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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2017 > CREEPY PASTA


Delve into the darkest recesses of the web, and your mind, to indulge in urban legends and faux histories with viral horror advice from Alex Davis

No, it’s not some sort of special Halloween food product, but a term for a wide-ranging and very popular type of online horror story.

Often proliferated first on internet message boards or video sharing sites like YouTube, these are tales of terror that have their roots on the web and have gradually become ‘viral’. You could see the creepypasta as a sort of modern urban legend, not spread by word of mouth from person to person but more widely – and quickly – online. There are many very famous examples – some of which you may have encountered without even knowing it – that have left an indelible mark on our culture. But is there anything a horror writer in the wider field can take away from this particular new stretch of nightmare?

Coming to the boil – A Brief History of Creepypasta

The term ‘creepypasta’ comes from the idea of stories providing sustenance to those who like all things creepy, derived from ‘copypasta’, a web term for viral text snippets, which often lose meaning, or gain new ones, through being shared without context. That doubt about its authenticity is fundamental to the success of creepypasta writing.

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How do you follow up one of the biggest books of the decade? The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins tells us about changing tracks and writing the book that matters to you in our star interview. What do editors want? There can't be anyone in a better position to tell you than debut novelist Anna Pitoniak, who worked as a Big Five editor before landing her book deal. How is your year's writing plan going? As 2017 hits the halfway mark, we help you stay on target. Look for leads, find the most up-to-date markets for your work and enter the latest writing competitions, with more than £50,000 in writing prizes, in the Writers' News pages, packed with news you can use.

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