Why I Write X-Files Stories

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Title: Why I Write X-Files Stories
Creator: Mary Ruth Keller
Date(s): probably around 1997
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: online here; archive link; wayback link
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Why I Write X-Files Stories is an essay by Mary Ruth Keller.

In it, she discusses the first four seasons of the shows, arcs and tropes, her fiction, and why fans write.


I had no access to the Usenet at this time, in fact, I'm not even sure it existed, as such, in 1994. I'd only used the Net as a convenient protocol to exchange information and data electronically with my colleagues at work. Those of you who have never had to hand-carry magnetic tapes from one institution to another, then spend weeks aligning tape drive heads and writing software to be able to read the data on them, really haven't lived.
I was increasingly discouraged by the Rift as it proceeded. We, the viewers, were shown no reason for the growing distance between the partners. Mulder and Scully had worked very well together in the past (the First Season), had gone out of their way to stay connected ("The Erlenmeyer Flask" through "One Breath"), and had enjoyed each other's company so much once reunited ("Firewalker" through "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"). Now, they were avoiding each other at every opportunity, and howling at each other whenever they were together. Whatever happened to "bound together in dangerous purpose"? Why was Mulder ditching Scully constantly? Why were Mulder and Scully taking separate flights and different cars to investigate their cases? Why, in "Nisei", is Mulder totally uninterested in Scully's whereabouts, so much so that Skinner chews him out about it? Aren't partners supposed to keep tabs on each other? Why, in "Revelations", did Scully send her partner off to the airport with a passel of policemen, then go alone into a life-threatening situation? It's his JOB to back his partner up, especially if she's going into an encounter she believes might be putting herself in danger. After all, isn't that exactly what he's always expected of her? That whole horde of officers ought to have been able to nab Simon Gates without him.

The absolute rock-bottom for me, the last straw, was "Syzygy". Not only was this yet another story that required I accept unquestioningly the existence of the paranormal, but it was a paranormal that made no consistent sense whatsoever. Mulder and Scully were sniping away at each other, par for the course for their interactions at this point in the Third Season. Only, we were supposed to believe their minds and actions were being controlled by the evil planetary alignment, that this was somehow "out of character".

Now, I had discovered the alt.tv.x-files and alt.tv.x-files.creative groups while surfing the Web with my husband back in September 1995, and Vincent's (our first valiant archivist) Gossamer archive shortly thereafter. Back then, you could actually have some pretty intelligent threads on the ATXF group, not like the insanity that seems to rule there now. It was the post-"Revelations" discussions that first brought out Mulder's possible Jewish heritage, as an explanation for his behavior in that episode.
Thus, between the missed opportunity to develop Mulder's past, explore Scully's abduction, and a desire to close the Rift, I had the genesis of the idea for "Sins of the Fathers". So after some thinking, I started typing, and two frantic weeks of effort later, I had the first three parts of "Sins..." written. I had initially planned to stop after the explosion of the Palazzo De'Medici, but, I gave the story to my husband, who had also watched the show with me, to read. He got through the first two sections, grunted "Thugs who read." and handed it back to me. I was crushed. After tossing and turning, I came downstairs at 1:30 in the morning, and kept on writing, until I had the story that's on the Archives right now (not all in one night, though).
So, with all the positive responses, I sat down and worked out the plot for "Xibalba". Having done a Conspiracy story, I wanted to try a MOTW, but one that, unlike "Syzygy", was actually grounded in a little history and scholarship. I'd read about the Maya, knew that there was all this new information out there, so started writing, and after another few weeks, had "Xibalba" ready to go. Once again, no Romance, no Angst, and nobody, not even Mrs. Mulder, died in the end. (That's not entirely true, I did ice the shaman, the CIA agent and the assassin from the Conspiracy.) "Xibalba" garnered two public accolades, one from heryl, another from Jennifer Lyon, with private admonishments to write more.