I was going to do a showcase on the person who wrote No-End House but I'm doing a Let's Talk instead of a showcase because
1) I didn't like it
2) I couldn't find out who wrote it
3) I had enough to say about it to override parts 1 and 2.
So I read No-End house for the first time today, it's a story I've heard much about! Included on many Top Ten Creepypasta lists as well as having a multitude of fan made sequels and side stories and the like all focused around a haunted house that tinkers with reality and ssssuch.
It's well written sure, the narration feels consistant and believable. If I were writing it I would have spent a lot more time in the first 3 rooms, though...moreso the second room and third room. I feel like he freaks out too quickly in the third room and I'd have had him spend a little time before realizing he didn't have a shadow. Also I'd have had him maybe take a second after realizing he didn't have a shadow before he freaks out because I feel like people take shadows so for granted that one not being there would take a second to realize.
Sort of like if you walked into a bathroom stall and it didn't have a coat hook, it's certainly supposed to be there but you wouldn't notice it wasn't there unless you were expressly looking for it and I'd have had some narration thinking about shadows in a more general sense before he pointed out that his was gone. If I were in the moment I probably wouldn't have thought to check my own shadow unless I was using it as a reference to that of the chairs, but he sort of just "notices" and the story moves on which took me out of it a little.
But that's not an issue with the story, that's more just what I'd have done if I wrote it and I can assure you that if I wrote it it wouldn't be as big of a sensation as it was. Honestly I'm not very interested in the actual quality of the story (which I think is a little...lacking?) and more just the sensation of it. Like, why did this become so popular? It puts me in mind of Jeff the Killer to be honest.
Jeff the Killer, is objectively not a good story. Even when it's well written it's not a good story and it's certainly not a good story when it's poorly written. The concept of the joker as a teenage boy isn't very scary, the image of an overly eyeshadowed white face grinning stupidly (with no nose ?? for some unexplained-by-the-story reason) isn't very scary, the scariest thing about the story is the existance of it because for whatever reason it became a phenonemon.
And I'm ok with it being called a creepypasta, there are worse ones out there, but I'm not ok with the virality of it, Jeff's become an icon so to speak and it's not really justified. No-End House isn't as big a story as Jeff but it's paradoxically better. Obviously it's better, I suppose it's not too hard to be better than Jeff.
The thing with No-End House is that it's better written but it's really kind of a worse story and I think that's what gets to the heart of it's success as well as it's downfall. The thing about No-End is that it's a haunted house story and it's pretty archetypal in that respect. There's an offer to X for Y amount of Z in a scary old house and the main character thinks nothing of it and accepts the offer only for real scary stuff to start happening. That's a pretty basic setup and there's room to tell a story with that but No-End...doesn't. It consists of the main character seeing something scary, moving on from it, seeing something else scary, moving on from it, and so on with each spook being especially spookier than the last!
And that's great but nothing really happens other than the spooks. I get that it's trying to emulate actual haunted house attractions with the unconnected frights happening in succession, but
A) Actual haunted houses tend to have stuff happening in the hallways too...they aren't just videogames with numbered obstacles to overcome.
B) The actual stuff that happens, although scary, is sort of just scary for scary's sake. Nothing has a reason other than the notion that a house exists to scare you for eternity if you enter it.
There are ways to make this more resonant, I think. I'd have had his endevours ultimately lead to him being in the position he was in in room 8, somehow, and get killed by himself. ...or something? Instead it just ends and he's doomed to spooked forever for scareternity!!!! BOO!! See the thing is, as potentially scary as that may be there's just no value in that.
I think it's the ending, too, that made it so popular (but not as popular as Jeff). An ending like that basically says "Tune in next week for the further adventures of the NO END HOUSE!!" which inspires people, yeah, to write sequels! But on the other hand the ending of "and then forever" just kind of leaves it feeling the same way it did for the rest of the story. There's no punch there so it doesn't stick with you. I'd even have rathered he just win and go home with no strings attached...treat it like it maybe never happened and try to move on with his life. See that's an actual ending but it still feels earned, and creepy in a sense. An existential creepy, he just has to move on. Maybe he could even tell one of his friends "Don't go in the fucking house" or something and have it be like an endless cycle of people warning people not to go in and them ignoring them, or something.
My point is, it's a lame ending and because of that there's nothing to leave the reader feeling creeped out later. There's no invasion in a sense, to make the reader think about it again later in any depth. Jeff is awful but he's also a serial killer with a signature look and a catchphrase. No-End doesn't have anything iconic in it so instead it just inspires other people to jump off of it's basic story structure (a story structure so basic that the actual plot in and of itself is just the "There's an offer to X for Y amount of Z in a scary old house" structure I mentioned earlier, which is ironically enough what definitely inspired this story.) but doesn't actually inspire any terror in the dark...
So tell me what you thought about No-End House. Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? A mix of both? Whatever I said here I still think you should read No-End if you haven't, at least to see what the talk is about.