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Prompt from last year: Unfulfilled childhood dreams

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Tiny Katie’s greatest wishes:

  1. Ride a unicorn.
  2. Do a backwards walkover.
  3. Be a published author.
  4. Get turned into a vampire.
  5. Become Elizabeth Wakefield, only way better. And a vampire.
  6. Marry Taylor Hanson.
  7. Get older.

I’M TOTALLY WAY OLDER. HA! I WIN.

I guess I’m lucky in a way — I’ve always only really wanted to write. I harboured vague dreams of being a… actually, I’ve been staring at that sentence for five minutes, and can’t come up with anything else I ever seriously wanted to be. A Latin scholar? Someone who was allowed to get her ears pierced? A superhero?

As a kid, I fully expected to be published by the time I was 21. But although I wrote CONSTANTLY through my teens, I never finished anything. At about 17, I applied for a couple of writing workshops at Vic, where I wrote some short stories I didn’t like very much. Then I wrote an Angel spec script which my dad and his endless networking managed to get to one of the highish-ups on LOTR. We had a meeting that I don’t remember because I was TERRIFIED the whole time, in which she told me that I had talent, and if I was willing to workshop the script with her a bit, she’d consider passing it on to some people for me. My failure-obsessed brain heard “not good enough”, and I never called her back.

WAIT, LITTLE ME. WHAT?

After that, I spent a year avoiding my classes to write a novel I got within a chapter of finishing. Then I read it, realised it was terrible, and threw it out. This was a good idea, because it really was terrible. Then I dropped out of uni and wasted a bunch of years dabbling in fanfiction (immediate gratification! Fans! Total freedom from the constraints of plausibility!) and rampaging about the internet. And now I’m approaching 29, and coming up to two-and-a-half years of SERIOUS WRITING and the prospect that I’m going to be well into my thirties before anything comes of this. I can live with that, but Tiny Katie would be HORRIFIED.

But then, Tiny Katie’s role models were Elizabeth Wakefield and Peter Pan, so I was never going to end up all that balanced.

By now, I mostly thought I’d know more. I thought I’d understand how the world works and what it’s all meant to be about. I thought I’d have been to Rome, and that I’d probably live in the US, and if I didn’t have a house and kids (since 28 always seemed, to me, to be about AS OLD AS IT WAS POSSIBLE TO GET) I’d at least be working up to it. And either writing books about AWESOME VAMPIRES, or working on a TV show about them.

It’s not that simple, Little Me. And Taylor Hanson is already married.

But, you know, although I WANTED to write something real earlier, I wasn’t READY to. I didn’t know enough about life and people and relationships to say the things I wanted to say. I didn’t really have anything TO say. It’s entirely possible I still don’t! But I think I’m getting there.

Although it really does SHIT ME that I’ll never do a walkover.

—–

Anyway. I was looking for some excerpts of stuff to post with this. I couldn’t find the Angel spec (which, from memory, is AMAZINGLY PORTENTOUS AND DRAMATIC) but I DID find a Buffy spec I was working on after that (to amuse myself. YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES). So here’s some bits from that, because… just because.

I’m working up to posting some scenes from Sparks. Let’s set the bar REALLY LOW. Go, teenage Katie, go!

(Scripty mark-up removed for ease of reading.)

—–

BUFFY
No! Okay? Death doesn’t bother me…
(off Giles look)
Okay, I’m lying. Deal with it. The issue is not me.

GILES
(getting it)
Xander.

BUFFY
Him and Willow. And Oz now, too—

She breaks off again as the doors swing open and Willow wanders in, looking suspiciously casual.
WILLOW
(monumentally awkwardly)
Oh, hey Buff! Say, I was just wondering if you were… going to class…

Buffy turns and checks the time on the clock. It still says lunchtime.

BUFFY
In a half hour.

WILLOW
Right! Because that’s when it is.
(an intensely uncomfortable moment passes)
See you then!

She leaves. Buffy watches her go, then turns back to Giles and picks up her speech again.

BUFFY
God, even Cordy. This is my deal; I have to do it. And I know they want to help…

GILES
They won’t just let all this go, Buffy. They made a choice to help you, and we have to respect that.

We move to the doors…

…And through them. In the hallway outside the library, Xander, Oz and Willow are holding a quiet but furious confab.

XANDER
So?

WILLOW
I think Buffy hates us now.

OZ
I don’t know, guys. Tense silence, short answers—maybe the world’s just ending again.

XANDER
Yes! It’s not us, it’s doom. I like it. I’m running with it.

WILLOW
It didn’t feel like the world was ending. When the world ends she’s usually less… twitchy.
(beat)
Oh, she tapped her foot. Buffy tapped her foot.

XANDER
Crap. She hates us.

OZ
You guys are really reading a lot into much, much less.

—–
SCHOOL – AFTERNOON

It’s after school. Kids are clearing out, the stragglers packing away their books and heading home. Buffy skirts a cautious path around them, eyes wary. She spots Oz, hoisting his backpack and guitar case and heading down the corridor with a band member. She ducks behind a handy soda machine as he passes, then slips past them and slides sideways into the library. Buffy peeks through the doors to be sure she’s alone, and then turns, satisfied she’s evaded the gang.

Xander and Willow are sitting side by side on the table, facing her.

XANDER
(good cop)
So!

He raises his eyebrows: here we are. Willow crosses her arms and puts on her serious face. Here we’re staying.

WILLOW
(bad cop)
So.

XANDER
What are we doing tonight?

BUFFY
We’re not doing anything tonight. You’re injured—you guys should go home.

XANDER
That’s not the gig.

BUFFY
It’s not your gig.

WILLOW
No, it’s ours. All of ours.

BUFFY
We’re talking about the same gig, right? Sacred duty, mystical whatsit? ‘Cause it says ‘one girl in all the world’ right there on the box. Collectively, we come to more. And some boy bits.

WILLOW
We’re not slayers, Buffy—

BUFFY
And I need to remember that.

XANDER
Look, Buff—

BUFFY
Shut up, okay? I’m the slayer. You’re civilians, and you shouldn’t be patrolling with me.

WILLOW
Civilians?

XANDER
We’re sidekicks.

WILLOW
With magic. And army stuff, and wolf… power, and—

BUFFY
Funny concussions. Until I get you killed, and then—

WILLOW
Get us killed? Buffy, we’re not your puppets.

XANDER
…Or your puppies…

BUFFY
You’re not the Slayer, either.

XANDER
No. There’s this thing called free will. Not to be confused with the movie about the whale, but still very big. You have to do this; we chose to.

BUFFY
This isn’t an elective. God, this isn’t even a democracy.

There’s a moment as everyone digests this.

WILLOW
You’re firing us?

XANDER
You can’t fire us. We’re founding members. We get the newsletter.

WILLOW
We write the newsletter.
—–

LIBRARY – LATER


Buffy is collecting her things. She’s slow, clearly down as she gathers her books and slaying gear and pushes open the back door… revealing a vampire, fist raised to knock and a package clasped in its free hand. Buffy stakes it reflexively, without any drama, taking the package from its hand as it dusts. The package reads ‘RUPERT GILES’. She tucks it under her arm and turns to leave, only to discover Angel, lurking in his silent Angel-y way.

BUFFY
One of these days I’m going to stake you too.

ANGEL
I was going to get that guy for you. I was just looking for a stake.

BUFFY
Sure. Scaredy cat. How long have you been out here?

ANGEL
Long enough.

BUFFY
It didn’t occur to you to come in and back me up?

ANGEL
It sounded like you might start throwing books. I thought I’d wait out here, since they make those out of wood.

BUFFY
The guys were pretty…
(long pause)
…paper is wood?

ANGEL
Are you okay?

BUFFY
I guess. No. I’m the slayer. They’re my responsibility.

ANGEL
They’d probably disagree.

BUFFY
So, if you got a papercut…?

ANGEL
To my heart?

BUFFY
Oh. Right.

—–

I’m posting this almost entirely for the the “or your puppies” line, which ISN’T EVEN FUNNY unless you watched Buffy and know Oz was a werewolf. Oy.

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Writer of things. Annoyer of cats.

2 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I loved this!! As an avid buffy fan, you nailed the voices. Especially the “she hates us” part.

    I'm struggling with the same things as you are, thinking you would have been done by now, watching other authors write another book and another and STILL you're struggling to get a good one done… I think there's just a moment when it clicks and in the last 14 days I've written 42,000 words, always before 8am. I've missed a lot of sleep but I figured out the writing secret and what works for me, and my god is it satisfying after 5 years of working on this…
    -heidi

    Reply

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