A week ago, I had put up an SCP which, for whatever reasons, got very little constructive criticism beforehand (I still feel bitter about that, but it's in the past). As a result, it wound up going failboat, even after some very helpful advice from Boa Noah, among others. There were those who thought the basic concept had potential, but I need help in order to reach that potential. I'd already learned from my past failures on the site that, for me, producing a decent SCP is very difficult without some critical input from the people here. And so, I beg you all, read through my sandbox and help me figure out how to improve my Memetic Demons (still a working title):
First off, the description is… plodding. You're writing an executive summary - whoever is reading it needs to be able to quickly ascertain what the damn thing does. There's nothing to reach out and grab the reader.
K███: Doctor, what do we do?
These are Foundation researchers. They are professionals, working in a secret facility on things that people can't imagine, using often violent humans as lab rats. They know what the hell to do.
So I've read this over a few times, and I think I have some suggestions that may help:
- The rules for your skip are a little complex. As I understand it, it inhabits the person that looks at its rune or whatever, and then it can either a) make a sound that infects another person into becoming its slave, or b) it can leave its host and inhabit another body, thereby making its previous host a slave. Maybe simplify it to just have it entrance other people once it's in its original host?
- I've complained about this in a couple other articles, but I feel like anytime someone wants to make something "ancient and mysterious", they always go for the Sumerian thing. This may be just my thing, but I get so very tired of seeing everything be Sumerian. Maybe try some obscure, weird ancient culture to be the progenitor here.
- You have tons and tons of exposition in the interviews as to what these things are. In addition to making the article a bit of a slog, it kind of removes the mystery. I feel like I totally understand what these things are, and it's a bit boring because of it. To achieve more of a clinical, rather than a narrative tone, consider condensing the information you're communicating here into a table of observed effects for a selection of symbols. The idea that each one is a distinct, separate entity is pretty interesting.
- It seems like there's an angle to explore with uncontained instances of these things. Maybe there's a few on the loose who have attained influence and power; maybe they run a company and its logo is one of these symbols or something. Perhaps even better would be noting that several of the symbols do nothing in the tests, implying that there's inhabited hosts out beyond Foundation control somewhere.
I'm not sure if these will be the definitive fix you're looking for, but I think it would be several steps in the right direction.
Simplification of rules… I'll see if I can do that so that it still fits with my headcannon (or modify my headcannon so that it works).
Sumerian culture… Yeah, that's something that ran through my head while I was writing. I'm not attached to the culture that trapped them, so I can change that easily enough after a little bit of historical research.
Exposition… You are absolutely right, after I think about it. My original purpose for the interview logs was just to flavour the article with a little bit of how the involved parties are emotionally/psychologically affected. I guess I lost my sense of direction a bit, there. Thank you for drawing my attention to it so I can keep it in check.
Uncontained instances… What I wanted to do with that is just to show that there are entities just like the ones that the Foundation is holding who are more benign than what we have. Still, the bit with the corporate logo is tempting to experiment with, so long as it doesn't redirect the focus of the article.