Interviewing Icons - daveyoufool
rating: +61+x

Dave was a pleasure to talk to and coordinate with throughout this process. My personal time recently has been limited, so I decided to recruit some help from my friend Elenee to get this completed on time. I hope you all enjoy this WhiteGuard/Elenee interview with daveyoufool! ~ WhiteGuardWhiteGuard

Having read Dave's works throughout my wiki experience, among the first Groups of Interest I remember getting into being the Three Moons Initiative, he has provided a unique and influential mark upon my time on the wiki and on the website as a whole. His responses here reflect his style and articles: you'll never know what you get. ~ Elenee FishTruckElenee FishTruck

Who is daveyoufooldaveyoufool?

The user daveyoufool became a member of this site on the 25th of December, 2014, and his top 3 most popular pages on the site by rating are SCP-TTKU-J (which is a thing that kills you): A Thing That Kills You at +978, SCP-2337: "Dr. Spanko" at +636, and SCP-100000-J: Procedure 110-Overkill at +558. As an author, daveyoufool has written a total of 55 SCP articles, 20 Tales, 2 GoI Formats, and 3 other pages for a grand total of 79 pages contributed. Dave currently has the most joke articles out of anyone on the site with 25 of them! The following interview will consist of 20 questions from myself with his responses.

The bold text represents the questions whereas the text within the boxes are daveyoufool's responses.

Interview Questions:

Hey Dave! As per usual with these interviews, how did you find the SCP Wiki? You briefly mentioned that it was related to a mod from a video game? What about that mod drew you to investigate the Wiki and what was your initial impression?

It was this video made in Garry's Mod. I was addicted to these silly-ass Team Fortress 2 videos in college. (Still am.) Naturally, I was interested in this creepy peanut dude that the Scout was trying to outsmart. A few search engine binges later, I found that I couldn't stop reading the wiki, particularly about Sarkic cults and all the creative new ways the world could end. I was falling out of love with DeviantART, so I needed a new creative outlet, and… here I am, rock you like a hurricane.

So, you mentioned that you did write some before finding SCP. What kind of writing did you partake in before joining the wiki?

Short stories, mainly. I went to Columbia College Chicago at a time when their writing department's lifeblood was short stories. I had a few flash fiction pieces published hither and thither. Columbia was a very frustrating environment for me — for all their love of "releasing your inner censor," it seemed like the only stories that were well-received in the classrooms and published in the lit mags were about sex, bodily fluids, substance abuse, and dying alone. I'm all for uncensored stories, but the general atmosphere was that only the Graphic-Descriptions-of-Pooping-in-the-Sink* genre was "real art". *(Sadly, not an exaggeration.)
So, I experimented in drabbles that could shock my readers just as hard — not from explicit content, but from how frickin' weird they were. In time, my style caught on, and I became a welcome face in the Story Week Reader and Fiction Writers at Lunch. My most famous was "Man-Car", a flash fiction I wrote about a giant, toothless brute who kidnaps a girl… to take her where she was going to go already. (He thinks he's a taxi.) And that's how I found my voice.

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Angle of Dath was a book you published before joining the Wiki. It is of course a parody of A. A. Milne's stories and poems about Winnie-the-Pooh where you replicated the style, charm, and structure of Milne while writing a story not meant for kids. As we will talk about in the next question, you have repeatedly made works where you replicated another author's style while also trying to put your own twist to it. Why do you think you are able to do this as effectively as you do? Feel free to talk a little about the book as well.

I love style parody. I've been into parody songs ever since a fellow first-grader told me you could end the I Love You song with "But a shot rang out, and Barney hit the floor / no more purple dinosaur." It blew my mind that these untouchable things I saw on the TV could be molded into something not necessarily original, but more intimately mine. So, the short answer: 33 years of practice.

The Lingering Lark of Leviathan Square was your first work posted to the site. It becomes very apparent from viewing it that it follows a very unique format. Despite the format screw used here, it did receive a little criticism concerning the simplicity of it along with some of the natural flow. Besides this, it has been received fairly positive overall. Looking back, how do you feel about this article? In what ways have you progressed in writing since then?

Admittedly, not my best work. I was still riding high on the coattails of other Dr. Seuss parodies I did at Columbia College. The Fiction Department had a massive literary boner for depressed Eastern Europeans and style parodies thereof, so I made a little Seussian version of Kafka's In The Penal Colony, with the Grinch taking the role of the Officer. Sadly, as evidenced by its subpar quality, one can only cut down so many Truffula Trees before resorting to cheap synthetic knockoffs. I'm nonetheless thankful for our dear Lark to help my toes into the water.

Overall, what all do you like about SCP? You did mention to me that you like the openness of the users being able to contribute. How do you feel that this openness contributes to people's ability to write and improve their writing here?

I suppose that depends on how you look at it. If you go fishing through a few of my old staff forum threads to the effect of Non-Disc: Daveyoufool, you may notice I've had coldpost-happy tendencies in my earlier days. Patience is a thing I've struggled with for most of my life, and even now, I prefer to get pre-post feedback from chat and PMs than to wait for the sluggish forums. In some ways, I still believe that the "throw it on the wall and see if the upvotes let it stick" is ultimately the best way to determine if it's site-ready.
Mini-rant aside, I've enjoyed seeing all the new subplots, GoIs, canons, etc. that show up from the idea of just one user, with some other users latching onto said idea and branching out from it. It's like a game of telephone, except it's not a way of a 2nd-grade substitute teacher to get us all to sit still for ten minutes while she sneaks a few sips of plum brandy.

Your top-rated article (nearly +1000 at time of writing), SCP-TTKU-J (which is a thing that kills you): A Thing That Kills You, is largely self-explanatory in premise. However, if the article's discussion is any indication, the stand-out joke is the username module at the end, a function used in a few other articles like SCP-902: The Final Countdown and SCP-1893: The Minotaur's Tale. How did you conceive the article, particularly the end-joke, and how do you view the article's reaction and the username module in general?

The "this SCP is just a thing that kills you" site trope was always something I found amusing, so I thought I'd deconstruct it to its source. But the addition of the listusers module was not my doing; it was a suggestion from Agent Macleod. To be honest, I consider the article's post-module burst of success to be that user's accomplishment rather than my own.

Your second-highest-rated article, SCP-2337: "Dr. Spanko", has become a popular wiki-character, with appearances or cameos in several articles besides your own, notably SCP-4444: Bush v. Gore. What was the idea behind Dr. Spanko, how has it grown from conception, and how do you perceive its popularity?

MY SON! I think Dr. Spanko came into being around 2009. My maternal grandma just died, and my Mom flew off to Ohio for her funeral. Now, Mom and I have always had little inside jokes about animals. While she was in Ohio, I saw this little video by chance. My first thoughts: his smart little face has all sorts of big plans that his dumb little brain's going to immediately forget. He's tramping through the tall grass, conducting a routine inspection of nothing in particular. He CACKs into the void because he just remembered he's got a buzzer in his throat and hasn't used it yet. I emailed a link to Mom, figuring she could use something lighthearted.
This little fella involved into a series of stories I'd tell Mom and Dad when they were stressed out about stuff. A whole Dr. Spanko cinematic universe, if you will. They were always pushing me to do something with this guy. Maybe a children's book? Maybe a TV series? So Cack it, I made him an SCP.
(Side note: My girlfriend made a few corn crakes of her own. She's a keeper.)

The title of SCP-100000-J: Procedure 110-Overkill, your third highest-rated article, suggests a certain origin for its content and humor, but how did the article come to existence? Did any articles inspire its structure and subject matter?

It was directly inspired from SCP-579. As much as I love that article, I've always found the elaborate containment procedures to be the clerical equivalent of over-hyped marketing fads.

You mentioned SCP-3922: STOPRIGHTTHERECRIMINALSCUM!!! as your favorite wiki article to write, and seemingly people have took to it with its massive collaborative experiment log. We'll get into the Three Moons Initiative in a bit but, as a stand-alone, how did SCP-3922 originate and why did you choose the testing media you did? When you made the collaborative log some months later, did you expect it to take off as it did?

It was inspired by a Monty Python skit — the one about the Piranha Brothers. Terry Jones played a policeman who was after said Brothers, and also was a stage actor. One review of his performance in Man of La Mancha said that he "ruined a perfectly good rape scene by barging on and saying 'What's all this, then?'" That planted the seed for a magical disc-thingy that summons otherworldly cops to make sure no villains get off Scot free.
Wanting that kind closure is a source of frustration for many people, so I more or less expected the collaborative log to catch on that nicely.

You have two "X922" articles besides the one previously mentioned: SCP-2922: Notes From the Under and SCP-4922: The Rainbow Connection, both taking place within the Corbenic universe and regarding the Three Moons Initiative Group of Interest. How did both Corbenic and Three Moons form, and subsequently intertwine, and what do you believe sets apart Three Moons from other Groups of Interest? Do you have any plans in-mind for the GoI/paths you think it should follow?

This might come off as a shitpost, but I swear it's legit; it started as an unfinished pokemon fanfic, back from when I went by ThereAreNoTurkeys on That world Meowth ended up in was the original Corbenic, and formed the inspiration for 2922.
After that, I tried to imagine how humans would realistically act in such a chaotic, uncaring afterlife. Then I remembered that imperialism was a thing, and Three Moons happened.
I've been more or less taking a break from writing Three Moons content to focus on my book, but I've got plenty of new ideas in the works for when I get some downtime. I don't really have an overarching plot in mind, other than what I've covered in SCP-3319 and Radical Acceptance with the Harvesting Wars. If anything, I wanted Corbenic/Three Moons to be a place to put stories in, rather than a story itself — and since I've seen some promising new works from other authors about said environment, I'm pleased as punch.

Another Group of Interest you've started is TotleighSoft, their highest-rated article being SCP-2219: PORRIDGE. How did TotleightSoft originate and grow, and do you have plans to officialize it as you have with Three Moons?

Ah, TotleighSoft. Early last decade, one of my hyperfixations was bootleg video games, such as Mario's cousin Fangblood the Covetous or whatever his name is. I combined it with the "alien trying desperately to blend in with humans" trope, and P. Hudson Gock's media empire was born. TotleighSoft had some unfortunate dealings with Three Moons in the form of a dog-euthanasia-fueled Charles Grodin going all One-Winged Angel on their asses, but there was another idea I had involving something called the Geryon Pact (a sort of multi-dimensional Geneva Convention established by the Initiative, and the mere mention of it would scare Mr. Gock back into the Crab Nebula). It was going to be a collab with djkaktus, but we both had other stuff to take care of — though I'd like to try it again sometime (hint hint, Kak!).

At times, you've forayed into the Shark Punching Center Group of Interest, your SPC format SPC-169-J: The Big One being the highest-rated of its kind and the third highest-rated GoI-format in general. You also participated in the K/O Failure Scenario team for the Doomsday Contest with Jacob ConwellJacob Conwell, PeppersGhostPeppersGhost, and The Great HippoThe Great Hippo. What about the SPC appeals to you, given its controversial status in the community?

Honestly? It's funny. That's pretty much it.

Your highest-rated tale, Now watch and learn, here's the deal..., remains the highest-rated work from the 10 Years Birthday SCParty, an ode to its comedic absurdity. However, the tale also features two of your most prominent human characters, Dr. Lisle Naismith and Isaiah Henderson, Naismith prominently featuring in the emotional Re: You Want Happy Endings?. How do these two characters reflect yourself, and when do you decide to use them as you did with "Now watch and learn, here's the deal…"?

First off, the Foundation can't work properly without a few optimists in their midst. And second, punchline wouldn't have been half as successful if the first half didn't contrast it completely. (More on both of these in the next question…)

You have the most joke articles out of anyone on-site at 25, with Salman CorbetteSalman Corbette's 19 the nearest contender. What draws you to comedic articles and who/what influences your humor?

My grandma (the one from the Dr. Spanko question, by the way) was an English professor at Ohio University. She did her thesis on William Faulkner's style — how blending comedy and tragedy can enhance the effects of both. It's words I live by in my own work.
Not to get too otaku here, but for example: Berserk. Do you think the Eclipse would have been so terrifying and heartbreaking if Guts had done nothing but feel miserable prior? No, he had to make a few friends, have some cool victories, and fall in love with Casca. That's why that scene was more of a "NOOOO" and not an "Oh, great, this shit again — wake me up when Griffith gets it out of his system."
The opposite is true, as well. Do you think the Austin Powers would have been that funny if he didn't have a few scenes were he was all "ouch, baby… very ouch"?
I figure that if the Foundation's 100% bleak, and all the humor is kept to the -Js, then an XK scenario wouldn't have any weight to it. A world has to have something nice to lose in order to make it worth saving, and silliness isn't properly silly without a straight man to foil it.
For more concrete influences: Blackadder, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Jim Henson.

Your articles commonly feature twist endings, moments which subvert the reader's expectations. Where does this predilection toward the unexpected come from, and which article of yours do you think best exemplifies it?

I feel like in order for a twist ending to work, it can't come so out of left field that it insults the reader's intelligence. (So, no, I will never forgive Steven Moffat for what he did to Doctor Who.) But I like the feeling of a twist that explains a lot of things in retrospect — it's a satisfying feeling, both to read and write. My personal favorite example is SCP-3319.

You mentioned in our preliminary how writing for the SCP Wiki, while not providing any direct lessons, helped you "fine-tune [your] tongue". In what ways did the wiki strengthen and tweak your writing style? Did any particular article or experience influence you dramatically?

If anything, I'd say SCP-2922 was a bit of a turning point for my style. My prior works had been primarily silly up until then. And that's not to say that there aren't silly aspects to Corbenic. Notes from the Under is far from perfect; people have complained about the melodrama and the "why won't they just let her talk to her goddamn husband?" — and honestly? That's valid. But like the Lingering Lark, it springboarded me into new ways of imagining a story.

Alrighty Dave, let's talk about your book. Today, your new book series kicks off with Neverstone: The Mad Elf. From the description, it seems the main character, Era Gualtieri, partakes in a character-driven LitRPG adventure. Please tell us a little about your new book and how it is to work with an artist on this project of yours?

Here's some sixty-second worldbuilding: the urban fantasy world of Luminar is cursed to have someone take the title of "Dark Lord" every five years; revolution and carnage ensues. But thanks to Luminar's other curse of bureaucratic 4D chess, the only people who can legally do anything about the Dark Lord — even in self-defense — are the three designated Chosen Heroes.
And Erasmus "Era" Papageno Gualtieri — an introspective, swashbuckling hobo with a bloodstream full of toxic waste — is the current leader of said Chosen Three. But Era comes from an ancient family of problem-solvers, and he isn't going to let the Dark Lord Cycle be just another "I'd like to change it, but this is just the way the world is" shindig.
The overall tone of the book has been compared by those who've edited it to "If Douglas Adams & David Lynch wrote a Final Fantasy."
As for my artist — Fernando Granea. Google him. Worship him. He captured Era, Liv (Deuteragonist, girl on the left in the cover — she likes throwing flame skulls at people, because…edgy.), and the Horse Elemental perfectly, and had the patience of a saint with my nitpicking about Era's very particular sword (Schiavona, by the way).

You mentioned to me that Neverstone started out as something completely different back in 2016. Give us a little rundown on how it started and how it developed over the years to become what will ultimately be a 4-part book series. Spend a little time explaining how it is to work with a publisher on this project as well if you don't mind.

Similar to Corbenic, Neverstone started off as a longshot spec script for "Final Fantasy: The Animated Series" back in 2016. After a while, I figured it was best as an original work. That, and modern Square-Enix's artistic vision is more into ethereal names with too many apostrophes and combat lingerie than quirky adventures.
It also took a lot of inspiration from Mozart's opera Die Zauberflote,as well (Era's middle name might ring some bells. …literally). Plus, all the political chaos that gripped the world between 2016 and now added fuel for the social-commentary aspects. In particular: the antagonist's faction, the GU, might seem familiar from a certain 2017 rally in Charlottesville.
This was my first time working with an honest-to-God publisher like Aethon, so I was a little intimidated at first. Perhaps the most difficult part was looking over the contract, and asking about its terms to some of my friends who were more savvy to the publishing business. My lifelong OCD and anxiety aren't very good tools to handle such a grave decision, but once I was over that hurdle, it became a game of "stand by and wait for specific instructions from your editor" — an easy, if a bit suspenseful, task.

How would you say that your time and experience here on the wiki has affected your writing and thought process for writing and how has it helped prepare you for this big project of yours? What can we expect for the future of the Neverstone series given that Book 2: Hero Killer is being released on November 23rd of this year?

The post-writing process of waiting for acceptance, editing it, putting it out there, seeing people's reactions, and using them to gauge your next work — that's a very important thing for an author to get used to. SCP provides a very condensed and miniaturized version of it. I dare say SCP was the perfect training ground for getting Neverstone out there.
(Of course, that's not to say that SCP is a lesser, "just for practice" version of an art form compared to books. Some of the finest horror writing I've ever seen in any medium is on this site — melodrama or no, SCP-2718 has led to some legitimate nightmares. And… I had the misfortune of buying one of Onision's books secondhand out of curiosity, so we can rule out the "if it made it to print, it has to be quality" argument.)
By the way, I have zero intention of quitting SCP to focus on my books. Granted, some may have noticed a downtick in articles from me, and I did have to refocus some of my efforts to keep on schedule. Still do. But, as long as I continue to not be able to afford laser removal for my SCP tattoo, you guys are stuck with me.
(By the way — be on the lookout for SCP Easter eggs in Mad Elf. Spanko might have passed through the pages a few times and fuddled with some acronyms…)

Who is "daveyoufool"?

A metalhead from Chicago who fancies himself a writer and an agnostic theist. Other what's already been said, I've got an MFA in screenwriting from DePaul University and a BA in Playwriting from Columbia. I live with my partner in a cute little flat near Wrigley Field. I work as a vet tech during the day. I've got four cats, two birds, and a few Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

Have you reaped what you sowed?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to file a restraining order against a fictional pelican?!

This concludes the interview. I hope you enjoyed it! I would like to thank daveyoufool for being fun to work with and for promptly finishing the questions for us. Alright, folks, I already have the next interview in this series prepared, and I believe everyone will enjoy hearing from my next interviewee!

Thank you for reading!

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