Tips for writing SCPs
- Keep it clinical, detached and orderly. This is a report, so keep to the format. Computer logs are an okay deviation, but try not to do anything else. Don't forget to check your spelling.
- Try to find a picture for them too, where possible. Granted, not all of them can have pictures (SCP-176, SCP-974), but some would benefit from them.
- They don't all have to be at Site 19. SCP-200, for example, is somewhere in ███████████████████████ Get some foreign ones going.
- Don't go overboard on the containment procedures. Hideous drains on resources without a corresponding threat is poor, so don't overdo it. Every part of the procedure MUST have a reason behind it (see SCP-017, SCP-091 and SCP-847 for good examples of this).
- If you need to remove a few words (e.g. names, places, dates), use the Unicode character █ (U+2588, FULL BLOCK). If you need to cut out substantial sections, write [DATA EXPUNGED].
- Be vague. If you explain something, people will say "Oh, I can handle that" - but if you don't, people will imagine the things they can't handle. And that is true horror. Err on the side of vagueness.
- Avoid the first-person voice.
- Don't just copy from the monstrous manual. IE SCP-024
- Do not write dramatically. These are statements of fact, nothing more.
Also keep in mind
- The secret underground shadow government doesn't resort to typing with the caps lock on when they want to emphasize that something must be done "at all costs".
- Expressions such as "approximately 57.23545445 cm" appear foolish. Also, there's no need to go down to nanometers when you're writing an executive summary.
- Use SI. That's what you use in a research report. Miles, pounds, etc. may be included in parentheses, if deemed necessary.
- Take a look at the SCP Object Classes and assign an appropriate class to your object. For the Euclid and Keter classes, use euclid and keter to automatically add that article to the Euclid and Keter categories.
- If you're dealing with a humanoid, or sentient SCP, try to avoid over using the words he/she. It's fine to use them infrequently, but when every sentence begins with "He is" "She likes" "He did this", it just doesn't read well. Like Lofwyr said, these are supposed to be clinical and detached, so they're supposed to be treated more like objects rather than actual people, at least in the research papers anyway.
- Watch out for plot holes, because if someone notices one, it can really detract from the SCP. Just read over your SCP a couple times and make sure it makes sense.
- If you're going to use real items or physics in your explanation, research up on them a little, just so you don't make a boo boo and accidentally say something completely wrong. It detracts from the realism that you were trying to set up.
- Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. For the love of all that's holy (or unholy if that's your preference), check your spellings (and punctuation) before you finalize and submit a SCP. A huge amount of the editing that goes on around here are people correcting spellings or grammar. And while you're at it, no blocks of text please. It's ugly on the eyes, and shows that you can't be bothered even to make the text look pretty.
- It's okay to be overly descriptive, but then again, it's also nice to be brief. When wondering on how long to make an SCP, go with your gut. If you feel that it'd look better with an extra couple of paragraphs, go for it. Likewise for the opposite. The guys (or girls) that frequent here are more than willing to discuss an SCP, and are ready to lay down constructive criticism, or just general kudos.
- Avoid directly ripping off things unless it's in a satirical manner. For example, if there's an underwater city populated with mutants, giant diving suits, and creepy little girls, all due to a civil war, everyone's going to think you play a little too much Bioshock.
- Also, try and avoid the cliché of having an SCP that'll maim/kill/insanify personnel on sight. It's just a little common. Not all the SCP have to be these hideously destructive things. The organization takes up items that are extraordinary, not just destructive, so they can be something quirky, like a children's ball pit that leads to a parallel dimension, or maybe a hospital bed that resurrects the dead, or even an average rock that when dropped or thrown, propels itself faster than the speed of sound and causes a sonic boom.
Hey, I might actually change those into SCP….
- I want to emphasize how important it is that you avoid overused and clichéd topics like vampires and other well known mythos. It's fun to parody, it's eye-rolling to read a completely unoriginal rip-off.
- Watch the "It's" and "Its." One is short for "it is" (as in "It's time to go") and the other shows ownership("its teeth were enormous…"). Whether you're writing or editing, know the difference between the two. Many people go overboard one way or the other, some edit every page so that "It's" becomes "Its," and don't realize it's possessive.
- Actually, don't be afraid of using he/she on gender owning objects. It's ridiculous when you have to use SCP-XXX two or three times in the same sentence. Also, try not to use the same words over and over, even in adjacent sentences. Redundancy is arguably bad grammar and poor sentence structure. Attempt to use synonyms without being dramatic (for example, my alternate use of 'try' and 'attempt').
- Log in, submit feed back, take credit and take responsibility. In reality, the only reason you'd need to be anonymous around here is to vandalize other people's work, which is ridiculously immature. If you're going to give kudos, people want to know who is admiring us, and when we enjoy a particularly good SCP, we want to know to thank for it.
- For the same reason governments around the world keep samples of deadly, highly communicable viruses in quarentined labs, the SCP Organization contains SCP threats without outright destroying them. One day you might come up against a similar threat and need the experience/ advantage of experimentation of previous threats to contain it. There's also the possibility of using one SCP threat to fight another.
A brief word from HK-016
- The word 'terminate' is not totally synonymous with 'kill'. Don't use them interchangeably. 'Terminate' is a specific euphemism for when a member of the Foundation is authorized to purposefully kill someone or something. In most other contexts, 'kill' works fine.
- Bad example: "Subject D-167 was terminated by SCP-517."
- Good example: "Subject D-167 was killed during an attempt to terminate SCP-517. Five other class-D personnel survived and were subsequently terminated for their cowardice."
- You CANNOT terminate an inanimate object, so quit using the word in this context. Use 'destroy' instead.
- The word 'terminate' is entirely overused in SCP. Find some new words. Eliminate, eradicate, euthanize, eviscerate, execute, exsanguinate… you get the picture. Go nuts.
A smartmouth from DrakeRunner
- Stop with the excessive terminations and the excessive deathcounts. I only just recently registered, but I've been reading and tweaking(SPELLCHECK YOU BASTARDS) since the wiki started. At a rough guess, the SCP Foundation has put enough people to death or let them be killed by SCPs to depopulate a couple a few several a dozen of the world's biggest cities.
- Description and containments are okay, but remember: the SCP Foundation wants some use out of these things. If its just some ZOMG U SEE IT U DIE device, they don't want it. (Seriously, I've seen TWO different SCPs where they require blind security personel. Blind people. WITH GUNS.) If there is no obvious and worthwhile benefit, be it economic, scientific, military, or cultural, there is no reason that the Foundation would not have it destroyed at their earliest opportunity. So either list some attempts at destruction that haven't worked. Or simply announce that the object is slated for destruction.
- High numbers. Somebody just posted SCP-3001. Jesus fuck people, your SCP number is NOT your epeen length. (Okay, at a second look its a joke SCP. Still. I'm watching you.)
- Realistic protocols: Despite what a certain SCP page would have you believe, the Foundation is not going to use a nuke to open a pickle jar. God I wish I was exaggerating.
Dr.Gears: Getting Ideas
The basic idea has always been the hardest part for me, thinking up an interesting effect or object to write about. Here are my tips for getting ideas:
- Think of what scares you. Footsteps following you down a hall, swarms of spiders, being totally alone, needles, the dark, anything. These things are great ways to come up with some sort of effect for you SCP entry.
- Find a good picture. I try and get pictures for all the things I write, or at least something close to it. If you can find a really odd picture, you can get inspired very quickly.
- Think odd, not dangerous. Yes, a thing that will liquefy bone in a quarter-mile radius is very dangerous, and would need special containment, but it’s not interesting. The best SCP makes your brain work, make you wonder how it came to be, how it could be used. You want to make people interested, so they keep thinking about it long after they read it.
- Visualize. The most important, and most useful. Play these things out in your head, build a back-story, and see what it does to people and things. The SCP document is a tiny window into that world. Snip out details, and leave just hints of something more going on. You want people to ask questions, to dig at it.
Once you make one, be sure to listen to your comments. Not everyone will like your entry, but see if people turn up ideas you like. Don’t feel bad if an entry flops, you just know what not to try now! Feedback is the quickest and best way to go from so-so entries to really legendry ones.
Bijhan's Best Advice
Act as if every SCP will be the first that someone will read. That means do not put in too much in there that requires knowledge of ANYTHING ELSE. While I, as much as anyone, enjoys linking together things into a larger story, it really improves the quality of the work when each SCP can be enjoyed in full as a stand-alone.
Also, it helps create a larger illusion when you use as much fact as possible.