Pairings and Pet Peeves

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Title: Pairings and Pet Peeves
Creator: Minim Calibre
Date(s): early 2000s?
Medium: online
Fandom: Buffy & Angel
External Links: Pairings, Archived version
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Pairings and Pet Peeves is an essay by Minim Calibre.

It is one of many essays at Octaves, a Buffy and Angel website.


I hate seeing stories where the author ignores or whitewashes characters' acknowledged canon emotions. It pulls me right out of the story. It's not like developing an attachment for someone new means that the old attachment wasn't true, or real. As Edna St. Vincent Millay said "After all, my erstwhile dear, my no longer cherished, need we say it was not love, just because it perished?"

In the case of Buffy and Angel, it didn't perish, it's just been unworkable for quite some time, for various reasons. Negating the attachment and the very real feelings there cheapens the new attachment, because if you the writer go with the theory that the old love wasn't "real", then what's to make me believe as the reader that the new one is, either? Love doesn't work like that.

If you're going to write pairings beyond PWP, be true to the characters (I'm not saying don't be true to them in PWP, just that it's less of an issue there). Don't write Gunn as if he never loved Fred, just because you're hooking him up with Lorne. Now, you don't have to mention Fred, but if you do, don't negate the feelings that were there.

Hook Willow or Tara or Anya or Mr. Gordo up with Spike, but don't (depending on when you're setting it) negate or devalue Willow's feelings for Xander or Oz or Tara (or, I say through gritted teeth, Kennedy), Tara's feelings for Willow, Anya's for Xander, or Spike's for Dru or Buffy (depending, again, on when you're setting it. If you're writing a S2 or 3 Spike/Willow, and it's not wildly AU, Spike's not going to be mushy for Buffy, but he is going to have his Dru thing on).