Written by Jonathan WojcikOur fourth annual horror write-off has begun! Since 2012, we've reached more than 500 original creepy stories, and almost every last one of them are worth reading, varying from brief, unsettling poems to haunting fantasy epics! If you've ever had an idea for a creepy story in your entire life, now is your best chance to share it!
From now until DECEMBER 31, 2014, I'm accepting YOUR original horror or just plain bizarre fiction (see farther down for template and e-mail address!) You can enter as many as you like, provided they're your own original content!
ALL MEDIUMS AND NARRATIVE STYLES WELCOME, ALWAYS. The term "creepypasta" has already grown over the years to encompass virtually any dark, unsettling or strange stories posted to the internet, and we're using the term even looser here. You can submit anything that you think qualifies as "creepy" fiction. A poem, a song, a thousand page novel, a game, a series of photographs, a disturbingly elaborate cake, whatever! If it tells an unsettling story, it counts!
THE ONLY SOLID RULE is that it must be your own, original, new work! It also shouldn't already be available to read online; send me something new!
I WILL RESPOND within 2-7 days to every submission that reaches me and let you know I've received it. If you do not get a reply, leave a comment on this page (no registration necessary) to let me know and I'll double check my inbox!
THERE WILL BE WINNERS! It's incredibly difficult for me to pick favorites, but I'll run submissions through a super-secret panel of judges to help me narrow them down. A selection of people will win a shirt of their choice, and a top spot in this year's list with my in-depth review!
STRONGLY PREFERRED FORMATTING
Once you've submitted, copy and paste the code that appears below:
IF YOU REALLY CAN'T DO ANY OF THIS, send the story any way you want and I'll take care of it! I promise!
NO EXPERIENCE? NO PROBLEM! Many of the greatest online horror tales, such as Candle Cove, even include deliberately unrefined grammar and spelling for a more realistic feel. Even if that's not what you're going for, it's the story that really counts; don't stress over whether you can write like a "pro" or not! Some of last year's most popular entries were first-time writers!
AVOID CLICHES! The creepypasta wiki has this list of things they've seen submitted far too often to still be scary. You could, of course, very well rock something that's been done before, but we've all seen zombies, demons, ghosts, slendermen and evil video game glitches out the wazoo, so try not to recycle something you've seen before unless you're pretty sure you can put a bizarre new twist on it.
GO FOR WEIRD. Some of our previous submissions included man-eating carpets, a never-ending train, an inflatable Santa Claus and a cat's rear end. They were all terrifying. If you think your idea is too ridiculous, too nonsensical, too childish or goofy or just plain odd, then good. You're on a great track. Don't tone it down! Don't reel it in! Let the weird flow through you!
INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE. Read up on real-world parasites, deep-sea organisms and rare diseases. Think back to the odd things that inexplicably scared you as a child. Recall your most abstract nightmares. Pick something out of the room and try to imagine what unnatural thing it could do to creep you out, like what if that lamp started screaming? What if your shoes started eating your feet for some reason? Maybe you think those are terrible ideas, but I bet you could make even a worse idea into a fascinating tale if you tried. It doesn't have to make sense to be interesting!
DON'T OVER-EXPLAIN! Elements of the mysterious and unknown are what make many horror scenarios work so well. We don't always need to know why a strange phenomenon is happening or where a monster came from, unless that in itself presents even more tantalizing questions for the reader to fill in! Again, read some of the winners from previous years!
THE STORY ARCHIVE - There's no better way to get in the right mood than to browse around the previous entries! Don't just look at the "winners" and "runners up"...dozens of my top favorites still couldn't make those for reasons of sheer time and space!
CANDLE COVE - One of the internet's most beloved horror stories for a good reason. It's strange, it's original, and it leaves the reader scratching their head in the best possible way.
THE SCP FOUNDATION - an online fiction phenomenon packed with surreal entities, nightmarish artifacts and things that virtually (or in same cases very literally) defy description.
UZUMAKI - exemplary of the works of Junji Ito, Uzumaki is the story of a town under the influence of spirals. If you're not sure what that means, you'll just have to check it out. There are even snail people!
FUAN NO TANE - an amazing manga series collecting very short stories of surreal, dream-like horror.