Hosted by Jonathan Wojcik
Internet writers have brought to us some of the most unsettlingly surreal and inventive horror stories of our era; Kris Straub's Candle Cove. The Marble Hornets series. The nauseating collaberative Dogscape. the entirety of the SCP Foundation. Disturbing fiction circulated on the web is known collectively as creepypasta, a distortion of the term copypasta coined for copy-pasted chain letters and viral blog posts, and in celebration of Halloween 2, a holiday I invented last week, Bogleech is going to be hosting your most unsettling literary nightmares!
What you're going to be doing is simple, and you've got a lot of time to do it: produce for me an original, never-before-shared work of strange (emphasis on strange) horror fiction and send it to MY E-MAIL by December 31st, 2012. At the time of this writing, that gives you nearly two months. Include whatever name and personal link you would like to be credited by, unless you wish to remain anonymous. If you base it around something I've written about here on Bogleech, I'll probably really enjoy that, though it isn't necessary.
THERE WILL BE "WINNERS" AND "PRIZES!" The three strangest, most imaginative or otherwise most outstanding entries will get any shirt they want from the Bogleech store for free, because that's all I really have to offer besides heaps of praise and endorsement.
ALL ENTRIES WILL BE POSTED IN THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY. This is subjec to change depending on volume. If you're shy about your work, remember that you can leave your real name off.
ENTER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE.
All of them. When I say "fiction," I mean any fiction, of any length, in any format. You can write a story only two sentences long, or two thousand. If you want to include images or art, go ahead. If you want to tell it as a comic, a video, a song or a series of finely sculpted cakes, you can do that too.
When I say "horror," I mean absolutely anything from just moderately eerie to graphically grotesque, as long as it's original. Unless you've got a twist I've never seen before, avoid the overdone zombie apocalypse scenarios, demon possessions and serial killers. Go for WEIRD. As weird as you can. If you think it's getting too weird, don't stop. Some of the greatest horror stories ever written were about alien colors and too many spirals. Think of things you don't normally see in horror. Consider things that only you seem to find unnerving, or even things you normally find innocent. The right dose of abnormality can make anything in the world disturbing.
"JOKE" stories are somewhat discouraged. Don't let that stop you from submitting horror-comedy, but keep in mind that humor is the most subjective entertainment of all, and most things intended to be funny fall flat on their faces.
DON'T worry if you have no experience writing. Many creepypastas are deliberately written to look like casual blog posts and not like professional literature. Write however you're comfortable writing, whatever your grammatical skills. The result might even be more effective by sounding more natural, like the first-hand account of a believable, everyday person!
Avoid clichés! The creepypasta wiki has this list of things they've seen submitted far too often to still be scary. I'm probably a lot more lenient than they are, but try not to recycle anything you've already seen!
Like I said above, anything can be disturbing. Nothing is too mundane, too harmless or too comical to be an effective object of revulsion or fear. Is a kitten still adorable if you catch it whispering what sounds uncannily like human speech in its sleep? Is a sock puppet still hilarious if you put your hand inside, and feel a tiny heartbeat?
Look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Read up on real-world parasites, deep-sea organisms and rare diseases. Think back to the oddball things that inexplicably scared you as a child. Recall your most traumatizingly abstract nightmares. Pick something out of the room and try to imagine what unnatural thing it could do to positively chill your spine.
Colorful, unusual details go a long way. Is it scarier to just hear that a corpse got up and walked, or that it walked backwards, shuddering like a stop-motion prop?
Violence, death and danger aren't horror by themselves. A crazed gunman, feral tiger or violent trainwreck are "scary," but they're not creepy. The unnatural and abnormal are far more disturbing to read about, and don't even need to demonstrate a threat; not knowing can even be much worse, which brings us to....
QUESTIONS GOOD, ANSWERS BAD. In my book, this extends to all horror. Explanations kill fear. Don't even tell us if your monster is someone's ghost, or a demon from hell, or an alien from space. Don't even offer us solid clues, if you can help it. The unknown is the scariest thing of all, and the more peculiar the enigma you leave your readers with, the more their imaginations might soar in their ensuing nightmares. If you're not completely sure, experiment by cutting out background story, or ending your entire tale abruptly and ambiguously!
Now, GO! Cook for me your dreadful lasagna. Your abhorrent fettuccine. Your crepuscular farfalloni.