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 The Dichotomy Between 'Canon' and 'Cliche'

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PostSubject: The Dichotomy Between 'Canon' and 'Cliche'   Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:25 am

Okay, this is my very first post here at slendernation, so if I'm making a wild fool of myself, please be patient with me.

I've started a slenderb/vlog of my own (of a sort) which I've been working on for a while now but only begun posting recently. Don't want to link to it or mention any specifics because part of the plot is that the first half a year or so goes practically completely under the radar. I need at least thirty posts up as backstory before I can start properly drawing attention to it.

But as I was writing out the plot, there's something that's been bothering me for a while. See, of all my pet peeves, beating a dead cliche is one of my biggest. And all the times I interact with the Slenderfandom, it seems as though there's an ongoing cold war between the 'it's been overused' group and the 'we're just taking a good idea and expanding on it' group.

I guess my problem is, I can't figure out where the 'canon' ends and the 'cliche' begins.

I know people say that 'there is no canon when it comes to Slenderman', but that's not really true, now is it? To begin with, everyone agrees that he wears a suit. If we go back to the original Something Awful pictures which he sprang from, and look at the pictures, you can't even tell that much. He's a shadowy, blurred figure in the pictures, who happens to be tall, but no specification on how tall he is because he's hanging around kids and for all you know they're all just really young and short and Slenderman is the size of your average guy. But if you wrote a story about a shadowy blurred tall figure, then it wouldn't actually be Slenderman, now would it? The same with pale skin. The same with his face being either 'gone' or 'different to everyone who sees it' or 'horrifying to look upon'. It would be an entirely unconnected story if you didn't have at least those elements.

I guess my problem got cemented when I was messing around on Unfiction and ran across the Slenderblog Bingo of cliches.

It's a well made list. Yeah, those are mostly the things that get wildly overused, all packaged in a nice little sarcastic Bingo format (which is rather fun as a drinking game with friends, by the way. Just don't try to walk home afterward).

But just imagine taking away all the cliches on that list from your story.

Would anyone still even want to watch it?

It wouldn't really be Slenderman, if, say, you took away the 'Quiet... Silent... Deafening static' thing, would it?

And what about the 'visuals going screwy'? That's practically a requirement.

I guess what I'm asking for is a bit of an outside perspective here. I don't want to make my b/vlog totally cliche-ridden and filled with stuff everyone's seen before, but there's some stuff that people are expecting, to the point where that's what makes it interesting.

It's trying to find a middleground that's the hard part.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dichotomy Between 'Canon' and 'Cliche'   Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:02 pm

I've always wondered this exact question, and have some thoughts on the matter, but unfortunately no resolute answer.

It appears that the idea of the Slender-Vlog exists in this circle of ideas and tropes that exist in nearly all the series. This circle exists in a larger circle of Horror-Vlogs, or Video Blogs that fall into the Horror genre, that don't automatically revolve around Slender Man. My view is that at the center of the Slender-Vlog circle resides Marble Hornets, which is considered to be a relatively pure form of canon. The problem with this thought however is that the suit and the scaling of height are both close to an original concept here, and that it was inspired by Victor Surge's original posts where as you've stated; his height and outfit are questionable and inconsistent. Now, when making a Vlog Series, you have many options; you can pin your series down closer to the middle of the circle, near Marble Hornets, and risk being called mimicry, you can pin your series somewhere on the outer edge of the Slender-Vlog circle, kind of like EveryMan Hybrid, where Slender Man is an element but the series doesn't revolve around it, and be given more creative control towards how everything works, or you can pick somewhere comfortably in the middle. How far one wants to aim from the middle of the circle is entirely up to them, as concepts of canon and cliches only apply to the Slender-Vlog viewers, not the creators. You take risks no matter where you direct your series, which is one of the largest issues about starting a new series nowadays, but if you're adamant and consistent, whilst simultaneously being respectful to plausible canon, you'll be highly capable of pulling off a successful Vlog series. Find out where you're comfortable and see where it intersects with what sounds natural to the Slenderverse, and good luck fighting the good fight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dichotomy Between 'Canon' and 'Cliche'   Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:51 pm

I think the best way to handle it is to take a few of what you see as cannon, and then expand on it in your own way. I mean, any myth has "cannon". Zeus likes the ladies. Robin hood steals from the rich and gives to the poor. These things make these stories what they are, but there's room for expansion.

I'd say that its more important to find a fresh angle on how to tell the story. Between Marble Hornets, EverymanHybrid and Twelve Tribes, we've had a ton of "Woops, we just discovered Slenderman in our videos." idea (I love that EH at least put an original spin on theirs, while as far as I can tell MH was the original series.)

There are other ways to have a character have to deal with the horror. So I would avoid the cannon cliché now of "We just saw this in our video!"

I'd take what parts of the Slenderman myth that speak to you as something you want to tell a story about. Why does it frighten you, or fascinate you? I think if you stick to those parts of the cannon, you’ll use them well and they won’t seem like Clichés.

Keep in mind I’m new to all this myself. But I think the above is true for ANY fiction based off a myth, be it a slender man Vlog or a novel based off “Beauty and the Beast”
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