Twenty years ago, on March 10th, 1997, a little show about a girl chosen to fight vampires aired on
TV. I was in high school at the time and already a fan of the movie that had proceeded it, so I was game for the show.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer became my weekly fix through high school and college. My roommates always thought it was strange that I programed my VCR to record it (wow, dating myself there).
Joss Whedon, creative genius behind Buffy and a million other awesome things, has been quoted as saying that Buffy was meant to be a cross between My So-Called Life and The X-Files. It was meant to be a monster-of-the-week format where the Scoobies would figure out what was attacking their high school/college.
That is the first thing that I carry with me even today as I write and as I absorb storytelling how-to's. Monsters on the outside should be suited to the monsters we have on the inside. Only when you defeat the monster inside can you defeat the monster outside. When Xander was feeling down about being single, up popped a monster who wanted to give boys the Kiss of Death. When the Scoobies found dissonance among them, a monster would pop up who was literally a combination of other monsters, then they would have to come together to fight. I carry this notion with me in everything I write- make the outside mirror the inside.
Listen to Buffy for years not only changed the way I talked, but that I also carry with me when I write.
There are a million other ways that Buffy has shaped my creative side, but character-defined Monsters and Voice are the two that I seem to unpack from my knapsack more often than naught when I am ready to write about things that go bump in the night.
Until next time.
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther