Some of you I've betaed for have heard me say, when I think your courage to invent is flagging, that you know secrets. Your readers want to learn those secrets from you. That's one of their prime reasons for reading, the need to learn the secrets that only you knew until the moment you wrote.
Well, today I know Secrets. I know secrets about Giles, and Buffy, and Ethan, and Willow, and Xander, and what really happened when...
The chasm between this essence of Story in my head and a finished piece of fiction is so huge. The amount of work, for instance, in between that initial vision of Giles standing in the sitting room at 221B Baker Street, and the finished story was months, and parts of my London trip spent scouting locations, and re-reading a bunch of Conan Doyle, and more reading on Victorian London. Sometimes I feel so frustrated that what is in my head only comes out on the page as a clumsy flat representation. Sometimes it's hard to maintain this drive to tell the secrets over the hours and days it takes to get things out. But I gotta keep trying.
One of the things that kept me from writing for the last decade (destruction of confidence following intensive multi-week writing workshop, intense fear of people actually reading my writing), was a conviction that I had no ideas worth investing writing time in. Well, I've got ideas, and over the last months here I've taught myself that it doesn't matter whether my nasty internal editor thinks they're worthwhile. Readers will be entertained by the idea anyway, because I know secrets they want to learn. And that's what matters.
I know how it happens when Giles, a man deliberately broken by a cruel and manipulative Council, comes to Sunnydale, performs forbidden Bond magic with his Slayer, and regains his Christian faith and his sense of self.
I know how it happens when Giles figures out what Ethan was really up to with that time-travel artifact, and goes back to visit Holmes and Watson again, this time with Buffy.
And when Buffy performs a very different kind of bond magic with Giles, and remakes him in leather and tattoos, and what they do when the Initiative kidnaps Oz.
And when Giles takes Willow back to England with him after "Grave", but with Buffy and Dawn along with them, so Buffy can start showing Dawn the world.
And when Giles comes back to Sunnydale after Buffy's resurrection, to find that the Powers have a plan for him & Buffy, and he runs into conflict with Willow immediately.
And when Buffy and Giles go to retrieve a magic sword that is powerful enough to kill a Hellgod, but it turns out only Giles can wield it, and it has more than a few secrets locked inside it.
And when Giles does a Tarot reading for himself to sort out his disastrous love life, but he has always been terrible at intepreting the cards, and gets a wild notion into his head about what they're telling him to do.
And I even know what happens to that little baby Giles and Jenny have, when Angelus returns and kills Jenny anyway.
Cover me! I'm goin' in...
And I'll get your back when you go in to retrieve your story too. Go for it.