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The following is a list of what are generally considered to be overused clichés. That doesn't mean to avoid them at all costs; in fact, some of these are overused because they are prevalent in a number of stories and movies. But if the story you're planning on writing incorporates many of these, that should be a warning sign, as they tend to bring the reader out of the story, and will more than likely interfere with their suspension of disbelief.
And remember: this is a list of actual clichés, not complaints or opinions (no matter how valid they may be). If you have a complaint that isn't about clichés and more about things that generally tick you off in pastas, try making a blog post about it instead.
However, these aren't always to be avoided. If you can work one into a story well, then for God's sake make it.
- Stories involving the soon-to-be murderous children with cartoonishly abusive parents and/or one dimensional bullies. We get one of these a day. Stop.
- Anything starting with the phrase "I know you're not going to believe this," or "I used to be a skeptic, but..."
- Anything starting with "I used to be normal. . ."
- The numbers 6, 13, and 666.
- Falsely believing something is over, and then creepy shit happening again anyway.
- Using "This actually happened to me" or "This isn't a creepypasta, it really happened!" in an attempt to turn up suspense only kills it. Especially "You have to believe me" or "You won't believe this" is added on. Suspension of disbelief is broken when directly addressed.
- Pointless violence and excessive gore. Most of the time, it's just a lame attempt at shock value.
- Making the first word/letter of every paragraph spell out something, usually something along the lines of "DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!" This usually makes the reader laugh from such a silly attempt to scare, especially if they're sitting with a wall behind them.
- Ending the pasta with "YOU'RE NEXT!!!!" or implying that the audience is the next target. This typically fails to scare the audience and comes off as implausible. How would a ghost/being/killer track down everyone that read a story to murder them, and why?
- Starting a story with "Don't read this or you'll be cursed," or similar will just make people not read it.
- File extensions. "Supersuicide.avi", you are a "candyass.exe". Use them with caution.
- Using hyper-realistic eyes, empty sockets, bleeding or black or red eyes, it's used too much.
- While we're at it, describing ANYTHING as "realistic" or "hyper-realistic." (This goes for photos, sounds, and movie/shows, too.)
- References to pasta monsters/memes (Smiledog, Jeff, Zalgo, Slendy, BRVR, etc.) This includes spinoff/copycat characters like Jane The Recolor... I mean, Jane The Killer. Not only is this a cliché, it totally shatters the willing suspension of disbelief.
- Cleverbot. That is all.
- Someone waking up in a lab or experiment chamber, an example of this is Papercuts (Aka The Failed Human Experiments)
- The Unfaithful Narrator, in which the speaker of the story turns out to be evil, or possessed, or a ghost.
- Starting or ending a story about a serial killer with the heading of a newspaper article or report. Ex. "10 DEAD, MURDER STILL AT LARGE".
- "No escape" either written or said constantly. I really wish I could 'escape' all the pastas that use this...
- Opening the story with "I don't have much time to write this" or 'I'm going to die soon". Why would the protagonist spend their final moments doing this, especially when there are means of escape or calling out for help.
- The "Jeff Formula".
- Computer screens being accosted by horrible images of rape, murder, torture, necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality and other assorted paraphilia after the protagonist/author plays a creepy game/visits a creepy website/opens files on an 'abandoned computer/hard drive', followed by the computer blue screening, then restarting with one (or more) of those images as the desktop wallpaper, which the author can't get rid of or obscure with other windows.
- Stories about the HORRIBLE TRUTH of the things you've seen in the corner of your eye.
- Catchphrases. Contrary to opinion, your monster saying "GO TO NAPSVILLE" doesn't make it more terrifying.
- There's something behind you/Don't turn around!
- Anything that has to do with evil domestic house-cats.
- Characters with abnormal eyes (especially blood red eyes) and every one hates them because of it.
- Killer dolls.
- Mentioning creepypastas in your creepypasta. Doing this isn't being meta or enhancing your story in anyway. At best it breaks immersion and at its worst, it reminds the reader that they could be reading a much better story.
- Evil shadows.
General Video Game Clichés
- Creator or seller of game dying or going insane.
- (Related) Said creator coming to the house, killing the person playing, and leaving complete gibberish on screen.
- Haunted cartridge (Copying the original story BEN).
- Classic childhood game with super-violent content added.
- The cartridge/label shows obvious signs of tampering.
- Destroying the game, but it magically reappears.
- Extra cliché points if it happens multiple times.
- Obviously technically impossible stuff, such as games that delete themselves in such a way that you can't recover them, or games with "perfect" copy protection. (Such as Killswitch, which is both.) This includes older games having graphics/sound/visual effects beyond the system's technical limitations. NES Godzilla Creepypasta manages to pull this off well by doing this very gradually.
- "Hidden" content in popular games (such as Pokémon, that have been gone over with a fine toothed comb a thousand times).
- The game knows my name (even though I never put it in anywhere/the game has no ability for me to change my characters/save files name).
- Song generally regarded as "creepy" plays on repeat or backwards (HI, LAVENDER TOWN THEME!).
- Of note is the fact that most video game background music is on repeat ANYWAY.
- Not being able to turn off/unplug the game console/TV. Assassin's Creed has a good (bad) example of this one toward the late middle. Rather than doing this in order to explain why you didn't just turn off the game when it started getting creepy, simple human curiosity is a much more sane explanation.
- On the same note, being unable to turn the volume off/down. Extra cliché points if the volume becomes deafeningly loud. (also applies to lost episode pasta.)
- Buying the game from someone at a yard sale; the seller usually having a story behind the game (i.e. "the kid who used to own this game was a very disturbed but brilliant hacker.("BEN")
- Trying to relive some childhood nostalgia. (i.e. Easter Egg - Snow on Mt. Silver, Pokemon Lost Silver, Super Mario 64, Jessica)
- This mod was PMed to me personally/found it on a skeezy looking site/found on a random disc and ZOMG IT'S SUPAH CREEPY GUIZ. Jvk1166z.esp, for example.
- The game's talking to me, telling me to go away, turn back or something of that sort. MARIO, even though it's a real hack, is exactly this.
- Characters begging you (or appearing to beg you) not to go to certain places or do certain things, like Elliot in the NiGHTS Into Dreams pasta.
- Random EXE files appearing on your computer or being sent to you by an "anonymous sender".
- Downloading obviously suspicious ROMs or Hacks because "you desperately needed to play the game."
- Games that mess with your computer background or desktop icons. Also applies to pastas about video files.
- Thinking that certain things were just some "minor glitches" in the game.
- It depends on the glitch of course, but if it's actually something that could be written off as a minor glitch then it probably goes without saying anyway.
- Destroying the cartridge/disc/game card in disgust as an explanation for why you can't provide proof of the game's existence; that's just lazy writing. Also applies to DVDs and VHS tapes in Lost Episode pastas.
- The person who sold the game (yard, eBay, whatever) begging people to buy it, and for a low price too. There's too many of those.
- Also, the ebay account/yard-sale/old creepy game store mysteriously disappears if the narrator tries to check back in.
- Old cartridges/disks/game cards/flash drives/etc found in garbage cans, desks, the ground, and has names scribbled on with Sharpie or carved into the plastic itself.
- Ending the pasta by vowing that you'll never play the game ever again.
- A plush toy, usually bloody, of the antagonist, appearing suddenly at the end of the story. Also applies to Lost Episode pastas.
- As your character gets hurt/maimed in the game, the protagonist gets hurt in real life. Related cliché: dying in the game makes you die for real.
- The character you play as looks exactly like you or someone close to you.
- Going to the mirror to see that the person there is not yourself, especially if the person in the mirror is a supernatural entity.
NOTE: You are no longer allowed to post Poképastas on this wiki. Still, you should keep these clichés in mind if you decide to post one offsite and link to it on your userpage.
- Pokémon with abandonment issues.
- Pokémon dying instead of fainting when you defeat them in battle.
- Anything to do with Lavender Town, but especially "Lavender Town Syndrome".
- Vengeful/jealous Pokémon from a previous generation or save file.
- Distorted/demonic-sounding Pokémon cries.
- The Natures, descriptions, and/or status of your Pokémon changing to creepy stuff like "Vengeful", "Dead", "Cursed", and "HATE".
- A legendary you just obtained, especially an event-only one, becoming jealous of the rest of your team and murdering them one by one. This seems to happen a lot with shinies and starters, too.
- Finding a Ghost-type Pokémon in an odd place.
- When being traded a Pokémon, the person you got it from is begging you to accept it or claims there's something not quite right about it.
- Pikachus and Eeveeluitons (especially Umbreon and Espeon) are extremely overused.
- Unown either appearing or being in your party since the start of your game, spelling a "creepy" message.
- A Pokémon you used to like or that you don't use very much tears apart other Pokémon and attaches bits of them to itself to make you like them. It's really getting overused now.
- GHOST. 'nuff said
- (insert Pokémon here) used CURSE!
- Pokémon using the Mail System to communicate with the trainer, it got old, and fast.
- "Pokémon don't die... Do they?" It's used too often and yeah, they die.
- Pokémon that are zombified/mutilated. An example is in Easter Egg - Snow on Mt. Silver.
- Mutilated/bloody overworld sprites of NPCs and/or the player character.
Lost Episode Clichés
NOTE: Like Pokepastas, we no longer accept Lost Episode pastas. Still, keep these clichés in mind when posting them offsite.
- Got it on a website that doesn't exist anymore and nobody else in the universe has a copy.
- Like with video game pastas, obtaining the episode from a garage or yard sale or just laying on the ground.
- "I was an intern" - SHUT THE FUCK UP. How many times have I heard that? Originally from Squidward's Suicide, but used in others like Pearl.avi. Try and make it something else, since normally interns don't get to see that stuff.
- A spike in the suicide rate of the target audience after it was aired (also applies to video games).
- Content that could obviously never get past the FCC or any channels Standards and Practices board ending up being broadcast.
- Using "Goodbye" (INSERT CHARACTER HERE) as the title of the episode.
- Posting the story and/or video up on a website, only for it to get deleted in minutes.
- Most of the episode being distorted or static, and the viewer can only see <insert character here> killing <insert character here> or aforementioned "hyper-realistic" imagery.
- With older shows, showing or mentioning a culturally-significant event or item that hadn't yet happened when the episode was made, like 9/11 or an iPad showing up in a show made in 1983. Popularized by Happy Appy, but originally used in Seinfeld Lost Episode.
- Zalgofied cartoon characters.
- One character, usually a protagonist, killing all the other characters.
- Actors, directors, or animators being arrested, killed, committing suicide or sent to a mental asylum after the episode airs.
- Finding a random flashdrive only to find out it has a haunted .avi or .wmv
- Warning the reader to never watch the tape if he/she finds it somehow.
- The episode only being shown in a remote area.
- Unrelated clips placed in an episode, usually relating to graphic violence or other disturbing content (i.e. clip of IRL murder in the middle of a lost Spongebob tape)
- Ending the pasta by vowing that you'll never watch the show ever again.
- Saying that all the main characters are ghosts that haunt the place where the show usually takes place, and explaining how they all died along with what year they died in. The earliest example I know of this is a theory that all the kids from Ed, Edd, n' Eddy were in purgatory which was actually pretty good, but pastas like South Park, Colorado seem to copy this concept unsuccessfully.
- Saying that the show/video game was all in a character's imagination, or that they were hallucinating, on drugs, comatose, or mentally ill. This has been used in many theories like The Rugrats Theory.
- In series with a fantasy setting or any other setting with fantastic creatures, saying that it takes place after a nuclear apocalypse (i.e. Mutant Future).
- The protagonist being in Hell or Purgatory, everything in the series being a reflection of their sins. This one wore out its welcome quickly, too. (You'll notice a pattern emerging here.)
- Lack of evidence to back-up your theories. Not a cliché, just saying, it doesn't make a good story if the concept appears like it wasn't thought out or well-written.