It's finally November, and wintertime is coming to a large swathe of the globe. It's a time so spooky, millions of weak-willed Americans dare not think of Halloween at all, but we all know it's when Halloween is at its most powerful, and can only rightfully be celebrated with the creepiest stories you can come up with.
This will be our SIXTH annual horror (and generally bizarre fiction) write-off, already surpassing over a thousand stories!
From now until DECEMBER 31, 2017, we're accepting YOUR original horror or just plain bizarre, unearthly fiction. As long as they're your own original content, you can submit as many as you like, in any format, any style!
EVERYTHING COUNTS. While there are purists out there with their strict definitions of "creepypasta," we use the term more for the catchy title than anything else. We don't care if your story is written like a blog post, like a diary, like song lyrics or a straightforward novella, nor does it matter whether you tell your story in the form of text, audio, video, artwork or any combination thereof!
THE ONLY SOLID RULE is that your uncanny tale must be entirely your own, and shouldn't be something you've already published or posted on the web before!
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 personal review and thoughts!
HOW TO SUBMIT:
IF FOR WHATEVER REASON YOU CANNOT USE THE FORM, such as browser issues or a non-text entry submission, you can send direct to firstname.lastname@example.org!
IF YOU SUBMIT, LEAVE A COMMENT - since I'm no longer using my email inbox as the main submission method, you'll need to comment on this page if you want confirmation that your story was received!
ADDITIONAL HELP AND TIPS
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! Many of our winners have been first-time writers!
GO FOR WEIRD! Everyone's seen zombies, demons, serial killers, poltergeist hauntings, slendermen, cursed video games, evil lost episodes and tentacled cthulhus out the wazoo by now, so try to find subject matter you either haven't seen before or can give an unusual new spin!
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. We've had amazing entries about inflatable Christmas decorations, pop-eyed goldfish, papercraft and cornfields. Anything can become monstrous!
SUBTLETY IS YOUR FRIEND! Elements of the mysterious and unknown are what make many horror scenarios work so well. We don't always need to hear about the grisly murders and demonic cults behind a monster, and oftentimes it only weighs down a story with details that spoil the fun!
NEW: A QUICK WORD ON CONTENT
So, I don't intend to establish any actual "restrictions" on content, but every year, we get a slightly higher number of sexually charged entries or entries with sexual scenes than the last year, and just a tad more graphic to boot. This is, unfortunately, an unsustainable trend that will eventually break the rules of the site's hosting services.
Again, there's no real "rules," but wherever possible, try to dial back sexual content compared to previous years. Err on the side of subtlety, and when in doubt, feel free to run it by me by e-mail first - or just avoid anything much dirtier than your pals over at the SCP foundation. Speaking of which:
BROWSE THE EXISTING STORIES! There's no better way to get in the right spooky mindset! 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 nightmare entities, abstract artifacts, preposterous oddities and things that virtually (or in same cases very literally) defy description.
THE YELLOW WALLPAPER - a classic I'm now hosting on-site, The Yellow Wallpaper turns something very mundane into something very unsettling and has inspired authors for generations!