Bring Buffy Back

on August 15, 2011 in Misc

So in my last post I talked about what it was like being a kid back in Mad Men days, when little girls like me weren’t supposed to like playing with swords – neither the fencing nor swashbuckling kind.  Then in the post before that (Toughening Up) I talked about real self-defense/martial arts/whatever ya got and how I tried to make it real while writing fight scenes in The Compass Master.  (There are only a few; I’m not that belligerent.)

Anyway, my blog pal Hart (Confessions of a Watery Tart) asked if YouTube has videos of self defense and fight scenes that could be handy for us writers. I haven’t had a chance to explore those and other sources yet, but I promise to do so within the next couple weeks.  I’ll also guide you all to anything helpful that you could use.

What did kinda stump me was when Hart asked if Buffy, as in the Vampire Slayer, had unrealistic fight scenes, but I couldn’t answer her because I’ve only seen a few Buffy episodes and that was a while ago. See, that show was kinda after my time, age wise, so I’ve mostly caught it only in reruns. Still, I was curious so I looked to see if the Denver library system had some Buffy DVD sets. Turns out a) yes, they do and lots of them for all the seasons; and b) almost all of them were checked out, which tells you how popular that series still is. I finally managed to get my grubby hands on one much used  set, in this case the complete third season. And after reviewing just one disc with four episodes I have to ask a couple questions. The first one is…

WHY WASN’T BUFFY AROUND WHEN I WAS A KID BACK IN MAD MEN DAYS OR AT LEAST WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER AND COULD ’VE REALLY USED A COOL ROLE MODEL LIKE BUFFY?

And my second question is…

HOW THE HELL DID WE DEVOLVE FROM BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER TO BELLA IN THE TWILIGHT SERIES?

Now in all fairness I haven’t read the Twilight series, only a lot of stuff about them, both pro and con, and there must be something good in them to sell a gazillion copies.  But my niece said that at her high school (she’s now in college) the kids were divided into two camps: slavering, avid Twilight fans (only females, no males) and rabid Twilight haters (both genders) who claimed that the books could be summed up in one sentence: Bella’s choice is to fuck the vampire or fuck the werewolf, and she makes the wrong choice. (Their words, not mine.)

I also know a couple people (adults!) who read and liked the Twilight books but said that Bella was so whiny and self-pitying, especially in the second book, that they wanted to slap her.

I mean, even as a non-cognoscente outsider on the issue it seems pretty obvious to me that Buffy is a far better role model for young women than Bella, has gobs more going for her, and as a fictional character can carry her own show through several seasons because she’s intriguing all on her lonesome, and not because of who she’s dating.

So am I right?  Very wrong?

After watching some more Buffy shows and other stuff I’ll get back to you on fighting techniques.  In the meantime, Buffy has gained another fan.

8 Responses to “Bring Buffy Back”

  1. Ben says:

    Hey, sorry I’ve been absent for so long! I figured I’d drop by on your blog after what… eight months? When is The Compass Master coming out on Amazon? I can’t wait to read it!

    I’m obsessed with martial arts. I’ve taken 3 forms, and cannot get enough action movies. Youtube has thousands of helpful videos. If you want martial art mechanics, then the Youtube channel Submissions 101 is helpful for takedowns and Jiu Jitsu, Expert Village teaches step by step moves. If you’re looking for ideas for fight scenes, type in “Martial arts” or “Fight scene” or “Fight scene choreography” and watch a ton of videos, taking the best moves from each video you like to create a realistic yet adrenaline pumping fight scene. Readers don’t like a description of every move, though, so only a few are necessary to make it feel realistic. Fight scenes are best written (I have found) with thought narration, overview of the fight (i.e. John dodged a flurry of punches) instead of details of each punch being thrown… but, I have found Youtube to be quite helpful in my writing of action scenes.

    And, I read the first two Twilight books. I enjoyed the first. But the second was nearly unbearable. She writes in a unique perspective, so I enjoyed her viewpoint. But after the newness wore off in the second book and the lack of character struck me, I dropped the series like a bad habit. True vampires are depicted nicely in the Underworld movies.

  2. Hart says:

    HA! Glad to send you to Buffy! You can see the FIRST season for free on Hulu (you need a paid account for the other seasons)–I saw the first 3 seasons via library, too, then have watched the rest on Netflix… and I TOTALLY agree! We needed her! (though Charlie’s Angels has a couple redeeming qualities, considering it was the 70s) I love Buffy as a kick-ass… I also love how strong Willow ends up… Willow’s arc is actually fascinating for the series.

    (I love Veronica Mars and Alias as other females… not necessarily physically strong in Mars’ case, but smart and resourceful, but Sydney in Alias kicks butt)

    And Bella? yeahno… I read the first book, as my daughter swore they were great. I can tell you what is great… every teenage girl can read Bella and think “HEY, I’m more interesting than her. I could have the hot vampire and werewolf fighting over me too!” She has the personality of white bread… boring, whiny… NO HUMOR (which probably bothered me most, to be honest… humor makes up for a lot) but in spite of no personality EVERY MALES in the series is inexplicably in love with her… she is universally attractive (yeah right.)

  3. Helena says:

    Ben — Welcome back! It’s great hearing from you again. How’s college going? You sound crazy busy as ever.
    You’ve given me some great advice about the action videos and stuff for writing, so much so I’ll probably steal some of this for an upcoming entry. And good for you that you’re so into martial arts personally that you’re studying the forms first hand — you’re certainly not afraid of pain. Me, I’m finding I hurt after pretty much every fencing session. And I wanna hear about your writing, too. As for The Compass Master — I thought it’d be out by now, but even self-publishing can take a while if you want to do it write. I should be getting the hard copy of the text in the next week or so, and once I approve that then the book will be scheduled for printing, a Kindle/electronic edition, and will be listed on Amazon.

  4. Helena says:

    Hart — Thanks for steering me to Buffy, and I really like Alias too but for some reason missed out on Veronica Mars, so I gotta check out that series. And what you (and Ben) say about Bella’s lack of character and her whiny, self-pitying nature seems to be common complaints. I don’t like the way some teenage girls might conclude this is a good way to be and guys will love them for it, and don’t go to college or get a career or learn how to support yourself, just get a guy to take to take care of you and you’ll be happy. That’s more unrealistic than glittering vamps and weres.

  5. Ben says:

    My first year at college went very well! So well that I decided I wanted to transfer and a different major! Haha… I was going into professional writing (magazines and articles…) but I love the creative side of writing. So, I transferred to a college in Minneapolis and am now majoring in screenwriting and directing. I’m hoping to always write novels on the side, but my main focus being movies.
    I moved into a studio apartment with my best friend almost three months ago. I got a job serving at Olive Garden. I’ve been writing like crazy lately. My book is coming along wonderfully. Actually, it was after reading the book “On Writing” by Stephen King that got me inspired. He had so many unique and fresh perspectives on writing, it renovated my love. I’d definitely recommend it.

  6. Helena says:

    Ben — This all sounds so great for you. I really want to read your book when you’re finished, especially because I know it’ll be solid and good. And I can see you in the movie industry too — the visual way of telling stories!

  7. Ciara Knight says:

    Buffy rocks! I loved watching that show. My roommate and I would look forward to ice cream and Buffy night each week. :) Thanks for the memory, Helena.

  8. Helena says:

    Ciara – I can see why you loved it.