Nan Dibble

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Name: Nan Dibble, Nancy Dibble
Alias(es): nan, Ansen Dibell
Fandoms: BtVS, Angel the Series, Beauty and the Beast (TV)
URL: The Soulful Spike Society; her memorial Livejournal
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Nan Dibble active in the Beauty and the Beast (TV) fandom.

She was also a professional published fiction and nonfiction author in her life outside fandom, as well as an editor for many years.

She was also a noted fanfiction writer in the Buffyverse, and her work includes such stories as Blood Rites and Blood Kin, among others.

Nan passed away 7 March 2006 [1] after a sudden illness.

Fan Activities




Acquainted with the Night | Beyond Words, Beyond Silence Bridge of Dreams | Bright Spirit Descending | Flame and Shadow | Heartscapes | Huntress | Once Upon a Winterfest | Phoenix | Shadow Dancers | Storms

Sample Fiction

Comments by Nan

From The good old days are a myth. We've always been a contentious fandom. (1994):

We've always been a contentious fandom, with deep divisions born of passionate conviction leading us, too often, to declare (usually with our 20 closest friends) that this or that person isn't "really" a fan and that only a certain portion of the series, the part we happen to like, can possibly be acceptable to any right-minded person. There have been dead roses, vituperative letters, personal attacks, people spat on in elevators, conventions sabotaged, and other assorted nastiness I won't depress the new fans among us by listing. And those WERE the good old days.

I've been through it all, I'm here now, and here's what I see. The fandom is changing as all living things do. Some people leave, and we're sorry to see them go and hope sometime they'll come back. Other people come, and we're astonished by the depth of their caring and ingenuity.

[snipped: examples of generous fans, some of their contributions]

Like everybody in this fandom, newcomer or old line, whose phone bills have gone through the roof because they can't resist sharing their lives with a pack of dippy strangers who have suddenly become friends, family...all because of a TV show.

I could go on and on. Examples are endless. People go, but people also come, infusing the fandom with fresh life and enthusiasm. I see this happening, day by day, month by month. As a new fan in Washington, who'd first discovered the series on the SF channel, told me in all seriousness, It's changed her life. By golly. Imagine that. It's changed my life, too. Life is changes. And over this past year, I've seen a whole lot more coming together than falling apart. I think we're more at peace with one another, more united and committed, than we've ever been. Old hurts are healing, as well as old divisions. We are, for the first time and blessedly, becoming one fandom. We all started out as lone maniacs in front of our own TV's, convinced we were the only ones so mesmerized by this amazing series. We now know ourselves to be a worldwide fandom, increasingly united and connected with one another. So when some development, like the resistance to Steven McHattie's appearance at a convention, or someone's decision to withdraw from the fandom, makes you feel depressed and discouraged, that's understandable...but it also should be temporary.

Try to remember the happy, hopeful things that are just as true as the sad ones and should lift our hearts, not make us feel there's no use and we all might as well quit, pull down our Vincent posters, and slouch back to our now-uninteresting lone TV sets again, moaning about the good old days, when everything was rosy. Remember what brought us into the fandom to begin with. Try to be there for one another. Don't worry about what anybody else is doing: contribute what you can to keep the dream alive. Live in shared love and hope, living the best we can--not perfect, but giving help where we can, taking help where we need it: what the series was about--no less true, no less strong, than it was at the beginning. Only the grave is peaceful: as Vincent put it, while we live, we bleed. But we also renew ourselves, and the hurts heal. Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. And the reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.

Fan Comments


From Sally Wright:

Nan Dibble, God bless her, made me tapes of no less than twenty-one episodes, at no charge but expenses. This lady advertises in Pipeline to find people who need her help!! Her comment "If I charged even a little for the tapes, Sally, there are some people who couldn't afford them" was my first taste of the generosity of B&B fandom. [2]


From Stephanie A. Wiltse:

Nan Dibble took over from the Hartmans as caretaker of the Helpers' Network. Her new hotline phone number, followed later on by an e-mailing list and website, would be the only original fan-news source devoted to the series to survive into the next century. When circumstances finally prevented her from continuing, she passed the Helpers' list along to me in November 2001.

I discovered since then that the web seedling Nan planted had been joined by a forest of related websites and chat-groups, many effectively duplicating the service Helpers’ Network once stood alone to provide. After a couple of years our once mighty Network had dwindled to 200 valid e-mail addresses. Then, thanks to my internet provider's efforts to prevent mass-mailings, the U.S. chapter of Helpers' Network sent out its last hotline update on November 11 2003.

If a community exists today around Beauty and the Beast, it is due in no small measure to the decade of continuous devotion this wonderful lady lavished on the show and its fans. Suddenly. Nan Dibble left us March 7th after a short illness. We are left with many fond memories. Her words remain. [3]


From JoAnn Baca:

If all Nan Dibble had done for fandom was produce the Qfer, that would have been contribution enough, but for many years, she also ran The Helpers' Network US. And that’s still not all. Nan also wrote...and wrote...and wrote! Classic, Third Season, Fourth Season.... creating quality fanfic in virtually every subset of fan writing, with zines such as Bright Spirit Descending, Once Upon a Winterfest, Acquainted with the Night, and Phoenix, some of which is available online. It’s hard to imagine someone who contributed more, in so many ways, to keeping the candles burning." [4] [5]

From Maxine Meyer:

Perhaps some of you who've been in the fandoms for many years will remember Nan from her work in the "Beauty and the Beast" fandom (the series with Vincent and Catherine and Diana), on the Hotline, with her fanfic recs Quarterly, with the Cincinnati fan group and for her own superior BATB fan fiction.

Later on, Nan wrote in the "Buffy" universe: she was particularly attracted to the character of Spike. Her fan fiction continued to be original, dramatic, fascinating and written with great verve and style, superior without question.

Nan never boasted but she had PhDs in English Literature and in Writing. She was also a published professional writer of science fiction (using the pen name Ansen Dibell). She was what is termed a "world builder," a style that she brought to her fan fiction, even though fan fiction is sourced.

But there were two qualities about Nan that didn't really have anything to do with her own writing, per se. One was her desire to teach and ability to teach even a novice like me, about writing. Her book "Plot" (also using the pen name Ansen Dibell) is still the standard today in writing classes in the United States and around the world, having been translated into many languages.

And the other quality was her great, deep and unfailing kindness. She befriended me and consistently supported me both with my "real life" troubles and in my attempts to learn to write. She extended her friendship to many people whose lives were enriched by knowing Nan. Her love never failed. [6]


From Lydia Bower:

Every story begins with the writer asking, “What if?” This one began with several “what ifs.” The first being: “What if I could draw on everything I learned from my writing mentor, way back in the day, along with just a fraction of the inspiration and joy her written words have given me, and write a story to give something back to her in return?” In case you’re not familiar with Nan Dibble, she was a pro writer who dabbled (and did it fabulously) in fanfic. Nan was one of the first people to welcome me into the BATB community, and to encourage me to try my hand at writing fanfic. I’ve always written things, from as far back as I can remember, but Nan is the one who brought focus to my craft and pushed me beyond the limits I’d thought myself capable of.

You may be familiar with her “official” Beauty and The Beast novels, Beyond Words, Beyond Silence and Bright Spirit Descending. But she also edited and contributed to the Phoenix series of 4th Season zines and wrote what I consider to be not only the finest piece of BATB fanfic ever written, but one of the best pieces of fiction period, her Acquainted with the Night series. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to seek out fellow fans with zine collections or the newly reopened Crystal Rose Lending Library and get your hands on all three books in the series. No one wrote, or ever will write, Vincent and Diana as authentically, convincingly, and as lovingly as Nan did - no one. And I’ll stand toe-to-toe and argue to the death with anyone who reads the Acquainted with the Night series and disagrees with me. ;)

Sadly, we lost Nan in 2006. This zine, The Possibility of Being (2012 Beauty and the Beast zine), is a tribute to, and in honor of, her memory. Those of you familiar with her BATB works of fiction may find signposts sprinkled here and there among these stories that harken back to something Nan wrote: a phrase; a snippet of dialogue; a conjecture; an idea. This was completely intentional on my part. Much like the living spirit of Catherine residing within Vincent, I feel as though Nan occupied a small part of my creative mind and heart as I wrote these stories. I think she’d be pleased to know that. I hope so, anyway. [7]


  1. ^ SFWA obituary
  2. ^ from the dedication to All That Matters: A Story of Catherine's Return
  3. ^ from a dedication in Remember the Magic (2007)
  4. ^ Beauty and the Beast Fan Fiction & Art Retrospective
  5. ^ Her friend Stephanie Wiltse wrote a tribute to Nan here. Her memorial guestbook is archived here, accessed August 23, 2008.
  6. ^ Remembering Nan Dibble... dated March 7, 2008; .
  7. ^ from the dedication in The Possibility of Being (2012 Beauty and the Beast zine) (2012)