Funnier in Latin
The When's and Where's of Writing Willow/Fred
There are so many pairings out there brought forth by the imaginations of
writers. Some pairings that would seem impossible in anything but fan
fiction. Some pairings are based on characters that haven’t even met.
Fred/Willow stems mainly from ‘Orpheus’ (Season 4 Ats). Here we saw two
characters who had only met briefly when Willow told Angel about Buffy’s
death, exchange friendly conversation that became actual flirting.
For Fred, a previously straight character, this was unexpected. And of
course, for Willow, who at the time is seeing Kennedy back in Sunnydale.
There is little hope for this ‘ship to ever become canon. But it has opened
a lot of opportunities for writers.
So how do you go about doing what Joss only hinted at in the series?
Here’s a simple guide to the main settings for Fred/Willow fiction:
Fred was rescued from Pylea at the end of season 2 Ats/season 5 BtVS. Being
there five years means Fred was sucked into the portal just before Buffy
appeared in Sunnydale. Making Willow 15-16 years old. Seeing as
Fred was at university at the time, that would make her at least 18.
Possibility for the ‘ship at this point is unlikely, but for a friendship
fic, you can break away from canon and create a basis for a later reunion or
possibly an AU where Fred went to Sunnydale university instead, or was never
sucked into Pylea. Because of Willow’s age, it is unlikely you will be able
to make a relationship fic at this time.
Before it was ever rumoured Willow would guest on Angel, there was a
possibility for fanfic writers to do it themselves, finding a reason for
Willow to go to LA, or in fact Fred to go to Sunnydale. By setting your
fiction in this time period, you don’t have to follow the rules Joss set in
Orpheus and can manipulate the relationship however you wish. Maybe Fred and
Willow don’t get on at first. Perhaps Fred could get caught up in Willow’s
magic addiction phase. The possibilities are endless, but you need to decide
how they’re going to meet. At this point, we don’t know how much they know
about each other, only that they’ve seen each other’s faces. Although Fred
knows enough about Willow later on to be able to call her for help with
Angelus, we don’t know when she finds this information out.
Setting your fiction while Willow is in LA might be more of a struggle than
you might think. We have to remember that at this time, things in Sunnydale
are preventing Willow from staying long. And with everything going on in LA,
a love story might be a little out of place. Fred has broken up with Gunn,
therefore leaving her open for anything you want to happen. Willow, however,
is involved with Kennedy and even says so to Fred. If you do want something
to happen at this point, you either need to twist canon a little bit
(Kennedy and Willow aren’t together, the whole Buffy storyline never
happened and the potentials don’t exist, etc) or explain why Willow would
want to cheat on Kennedy. To make it believable, try to imagine what would
get Willow to do such a thing. She has changed a lot over the past few
seasons, but she is not the type of girl to sleep around.
After Orpheus, too much is going on in LA and Sunnydale, that placing a fic
here might be difficult. Fred and Willow could keep in touch, and you could
begin you fic with that idea, but to get actual face-to-face interaction may
be difficult. After season seven, you no longer have to worry about what is
going on in Sunnydale and who Willow is with. The plots in Ats matter, but
it is much easier to twist those around to your
advantage. This is possibly the easiest place to write Fred/Willow, if only
because you make up the rules. The further into the future it’s placed, the
easier it gets. For example, if you write a fic set five years after season
5 of Angel, you can write almost anything. It may turn out later that you
fic would become near impossible (if Fred were to die in season 5, for
example) but it’s your version of the future and so it really doesn’t
Here’s where you get the power to write whatever you want. From, ‘Willow
never liked Kennedy’ to ‘vampires don’t exist and Willow grew up in Texas
next door to Fred’. It’s all possible. Straying too far from the storyline
of Buffy and Angel might be a bad move though. It’s alright to create an AU
world where vampires and slayers don’t exist, but to make it interesting to
those people who want BtVS/Ats fic and not original fic with two borrowed
characters, include the other characters some how. Make things familiar.
Maybe Gunn could be Fred’s ex at high school when new student Willow arrives
and makes friends with Buffy and Xander. It can still be a Willow/Fred, but
at least you’re remaining true to the show you’re writing for.
For more information on when to set your Willow/Fred, find an episode guide
or a timeline. Try to work out who is where, when and why. Once you have the
right timeline for your fic, it’s simply a case of getting two people in
*that* place at *that* time. From there, the rest is up to you.