August Creepypasta Book Club: The Gift of Fear

August 2, 2015 at 1:01 AM

It’s been awhile since we did a book club post, huh? I had originally intended to post this in July instead of the Discussion Post; however, so much crap was happening on the back-end side of the site (multiple DDoS attacks, the submission form turning evil after the last plugin update and causing the server to overload itself, etc) as well as various offline issues that I ended up just having to shelve this post until things were a bit calmer.

So if you were wondering why there was no Discussion Post last month, that’s why. I had originally intended to have submissions re-opened (check the sidebar Submission Status for the latest update on this; please don’t derail this post with questions that are already answered there – when submissions re-open, it will be a separate post) all the way back in the beginning of July; so I had felt that having that announcement + Discussion + Book Club would have left the front page looking a tad too bloated. But it seems the site had other ideas about how things should play out, so here we are. Better late than never, right?

SO.

The book that we’re going to talk about this month is very well-known; given that it’s almost twenty years old and spent a lot of time on the Best Seller list, many of you have probably heard of it already. However, it’s striking how well it’s held up and how relevant it remains – many of the scenarios the author details are still happening every single day.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is, obviously, about fear. Specifically, how to identify when your fear is actually your intuition trying to warn you of incoming danger. Those of you who are fans of detective novels, games, and TV shows like Sherlock, Ace Attorney, etc, are probably already familiar with the idea that our unconscious mind notices clues and cues that our conscious mind, for whatever reason, filters out. I see a lot of discussion in our comments sections about the plausibility of how much (or how little) a protagonist notices and deduces before shit hits the fan (so to speak) in any given pasta, so I thought that this might be a topic that everyone would find interesting – and certainly worth applying to both their real lives and their writing.

From the Amazon Editiorial Review:

“Each hour, 75 women are raped in the United States, and every few seconds, a woman is beaten. Each day, 400 Americans suffer shooting injuries, and another 1,100 face criminals armed with guns. Author Gavin de Becker says victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. They may distrust the fear, or it may impel them to some action that saves their lives. A leading expert on predicting violent behavior, de Becker believes we can all learn to recognize these signals of the “universal code of violence,” and use them as tools to help us survive. The book teaches how to identify the warning signals of a potential attacker and recommends strategies for dealing with the problem before it becomes life threatening. The case studies are gripping and suspenseful, and include tactics for dealing with similar situations.

People don’t just “snap” and become violent, says de Becker, whose clients include federal government agencies, celebrities, police departments, and shelters for battered women. “There is a process as observable, and often as predictable, as water coming to a boil.” Learning to predict violence is the cornerstone to preventing it. De Becker is a master of the psychology of violence, and his advice may save your life.”

Over the course of the book, Mr. de Becker discusses and analyzes a lot of horrific scenarios; from the person making an eerily prescient joke about a coworker who – just a few moments later – then showed up to shoot up his workplace (perhaps not so eerie; the joker had actually noticed the warning signs but was consciously suppressing them) to a woman who escaped being killed by subconsciously noticing very small details about her attacker’s behavior – it’s honestly fascinating to realize just how much information we absorb (and both apply and ignore) about danger on a daily basis.

At this writing, The Gift of Fear is widely accessible; Amazon Prime has it included in their free lending library, it’s available for under ten bucks in most markets, the audiobook is available on Audible, and of course, given its age and popularity, your local libraries will likely have multiple copies. So please get your hands on a copy and join us in discussing the book in this post!

A few questions to get you started:

  • Have you ever had an instance in your life where you noticed the signs as detailed by de Becker and listened to them, only to find out later that your intuition had saved yourself from a sticky or dangerous situation?
  • What fictional characters can you think of who use this sort of hyper-attention to detail and intuition? Did you realize that such a habit was something we all do, or did you think it was more of a ‘superpower’ that these characters had exclusively?
  • How aware of such signals do you try to be when writing your own creepy stories? Do you think there’s a line where a character becomes unbelievable if they pay too much (or too little) attention to danger signs and their intuition?
  • Can you think of any pastas that use this idea, whether as an overall concept or by having the protagonist particularly attuned to their intuition?

Please have fun discussing this book! As always, the basic comment guidelines apply: be excellent to each other, even if someone posts an opinion that contradicts your own.

Contest has been removed due to total lack of interest/entries. Clearly, I need better ideas for giveaways, so if you have feedback/ideas feel free to let me know either via the comments here or Contact Us!

Additionally, the book club idea seems to be falling rather flat. I probably won’t do this again, unless anyone has a major lightbulb flash of inspiration on how to make the idea more appealing/interactive.

*Amazon affiliate links are present in this post. If you use any of them to make a purchase, the site received a small kickback. I use this revenue to pay for the site expenses and contests like this one, so you get a billion thanks if you use our affiliate link to make a purchase!

August 2014 Book Club: The Mothman Prophecies + Shin Megami Tensei IV Giveaway

August 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

August 2014 Book Club: The Mothman Prophecies

If you’re not familiar with our book club posts, please read the explanation here. To summarize, each month I will select a book for the community to read in order to broaden horizons and foster inspiration and creativity. We do this in the hopes that expanding the Creepypasta writing community’s frame of reference when it comes to all the creepy, paranormal, exciting, and just plain weird stuff in the world will result in less of the Mad Lips-esque copypasta submissions and more new, fresh stories for everyone to enjoy.

This month’s selection is The Mothman Prophecies, by the late and beloved John A. Keel.

First off: this book was turned into a relatively successful movie starring Laura Linney and Richard Gere. It’s actually pretty enjoyable and, if you haven’t yet seen it, I do recommend giving it a shot. However, please don’t use it as a replacement for reading the book – the storyline in the movie is A) only loosely based on the book and B) only features a very small part of the much larger narrative in the book. The book touches on related events, Men in Black (Keel is actually the one who named the concept of MiBs as such!), a much larger focus on the fascinating “Indrid Cold” entity, other cryptids, and much more that clearly could not have fit in a simple feature film.

Disclaimer: It should be said that these books were chosen with mature readers in mind. If you are under 18, please do check with your parent/legal guardian before reading these books. I’d really prefer to avoid a pitchfork-mob of angry parents who find this topic inappropriate for their kids. I’d also like to say that the opinions expressed in the books are, of course, the opinions of their authors and the people profiled only – I’m not advocating or co-signing any of the groups covered in these books.

So how does this work?

THIS POST is your book club. The comments here are where you should air out all your thoughts and ideas that spawn from reading the suggested books. There’s no requirement for how fast you progress through the book, or even if you finish it at all, so please feel free to jump in and discuss the book whenever you’d like.

This book is “nonfiction” so many things can be discussed without fear of spoilers (after all, the main story arc does cover something that truly happened and it’s a big strange to consider history as a spoiler), however – feel free to use spoiler warnings in your comments if you feel like you’re about to bring up a certain twist or turn of the book that might come as a shock to someone who just started reading.

As before, since the winner has been contacted and payout is in process, the raffle is going under a cut.

July 2014 Creepypasta Book Club: Cults, Conspiracies & Secret Societies – PLUS “The Secret World” Giveaway [Winner Chosen, Congrats to Kristela!]

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Welcome to possibly the longest-named post on the entire site! It fits, because this is going to be a long post – I’ve got a lot of ground to cover about the whole book club idea before we begin. Exposition, go!

Today we’re going to start the “creepypasta book club” that was discussed in previous announcement posts. If you’re not familiar, the idea is to read some books together that will help cultivate inspiration and nurture more original ideas in our writers. I don’t believe that I’m overestimating when I say that lately, a solid 75% of the incoming submissions are simply retreading the same few topics – I suppose that, for whatever reason, serial killers, haunted games, and fanfics of previously-created Creepypasta “characters” are extremely trendy right now.

The problem is, though, that after the 5000th rip-off of Jeff the Killer or the latest attempt to copy-and-replace Ben Drowned with the writer’s favorite game franchise, these stories get mind-numbingly boring. New ideas and inspiration are CLEARLY necessary now, because I for one am absolutely sick of reading about serial killers. I’m not sure if it’s just because they’ve been so in lately in pop culture (what a strange thing to say, but it seems to be true – Hannibal, Dexter, Jeff the Killer, so on and so forth), but we’ve gone way past the point of oversaturation.

You guys need to find something new to write about.

So that’s where this book club idea comes into play. Every month, I’ll select a general theme and give you guys one or two books to read. Now, to avoid confusion, this won’t be about reading already established “creepy” fiction like King or Chambers. Though we may do that another time, the book choices for the inspiration club will be, primarily, nonfiction (though some selections will definitely be “nonfiction” – we’re going to indulge in some pseudoscience and conspiracy books because, after all, we’re trying to get ideas for fiction anyhow). This will hopefully allow you guys to expand your comfort zone of creepy into realms like secret societies, cryptozoology, high-risk exploring like mountaineering, ancient cultures and pseudeoarchealogy, aliens, mysterious disappearances, and more.

The other added benefit of using nonfiction is that spoilers won’t be a concern. Since this post’s comments will act as the discussion forum for our book club, we need books that people can easily discuss at all sorts of different points of progress without ruining each other’s experience.

So, yes, to alleviate some of the confusion and concerns that initially came up when I presented this idea:

THIS POST is your book club. The comments here are where you should air out all your thoughts and ideas that spawn from reading the suggested books. There’s no requirement for how fast you progress through the book(s), whether you read both books or only one, or even if you finish the book(s) or not, so please feel free to jump in and discuss the books whenever you’d like.

If this takes off and you guys want it, perhaps in the future we can try and organize some sort of chat at the end of the month, but for now please don’t worry about that and just post here whenever you have things to talk about regarding this month’s books.

Okay, all that said – here are the two books I’ve selected for July 2014. As stated in the title, this month we’re going to explore the world of cults, conspiracies and the theorists who love them, and secret societies.

It should be said that these books were chosen with mature readers in mind. If you are under 18, please do check with your parent/legal guardian before reading these books. I’d really prefer to avoid a pitchfork-mob of angry parents who find this topic inappropriate for their kids. I’d also like to say that the opinions expressed in the books are, of course, the opinions of their authors and the people profiled only – I’m not advocating or co-signing any of the groups covered in these books. I’m not telling you to believe in the Illuminati or anything, I just think such topics are a cool and fun thing to learn about and will probably inspire some people to write better pastas.

The first book is by Jon Ronson, a British author/humourist that I personally really enjoy. Them: Adventures with Extremists is exactly what it says on the tin – Ronson meets and spends time with a lot of famous faces in the world of conspiracy theories and extremist beliefs. David Icke, Alex Jones, Omar Bakri Mohammed, and more – as Ronson says, the only criteria was that the people/organizations he features have been called ‘extremists’ at some point in their careers. Each episode gives you a look into the beliefs, day to day lives, personalities, and habits of the the various extremists that he profiles. If you’re interested in writing a character-driven story about conspiracies, cults, or societies, this book will be helpful. It also tends to be rather irreverently funny, which is a plus.

As a bonus, Jon Ronson was recently on WTF with Marc Maron, where he gave some behind-the-scenes details on this book (they also delve into The Psychopath Test, another book I’m considering for future months if this book club turns into a long-term thing) as well as more personal opinions and anecdotes. You can stream/download the episode here for now (it will eventually become a premium-only episode, so keep that in mind – based on the pattern, I’m guessing it will go premium-only sometime in August).

If you want to go more in depth, the second suggestion is Arthur Goldwag’s Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, the Illuminati, Skull & Bones, Black Helicopters, the New World Order, and Many, Many More.

Unlike THEM, this book isn’t really a narrative – rather, the author has researched many of the world’s more infamous and interesting cults, conspiracy theories, and secret societies, and he’s done nice write-ups on each. The entries are organized thematically and can easily be read out of order if you’re so inclined. Beyond the organizations in the title, he also covers the origins of the Assassins (it’s not just a random word), Area 51 and all it encompasses, the Yakuza, the Kennedy assasinations, etc etc and so on. This book is really useful and interesting if you’d like to get a sort of crash course in this month’s topic.

Lastly, to celebrate the first book club post, I’m giving away ONE online game code for Funcom’s online game The Secret World.

Since the raffle is over (congratulations to Kristela A. for winning!), I’m putting the rest of this entry under a cut. The main page has so many stickied posts at the moment that I think it’s necessary to de-clutter wherever I can.

Creepypasta

Submission Status

Submissions closed on February 21st, 2017. Please allow me time to work through the queue before I reopen submissions. PLEASE READ THE FAQ AND ANY RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO SUBMIT YOUR PASTA OR SENDING CONTACT REQUESTS.

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