Table of Contents
This document is a collection of different essays by authors describing their individual mentalities when it comes to writing. I hope that by collecting these accounts and allowing authors to recommend their own work, this document can provide a much-needed variety when it comes to introducing someone new to the SCP Foundation along with an introduction to the kind of methods used in their creation.
Every entry comes right from the author to discuss the inner workings of their minds when they write. It's all there: what their goals are, how they put the idea together, their advice to anyone else hoping to do the same. Along with their account of their creative processes, authors may provide commentary of how an individual article of theirs reflects them. Authors also suggest their own work that they feel best reflects their mentality when it comes to writing.
This collection is organized in sections: admins, moderators, operational staff, junior staff, and members. It is organized in alphabetical order per section. Each author is allowed to recommend up to three articles/tales that they feel best represent their creative method(s), along with commentary and their accounts. This is a living document and will be edited regularly to add authors and edit existing commentary to try and keep up to date with each author.
It is my hope that, in collecting a living document of writers for the site, I can help others get a sense of the sheer variety of literary work we have and mindsets that have created them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who's in charge here?
The person maintaining the collection is SoullessSingularity and he is the ultimate authority on this page here. If you have any questions/concerns/suggestions/etc. please send him a Private Message.
Who can be added to the collection?
Any author that fits the following guidelines are welcome:
1. They have at least one article above 60 in rating.
2. They are a part of the community and have contributed not just in writing but in critique, review and discussion.
There are some exceptions; these authors may not be popular but they have contributed much to the community and deserve recognition here.
How can I be added to the collection?
Just Private Message me (SoullessSingularity) requesting to be added. If I accept, I'll ask you for your account, commentary, and three tales/articles that best suit your style. In the highly unlikely event I don't accept your request the first time, don't fret; this document isn't going away anytime soon and you can always try again. At the moment the only general reason why I'd refuse someone is if they're less than a few weeks old.
Why isn't X author in here?
Maybe I just forgot to ask them! I am not everywhere and I might miss a few wonderful people from time to time. Please feel free to send me a request if you feel I've missed an important author. I'll message them on your behalf, requesting they share the wonder that is their thought process.
What do I do if my account is no longer accurate?
Let me know what needs to be changed! This is a living document and I don't mind changing things to keep them up to date. Just shoot me a Private Message letting me know what should be changed and how.
My basic process is to start with an idea. For instance: "What if the horror were in the containment procedures, and not the object?" or "What if the SCP Foundation wiki had gone in a different direction?" I generally tend to take a look at assumptions that writers tend to make, then either subvert or completely oppose it. In general, I tend to prefer to shock my readers or push them out of their sense of comfort. It's my bad side.
I tend to write weird things rather than scary/creepy ones, and they tend to be fairly simple at heart. I usually start with an flash of an idea, or see an object/phenomenon in real life, or see someone else try and fail at an idea, and roll with it. I'm much more adaptive of things that already are than fully original. I also tend to write a first draft in one sitting which ends up being minimally changed, usually just tone or minor idea tweaks. The ones that I don't draft in one try usually take months while I let them simmer in the back of my head. I do try to research what I'm basing my ideas off of, though, so I can adequately ground it in reality. Most of mine end up as vignettes rather than full stories, but that's because I basically suck at writing coherent plots.
This was originally based on the pun of the title, which led to the product seen here. I did a fair bit of research on this one, though, including making sure I got the munitions right and consulting with military people to make sure that everything made sense from a military perspective.
A response to a challenge by Bright, this is based directly off a candle lantern that I own that I looked at and tried to think of some way of making it creepy without directly involving flame. This is my shortest article by far, but also one of my most effective, precisely because it leaves so much to the imagination. It demonstrates the adaption of an existing object, the flash-and-first-draft method I tend to use, and the short vignette nature of most of my stuff.
A rare story-based SCP, this one was loosely inspired by a poorly drafted throw-away idea by a user who ragequit. It took me several months to get this one right, mainly because I was trying to get the emotional impact of the logs down right without being too heavy-handed.
It always starts with an idea. They come unexpectedly and without any control from me. Once I had twelve ideas in a single week. More often I go for months without getting any new ones. All the ideas are written down, even if it's just a single word to remind me later. I always like my ideas and often get very excited about them. But in truth, at this stage most of them are shit. That's alright. Once you have an idea, you can always improve it later.
After that comes writing. I think about the idea for weeks, sometimes months, removing some elements and adding different ones in my head. Then I sit down, start to write, and get stuck on the first sentence because the words are all wrong. Then I leave for another week. Then I come back and write everything down, realize it doesn't work, and leave it for another two years.
My writing process is kind of terrible.
Most of the ideas I work on are old, something that I thought about years before and never touched it since then, or something that I tried to do before but couldn't make it work. I think a lot about my ideas, and a lot happens to them while I think. I change the objects to which the effects are tied, or tweak the effects just a little. I separate the idea into the most basic tropes, then subvert or invert one of them instead of playing it straight. If the core is bland, I start to add details to it that would make it more interesting. That can sometimes get out of hand, and I end up with a cacophony of parts that don't fit each other, so I have to go back to the beginning and start again. In the end I try to keep things short and simple. One core idea, and another one or two mini-ideas tied to it, what people call "hooks" or "twists". I call them mini-ideas here because most of the time they aren't a result of just exploring and developing what you already have, but require a separate eureka-moment. The mini-ideas should supplement the core and flow from it naturally. If they aren't connected well enough, the entire piece becomes disjointed. If you have too many secondary ideas, even if they fit well, they may drown the core and then the whole thing is a mess again.
I try not to use redaction unless completely necessary. I don't blackbox dates, names, or locations. In all the articles I have written over the past two years, I have a total of four blackboxed characters, and I think those four are an excellent example of expungement being used for good.
SCP-1797: Kitten Flu
"This is an example of my writing process when it goes right. It was technically written in less than a day, but I had been thinking about the idea for about two months, and only started to write after I had an "Aha!"-moment about the ending. It also works better because it subverts the common tropes about body-horror viruses: the virus doesn't kill the host, the kittens don't eat the host from inside out, and in fact the host may naturally recover from it without any special treatment, just like with normal flu."
SCP-1511: Mobile Paradise
"And this is an example of my process going horribly wrong, although it isn't visible from the article. The core idea here was "a rock that slowly moves somewhere on its own", which is probably the single dullest idea I've ever had. To mitigate that, I began to add more details and elements to it, and none of them really fit. I spent four months writing different approaches and rewriting the draft almost completely several times. In the end, I just deleted all of it and went back to the original core idea and tried to implement it in the simplest way possible. That's when I had the idea to turn it into a prison-kind-thing, and it turned out to work very well with the rest of the skip.
Of note is the fact that during the time I spent simplifying the details, I ended up changing the object from a single crystal-thing to 300 different crystal-things. Simplicity is not always about quantity or scale."
SCP-1600: Philosopher's Cheese
"This mostly works not because of some writing tricks or clever trope subversions, but because of a good core idea. Even so, it helps to keep everything just as long as it needs to be."
I try to keep my mind open when reading or daydreaming. Sometimes, an idea will just pass through my head; an image, or a concept, a ‘what-if’. A small strike of inspiration, that I feel can be something bigger. Sometimes this comes from a photo, sometimes from a bit of fridge logic, sometimes just my mind drifting.
As an example, SCP-517 came to me when I was half asleep in my bed. I had this image flash of ghost arms reaching out of my basement and dragging me down two flights of stairs to my doom; an effect that had not been utilized in an article. So I found a way to use it. I thought on what hadn’t been used, as a kind of trigger for that effect; I presented the idea to IRC a few times over the course of a week, to different people, and eventually Burns suggested I use a fortune teller machine as the actual object to attach the effect to. So I wrote the first page up and posted it to decent reviews; however, it was not perfect, and someone (I believe Aelanna) voiced a concern that the idea of stretchy monster arms was a goofy idea. I wanted to get across the visceral image of the arms being this kind of unstoppable doom, so I went back and wrote up the incident report to do just that. It took several tries but I got the SCP going. It’s something different, that hadn’t been done at that point, and nothing else quite like it since.
Your SCP should seek to evoke an emotion above all else. Awe, fear, ‘wtf’, horror, anger, sadness, curiosity, humour, anything. 517 goes for dread and awe. I wanted the reader to realize how scary this thing was. I couldn’t put them in my bed in a half sleeping delirium, so I did the next best thing; I made it a nightmare. Without an emotional hook, your SCP is just a thing that does stuff. And that’s boring. When you find that image, that thing you want others to feel, you have to find a way to put that feeling to paper.
Suggested Tales/SCP Articles: none
These are my own personal guidelines I apply to my writing. This is not a wall of text because I prefer this format.
- TRUST: Trust that your audiences' imagination is 1000% more amazing than anything you can write.
- VILLAIN: The villain is more important than the hero.
- FIRE: Friction makes fire; fire produces characterization.
- SPOON: Do not meticulously spoon-feed content to the audience.
- CONNECT: Find themes your audience can connect to.
- EVOLVE: Let the story evolve as you write it.
- NEXT: Never do the same thing twice.
Well, when I sit down to write, it's usually because sometime over the day, I've been hit by a concept. I just really like writing, so I frequently make SCP articles the day I think of the object, just because I enjoy the process of creation and posting. I don't really have an orthodox way of developing, it's very accelerated and relies on speed. I usually only sit and develop ideas if I think they're really good. But mostly it's 1. Concept while driving around or in class 2. Write down draft 3. Get feedback 4. Post. I've really cornered the market on "good enough to upvote" and most of my stuff could be described as "good idea, could've used more time to have more development."
Some people ask me how I don't get writers block. The answer is, I really don't know. Whenever I feel stonewalled or bothered by something I'm writing, I don't force myself to continue. Instead, I'll go work on my RP, or write something for the Wanderers Library, or practice drawing maps of continental Europe. I've gotten pretty good at the last one, cos I do it so frequently. So, yeah, that's my advice to you guys suffering from writers block! Go draw pictures of continental Europe from memory!
SCP-744 - Assembly Required
"This is one of three articles that I wrote in a day. I think the other two were my MC&D servant thing and something else that I don't remember. Anyways, this was written in a day. It's a concept, factory that does things, and some interviews in an addendum to support it. That's how you'll find a lot of my articles are structured - Presentation of an idea, addendum builds on that."
SCP-1833 - Class of '76.
"Probably my favorite series of articles I ever made, the Class of '76 series are a crosslinked set of articles centering around the "Syncope Symphony" anomaly. When I wrote this, though, all I had in mind was that I wanted to make a high school SCP. I queried the chat, originally wanting to do an anomalous high school reunion, but eventually settling on a yearbook that did creepy shit. We brainstormed throughout the night, me and site19, and I posted it before I went to bed. Eventually, I made a sequel article, then another, then Remembrance… and it snowballed from there. I still look at them fondly, as I think everybody should do crosslinked articles like this. It builds the world, and brings things together."
"This is cheating a bit since it's a canon I made, and not an actual story, but whatever! I do what I want! It took me about six months to get this canon off the ground, getting people interested and having stories made thrown up. The story I thought would be the second one, Anaxagoras', has ironically not been posted yet as of this time. A lot of other talented folks have, though, including Clef, Troy, FortuneFavorsBold. and ihpkmn. It's pretty fulfilling to see such hard work pay off. We're even working on a prequel plot arc for it… we'll see if that takes another six months."
I get my ideas from wherever I can take them, but usually the best thing I can do creatively is to not think about the problem.
If I need to come up with something, I'll think intensely on it and figuratively bang my head against the wall until my figurative forehead is sore, then abandon it entirely in favor of video games, a crossword, or some other unrelated activity, so I can work on it subconsciously. Eventually an idea comes seemingly out of nowhere, but of course, it's not out of nowhere at all. My brain has just been working on it without my oversight.
Talking to others in text message or IRC is great for this, by the way, because the influx of different thoughts can give you plenty of concepts on its own. I've had a significant majority of my SCP ideas just hanging out in the site chat.
So, if you need some writing from me and catch me derping around instead, trust me, it's definitely not procrastination. It's an integral step in the creative process.
SCP-1502 — If I pitched a lot of the basic premises of my SCPs cold, the reception would be less than stellar. "A self-help book that really works but makes you crazy." "SCP-173, but he's a kitty." "A tiny monster that does surgery on you to make you look like that old teacher from that sitcom."
But those articles are effective because of how much effort I put into the execution. Sometimes, to paraphrase a comment on 1502, you can take a bad idea and just keep going and make it good.
SCP-1425 uses the object itself for a lengthy narrative about well-known figures being driven insane by an abyss of unreality. SCP-173-J is just a ton of jokes of varying quality that riff on the relatively bland premise, and statistically some of them tend to land.
SCP-609 — This is a good example of how even a small idea can be developed into something effective, if you're willing listen to others and rework it.
The original version was typed up when Soulless dared us on IRC to write very short SCPs and break the "rule of thumb". It was a telepathic ball-bearing that moved wherever you thought about while you were looking at it.
Of course, the chat response was "it needs more", so I gradually expanded it with the list of destinations, the controlled movement… then Drewbear suggested that it be a more interesting object, like a billiard ball, and that's when it clicked for me, and the focus of the article shifted.
The style, incidentally, was a reaction to an issue I'd encountered in my previous posts: while mystery tends to be important to the urban-fantasy tone that many SCPs go for, and it's at the core of horror, revealing too little can merely leave your audience confused. SCP-1502 is a prime example.
609's horror is a little lighter and subtler, and the premise is abstract and philosophically involved, so I decided to leave as little of the basic anomaly to the reader's imagination as I could. It seems to have been for the best.
SCP-2005 — This article illustrates a lot of my creative weaknesses, I think.
I've got plenty of ideas, but forming actual narrative with those ideas is much harder than coming up with them, and I tend to go quite a long time without an idea that I can build a story for.
So here, I came out with the premise of making each of the entries also a window into Foundation history, which ended up being a headcanon dump, a tanglebang of lore-based concepts, each of which bears little coherence with the article.
Also, I can't edit my own stuff very well, because I'm too biased on what to keep and what to cut. While I do have a few trusted people that I especially seek out for feedback, everyone ends up liking a different passage particularly, and it gets to the point where one can't snip a sentence without disappointing someone. But leave everything in and the resulting mess disappoints everyone. Remind me to rewrite that thing someday.
I have two main methods: Feeling-first or object-first. However, the most important thing to me in my writing is to have something I want the reader to feel. Loss. Grief. Joy. Hopelessness. My first method, feeling-first, usually begins when I know exactly what I want the reader to feel before I know what the object is. Using this, I take what I associate with the feeling as an object, regardless how abstract it may at first seem. The second method, object-first, usually comes when I am enamored with a particular image or theme, in which my writing then becomes attempting to help the reader feel what I personally associate with the object.
I'm basically mostly successful because I'm capable of associating concepts and feelings together in a way that reflects my strange method of thinking. To a newbie, I would recommend to ask yourself "What does this mean to me?", "Why do I want to write this?", "What do I want my reader to feel?". The path to writing a complete article becomes clear when you know your destination.
SCP-1252 - "A Half-Formed Idea"
"This is my currently highest rated article. It was initially the idea of a literal half-formed idea, a concept that had only been partially developed before it was thrown away. The original drafts involved the imaginary friend learning that his precious Suzie had died and begging to forget or be killed, but I instead opted the imaginary to be surrounded with imaginary. In my head, a child lies to the world to make up for the lack of presence of their imaginary friend; in this article, the world lies to the imaginary friend to make up for the lack of presence of their child."
Senescence, Consumption, Persecution
"I wrote this for the Rat's Nest canon because I can't say no to Faminepulse. I love Rat's Nest. I love the idea of it and the rotting world it explores. In the end, the efforts of humans to contain, suppress and destroy anomalies are what causes the anomalies to overrun everything else."
SCP-747 - "Children and Dolls"
"This was the first major "hit" I had and its resounding success was one of the things that made me initially think I had a place in the Foundation. Although from an earlier time, Children and Dolls is likely the clearest example I have of how my mind associates things and how it executes to an article. This is pretty much my fascination with childhood adoration to dolls paired with the concept of transformation and the progressive loss of what people use to perceive the world around them."
I feel like my works focus on evoking either emotion or a sense of other-worldliness, since I can't for the life of me write anything scary. Those two aspects fuel my inspiration for writing, and the SCPs I write are usually Safe objects that are relatively commonplace things (butterfly, soup bowl, glass bottle, shells).
The ideas process I have usually involves digging through my old cell phone pictures to find something with context that can lead me to think up a coherent backstory and narrative accompanying the picture. A lot of it is just "brain barf"; I jot down ideas in a notebook and if I'm feeling it, I'll expand on them. If not, I leave them for another day to come back to. I try to think up stories that people can relate to in everyday life, so the SCP seems that much closer in terms of believability and idle thought.
Examples of all this are… probably SCP-348, SCP-1457, and SCP-1443, which all have accompanying pictures that were originally from my cell phone. The pictures I take with my cell phone are just day to day things that I see and want to remember, such as two cups of boba tea sitting on the edge of a bridge, some food that a family member or I prepared, or an uncommon aspect of nature. Most of the time the SCPs I write stem from context: 348 is the most obvious (my father made that bowl of soup for me), 1457 is the injured butterfly I cared for for eight months (it was during my senior year in high school, and I felt lonely during the weeks leading up to graduation because my friends were starting to drift apart) and 1443's picture was taken on my college campus (I was eating lunch and feeling sleepy because it was near exams time, and the shape of the leaves struck me as interesting).
Basically, it's plucking ideas from everyday aspects of life and making the world a little bit more "magical", for lack of a better term.
Item #: SCP-XXXX
Object Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures:
This might be what you think my SCP article template looks like and…you'd probably be right. However, the point is what I do from there. Everyone here is writing on a template of sorts, the only thing that matters is how you build on it.
I build my articles in a rather strange fashion, you could say. While most people say you should form an idea, then create an object to suit it, I don't, and I don't know anyone else that uses my formula (successfully). I form the object and its effect, then write the story, then edit the object as needed to fit the story. This has resulted in numerous hiccups for my article writing (mostly due to forced effects), and it is not easy to work with. This is also why I have so many Keter class objects (IE, Keter catering truck).
That doesn't mean I don't have anything useful or interesting to share, even with my awkward process. There are advantages to writing in this manner, and I will outline a few. One, it gives you focus. If you establish the object, it sets parameters for the story and challenges you to improvise and innovate. Sometimes people can get lost with so many possibilities, but when you establish parameters like this, it can be very useful in corralling your ingenuity. Secondly, it establishes the atmosphere. Once you have the general feel to your article, you can figure out how you want it to read emotionally. Then, you can throw in elements to intensify the mood or cause mood whiplash. Third, it lets you set up the twist/hook more effectively. You know what the object is, and you can figure out how to create contrast or surprise.
Now, I'm not telling you that you should change your own creative process (in fact I don't recommend that you should do things entirely my way, it's a pain in the ass), but if the parameter method I mentioned helps you, please use it. I've never written an essay like this before, so I apologize if it doesn't help or is too vague. If you can't find an idea to set your parameters, don't worry about it. The ideas will come to you as you go about your daily routine. Consider your experiences, and highlight the ones that provoked a reaction in you; those experiences will become ideas that survive.
Apparently I'm supposed to mention three of my works that best express my creative process. The three I'd have to pick out are SCP-1838 (Bob), SCP-1428 (Jinwu), and The O5 Orientation. Bob, as I said earlier, literally started as the idea "Keter catering truck," and Jinwu was "make the three-legged crow into an SCP object." The O5 Orientation, noticeably, is a tale, though it works because I started out with this premise: "a proposal in which there is no SCP-001." The story about Brian and the orientation factor itself all came about later. Granted, it didn't become a proposal, but I think that being the O5 Orientation makes it somewhat more unique.
Well, that's all I have to say, so good luck with your writing endeavors.
The most important thing for me when writing an object documentation is to have an interesting premise, and interesting implications behind it. I don't begin writing until I'm sure what I have is something original or, I can explore something contrived in an interesting way. Only cover old ground if you are confident you can do it better.
I think narratives and hooks are only aesthetic in SCP articles after you're finished arranging the core concept. I think that the more you have to focus on pacing (and worse, making your skip more narrative than documentary) it's a sign of a weak concept.
Once you have your foundation in place the reader should be able to fill in the rest for themselves. Rarely will that result in a negative response unless you've left it so open-ended that the core concept itself becomes convoluted, because half of it becomes their own creation. There are lots of articles on the wiki that are interpreted completely different due to a popular headcanon.
How do you come up with an interesting idea? I don't suggest you go searching for them. Wait for them to come to you; go walking, go to work, sleep, listen to music, talk to people, practice your hobby - don't think about writing a skip. When the idea assembles itself in your mind you'll know whether or not it's good, and most of the time your individual perspective should be more than enough to make it interesting. All you have to get past after that are the god damn containment procedures.
SCP-1682 - Solar Parasite
A large thing on the sun that is not implicitly harmful. The article relies on the reader's curiosity. This is a good example of the power of letting the reader fill in the blanks, and the pitfalls of saying too much. Read this and ask yourself whether or not it would be better without the note explaining exactly what it is. How would you balance this article more effectively?
SCP-1782 - Tabula Rasa
In this article I try to convey a night terror I had to other people. The narrative itself is bad, as convoluted and purple as most dreams, but beneath it there is a solid underlying concept, and behind that is an interesting implication. This is not to say that you should write a sloppy skip because you have a really good hook, but having the hook helps.
SCP-2682 - The Blind Idiot
Asimov already did this, and Lovecraft before him, the only difference is the angle I wrote the concept from. You don't have to do much to make a stale idea refreshing. Take any idea from literature or popular culture and answer the questions they left you asking.
When it comes to getting ideas for my writing, I'm a bit random. I'm usually browsing DeviantArt or the Visual Records or Picture is Unrelated, and if I see something I like, I save it to an image folder, and have it in the back of my mind for later.
I almost never really plan it out more than I need to, but if I do, I make the plans very general so I can hammer everything out easier if I need/want to change something. I find that if I plan everything out in detail before I write, it either ends up falling on top of itself, or I don't refer to the plan at all. I've heard of people who do plan everything out, and their work turns out great, so I guess it really depends on how your preferred method.
Getting the mood right for writing is fairly important too. I prefer to write on my tablet in public as opposed to on my computer in my own home. Places like bars, restaurants, and cafés are great places because for some reason, I'm more likely to get more done when people are walking around and making me uncomfortable. Then there are the drinks. I drink a lot of soda while writing… Like, a lot. It's just easier to think straight when I'm jittering over my tablet like a maniac, but again, that's just me. Others might be more inclined to write in a calmer state of mind.
As for ideas, I read a lot of mythology, urban legends, and appropriately enough, creepypasta. You probably could point to any obscure myth or urban legend out there, and I would probably know about it, and if I didn't, I'd at least know where to look. It's a fun thing to read about, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a major influence on my stuff.
Honestly, I think the best advice I could give for writing boils down to this:
Read and watch the kind of stuff you like, and take note of the narratives behind them. Study the parts that made you feel enthralled or invested, specifically for what kinds of tropes they used and how they used them, and experiment.
When you finish writing for the day, don't finish a scene unless you're actually done with the draft. When you do that, you tend to think about your story and how to improve it.
Find a place to write, preferably out of your home, and in a public area.
This is going to be a brash statement, but fuck worrying about being original. I remember tossing so many ideas out the window because someone already wrote about an object with a vaguely similar effect. Listen, there's nothing wrong with taking influence from something. You know SCP-1903? It started out with me cleaning out my phone's photo library, and finding an image I've never seen before in the process. I came up with a basic info-hazard effect for it that turns you into something else.
That itself isn't very original is it? I could probably point you to several things that do something similar, but only artificially. 1903 only borrows from that trope to propel a different story with it as opposed to… you know… ripping them off or relying only on that point.
And finally, write shit, ask questions later. You got an idea? Great. Puke it on the paper now, and rearrange it once you've got it written down. I believe Kurt Vonnegut said there were two kinds of writers: swoopers, those who puke the whole draft onto the page and edit it a whole bunch all at once, and bashers, those who spit-up sentences or paragraphs and work on those until they're perfect, and then do it again till the next paragraph.
I'm definitely a swooper, but if you want my advice, find out which one you are, and practice in that knowledge. The process is really what you make of it, just have fun with it, and if you write shit, learn from the input, and move on to either fix it, come back to it later, or move on to greener pastures entirely.
Basically, all of my writing starts out with a half-developed hunch. It's one of the reasons I'm generally pretty good at writing from a prompt. I'll take an experience, a cool gadget, an off-hand remark someone has made and turn it into a "what if". Sometimes it runs deeper, and often the deeper the initial concept goes, the more I get to write about it. One of the things that helps me do that is to talk to other people about the idea as I'm developing it. It helps me pick up on blind alleys, just by imagining the reactions a hypothetical reader would have to a certain plot twist or story device. It's a good early warning system and helps me save a lot of time.
So let's see how this is reflected in one of my best, SCP-400. We start with Soulless's very own challenge, two dice rolls for words "Exanimate" and "Protection". For a long time I was stuck on the most obvious solutions to these problems. Armor that causes Zombies. Dead dog guarding his house. Nothing really interesting was coming to mind. I had to keep wiping clean before I even started. Then, when talking myself through it, I reframed the prompt: "Let's say I had to protect something that was already dead…" From there, it practically wrote itself. The details are just details; much of it could be changed without losing the sensation of protecting something which is already gone.
A much simpler example is SCP-2000, my winning contest entry. From the concept of "If the Document Recovered from the Marianas Trench was canon, what would the Foundation need to pull it off?" the rest of the thing fell into place. You need to protect against reality bends. You need construction equipment and seed banks. You need cloning technology. And something this far-reaching necessarily affects plenty of other skips and many of the influential staffers. One after another the dominoes fall naturally out of the singular premise.
There's another element to my writing style which attempting to write this paragraph for the first time helped me discover just now. Much of what I try to do is the result of the question "Why can't I?" When I first joined in February 2013, it was really rare to find good character work on the site (it still sort of is, in my opinion). Most of the tales involving important people in the Foundation were about the big names like Clef, Konny, Bright, and Gears. A lot of work was done with these characters, indeed so much that I didn't feel there was room for a fledgling author to add to the body of work. It was also taboo at the time (and still sort of is, in my opinion) to attempt to make a new character for yourself.
"Why can't I?" "Because so much has already been done." "Well, what hasn't been done, then?"
So I went and found an underexplored niche that I knew I could do well: Temporal Anomalies. And although the narrative focuses on Dr. Thaddeus Xyank, I eventually decided that we needed a whole department. I've been building the details ever since, and as a result of opening the door to time travel, the story of the Temporal Anomalies department can be ported into any other plot-line on the site. Provided, of course, that it can be made to fit without compromising the internal logic of either narrative.
The moral of the story is, you can do anything you want as long as it's good. You'll know you're good when, apart from the tiny tweaks and critiques offered by your peers (and sometimes a good hard slap in the mouth by someone who has a very different point of view) your project begins to write itself. The details must flow naturally from the premise. The characters must behave as though they're real thinking beings with real motivations. The plot must build upon itself according to its own internal logic.
George R R Martin said there are two types of writers: Architects, who carefully plan stories before beginning, and Gardeners, who just write and see how the story grows as they go along. I fall firmly into the latter category. For me, the joy of writing has always come from wild, spontaneous creation that comes in the middle of a story, and you lose a lot of that when you over-plan. Plotting out stories has always been tedious for me, and I struggle to actually write things once I've planned them out. Often, I'll start a story with absolutely no idea where it's going to end up. My story Eggshells, from the Wanderers' Library is a prime example of this. I started with only the first sentence as a guide, and wrote the rest over about an hour during a slow class day. The twist at the end didn't occur to me until I was about 3/4s of the way through, so I had to go back and re-write around it. Something similar happened with A Loaf Story. I had the premise, but no ending, something I realized when I got to the third act and stalled out. After a couple hours trying to think of a solution, I just started writing without actually knowing what I was going to do, and the result was my most “acclaimed” work to date.
You're most creative when you write yourself into corners. Those moments, like when I was writing SCP-792, when you realize something is desperately wrong with your story and you have to fix it. In this case, I had no motivation for farming the bodies, and I doubt I could have come up with something as good as I did if I had pre-planned it. It's the same principle as constrained writing. By placing limitations on yourself (working with what you've already written), you force yourself to be more creative. Of course, this can hurt you. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to scrap vast portions of a story because I wrote myself into a situation I couldn't get out of, or turned the plot into a directionless muddle. When it works, though, it works better than anything I could sit down and plan out. (Note: I've found writing while sleep deprived works well under a similar principle, but for health reasons I can't recommend it.)
Theme usually isn't something I think about while writing, but an overarching idea you see in most of the stuff I write is "bittersweetness", if that can even be called an overarching idea. Life doesn't really have happy endings, and it doesn't really have sad endings. In fact, it doesn't really have definitive endings at all. So a lot of the times you'll see that in my work, mixing optimism with pessimism and making it clear that there's still more story to be told.
My on-site writing isn't guided by any one idea or principal. I'm probably one of the few people on this page who doesn't have some sort of overriding concept of the Foundation that they focus on in their writing, or at least some sort of canon they explore. I'm not a super deep thinker, and tend to take things and face value. I love the objects and stories they tell, but nothing about the setting inspires me to explore it deeper. I don't even have any “headcanon” on what amnestics are or how D-Class are handled. Maybe that ties into what I said earlier about not planning.
For all my ideas, I tend to take inspiration from conversations, media, and other things of that nature. Sometimes, it’ll just be a joke that someone else tells based on the Skip’verse or a random idea that pops into my head (more on that later), or even thinking of weird and common tropes in fiction or twists on urban legends ( still trying to get the damn Bloody Mary disco ball idea to work, to no avail). Once I’ve gathered a few dozen of these ideas (despite the general consensus that this is a Bad Idea) I tend to just start dart-boarding on them until something sticks in my head long enough for me to care. Then, I begin expanding on it in some way, either thinking of ways to improve the base concept’s strength, or ways to make it more interesting and add more to the overall idea. Overall, I really like doing something different. I hate feeling like I’m just doing bog-standard retreads of tired ideas, and will push for as much innovation as I can.
After that, I just start writing, and then I have a core group of reviewers (something very important to cultivate on this site) I always speak to in order to make sure the idea is sound, my writing sounds tonally appropriate for the situation, and that everything is as realistic as an article or tale could sound. I also tend to pay a great deal of attention to the technical details, running it by many of our experts on the site in the relevant fields. A lot of footwork goes into these as well, such as consulting Wikipedia and various other databases for information where my on-site research and consultations fall short. From there, it’s mostly review, rewrite, and repeat until it’s up to what I feel is acceptable.
Now, to illustrate the above, I’m going to talk about three pieces, two articles and one tale, that I feel are my best contributions to this website and kind of show my general mindset when it comes to writing or coming up with ideas.
First, there’s my article SCP-1541, the Drunk God. This article was born from a rather sleep-deprived night after I had binged on a lot of Eldritch-abomination-y media and came up with the phrase “The Drunk-Text of Cthulhu”. I will also admit that American Gods had no small part in inspiring it, what with the “fallen gods trying to make it in the modern world” thing. However, I deny all allegations that Discworld had anything to do with it. I only ever got halfway through the first book before losing interest. (Allow me to gather my things and get a decent head start before y’all grab the torches and pitchforks.) This guy is my favorite article that I produced, and what I generally consider to be my finest contribution to the site, although it is (at the time of this writing) lower rated than my “best” one, SCP-1810.
It has a lot of what I feel are my hallmarks: a ridiculous premise taken to a sad/realistic conclusion, a strong knowledge-base and a lot of research into the background and minor details, such as the Ethanol cloud that the big guy is camped out at, and a lot of references to other things, like the frogmen, or the ritual of blood and wine, which were meant to be a shout-out to rituals that followers of Dionysus/Bacchus would perform in ye olden dayes, were thrown in as well because it was fun… I did my research for the text log by logging a drunken member of our community that wandered into chat one night, which was hilarious in and of itself. All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable article for me to write, and I’m glad that it’s been accepted well in some of our peripheral fandom such as TvTropes, Reddit, and Tumblr.
The next article I’m going to talk about was my very first one, which I am very proud of, SCP-1910. This is a prime example of my research skills and tapping resources among the site for help. I received a lot of help from Photosynthetic, one of our staff members who specializes in botany and biology, in constructing and fleshing out (heh) the effects and analogues between plant and animal matter. I also got a ton of help from Djoric, initially and throughout, to work out my basic idea and come up with an interesting twist on an old urban legend of a pink mist that kills people and vanishes their bodies. This article is important to me as an example of how an article can actually be decently-received and survive, even if you’re new to the site, so long as you are willing to seek and receive help from others and be flexible about your ideas.
Now, the final piece that I’m going to talk about is my tale Ignition, Part One- The Artists, a tale in the Et Tam Deum Petivi canon. This tale is one of my favorite contributions to the site. It shows a side of two of the more popular GOI’s that most people don’t bother depicting- The Church of the Broken God, or at least the sect depicted here, is far more moderate and peaceful than the mainstream “Oil-soaked cyborg terrorist” angle that most people play them up as, and the Artists here are not some “More Hipster Than Thou” carnage junkies that get off by ramping up the bodycount, faux-philosophical rambling, and godawful attempts at art. These guys are just a trio of wizards that like to goof off, make art, and dress a bit weird for the mainstream.
This tale is one of my proudest achievements, as it’s setting the stage for some more awesomeness to come in the immediate future, if I can find the free time to write about it. Revolution is so much fun to write, and I gladly encourage anyone reading this to take up a similar idea of writing these groups of interest in a way that comes naturally to the group but might not be the first thing that most people would think of, or might even run counter to the popular image. It’s worked for me so far, ya know?
So, yeah… that’s pretty much it. I don’t have a whole a lot more to talk about my work, but I’ll gladly field any questions directed towards my inbox or in chat about my work, and encourage any new writers looking for some help or advice to drop me a line as well. I hope this was helpful. :D
My writing process generally starts with a feeling or idea in this jumbled scrap-heap that I call a brain, and ends with me attempting to communicate that feeling to the audience. When I write, my greatest difficulty lies in trying to express what I feel to the reader in a way that makes sense. In addition, things that interest me aren't necessarily the things that interest everyone in the audience. My personal triumphs in writing come from how accurately I portray what I'm feeling, and not necessarily how many upvotes something receives.
In my articles, I often start with some oddball idea that amuses/intrigues me. The next step is illustrating exactly why it does so, and how my audience should feel the same way as well.
SCP-2800 remains my favorite personal article for its success in conveying how I felt. The idea started off as an observation of the lack of cactus-related SCP's on the site (seriously), and then morphed into my inversion of the X-Man/superhero trope that's found all too often on this site by writing a superhero without the super. The idea that I tried to convey was that of a genuinely heroic hero who is saddled with his own ineptitude, a comedo-tragic protagonist of sorts. I originally deleted this article, and had to fix it specifically because I wasn't conveying my feelings properly, and had to work to make it better, which is something that all new writers should understand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with deleting an article to fix it.
My tales, on the other hand are an entirely different ball game. Each and every one of my tales started off with a distinct emotion, and nearly all of them examine perspectives and realities of living and working at the Foundation. In tales, I look for a personal connection to the audience, something that the cold and clinical tone of an article has a hard time doing effectively.
Leisure Time began with a feeling of bittersweetness. In this, I wanted to explore what it felt like to be a researcher, day in and day out, and what someone could do to cope with their existence as a professional torturer and jailer. Certainly, there is a high level of emotional stress, and I wanted to demonstrate how that felt, and how it made me feel. Tales are a great vehicle for doing so, and my goal was to write personable characters that someone could really get a feel for. While they have aspects of their personality that define them, they don't (and you should never allow your characters to do this) only be these caricatures, an issue that many people have in writing tales, and just fiction in general.
Right? began with the emotion of despair. I wanted to show the horror inherent in simply existing. D-class are a throwaway tool in so many articles, and it was fun to see how they must feel during testing. While D-class are generally the dregs of society, they still remain human, and humanity therefore means emotion. Another concept that I love in writing (drawn from reading far too much O. Henry) is a good old-fashioned twist. My advice on twists is that they have to be suitably surprising. I threw in a hint to a twist at the beginning, but my twist in and of itself was a left turn from what people expected, given that most of the main character's friends had died.
In sum, write how you feel. Whether it's a sense of wonder, regret, joy, love, etc, use your feelings to tell the audience a good story, and hopefully, they'll feel the same way too.
The most important part of any piece of writing is the words. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got some glorious vista envisioned in your head: no matter how you write it, what you’re trying to convey is not what the reader is going to imagine. The biggest mistake you can possibly make is leaving nothing to interpretation. If you over-explain the physical properties of things, you’re wasting time that could be spent on describing actions. Stories (in general) are not made of places, or characters, or objects, or any particular setpiece. The core of a story is in the interaction between setpieces: characters having conversations, birds flying through the sky, a fountain shooting spurts of water into the air. Stories are about action and change. My writing style often lapses into pure dialogue, occasionally breaking to explain an internal thought, or expression, or emotion. If you’re writing a tale, the majority of what you’re writing should be things happening rather than description. On the other hand, if you’re writing an SCP, stay as descriptive and clinical as possible. Figure out the right tone: learn to write like a scientist.
Inspiration and ideas are recombinative. Whenever you’re writing something, it’s not going to be completely original; no ideas come from nowhere. The important part of writing is making sure that you don’t use ideas that people see all the time. It’s fine to draw inspiration from something, but at the very least, impart it with enough differences so that you’re not making a carbon copy. Never build anything on just one idea; at the same time, don’t build anything on a million ideas. Figure out what you want to say, then say it, and make sure you say it well. Stuff like alliteration, or allusion, or whatever? That stuff seemed stupid at school, but somehow, sentences so constructed sound more solid. When in doubt, alliterate. Don’t be illiterate. To your audience, be considerate, and sometimes, fuck rhyming. It might be a subconscious thing, but the way that you say something is perhaps more important than what you’re actually saying. If you can make reading big blocks of prose fun, you’re more able to engage the reader with the stuff you actually want to get across.
Don’t get attached to things you write; you’ll fight criticism that can help you get better. At the same time, realise the difference between criticism of your writing style and criticism of your ideas, and be open to changing both of them. On top of that, realise that you’re never going to be able to satisfy everyone, and indeed, you probably shouldn’t try to. The most important thing to keep in mind: write something that you would want to read.
My writing almost always begins with a mental image. I'll be minding my own business and all of a sudden my brain flips me the bird and makes me think about some sweaty, drunk guy, sitting in the dark in front of his blaring television while he slowly and absent-mindedly rips strips of loose skin from his flesh. Yeah, thanks brain, you total douche.
Anyway, I tend to ruminate on these visuals and the concepts behind them for a while, prodding them with my stick-o-logic until I've closed the major plot holes. Only then do I begin writing. The act of writing solidifies something for me, making it hard to just brainstorm about it. It's kind of like putting down the foundation of your new house. You can add more floorspace afterwards, but it'll be a hassle. And I suck at DIY stuff. I also suck at similes, obviously.
As I write, I usually hit a few more pesky logical problems that hid just out of sight, and I will typically spend weeks or even months reworking, and polishing articles until I feel they're ready to be published. This time of course includes editing according to feedback requested from specific authors at various stages of the draft. I only once coldposted and it got me my first and only deletion, teaching me a very important lesson: "If it's George W. fucking Bush, just say so instead of using a dumb-ass [REDACTED]."1 A wisdom for the ages, surely.
A few specific things I think bear mentioning:
1. Expungement: I am not friends with expungement. In fact, I would go so far to say that expungement is a total bitch and was probably the one who poisoned my cat. Anyway, my point is that good expungement is hard to do and really takes a lot of practice. But the biggest thing I see going wrong with expungement is the strange notion alive in the community, especially among new users/authors, that every article needs expungement. It doesn't. Not if it doesn't add anything.
Now, lately I haven't gotten any real flak over expungement in my articles, which I'll take as a good sign. The following is advice based on my own interpretation of the difference between [REDACTED] and [DATA EXPUNGED]. It doesn't directly contradict anything in Eskobar's excellent guide, but it takes another angle than the whole '[REDACTED] means withheld, [DATA EXPUNGED] means deleted' school of thought. Caveat emptor and all that.
When thinking about expunging something (which I'll use as a blanket term to mean both [REDACTED] and [DATA EXPUNGED]), ask yourself the following questions:
- If I wrote this out without expungement, what would it be?
- Is what I answered to 1. more effective/scary/touching/etc. than a [DATA EXPUNGED] or [REDACTED]?
- If yes, don't expunge. Just write it out.
- If no, move to 3.
- Is it predictable?
- If yes, don't expunge. In fact, rethink putting it in at all, but if you do, just write it out.
- If no, move to 4.
- Can you replace the expungement with one or maybe a few words and the text will flow well again?
- If yes, use [REDACTED] -> I had a [REDACTED] time eating those bananas.2
- If no, use [DATA EXPUNGED] -> I had a [DATA EXPUNGED] damn those monkeys to hell.
This way, [REDACTED] comes across as something small you don't need to or aren't permitted to know, and [DATA EXPUNGED] looks like someone's ripped parts of the text out because if you knew, they'd have to kill you.
2. Research: do it, even if you're just using Wikipedia. Don't feel that, just because you've dealt with a cold, you know all about viruses. Research and then research some more. Identify the stuff in your concept or draft that might raise eyebrows and read up on it. And if you have questions you can't find the answers to, ask around in IRC, on the forum, or contact one of our resident experts for help. It'll pay off when you don't get downvoted to hell because you made shit up on the spot.3
3. Confidence and the limits thereof: Believe in your own work, but never lose sight of the fact that your latest concept might in fact be complete and total shit for reasons you simply can't comprehend yet. It happens, we've all thought up turds. When experienced authors tell you to give up on an idea, you're free to ignore them, but there's always a reason why they'd tell you that.
And now I get to talk about three of my articles/tales. Yay!
SCP-1118 - Os Sumum
"Remember that stuff about George W. Bush? That started with a visual of a typewriter with molars for keys. When I started working on that, I remembered Bush's mispronunciation of 'nuclear' and went with the concept of a typewriter that retroactively let you put words in Bush's mouth. The idea of course being that any spelling errors made on the thing would cause mispronunciations like that one. Anyway, long story short: compulsion + temporal fuckery + awful redaction = downvote-a-thon. It got deleted and I stripped the concept bare, got rid of compulsions and temporal effects, and started thinking about how I could make this work. The answer was actually quite simple: something like this would probably be used for political motives. From there I spun a story about an Ahnenerbe artifact snapped up by GRU-P operating under Red Army jurisdiction after the fall of Berlin, and a botched manipulation of President Truman in the fifties. It's not one my highest-rated articles, but one that I am proud of, not in the least because it earned the blessing of GRU-P's creator as a good characterization of the GOI he had in mind."
SCP-1130 - A Handy Shortcut
"Another one that's not that highly-rated, but I'm proud of. It started with a visual of an abandoned hospital ward. I started thinking about how it would be to walk around in that, and then I remember thinking 'Wouldn't it suck if you had to in order to get somewhere?'
From there the step to a great big NO FCK U from your local Google Maps clone wasn't a big one. I added the deal with the devil (you get there really fast, but fuck do you need to slog through some awful shit), and the sound following you around in there, and hey, another article. I still consider this one to be my one and only scary article on the wiki."
SCP-1142 - A Cry for Help
"This one got its start when I imagined a portal underneath the sea, barfing up an endless stream of Nazi troop vehicles and staff cars as the Third Reich attempted to flee their dimension using gating technology. They miscalculated and…well. Anyway, that quickly hit a dead end, so I experimented with a portal appearing in some seedy motel room somewhere along a US highway. That didn't quite work either, so for the longest time I had no clue where to go with it.
And then I started wondering if I could potentially make you feel sorry for someone you really shouldn't feel sorry for. I ditched the idea of Panzerkampfwagens and Mercedes staff cars rumbling through a portal and I went for an ordnance item I've always been fascinated by: the Goliath tracked mine. Basically a remote-controlled miniature tank filled with explosives, for rolling under vehicles and well, you know. Anyway, I imagined it containing a specially modified receiver to be able to pick up signals from the other reality where things went horribly wrong for the Third Reich after they'd tried to stave off defeat by appealing to forces they shouldn't have ever wanted to know about in the first place. The power of the article is in the transcriptions, but also in the fact that not only do we not want to do anything for these people trying to reach us, we can't. We're basically listening to an entire world experiencing a massive K-Class scenario and waiting for it all to end.
The vast majority of my writing is less me coming up with something from scratch and more me spitballing something that someone else has said. A great deal of my own “comment tales” are perhaps the clearest example of this in practice, where I build miniature tales out of interesting things other users have posted on the forums. While I could just end this there and say “Go look at those to get a feel for how I write,” I think it’s prudent for me to try and reference some of my longer, more feature-length articles/tales on the site.
When talking about writing for the site, I suppose it is important to start with my very first successful article, SCP-445. SCP-445 was the result of a desperate struggle from a new SCP writer to come up with something worthwhile to the site. Through the tutelage of Dr Gears, I found myself learning how to create something from nothing, building off the simplest concept of “paper cuts suck” into what became SCP-445. It is here I believe where my writing niche, the creating worlds from the tiniest ideas, became apparent. The tone of the article is, and I will freely admit this, somewhat mediocre, and I do understand that the historical significance of 445 is less on its own merits and more on the silly name I gave to its manufacturer, but 445 helped me learn elements of writing that before then I had simply ignored or was genuinely unaware of. In essence, SCP-445 was the true beginning of my “career” as a writer.
SCP-000 is currently my highest rated tale, and I would like to believe that it is in some small part due to the massive amount of effort I put into the story. All jokes of it being “short and a play on proper articles” aside, the main story of SCP-000 is my tribute, my attempt to write like Lovecraft, to see if I could do existential horror without having ever done it before. Of course, my main writing style was still intact; the overarching idea was “what does the SCP-000 slot of the database actually look like”, and I am positive a large part of its success was due to the story itself being “hidden”, but 000 was my attempt at horror, at the kind of cloying fear of emptiness that so many horror writers have used very effectively. Did I succeed? I can’t honestly say for sure, but 000 taught me a lot about at least semi-serious horror writing.
My least highly regarded tale, Lessons, is actually quite near and dear to my heart, as it is my personal labor of love in the form of a “take THAT!” directed at my past. I see why it is not as beloved as my other tales: it’s simpler, there’s not a lot of action, and the ending is appallingly sudden and anticlimactic. However, when writing this tale, I found myself reflecting more and more on my growth as a writer, and how before I would hang my head in shame at the mere thought of the “Animal Talker” that was the culmination of all my writing missteps and pitfalls, now I could approach with a smile and say “Yes, this was terrible, wasn’t it?” Lessons was my final step with reconciling my past.
These three examples I feel speak to everything I have learned from my years of writing, something I hope other people can draw inspiration from. SCP-445 showed me that starting simple is sometimes the best way to conceptualize a story, while SCP-000 is what I feel can be accomplished when doing so. Lessons became the tangential lesson (heh) to this, to never be afraid of the past and to be able to look at it and accept your failings as part of your success. These two thoughts are thoughts I want all new members to see and hopefully learn when they start on this site, because these two ideas helped me grow into the writer I am today. And if it worked for me, well, maybe it can work for them, too.
I would love to sit here and say that most of my ideas come from moments of divine inspiration, or deep insight of some form or another. I would love to say that, but the fact of the matter is most of my ideas start out as stupid, passing thoughts. Little things that I see, things I hear, usually in passing, that just don't seem to let go. Stuff that sits around and needles into the brain, and holds on like a bad cold. It isn't all like that, though. Some of my favorite (and most successful) articles are those that came in a flash, were written up with little thought, and thrown at the wiki to see if it would stick. The ones that hang around, though, are the ones I'm going to discuss in this section.
When I approach an idea, I try to categorize it with one of three questions. Is it scary? Is it weird? Is it funny? No doubt that an idea could be all of those things or none of them, but for the majority of writing I do for the wiki, those three categories are applicable. With a basic premise in mind, I then start to elaborate on themes. Where do I want to go? Do I start with the ending and work backwards? Is there a significant idea that I want to put in the foreground of the piece, or do I want to hide it for the reader to find? What about characterization? Is dialogue going to be important? Where's the hook?
And so on and so forth. The idea here is to find your center, in this case the flash of inspiration from the first paragraph, and let it grow in the mind. Let it take shape, grow and twist, and don't be afraid to fertilize that son of a bitch. Give it room to flourish. If you find things you don't like, trim them off. The worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is get so caught up in an idea that you're unwilling to let it go. If it becomes obvious that your bushes have got the plague, then you need to trim those bushes. Keep playing with the ideas in your head until you've got something workable, and then see how it looks on a page.
Lastly, consider your imagery. One of the most powerful tools we have as writers is the ability to evoke a scene in the minds of the reader. I use a lot of symbolic imagery, and highlight it in ways that draw the attention, like the little girls from 2464, the prehistoric buzzard-god in 1160, the little ghosts from 2125, or the victims of experimentation in 1994. To put it more eloquently that it probably needs, we are artists of the mind. Our words are our brushes, and the insight of the reader is our canvas. Don't neglect these things.
So, given what I've just said, let me walk you, dear reader, through some thoughts and inspirations I had while working on three of my favorite articles. Notably, they each fit one of the three different overall themes I was talking about earlier, and I'll list them as such.
1.) Humor: SCP-2120 - Damage Control
This was actually originally supposed to be a creepy story about a real world Davy Jones' Locker, with some sort of deep sea spectral fellow and dead people on ships. Eventually, the idea split off into two different articles, this one and 1864. I'm pretty pleased with that, all things considered.
I think it was Jekeled who first mentioned that the idea of ships "unsinking" could be cool, and I sort of ran with it from there. Throughout almost the entire course of its development, it was supposed to be a serious article about anomalous ocean crafts arising from the bottom of the sea. After a certain point, though, I started writing the dialogue at the end and couldn't help but be goofy with the whole thing. If you take away the last couple of logs, the entire article is sort of off-setting (in my opinion), with a number of unanswered questions and weird feelings. The contrast between the beginning of the article, and the notes at the end, make this particularly funny for me.
But that's just me.
2.) Weird: SCP-2464 - Suspension
This is the only article I've written that is legit based off of a dream I had. I know a lot of people attempt to turn their dreams into SCPs with various levels of success, but the problem is that most of the feelings in a dream are very user specific, and a lot of people have a hard time relating that outside of the dreamspace. The stories/articles end up feeling really disconnected, since a lot of the context is missing.
With this in mind, I decided to work with the imagery, and try to keep the details of the dream itself out of it. Using only the imagery, I worked with a new story, using characters I can sympathize with and ideas that interest me. When it was all said and done, the entire package was one that I was thoroughly pleased with; the right air of mysticism, the tension of something going on just below the surface, and plenty of Foundation mumbo jumbo.
3.) Spooky: SCP-1864 - The Lonely Liar
This was the other half of the Davy Jones article from 2120, and was basically a collection of loose ideas that stuck around for a bit. The core facet of the article, from an imagery standpoint, is the pool at the center of the labyrinth, the grate at the bottom, and the little boy curled in the corner. These are the foundation on which the remainder of the story is built; the scientists, the anomaly, the fishing ship and Pan Hun, and the cold night that he turned them all into monsters.
There really isn't much else to say about this than these are all ideas that scare me, and that's why I wrote it that way. The cold frozen island, the terror-child, the shrieking abominations, the doctor quietly singing eternity away in German. The mood it sets is the perfect kind of ambiance, and accomplishes exactly what I was trying to do: freak the fuck out of myself the reader.
Generally, the first thing I start with when building an article is the core image or concept that is simple and memorable. Something to grab the reader’s attention right out of the gate, whether it’s through the idea itself, or the imagery I use. Weird stuff works really well here.
Ideas just sort of pop into my head. I might be inspired by a picture, or a string of words, or just the ramblings of my own mind. Whatever the case, I’ll end up thinking of things and going “oh, that should be a scip”. Now, this doesn’t always work to my advantage, given that I tend to think of the idea first and try to fit it into the format later.
I’m not a big fan of interface trickery or lede burying: what you see is what you get, doubly so for ridiculous prospects. Horror is secondary, as is expungement. Once the hook is cast, then it’s a simple task of fleshing it out. I write articles with the outlook that the contents are a facets of a functioning universe, not just random entries in an encyclopedia.
Now, my tales are generally worldbuilding or character pieces, and as time’s gone on they’ve amalgamated into a sort of Djoric-over-verse. I prefer the freedom of tales to the format of articles (Though I’m not fond of the lack of tale readership), and I really like seeing how I can make different facets of the Foundation universe fit together into a coherent whole. That, and I just like doing my own thing (for better or worse). The Foundation itself doesn’t strike me as all that interesting of a subject to be honest: I’m here for the setting as a whole, not just for the Foundation.
SCP-1867 – This one was just one of those ideas that starts with a whim and practically writes itself. I had heard that the man who changed his name to “Led Zeppelin 2” had died, and saw that his original last name was “Blackburn”. This was mis-remembered as “Blackwood”, which sounded terribly posh and gentlemanly. Can’t remember where the slug part came from, to be honest.
End of the day: odd idea + good characterization + potential for tales = good scip o’ mine.
Three Sleepless Nights – This tale was basically born out of a desire to do something really different. An excuse to step outside the boundaries of typical Foundation operations and throw in psychics and wizards and all the rest, but without neglecting characterization or making everything stupidly over the top. It’s also the first appearance of the Leviathans, which crop up later in my other mythos pieces. Hits all the bases of what I aim for with tales.
SCP-2085 – I’ll be honest: this was solely an exercise in how much I could get away with. Loads of characterization in a scip, ridiculous premise, anti-Foundation message, the whole deal. And I got away with it too, meddling kids be damned.
BONUS TIME: The Et Tam Deum Petivi canon gets honorable mention as a whole, because…well, you put six months of heart and soul into something and you tend to be fond of it. I consider it some of my best work, just because it was one of those perfect storms where things just worked. I set out to tell a story about ordinary people trying to do the best they can in life, and I think I succeeded.
I have too many ideas. My brain is like the SCP-871 of ideas. Just getting that out there, first off. Like a combustion reaction, my creative process starts with fuel, and then it explodes to help a bunch of meat make a metal box move faster. The fuel can be anything; from a book I read as a very young childerkin, to an absolutely terrible pun, to an interesting scientific concept. My very first SCP, SCP-1814, was inspired by a ranting Youtube comment, and it has been highly successful even though I'm pretty sure I coldposted it (NEW WRITERS PLEASE DON'T DO THIS). I also have extremely vivid, though not lucid, dreams. Now that I've been writing for the Foundation for almost two years, I've started to dream up a few new SCPs too. SCPs I dreamed up include SCP-1126 and SCP-1493.
Equal to having an organized physical workspace, sandbox use is important. For me, it can make or break the process of writing an SCP. I keep a highly organized system of sorting and managing new ideas for SCPs. There's a list of all the SCP and Tale premises I have ever thought up, which I cull infrequently to breed for usable ideas. I have a document for scraps — excerpts and sentences which are often used as inspiration rather than directly. I have a document for fresh new drafts, and a document for rejected drafts that I might come back to later. And I have a document pertaining to my own headcanons, just to keep myself consistent, since consistency is one of my biggest issues.
I can get inspiration from almost anywhere because I keep an open mind. I search for things that aren't quite like other similar things — broken, offbeat, crooked, discolored, et cetera. I have a good knowledge base because I read about equal amounts of fiction and non-fiction. Occasionally an SCP starts as just the title and I work from there. Choosing a good object number that rolls off the tongue helps, as does trying to never misspell anything. And I'm not afraid to ask for help if I need it, especially from people who have specific knowledge in specific fields of study.
There are basically two ways that I come to SCPs: either take personal experience and add anomalousness to it, or take an anomalous concept and add personal experience to it. I consider those to be the most important components of writing an SCP, for a couple of reasons. First, people will always know when you're full of shit, even if they don't know anything about whatever you're talking about. You have to have authority to speak with authority. Second, it will help to make the SCP more personal for you; you can put yourself in the position of "if this situation I encounter frequently in real life suddenly went batshit insane, what would I do?" and from there, you can build into "what would the Foundation do?" That's the entire basis of Alexylva University; I was working in a childcare/educational context with small children, and had lots and lots of time to think "I swear to god, kid, I wish I had a gun that would make you just sit down and shut up and DO WHAT I SAY!" "Look, punk, you're just gonna grow up to be a truck driver anyway. I wish I could just stick you in a box that would just get it over with already."
SCP-1893 — The Minotaur's Tale
"I'm going to defend format screws to the end of time. This uses about three or four format screws in one; it's a Tale masquerading as an SCP, it's five Tales masquerading as one Tale, it's weird Wikidot programming masquerading as an actual article. And it works for what it's supposed to do. I'll never claim it's the best article ever written, I'll never pretend it's for everybody. But every day, someone reads through that article, and at least one person has a little jump scare moment. And I tricked people into reading a Tale that I crammed onto the mainlist like two AA batteries where a 9V should clearly be. Neener neener, I say, neener neener."
SCP-1085 — Pound off the Pounds!
"I was in a miserable relationship and we had decided to start losing weight together. We were using these Jillian Michaels DVDs that she made after getting all famous from the Biggest Loser. There is almost no deviation from my experience and this SCP except the part where you die at the end. This is an example of applying personal experience that worked really well because it's a commonly recognizable combination (working out is hard! you know what else is hard? DEEEEEAAAAAATH) being fleshed out with details from my experiences. The hardest part of writing this article was typing the whole thing out on my Kindle, and it has over a hundred upvotes."
"One of my favorite Alexylva tales, and the highest rated such to date. When Tale-writing, one of the most important components is to make sure there is a story to be told, and then decide how the reader is actually going to encounter it. I present a massive backstory through showing without any real telling; other than the caps lock, the conversation could be taking place between any two employees around any worksite."
Ideas and Writing:
How do I develop ideas? I do various things to help the process along. I read other SCPs and tales, and just read a lot in general. I spend an obscene amount of time online. When I can, I watch shitty paranormal shows on places that used to be reputable such as the Discovery Channel to get ideas. Unless I'm writing for something like S & C Plastics, I don't try to do anything fancy like make big, interconnected storylines in my SCPs; I keep my ideas simple and self-contained.
As for how I write… well, just look at my talebox and that should tell you a whole damn lot. Typically, I write in a linear fashion, beginning-to-end, but sometimes I skip around parts that I don't know what to do with yet. Here's some advice: figure out your ending before you start writing the damn thing. It will save you a lot of grief. I do not like writing overly-serious tales, but I do write SCPs as clinically as everyone else on the site does. I do try to inject some semblance of character into my tales, and I take the advice of someone I respect greatly; he told me, essentially, that writing good characters isn't as hard as we think it is. Characterization is all in the head of a reader, and the actions of a character can mean different things to different readers. (I don't have the actual phrasing of what he told me anymore, sadly, but it's helped me write good stuff). I write several things at a time, going between projects and occasionally putting one on chat or the forums. I don't try to push out a lot of tales at one time, and when I do post them, I like them to be timely; I have one tale sitting on my sandbox that takes place in February that I haven't posted because I couldn't think of an ending in time. Maybe next year.
The Three Pieces:
I've been asked to talk about three pieces that I've written for the site. So, I'm going to talk about three things in no particular order: My first S & C Plastics tale, Halloween at S&C Plastics; my highest-rated SCP, SCP-1658, and Local Legends, my personal favorite tale.
Firstly, Halloween at S & C Plastics. This was written for the 2012 Halloween Contest. Djoric had announced his idea for S & C Plastics not even a week earlier, so I thought to myself it would be a good way to get the idea out there, as well as maybe be a good setting for my tale. We knew almost nothing about this setting as of yet, apart from the fact that it had the capacity to cross into other universes and was set in a place where weirdness was normal, a setting that Djoric compared to Gravity Falls. I was a giant fan of the show at the time (and still am), so I drew upon the weirdness of Gravity Falls to write the tale, in which a sentient roll of toilet paper surrounded by a halo of eggs vandalized Site 87 in Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin4 for not decorating for that wonderful holiday we call All Hallows Eve, and how the site reacted to it. It was a nice little slice-of-life thing that I had written in two hours… and it ended up getting second place in the contest. This was the second tale I had ever written (The first one has since been deleted due to being an incredibly poor-quality Blackwood tale), and I was genuinely surprised how much people liked it. So I wrote more about S & C Plastics. And more. And even more. And now, I'm sitting on a mountain of tales about S & C Plastics. Are there more to come? There most certainly are.
Next, SCP-1658 was based off of a blurb I saw somewhere about something called "bio-glyphs" (I can't remember if it was on the site or in chat or where), essentially, a living language. I converted that into living writing and made it into a textual microbe, with an image from visual records (which was named textualmicrobe.jpg; credit where it's due). I got feedback, and people said it was bland… then I read an article on Cracked about what libraries do to books that get damaged: they burn them. Then I read something about mold, thought about what sort of microbes could be found on books… it all clicked pretty damn well. I added in the most famous book burning incident in history (that is to say, the Library of Alexandria) in the backstory, and soon, I had a cohesive narrative together.
Finally, Local Legends, another S & C Plastics tale, and my favorite that I've written. I'm sorry, but this canon is my favorite thing to write about on the entire dang site. This was intended to be the first part in a story arc involving the various Legends in the town, kind of an American Gods-style brawl between the older form of fear that was the Legends, and the newer form that was a creepypasta character (which doesn't exist, even on the internet) called the Paperboy. The Paperboy was a boy that was gruesomely disfigured by a bully who forced him down, made him eat superglue, and then superglued construction paper all over his body. He killed people who bullied others by slitting their necks with paper, and the storyline would have ended with the Foundation, the Legends, and the Paperboy (and possibly various other Creeps) fighting for the very soul of Sloth's Pit. For various reasons (mainly writers block and the fact that the Paperboy character didn't feel threatening), this never happened, but the Local Legends are characters that have a certain charm to them, in my opinion. So, I'm planning on using them in future tales, perhaps for a similarly-themed story arc.
As of December 24th of 2013, I have been a member of the SCP Wiki for two years. And quite frankly? being able to join the wiki is one of the best Christmas Presents I've ever gotten. I've learned so much from writing here, met so many new, interesting people, and have just had a great time. This place has helped me through a few rough patches, and I'm glad that I'm in a place that's so great for developing new ideas and styles of writing. So, to all of those who are part of the wiki: thank you. To all of those who want to join the wiki, or have just recently joined: welcome, and I hope you enjoy your stay.
My creative process… honestly, it's a mess. Most of my ideas start with a germ of an idea - Morse code signals, a Wondertainment knockoff, what have you-that I have at random (and often incongruous) times. From there… well, that's when the fun begins.
I'm not one of those writers who plots out what's going to happen beforehand. I'm not even one of those writers who knows what's happening as he writes the story! Usually, I sketch out the rough story in my head, and continue to add bits and pieces to the picture that I have in my head. It's why some of my SCPs have a tendency to get so convoluted-I just keep adding stuff that sounds cool until I decide it's finished.
Some stuff on my SCPs/tales:
SCP-1798: This started from a single idea: what if a bunch of cars started communicating via Semaphore signals? The idea just kept expanding from there, as I added more and more and more ideas as they came to me. First the Morse code, then the people dropping the cars off, then the plane, and so on. The Boeing connection, incidentally enough, was entirely accidental. The first completed draft of this ended with the severed hand of a member of England's royal family being found in one of the cars, and that aspect was one of the most consistently derided parts of it. So I decided to replace it with another influential figure and, living in the Pacific Northwest, the figure of Boeing immediately sprang to mind. From there, the idea just took off!
SCP-1831: This started out with the idea of a cryogenic tea party filled with many different 1920s starlets who had preserved themselves for posterity. The first thing that caused the drastic shift away from that was the idea that the cryonics company was using Satanic rituals to dump heat into a cold Hell. The rest of the SCP just sprung from that idea.
Deeper: Writing this, I wanted to create a story that was truly left open to interpretation. It's short, but it's the kind of length that works-any longer or any shorter, and the carefully spun net of clues would fall apart into one interpretation or another.
My writing process is highly unusual compared to most Foundation authors: I’ve written/recorded everything I’ve done for the site in one sitting, and coldposted it immediately after finishing it and rereading.
As I don’t think that’s a feasible style for most authors, I’m going to approach this by saying the thing I try to do that most authors, especially new ones, fall short on:
Deep Context, But Brief Articles - My SCPs and tales use words judiciously. I try and write the briefest overview that communicates the concept. But, here’s what you need to do to pull off that style: You need to have in your mind a deep story about your SCP. When you post it, you should be prepared to answer questions like,
- “How and why was this object created or first discovered?”
- “Where is this object? How does its location play a role in its effect and containment?”
- “Who recovered/contained this object for the Foundation, what were the challenges in it?”
- “What internal debates and controversy, if any, surround this object’s containment? What alternate containment procedures were suggested by Foundation researchers?”
- “What is the future of this object? What makes this file compelling and important for Foundation employees to read?”
You don’t have to put all of these answers in the article. But knowing them will mean you are an expert at this item and know how to best summarize it. You can hint at this thought by citing internal Foundation sources, documents and journals in the footnotes of your article. This makes your SCP exist as an organic part of a breathing world in your head, and can inspire you to write other objects and tales that fit in that world. That’s why all my work is set in the same continuity.
Usually the ideas I come up with come about fully formed…or they fully form themselves as I go. Usually, they start off as single line of dialogue or prose that I build the story around. For Welcome Aboard, it was the line with the penguins; for Ethical? it was the line I repeated a couple of times. This line wouldn't get out of my head, it just kept running around, absorbing me. So I created a character that could speak the line: a lawyer, for Welcome Aboard. When I started writing, the story just developed, formless at first, but quickly taking shape.For Ethical? I took a concept, the canon for which it is written, and decided I was going to write for it. For the longest time I had no clue what to write…before that line popped into my head and the story pulled itself from there. Can't Catch a Break was the same. I decided to do a UIU tale and the title stuck itself in my head. So the story built itself around the title.
The biggest thing I pay attention to while writing, aside from spelling and grammar, is my dialogue. Dialogue is one of the hardest things to write well, so I always try to make sure it sounds and flows as if it were natural speech. A good tip for that is to read it to yourself aloud. If you wouldn't say it like that, odds are they wouldn't either. Similarly, details on surroundings are important…but not so important as to take ten pages of adjectives. Give the reader enough to have a good picture of where they are and who they are, but don't bore them with the color of the pavement in the third floor of the parking garage in the 5700 block of New York City twenty feet from the…you get my point.
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, I try never to tell the story. I prefer to let the story tell itself. If the story is presenting itself to you, wanting to be told, let it be. Try not to force an ending that doesn't feel natural…let the story come to a conclusion that feels natural. If you have an army of 4000 men against one guy with a small army's worth of guns and ammo, he's not going to come back for the sequel. It wouldn't be the natural, non-contrived ending. It's a careful balancing act between creating the medium through which the story is told (characters, setting, plot) and letting the story go and tell itself.
How To Write SCPs the PeppersGhost Way:
First, come up with the germ of an interesting idea, completely by accident. Next, let this idea incubate in the back of your mind (or sandbox) for however many days, weeks, or months it takes to grow into something resembling a fully-formed concept. Then continue to sit on it until the moment comes when you feel ready to buckle down and write the whole article in a single sitting. Toss the draft around the forums and chat, get less feedback than you'd hoped for, grow impatient, and then just go ahead and post the darn thing. Fix typos and other glaring errors as they're pointed out to you by commenters.
PROTIP: If you want to improve on my methods, you could even try to proofread your work before you post it!
Congratulations! You now know how to write SCPs the PeppersGhost way! Hope you know how to swim, 'cause you'll be diving Scrooge McDuck-style into an ocean of upvotes in no time!**
On a more serious note, I do tend to put a lot of forethought and planning into my articles. Before I begin writing, I need to be able to answer two questions: 1) What is the story I'm trying to tell? and 2) How am I going to tell it? Answering first question requires me to know what my concept is, and answering the second question requires a plan for how to execute it. When it comes to concept and execution, I have a natural tendency to focus too much on the former and neglect the latter, so I really have to force myself to make sure I have both elements working clearly and harmoniously in my mind before I begin writing. If I don't, my concept aren't communicated effectively, and the reader is left with nothing but a soggy page of word soup.
Pretty much all of my work involves a narrative element of some sort. I've yet to write an article that is completely supported by the idea alone and not expounded upon with addenda of some sort. Sometimes the narrative element is a backstory told in a very straightforward way. For example, in SCP-1884, Rezarta and Luana each use their interview logs to tell their life stories. At other times, I'll take a slightly less linear approach. If you look closely, you'll see that SCP-666½-J is two stories in one: a colorfully worded account of a bad bout of food poisoning I once had, and an over-the-top scenario in which half of Site-19 is afflicted with a similar condition. The core concept of SCP-666½-J's effects had been bouncing around in my head for a long while, but the article didn't really seem to 'click' until I came up with the idea to bookend the description with the incident at Site-19.
In some cases, the story is told through pieces of information that the reader is left to put together on their own. Over the course of my SCP-1715 article, you learn who he is, then you hear what he does, and then you finally get to "meet" him, so to speak, through the interview. I never actually state outright who or what he actually is, but you get a good enough idea of his personality and abilities that it's fairly easy to form a picture in your mind of what he might be. The article isn't a traditional "story" in the sense that it doesn't describe a series of linear events, but it still follows traditional storytelling dramatic structure.
I think that examining another person's creative process is a wonderful idea and a great way to find inspiration and grow as a creator. In virtually every creative field, beginners find their start by imitating the work of someone they admire. However, I feel it's important to note that there's a dangerous tendency for people to permanently latch onto copying a particular style at the expense of developing their own.
As an art student, I've seen plenty of people buy "How to Draw" books filled with step-by-step instructions for replicating the author's drawings. People who buy these books seem to be under the impression that imitating someone else's artwork will make them just as good as the original artist, but this is seldom ever the case. When you learn how to draw by copying a particular person's style, you're no longer creating a visual abstraction of reality. You're creating an abstraction of an abstraction. I've seen a lot of people who try their hardest to imitate the classic Disney or Manga styles, and some succeed to an extent, but they almost always have difficulty creating anything that feels fresh or original, and when they're required to work outside their carefully imitated 'style', the technical quality of their work plummets.
Take a look at nearly any legendary artist with a distinctive style–whether they may be a painter, newspaper cartoonist, Disney animator, or Manga author–and you'll find that they learned to draw by observing the world as it really is, not by imitating someone else's interpretation of what the world looks like. I believe that writing works the same way. If you try too hard to write in someone else's style, your proportions are going to look wonky, the expressions will seem cross-eyed, and everything will be out of perspective. Write from life, and when you can't do that, write from research. Both readers and art professors will be able to tell when you work is grounded in reality, instead of just reinterpretations of other people's ideas of what reality is.
That's not to say you can't learn a lot by studying someone else's work and processes. You can learn a great deal! Just make sure you're using their stuff as the drywall of your work, not the foundation.
Pools of upvotes not guaranteed; results may vary.
I'm always coming up with ideas, but I only write the very best ones. Unfortunately for readers of this article, my inspiration comes from all different places. The way I know how to settle on a concept though is if I don't forget about it within a week and still like it, then I know that it has potential (That's why I rarely respond to challenges. The best ideas are completely out of the blue and don't follow any sort of rigid rules). Then I work out the kinks of what I'm trying to say and then decide how to say it. Finally, I spend an absurd amount of time shopping it around and reworking it until everyone I've talked to has said it's good. One dissenting opinion can put my posting date back a week.
I don't take so long to post solely because I'm a perfectionist, however. I work in as many easter eggs and references as I can, and that can take ages. My ideal SCP is interesting enough for an upvote on a first read-through, and with the explanation becomes fantastic. My later SCPs have a hell of a lot more going on behind the scenes than I will ever say in the article (or Discussion).
There's no one way that I consistently get my ideas. I find that talking with other people, reading everything you can get your hands on, and thinking about philosophy (I'm that kind of nerd) all get my creative juices flowing by providing some sort of mental stimulation. If an idea is good, I will never have any trouble thinking about it, exploring it, and turning it over in my mind — in fact, it'll happen even if I want to think about other things. If I don't want to think about a concept, then neither will the readers. I never write down my ideas, because if I need to do that to remember them, they probably aren't that captivating.
Even if I find myself thinking about something all of the time, that doesn't always translate into a written article. It's a matter of deliberately putting off the writing process until I am unable to not write it. Consciously going out of my way to write something results in about two paragraphs of material, tops, before I get burnt out. Much of what less experienced writers need to actively worry about and focus on, like tone, organization, and research, simply come naturally to me because of experience. Most of the mental work associated with writing goes into finding a balance between exploring all of the implications of an idea, hitting all the points of the narrative structure (theme, plot, that stuff), and keeping the story clear and free of distracting elements.
I feel like these works of mine are good models for different parts of my creative process:
- Basically every part of SCP-824 was put in as a logical extension of the existence of a carnivorous plant that, instead of being fast and snapping up animals, moves slowly and eats other plants.
- SCP-1902 was not a particularly complex or unique idea on its own. A lot of the more creative aspects were put in during the writing to deliberately twist the expectations of the "monster" and "released god" tropes, in order to balance out how terse the article would be otherwise.
- SCP-1248 was probably bouncing around in my head for the longest of any of my articles before becoming a final product. I'd been interested in the aspects of personality for a while before I hit upon a framework that made the idea click for me. The rest of the article involves drawing the idea out to interesting conclusions.
Whenever I write an SCP, I never think of the object/creature/phenomenon/Spice Girls first. The first things I think of, are the addenda. The addenda are usually where I put the hook, the story, or just the interesting part of the article. Most of the times, is something weird. But since I am here, it means that it must be the good kind of weird.
However, the addenda are not the first things I write. I just keep them in mind most of the time, even when I am not writing, so that I can shape them, define them and get rid of the eventual plotholes. We can say that addenda are the first things I think of when I wake up in the morning, but that wouldn't be true. It's breakfast. After I am done writing description and procedures, I am free to play with the addenda, without having to write in that cold, serious tone the Foundation has. My favourite kinds of addenda to write are the the testing logs, because they can tell a story with four sentences.
Now for the ideas, they are just the stuff I think of everyday, that happened to me, or stuff that I usually see in real life and on TV on daily basis. For example, SCP-2703 is just a girl trying to find love writing her number on bathroom stalls. Now, how many times have we seen those? When we go in a fast food for a break during a trip with our families and we see those numbers spamming the already dirty bathroom's walls. What I always wondered was: "Who writes this stuff?" "Don't they have anything else to do?" "Do they bring a black-felt pen everywhere they go?" "What if they get called when they are already having a date?" From these unanswered questions, sparkled an answered question: "What if an extra-dimensional creature saw one of these things, and decided to do the same?"
Another article I always loved was SCP-1827. It's actually my favourite, maybe because it was the first successful thing I wrote. The idea behind this one is kinda complex. The "Great Turkey" is actually a deity from a novel I am writing, and it is the creator of the Multi-Universe. I don't remember why it is a turkey. Anyway, I wanted to have the Great Turkey on the site, and so I asked myself another question, that I now ask myself everytime I write: "How can I make this weird but at the same time interesting?" So the idea that it was actually Herons from another word tricking the turkeys of our world that there was a turkey paradise, without realizing that our turkeys are far away from that level of intelligence. Yes.
In fine, the last questions I ask myself, like many other authors probably do, is: "Would I upvote it?"