The last story I uploaded to this wiki was called The Not Empty Dark. It's a series of repeating phrases with little apparant relation. As the story goes on, new phrases get introduced into the mix, and then eventually the story stops. It doesn't end, or conclude. It just stops, it's over. It's the only story I've ever uploaded to the WW only to submit as a finished story before even getting a single comment on my thread. Because when I finished writing it, I felt supremely confident in it. It was, to me, perfect. It was exactly what I wanted it to be. There was nothing I could do to it that would make it 'better' in my eyes.
Hey there. A while back I wrote a pretty rambly post trying to poke at something I couldn't quite reach. I kept stretching my arm, and grabbing longer and longer sticks, but no matter what I tried nothing seemed to work. I was trying to explain a complicated cocktail of ideas that were honestly unrelated but I felt as though I needed to provide some kind of thesis or something like that. Something to bind it all together simply when there was simply nothing there. It's a post about my random writer's showcase blogs, and also about why not gonna write them anymore. It's about this wiki, and also about why I'm leaving it. And it might sound strange but, the problem was, those both had two different explanations. The second problem is, I lied. I lied to myself before I lied to any of you guys. Desperetly waving my be-sticked hand at something that wasn't there, I resorted to putting something there myself. The unifying thread. "The reason I both left and stopped having fun writing showcases."
This is gonna be another pretty ramply post trying to poke at something I can't quite reach. I do have a point here though. A truthful one.
My point starts with this question: What is art?
Hey, woah, okay, scale it back a bit. What makes something a good horror story? There you go, much better, very straightforward. Clean. I can answer that. A good horror story is scary, tense, interesting. It either shines a light on something I've never thought about or illuminates something I have thought about in a color I'd never seen. It works within syntax, grammar, and mastery over language to sink into the macabre, eery, and gruesome. In a perfect world, every story on this wiki would be just that. Clean, scary, new. A good horror story takes effort, just like any craft, and the value of a story is proportional to the effort put forth in creating. Spend a lot of time on the WW. Really consider your word choice Be able to take criticsm and think objectively. There is power in a good counsel, especially when everyone wants the same you do. A good horror story.
I agree with this, honestly. Follow these guidelines and you get great entertaining stories from often inspired authors feeding enriched readers. It allows for this site to be more highly self-curated and circulates a culture or professional writing and standards that can genuinely be a great launching point for writing and publishing "real" stories. There's beauty in that. There's beauty in this, the way it is.
But I wasn't writing my showcases for 'good horror story' authors. Looking back, I guess what I really wanted was to shine a light on the people who's work has jank to it. The weird, the unprofessional. The stories with language that was often ungraceful, or ideas that were unexciting or bland. I would showcase people's who's work sometimes never got any comments, or who's talk page was nothing but several deletion messages. People who don't write 'good horror stories.'
When I wrote my goodbye post, I'd already written The Not Empty Dark. I'd written it and revised it and tweaked it and sat on it for a month before I uploaded it, and it got to the point where I had to wonder, like, what was my problem? I had written this story that I was happy with. I'd taken this mood I was feeling and I'd found a way to distill it and now, even now that I find myself lacking empathy with my past, where I can't even imagine my headspace from times where I felt different or ill or strange or hazy or like maybe things weren't real and I couldn't get a grasp over this slow burning buzz that kept getting louder and louder and louder
I could still go back and read it, and I'd suddenly remember. The Not Empty Dark is the only story I've ever written that genuinely frightens me. I still get uneasy when I read it. Because it is me. It's possibly my most meaningful story I've written, but how, I mean it doesn't have a plot. The tense changes from line to line, causality is completely out the window, there's not even a straightforward setting. It builds up to no resolution without even leaving you feeling bittersweet, it just stops. Because I had just finished writing it. The strange style certainly isn't a metaphor for anything, especially how I was feeling when I wrote it. It's nonsense, there's nothing to take from it. And it's perfect.
Because, to me, it's exactly what I wrote. Which is why I wrote it.
Who am I, to dig up people's not empty darks and review them on a blog'? Who bestowed me that right? Who bestowed me the right to write my own not empty dark and upload it to the wiki. I mean, it wasn't meant for you guys. I wrote it for me, it was a perfect distillation of everything that scared me. The odds of somebody finding it and connecting with it are so slim, even in a vacuum. But this isn't a vacuum, this is a machine particularly designed to produce 'good horror stories' as if they were peer reviewed psychology experiments or a sports car being designed for the masses. This place breeds something. It circulates a culture of progessional writing and standards, that can genuinely be a great launching point for writing and publishing "real" stories, yes, but that's not what I want.
That's not what I've ever wanted. That's entertainment. Entertainment, which has to follow rules, which has a particular purpose. Entertainment is designed to somehow enrich the consumer's experience in some way. If it doesn't, it has straightforwardly failed. But is that all art is? An experience meant to be shared and, on some level, enjoyed? And let me be clear, what I was gravitating towards with my showcases was not "real art" because that's the antithesis of my point. Entertainment is, by my definition, just art that's meant to be liked. I guarantee everyone who's fallen in love with art fell in love with that, I mean nobody's fallen in love with the idea through some sketches in a math journal. They fell in love with movies, be they wes anderson and david lynch, or steven spielberg.
But I just can't love that in the same particular way.
I love my showcases. They talk about things written for their own sake, for the uniquely human desire to create something. To test it out, to try the water. And they all had their own voice, and different interests and ideas. It's humble art. It's personal. It shines a dimmer light than other stories may shine, but it's only so dim because it's cast so broad. It says something, to me, about humanity, and it's beautiful. Somebody made this. And it's good, and spooky, and it's got flaws, sure, but that's what makes it even more human.
I thought it was negativity that made me dislike the wiki. I thought the people here were compelled, by the endless WW and infinite stream of content that needs to currated so it all meets our standards, towards perhaps a state of natural negativity. It wasn't. I thought I stopped wanting to write my showcases because my efforts to spearhead positivity weren't having a tangible effect on the actual authors I was showcasing. I was wrong. This is a wiki for currated high quality 'good horror stories.' What I wanted was more not empty darks.