If you normally look for a fan artist on Wednesdays, we're changing things up a little! Allow us to introduce FanWorks Wednesdays. We'll continue to share amazing fan art from the Phile community, but now we'll be featuring fanfiction authors as well. This week's author is ScullyLikesScience. She's the author of "He is the Master of His Fate, She is the Captain of Her Soul" or "MasterCaptain" as fans call it. The story's summary on Archive of Our Own says: "Story begins during the final events of “The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati.” It then chronicles a canon-compliant progression of Mulder and Scully's relationship throughout Season 7, including the beginning of their love affair, and on through Seasons 8 & 9. The story will conclude post-IWTB, and may or may not incorporate Season 10 storylines." So far this epic work has 148 chapters if you're looking for a longer story to dive into.
We talked with ScullyLikesScience about writing and how she got into The X-Files.
How long have you been a Phile?
Since early S4 of the show's original run. I was 14 and in the 9th grade.
What was your first episode?
My parents started watching The X-Files in S1. My dad is a huge Sci-Fi fan. I have vivid memories of watching the episode "Shapes" and it really scared me. Just the theme song freaked me out and made me leave our living room. But I also remember watching "Irresistible" and that ended up giving me a recurring nightmare that lasted long into my early 20's. Donnie Pfaster, man. I didn't really watch again after that. Eventually my parents went off the show. My dad was more into aliens, and so when more and more episodes became MoTWs with random paranormal stuff, he lost interest and stopped watching sometime in S2.
The first episode I watched completely on my own was "Home." I was older by then and things didn't scare me as much anymore. I fell in love with this Scully person on the screen. Finally a female character on TV I could look up to! One whose whole purpose on the show had nothing to do with finding some silly boy to date, one who had independence and strength that wasn't dictated by the men with whom she shared the screen. I was a fierce competitor with my brother (intellectually and athletically) and I had grown tired of his taunts that boys were better than girls at everything. I was also sick of seeing women on TV portrayed as nothing more than damsels in distress, objects of desire, or just insipid airheads. Immediately, I was in awe of Dana Scully. When The X-Files moved to Sunday nights a week or two later, life as I knew it was over. I was hooked, line and sinker.
How long have you been writing fic?
Since September 3, 2014
What inspired you to start writing?
During the peak of my X-Files obsession (1998-2002) I was a voracious fan fiction reader. I read almost everything I could get my hands on, anything from post-eps to original case files to AU to slash. I took a hiatus from the fandom following IWTB, but when my love of the show rekindled in the summer of 2014, I of course immediately went looking for fic. I found that I was a much more selective and scrutinizing reader than when I was younger. There was a very specific story that I wanted to read. I'd always had a clear vision in my head of what had happened to Mulder and Scully following the series and IWTB all the way through to a reunion with William and an alien invasion. I wanted a story that dealt with Mulder and Scully's relationship in a realistic way, and one that fixed the canon mistakes and poor storytelling of the later seasons, while at the same time staying as true to canon as possible. I scoured the Internet, but couldn't find what I was looking for. So I decided to write it myself. I'm writing the story that I want to read.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
Mulder. I went into MasterCaptain as a total Scullyist, but over the course of writing I've grown to really love him. I now sympathize with him in ways I never entertained when the show was on the air. We were robbed as an audience during the last two seasons of seeing Mulder effectively deal with the consequences of his abduction and his absence in S9, or even actively participate in what was happening to him and Scully at that time. I don't think I was alone in believing that Scully had seemed like the only one suffering. I now know that was far from the truth.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
There were a no X-Files characters that I hate to write about. There are quite a few characters I disliked in the show for different reasons. But what I've found is that when I write about characters or from their POV, even if I dislike them, I don't judge them and can even find reasons to sympathize with them.
I'm going to start writing from William's POV fairly soon. This will likely be a very difficult challenge, but I'm really excited.
Which of your stories are you most proud of?
I only have the one. And yes, I'm very proud of how it's turned out so far. If someone had told me on September 3, 2014 that my story would have almost 150 chapters, over 800,000 words, and that I still wouldn't be anywhere near finished with it 18 months later, I wouldn't have believed it possible. I had no idea that so many people would be reading it or respond to it so positively. It's almost embarrassing. When readers tell me how much they love the story or how it's affected them personally in some way, I don't know what to say other than "thank you." It's something I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around, but I'm incredibly grateful for all the support and encouragement I receive.
Where can people find your work?
My story can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/2249355
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
Some readers give me very detailed feedback in the AO3 comments section and on Twitter, which I love more than words can say. There have been times when they've expressed hope for something to happen in the story. If it can fit into what I've planned for the characters, then I try to make it work. But ultimately I'm writing for myself, and not to make the story likable for others.
As far as prompts to write something else separate from MasterCaptain, I don't really take those into consideration. One fic is about all I can handle.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
I have created original characters in my fic that do not appear in TXF universe. Three characters are actually quite important to the story: Elthea and Jesse Dixon, and Valerie Hosteen. I'm very attached to all of them. Valerie produced a lot of mixed reactions from readers. One woman told me that she was going to stop reading because of her. I tried to reassure this woman and told her to trust me, but never got a response. I've always wondered if she really gave up on my fic, or if she stuck with it. That was a long time and many chapters ago. There's really nothing to worry about when it comes to Valerie. She's a cool chick.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
Everything has to be just so, including my mood and even where I sit. I have to sit on the right side of the couch. That probably sounds silly, but I cannot write anywhere else. Believe me, I've tried. I listen to music a lot for inspiration, but I can't have music playing once I start writing. I spend hours researching different topics to make everything I write as realistic as possible. No detail is too insignificant. It usually takes several days to write one chapter that will range from 4000-6000 words.
When it comes to writing Mulder and Scully, I have to hear their voices in my head. If I'm writing something and I can't hear David Duchovny's voice saying it, then I erase it and start over. Same with Gillian Anderson. It has to be something I can imagine Mulder and Scully actually saying, or thinking, and I can hear it in their voices.
And with all my characters, even the ones I don't like very much, I have to put myself in their shoes. I have to feel how they would be feeling and think what they would be thinking, in any given moment. Sometimes that comes easy, and sometimes it's difficult. There have been times when I put off writing certain chapters because I knew the characters would be going through something very painful and I just didn't want to deal with it.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
My favorite published authors are Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Edith Wharton, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Henry James, John Grisham. I'll stop there. I could name lots more.
My favorite fic authors are aka Jake, Khyber, syntax6, neoxphile, Scarlet Baldy, Mustang Sally, rivkat, Bonetree, and many others that are too numerous to count. I like fic authors who weren't afraid to take the characters to dark and tortured places within their psyche, or who weren't afraid to withhold a happy ending. I'll always love Leyla Harrison for being brave enough to write a story where she gave Scully AIDS and killed her off. Old school fic writers had balls. It's a rare quality these days.
Thank you to ScullyLikesScience for talking with us! If you'd like to send feedback on the story or just say hi, you can reach her on Twitter as @MadMakNY or leave a comment on AO3.