How to write an Alpha-1 Log

So You Want To Write an SCP

You're reading How to Write an SCP 2.0. If you're reading this, you're probably a member of the SCP Foundation and want to try your hand at an article. This page is to help point you in the right direction when getting started. Read it carefully, don't skim it. After you've finished, read it again, because you're a human being (right?) and you'll have missed stuff.

Before You Start: Some Things to Consider

In general, successful SCP articles have most or all of the following components:

  • An interesting idea.
  • Reasonable containment procedures.
  • A clear description.

These are necessary for a good SCP. An SCP should immediately draw the reader in; they can't be muddled under a lot of exposition. Try to get a clear idea of what your SCP does before starting.

Many first SCP articles fail miserably for one reason or another, primarily due to the writer's lack of experience.

This is not an excuse for not even trying
This is not a curse befalling all new members
This is not just a fact of life or a universal truth

This is a challenge

Some first SCPs do wonderfully, because their authors either had an instant understanding of what and how to write (which is rare) or because they took their time getting their bearings and learning the lay of the land. To help you avoid that dreaded failed first SCP, always ask for feedback, on the Ideas Critique forum and/or in our IRC rooms. Take this feedback to heart, even if it's blunt and direct. If you feel someone left insulting feedback, you can always contact a member of staff. If boundaries were crossed, we'll take action.

Low-rated pages are always deleted from the site once they are rated -10 or lower and have been on the wiki for the requisite 24 hours (see the Deletions Guide for more info), so don't get too down about it if something you wrote is deleted. If your first SCP does fail, try to learn from the experience. See if the idea is salvageable, find out what worked and what didn't in terms of writing. Sometimes your skill as a writer isn't up to the level of your idea, and keeping track of your old ones for re-writing is a good tactic. You can always keep those in your sandbox. If you find that you have a problem with the clinical tone required, but you have a good grasp of the Foundationverse and the subjects and themes it explores, you can always try your hand at writing tales. Tales are in no way less than SCP articles.

Also, please note that posting a crappy SCP to 'get the bad luck out' does nothing except clutter the site up with crap. When writing your first SCP, put your best foot forward, because it is part of the standard by which your future works will be judged. Make jokes in chat. Put actual work up on the site. It'll make people think better of you, it helps improve the site, and it sets an example for the other newbies.

Really, the best possible piece of advice that any of us can give is to be patient. Sit back and lurk; we've got all kinds of articles. Spend some time to get an idea of how the site works. See what's good and what's bad, what's highest-rated and what gets downvoted. Learn what kinds of things people look for in an article; you'll be better equipped to succeed in your writing.

What Do You Do Next?

To see what you should do next to write your own SCP, return to the top of this document and choose another tab.

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