I’ve been on the Creepypasta Wiki for a little over two years. In that time, I’ve learned quite a bit, both about myself and writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert in either, but I feel that some of what I’ve learned regarding writing and such could be useful to some people.
My first piece of advice: read bad stories. Many people tell you to read good stories, and while that’s not a bad thing (in fact, you should do that too), it’s also a good idea to read bad stories. Consider it a guide on what not to do.
But what, you might wonder, do I mean by bad stories? Well, there’s you standard bad, like Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, etc. I’m not exactly talking about those. They’re actually pretty low on the scale of shit. I’m talking more like bottom of the barrel, completely awful shit. You know, “Sonic.exe,” “Jeff the Killer,” almost any Jeff knockoff, “Blood Whistle,” and really any story that wouldn’t seem out of place on my site as a Riff. I’m talking about stories that don’t know how English works, don’t know how logic works, don’t know how characters work, don’t know how anything works. Not only will it show you what not to do, but it’s a nice boost for the ego too. You’ll read it and, if you’re not nauseated, think, “Wow, compared to this writer, I’m Shakespeare.”
Also, something I’ve found: certain bad stories have decent ideas. You can take the basic nugget of the idea, and turn it into something great. I’m not saying plagiarize, I’m saying you shouldn’t let a good idea go to waste.
My second piece of advice is that aspiring writers should, in their spare time, trying reviewing or critiquing. Why? Simply put, it’s so that you, aspiring writer, don’t demonize critics who tell you your story is shit. Basically, you learn what it’s like to be on the other side, and learn to take criticism a bit better. After all, you’d be a hypocrite if you bitch about someone criticizing your work after you’ve criticized someone else’s.
Trust me, a lot of people can’t handle criticism well, and then they make themselves look like assholes. For example, JC the –
Actually, no, I’ll give JC a break just this once. Besides, I’ve got an even better example.
Recently, I bought Roger Ebert’s book, Your Movie Sucks. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Early in the book, he recounts a review from Patrick Goldstein regarding Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. Goldstein talks a lot of shit about the movie, and its star, Rob Schneider.
Remember Rob Schneider? The guy from Judge Dredd trying desperately to be funny but failing miserably? Besides, we all know the movie was really an inspiring and heartwarming tale about Sylvester Stallone learning how to pronounce the word, “law.”
Anyway, Schneider shot back at Goldstein, saying how Goldstein had no right to call his movie awful since he won absolutely no awards, and was untalented and just some hack/asshole. The response was immature, and actually wrong, since Goldstein has won quite a few awards (and, according to Ebert, “Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks.”).
In other words, Schneider’s a pompous ass who can’t handle criticism. Don’t be like that. Learn what it’s like from the other side.
Also, one more note regarding reviewing: if you review, critique, etc. you can learn what works in a story, and what doesn’t, and why. You learn to analyze a bit more, and you can use what you’ve learned in your own writing.
Now, before I go to where ever I go after finishing these blogs, most likely a combination Arby’s/titty bar somewhere in Utah, I’d like to dispense one last piece of advice: find what works for you. Some people have a certain niche in writing. For example, HumboldtLycanthrope has the whole “completely depraved and sexually disturbing stories” category cornered (no offense). Some people are good at certain things. And maybe, oh aspiring writer, you might find that horror isn’t exactly your cup of tea. That’s perfectly ok. Hell, at the risk of killing any chances for being interviewed for the Writer’s Lounge (I’m available pretty much whenever for an interview, by the way. The Arby’s/titty bar has great wi-fi), I’ll be honest and say I’ve come to realize I’m not a great horror writer. Comedy, however, I’m pretty damn good at.
If Creepypasta isn’t what you’re good at, don’t despair. Write what you’re good at writing, and write what you enjoy.
Being a writer isn’t something you do for fame or fortune or sex. You’re a writer because you enjoy it.
So write what you like, oh aspiring writer!
Just don’t expect all of it to be put on the Wiki, ok?