The Buffy Syllabus - A Free 12 Week Creative Writing Course

UPDATE: Happy 20th Anniversary, Buffy! It's not that I don't have to words to express what this show and character has meant to me, it's that I have far too many. So I'm going to skip them all and let the course speak for itself. (And hi to my fellow Scoobies! How are you celebrating today?)

Here's a brief bonus article I wrote waaay back in the day for Geek Monthly about why it was so crucial for Spike to meet the fate he met and for Buffy to stay, well, wholly Buffy.

Anyway, that syllabus...

I care enough about you not to kick this off with a weak pun about a writer's pencil being like a vampire stake. So right away, I hope we've established some emotional trust.

Back in my grad school days, I spent my assistantship happily teaching ENG 285 (Introduction to Creative Writing) to undergrads. I loved teaching and my brain still sorts and shuffles as though it's creating lesson plans.

To burn off some of that unused teaching energy, I designed a twelve week creative writing course using Whedon's seminal Buffy: The Vampire Slayer tv-show as a framework. Because, why not? I'm cherry-picking a bit from basic writing techniques and screenwriting, but it's my imaginary internet class and I can do what I want.

Feel free to use the following syllabus as an episode guide if you've always wondered what the fuss was all about. Or, use it as a twelve-week writing challenge. (Leave a comment and tell me how it worked for you.)


1. You sign up to my mailing list using the form below. (That I almost literally never use...so no spam!)

2. I send it to you via email. Super simple. Super free. No strings attached.

Here's the first bit so you can get a feel for things:

1. Each week, watch the assigned episode.

2. Read about the writing technique of the week. There are links for further study and you can turn to trusty Google if you want to dig deeper. If you already understand the technique and don't need instruction, just sit there with a philosophical look on your face for a few minutes.

3. Ponder the episode for a while in the context of the writing technique. Discuss it with a buddy, if you can.

4. Do the assigned homework. Write in your genre of preference and don't stress out about length or formatting.

S2: Episode 3: "School Hard" - SHOW, DON'T TELL


To get the rest, just subscribe to my mailing list. I literally created it just to share my syllabus in a prettier format. So this should be the only email you ever get from me. That's it!

Any excuse to watch Buffy is a good one and any writing prompt is bound to generate something. It's a big, fat win any way you slice it, dice it or stake it. (Hey, I didn't promise I wouldn't end with a pun...)

Subscribe to my mailing list for some sweet Buffy cookie dough goodness...I hope it turns your inner writer into fully baked cookies.

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