I'm glad to know that you are willing to hear me out. It's not often that you find someone open enough to receive criticism about their work. With that said, most, if not all, of what I have to say will be negative. It should, considering I called your story the "worst creepypasta I ever read". I am not just here to bash however, I will be giving some constructive advice as well. Since this will be pretty lengthy, I will divide it into sections in order to keep the flow consistent.
Section 1: Pumped for Fruit and Dairy
First, an introduction. No doubt, you'd want to know who I am. My name is Connor, and I am 21. I have been into the horror genre for as long as I can remember. Ghost stories, urban legends, video games, shows, and movies. I have eaten it up for the past 20 years or so. I only got into creepypasta in the last 4 years. Though I have many gripes about the medium as a whole, creepypasta have produced some of the most horrifying works that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Penpal, my favorite, is not just what I consider the greatest creepypasta, but also the scariest story ever written. I don't write that lightly.
On top of all of this, I also have done a lot of writing. People in my life have said that I have a lot of talent. I never believed them
A friend of mine (who will no doubt prefer to remain anonymous) is my partner in horror. He and I swap horror stories around and review them. For your reference, here is our scale:
S - Jesus himself came down and blessed this story. Ex. Penpal
A - Top of the line. Ex. Russian Sleep Experiment
B - Could be better, but a good solid story. Ex. Third Wish
C - Eh. It's ok. Needs work. Ex. Abandoned By Disney
D - Awful. However, there was still some effort put into it. Ex. Slenderman
F - Inside Satan's Butthole. Worst of the worst. Ex. Cure for Cancer
FD - So awful, it becomes funny. Ex. Sonic.exe
We read stories. We rant and tell jokes, then we give it one of those ratings. I am telling you this, because this is how we read your story. Due to the length of your story, it took us over a week of reading to get through it. After we were done, we both came up the same conclusion: Pasta Noir is the worst creepypasta ever written. Nothing was done right. The characters, the plot, nothing. However, despite that, I felt that there was at least some potential worth of a review. Let's get some minor stuff out of the way first.
2: The Title
A fitting place to start. Considering the events that happen in this story, I don't really feel that the title is appropriate. Pasta Noir is fine, sure, but the rest? Last time I checked, Hazen didn't really use a hachet. Maybe when he killed Micheal he might have. Regardless, this is a minor gripe. Hardly the worst thing about this story.
Now we get into more serious topics. Blasphemous as it may sound, I didn't feel that this story was noir. At first, it was. The introduction definitely had a noir atmosphere with Chris Priest bemoaning the loss of his wife and talking about how much the city around him has gone to hell. Very noir. Which is another problem. Noir detective fiction is cliche. It practically writes itself. Noir mysteries have been around since the Great Depression. It has been done to death. You have all the cliches present in the first chapter alone. The alcoholic detective living in a shabby apartment building, talking about how he lost his "spark". The detective had a promising future that was taken away from him. Strange flowery lines like "Chris had his number 1 with a bullet, Abby. She was firecrackers on the 4th." that ultimately take my interest out of the story. You even pointed out the cliche's yourself a couple times with the relationship with Micheal and Chris.
Here's the thing. You could have still worked with that a bit. You could have made it more tongue in cheek. Pointed out the cliche's a bit more, had some fun with it. I recognize you were trying to make a serious story here, but you'd be surprised how far a little comedy can go in a horror story. It alleviates some of the tension and gives the upcoming scares more of an impact. For example, let's look at Penpal . This story is the scariest story I have ever read (more so with the book version), but it isn't afraid to throw some laughs in there. Sparingly. In the third chapter, we have our protagonist and his friend Josh, exploring his old house with walkie talkies. It's pretty tense, but we also get this exchange:
"Before too long I heard footsteps right over my head and felt old dirt raining down on me.
Josh is that you?
chhkkkk Breaker, Breaker. This is Macho Man coming back for the big Tango Foxtrot. The Eagle has landed. What's your 20, Princess Jasmine? Over.
What happens next I won't spoil, but this small exchange does its job well.
Back on topic, you could have had more fun with the noir aspect of the story, if you had kept it going. The problem is, you didn't. You stopped it by chapter 2. Instead you opt to turn the story into an ultra-serious detective thriller. Throughout the story you seem to try to bring back the noir by recycling the same inner thoughts of Chris Priest. By doing that, it felt that you were trying to force it back in. With that, a detective thriller also works. I love detective fiction. Next to horror, mysteries are my favorite genre. They both go hand in hand. For a good example of how to combine detective fiction with horror, look no further than Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Pendergast novels.
What it's boiling down to is that you really didn't use the noir aspect of the story to its full potential. For my money, the best way of making a "noir pasta" is keeping the noir atmosphere. This genre is naturally atmospheric and adding it to a mystery or a horror story would've given a unique vibe to creepypasta. Dark city streets, lonely nights, a feeling of melancholy in the air. There's supposed to be this feeling of subtle tragedy looming over the protagonist. I didn't get that with your story. Christ, I do know how to talk, don't I?
What was with all the eating scenes in this story? I am going to assume that all of the named establishments in the story are actual locations in San Antonio. Still, it felt like every other scene was of the protagonists stuffing their faces. What do these scenes provide? How do they progress the story forward? I get that you're trying to show our protagonists as human, that they do have lives outside of their work. But we're not here to see what brand of cologne Chris Priest wears. We want to see more of the mystery and how these characters are going to outsmart this "criminal mastermind". It got so bad, that at one point, my friend and I made the joke of Hazen watching them eat through binoculars and saying "...God, look at them. This is why I kill people."
When you have scenes of pointless eating, you bring the story to a screeching halt. These scenes serve no real purpose other than to tell me about the delicacies of San Antonio. The only exception and the only eating scene worth keeping is the one at the Chinese restaurant. The main characters were sitting down and interacting, making a plan to catch the killer, and having some bonding scenes with the fortune cookies. On top of this, it also leads to the best scene in the story, with the note on the car. We had to give you some props for that one. Now the whole scene could use some...tweaking. But that's for later. One last piece of advice on this topic. All of what I said goes double for the driving scenes. If you want your characters to get from Point A to Point B, and you have nothing interesting for the journey there, cut it out. Transitions are your friend.
5: Half-Baked Bebop Title
Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was all of references to music that was in this story. I'm going to keep this short and say...it felt forced. It really took me out of the story. I get what you were trying to do. You wanted to give this story a kind of gritty, punk rock vibe. A kind of attitude that said, "you think I care? Fuck you." The question that you have to ask yourself when you put these references in is: Why does the audience need to know this? Why do they really need to know what Chris Priest's favorite Johnny Cash song is? Do we need to know that story about Chris Priest meeting Vince Neil?
This could be a personal gripe I have, but I feel that the story could have better incorporated them. Back to the Motley Crue story, you could have had Chris Priest be even more interested in the band. Have him play the same Motley Crue album in his car over and over again. Have him get really into hearing it at Chloe's house. That way the story about him meeting Vince Neil with his wife could have more symbolic meaning. It could be one of the last shining memories of his wife that he has and he cherishes it. Keep it focused to one or two references, adding too many will bog your narrative down.
6: Hunting Bears
Now we're getting into the meat of things. I was debating with myself whether or not to discuss this or the characters first. I decided to focus on the story more for the reason that I can actually find things that I like about the story. The big problem with this story is the concept of it. Having a serial killer kill with a certain theme is nothing new. The fun of it is finding out why the killer is doing it. But why did it need to revolve around creepypasta? Sorry, scarypasta. (What was the reason behind changing the name?) When a creepypasta feels the need to revolve itself around other creepypasta, it shows that there is no creativity in the premise and execution. The minute that I saw what the killer's motive was, I groaned. I have never read a creepypasta that has included other creepypasta and made it good.
I was having trouble trying to describe why this was a bad thing. So I asked my horror partner. He said, in short:
"Telling a story is lying to the reader. You want the reader to suspend their disbelief and swallow what you have to tell them. When you want them to believe what you say, you don't tell them that you are a great liar. The same principal applies to referencing creepypasta in creepypasta. You are reminding the reader that they are reading a horror story. It takes them out of the element."
It feels like you're trying to be cute. You love creepypasta. That's fine, I do too, but by doing this, it feels like you're winking to the audience, giving them a nudge.
Nothing ruins a story like being told that you're reading a story.
If anything, this was your biggest mistake. In all of these parts, I have tried to give as much writing advice as I could. This time, however, I cannot. I tried to think of ways that I would do this plot. How I would go about it. I stopped. It's like putting out a fire with oil.
A lost cause.
Instead, I will give you advice on horror.
Horror is a tricky topic. What scares one person, won't scare another. For me, the story A Knock on the Window is horrifying because it plays on a deep fear of mine. However, people found the story Mr. Widemouth to be scary, while I don't. However, I will guarantee one universal constant. Imagination is the scariest thing in the world. The thought of what's in the closet is worse than what is actually there. To your credit, you had a bit of that in your story. As I mentioned before the part outside of the Chinese restaurant was pretty good. That was a little creepy. Shame I had to get halfway through the story to get anything resembling horror.
There was another part of the story that was creepy, but I'm not sure if you realized it. When Chris and Chloe call up Micheal's wife outside of the abandoned factory and she mentions that Micheal "just keeps texting her". We know that the killer has Micheal's phone. All I'm focused on now is what did those text messages say? Things like that add this element of unknown to the horror and amplifies it by 10x. You don't need to make every monster some unknowable thing, but you need to give them that element. There is nothing less scary than a monster you know everything about.
Going off on this, the villain should not have been so...vocal. I would've kept the taunt outside of the Chinese restaurant, but that's it. Instead, I would've had the killer get creepy. Had him leave notes inside their houses. Call them, then hang up. Put mannequins in their closet, I don't know. Get creative. It also adds to the notion that the villain is way smarter than our heroes and can outmaneuver them at any moment.
7: The Cat that Saved the Day
God, I hated Chris Priest. From the his attitude to his stupid name, there is little to nothing that I can say that's postive about him. It's hard to describe, but he wasn't convincing in the slightest. He didn't feel like a real person. He felt like a kid in a trench coat, collar pulled around his mouth, waddling down the hall saying how super cool he is. He supposed to be this tragic figure that has lost everything, that has his life hanging by a thread. I don't feel that. It feels like he's whining. I shouldn't say that, it's like I'm telling the guy with depression to get over it. But Chloe herself described him as a "hard edged, experienced, tortured, brooding Detective". Except he's not. He hangs around Micheal like their best bros, throwing banter around. He enjoys the food around where he lives. He helps out the homeless. He seems like he has everything under control. There's the magic word. Seems. It should feel like he's just going through the motions, even if he's good at faking it. Give us some hint that he could break with just a small push. Instead, it feels like he makes a schedule to be miserable.
Let's look at another example. One of the best horror protagonists, if not the best, is James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2. Even if you haven't played it, it's no secret that James's wife died from a bad illness. James Sunderland is one of the most awkward sad people you will ever meet. I heard him best described as a guy that "spent two years banging his head against a wall". It's a fitting description. He's still functional though, just...less. Some people are tougher than others, I get that. But it just doesn't feel like Chris is a tragic character.
Micheal Rodriguez was just boring. He came off as Chris Priest Lite with his dialogue and also was just all around uninteresting. I get that he's a family man that's way more put together than Chris. Lord knows you told me. But again, I don't think it was emphasized enough. Micheal should have been this symbolic, almost mocking reflection of Chris. He was supposed to show him what his life could have been if this tragic thing had not happened. When he died, it should have shattered him. To be fair, he was pretty upset. But not to the extent that it should have. Also to your credit, Chris Priest showed a lot of concern for Micheal's family. Again, that could've been played up to Chris viewing them as his second chance. Again this is your story. I'm just throwing ideas out there.
Chloe Marx was simply useless in this story. Let's go back to your use of creepypasta. I might have made the notion that using creepypasta in creepypasta voids any and all semblance of authenticity that the story has. But let's do the insensible thing and ignore that for the moment. Let's say that using creepypasta in that way is acceptable. What purpose did it serve? Initially, I was looking forward to seeing why the killer was using creepypasta as a purpose for his killing. At least to see how this all fit together. At the end, what was Hazen's motive? People bullied him. Fine, but what does that have to do with creepypasta? Was it his retreat from reality? Did he get inspiration for killing people from them? Creepypasta played no role in the entire story. As a result, Chloe Marx played no part in the story. Her purpose was to use her “skills” in creepypasta in order to help track down the killer. So, what brought down Hazen?
It's a sad day when a cat that's present for all of about 2 sentences does more to catch the killer than all of our main characters combined.
And much like Micheal, Chloe was just boring. She didn't bring anything unique to the table that two experienced police detectives could've figured out in an hour with coffee breaks. Creepypasta isn't some deep intricate underworld that you need Virgil wearing Uggs to guide you through. My middle aged mother figured it out for herself in less than a day. Perhaps you should have given Chloe more computer skills. She could have used her resources to track Hazen's online activities. I'm no computer expert, as it takes considerable more know-how than creepypasta, but it is something to consider.
Also, if I may something else about our two main detectives. They're morons. Not only were their detecting skills outclassed by a cat, but they didn't have idea one about Hazen's motives or how he's constantly one step ahead of them. Here's an example for you, outside the Chinese restaurant. What's this? The killer was listening on our conversation? Micheal's family might be in danger? Let's drive all the way to his house and make a big scene about it so the killer can follow us, instead of getting another officer to do it discretely.
How about this for another example? After Delia is killed and Chris wants to get Chloe off the case. His reasoning for it defies logic. He wants to send her back home while they go catch a killer who has ample knowledge of where they live and their daily lives, instead of, you know, keeping her next to the two armed detectives at all times? Chris was the one who guilted her into going on this funhouse ride in the first place. He called her a “born victim” when she was unsure if she wanted to put her life in danger by going after a serial killer.
Do you now see why I dislike Chris Priest? He's an asshole for no good reason. He makes me want to root for the serial killer. Speaking of which, talk about wasted potential. You made him sound like he was going to be this evil mastermind, constantly one step ahead of our protagonist. I will even admit I was getting kind of excited to see how the final showdown with him was going to go. He had some good solid creepy moments with Micheal disappearing and the note on the car. His note to the protagonists was a bit on the cliché side, but I was willing to let that slide. In the end, his reason was really weak. People do retaliate when they are victimized. I recognize this as a thing that happens. However, he killed to the theme of horror stories. He should've had a clever or even poetic end to him. He was melodramatic. He wanted attention. Most serial killers do.
On that topic, why weren't his killings more...memorable? He pulled out his victims eyes (no reason given for that) and carved a weblink on their arm. Snore. If anything, his killings should've been more like the movie Se7en, with each killing symbolizing the story in excruciating detail. For instance, the killing with the lemon. This is the part where you have some fun with it. Have there be lemons everywhere. Have the killer leave lemons in formaldehyde in varying stages of decay. Have it resemble the story it's based on. Hell, have Hazen taunt the detectives by sending them a package with a lemon in it or something. Don't limit yourself. You're the writer. It's your world.
8. The Ultimate Sin
This is it. The big one. You know, if it wasn't for what I am about to talk about, I would've forgiven a LOT in this story. I would've swallowed the weak villain, the annoying characters, the constant eating and driving scenes. I would've even allowed the creepypasta thing to stand. If it wasn't for one thing.
I don't mean the swearing. Nor do I mean the weird flowery lines that show up now and again.
I mean your voice. Your description.
This story is SO BORING.
Ask any professor or high school teacher that teaches a creative writing class. The absolute first and most common thing they are going to tell you is:
Show, Don't Tell.
I'll admit it. When I was taking writing classes, I hated those words. I didn't get it. I thought to myself, “I'm showing! Look at all this great description I got!”
I get it now. If there is one thing your story provided me, it is the importance of that lesson. This is the reason I consider your story the worst creepypasta in the history of the medium. Worse than Sonic.exe. Worse than Cure for Cancer . Worse than Slenderman, Jeff the Killer, The Rake, etc.
If you were to ignore everything that I have listed to you and only focus on one thing, please let this be it.
Despite what people say, writing is not really a visual medium. Literally, it is. You use your eyes to read. But most of the power of reading comes from the mind. What one person imagines when they read a book or story is different than others. I have my own voice for characters, my own vision of what places or people look like. The words on the page only guide me. This goes triple for horror, where most of the effectiveness of the scares comes from the mind. This is the basis of show, don't tell. Here's an interesting exercise I thought up. Find a picture of a house in a field on Google search (or Bing, if you're a masochist). Now write down everything you see in the picture. Don't get fancy. Here's mine:
The house is red with two floors. It has white bordering around the windows and the door is white too. The grass is green and has some white flowers and dandelions growing in it. There are a lot of trees around the house as well. The sky is blue.
See, it's like reading a list. The reader knows that there is a red house, two stories. It's got some white on it. There's a lot of green grass and trees. If we read that description in a book, no matter how hard you try, in an hour, you would have forgotten all about that house. Was it a nice house? Was it run down? Were there people living in it? I don't know. It was a house. That was red.
It might as well be made out of cardboard. That's how little I care about it.
Now let's try showing the house instead of telling about it.
I had to hurry. My uncle would no doubt hide me for taking so long. Thank God I brought spare socks. The ones I had on now were not waterproof, and the dew had exploited that. The road ended about a half-mile back and uncle said he was saving the mowing for me. The morning mist had beat its retreat an hour ago and already the sun made the air into a sauna. I hoped uncle's shower still worked.
I made my way around the final bend. Uncle's house hadn't changed much. Paint was chipping a bit, leaving red flecks on the grass. However, it still was as I remembered it. I took enough of uncle's time. I knocked on the door. It definitely seen better days. That's the problem with white. It soaks up dirt. Birds squabbled and cicadas buzzed. The sun peeked over the treetops. It was going to be a good day.
There. Not perfect. Lord knows I have my own writing problems to sort out but you should get the gist here. I didn't specifically mention that there was grass or that the house was red or that it was morning. I tried to have the reader feel it, rather than tell them. They're big boys and girls. I added the characters just to give it some kind of glue, some action to keep it going. Wasn't that much better than that textbook description up there?
Here's what I like to do, when I write a scene. Environments aren't stagnant. Not even space and that's a fucking vacuum. Many exist in an environment together, not just color or objects. Sometimes the things in the environment don't get along and sometimes they do. Look around in the room you're in. I'm a bit messy. I sleep with my pet dachshund. He's a pill if he doesn't sleep with me. I made my bed this morning. He scratched it up and curled up in it. He affected my environment. My bag is next to my door. I put it there when I walked in. What about yours? Are you messy? Are you neat? Do you have guitars hanging up on the walls? Old video game consoles? Exercise equipment? A character affects his environment as well as the environment affects him. It's little things like that which put description together.
Say you visit a new friend. There are bottles all over the place. Old food wrappers on the sofa. It could use a vacuuming. What does that tell you? The house is a mess.
But no one told you that. You put the pieces together by looking the evidence placed around you. No one came up to you and said “MY HOUSE IS A FUCKING STY. WOULD YOU LIKE SOMETHING TO DRINK?” That is the basis for interesting description. It keeps your audience engaged because they're the ones putting the picture together. They're not being led around on a leash.
Let's take a break. I have a creepypasta I want you to read. It's called Blue Kings . If you already read it, then read it again. Take a break. Get a drink (something cold) and come back. Recline and enjoy!
That's one of my favorite creepypasta and the thing I like about it the best is its description. The way the author puts words together is fascinating to me. The part where he's describing the voices of the heroin addicts is burned into my brain. It wasn't even shown in the story. Those yellow eyes...
Regardless, that story is great for showing how to do description in horror correctly. It feels like he's saving the big important stuff for later. Like the part where the main character sees himself in the freezer? Really? Him missing his eyes and nose is the 2nd thing you notice?
Your big issue in Pasta Noir is that you drag me through this story. It's like wading through mud. Let me give you some examples:
“The Camaro slowed down in front of Micheal's house. A typical house for a downtown city block.”
Ok, I have lived in a suburb for a good portion of my life. How do I, a typical white kid, know what that looks like? Why is it typical? Now, I am well aware that this was supposed to be a tense scene. Lives are on the line here (supposedly), so there can't be a lengthy text-wall describing his house. But perhaps you could have Chris leap Micheal's fence. Crush Carol's flower garden. Or perhaps have Chris visit Micheal's house earlier in the story. There you have all the leisure time of describing his house. Have him have dinner with them and make him leave early because he can't handle it. Reminds him of Abby. That way we get an inside look at Micheal's life, some character development for Carol, paint Chris Priest as more sympathetic, and we get to see his house, all in one fell swoop. Instead we got “TACO'S FROM BENJAMIN'S. OH BOY. I CERTAINLY HOPE THERE'S NOT A KILLER ON THE LOOSE.”
I'm being a bit mean.
Ok, let's go for another example:
“Chris, being the smartass he was, couldn't resist. 'You don't think he was making lemonade, do you Detective?'”
Alright. This is an easy, easy, easy problem with an even easier fix. You flat out told me Chris Priest is a smartass. Now let me fix the sentence.
“Chris couldn't resist. 'You don't think he was making lemonade, do you Detective?'”
Bam. Easy. I didn't even have to think up anything new. Your original sentence stated he was an asshole, then showed me he was an asshole. You told me that. The new sentence just has him being an asshole. Now I can infer that this is a common thing with him, and I can expect more in the future.
Less is more is probably one of the most accurate sayings in our language. It's amazing how much you can convey with only a few words.
Now there was an example in your story, perhaps the best scene in the entire thing. The scene where Chris calls his father in law. That was a good scene. They were both shattered by Abby's death. Chris is afraid of talking to him, but he has to. And his father-in-law has forgiven him. Not because he said so, but through his words it shows that he has forgiven him. I think it was best described with:
“...And hey, Chris, I meant it when I said we’d love to see you. You’re our family. Open invitation.”
That was good. Shame you ruined it with Chris fanboying it up with Scarypasta.
That was a bonerkiller.
I could go on and on and on. Every single scene had something to complain about in terms of description. So I am going to boil it down to one last thing.
9: One Last Thing:
I get the feeling that this story is first draft. You pumped this thing out in a month, maybe checked it for spelling and grammar errors and that's it. What this story really, really needs is someone to bust your balls. Someone to look at your story, look back at you and then tear it apart. Take apart all of your ideas and tell you which ones are crap. Then help you put it back together again.
This is what is known as editing.
This is also why Creepypasta wiki is cancer. There is so...much...circlejerking on this website. I have literally seen people give good comments to Sonic.exe. I wish I was kidding. It is not a good place to get feedback about stories. They will feed you what you want to hear. Don't get me wrong. I frequent this website a lot. But the problem still stands.
What you need is someone that won't spare your feelings. Someone that will give you the straight talk and knows what they're talking about. A friend, a family member, an English teacher strapped to the radiator, you name it.
The problems with this story run deep. I feel that it was a doomed project from the minute you included creepypasta in it, but that's the least of its problems. Everyone starts somewhere when writing. I did. I once wrote a story about a massive sea monster that the military blew up with missiles which made the sun explode. It was an epic tale that spanned the length of a piece of construction paper. The point stands that writing is an absolute painful mess of a pastime that I absolutely lap up. It's deceptively hard and people, like me, will find any excuse to bash your work. I've had it happen to me too. I'd write this thing that I thought was great only to have my own mother tell me that it was like “a fat man scratching his ass.” Thanks, Mom.
The story was House of the Snapdragons, btw.
Well, that's me done. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or want me to elaborate on anything else, be sure to send me a message. I'd be happy to help.
Reason: If you don't know by now...
P.S. My horror partner wanted to add something btw.
YOUR STORY SUCKS, HOMO!
He doesn't mince words