The Horror, the Horror of Short Form Fiction

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Despite the publication this past year of behemoth novels like Donna Tartt’s 750 page The Goldfinch and Eleanor Catton’s 850 page The Luminaries, current trends increasingly embrace truncated fiction. MobyLives took the conclusion of the third annual Twitter Fiction Festival as an opportunity to look at short form horror fiction known as creepypasta:

This type of short horror fiction is often spread via screen-caps of messageboards or crudely pasted together in MS Paint in order to lend it a sort of underground zine-y authenticity.

Tweeted writing has quickly gained legitimacy, with writers like Teju Cole tweeting a 4,000 word essay. But creepypasta remains on the fringe, and that is partly the point. “Creepypasta works best when the medium infects the message,” Will Wiles writes; literary authenticity would ruin the essence of creepypasta.


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →