The Darker Side of Sunnydale

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Name: The Darker Side of Sunnydale
Date(s): c. 2000-present (last updated 2002)
Archivist: Ames
Founder: Ames
Type: mainly darkfic
Fandom: Angel the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
URL: The Darker Side of Sunnydale
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The Darker Side of Sunnydale (TDSoS) is a medium-sized archive for Buffyverse fanfiction founded in around 2000. It is a selective, invitation-only archive for stories with a darker flavour, which aimed to showcase some of the best writing in the fandom. The archivist is Ames, with the latest design by Rowan.

The archive includes a little under a hundred stories, from 56 authors, including A. C. Chapin, Annie Sewell-Jennings, Flywoman, HonorH, Hth, Ins, James Walkswithwind, Jennifer-Oksana, Kita, Lar, M. Scott Eiland, Maayan, Melymbrosia, Puca Dentata, Rheanna, Rowan, Te and Yahtzee. The author pages include a review by the archivist of the author's writing and/or the individual stories archived. There are also interviews with some of the authors, a how-to guide of 'Tips for Darkfic Writers' and a short list of beta readers.

Description and Selection Criteria

Ames describes her motivations for starting the archive:

...occasionally I would read a story that made me sit up, jump back, and blink in amazement. These were stories that had been loved, slaved over, Beta'd like a zillion times, reworked, rewritten, polished and honed to a state of near perfection. Characters were alive and true to canon, atmosphere was written with a deft hand, the comedy was comedic, the horror was horrifying, and the plots were intense and carefully crafted. Some of these I read in the Buffy universe. And somehow, somewhere, I got the idea to give them a home, someplace where I could point people to some really spectacular writing. I hope I've succeeded.[1]

On the contents:

These stories are the best that is out there. Some of them have won awards, some of them you'll recognize, and some of them are fresh off the press. And, as much as the writing is key, the writers are even more amazing. ...
Each of the authors here ... has looked a little deeper into the denizens of Sunnydale. Their writing is clear, evocative, and skilled. Each one of them deserves individual praise, not just for the works archived here, but for their entire oeuvre. ...
While all of these stories have shadings of darkness, some are more violent and explicit than others. Please read at your own risk - all ratings, G to NC-17 are archived here.[2]

On the selection criteria:

1. Obviously, darkness. By that I mean a new take on a character (i.e., "Wolfself"), an intriguing plot that takes the characters someplace different, like in "Essential Fragility", that ephemeral something that is angsty without falling into pathos. I want stories that show what the real life in Sunnydale might be like - the horror, the emotion, the underlying fear that must be there everyday. (Note: There's been a slight change in focus lately. Not all the stories here are "dark" - but they are all high-quality.)
2. Characterization is key. "Wolfself" and "The Brighter Cold Moon" are good examples of stories that depict a different side of a main character that we might not see on the show, but that can't be denied. In "Wolfself," Oz is written as pretty much of a sociopath, but still remains true to the show. Pretty amazing feat.
3. Grammar, grammar, grammar. I can't read something that has misspellings, poor punctuation, bad grammar, or where the writing is so bad that it completely destroys the plot.[1]


The site was founded before February 2000. It was redesigned several times, including in March and July 2000 and January 2001.[3][4] Ames writes about the blue-and-pink colour scheme of the latest version: I like pink. ... I had a previous version that was what I call "gloomy broody black" and had the visual quality of a fresh bruise. Ick. Also, I kind of grooved to the irony of dark stories housed in a confectionary candy home.[1]

The site moved to its own domain,, in March 2001. The archive was last updated in January 2002;[3][4] it remains online as of April 2012.


The Darker Side of Sunnydale was formerly the Dark Zone site of the BtVS Writers' Guild.[5] It is affiliated with the Undead Awards and sponsored their darkfic category.[4] The site is in several webrings, including Vampires in Valhalla, The Slayer Show Webring and Lore of the Slayer.


The BtVS Writers' Guild describes the site as an Archive for some the best BtVS/A:tS fiction out there. Focus is mainly on DarkFic, but can include well-written character studies and lighter stories.[6] It is recommended by Espresso Addict, who describes its scope as non-fluffy BtVS fiction.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Darker Side of Sunnydale: It's Entirely Pointy... Why TDSoS? (accessed 26 April 2012)
  2. The Darker Side of Sunnydale: Where The Stories Live... The Archives (accessed 26 April 2012)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Darker Side of Sunnydale: Old updates (accessed 26 April 2012)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Darker Side of Sunnydale: The Chatter in the Caf... What's New (accessed 26 April 2012)
  5. The Darker Side of Sunnydale: Guilded Goodness (accessed 26 April 2012)
  6. BtVS Writers' Guild: Archives A-K (accessed 26 April 2012)
  7. Espresso Recommendations: Links (accessed 25 April 2012)