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Complete American girls by Barnabas.C - M - Buffy the vampire slayer

Discussion in 'Trash Bin' started by Zeelthor, May 13, 2011.

  1. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

    Aug 22, 2008
    Title: American girls
    Author: Barnabas.C
    Rating: M
    Genre: Adventure/Romance
    DLP Category: Misc
    Pairing: Dawn/OC - Femslash
    Status: Complete
    Summary: A post-chosen story featuring Dawn and a female slayer going on independent adventures. Mainly a story of character development, empowerment and, of course, love.
    Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5269596/1/American_Girls
    LiveJournal: http://barnabas930.livejournal.com/956.html

    The author has a link on his livejournal that has a version featuring lyrics and stuff Fanfiction.net won't allow. Plus one sex scene that's somewhat expanded if anyone's interested in that. The music is rather important in this fic and not in the way that the stereotypical teenage author tries to thrust her cool bands into the arms of her characters. It's a bit dicy to navigate there, but worth it in the end.

    Why do I put this story here? Well, it's my all time favourite and really hasn't gotten many reviews. I think that's a bloody shame because it's such a hauntingly beautiful work and it really left me more devastated than a certain death in season 6 of Buffy.

    I apologize for any deviations from the posting format, if they've been made.

    Checked by Minion, March 29, 2015
    kalespr found the author's livejournal with the story. Thanks for the info.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2015
  2. yak

    yak Moderator DLP Supporter Retired Staff

    Jul 28, 2007
    I wrote this review as I was reading through the fic. I went back and polished it up a bit afterwards, but it's still very rough and dis-jointed.

    The first fight scene is written well. It's a little awkward in places, but nothing too detracting. It seems to be a sign of good things to come.

    Oh, it was all a dream/hallucination. 'kay.

    That is clever word play. Made me smile.

    Buffy and Dawn are having a fight... or more to the point, Buffy is being a meanie and Dawn is the one who's keeping the peace by not retaliating.

    It's all a bit "poor Dawn" so far.

    Now the OC is being introduced, and her name is Kait Covington. "Kait"? Jesus Christ. Her parents must've hated her. Not only did they alliterate her full name, but they gave her a first name that she's going to have to spend the rest of her life correcting people on the spelling. Kait Covington isn't just a bad name, it's a bad Mary Sue name. I got Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way vibes as soon as I read it.

    It might be strange to criticise the weirdness of a character name in a Buffy fanfic when that 'verse is populated with weird character names, but "Kait Covington" doesn't fit. I picked Kait as the OC straight away. There are plenty of Buffy side characters and new Season 8 characters whose identities I don't know, but I didn't for a second think that she might be one of them. Kait Covington has too many of the hallmarks of a Mary Sue.

    On with the fic.

    The author's trying too hard to get Dawn and Mary Sue to be friends here. It's a pattern that repeats throughout the chapter.

    Some more of Dawn holding her tongue from lashing out at Buffy over... well, nothing, really. Is the reader supposed to empathise with this Dawn? It's difficult to follow a lead character who's so unlikeable.

    Then there's little nuggets of juicy words like that. They grab my attention and remind me that just because the characters haven't been written well yet, it's early days and there could still be gold here.

    Oh dear. The Mary Sue's only worldly possessions are a ratty old bag of clothes, hints of an unhappy home life, and a "beat-up guitar case". OC plays her own musical instrument? Check. Yet another indication of a bad Mary Sue fic.

    Enough with the emo routine. Dawn is a sad little munchkin who's being belittled by her big sister and ignored by all of the cool slayers. She wants to escape her situation. We get it already.

    Has the author never considered subtlety?

    Dawn only met Mary Sue a few minutes ago and she's already turned Dawn gay. Yay.

    There goes any hope I had for a carefully crafted relationship between three-dimensional characters. From what I've read so far, all of the characters are caricatures.

    Yes, we get it. Dawn is hard done by. Poor Dawnie.

    And again with the emo.

    There's another really awful and forced conversation between Dawn and Mary Sue.

    Guess who is already conveniently gay?

    Mary Sue just lost over 5 hours while talking to Dawn, and didn't realise that she'd missed her 7.30pm appointment until she confirmed with Dawn that it really was post-midnight. That length of missing time is pretty much impossible without being wasted.

    Dawn kisses the new girl, and the author pushes the reset button again. Sure enough, it's just a dream/hallucination.

    If I cared at all for this horribly forced Dawn/Mary Sue relationship, then cheap "reset tricks" like this might actually bother me.

    And that's the end of the first chapter. I'm not going to bother with the second.

    I've read well-written fem-slash before, and that's what I was hoping to find here - human characters with feelings and relationships that I can believe [or at least find fascinating]. It's sad to see that isn't the case here.

    The author has some good skills. The action scene was alright and the occasional bit of witty word play was well received. What really let the story down was the abysmal 2D characters and their strictly one-dimensional relationships.

    The Dawn and Mary Sue interactions never feel natural. They're always forced. It's as though the author is trying to shoehorn the two characters into this pre-constructed idea of a relationship asap, and won't let anything [eg. good taste or characterisation] stand in the way.

    The author has extensively re-written this fic. I read this chapter on Live Journal. Apparently it is the new and improved version, so I don't hold out much hope of the later chapters getting any better.

  3. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

    Aug 22, 2008
    A few valid points, though you clearly try too hard with the Simon Cowell-ish vibe. :p

    First off, there's two thousand slayers. Some are going to have odd names. Is that really a point to spend so much time flaming? :)
    The full name's Kaitlyn, if memory serves.
    An OC playing guitar is indeed the sign of a Mary-Sue, you're correct.
    If you keep on reading you'll find Kait to be flawed, just like everyone else. Hell, quite a lot more than everyone else. The music, the lyrics and with her playing guitar are very important, but it'll take a while to figure that out.

    Now, you've pointed out two weaknessess in the story. They sorta fall in love too quickly. I agree.

    And yes, poor poor Dawn. But remember it's her perspective and thus that's kind of amplified.

    And really, you're flaming her for suddenly being gay?
    Nothing's really said about Dawn's sexuality except she's got a crush on Xander at one point and that guy with the jacket at another. It's really open for interpretation in the world of fanfiction so that's one part not to make too big a deal of.

    In my opinion, you've judged too harshly and too soon and missed out, but I'm glad at least you left an opinion. I hope others will too.
  4. The Fine Balance

    The Fine Balance Headmaster

    Jun 8, 2006
    Yak captures my response to this nearly perfectly. There are quip-y and witty aspects to the tale, but on the whole there is too much pointless angst to really hold my attention. The Buffy going bonkers over the Faith photograph is patently over the top ridiculous. And I stopped soon after when it seemed that K had left (temporarily of course) Dawn.
  5. Rubicon

    Rubicon High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

    Apr 8, 2011
    I was going to try reading this just to see if it's as bad as yak says, but then I realized it's a Dawn story. I fucking hate Dawn.
  6. yak

    yak Moderator DLP Supporter Retired Staff

    Jul 28, 2007
    I had to Google that one. I don't think Simon Cowell is a big deal over here. I get the gist though.

    Kaitlyn's an improvement, but I can only work with what the author gives us. Buffy introduces her as "Kait Covington".

    I never suggested that she wasn't. I mentioned that the author gave us hints at her having an unhappy home life. I've got suspicions about the kinds of flaws she's going to demonstrate, but that's because my 'bad Mary Sue' meter is twigging hard.

    I was prepared to take that time. Indications of a bad fic [song lyrics, tech references, OC who's had a bad past, and plays an instrument/sings, Live Journal, crappy name, emo sentiments from main character, et al.] are just that: indications. They don't make a bad fic by themselves, they're just features which are commonly found in bad fics. I was eager to look past those trappings to find a hidden treasure of a fic inside. I was sadly disappointed.

    Is that what that was supposed to be?

    It doesn't stop it from being annoying. It seems likely that most of the fic is going to be told from Dawn's perspective as the main character. At every confrontation I was firmly on Buffy's side. I wanted to slap Dawn upside the head after just one chapter. 20+ more chapters of that? No, thank you.

    I don't care if Dawn's straight/bi/gay/whatever, the transition from straight-Dawn to lusting-after-the-female-OC-Dawn was handled poorly. The fic mentions that she's been on a number of dates with boys, so it's fair to say that Dawn's switch here was sudden. And as unsubtle as hell.

    I expected Dawn to be gay in this fic. The interpretation of her sexuality isn't the issue here; the author's handling of it is.

    Eh, we've all got favourite fics that we fell in love with early on but wouldn't stand up to scrutiny now that our tastes and standards have raised. Maybe things get better with this fic, but why would I persevere when there are richer veins of fanfic goodness waiting to be mined around here?

    If there's a later review by someone else which says "the early chapters are crap, but the author improves dramatically by ch7" then maybe I'll take a second look.

    It's difficult to read a story based around a relationship between two people when the author can't write characters [or at least wasn't able in the first chapter]. I've been spoiled by the likes of Hitchups, which is similar to how you described this story in the OP as "independent adventures. Mainly a story of character development, empowerment and, of course, love" except change love for bromance/friendship. The Antic Repartee knows how to write realistic characters and show a budding relationship during an adventure story. In contrast, American Girls falls at the first hurdle in the area that is supposed to be its strongest.
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  7. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

    Nov 16, 2009
    High Score:
    Depending on how canon you think season 8 is, Dawn/Xander is now canon, or was last I read.

    Edited because I'm a retard.
    Last edited: May 16, 2011