Scary Paranormal Stories & Short Horror Microfiction

Creepypasta

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Hello, your lovely mod derpbutt here~ My co-admin predhead and I have been going through plenty of submissions over the past few weeks since relaunching this website, and we’ve discovered a mutual annoyance: The over-reliance on certain “creepy tropes” that crops up in many submissions.

Now, we just shitcan the worst offenders, but sometimes we do allow stories through that prompt similar complaints from readers. We thought that we’d try and experiment this month and create a space where everyone, readers and writer alike, could talk about which creepypasta cliches are their absolute least favorite and why.

For those of you who aren’t sure what we mean, cliche is defined “A trite or overused expression or idea” – an example in the world of Creepypasta would be a note found next to a dead body, a haunted doll, or a meme, image, or video on the internet that makes people go insane. You probably thought of multiple pastas that used each example already, right?

So here is your chance, as readers, to speak up and let any writers skulking around Creepypasta to know which cliches and tropes that you absolutely hate and wish they’d toss out with the garbage, never to be used again. Writers, feel free to weigh in on why so many of you resort to tired tropes (or, if you don’t, spill the beans on how you resist that temptation and know what to avoid) – and use the comments here as a possible resource for helping you make better editing decisions!

If this post goes well, we may make this a monthly thing (assuming we can come up with discussion topics, of course) – so please do participate and let us know if this sort of post is something you’d like to see continue!

July Discussion Post: Worst Creepypasta Tropes, 7.7 out of 10 based on 99 ratings
  • joseph

    what is my least favorite cliche is that “we are watching” or “they are watching” but i wouldn’t trash the cliches they are the soul behind the pasta good or bad

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    Rating: +15 (from 17 votes)
  • ProfessorChaos

    I don’t realy mind the cliches that much, i just care about how the story is written and how the writer introduces me to it… but i rly do hate the haunted dolls/video games/ videos/ images ones that are realy crappy and sucky and just taste bad…so yea.

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    Rating: +14 (from 18 votes)
  • AthenaH2SO4

    I second the haunted video game trope…I am REALLY sick of various haunted Pokemon games, Zelda games, or whatever. Especially since they tend to describe the game in punishing detail.

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    Rating: +23 (from 27 votes)
  • GordonTheFreeMan

    What scares people is different from person to person. Some of the best pastas I’ve ever read were filled to the brim with “cliches”. I agree with the comments above, that they play little part in the fear inducing factors. I am totally digging this site though, I personally appreciate all the filtering that occurs considering that I often don’t stumble upon crappypastas much here.
    In essence, keep the cliches coming, and keep the old filters. That is, unless you come across something like… well, I’ll make an example of it, right here.

    A day, just like any other. John headed toward the automatic subway doors and progressed to his usual seat; between those facing forward and back his seat faced side to side. John enjoyed making eye contact.
    “Now arriving at Gresham transit centre” the automated voice spoke softly. A park John crosses daily on his way to work had the usual visitors. The man with the douchy fedora, the old woman in white seated at the bench nearest the fountain with her dalmation and the sketchy, tall, lanky man in his trench coat taking a call on his cell phone.
    John’s arrival was greeted by the off-putting stares and murmurs of the tired couple John was relieving. Darkness enveloped, nearly consumed John as his head begins to burn. Desperately reaching for his pain meds, scratching the bottoms of his pockets. Forgot them today. John’s migraine grows more subtle as the lights dim even farther. Lighting conditions are critical in John’s line of work, as he quality checks paper products with certain low-voltage lights. These lights bring a contrast to flaws and imperfections on the surface. The speaker system above John bellows “John, please come to HR Department as soon as possible, you have a visitor.” With no task at hand, John sauntered to the human resources department to find a dog-like apparition standing before him, blocking his path to the exit door. The dog’s movement told of a synthetic or robotic origin. It carried a lanyard in its mouth with a black flash drive attached. Slowly, the dog advanced toward me. It made a strange wurring sound with each step and came to a sudden halt. John stepped forward and quickly snatched the flash drive from the mouth of the artificial beast.
    The HR Department was empty. There was absolutely no one and the silence was eerie. The typical ambience of key-strokes and clicks was replaced by the small ringing one may hear in total silence. Implicit was his was his freedom to use the terminals the receptionists usually used. With ease, the company computer installs the required drivers and opens the only folder, it was titled “we_know_you” inside was an executable file. John does a double-take, assures himself that it will not matter if it happened to be mal-ware. The tune of twinkle twinkle little star, ABC song, however you want to hear it had begun to play. The wallpaper turned black and a timer began to count down from two minutes. The screen flashed. Bright. The screen then slowly becomes distorted, as if it were made of wax and set aflame. A shade of violet, flashing to green. Then a picture. The screen freezes with the timer at 33 seconds and displays a little girl’s smile, exposed between curtains of black hair. John was becoming nervous. He knew he’d ruined the computer. “Hey, anyone? Hello!” no response. John was definitely alone. John swallows saliva that’d accumulated in his mouth, clears his throat and turns his face back to the distorted screen. The hair was gone and where there should be a face there were but hollow dark spaces of eye sockets. John’s heart skipped and he pulled the plug on the computer tower. “Fuck. That.” John said quietly under his breath in an exhaustive tone. We know you. John stepped outside through the large doors with the illuminated green sign posted above it “EXIT”. John’s smart shoes made a familiar sound of footsteps as he made a very cautious walk to the park. His mind in a fog, hazy. He notices there are no cars. No people. No honking, no anything; his eyes begin to burn. They grow dry, red and irritated. John was flexing the muscles in his forhead, trying to close his eyes as hard as possible. John begins writhing in pain on the grass of the park and momentarily breaks, accepting fate. His racing, pounding heart like a hammer to cloth had come to a slow, regular beat. The familiar pitter-patter of dogs’ feet draw near…
    And then John was a alien.

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    • Fritz Lang

      I agree while shaggy dog stories may sometimes be amusing (liked yours!) it is annoying to find out your were reading one of them when you were looking for a good scare.

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  • Urgghh….

    The most ANNOYING cliché has to be the “Lost Episode”s. OK, I admit some are good, such as suicidemouse.avi, Dead Bart and Squidward’s Suicide. But please, please, PLEASE stop making terrible ones which follow the exact same plotline as some of the others (especially the Family Guy ones).

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    Rating: +22 (from 22 votes)
  • Kate

    Not exactly a cliche, per se, but I’m so tired of the reliance on the epistolary format. Letters, blogs, journals and all that. Needs to stop, mostly because nearly everyone who uses it also ends up with a narrator that does nothing but further the plot instead of a vivid first person character.

    I’d also probably slaughter a goat in the name of any god that would keep people from writing in second person. Yes, it can be done well, but it’s incredibly difficult. I’ve gotten to the point that I just don’t read those at all. Too many crap ones.

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    Rating: +8 (from 14 votes)
  • http://www.creepypasta.com SilentDefiance

    I am sick and tired of people just happening upon random video files, which tend to include things like gouged-out eyes, someone being brutally murdered, etc. And then the video file somehow changes the screensaver of the narrator’s computer to some horrifying image. SICK AND TIRED, PEOPLE.

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    Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
  • Docksy

    I don’t think it actually counts as a cliche, but I hate when a story tries too hard to be scary. Usually it’s excessively dramatic, or will use “…” as a substitute for suspense. (this is lazy writing!) Also, a lot of stories will tell you what is scary, i.e. “…the door swung open with a terrifying crash!” or “John had never seen anything so scary!” This kind of writing goes against what a LOT of writing teachers and authors will tell you with stories – show (through actions) don’t tell.

    Since a lot of creepypasta is also in the form of images, my pet peeve with those are the ones that are very, very obviously (and poorly) photoshopped. Also, overused ideas such as bloody eyes, gaping mouths, and brandishing weapons with an evil grin are just plain boring most of the time. Overall, I think I really prefer subtlety, in both writing and images, though this isn’t to say those are the only good kinds out there.

    I do agree with a lot of posters that what you find scary depends on your personal tastes, but I tend to rate stuff a lot more on quality rather than content, so some cliches can be easy for me to get past.

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  • Who

    But who was predhead!?

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    Rating: -3 (from 11 votes)
  • Joseph

    another cliche that i cant stand wonteven read them. “Journal entries”
    -.-“

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    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
  • SyraMoon

    What I don’t like isn’t the cliches, sometimes if they’re well written they can be great, what I don’t like is the ones that write like “You see blah blah blah” I’ve yet to find a good story written in this perspective.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  • TheOmniBlob

    To be honest, I’m not really critical, but I am getting a little tired of the gouged out eyes, hollow eye sockets and pretty much any computer malware. However, as a writer, (I’d like to think I’m a wonderful horror writer, but I don’t entirely believe it. That’s why I haven’t posted anything yet.) I would definitely like to stress subtlety, psychology and originality. Originality doesn’t have to be thinking of something wild and crazy that is so impossible that no one can ever have done anything like it, but rather something underused, perhaps even common. One of the best things I’ve ever written (based on reception from other people) was about how the memory of a hit and run plagued a man for the rest of his life. Another thing: personally, I like to use and interpret music without words into writing. Psychology, as I said before is important as well. Basis on guilt, betrayal by a friend and even ignorance have made wonderful premises for some of my masterpieces. There is of course the outright gruesome description, which can be effective, but is more than a little bit overused, especially by those who cannot comprehend the inner workings of the mind or are simply bad writers. Loss of loved ones work in tragic tales, though I write of people who are alone. Stories in which people become trapped are effective, but common. 2nd person, as stated by other comments, can be done brilliantly, but should not be tackled by all but the best writers. I hope my input can be of use to other aspiring writers and the filterers of this site, which I have enjoyed.

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    Rating: +13 (from 19 votes)
  • Critfail

    I would agree with the journal one, but thats not always a bad thing. Stephen King has a story called “N” which is written in the form of a letter and a journal and that story is pretty well written. Obviously Stephen King isn’t on Creepypasta but I thought he was a nice example. Personally, I don’t like the idiot narrator thing. Where the narrator sees or hears something creepy repeatedly (someone outside the house that gets closer each time they look, creepy notes in their house, written in blood,ect) and doesn’t think to call police, arm themselves, lock doors, ect. They only think to do something when it’s too late. People have called the police because a cat ate their Whopper, you have the right, believe it or not, to call the police if someone is creeping around your house.

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    Rating: +19 (from 21 votes)
  • Torchik

    Personally I’d have to say the journal entry ones are probably my least favorite, but it can be pulled off in some ways. I think the thing that makes them not- so- great is when they’re really long and drawn out. I don’t need to know much about the character’s personal life, especially when it has nothing to do with the plot.

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  • meow

    BUT WHO WAS TROPES????

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  • A

    To be honest, a story has to be written good. Plain and simple. I’m not speaking out of my ass here, I’m talking from experience. Cliches- eh- not that bad compared to how some stories are written. As someone already stated, as long as the story is written fine, everything’s alright.

    Here’s an example: Anyone can pull off an excellent Slenderman pasta.
    Another example: Anyone can pull off an amazing apocalypse pasta. I’m an doomsday buff myself. I recall reading a story in which all water on the face of the Earth simply vanishes. Everyone launches into hysterics. The end of the story was a bit choppy and some parts could have used a bit of work but- wow! It was good.

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  • Annie

    I hate the “help! I’m trapped in my -blank- with nothing but this laptop to tell my story with!” Cliches. It ruins the entire story for me. >.<

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  • Grieg

    the most common cliche is the “he’s staring at me with a HUGE smile.”

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  • hunter

    Actually, I like the journal entry stories… They’re my favorite.

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    Rating: +5 (from 11 votes)
  • The Awkward Dancer

    Reading through these comments, I never realised I had so many cliches in the last 2 pastas I submitted…

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  • Kyle Y.

    I’m fine with cliches as long as the story is written well. and by that I mean spelling for the most part correct, few grammar mistakes, and NO HUGE RUN-ON SENTENCES. For example, “It chased her and she ran she was crying because it was so scary but she knew she had to keep running or it would get her and she would die and she didn’t want to die and she ran faster but the steps behind her kept getting louder and closer and she couldn’t run fast enough and then she heard a growl and then she died.” AHHHHHHHH!!! That crap makes me want to kill someone!

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    Rating: +14 (from 16 votes)
  • Anonymous

    Who the hell cares if it follows a cliche? Is it good or not good, that should be the only standard.

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    Rating: +1 (from 9 votes)
  • MrSaturn33

    Who the hell cares if it follows a cliche? Either it’s good or it’s not good, that should be the only standard, and besides, that’s all up to the mods anyway.

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    Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)
  • Joe A.

    I just dont like it when all the story is piece by piece, extremely detailed gore blood and guts. now when its part of a bigger scary plot, i dont care, but when its just gore, gore, and more gore, without any real plot or story, its just unoriginal and boreing.

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    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  • Ju

    Man, I love some game creepypastas, but that thing of “oh horrible mutilation scenes popping out mario’s butt” is just too damn overused. I TRULY HATE these “mutilation scenes” as a factor of fear, the amount of these is TOO DAMN HIGH.

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)

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