Couple years back, came across the term ‘creepypasta’ concerning the Slender Man stabbing case, and took an immediate dislike to it. After looking it up, I liked it even less. Coined—and that’s a term I’m using loosely here—from the original ‘copypasta’ slang that emerged on 4chan, it just screamed (to me, anyway) ‘cell user who can’t be bothered to take their finger off the keyboard between words’. IMO, flat out lazy.
Flash FWD to the last few years, and the term’s not only hung around, it’s sorta stuck. Through a writer friend, I connected with someone who runs a podcast site centered around creepypastas, and if there’s one good thing, it’s that the stories have evolved beyond the moniker. It isn’t just rehashings (re-Paste-ings?) of the same tales with slight variations. There’s a much more proprietary nature to the storytelling, and while some of the tropes are the same, that goes for any genre.
Last weekend, I was reading my friend Terry West’s latest, The Devil’s List, and mentioned a recent release of his that’s been getting good reviews, Transfer. He sent me a copy, clued me in that it, too, had a creepypasta angle, and so I gave that a shot. (Recommend both, BTW, if you know Terry’s work you’ll enjoy it and if you aren’t familiar with his fiction, don’t be concerned about getting to the party late).
Me personally, I prefer ‘Urban Legend’. I think that term works great, while creepypasta sounds ridiculous, and conjures up the same fear element as the phrase ‘Disney Horror.’ It reminds me of when fans of goth music grew so tired of being pigeonholed, they evolved Darkwave just to try and separate themselves… from the rest of themselves. Now time’s passed, the ‘old-school’ Darkwavers have become the stereotype, so there are NeoGoth playlists and forums and, once again, the same core crowd is trying to distance themselves… from the rest of themselves.
With time winding down on the FL stay-at-home order, and having a concept in mind that’d fit into the niche, I cranked out a tale that I’d’ve marketed (prior to this past week) as an Urban Legend story. Only… I couldn’t make it through. Not without breaking from the mold just a little bit. So, the story is centered around a creepypasta trope, but also includes some surprises I hope you’ll find fun, if you choose to snag a copy. I was—I was ready to just wrap this thing like a SlenderMan tale, or story in which some kid is told “Don’t play that video game to level 66, that’s when players start committing suicide!!!” Yeah, I could have. But I wasn’t satisfied with that sort of ending, and so… 1,200 words later, and then it felt like one of my stories. You know, kinda like having tortilla chips for dinner. You can survive on ‘em, but if you add a little taco meat and melted cheese? Refried beans? Suddenly it’s a Nacho Supreme platter. Much more satisfying.
So, keep an eye out. I’ll be posting about a pair of upcoming releases once the covers are ready. For you creepypastafiles (creepypastafarians?) you’ll have something to entertain yourselves with if you’re in a state that still wants you to stay at home/remains locked down. For all you guys, stay safe, and stay well.