Amber Benson, of course, played Tara on BtVS. She also co-authored a pair of Willow and Tara stories for Dark Horse Comics, and individually wrote a “Tales of the Slayers” comic story. After having written several fantasy novels with Christopher Golden, she is now releasing her very first solo book, “Death’s Daughter”. Discussing her training as a writer, Benson said she “went to Chris Golden University,” learning the mechanics of storytelling from the veteran author. When the topic veered toward screenplays, she pointed out that “sometimes scripts that read great didn’t make great films”…that a lot can happen to a story before it finally reaches the screen. She hastened to add that that was not an issue on BtVS, saying, “Buffy scripts both read well and shot well.” With “Death’s Daughter”, she had already written the first ten chapters before she showed it to an editor, who agreed to publish it. Amber then had to knuckle down and finish the story by herself, without a collaborator, which was an entirely new and somewhat daunting experience for her.
Thomas Sniegoski has written for Buffy and Angel in novels, comics, reference guides, and even video games. A prolific novelist, his latest work, “Dancing on the Head of a Pin”, will be released later this spring. He had gotten his start as a writer in comics, and some of his earliest book work was for the Buffy/Angel franchises. He did a lot of work in Young Adult fiction, and it was several years before he had an opportunity to write a “big boy” book, which was an intimidating task, but a very fulfilling one. It helped that he received firm encouragement from his wife…who, he added, is “a killer cyborg from the future.” When asked by a fellow panelist if she were in the room, and Tom said yes, he was offered condolences for the penance he would doubtless have to pay later for that crack.
Peter David, well known for his comic and media tie-in work, finally got to play in the Whedonverse several years ago when he wrote a Spike one-shot for IDW Comics, and he was given approval to bestow William the Bloody a full Christian name (William Pratt, if you hadn’t already heard …and that name is a terrific in-joke/compliment understood by anyone who knows their Hollywood Golden Age horror films). An upcoming project of his is a “Fallen Angel” limited series that will feature Illyria as a guest star. When asked how he managed to get the character to appear in his own comic book, David said it was “complicated,” then went on to explain that it started out simply enough, with him approaching Joss at the San Diego con two years ago and pitching the idea, with Whedon giving his permission on the spot. What then followed were two years of complex negotiations with Fox to actually secure the rights for the story.
With four other panelists and only an hour’s time, this was largely the extent of the participation from these three, beyond the occasional input into remarks from the others. Still, it was a rare opportunity to hear from Peter, Tom and Amber on the subject of writing, and one which we hope they get to repeat soon.