Every Writer Should Watch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

everywriter

Welcome back fellow writers to this bi-weekly post!

Not only do I wish to talk about how Buffy the Vampire Slayer can help you with your writing, but this post also allows me to fangirl over of my all time favourite television series.

Every Writer Should Watch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Why yes, Buffy, you can help us!

Lesson 1: How to write a strong, three-dimensional and captivating protagonist. There is no doubt in my mind that Buffy Summers is one of the most well-written, captivating, three-dimensional and strongest female characters in television history. In fact, her character is incredibly complex. She may be the slayer — a fierce, powerful and capable protector of humanity — but, at the end of the day, Buffy is a simple and normal teenage girl. She has trouble with her parents, arguments with her sister, she dates, she has homework, she loves shopping and clothes and being girly, but she additionally knows how to kick some serious butt.

What makes me love Buffy so much is that she is so real. Buffy the Vampire Slayer can demonstrate to writers how to develop a protagonist that comes across so human and strong. Her actions have repercussions and consequences, influencing the overall story’s events. Additionally, the responsibility of being the slayer often weighs down on her shoulders, and she wants to give up, but she keeps pushing forward. She fights, she cries, and she gets back up again and tries all over again.

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I recently did a blog post about What Constitutes A “Strong Female Character” and Why They Are Important, and Buffy definitely constitutes a strong female character.

Lesson 2: How to write a band of secondary characters that steal your heart. When reading a series, when the secondary characters are written well and seem just as life-like as the protagonist, I fall instantly in love with them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer can demonstrate how to properly develop secondary characters just as detailed as the protagonist. In fact, Willow, Xander and Giles are awesome, compelling characters and really made this show. They were allowed to have their own storylines that assisted in their development, and they were not passive characters either. They may have been swept up in Buffy’s destiny, but Joss Whedon made sure that they were actively participating in the storyline.

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Sometimes, these characters aren’t as likable — initially — but this series does a wonderful job at portraying secondary characters as real people. Personally, I really enjoyed watching the development of Faith. She comes into the show as a bit of a lose cannon, a complete opposite of Buffy, but she has one of the most fascinating and intriguing storylines.

Lesson 3: It encourages the development of healthy and strong female friendships. How many times have you read a book and the main female characters are fighting or enemies? I hate when authors make it seem like two female characters cannot have a healthy female friendship. There are WAY too many instances of female characters not getting along. However, Buffy the Vampire Slayer demonstrates the importance of writing female friendships that are strong and healthy.

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For example, Buffy and Willow have a very strong friendship that develops beautifully throughout the series. They have been good friends since the very first episode, developing into best friends, and finally, by the end of the seventh season, they are basically sisters. Their friendship doesn’t begin with hostility/jealously/hatred. It really annoyed me in City of Bones that Clary and Isabelle did not get along at first. Buffy the Vampire Slayer challenges that and demonstrates that females do not need to be enemies, but on the same side.

Lesson 4: How to be humorous. This series is definitely one of the funniest shows that was ever on television. Joss Whedon has an amazing talent to write such humorous dialogue. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer will definitely assist in helping writers create such natural, funny dialogue. If you are struggling to write witty, entertaining dialogue that doesn’t seem forced, watching this series will definitely help you with that!

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Key Points (This show will help you with…)

  • Strong Protagonists
  • Developing Secondary Characters
  • Writing Female Friendships
  • Creating Humorous, Natural Dialogue

What do you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?


This bi-weekly post was inspired by Ravenclaw Book Club‘s “5 Reasons Why”

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22 thoughts on “Every Writer Should Watch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  1. YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE. My mum and I would always watch Buffy together and I can remember going from being terrified to laughing my head off in a second. I couldn’t agree more with what you said about encouraging a strong female friendship. Buffy and Willow have been by each other’s side through every ordeal and even when they found themselves on opposite sides of the battle (Dark Willow), their friendship and loyalty to one another always came out on top. Anya and Xander never failed to make me laugh and Giles had some pretty epic moment. The musical episode remains to be one of my all time favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the musical episode is one of my favourites as well! That, and “Hush”, where nobody talked. I think those episodes demonstrate Joss Whedon’s genius when it comes to storytelling, which is why I think every writer should watch at least a few of episodes of Buffy. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post. I agree with you so much about how well written Buffy is, not only from the point of writing a complex and real female character but keeping all the secondary characters fully developed as well. Having one character that’s well formed and then background characters that fall into stereotypes or aren’t three dimensional is just as bad as main protagonists with the same problem.
    I also am quite a Buffy fangirl so I might be a bit biased but speaking as a young girl who struggled to find females to relate to on TV, I think the writers of Buffy did a great job in balancing making her relateable and keeping within the fantastical elements of the show.
    Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you so much! I completely understand. Growing up, I had the same problem. It wasn’t until I discovered shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed that I finally had female role models that were strong and relatable. There are too many shows that depict women as “damsels in distress”, but Buffy does not do this… TO ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
      Thanks again for your thoughts. I agree with everything that you’ve said! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! Whedon is an inspiration to writers. The reason Buffy gained such popularity in the past and is continuing to gather followers has a lot to do with what you’ve mentioned above. Some people find Buffy camp and unrealistic but any true Buffy fun can see how the show and its characters are excellent representations of everyday demons and heroes. Buffy herself goes through such a complex journey from Season 1 till 7 and is still evolving as a character in the comics.That’s seriously excellent writing right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I’ve had someone previously tell me that it was a little cheesy, but I think the beautiful thing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the fact that the show is so much fun, creative and interesting that it captures you immediately whilst also representing such a range of characters and storylines. The show was able to explore such intense issues, but also continued to be a fun series regardless of how deep or dark these issues were. Thank-you so much for commenting, I love meeting new fans of this show! 🙂

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  4. Oh! I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    I watched the series when I was 11, and that made me start reading the books.
    And also because of that, I transitioned from reading books like Mary Kate and Ashley to BtVS books and other fantasy books.
    And I totally agree with you points. She’s the best female protagonist, in my opinion. And the Scoobies are totally friendship goals. And the sarcasms in BtVS is just so ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YEEESSS! I want to be a member of the Scooby gang, so badly. Their friendship is so important and throughout the show I loved watching those friendships developed more and more.
      I miss this show incredibly. I haven’t picked up the comics yet, but I think I will sometime in the near future. I desperately NEED more Buffy in my life.
      And that’s awesome that Buffy allowed for you to transition to fantasy books! For me, it was reading The Mortal Instruments that made me absolutely obsessed with all things fantasy! 🙂

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  5. I am an aspiring writer and I must tell that no other tv show helped me to grasp the craft of storytelling as Buffy the Vampire Slayer did. Apart from things you already mentioned, I would say that Buffy is one of the best show with events taking place in a very logical and causal way – simply said – they had a really good plot… always! There’s no other tv show like that. And I loved that the characters never forgave each other and themselves or forgot anything and while they were creating their baggage, the writers made sure the characters would carry it up until the last episode. It also a beatiful show full of foreshadowing and symbolism and it¨s just inspiring, creative and very well thought out. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you so much, hun!
      It is absolutely incredible to meet someone else who found this amazing television series just as inspiring when it comes to writing. You are incredibly right when it comes to the writers creating baggage for the characters. These are characters that grew and developed and had setbacks and everything that happened to them had both good and bad consequences. Thank-you so much for sharing this with me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Completely agree! I actually got into Buffy late, around the time I was querying my first novel, and not only got absorbed completely, but ended up listening to the director’s/writers’ commentary for every episode, taking notes. Literally. There is such great wisdom I gleaned from that–the value of playing on contrast, the subversion of tropes for drama and humor, how to take an internal struggle and turn it into an external conflict. I learned so much from that project–I’m going through the show again now and remembering just how genius the writing was.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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