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Birthday greetings, and Angel of the Morning Part Eleven revised. - Words in the Heroes' Tongue
I have a variable-sword. I urge calm.
Birthday greetings, and Angel of the Morning Part Eleven revised.

Happy Birthday to Melissa (appomattoxco)

Everybody give Melissa a great big hand, for she gave up her birthday fic that ye might have two chapters of "Angel of the Morning" in quick succession. Not that I gave her any choice about it, of course. :-)

Yesterday I wrote a chapter of 'Angel of the Morning' in a single day and posted it immediately because of popular demand. As I was writing it I made a snap decision to change it from my original conception and draft. On reflection I have decided that the original version was better, and I've rewritten it and reposted it as it should have been.

The revised chapter is HERE

I'd particularly appreciate comments from people who've already read this chapter to see if they agree that it's an improvement.

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19 comments or speak 2 me
yangchencen From: yangchencen Date: July 11th, 2005 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Squee again!
I thought the earlier version is perfect in that circumstance, seems I was wrong 'cause I like this version better!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much! I'm glad you like the revised version. It's the way that I'd planned to write it in the first place; obviously I shouldn't have changed my mind yesterday.
frimfram From: frimfram Date: July 11th, 2005 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Through the power of cached web pages I have made a thorough-going comparison, and I agree, this is better. It fleshes things out more: gives you a clearer sense of Willow's hurt; the strength of the feelings between her and Spike as a good reason for her to forgive him; the magnitude of what has happened; and - with the line about the card up Willow's sleeve - a sense that there will be further consequences.

Xander came across more sympathetically toward the end, what with his fear at seeing Spike in game face - he sounds more like ridiculously-hyper-defensive male friend than gone-beyond-the-realms-of-reason interfero-guy. I also liked the fact that it was Willow, not Spike, who got to tell Xander to piss off at the end.

Plus there's more comedy in this version!

The echoes with the canon episode are much stronger too - Xander finding Spike's coat, principally. And I have a strong sense that the next chapter is not going to be a happy one.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much. Your analysis confirms my own thoughts.

When I blasted off a whole chapter in one day yesterday I might have known that the quality would suffer. I wrote the soaping Willow's back version because it was quicker and fluffier, but I had a nagging feeling that I'd lost something along the way; it seems that I was right.
frimfram From: frimfram Date: July 11th, 2005 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not opposed to fluff on principle - I like the cute Spillow of your icon - and the previous draft wasn't really very fluffy, but Spike and Buffy did such a dirty rotten thing that I think more needed to be made of it. This version does that very nicely. Joss Whedon laid on The Importance Of Consequences with a trowel, and even though it could be heavy-handed it was what saved the show from being absurd. You do it more subtly but to just as significant effect.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
And I have a strong sense that the next chapter is not going to be a happy one.

The plan is for it to make the canon 'Seeing Red' look like 'Smile Time'.
frimfram From: frimfram Date: July 11th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wee Little Puppet Spike! Wee Little Puppet Spike!

I know that's not what you meant at all, but I can dream...
curiouswombat From: curiouswombat Date: July 11th, 2005 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wee Little Puppet Spike! Wee Little Puppet Spike!

Yes! Oh yes! And other ecstatic sounding noises!!
calove From: calove Date: July 11th, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't remember word for word - but I think this is better. Leaving out the back soaping works better; Willow keeping him at arms length (a little) after everything rings more true. And I like Xander bursting in with the coat.

Buffy and Spike still need a darn good slapping, though.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Glad you like it. So far there has only been one dissenting voice, twenty in favour of the new version.

Not that I would have changed my mind even if the results had been the other way round, this version fits better with certain events in the next chapter.
ladysavage From: ladysavage Date: July 11th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Better, but...

First of all, I have to say I'm very muchly liking this story. I do want to be clear on that, and how little I've been reading since I got into my writing. You're one of very few authors who I read, and one of even fewer that I read on a regular basis (i.e. whenever you update).

I have to say that this revision is a lot more realistic from Willow's point of view, and while your Willow for this story has been as perfect as you can get when straying from the canon (now that you've tidied up this chapter) I have to disagree with your Spike a little, as well as a minor issue with your Buffy.

I can see how Spike's actions in this chapter are important to your story, but he seems to have an epiphany in this chapter: that he is obsessed with Buffy but in love with Willow. Now, this is fair enough and I'm certainly not trying to tell someone that they can't or shouldn't interperet a character in a certain way, but I very much doubt that Spike is the type to have an epiphany.

Spike likes to live in denial. He is not introverted, and while he is incredibly insightful he always seems unable or unwilling to use that insight in his own life. I draw my conclusions from a few canon sources.

In season 3 of Buffy, he comes back to Sunnydale in a depressed rage. He eventually leaves with the intent and firm belief that he can torture Dru into loving him again. Someone as insightful as Spike should surely have seen that Dru would never, could never love him the way he wanted, being crazy and tied up in her Daddy.

Early season 5, Spike awakes from a dream in which he professes his love for Buffy. He then spends a few episodes trying to convince both himself and Buffy that he hates her, and only wants to kill her.

Season 6/7 of Buffy, Spike gets his soul to either/or a) impress Buffy b) be a better man. He does not think how this will affect him - it does not occur to Spike that he will suffer, morally if in no other way, for his past actions.

Season 5 of Angel, Spike actually discusses with Angel how very different they were in their approach to evil (and by extension, most things). Where Spike never looked at the victims, only at the violence and the thrill of the hunt and the kill, Angel only thought about the damage he was doing. It was why Angelus was so much worse than Spike as a purely evil vamp.

Now, I bring these up to support my claim because there is little more frustrating that someone disagreeing with your view but not offering examples or reasons (the one thing being unable to respond to the disagreement is probably worse).

What your Spike seems to have done in this episode is, in a moment of weakness, succumb to Buffy - who is acting under her own selfish motivations. So far, I have no problem. In fact, to this point I think you have been refreshingly accurate as too many Spike lovers, probably myself included, tend to write him as better than he is.

Where I disagree with you is when Spike has his epiphany and chimes in with Willow. You seem to have mistaken Spike for Angel (I refer, of course, to his epiphany in season 2 of Angel after sleeping with Darla). It is my personal opinion that while Spike would be sorry, he would react differently.

Unless my understanding of the character is entirely wrong (very possible), he would actually be angry with Willow. Spike is a passionate creature who has just very recently been convinced that Willow does not care about him and was perfectly happy to execute their relationship if he didn't do what she said. Remember, Spike is still a demon (of at least has a demon in him - I'm still not sure where you draw your line on this) and demons gain their strength from anger, and rage, and resentment, and pain.

As stubborn as he is, though, he would have realised his error after being left alone. Time alone means he would have raged and fumed until he realised that perhaps Buffy was not telling the whole truth, that Willow - who has always been honest with him - told a different story and begged for forgiveness (which would be your bath scene).

--Part I of II--
ladysavage From: ladysavage Date: July 11th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Better, but...

--Part II of II--

My issues with your Buffy are smaller, and far less thought out. I have no real examples to cite or anything of that nature, all I draw this from is personal experience. It probably won't take me nearly so long to cover this, though. I am well aware of my lecturing, I just can't seem to stop.

It is established that when Buffy greives she holds it within herself and tries to prevent others from knowing her pain (re: Joyce's death). One can only assume that Buffy is greiving the loss of Heaven throughout the entire season, which explains many of her actions. Willow and Xander provoke Buffy. By confronting her, they're not allowing her to pretend as though she is unhurt, or uncaring.

Basically, I doubt she would be so blase at first. I suspect she would react with accusations of her own (her claim of Willow stealing Spike would probably be more passionate), which would slide into defensive attacks on Willow as the guilt over her actions became more prominant.

Then, as in your story, I would imagine Buffy would be too hurt and proud to apologise, and her and Willow would be in much the same position as they are in your fic.

I suppose I don't have a problem with your overall story in the chapter, but I disagreed with how you got there. At the very least, your Hallie, Anya, Willow and even Xander were all really good.

I know I've gone on for quite a long time here, but I tend not to review unless I have something constructive to say. While I appreciate positive praise in a review, I can't bring myself to write something that simple. Don't feel bad, there are a few people out there who have gotten me to be much harsher and a fair bit more personally insulting with their shoddy writing.

I took so long to share my views with you because I think this is an excellent story, and I'd hate to see a way it could be strengthened and not mention it to the writer. I'm not really expecting you to change your story, I'm just presenting you with an alternate take on a situation. I know how much that can help with future chapters, and I hope to be a help.

Keep it up.

~Lady Savage
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Better, but...

On this point I'll simply say that I ruthlessly strip out anything from my stories that neither adds to the story nor adds humour or atmosphere in my opinion, and I strip out anything that I myself find tiresome on re-reading even if it is important to the plot. If it's not readable it won't get read, and so it might as well not be there.

I did have more of the behaviour from Buffy that you suggest when I first wrote the original version, mostly after the unmasking scene of the camera by Xander and the 'Intercourse with the Vampire' line. I ripped it out and cut to a brief description of the 'Cold War' situation between Willow and Buffy because I felt that it could be deduced from the results, it added nothing to the story, and weakened the impact of the scene and of that line from Xander (which I felt was a great point on which to end the Crypt scene).

I love getting this type of constructive feedback.

I'm very wary of leaving it myself, as some authors can get very upset by anything more critical than pointing out typos, but I thrive on it.

I scampered straight over to your LiveJournal to Friend you, and was rather taken aback by your 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Lady Savage has left the building' announcement there.
ladysavage From: ladysavage Date: July 12th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Better, but...

Ah, well, that. I have this horrible habit of being lazy. As it is, I struggle to keep up with my e-mails so my LJ always ended up taking a backseat to other stuff. As I have written more fic, though, I've come into contact with more people who I can discuss my ideas with: basically, this is what my LJ was supposed to be for (several times in the past I had been posting random stuff and had a stroke of genius, which I later murdered in my fic).

I usually don't review at all, because I seem to have two modes: constructive criticism of extreme degree, and constructive criticism of extreme degree with insults. Generally, all my reviews are done past two in the morning, where I get so tired I have a tendancy to forget things like etiquette, my name, and how much information is too much information.

I'm glad that you are the sort of author who does thrive on criticism like this, because it's rare to find one. Generally you get ignored or flamed, which is a little unpleasant seeing how long it takes to fairly and openmindedly share your views.

I can see and understand your perspective on what you keep and what you drop from a story. Sometimes I wish I could be that ruthless, but I have a tendancy to include everything that I put on the page unless I change my mind later. It's why so many of my stories run away from me. I'm working on it though.

As for your Spike, I agree with yout assessment, I just think that he is too impulsive to do the rational thing for himself when he's caught out - I still think he'd react with anger and rage. Of course, post his Dawn-chat, as well as his self-interest POV, I think everything would continue in much the same vein as your revised chapter.

I'd like to say that I reviewed because I'd like to get constructive reviews like that but it's not true. Well, it is true, I would, but it's not the truth. Truth is, I was really tired and my judgement was impaired. I'm just glad everything worked out for the best. Last time I went on a late-night whim, I turned most of the characters in one of my fics into the opposite gender (but that was the fault of the Rocky Horror Picture Show as well...).

Keep it up.
~Lady Savage
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 11th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Better, but...

but he seems to have an epiphany in this chapter: that he is obsessed with Buffy but in love with Willow.

"Seems" is the operative word. Remember it's Willow POV; Giles told Willow that Spike had always been obsessed with Buffy but was acting as if he was in love with Willow, that seemed to fit the observable facts to Willow and she believes him. From Spike's point of view he was, and is, genuinely in love with Buffy. He's falling in love with Willow too. It's a more tender, more balanced love, but it's not as strong yet as his love for Buffy. It is, however, reciprocated.

My take on Spike has always been based on the 'enlightened self-interest' theory of soulless redemption. Loving Buffy got Spike little but pain; loving Willow has got him the respect from Giles that he has craved for ages, the renewed partnership with Dawn, friendship and attention from Tara (who his actions in 'Spiral' show he's long had a fondness for) plus, of course, some bloody good sex with Willow.

And Willow entered the crypt hanging onto Xander's axe in a desperate attempt to save Spike; by contrast Buffy referred to Spike as a 'thing' and showed him zero affection or consideration. And her possessiveness was of him as an object rather than as a boyfriend.

His remorse as displayed to Willow may or may not have been sincere at that time. Willow believes it was sincere, but that doesn't make it so.

Between then and the bathroom scene, however, there has been a visit from Dawn (as in canon), unknown to Willow, and she's told Spike a few hard truths. Her visit to Spike's crypt in 'Seeing Red' triggered the whole AR thing IMO; in this version it's had a more positive effect.

Had this been in third person Spike's actions might have been presented very differently.
spikeverse From: spikeverse Date: July 11th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the revision. Especially the part where she's plotting her revenge on Buffy. She's forgiven Buffy's actions with Spike too many times in this story.

And I don't have a problem with her forgiving Spike. She's right. They can't lean on each other if they aren't together. And she had just told him that they needed to take a break or hide from Xander--because that's what Xander wants--then hadn't seen him for a week. With this guy's history with relationships, you know he isn't going to take that well. Of course he's going to overreact.

Plus he had Buffy telling him lies again. Or selective truths.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 12th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

I'm very much looking forward to writing the next chapter, when Willow will get her revenge on Buffy.

Well, I'm looking forward to writing the early and middle parts of the chapter, anyway. I'm not really looking forward to writing the end.
enigmaticblues From: enigmaticblues Date: July 12th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't have a problem with the first version, but this one does work better, IMHO. Willow's forgiveness was a tad too quick. This version makes it very believable.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: July 12th, 2005 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, that's what I thought.
19 comments or speak 2 me