I think darth_cabal put it best when she wrote, "AUs embody all the potential of fanfic. They allow the fan to take canon, tweak it just the flap of a butterfly's wing, and then explore the effects of that change rippling outward. They also embody all the challenge of fanfic. It's difficult enough to keep characters IC within a canon situation; it's all the more impressive to maintain recognizable characterization and universe while diverging from canon."
In this case, the tweak is Buffy the Vampire Slayer's kid sister, Dawn.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to claim one episode from the first four seasons of BtVS, and insert Dawn. You can rewrite the entire episode, or just a key scene (no pun intended!) You can write from Dawn's POV or another character's. Explore the ways Dawn's presence changes events.
For example, how does Dawn take Buffy's disappearance at the end of "Becoming 2"? In "Ted," does Dawn get along better with her mom's boyfriend than Buffy does? How did Dawn react to Xander and Amy's love spell in "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"? Was she accused of witchcraft in "Gingerbread"? What does Dawn dream about in "Restless"?
1. Fiction and artwork are both accepted. Fics should be 800 words or longer.
2. You can post anytime you like. Everything is due October 1st. That gives you three and a half months to write 800 words. I won't hound people, since this isn't an exchange. I'll post occasional reminders to the community.
3. One person per episode. (I may revise this rule.) Each participant may claim one or two episodes. If you know you're going to bail - for whatever reason - please let me know ASAP, so I can let people know that your episode is available again. You can reach me at thistlerose at livejournal dot com.
4. Please post directly to the community. That way, if you delete your journal, we don't lose your fic.
5. Don't worry about tags. I'll take care of them.
6. There's no template for the header. Please use one, though. Include all pertinent information: episode claimed, rating, ships, any warnings, etc. Everything besides the header must go behind a lj cut. Seriously, I get crabby when lj cuts are not used.
7. Please, no bashing. If you decide that Dawn hates Cordelia, that's perfectly fine. But there's a difference between one character hating another and a writer letting her hatred of a particular character take over the story.
8. No off-topic posting.
9. If you're posting fic, use a beta reader. I'll make a post where people can request beta readers, and betas can offer their services.
10. This is a ficathon, not a place for you to pimp the story you wrote last year, however in keeping with the theme it may be. That said, if you do have a story involving Dawn in one of the first four seasons of BtVS, and want to expand upon it here, that's fine.
11. Don't just post an episode verbatim except for a line or two by or about Dawn. Be creative!
12. That's all I can think of. If you have any questions, comment on the community's introductory post, or e-mail me at thistlerose at livejournal dot com.