Working Stiffs (X-Files website)
|Dates:||2000-2009 (Wayback dates)|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Working Stiffs is a resource site for X-Files fanfiction writers.
The site was hosted by GeoCities
- Do only men have dangling participles? I love reading fanfic–does that mean I'm a good beta reader? Can I get sued for this? How do I get unblocked when I can't even finish a coherent...uh...uh...?
- These are some of the questions that this site wants to answer. Every month new articles on writing by fanfic authors will be featured. You're the experts. Some of you painstakingly craft your stories, and some of you just crack your knuckles and start typing. Everyone approaches the writing process differently, and here at Working Stiffs we celebrate those differences. 
About the Site
Working Stiffs is the brainchild of Nicola Simpson. A published and agented writer, Nic's first fanfic was posted to alt.tv.x-files.creative in January 1995. Five and a half years later, Nic and a fellow author were lamenting the lack of technical resources for fan fiction writers, and a monster was born.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and support of dozens of fanfic authors, and the web design expertise of Izzyvision, Working Stiffs was launched in October 2000. Managing the site is a big job, but has been made easier with the welcome addition of veteran author Megan Reilly as a contributing editor in November 2000.We really hope this site will be a valuable resource to the fanfic community, for authors and readers. Our goal isn't to teach or preach, or offer snarky put-downs on newbie authors or style choices (although poor spelling and grammar will never be acceptable). We want visitors to leave Working Stiffs inspired to write, or at least to think about their work and how to make it more compelling.
Regarding Its Creation
From Nicola Simpson in September 2000:
In fact, I'm in the middle of putting together a web site right now that will be devoted to writing resources for fanfic authors, including original articles on the craft of writing by your favorite authors, extensive interviews, and links to useful resources. Unlike the Witches' site, Working Stiffs will be a place that hopes to encourage fanfic writers to look at their work a little more closely, not condescend or criticize. I really hope that everyone here visits and finds it valuable and affirming of the creative potential of this newsgroup. 
From Nicola Simpson in October 2000:
Alrighty! My team of crackpot--I mean *crackerjack* designers, betas and bottle washers has been slaving away, and I'm ready to go public. Or postal.
Working Stiffs: A Resource for X-Files Fan Fiction Writers is now online at:
There is *no* music, and a no-frames version is available.
Working Stiffs is *not* a fic archive--it is devoted to the writing process. Come read articles on smut, characterization, plotting, legal issues and more by your favorite fanfic authors, including Narida Law, Megan Reilly, Plausible Deniability, EPurSeMouve, syntax6, Sheryl Martin, Lara Means and more!
Read a no holds barred interview with author Leyla Harrison, in which she talks about rapefic, cancerfic, feedback, and her approach to writing fanfic.
If you would like to contribute to Working Stiffs or if you're interested in linking to us, please e-mail me. Also, if you're a reader lurking out there who is *not* also an author, please contact me if you'd like to be profiled (anonymously, if you prefer) for our upcoming section, Reader Revelations.
Working Stiffs will have new content on a weekly basis, and new features are in the works. I will post a brief message every week to let everyone know when new stuff is online.I hope that everyone in the fanfic community finds the site, and finds it valuable. It's been a hell of a lot of fun to put together, and I hope it continues to be fertilized by the enthusiasm and expertise of all the great authors we read every day. 
Since 1993, several authors have distinguished themselves in X-Files fan fiction, making us laugh, cry, shiver and squirm. Working Stiffs is delighted to sit down with your favorite authors to discuss their writing process, from story idea to posting and marketing, as well as the importance of feedback, the evolution of the fanfic community, and controversial issues that they've faced in their writing careers.
No cookie cutter questions are allowed at Working Stiffs. Each interview is specific to each author's unique body of work, and we hope that you find the results as fascinating as we do.
- Working Stiffs Interview with Pywacket
- Working Stiffs Interview with Dawson Rambo
- Working Stiffs Interview with Sister Zooey
- Working Stiffs Interview with Dasha K. (inspiration, Blinded By White Light, writer's block, POV, Scullyslash, smut, babyfic)
- Working Stiffs Interview with Narida Law (smut, romance and UST, Closet Doors, Worth Breaking, The Absence of Memory, characterization, beta readers, titles, marketing)
- Working Stiffs Interview with Sheryl Nantus aka Sheryl Martin (shippers vs. noromos, writing in canon, Jackie St.George, ATXC etiquette, beta readers, voice)
- Working Stiffs Interview with Jess M. (writing an original novel, dialogue, rhythm, humor, RST, Masturbation!Mulder)
- Working Stiffs Interview with Leyla Harrison (rapefic, feedback, writing NC-17, erotica vs. romance, cancerfic, craft)
- Working Stiffs: Reader Revelations with Sonja
Other Reader Revelations interviews were conducted and posted, but sadly are offline and not archived.
Articles and Meta
The site featured many articles and meta. Some of this content specifically written and was hosted at the site itself. Some of it was in the form of links to other websites. Some of the content was posted both at the author's own site as well as "Working Stiffs."
Got questions about writing fan fiction? Well, we've got answers. Lots and lots of answers. Here at Working Stiffs we celebrate the different approaches that each writer takes towards the craft of constructing, editing and promoting their stories. We want writers and readers who visit this site to realize that everyone is an expert in their own work, and that a diversity of opinion and experience is something to be applauded. Fanfic authors write for love, not money–love for the characters, love for the show, love for just plain writing. But that love alone doesn't guarantee you positive feedback, brilliant ideas or satisfaction in your stories. Remember, the only way to fail at writing in any genre is to stop learning! We want you to care about what you create, and strive to make each story more compelling than the last.
We hope that the articles here will inspire you to look more closely at your own work and the work you beta read.
Here at Working Stiffs, we recognize that a Web site like this is only as good as the people who contribute to it. We encourage all fanfic authors to pitch articles to us, and we look forward to hearing what everyone has to share. E-mail us your idea for an article of at least 500 words. Don't be afraid to just say, "Look, this is how I write. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me." If you'd like to explore a topic that other authors have already written on, go ahead! The whole point of Working Stiffs is to show how different writers approach the same peaks and pitfalls in writing. Write about something you feel you do well, or that excites you as a writer. We guarantee your enthusiasm and insight will shine through. Remember, you're the expert. 
NOTE: some of the essays have a slightly different title on the table of contents than what is on the essay itself.
NOTE: most of the essays are archived by the Wayback Machine, but not all of them. See Articles.
Nuts and Bolts and Bytes:
- How do I beat the newbie blues? by Pequod
- How do I beta thee? by Lysandra and cofax
- How can I keep my beta readers happy? by shannono
- What's a beta reader and why do I want one? by shannono
- What the Hell Are You Thinking? by Megan Reilly
- What's the deal with research? by Megan Reilly
- Why should I care about grammar? by Megan Reilly
- What is this alphabet soup I see in every story? by Nicola Simpson
- What is a critique partner and how do I find one? by Tamela Hancock Murray
- So what the heck happened over the last 8 seasons anyhow? by mmarek
- How can I write better fanfic? by Wayne Schmidt
- Why do people write fanfic? by Sharon Cumberland (link to the text of a paper presented at the Media in Transition Conference at MIT on October 8: Private Uses of Cyberspace: Women, Desire, and Fan Culture)
- Is there an alt.tv.x-files.creative FAQ? by The SUe (link to The alt.tv.x-files.creative FAQ (v. 3.25 updated 981027))
- So you wanna be a fanfic writer? by CiCi Lean
- Where the bleep do I start? by Macedon (link to 1998 essay titled The Craft of Writing)
- What are the Elements of Phyle? by Kipler
- How do I write almost readable fan fiction? by Ms. Nitpicker (link to How to Write Almost Readable Fan Fiction)
- Why am I already better than I think I am? by OpheliaMac
- What are some of the basics? by Det. Fugazi
- How do I format my story so everyone can read it? by d.LiNeAtE
- What are readers looking for? by xgirl
- What can I do to piss readers off? by Sandy and the Bitkahs (link to the essay The Big List of FanFic Peeves)
- What the heck is Dr. Merlin's Guide to Fan Fiction? byMelissa Wilson (link to essay Dr. Merlin's Guide to Fan Fiction)
- Why should I send feedback? by xgirl
- What's a beta reader and how can I get one? by Dasha K (linked to the essay Beta Readers: Finding One is Worse Than Blind Dating)
- How can I be a good beta reader? How can I be good to my beta reader? by Dasha K (linked to the essay The Beta Reader/Writer Relationship: A Process of Negotiation and Etiquette)
- So you want to write fanfic? by Anne Haynes (offline, not archived)
- How do I write Lone Gunmen Fic? by Erynn
- How do I write case files? by CindyET
- What's Canon and how can I change it? by Lee Burwasser
- How do I make Mulder and Scully talk? by Susanne Barringer
- How do I write Skinnerfic? by Mary D. Mastrangelo
- How do I write a great thriller? by Dawson Rambo (title on essay is "Thrills and Chills")
- How do I write an AU? by Trixie (title on essay is How to Write an AU or a Sure Way to Slip Slowly into Madness)
- How do I create a sense of mystery and horror? by OpheliaMac
- How do I write an ultra-short story? by Sarah Segretti
- What verb tense do I use for my story? by Vehemently
- How do I write a fanfic novel? by Jean Helms
- How do I write humor by Jess M.
- How do I get the reader's attention? by Michelle Kiefer
- How do I create an original character? by Sheryl Nantus (AKA Sheryl Martin)
- How do I create a compelling villain? by syntax 6
- How do I keep them in character if they're doing stuff they can't do on the show? by Lara Means
- How do I write a post-episode story? by EPurSeMouve
- Is it better to be a putter-inner or taker-outer? by Plausible Deniability
- Am I a storyteller or a reporter? by [Shunsuke]]
- What's the relationship between fanfic and archetypes? by Laughlin B. Cunned
- What's basic storycraft and why should I care about it? by OpheliaMac
- How do I write a rough draft? *Note: Examples in this article pertain to Star Trek fanfic by Teegar Taylor
- How do I not write a rough draft? *Note: Examples in this article pertain to Star Trek fanfic by Jane Seaton
- How do I write great angst? by Dasha K (linked to the essay Fan Fiction Angst: We Love Them But We Hurt Them)
- What if I hate plotting? by OpheliaMac
- What things should I consider when polishing my story? by OpheliaMac
- What are Ophelia's "Special Effects"? by OpheliaMac
- Aren't Mary Sues a style of shoe? by Allison Dowdall (links to essay called Mary Sue, How to Avoid Her)
- What makes a story compelling? by JenRose
- What's Voice? by JenRose
- How do I tell a good story? by Anne Haynes (link to essay titled Fan Fiction and Story Structure: Working within an established milieu to hone story-telling skills)
Sex, Sighs, and Videotape:
- How do I write Mulder/Other or Scully/Other? by Alicia K.
- How do I write good slash? By Xanthe (title on essay is "I Didn't Know You Were Bi!" - How Do I Write a Slash Story?)
- Is smut erotica or pornography, and how do I write it without bursting into flames? by Narida Law
- How do I make Mulder and Scully do the hoky-poky? by Dasha K (link to article titled Let's Talk About Smut, Baby)
- How do I write a slash story featuring Scully? by Dasha K (link to article titled Slashing Scully)
Cold Sweat Inducers:
- If a minor reads my NC-17 fic, will I go to jail? by Ophelia
- How do I run an archive? by Spooky Chick
- How can I turn fanfic into a career as a novelist? by Susan Krinard
- How do I write abusefic? by Deslea R. Judd (title on essay is Abusing the Abused: A Survivor's View of Abusefic)
- Should I post my story as a WIP?" by Jintian Li
- What's e-publishing? By Megan Reilly
- Am I going to be sued? By Megan Reilly
- Why can't I just send my script (story) to 1013? By Megan Reilly
- What do I do if I've got writer's... uh... writer's... damn it, what is that thing called?!" at The Wading Pool
- Am I breaking any laws? by A.T. Lee (linked to a Xena article titled Copyright 101: A Brief Introduction to Copyright for Fan Fiction Authors)
- No, *really*, what laws am I breaking? by Jesse Walker (link to an article called Copy Catfight: How intellectual property laws stifle popular culture)
- How do I collaborate with someone on a story without killing them? by Dasha K (linked to the essay Two Are Better Than One? The Process of Co=Writing.)
- How do I submit my story to Gossamer? by The Gossamer Project Staff
- What is "textual poaching"? by Henry Jenkins (Get Henry's book from Amazon.com)