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 The Slenderblogverse, depressing?

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FacelessNightmare
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PostSubject: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:46 am

Alright, so this will most likely sound rather ridiculous, but hear me out here.

Lately, just browsing through some of my favorite Slenderblogs and stories, I started to notice that...Well, there are no "victories" at the end of the blogs. The protagonists and supporting cast always either gets killed off completely or ends up insane/proxified. Now, I understand that the Slenderman Mythos is a horror franchise, so happy sugar-filled happy endings aren't exactly meant to exist, but it is starting to feel...How to put it, kind of pointless to me? I would personally prefer if storytellers chose to give each a blog a bit more of a positive light every now and then. Maybe the protagonist finds out something that will end up helping other bloggers in the mainstream "Storyline" before going bonkers/dying, maybe they are somehow able to escape the haunting, but live the rest of their life traumatized, something like that. A little bittersweet to go with the overall dark tone.

I do not think the Slenderverse should lose the flavor it is meant to have, in that humanity are hopelessly behind in their attempt to fight this paranormal, unbelievable being. But sooner or later, when characters just fade out with little to no meaning left behind, it is starting to feel less and less scary and more and more depressing. If the characters will never manage to do anything, then why should we be engaged in the story, is all I am trying to say. A small step forward to counter the countless setbacks.


Or, I dunno, maybe I'm still just bitter about a certain badass being killed off for no real reason. I'm not sure yet.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:30 pm

I see what you're saying, and I agree.

Not sure if this will "brighten" the mood at all, but in my Slender Man novel, the heroine does learn a lot about Him and how he works, and leaves behind what she's learned. My story attempts to give the being scientific reasoning....yes, he's a transdimensional being that has an enormous amount of power over your typically non-powerful humans, but he still operates on a science that can be somewhat figured out. Without spoiling too much, she even attempts to slay Him.

The ending isn't exactly a happy one at all, but I'd like to think she's a proactive protagonist despite her obvious fear and eventual insanity. She also manages to leave something of herself behind which could help another person who tried to fight back.

I decided to make a protagonist that fights back after seeing a lack of "brave knights" in the Slenderverse. :/ The Slender Man IS a horror concept, and horror has more unhappy endings than happy ones. The best stories, however, will not simply kill off the protagonist or leave the audience hanging, but give a good REASON for doing so, leaving the audience with a haunting feeling.

Personally, I don't mind happy or unhappy endings as long as there is good reasoning. In the Slenderverse I think a happy ending would be very difficult to pull off well. My favorite types of endings are ones that leave me with questions or let me figure it out on my own. And, naturally, the middle of the story needs questions as well as questions answered.

I don't think I helped at all, but thought I'd throw in my two cents.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:36 pm

Thank you, that is exactly what I was going for! I do not believe in the Core Theory though, even if that is one of the most positive in the mythos. Personally, I do not think Slenderman should be killed off, ever. That ruins the point and the fun for all writers after that one and doesn't fit with the running theme of the mythos itself.

Something I would like to see on the other hand, for example, is for the protagonists to work together over blogs, making progress, forming hope not only in-universe, but also in the reader, making them think that maybe, maybe our hero will actually pull through this nightmare.

...Just for it to backfire horribly after a long setup, a fatal mistake or misunderstanding destroying everything, smashing that hope to dust. That is what I would like to see more in the Slenderman Mythos. If the writer builds up hope beforehand, it makes it all the more brutal when that hope is broken and Slenderman ultimately wins, as opposed to "Meh, they died, okay. Next blog."
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:40 pm

I suppose the thing with Slendy is that as well as stalking people relentlessly, it is strongly implied that he either does it for no reason; or because people were unfortunate enough to look at him once; or otherwise for reasons that have nothing to do with guilt or fault on the part of the victim.

So instantly a lot of the more positive horror narrative resolutions are kind of out of the window.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:43 pm

Well yes, all I am saying is that the grim outcomes could have a more positive buildup before they finally lose. To me, the readers going "No! They almost made it!" Is a lot better then "Okay, so what was the point of this story?" I just think a struggle that goes slightly upwards from time to time is more interesting to read then a constant downward spiral, but maybe that is just me.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:18 pm

Quote :
Personally, I do not think Slenderman should be killed off, ever. That ruins the point and the fun for all writers after that one and doesn't fit with the running theme of the mythos itself.

I agree with you, trust me. I don't think he should be killed off either. In my opinion he should be a long standing image that may fade away but never disappear. My protagonist only succeeds in making him weaker and making herself safer by creating methods of protection for herself, which is only about 5% of the way towards any happy ending. She wants to slay him, but the reality is that a human isn't capable of that and she should know when to stop.

Quote :
Something I would like to see on the other hand, for example, is for the protagonists to work together over blogs, making progress, forming hope not only in-universe, but also in the reader, making them think that maybe, maybe our hero will actually pull through this nightmare.

...Just for it to backfire horribly after a long setup, a fatal mistake or misunderstanding destroying everything, smashing that hope to dust. That is what I would like to see more in the Slenderman Mythos. If the writer builds up hope beforehand, it makes it all the more brutal when that hope is broken and Slenderman ultimately wins, as opposed to "Meh, they died, okay. Next blog."

I also like that idea. Gaining progress and hope only for everything to be destroyed is powerful. I think that whether you are writing a blog or fiction (both fantasy, but you know what I mean), then you have a responsibility to tell a coherent story with, well, plot. Plot has many elements that go into it, build-up and resolution being two.

I am not a blogger, so I may be wrong. I don't know what goes into making one. Maybe blogs do not need plot...? But if I were to read one then I would expect a slightly coherent plot.

A negative ending where the Slender Man wins, which are what most are, still is a resolution. The protagonist still went through trials and grew as a character, yes, the ending is heartbreaking but it counts as a 'journey.' The experience may have ended in death, insanity, etc. but it was still 'worth' something and it still leaves the reader satisfied...if that makes sense?


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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Well Lake Reflections was more positive and had a "victory" though we cannot call it a happy ending. It was refreshing to see someone go "FUCK THIS NOISE I'M BEING HOPEFUL" though. I quite liked it for that. Ultimately the Slenderman isn't like totally defeated, but it's like a small beacon of hope stating "YOU TOO CAN BE HOPEFUL".

I myself want to have a "bad ending", but one that isn't pointless and therefore, hopefully, leaves us asking "Was this really so bad? Well yes, but...Conflict of emotion...".
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:37 pm

Happy endings and the mythos generally just don't go together. The very nature of horror makes it so that, even if there's a victory, it's at a great price. There's frequently only one character who survives a horror movie. The "Final Girl" concept speaks to this.

Even when all the main characters survive, there's loss. Take, for example, John Dies at the End and the sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders. While the three main protagonists survive both books, the first one ends with the menace far from defeated and their lives changed forever, and the second one ends with
Spoiler:
 
. The ending is presented as fairly happy, but they've been through plenty of trauma and all victories have been Pyrrhic. There's no real reason to celebrate.

On the other hand, building up hope before absolutely crushing it? That's how horror should be done in the first place. Watching people get crushed over and over again is just, like you said, depressing. People stop caring. But giving the characters hope gives the audience hope. The audience knows that things are going to go to shit in the end. But they have to feel like maybe, just maybe, they won't.

Of course, you have to roller-coaster things a bit. You can't just set out to write a story full of hope and then bring it down at the end. Let's look at a few graphs to demonstrate.



This is how most stories go. A point of exposition in the beginning so that we know what's going on, a conflict that causes gradually increasing action, reaching its climax at, well, the climax. Then there's rapid falling action as the climax wraps up, followed by a resolution that explains everything that we didn't catch. Now, look at the same graph, only portrayed slightly differently.



Same thing, right? Well...not really. This diagram makes the unfortunate mistake of putting the climax at the middle. This is similar to building up hope and then crushing it. The hope builds up to its climax (elevating the mood), but then despair takes over (bringing the mood down). This will end up either dragging on for too long and just depressing the audience, or come out of nowhere at the way end and end up just angering them.

The elements of despair have to kick in early on and complement the elements of hope. You can't write a hopeful story and then change tones halfway through.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:57 pm

Quote :
This is how most stories go. A point of exposition in the beginning so that we know what's going on, a conflict that causes gradually increasing action, reaching its climax at, well, the climax. Then there's rapid falling action as the climax wraps up, followed by a resolution that explains everything that we didn't catch. Now, look at the same graph, only portrayed slightly differently.

*applauds*

All of the points in your post were great.

I can appreciate it because I used to think, when I first started writing fiction, that the climax was in the middle--- the truth is that it's really much further toward the end. Though some end on a cliffhanger, even individual chapters (not sure if it would be the same in blog posts or not?) have their own plot-line with elements like rising action. It's all about making the reader want to keep going.

In the end, I agree, a story with defeat after defeat (with no hope to be found in the protagonist) is just....depressing and unsatisfying, the way reading about an unsolved murder in the newspaper would be.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:04 pm

Relentlessly depressing can be done well - I recommend When The Wind Blows as proof of this - but generally speaking a structure and some contour of emotion helps. I think part of the problem with a lot of vlogs is that they don't have that structure; they ust go on in an endless line until whoever's making it loses interest (which will probably be after at least half of the audience) and decides to kill the protagonist off.

Ideally, if you kill the protagonist, it should at least mean something.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:52 pm

The Operation Wintergreen blogs had a bittersweet ending. Although we were going for a very different route than most of the main slenderblogs around us at the time (highly proactive protagonists, focus on combating Slendy rather than running from him, etc.)

It started here, if you're interested.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:41 pm

Yes. Yes I am. Since I found the aforementioned Lake Reflections and some of the other blogs I like through you...You have my esteemed trust type thing.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:13 am

It's simple. The world is not a kind place. Going up against a creature you know nothing about is never simple, rarely survivable, and almost never successful. Blog characters should be so lucky they get to survive as long as they do.

I'm a cynic. But I don't think happier endings can even work in the 'verse at large.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:35 am

I agree with the idea he cant die but I would love to see the protagonist to escape and after that he is safe but paranoid.

If I ever was going to write a blog I would let the protagonist find a way to make him stop stalking him instead of that the main character gets killed at the end
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:13 am

I think that it's important to remember that slenderblogs, while being an unusual new type of fiction (ARGs, or semi-ARGs), do still have to follow some of the same rules as regular fiction.

Those rules are very basic in theory, but hard to put into practice. While a story may have a downer ending, you have to be hopeful enough to actually care about the main character. You also have to be able to genuinely enjoy the story, which requires that it not be all darkness all the time. The problem is, if you know that the story is going to end poorly, it's hard to put in any pleasant details or general hopefulness. There's also the risk of deciding that you want to make your story more dark to make people more interested because, well, it's horror. That doesn't work, and in reality, it makes people entirely apathetic about what's happening to the protagonist, when they really need to be emotionally invested for their own enjoyment.

Killing slenderman, though...he's a character who Victor Surge allows the Internet to use pretty widely, so it seems a little odd to do that. I would support figuring out how to make him leave or something like that, but having him actually die would be like an author in the Cthulhu mythos slaughtering the big green guy with a barrage of nuclear warheads. Not okay.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:20 pm

Depressing =/= bad
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:44 pm

There's not really a lot of room for "victory" in a horror genre such as Slender Man ARGs. Now especially with the FEARs, it seems that they've got pretty much every route covered. It's kind of like a Lovecraftian setting, but more centered around insomnia and memory loss than sheer madness and insanity. My major qualm with a "victory" in any of these stories (and by this, I mean an outright VICTORY) is that it's just so unrealistic, since Slendy is such a major being. Perhaps he can be outsmarted on occasion, but not in every ARG's canon. Perhaps he can be avoided, but not in every ARG's canon. He can be shot at, but only in some ARG's canons does it actually do anything. The only feasible victory in a non-FEARs ARG (where it's just Slender Man and no Archangel or no Rake or no othe things) is suicide. If an individual, or even a group of individuals, has/ve the power to stop Slender Man's roaming, then it makes the other series irrelevant or less powerful in a way. "Well I stopped him, why couldn't you?" or "Who are you running from? We stopped Slender Man after all" are annoying phrases that I see arising from a "victory". It's just insulting, and it's beat up to end other series' fun. That's just my take on victorious endings and all-encompassing horror series, sorry if I seemed angry or something, or offended your intended ending.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:14 pm

Well, you don't have to outright kill the Slender Man. Why not 'beat' it by having it leave you alone? The fight's over; the protagonist manages to receive his or her freedom from the being and Slender Man is left alive to go after someone else.

While it's not exactly a victory for the rest of the 'verse because the Slender Man will still be around, it's still a victory in that particular story, and that's really what people should be more concerned about. They shouldn't be writing for the rest of the 'verse - they should be writing to tell their own story.

"But Malus, it's unrealistic. Why would Slender Man stop bothering them?"

This depends on your interpretation of the Slender Man. I keep seeing the 'all-powerful, unrelenting force that you can't wound/kill, because it is the Slender Man!', but I think that's rather... dull. Who wants to read/watch a series in which you already know how it's going to end? It's like a lot of horror films out there, with this unstoppable killer who can't be destroyed no matter what you throw at it, and I don't think people want the Slender Man to become some sort of slasher monster.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:06 pm

Quote :
"But Malus, it's unrealistic. Why would Slender Man stop bothering them?"

This depends on your interpretation of the Slender Man. I keep seeing the 'all-powerful, unrelenting force that you can't wound/kill, because it is the Slender Man!', but I think that's rather... dull. Who wants to read/watch a series in which you already know how it's going to end? It's like a lot of horror films out there, with this unstoppable killer who can't be destroyed no matter what you throw at it, and I don't think people want the Slender Man to become some sort of slasher monster.

I agree with this.

Quote :
There's not really a lot of room for "victory" in a horror genre such as Slender Man ARGs. Now especially with the FEARs, it seems that they've got pretty much every route covered. It's kind of like a Lovecraftian setting, but more centered around insomnia and memory loss than sheer madness and insanity. My major qualm with a "victory" in any of these stories (and by this, I mean an outright VICTORY) is that it's just so unrealistic, since Slendy is such a major being. Perhaps he can be outsmarted on occasion, but not in every ARG's canon. Perhaps he can be avoided, but not in every ARG's canon. He can be shot at, but only in some ARG's canons does it actually do anything. The only feasible victory in a non-FEARs ARG (where it's just Slender Man and no Archangel or no Rake or no othe things) is suicide. If an individual, or even a group of individuals, has/ve the power to stop Slender Man's roaming, then it makes the other series irrelevant or less powerful in a way. "Well I stopped him, why couldn't you?" or "Who are you running from? We stopped Slender Man after all" are annoying phrases that I see arising from a "victory". It's just insulting, and it's beat up to end other series' fun. That's just my take on victorious endings and all-encompassing horror series, sorry if I seemed angry or something, or offended your intended ending.

But I also agree with this.

In my opinion, I think there should be "wiggle room." Meaning that if you can somehow come up with a "victorious" ending that makes sense, then more power to you. No, the Slender Man should not be entirely stopped or killed (IMO), because I think that would ruin the fear for a lot of people and possibly spur annoying comments such as the examples ^. But it depends on your definition of victory. I think that when you have an enemy that can't be killed or even stopped really, finding any way to save yourself becomes a challenge worth taking. If you can't save yourself, then the least you can do is leave something of yourself behind.

I don't mind a depressing ending at all. In fact, happy endings annoy me. Badly. But I enjoy seeing a protagonist that tries to make progress. They have to try to step up to the challenge.

I guess I can just repeat what I've already said. I enjoy a healthy dose of realism- protagonists who are actually terrified and show it, who go insane, who possibly die, etc. I also enjoy a good plot with some progress. Okay, I'm scared, but I'm going to try and do something about this and move the plot line forward. Thus, I begin to care about the character.

This may be only me, but I think that when you are backed into a corner and you believe in life after death, then you shouldn't be afraid of taking death (in any form) as a personal victory. Saying: "I'm not afraid to die any more." could be considered a small victory, even if it's just in the main character's head. Just a thought, not sure if it would be taken well. (?)

I think that writers should be open to do whatever they want. Writing is a creative exercise. If they pull it off well, then good for them. (Well, they ARE open to do whatever they want, but whether people like or respect what they write depends on the person reading and if they did a good job.)







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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:58 pm

I am a terribly negative person and don't believe in happy endings. But I ended my less awful Slenderblog with a victory of sorts against Slenderman, because I wanted to be different. Then I made sure the protagonist lost anyway, because what I said in the first sentence. It's not long, if you want to see what I mean: My Half of Life
I did think for a while about trying to do something more positive. But I lost interest in the Slenderverse for the most part and I don't have the time in any case.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:11 pm

Ok, I realize it's a hipster blog but why hasn't It's All David's Fault been mentioned yet? One of the main points to that blog was to create a convincing happy ending, and I've heard a fair amount of people say that I've succeeded.

Now, it's not all sunshine and puppies of course. There's a heavy sense of loss. But it is a horror blog after all.

anyway, why don't you go check it out? Link's in my sig.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:07 pm

AdmirableJellyfish wrote:
Ok, I realize it's a hipster blog but why hasn't It's All David's Fault been mentioned yet?

Probably just to spite you. Definitely not because they'd never heard of it. No.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:58 pm

Fotzepolitic wrote:
AdmirableJellyfish wrote:
Ok, I realize it's a hipster blog but why hasn't It's All David's Fault been mentioned yet?

Probably just to spite you. Definitely not because they'd never heard of it. No.
I've read IADF, and there's a good chance it was the one that I couldn't remember when I made that post up there. Because I remember thinking that there was some blog with a female protagonist that did have a not-awful ending. But I can't remember if yours was the one that I couldn't remember then or not.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:40 pm

I find vlogs to be more depressing actually. There is either one or more of the main character's best friends that becomes proxified and then some more friends die and Slender Man still screws up their life. Most blogs that I have followed do end with the blogger going crazy, but I think losing best friends and surviving makes for a pretty depressing series too.
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PostSubject: Re: The Slenderblogverse, depressing?   Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:40 pm

I am a bit torn on the subject. On the one hand, as a horror author that loves this Mythos and loves Lovecraftian horror in general, I can see the argument that a Slenderblog shouldn't have a happy ending. The problem with that is that it doesn't mean there shouldn't be some sense of victory or resolution necessarily. You can have a pyrrhic victory and have it still be a victory - like for example, the protagonist loses everyone they know, suffers horribly, and goes mad - but they have somehow managed to avoid Slendy for the most part and are alive. Or they commit suicide and die, but at least they aren't a Proxy or Slendy's latest meal. Granted, neither of those are happy endings, but horror really shouldn't end happily.

I would occasionally also like to see a protagonist KIND OF be victorious, just to feel some sense of resolution and to break the trend of the always grimdark ending. Like I said above, a victory does NOT always mean the ending's 100% happy for everyone involved.

HOWEVER... I also like stories that build the hope up and then dash it horribly. The more you build that hope slowly, the better the emotional stock the audience has in those characters, and eventually when the end takes a terrible downturn, the crushing loss is all the more crushing.

tl;dr, I think it depends on what your story is, where you're going with it, and what you're trying to achieve by the end. Not every story needs to have a 100% awful ending, and not every story should. But a horror story in this or any other Mythos that has Lovecraftian flavoring shouldn't have a purely happy ending.
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