One of the things I love about The X-Files fandom is that even after all these years we continue to welcome new fans into the fold. And these young fans bring fresh enthusiasm and new ideas and share those gifts with us “old timers.” There are episodes of the show that are older than this week’s author but don’t let that fool you. Meet how-i-met-your-mulder! Also known as skuls on A03, she has a body of work that’s impressive for any author, let alone one who is relatively new to the show.
If you’ve ever wondered how you would do in a situation in your past if you knew the future, here’s your chance to watch Mulder and Scully navigate that. “Half-Light” goes AU just after “Home Again” when a shooting transports Mulder and Scully back to 1993. It’s a great ride through different times and universes that keeps you guessing.
And if like me you’re dying to see if Mulder and Scully are reunited with William in Season 11, “Polaroid” is just the thing you need. The uneasy navigation of two families and how William adjusts is a great read.
The X-Files Rewatch Series is a great companion to your own rewatch, and explores the scenes we didn’t see during the episodes we’re so familiar with. In this world, Mulder and Scully finally get to take in that football game, for instance.
We talked with how-i-met-your-mulder about inspiration, writing, and of course, The X-Files.
How long have you been a Phile?
Coming up on two years in late October! I actually remember the exact date that I started the show because it was also the day of a wedding I was in. I started watching the show on Netflix the morning of, and I found the fandom online a few weeks later. Those first few seasons remain a vivid and amazing experience in my memory.
What was your first episode?
How long have you been writing fic?
Since January 2016. I'd had a few ideas for fic prior to that, but I'd always been too afraid to write them down. Actually, several of my earliest fics are still unpublished and stored in my docs.
What inspired you to start writing?
I actually had the idea that would turn into “Half-Light” back in December of 2015. That was the idea that made me want to start writing fic, but all I could get down from it was a few sentences, so I chickened out of writing more for the time being. Later on, I had the idea for the first fic I actually wrote down (which ended up being incorporated into “The Unspeakable Fear of Things”): an alternate version of IWTB if Emily had lived. I could hear the voice of Emily so clearly that I wanted to sit down and try to get some of it on paper. I ended up writing feverishly for two days, and having so much fun with it that I was determined to keep writing.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
I write mostly Mulder and Scully (who are both super fun to write about), but I also love writing from the perspective of various side characters. I don't know if I have a specific favorite... Mulder's fun to write because I like incorporating his sarcasm and such into the narrative. But it usually depends on the story I'm telling, where it feels like one narrator fits more so than another.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
I've been working on a story from CSM's perspective that's been really hard. It's hard to really examine his side of things because a lot of his actions contradict each other, and he's pretty mysterious on top of that. I have a lot of trouble with Teena Mulder and Diana Fowley, because they're both really complex characters with questionable feelings or alliances.
Is there a story you're most proud of or that's a favorite?
Probably “Half-Light,” because apart from being my oldest fic idea, the rewrite is also the second longest thing I've ever written. I've always had so, so much fun writing it, and I always miss working on it, even after rewriting the entire thing.
Where can people find your work, and what's the best way to send feedback?
I post everything on Tumblr, but I'm also on AO3 under the handle "skuls". I appreciate feedback in any form. My inbox on AO3 and Tumblr is always open, and I also check the tags on reblogs. People are so, so sweet in the feedback they send, and I'm incredibly grateful for all of it.
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
Of course! I love writing prompts, especially when I'm blocked on all ideas. I usually take prompts on Tumblr.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
I do! I've actually been writing original stuff a lot longer than fic, since I was about 7 or 8. It's been a dream of mine to get published for a long time. I actually wrote an entire book last year, a mystery about a small-town group of kids digging into a disappearance from 30 years ago.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
I'll write almost anywhere, usually on my phone. I've written in quiet moments at school before, on the couch while the TV is on, in my room alone with all the lights off... I usually try to get things down as soon as possible when they come to me because I don't want to forget the way they sounded or looked in my head. I remember one time I was called down to watch a storefront one time in the middle of writing “The Progression (And Regression) Of First Names,” and since I didn't want to stop, I grabbed a notebook and started scribbling even though I never write longhand.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
All the fanfic writers I've read are absolutely amazing, and I'm so so grateful for what they do. Some of my favorite published authors include Gillian Flynn, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, and Stephen King.
Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring writers?
Read and write as much as you can. Reading helps you to pick up on things like style, vocabulary, description, character development, plot, inspiration and ideas in general. Pay attention to how others write and find techniques you like, but also look for ways to make your writing unique and give things a distinct voice. Write as much as possible to help build on these skills. Someone once told me that you will never reach your peak in writing--you're always improving, growing, building skill. As long as you keep reading and writing, you will always be getting stronger as a writer.
Anything else you'd like to share that I missed?
Just that I'm incredibly grateful to both The X-Files and the fandom. I feel like writing fic has helped to improve my writing incredibly, and the amazing support from the fandom has helped as well. Thanks to everyone for reading and showing your support!
Thanks to how-i-met-your-mulder for talking with us!