Hold the phone, or tell your assistant to hold all your calls and meet this week's author h0ldthiscat. A relative newcomer to the XF fanfic world, h0ldthiscat writes like she's known Mulder and Scully for years. Lighter stories like "Cosmos" and "Impression" will leave you smiling, and if you're looking for more "adult" stories in the "Slightly NSFW Ask Meme" series is a lot of fun.
We spoke with h0ldthiscat about what brought her to The X-Files and what inspires her writing.
How long have you been a Phile?
An admittedly short amount of time. I started watching at the beginning of 2015 when rumblings of a revival surfaced and were then confirmed.
What was your first episode?
I started at the beginning. Pilot.
How long have you been writing fic?
I started writing XF fic very shortly after I started watching, which is unusual for me. Normally it takes me some time to feel like I "know" characters before I can write them. Mulder and Scully were familiar to me at once.
For more questions, read after the jump.
What inspired you to start writing?
The connection between Mulder and Scully is present so early on. I was drawn in by what I saw there and the many different forms their relationship could take. Although now that I'm looking over my answer I realize this question might be asking what inspired me to start writing anything at all, and I couldn't tell you the answer to that. I can remember writing fiction as early as 6 or 7. I have always liked telling stories.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
Scully. I'm not sure if it's because she's a woman or if her rational train of thought is comforting to me, but she is a joy to attempt to capture.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
Present-age William plays a big part in the piece I'm writing now and that is proving a challenge. I don't spend a lot of time around kids so it's hard to find a balance between honoring the youth and naivety of a 14-year-old but also endowing them with the awareness and inquisitiveness I remember feeling at that age.
Is there a story you're most proud of or that's a favorite?
Where can people find your work, and what's the best way to send feedback?
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
I do, although I don't guarantee that they'll always be completed timely, or at all.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
Yes, I write original short fiction and the occasional play. A short story of mine has been published.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
Most shorter pieces I write just start with a kernel of an idea and expand into a scene around that. I don't do a ton of planning for smaller stories. I'm working on a longer story now and my process has been quite the opposite. I mapped out the plot points, and then broke down each chapter and outlined the events that need to occur in each chapter to get from A to B to C. As I'm writing, I'll go back and add changes and notes to the outline to accommodate for changes that come up or additional scenes I decide to include. It's been challenging but I'd like to continue to work in this model when I can.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
Sandra Cisneros, Lorrie Moore, Tina Fey. As far as fanfic writers, I recently took the advice of someone much smarter than me and read everything I could by Penumbra. Her epic "Paraboisis" changed my mind about what long fanfiction could and should be and is really the inspiration for finally starting work on my own long piece. I've also recently read a lot of Amal Nhurriyeh, and love the work of Aloysia Virgata, who is as precise an editor as she is a writer.
Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring writers?
After you read something you liked, figure out WHAT you liked about it. Was it the structure, the type of dialogue? Did you like the language they used or the way they described your favorite character? Did they write in past or present tense, first or third person? The closer you get to figuring out what you like, the easier it is to incorporate it into your own writing.
Anything else you'd like to share that I missed?
I keep a note on my phone where I jot down snippets of ideas throughout the day; the most recent one says, "watercolors, Communism, and other things that look great on paper."
Thank you to h0ldthiscat for chatting with us!
Check out this excerpt from "The Clearness if Gone" then go read the rest here.
For old time’s sake, or maybe for new time’s sake, they grab breakfast at a greasy spoon diner on their way to the airport the next morning. Over eggs over easy and oily hashbrowns, they outline the basis for their report.
He pushes his eggs around his plate with a piece of toast and asks, “Are you going to explain that you stole a dog?”
“Are you going to explain how you allegedly talked to a monster for an hour and didn't get one clear picture?”
“I told you, he was in human form then. And look.” Mulder pulls out his phone and opens his photos. “This is definitely a close-up of the scales.”
“Yeah, you showed me.” Scully takes his phone from him and begins swiping through the blurry pictures from a few nights ago. “What did it feel like?” she asks. “Did you touch it?”
“He,” Mulder corrects. “No, I did not touch him.”
“Hmmm.” Scully continues looking through the photos, going past the last few days and into a few pictures of pumpkins and one of a sunrise.
“Hey there,” Mulder warns, reaching over their weak coffee for his phone. “Swiper no swiping.”