Benefits From Buffy: I’m Learning to Appreciate “Dark Material”. Yay?

Happy Wednesday everyone! I decided to skip Monday altogether just in case you were wondering where my normal post was.  Sneaky, huh?  I figured this week I would ignore Monday completely and therefore deny its existence.  It kind of worked too.  I didn’t even think of Monday until Tuesday, and of course by then, it was no longer Monday and I was incredibly happy.  That’s about as exciting as it gets this week.

Sorry that I have nothing of real interest to report.  I have “discovered” the Buffy series.  Yes, I knew it existed long ago.  I just never felt inclined to watch it until I found out that Joss Whedon wrote the script.  Since I am a huge Firefly fan and a Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog fan I decided that I needed to give Buffy a try.  I’m really glad I did. I can’t decide who my favorite character is and I have to tell you that it’s a bit disturbing for me.  I typically can pick out my favorite character.  I had my favorite character picked out pretty much within the first few minutes of Firefly.  Wash.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about and you enjoy sci-fi stuff at all…YOU MUST WATCH FIREFLY!  There is my not-so-subtle attempt at subliminal messaging…propaganda, whatever you want to call it.

I know I’ve said before that I typically don’t write paranormal, but I’ve found that darker material tends to bring out my creative side. I’ve been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe since before I can remember. I don’t particularly like gore, but that’s different than dark material.  Dark material is what allows you to fully develop a character; to make him or her real. No one is completely saintly or completely evil; those two components exist within us all.  When we encounter characters who are absurdly evil without cause or explanation, or who are unbelievably good our consciousness rejects it.  We become detached from the story because we cannot identify and because the character seems “flat”.  There is no depth, no complexity beyond what was written on the page.  It’s so difficult to really develop a character well, a wonderful challenge, and I’m hoping that a fringe benefit of becoming a total Buffy addict is that I’ll be able to create more complex, realistic characters. Zen Scribbles did a post on characters who have to die, versus content which solely exists for “shock” value.

This is definitely thought-provoking and I have to agree that not only in movies, but in literature, it seems that there is often superfluous violence and killing.  When you reach the end of the book, those scenes have not served any purpose whatsoever.  It is understandable if the purpose being conveyed is the depth of evil, or good, in a person. Even this can be abused though and the line is sometimes difficult to see.  There have been many stories I’ve read which left me wondering about certain scenes and their purposes.  If a scene can be cut out completely and leave the rest of the story unaffected than it probably should be cut out, or it needs to be rewritten to serve its intended purpose.

All that aside though, dark material can foster oodles of creativity.  Like my character says in one of my manuscripts: “It’s always been night that stirred my soul though, perhaps because it is in darkness that one shines brightest.”

Sometimes to allow the goodness to shine, it must be plunged into the darkness.  My brain is going to force me to allow it in my stories.  I know I won’t be satisfied with cotton candy characters and happily ever afters. Happily ever afters never have interesting sequels anyway. I figure I’ll work on some character development this week just for kicks. I know, it’s almost too much excitement. I’m not sure if I can handle it.

Do you ever get inspiration from dark material or some other interesting source? Please feel free to share!

Happy Wednesday, happy writing and may the rest of your week be chock full of awesome!


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  1. YAY. I’m so glad that you discovered Buffy and really liked it! It’s my all time favourite series. 😛

    Thanks for the great links as well, they were really interesting!

    • This is definitely a great series. I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised at the acting ability. I cannot picture a different cast for this series. In my opinion, that’s when you know the actors are doing a great job. You’re welcome for the links, thanks so much for commenting! If you know of any other great series please feel free to share!

      • No problem! Me neither, they’re all so perfect, and the show only got better as it goes along. 🙂 My close seconds are Gilmore Girls, Lost and Supernatural – Supernatural has quite a similar formula but it’s slightly more serious, but I love it!

        • I also love Supernatural. Genius show, although I’m a total wuss. I refuse to watch it by myself because my imagination runs rampant and I freak out a little (fine, a lot). I’ve never watched Gilmore Girls, but I have heard that it’s good. Thanks for the suggestions. I usually try to get hooked on a series. I like Vampire Diaries, BBC Sherlock Holmes and I’ll be watching Doctor Who (probably not until after I finish the remaining 4 seasons of Buffy though).

  2. I’ll echo Becky’s sentiment and say that I’m really glad you discovered Buffy. Even though it was over a while ago, it still remains one of my favourite shows ever. I used to watch it religiously, haha.
    I like including dark elements in my stories. I may get a bit extreme sometimes, but I feel it only serves to show contrast when “good” finally triumphs. However, I will never kill a character for no valid reason. That just sucks. 😦

    • I agree with the character killing part. Sometimes it’s such an obvious way to prevent a sequel, or to wrap up a story so you don’t have to write about anything else to do with the character. As a reader, it can be pretty irritating to come across that. Thanks for the comment!

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