This week’s author is a long-time fan and a long-time writer but her take on our favorite characters is anything but old! Meet all-these-ghosts. Whether you’re looking for something that will make you laugh or make you ugly cry you’ll find it in her great collection of work. “The Son You Always Had” looks at four different options of what life could have been like for William Scully, and explores the life he did have. Each world is painful in it’s own way but the look at William’s involvement in a “My Struggle II” world really punched me in the gut.
If, like me, you enjoy beautiful imagery with a side of “carves a hole in your chest angst” I highly recommend “The Sea That Has Become Known.” It starts with a Scully adrift after losing her mother, and moves to snapshots of Mulder and Scully’s life “before” and you can feel the weight of that history as you read.
We talked with all-these-ghosts about writing, inspirations, and of course, The X-Files.
How long have you been a Phile?
Apparently twenty years, which I didn’t realize until I answered this question. Yikes. I spent a lot of time on the AOL boards in the late ‘90s.
What was your first episode?
Um. “Home”. My dad had been watching the show for a few years and he thought I would like it; unfortunately, that was the episode that aired when he decided I was old enough to join in. I was ten. Somehow my dad decided it was okay for me to keep watching.
How long have you been writing fic?
Also about twenty years, in a bunch of fandoms under a variety of pseudonyms, most of which I won’t fess up to! I did find my very first fanfic on Gossamer recently. I cannot imagine what compelled me to post it. True story: it was a songfic about a song that my neighbor wrote.
What inspired you to start writing?
I write to fix things. I only write fic for franchises that have frustrated me in some way - so like, I’ve never written (or read, really) any Harry Potter fanfic, because I’m satisfied with how that story turned out. When I get really into a show I spend a lot of my spare time thinking about how things might play out (especially when canon is disappointing), and sometimes I write those thoughts down.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
I write Scully more often because she totally fascinates me, but I find Mulder easier and more fun to write. (Maybe because I am, in life, definitely a Mulder. You guys. There are ghosts everywhere.) I also love Awkward Skinner. I want all the fic where Skinner is super uncomfortable with Mulder and Scully’s relationship.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
I’ve mostly stayed away from Maggie Scully. I know she’s beloved by the characters and most of the fandom, but I secretly think she’s kind of awful and I don’t think I’d be able to hide that for more than a couple lines.
Is there a story you’re most proud of or that’s a favorite?
I was really happy with “The Sea That Has Become Known.” It’s structurally kind of weird but I think it worked. (Also I’m much better at writing poetry than stories, and that story gave me an opportunity to do both.)
My other favorite is “Fault Lines” - I love season five, I love that period in their relationship, I love “Detour”, and I love writing banter.
Where can people find your work, and what’s the best way to send feedback?
On Tumblr or AO3 - there are a few stories on AO3 that predate this Tumblr, and lots of things on Tumblr that haven’t made it to AO3 (there’s a link on my Tumblr to the “my fic” tag). Feedback is lovely and deeply appreciated anywhere, but if you want to chat then Tumblr is best - I have messaging turned on for everybody and I like talking to people. (And I’m terrible at responding to comments on AO3, although I love reading them!)
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
Always! Sometimes it takes me a really long time to actually write them, but I love getting them. Prompts have given me so many good ideas and I am always grateful.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
Yep. I’m usually working on a few different things. I’m a huge sucker for high fantasy, so there are a lot of bad half-finished novels about knights and wizards on my hard drive.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
I am an extremely slow writer. Very occasionally something happens really fast (I think I wrote “First Date” in like an hour), but my typical ~2k-word fic represents something like ten hours of work, sometimes more. NaNoWriMo is hugely valuable for me because it forces me to just churn stuff out, at least for a month; if you’re also pokey or prone to obsessive editing, I highly recommend it. I always read my stories out loud once I think I’m done. It’s a good way to catch dumb mistakes, or notice if you keep using the same word, or figure out if dialogue is too awkward.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
I read books for teenagers for my job, so that’s most of what I know. I love Daniel Pinkwater just because I love him. There are a lot of YA authors who are gorgeous writers - I especially love Laini Taylor, Francesca Lia Block, and Melina Marchetta.
Is there any advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
Eavesdrop whenever possible, and take really good notes. Most of what I write is stolen from real life; the more you listen to other people, the more stories and anecdotes you have in your arsenal.
Also: I had a professor in college who was a ruthless editor, and every time you used a word that had a simpler/shorter synonym, she would make you justify why you needed the more complex word. Of course you often do need that word, but it’s a good way to keep yourself honest and prevent overwriting.
Anything else you’d like to share that I missed?
I’m super, super grateful to be part of this community. Fandom has been there for me during a lot of difficult parts of my life, and I’m always so appreciative. So many people have been friendly and supportive and it means a lot to me.
Thank you so much to all-these-ghosts for talking to us!