I was first introduced to this week's author through the XAPen list, but even if you don't remember that particular piece of fandom history you're probably familiar with this week's author anyway. And if you're not, you should be! Meet MaybeAmanda. She's a long-time author and fan of the show who has written masterful casefiles as well as shorter pieces that are a punch in the gut. All of her stories are well worth your reading time, but here are a few of my favorites.
"Running Lessons" goes AU after the events of Season 8 and is an amazing ride. The summary calls for "twists, turns, and we hope, the completely unexpected," and MaybeAmanda and co-author Spookey247 definitely deliver. I don't want to give anything away but you know a story is good when you find yourself yelling WHAT?! while reading. It's not an easy ready, but as the authors point out it is categorized as MSR so keep that in mind as you go.
This one is one of my favorite post-"Existence" fics out there. Short and sweet, but so "Mulder and Scully" it hurts. I keep thinking one day our heroes will learn to truly talk to each other, but "The Answer" perfectly captures that hesitancy and uncertainty from Season 8.
If you just straight up need a laugh, go peruse the XF Fanfic Cookbook. I remember looking through this back in the day laughed my butt off when I realized it was still there!
We talked with MaybeAmanda about writing, The X-Files, and longevity in a fandom that's now 24 years strong.
How long have you been a Phile? What was your first episode?
My husband and I watched the pilot together. We'd heard FOX had a quirky, smart new show that sounded like it might be our thing. It absolutely was.
How long have you been writing fic? What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing fanfic in first grade (I had no idea it was called that, then. I was just writing and illustrating stories about characters from tv and books that I enjoyed.) In high school, I wrote what we would now call BoyBand fic, featuring my friends, which they loved, and who doesn't want their friends to think they're brilliant? .
I started writing X-Files fic in 1998. I was on a fic list called XAPen and the moderator asked for fics in celebration of the list's six-month anniversary. I thought, "What the hell?" and wrote "Anniversary Waltz."
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
Mulder. I find him easiest to write.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
Doggett, Reyes, Kersh - the late season characters are harder for me to write because I don't feel like I know them well. I have written them as secondary and supporting characters, though, and I hope I did them justice.
I have to admit, I have a a soft spot for Monica. I admired how she knew Scully needed a friend, was absolutely determined to be Scully's friend, and became Scully's friend, even when Scully was actively trying to reject her. That Monica's got gumption.
Is there a story you're most proud of or that's a favorite?
I've always liked "Blue Patches." "Running Lessons" was so so so fun to write with my good friend spookey247, in no small part because I finally had an excuse that made sense to bring Mulder to my home town. "221XF" is a Sherlock/XF crossover that I had a lot of fun writing, as was "Space Enough and Time," a Doctor Who/XF crossover. I really like "Epiphany," too.
With so many archives to choose from these days, where is the best place to find your work?
Gossamer. I think it's all there. Some is under Amanda Wilde, most under MaybeAmanda, (because of clerical issues, not because of subterfuge) but both are me. I think a few later things might only be on my lj, https://maybe-amanda.livejournal.com/ .
You've been well known in the fandom for a long time, do you still write for XF or have your skills been focused elsewhere?
I have long held the much-coveted title of "World's Slowest Writer," so I don't write a lot, and I don't write it quickly (for example, I was given 6 weeks to write "Chataqalan," my entry for Project Truthseekers. It took me 22 months instead. The mods were unamused, but not surprised. In the past few years, I've usually written X-Files stories for fic exchanges/challenges/etc. and enjoyed it very much. I've written a (very little) bit of Sherlock fic.
If you do still write XF fic, where does your inspiration come from after many years? If you're not, is there anything in particular that caused you to stop writing XF fic?
I haven't written any XF fic in ages, but I never say never. If an idea came wandering by, I'd grab it.
If you still read (or write!) fic, do you think it has changed over the years?
When I started reading/writing fic, shippers were thought of as weird outliers who were trying to ruin the platonic purity of the XF universe, so yeah, things have changed.
I often see your stories recommended on tumblr -
You do? Awesome!
and shared by new fans, does that longevity surprise you?
Obviously. But it's nice. It really is. Honestly, I invested a lot of time and effort in my fic, because I had things to say about the show and the characters and there were so many terrific fic writers I admired that I wanted to do the very best job I could. It's terrific to know new readers are enjoying my stories after - gasp! - decades (almost).
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
I've taken some writing classes at the local community college (when we moved to this town a few years back I didn't know anyone and I wanted to meet some people - classes seemed like a good way to do it) and I've had to write original characters for those assignments. But that was for school, not the internet.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
My lj is called Bear Baiting and Bull Riding. This is the result of me once mentioning to a friend that writing was a stupid hobby, we were stupid for doing it, and we should take up something sensible and productive, like bear-baiting or bull-riding. Writing is slow. It's labourious. I question the point of writing every time I open my laptop. I agonize over every word. The characters hijack the story all the time. The plot outlines laugh disdainfully at me.
But I genuinely love having written.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
Not getting distracted by all the shiny things that comprise the internet. Not second-guessing every sentence.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
Plenty of them. One? No.
Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring writers?
Read read read Write write write. Find an editor/beta you respect and listen to what they suggest. Then find another. Find another if you need to. Revise revise revise. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
Also - you aren't what you write. If your editor/beta says, "I have some issues with..." "I don't understand what you mean by..." "This section is awkwardly worded" etc, they are not criticizing you personally. They are trying to help you strengthen your story. Remember - it's not personal - it's professional.
Anything else you'd like to share that I missed?
I am so grateful for the X-Files fandom. Fandom encouraged me to write, to keep writing, to improve my writing. Fandom exposed me to terrific writers and terrific writing. Fandom introduced me to some of my best friends. Fandom gave me opportunities to travel. From time to time, fandom has saved my sanity.
I am genuinely glad every day for discovering this fantastic community.
Thank you to MaybeAmanda for talking with us!