Banning here with some more advice presented as though anyone actually asked for it. Yep, unsolicited advice is the best kind, at least that's what I tell myself.Now, we've seen these sorts of blogs pop up a lot. Usually it's centered around people that are finding it difficult to write a good story, or are having issues with their content being deleted and they simply don't understand why. The truth is, that horse has been beaten to death on this site, and I think it's time that we fine tune the advice a bit and hit on some key elements that even the better writers seem to be missing the mark on. I am going to pick on quite a few of the most common tropes that we see here on Creepypasta Wiki. Now, as a disclaimer, I am not writing this from some made up ivory tower, where I picture myself as the greatest writer of all time and can pass down judgement on other people's styles. These are just my thoughts on some of the common trends that seem to dominate this page, and maybe a few ways that we can improve the stories that are almost great, but just missing the mark because of a few, simple practices.
So, let's get started on some of the tropes and standards that you might think are the best way to do it, but may in fact be holding your story back!
FIRST PERSON WRITING:
This seems to be a common trend in most writers. It's as though there is some unspoken rule that dictates, "If it's a Creepypasta, it has to be in first person."Now, I do get it. I seem to recall a time with the idea behind these little stories was to make someone believe they were real. The 'last survivor' or some horrible crap, sitting down at his desktop and pecking out his last thoughts to the world before being horribly murdered by some unseen being. So, while the idea of first person is fine if that is your goal, what I have noticed a lot of (and I too am guilty of this) is that people are submitting novel formatted stories where the first person is a terrible choice for tense, yet they do it anyway. What I am starting to wonder is, do people out there actually think that first person is the only way to write a pasta?
First person is often referred to as "the all seeing," where third person is called "the all knowing." To me, in larger pastas with more detailed plots, third person is the only way to go. But, let's compare the two and see if I am making sense here, or if I am just full of the brown stuff.
-Allows direct exchange between the character and the reader.
-Reduces visual descriptions because the reader can't see it until the character sees it.
-Opens up issues for plot and endings, such as, if the character dies at the end, who the hell is telling the story?
-Creates plot holes, such as, why the hell is the character typing out this story instead of calling the cops? And what is he typing it on, Creepypasta Wiki? I mean, why wouldn't he type it into the police website as he notifies them that he is going to die?
-Creates a separation from character to reader, possibly giving a less organic story telling.
-Allows for full range of visual detail.
-Allows for easier character introductions.
-Allows the writer complete control over all aspects of the plot.-Protects story from plot holes, because if the character dies, you don't have to wonder why he was telling the internet about it instead of the authorities.
So, it's probably pretty clear by now that I am a fan of the third person writing, and I totally am. But my point here isn't that third is better than first, because there are some great, really great, totally amazing pastas written in the first person. Two that come to mind right off my head is Secret Bar and The Demon Tobit of Delphia. Disclaimer: The fact that both of those stories were written by me has nothing to do with my choice to use them as examples here....trust me....yes, trust!
Moving along though, the point is, first person is fine if it fits the story, the plot and how you want to make the characters interact with both each other and the reader. However, don't feel that first person is the only option just because that has been the most common trend for the longest time. Experiment, find the tense that best tells your story, and go with that!
I like pictures on stories, don't get me wrong, I like the a lot. All of mine have at least one picture, because honestly, I think that makes the story look better when people see it, and it also makes them look better when I share them on Twitter and such.With that said though, I think it is important to make sure that the pictures you are putting on your story fit the actual story. The "it sort of looked like this" trend is awful in my opinion, just awful. If you can't find a picture of what you want, then just don't add it. I understand the need to add a visual concept to the story, since I write as well, but if it isn't the best picture to carry through the imagery of your story, it is likely best to not use one at all. Next, let's talk about anime versions of your characters. I will keep this short, as I think it's pretty self explanatory. Unless your story is about an anime character (at which point it would likely be deleted, not needing a picture to go along with it) then odds are, you do not want to just use a stock photo of an anime character to represent your story or your characters. It just won't carry the same visual impact that a real photo would. Jeff the Killer didn't do much right, but the picture, well, that sort of made that story. So, get a good picture.
I am not going to spend much time on this one, simply because I believe the ending to a story is one of the most organic and personal parts of the writing experience. However, I do see that some people trap themselves at the end, because, just like with the tense concepts, they feel that Creepypastas simply have to have a certain kind of ending to be a Creepypasta. I remember when cliff hangers were to really common trend here. As though, once again, there was some unspoken rule that a pasta had to end with questions. This caused a lot of great stories to end up falling flat, simply because they reader invested time into these characters and their problems, only to be left at the end wondering what exactly happened. This can come across as a cheap ending for some people, simply because it's easier to end it suddenly than to actually craft a quality ending. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many stories that are great because they have cliff hanger endings. One that comes to mind is The Demon in the Mirror Trick. Once again, the fact that this is one of mine had nothing....at.....all....to do with me providing a hand little link for everyone to go and check it out, maybe read it, review it, share it....you know, but none of that is my motive. This is all about writing advice.Bad endings are not necessary either for a good pasta. Not everyone has to die a horribly bloody death at the hands of some evil thing living in a Nintendo game. If you're trying to write something fast and hot, just something to be scary, then sure, bad endings are fine. But if you are actually attempting something that you want the reader to become emotionally attached to, something where they really care about the characters, really root for their success, then consider an ending where they prevail. Your readers will be glad you did, and of course, surviving good guys always means the possibility of a sequels down the road.
Well, that concludes my little advice blog. Hope that you found all of this helpful. If you have any thoughts, agreements of disagreements, please feel free to post them and let me know what you think.
Also, read my newest Tobit story, just...just because Tobit: The Grim Sorority of Tabitha Shaw.