The Dionaea House

Speaking of using Internet medium to tell a story.

The Dionaea House is a horror story told through a collection of emails and three blogs supposedly written by different people. It revolves around the eponymous house out to eat people.

It utilizes the medium a bit better than the Sick Land. For one thing, stuff written in blogs and emails is stuff people would actually write, none of this “I must hide things lest they think I’m crazy, so I’m posting them on the Internet” stuff. For another, the second blog does utilize the comments to enhance the story. It did result in a lot of shit-posting, but in this case it’s actually not a bad thing: the story is supposed to be set in our world rather than obviously fictional universe of the Sick Land.

Still, there are things that could have been better. The second blog really lacks the reaction of its host to the comments. Some responses in the comments or an announcement in style of “Think what you will, I’m not writing it to convince anyone. I’m leaving the comments open in case someone has similar experience they want to share, but I’m not going to respond to random anons” would be welcome. Still, it does demonstrate how comments can be used to enhance the story: just check out Zan’s comments in the context of helpful strangers.

Likewise, the first blog, one supposedly written by a sixteen years old girl, Dani, would have really benefited from comments. It actually makes sense for her to be focused on the plot rather than write about random stuff, since it’s the stated purpose of the blog and the story unfolds pretty quickly, but adding a few comments from her friends reacting to stuff that happens to her and, at first, talking about mundane stuff and making plans for the weekend would have been a nice touch. It could have given Dani a bit more depth as a character and imply a life outside of the story. As it is, the blog is more obviously fiction than it should be.

As for the plot itself… It’s OK. The story is much less ambitious than the Sick Land, which allows it to be far more coherent and focused. The story is pretty simple and very unlikely to produce the same confusion you can see in the comments for the Sick Land.

Unfortunately, the same simplicity works against the story. You may say it’s far too comprehensible. More specifically, the blame can be placed on the first story, the collection of emails. The protagonist, Mark, is far too quick in jumping to (correct) conclusions, and the nature of the house is revealed far too early, taking other stories into account. It would have been much, much better if emails weren’t giving us the solution (the dionaea house metaphor) and focused more on descent into madness and basic observations on the nature of the house (people starting to repeat stuff and the like).

The final blog serves as a sort of conclusion to the story with more information from the inside of the house and theories on its nature, that’s where its nature should have been stated openly instead of just implied and speculated over.

Overall, though, it’s worth a look. The story isn’t going to blow your mind or anything, but it’s short, it at least hints at the potential of using blog format for telling stories, and it’s solid in execution if far from excellent.

5 Comments

  1. Keleri says:
    The Dionaea House is one of my favorites, there are some small details in the 2004-2006 era postings that engaged my imagination in ways that a lot of mediocre creepypasta has failed to do.

    The author posted another series on /r/nosleep recently that was pretty good too: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/2hi7e6/information_im_dumping_here_for_safekeeping/

    (The premise of /r/nosleep is that everything posted there is “real” and you have to play along in the comments, I was initially confused by what I thought were extremely credulous responses.)

  2. Farla says:
    More specifically, the blame can be placed on the first story, the collection of emails. The protagonist, Mark, is far too quick in jumping to (correct) conclusions, and the nature of the house is revealed far too early, taking other stories into account.

    You’re right, but, hm.

    I think the issue is that it’s not really meant to be the “first” but the frame story for everything else, and also the author probably did underestimate the internet so they wanted to tell us what to look for in the sub stories.

    Maybe it’d have worked if Mark was just flailing around trying to document stuff and one of the substories was of a paranormal researcher hitting on the correct answers partway through.

    But even if it’s less realistic, it’s a lot more readable with less fluff and misdirection.

    1. illhousen says:
      Well, yeah, it is more focused.

      I just think everything moved too quick, or maybe just too abrupt. Mark’s descent into madness, specifically, is way too abrupt. I guess a case can be made that the emails are irregular, so we’re missing some pieces, but I would prefer a more consistent feel of slipping sanity combined with elements of the horror scenario being revealed.

      Alternatively, more reactions from Eric would be nice.

  3. actonthat says:
    @illhousen:disqus, you wrote this, right? Well, now you did, either way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar