We’re taking another walk down X-Files fandom memory lane this week with an author who has been a fan of the show since that fateful day in 1993. Meet ML! She’s a longtime writer with a fantastic body of work. ML writes with a mix of warmth, angst, humor and insight that’s so fitting of our heroes. And with 150 works listed on Gossamer you’ve got a lot of reading to do.
The show didn’t give Mulder much of a chance to rebound after learning about what really happened to Samantha in “Closure” so ML takes that on in “Land of the Living.” Mulder and Scully take some time away to sort things out and maybe, just maybe, finally get the chance to move on.
I have a major soft spot for Scully angst, and the time when Scully was searching for Mulder in Season 8 always hits me right in the gut. “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a perfect example of that. We know Scully doesn’t share her feelings well, and this story set during Christmas with her family makes me want to reach out and hug her. Bonus points for a more human depiction of big brother Bill, as well.
I remember reading this one over and over when it first appeared on Ephemeral in 2001 and it still resonates today. I won’t give away too much but “Age Cannot Wither” is an a/u that deals with “Requiem” and Scully’s immortality in a very moving way.
We talked with ML about writing, fandom, and of course The X-Files.
How long have you been a Phile?
Since the Pilot. I’ve always liked science fiction and the premise was intriguing to me. I was hooked from the beginning by the stories. It took me a little longer to warm up to Mulder; I remember feeling a little sorry for Scully at first.
What was your first episode?
How long have you been writing fic?
Long ago, I wrote little vignettes for TV shows I liked for my own amusement. I had no idea that I was writing fanfic. I think the first thing I wrote was inspired by the soap opera Dark Shadows. I didn’t even discover that there was such a thing as XF fanfic until S5, I think, when I finally had regular access to a computer. I read avidly for about a year, everything I could get my hands on. Then nearly at the end of S6, I started writing a story that ended up taking years to finish. I did manage to post a vignette for “Requiem” right after it aired, and it was promptly lost in the thousands of wonderful post-ep stories also posted. What a great summer for reading and writing that was!
What inspired you to start writing?
The Samantha eps: “Sein und Zeit,” and “Closure.” That’s the story that took me years to finish (“Land of the Living” for those who are interested).
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
I love The Lone Gunmen (and they didn’t die, by the way). I also enjoy taking a secondary character (a guest star, if you will) and doing a story from his or her POV.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
I’m not too crazy about Diana Fowley, though not for the usual reason. I just find her kind of a blank. I’m going to have to tackle one from her POV one of these days. Same with Bill Scully Junior; on the show, he’s just angry, and I admire the authors who have fleshed out his character and made him more “human.”
Is there a story you’re most proud of or that’s a favorite?
With so many archives to choose from these days, where is the best place to find your work?
Most of my work is available at Gossamer. I will still post any new story on Ephemeral. I have a site that hasn’t been updated for a while: www.invidiosa.com. I also post now on Dreamwidth, and my name there is ML_Griffonnage. There might be a few stories there that didn’t make it to Gossamer. I haven’t tried AO3 yet, but I’m thinking I may start putting some stories there. If I do, I’ll announce it on Dreamwidth and on any story I post to Ephemeral.
You’ve been well known in the fandom for a long time, do you still write for XF or have your skills been focused elsewhere?
XF is the only fandom I’ve ever had the urge to write for. I still have that urge but RL gets in the way a lot more than it used to. I haven’t posted a story for a long time, but I have one in the works right now.
If you do still write XF fic, where does your inspiration come from after so many years? If you’re not, is there anything in particular that caused you to stop writing XF fic?
I always seem to see something new when I watch XF – I especially like looking at Mulder and Scully through a secondary character’s eyes. Or, something in the news triggers a thought about XF. I stopped for a long time mostly due to lots of changes in my life that left me no time to think, and for me, writing starts with a lot of brain time, and then the words come.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
Yes, but unseen by any eyes but my own (and likely to stay that way!)
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
I’ll watch an ep over and over again to find a “hook” or a place to start to get into the story I want to tell. I almost always come up with a title first, which usually ties thematically to what I want to write. Sometimes I’ll hear a word or a phrase that triggers an XF memory or scene, and sometimes that’s all the inspiration I need.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
Finding the time! As I mentioned above, I need a lot of brain time in order to write. Finding an hour or two to just sit and think, or doodle on a page, is in short supply these days.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published)
My favorite authors outside of fandom are Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Contemporary authors are folks like Kate Atkinson, Lois McMasters Bujold, Charlaine Harris, Neil Gaiman, and Jim Butcher. Inside of fandom, there are literally too many to list whom I love. I’ve been lucky to become good friends with a few in RL so I’ll give a shout out to Donna, Jacquie LaVa, and Tess.
Is there any advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
Read anything and everything you can get your hands on, both fanfic and non-fanfic. Write what you love. Ask someone you trust to read and give you feedback. Pay attention to the rules of grammar! Thank your feedbackers. And, be prepared for the characters to sometimes take the story places you hadn’t originally planned…
Anything else you’d like to share that I missed?
I would just like to say thanks to the folks at X-Files News for keeping the flame alive!
Thanks to ML for chatting with us!