Graduation Day Part 1 S3 E21 (Buffy and the Art of Story)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Graduation Day Part 1 (Season 3 Episode 21 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Faith poisons Angel and Buffy prepares to fight the Mayor, including: (1) the way the theme (of what graduation means for each character) is woven into this fast-paced story; (2) callbacks to previous episodes that make this almost like part 1 of a series finale; (3) the interplay of key episode plot turns with the major plot twists for 2-episode finale; and (4)...
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The Prom S3 E20 (Buffy and the Art of Story)

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This week on the podcast Buffy and the Art of Story – The Prom (Season 3 Episode 20 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Buffy fights monsters that threaten the Prom and Angel questions whether he and Buffy have a future together. Also:  (1) What looks like resolution of the Buffy/Angel relationship -- but is it? (2) A very subtle Story Spark or Inciting Incident; (3) Why the A plot is not obvious until we reach the episode's Climax;  (4) No real major plot turn at the three-quarter...
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Choices S3 E19 (Buffy and the Art of Story)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Choices (Season 3 Episode 19 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Buffy takes the fight to the Mayor, including: (1)  comic moments that foreshadow key plot developments; (2) merging the last major plot turn, climax, and falling action; (3) thematic bookends; (4) a main plot that doesn’t change the Buffy/Mayor overall conflict but moves multiple longform story arcs Next Up: The Prom Last Episode: Earshot Work On Your Story ...
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Earshot S3 E18 (Buffy and the Art of Story)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Earshot (Season 3 Episode 18 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Buffy gains a dangerous power and someone threatens the entire high school. And:  (1) A different kind of audience mislead than we saw in Enemies (2) The role of happenstance and luck  (3) What happens when you sideline your protagonist (4) How rewriting and revisions here heightened the dialogue and themes As always, the discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is spoiler-free...
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Sneak Peek at The Troubled Man (A Q.C. Davis Mystery)

The Troubled Man (Q.C. Davis Mystery 4)
Chapter One  What’s the one thing you want to do before you die? That question was printed in neon green chalk at the top of a blackboard hanging just inside Niche’s Women’s Room. I hadn’t noticed it when I walked in, but now I studied the chalkboard as I washed my hands. Ten numbered white chalk lines underneath provided spaces for restaurant patrons to write answers. It was early in the evening, and only one diner had filled in an answer. She wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands. Despite a...
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Tour A Mysterious Historical Mansion In Chicago

Last holiday season my niece, a theatrical scenic designer, asked whether the historical mansion depicted in my mystery The Worried Man was real. I told her no, but it was modeled after Chicago Gilded Age mansions. A month or so later she said my Christmas gift wouldn't be ready in time. I never connected it to her question about the mansion. First, our family has a long tradition of exchanging Christmas gifts in March or May and sending birthday presents months late. Second, she's a de...
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Mad Men, Buffy, And More

A quick announcement: On Thursday December 17, 2020, you can hear a few more of my thoughts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer along with insights into my favorite Mad Men character, Peggy Olson, if you check out the podcast They Coined It. I was lucky enough to be a guest for part of an episode discussing Season 2's Maidenform. Co-host Roberta Lipp and I also talked a bit about plot and theme in Mad Men and how the previous episode, The New Girl, impacted the character arcs in Maidenform. After ...
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Enemies S3 E17 (Buffy and the Art of Story)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Enemies (Season 3 Episode 17 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Buffy engages in a dangerous charade to expose Faith.  (1) Does the episode play fair with the audience – or not? (2) Escalating conflict between Buffy and Angel; and (3) What makes Faith, as an antagonist, complex and compelling? As always, the discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is spoiler-free, except at the end (with plenty of warning). Next Up: Earshot (after a holi...
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Doppelgangland (Buffy and the Art of Story S3 E16)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Doppelgangland (Season 3 Episode 16 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Vampire Willow returns. This podcast episode looks at: (1) the first scene - initial conflict or prologue? (2) is Willow both protagonist and antagonist? (3) a very subtle Midpoint; and (4) using subplots and story questions to keep viewers coming back. As always, the discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is spoiler-free, except at the end (with plenty of warning).   ...
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Consequences (Buffy the Vampire Slayer S3 E15)

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This week on Buffy and the Art of Story – Consequences (Season 3 Episode 15 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where Buffy deals with the fallout after an untimely death. This episode includes: (1) setting up believable conflict among friends; (2) fast pacing through escalating tension and multiple plot twists; (3) when to leave a character out of a storyline; and (4) conflict based on characters’ life philosophies. As always, the discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is spoiler-free, except a...
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