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Does anyone read these? I guess I'll find out soon enough. Don't know if this has been discussed before. Let's find out.
Anyways, I've been thinking a bit on the "Jeff Formula". As everyone on the site knows, we are absolutely flooded with these types of stories. They're generally low quality and not interesting to read, nor original. That much is obvious. But that's not my concern.
Why? Why are we flooded with these stories?
Is it because of how popular and "inspirational" JtK was? Many readers claim never to have read it, although honestly, with the amount of stories similar to it, they may have been unintentionally inspired elsewhere by a similar story.
Or is it because of how relatable the genre is?
Most writers go through a time of depression in their life and/or go through some other unfair things throughout. I believe this to be a natural part of the writing cycle; I got into writing because I was suffering from a major depression episode and needed some place to put those dark thoughts to good use. I think this is especially true for horror writers; we need some place to vent and not allow those thoughts to build up inside. Or maybe you just like being creepy, want to scare people, or write an artistic piece of horror. That's cool too.
But most people write what they know.
I'm sure we've all dealt with bullies sometime in our lives. JtK is the perfect bully revenge fantasy; weak boy is beaten down and then turns the tables on his tormentors and tortures them to death in some way. Then he goes on into the world to wreak havoc, thereby overcoming his difficulties and becoming the stronger power.
That almost made JtK seem like it had a theme. It doesn't. It's still bad.
Moving on, I was thinking about the people who write these stories and their variations. Are they having trouble at home with bullies or their parents? There is definitely a reoccurring story structure here; is it because these people need an outlet to escape from their home difficulties? I think a lot of people build their OC around themselves in some way; that way when it ultimately becomes victorious in a sub-par story, they feel they have gained control of their future in some way. I have some partial worry (Especially when the author seems to be a bit younger) for the writer when they write these kinds of stories.
Don't mistake me; these stories are still bad. And the authors need to know they won't be accepted on this literature site. But do they get so defensive over them because they don't want to accept the reality at home? Maybe I'm thinking too far into this, but I think these stories are a definite escape and power fantasy for some people.
And should we be concerned at all? We're a group of random people on the internet; we have no real obligation or desire to know of each others' personal lives. It's not like we should be commending these people for writing poor stories, but damn, it kind of sucks to think that maybe this is a way of coping.
Obviously, this doesn't apply to every JtK style story. Some are just plain bad and you can tell the author didn't put much thought behind them. But the enthusiastic authors, the authors that believe this to be the next best thing, those authors kill a bit inside of me each time (Obviously, this isn't obvious if you read my reviews on the Writer's Workshop, nor do I let it affect my bias). I have little sympathy for the rude (FUCK OFF IT WAS FINE) or dramatic authors (Guess I'll just give up now), but the somber writers, who honestly think that their poor, generic story is original, do depress me a bit. They don't know any better. They just want an outlet. I take that back. Maybe we should feel some sympathy for the dramatic and rude authors, because they're the ones that it most.
But we all know none of us will; when someone is impolite or dramatic, our opinion of them degrades. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I just think we should acknowledge it a bit.
I'm not trying to change your mind here. This is just my view on the situation. Am I completely off track? Are these people just inexperienced writers, or is there something deeper at play here? Interested in hearing what you think.