) fleeing California and finding a newly and reluctantly souled Spike in New York. A later series has Buffy being awakened after hundreds of years in stasis only to find that her two former lovers are still waiting for her—but have been sexual partners now for centuries. Her new series envisions Buffy becoming the thing she kills, a vampire, and Spike driven by love to help her deal with her new state. Each of these stories forces the question of whether love can withstand the worst life can present. This obsessive return to the same question elicits scenarios of intense pain and pathos, but so far, the answer is always the same: Well, yes, their love can last through all this.
These two varieties of 'verses, one continuing and the other repeating, are both common fanwriter choices. Some writers create a universe with its own canon and cast and a chronology of events, everything connected and sequential. Others, however, build a career around a grouping of stories which examine the same basic issue, often highlighting major character or relationship issues. Anna S., for example, is a Spander writer who must plausibly connect two men who are canonically heterosexual (and each in love with a woman through most of their acquaintance). So she has written a series of stories positing different ways that Spike and Xander could discover a mutual attraction: Xander nurses a wounded Spike back to health, after he gets kicked out of his parents' house, Xander ends up as Spike's roommate.
These two approaches show the benefit of writing about familiar characters—you can explore all of life or just a piece of life, show a series of changes through a lifetime or a series of changes in a single moment, and count on the reader to follow. A fanwriter can return to the scene of the change and see what changes if one factor changes, and what remains the same. It becomes an experiment of discovery.

Conclusion
Fan fiction calls into question the very "authority" of "authorship," which might, in fact, be mostly a 20th Century construct. Shakespeare, of course, recycled plots from classical myth and from lesser contemporaries. The Odyssey has spawned a long list of spinoffs, from the Tennyson poem "Ulysses" to Joyce's novel to – just in the last decade—the novel Cold Mountain and the film Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? Jane Austen (especially her Pride and Prejudice) has inspired a dozen or more related stories, including the popular Bridget Jones novels and films, and even a series with Austen as a detective in Regency England (and now a version with zombies). Whedon himself has frequently used myth and fairy tale (his musical episode, Once More With Feeling, borrows extensively from the Persephone myth, for example). Some fanfic even follows Shakespeare's lead and borrows from classical literature. One of the most prolific and talented fanfic authors, Lady Paperclip, re-does Arthurian legends in contemporary settings. (For a chastening experience, google her and read some of her Torchwood fic—she's only 18, and she already writes that well!) But by ignoring the "gatekeepers" of producers, moneymen, and publishers, fan-fiction also returns authority to the author, turning the observer into a participant, and recycling discarded materials into a new form.
Fanfiction more than other forms of art prizes connection, between the new story and the original series, between the writer and the reader, between prose and other media, between the unknown future of fiction and the long past of story.

The biggest objection presented against widespread self-publication on the Web-- the inability to sort wheat from chaff-- proves not that big a problem in fan-fic. Readers make their reading decisions based recommendations by trusted sources, archival on particular websites, and targeted contest wins. (There are literally dozens of award sites for Buffy fiction on the web, where fans nominate and judge the best stories in certain categories, like Best Alternative Universe and Best Angst.) The enormity of the offerings – so many fandoms, so many ships, so many styles—requires the reader to decide priorities quickly, discovering that, for example, the level of prose control can be discerned in a single paragraph, and that only certain ships ring that personal bell.
The fan-fic phenomenon is the forerunner of a massive increase in web-based art. And just as fan-fic has sort of sorted out (everyone soon figures out who the best writers/vidders/etc are in any fandom), there is a conscious rebuke to the notion of the "gatekeeper" which has kept many literary agents employed while keeping good but unrepresented writers out of the bookstores.
Fan-fiction, freed of the demands of the marketplace and the priority of moneymaking, is explosively creative and has invented many new forms and recycled others. In fact, the very limitations of fan-fiction—the inability to make money, the legal uncertainty, the relevance of canon, the use of someone else's characters—become paradoxically liberating.
"Where is the money?" is the question many writers will ask. With fan-fiction, there is no money, of course, and writers could get into legal trouble if they tried to charge for their writing. However, television and radio have turned into major industries without charging directly for their content, and so, perhaps, can web-based art.
But the future of fiction can be seen in fan-fiction: Niche-driven, edgy and perhaps outlawed, with the use of new technology to create multimedia experiences and innovative experiments in form and language, a community of writers and readers engaging in collaborative work, with emphasis on linked stories and shared universes, and above all intense interactivity. This is fiction at its most elemental: No limit, no fear, and no net.


Works Cited

Blasingame, Katrina. “'I Can’t Believe I’m Saying It Twice in the Same Century . But Duh . . .’ The Evolution of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sub-Culture Language through the Medium of Fanfiction." Slayage 20, May 2006.

Buck, Peter. Liner notes for "Everybody Hurts." In Time - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003.

Casey, Bernadette; Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French, and Justin Lewis. Television Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge Books. 2008.

Chaney, Keidra, and Raizel Liebler. "Canon vs. Fanon: Folksonomies of Fan Culture." Presented at Media in Transition 5: Creativity, Ownership and Collaboration in the Digital Age.

Edwards, Lynne; Elizabeth Rambo, James South. Buffy Goes Dark. London: McFarland. 2009.

Gileswench. "Fanon Terms." 6 April 2009 .

Kirby-Diaz, Mary. "Story-oriented and Series-oriented Fans." Buffy and Angel Conquer the Internet. ed. Mary Kirby-Diaz. London: McFarland. 2009. 62-86.

Kustritz, Anne (September 2003). "Slashing the Romance Narrative". The Journal of American Culture 26 (3): 371–384.

LJconstantine. "Reality by Consensus." .

Meades, Rob. The Drabble Project. 09 March 2009 .

Melusina, "More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Canon and Fanon." 8 April 2009 .

Mendelsohn, Farah. Speech. World Fantasy Convention. 1 November 2008. Calgary, Alberta.

"Five Things." Octaves of the Heart archive, 04 April 2009 .

Onishi, Norimitsu. "Thumbs Race as Japan’s Best Sellers Go Cellular." New York Times. 20 January 2008. . 1-2.

Stafford, Nikki. "Buffy, We Hardly Knew Ye." Toronto Globe and Mail, April 26th, 2003. Retrieved April 10, 2009 from
http://www.wickedsky.com/gileszone/page_essay_fanonterms.html

Fan-art and fiction cited:

Anna S. The Spander Stories. 02 April 2009 .

Anna S. Season Noir. 02 April 2009 .

Cummings, Barb. "A Dark and Stormy Night." 3 April 2009 .

Dibble, Nan. Enemy of My Enemy. 31 March 2009 .

Dibble, Nan. Old Blood. 02 April 2009 .

Fallowdoe. Spiegel Im Spiegel. 02 April 2009 .

Herself. "Who Am I?" 05 April 2009 .

Jo the Librarian2003. "Vampyr." 25 March 2009 .

Leslie, Magpie, and Lori. Eyes Only/Watching Over. 8 April 2009 .

Martin, Cyn. "That Layla Berk." 25 March 2009. .

Martin, Cyn. The Code of the Watchers. 26 March 2009 .

Nwhepcat. Pentimento: 52 Moments That Never Happened to Dawn (and One That Probably Will). 03 March 2009 .

Quinara, The Spikeid. 08 April 209 .

Rose, Anne. Buffy and Spike, Lost in Cyberspace. .

Slaymesoftly. "Who Needs Five Gold Rings?" .

Snowpuppies. "Dawn Summers, Matchmaking Genius." 3 April 2009 .

St. Salieri. "Vampires and the Women Who Love Them II: The Vampires Speak." .

Stultiloquentia. "Campfire Tale for the End of Days." 2 April2009 .

Tales of Spike. "A Reckoning." 21 March 2009 .

The Green Chick. "Rhymes with Gleaming." 31 March 2009 .

Wesley Girl, Magpie, & Byrne, Tea and Biscuits. 3 March 2009 .

Special thanks the fan communities of Livejournal and Tea at the Ford, who shared their insights and examples of canon, fanart, and other topics.
Also, thanks to Buffyworld.com for the use of their transcripts of series.

Appendix: Varieties of Canonical Fanfiction (A WIP)

Canonical: Deepening of events shown on series without changing them.
"Heartfelt," by Jane Davitt (During Fool for Love—Spike's viewpoint)

Dia-canonical: Material mentioned on the show, furthered developed
Lydia Chalmers's Thesis, by Klytemnestra et al.

Inter-canonical: Material inspired by but not extant in show.
William the Bloody's Poetry Chapbook, by Tea at the Ford.

Post-canon: Continuation of the series, events plausibly derived from canon.
The Season 8 series collaborations, like 3 Deep and Angel: No Limit.

Off-canon: Fiction that accepts canon up to a veering off point.
Parliament of Monsters, by rahirah.

Anti-canon: Fiction that so defies canon, it's practically heresy.
Days of Our Unlives, by Ficbitch. (You might not have noticed, but Angel and Spike were actually together as lovers most of the series. :)

Pre-canon: Fics which fill in the stories of Angelus, Darla, Dru, and Spike (the "Fanged Four") before Sunnydale.
Peasant's Plot, by Peasant.

Meta-canon: Fics which explore the experience of writing fanfic or being a fan.
Dawn Summers, Matchmaking Genius, by Snowpuppies.

Inter-canon: Crossover fics which place a Buffyverse character in another 'verse (including those associated with Joss Whedon).
A Hundred Empty Spaces, by Beneficia.