If you wonder what happens in your favorite X-Files episodes when the cameras aren’t there, this week’s excellent author has the answers. Meet Scullywolf, the author behind “Scenes In Between.” If you haven’t been following the journey on tumblr, this series takes a look at what else was happening during each episode and what we didn’t get to see. Scullywolf started with the Pilot in July of 2015 and has made her way through to Season 7′s “The Amazing Maleeni.” It’s a big undertaking but well worth your time to make your way through the entire series. Just make sure you have a good chunk of time blocked out. You think you’ll just read one or two scenes and then all of a sudden you’re so involved in this fantastic series you’ve blown through Season 1 and are halfway into Season 2!
We talked with Scullywolf about writing, The X-Files, and the inspiration a long project like this needs.
How long have you been a Phile?
I started watching in late 1996 when Season 4 was airing. So I guess that’d be 20 years!
What was your first episode?
“Tunguska” was the first one I watched live, but that Christmas we got my dad the Season One VHS set, so I started with the Pilot shortly thereafter. (TXF started out as “Dad’s alien show” in our house, but
my sister and I very quickly became the superfans of the family, haha.) I also have a really strong memory of watching what must have been a rerun of “Pusher” very early on and being convinced from the handhold at the end that, even though I didn’t really know much about them at that point, Mulder and Scully were definitely super in love. ;)
How long have you been writing fic?
I found some half-finished stories in notebooks from high school and college, but I didn’t start posting stuff online until about 3 years ago. I started out writing for the Doctor Who fandom and finally came back to TXF last year with “Scenes In Between.”
What inspired you to start writing?
I think fanfic is fundamentally about needing *more*. I think we seek out fic to read when we want more than the show (or movie/book series/etc.) has given us, and in my case at least, I only started writing my own when I wanted to see a particular scenario that didn’t seem to have been written already.
To that end, missing scenes have always been among my favorite kinds of fanfic, and “Scenes In Between” was naturally born from that. I started it because I was hoping to get through a full-series rewatch before Season 10 aired, and I thought it would be a fun challenge to write a little something for each episode. (I didn’t exactly meet that deadline, heh.) And rather than write meta or something like that, I got the idea to try and explore moments that might have happened off-screen.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
Dana Scully owns my heart, but I find Mulder easier to write. I just have an easier time hearing his voice. I also love writing the Gunmen, especially Frohike. :)
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
I don’t know that I’ve found anyone too difficult to write (yet), but I am certainly not a Fowley fan.
Is there a story you’re most proud of or that’s a favorite?
I really like the way “Milagro” came together. I worked hard on it. :) I’m proud of “Amor Fati” as well; it’s the longest story in the series (so far!) by a pretty good margin and is probably my most popular one.
With a longer series like “Scenes In Between” what inspires you to keep working on such a long project? Were there any episodes that were harder than others to write about?
Hah. Well, I ended up just writing a haiku for “Fearful Symmetry” because I could *not* come up with anything else. “Space” was similarly difficult. The particular constraints of this project (adhering strictly to canon, working within the confines of CC’s often ridiculous timelines, etc.) make it challenging in both a fun way and a frustrating one. As far as what inspires me to keep working on it, there’s the personal goal of just seeing it through to the end, but I’ve also been fortunate to have some really amazing feedback, which is super motivating.
Where can people find your work, and what’s the best way to send feedback?
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
I’m not writing anything aside from “Scenes In Between” right now, but within that project, I’m definitely open to suggestions! The ficlet for “Tithonus” was written based on a request.
Have you written your own characters outside of fandom?
I’ve written some stuff for NaNoWriMo and some short stories, but nothing I’ve seen through to completion/publication. Someday, hopefully!
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
Oh man. I’m so slow. When I started this project, I was sticking to a schedule of one (very short, usually 200-600 words) ficlet per day! Unsurprisingly, I didn’t sustain it for very long. My natural tendency is to fiddle and flail and rewrite the same sentence ten times before I can move on. I *know* this is not the conventional wisdom with regard to drafting/writing, but I always seem to fall back into it unless I’m working against a deadline (like with NaNo). I love when I’m able to get out of my head enough to just speed through a draft without caring if it’s not exactly the way I want it, but that’s sadly pretty rare.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
Way too many to name. This fandom is absolutely brimming with talent. Props to the Doctor Who fandom as well; some of my very favorite fic authors write for that show. But TXF also has this incredible wealth of history. I was reading the Gossamer and Ephemeral Archives back in the 90s, printing out fic in size 4 font and sneaking it to school to read during class. And now, 20-some years later, we’ve got people just getting into the fandom and writing masterpieces, and that’s so great!
I also have way too many favorite published authors. Mary Robinette Kowal, Rainbow Rowell, Marie Lu, Melanie Rawn, and Christopher Moore are maybe my top five. This week, at least. ;)
Is there any advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
It’s not very original advice, but just keep writing. And be okay with writing just for yourself! Scenes In Between didn’t start getting “popular” until relatively recently. A ton of the early ficlets have, like, 5 notes each. So just keep plugging away, even if no one’s reading/responding. That’s how you build your skill, and eventually, things will start to click. Make friends, get a beta, *be* a beta. I can’t even express how helpful it’s been for me to go through the writing process with other writers because we all do things in slightly different ways, and it’s incredibly valuable to see that firsthand.
Anything else you’d like to share that I missed?
The X-Files fandom was such a huge part of my formative years, and I think it’s so awesome that it’s still not just around but thriving. To be able to come back to it as an adult has been amazing. :)
Thank you so much to Scullywolf for talking with us!