There are a lot of people out there that think damn near all creepypasta sucks. Even though I’m a fan, it can get frustrating trying to defend a passion of mine when even I find it difficult to discover a tale that can actually send chills up my spine.
So what is the deal anyway? Have you ever wondered why it can take hours to sift through terrible pastas just to find a single gem? Let me break it down for you! Here are three main reasons why there’s a lot of bad creepypasta:
Many authors are amateur writers
Pretty simple, right? A creepypasta writer can be anyone with a word processor and an internet connection. So it’s likely that they come from all walks of life, especially young people with a lot of time on their hands but no experience to back it up. You also have to realize that Pasta writers don’t get paid for their work, people that actually write for a living won’t be found writing their own creepypasta. They’re working on projects that will earn them income. You’re not going to see a lot of professional writers contributing unless they’re looking for some publicity. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being inexperienced, but it is a contributing factor to consider.
Then there are the writers that can’t even spell or use grammar correctly, much less proper characterization, tone, or themes. I’ll never understand why one would embarrass themselves by revealing their lack of education or waste their time making such poor contributions.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great websites that offer support for writers that want to take the time to improve themselves. The Creepypasta Wiki has a great page to help people get started, and the Creepypasta Network has a nice community if you’re looking for feedback on your work.
Some are just attention seekers
Ever notice how people write sequels or offshoots of popular creepypastas? Or maybe beat well-known subgenres like haunted videogames and lost TV episodes of beloved cartoons into the ground? These writers are only following popular trends to get more readers. Often authors of such works are just seeking praise or to have their story read by a well known narrator. They could also be a troll making ridiculous pastas just to get a reaction from their audience. Whatever the case may be, these guys get old pretty quickly.
The great thing about attention seekers is they are seldom successful. At least in the case of writing – just ask any aspiring novelist or poet. A writer has to love the craft in order to find any kind of success, not to mention possess the patience of a saint. Attention seekers that don’t find what they’re looking for will quickly move on to something else.
Attention seekers should also realize their hope to write creepypasta and get attention is about as original as their story ideas. The Creepypasta Wiki doesn’t even accept character spinoffs/sequels, or lost TV/videogames anymore. Not sure what the Creepypasta Network’s policy may be, but I imagine the community there isn’t very open to more of the same.
Here’s some advice to anyone out there who actually wants to try following these trends: go big or go home. Yes, it can be hard to add a new twist to a character or genre, but do you really want to be the author of ‘Generic Videogame Creepypasta #1389?’ I doubt it. Nobody is going to respect you or your work if you don’t bring something new or interesting to the table.
They don’t know how to scare readers
This may go hand-in- hand with the poor writing skills, but what’s a creepypasta that isn’t actually creepy or scary in any way? Lame and pointless, of course! Any creepypasta writer worth their words knows that scaring readers is harder than it looks.
Some people shoot themselves in the foot before they even sit down to write. A person may think a simple hack and slash serial killer or describing every gory detail as ‘hyper-realistic’ is enough to scare people. I’ve got some groundbreaking news here: this stuff isn’t scary!
Violence, gore, and death can all be gross and upsetting subjects, but many people fail to realize that they’re seldom scary on their own. There are deeper reasons why monsters, people, places, and all manner of things can invoke fear.
Take for example ambiguity. Ambiguity can be scary because it catches us off guard and we have no way to properly respond. Is that guy really following me or is he just minding his own business? Is that clown just trying to entertain or does he have more sinister intentions? The unknown is a scary thing for us to consider because we never know if we’re being paranoid or in real danger.
My advice? Ask yourself this question: what do you find scary and why? You can start simple with animals or people- think spiders or that weird old lady down the street. What is it about them that scares you? My sister has a mild case of arachnophobia, not because spiders can be dangerous, but because of their soulless, dead eyes and instincts.
Then you can delve into more complex ideas and scenarios that terrify you the most. For example I really hate the idea of being watched. When I was first acquainted with Slenderman, I had a really hard time looking out of windows at night because I was afraid I would find him standing outside watching me, but it goes far beyond that! It goes into real-life problems!
Like many people out there, I also don’t like being the center of attention – especially negative attention. There’s nothing more terrifying to me than the idea that I’m pitiful, or hated. I’d rather stick to the shadows or be a wallflower than make a fool out of myself.
So what do you think? Are there any annoying trends in creepypasta you want to discuss or try to improve? I’d love to hear some thoughts.