OR “We’re Doing a CreepyPasta Month, and Here’s Why”
We’ve been wanting to talk about creepypasta for a good looong while, now. Before we figured things out and started the show, actually. Long before that. And now that we finally have the opportunity… I mean, if anyone knows how to condense several internets’ worth of content into three 10-30 minute videos, please share your dark secrets with us, because sweet mechanical gods, there is a lot we want to talk about
So let’s all collapse into a fanatical mess and drool over it together here, shall we?
First, some context: creepypasta has been on my personal radar, formally,since I first encountered MrCreepyPasta’s youtube channel way back in… pfff… probably 2011? I say “formally” because I’d definitely seen the genre’s other, older incarnations before that. Smile.jpg. SCP (if you wanna call that creepypasta, which I guess you probably should). Slenderman. A lot of the classics. But MCP was my first real introduction to the concept of a broader creepypasta genre. Before then, I didn’t even know there was a specific term for it.
After this realization, I slowly became aware of the developing “creepypasta community”. I discovered the creepypasta wiki, the “official” website, and the dozens of other forthcoming creepypasta narrators (namely CreepsMcPastaand Lazy Maquerade, whom we’ve been discussing this month’s theme with). It was a strange experience, in large part because I’d always sort of expected fiction and literature to just be a niche thing on the internet. People talk about it on their specific forums and on their tumblr feeds and stuff, but it’s not the sort of thing that trends. In fact, the “best of the best” are mostly relegated to marginally-popular web magazines or (if they’re really lucky) forgotten behind the luster of the larger projects their work is being incorporated into.
But here, suddenly, was creepypasta, with its hundreds of thousands of contributors adding to a platform that actually had mass appeal on the internet. Discovering it was what I imagine it might feel like to emerge from a dark cellar which you’d spent your whole life in and find yourself surrounded by others like you. Surreal. A little confusing. Wildly exciting. Finally, evidence that the craft of prose-writing was actually evolving for the internet. No more are the writers and storytellers a disparate and estranged handful of rando’s sprinkled across the web.
Admittedly, like various fan fiction/general writing communities, creepypasta is a little specific in its scope, oriented toward the horror genre in particular. But the vast appeal of creepypasta to audiences outside its immediate circle is what—I believe—makes it unique. People who have no interesting in writing whatsoever are consuming and sharing this stuff like… delicious, delicious pasta. And for a lot of them, it’s their first real glimpse of what “publishing” looks like. A lot of people who are becoming involved with creepypasta don’t begin with a knowledge of the conventional publication process: the querying, the infinite rejections, the whole rigamarole of slogging your way through the slush pile in order to get something with your name on it printed and distributed, often with poor-to-marginal commercial success. What they see is people taking inspiration from one-another’s fiction and art, creating works of their own, and then simply sharing it, creating a sort of indy publishing cycle.
The “publishing houses” of this world are creators like @creepsmcpasta,@lazymasquerade, and MrCreepyPasta, who cast long shadows (each with over a million youtube subscribers) and can change a random writer into afamous storyteller with tens of thousands of fans overnight.
Neither I nor the humans I work with have any idea where this change in perception will lead future writers, but if this trend continues, it could cause a sea change for the industry, altering what it means to be a “successful” fiction writer on the web altogether. One of the biggest possible hurdles is likely to be broadening the format beyond horror, which is difficult because of the inherent virility of the genre.
So we don’t know what’s to come, but we’d be interested in youropinions and predictions.
What do you guys think of this sort of “short fiction renaissance” creepypasta seems to be guiding us toward? Do you think it’s just a fad that’ll fade with time? Or do you think we’re in for some real changes down the road?