Interviewing Icons - Tanhony
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For this interview, I worked with the longtime member and contributor to the site, Tanhony. He was a pleasure to work with as many of my interviewees have been. Tanhony is a very respected member of the site and started up an SCP related podcast this year called "Discovering SCP" which I frequently listen to. I hope everyone enjoys the little discussion I had with Mister 5000 himself! ~ WhiteGuardWhiteGuard

Who is TanhonyTanhony?

The user Tanhony became a member of this site on the 10th of August, 2011, and his top 3 most popular pages on the site by rating are SCP-5000: Why? at +1833, SCP-993: Bobble the Clown at +1227, and SCP-1437: A Hole to Another Place at +1084. As an author, Tanhony has written a total of 111 SCP articles, 19 Tales, 0 GoI Formats, and 2 other pages for a grand total of 132 pages contributed. As host of the Discovering SCP podcast with his cohost DarnellJermaineDarnellJermaine and as the winner of the site's 5000 contest, Tanhony has been a dedicated member of our community. 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 Tanhony's responses.

Interview Questions:

Thanks for doing this interview with me, Tan! First off, would you mind sharing how you came across the SCP Wiki?

I first came across the SCP wiki through a discussion thread on a forum I was part of around nine years back. I mostly lurked in that thread for a while, just reading specific SCPs that were linked to there, before deciding it was something I was interested in contributing to.

Was the wiki your first experience writing creatively? Why did you decide to write on the site rather than just sticking to reading and rating works instead? In your AMA, you shared that your first few articles failed. What do you believe the main issues were and would you mind sharing a little about them?

I first joined the wiki in high school, and creative writing was already something I enjoyed at the time, so for me, the SCP wiki was a way to use that creativity productively.

My first article - "Chocolate Goldfish" - failed, I think because there just wasn't much to it. This was a problem with a few of my earlier articles, where I just put down an idea that briefly interested me and didn't go as far into the concept as I could. Chocolate Goldfish was just what it said on the tin - chocolate goldfish that turned other fish into chocolate if put into the same body of water. Not very exciting.

Your first successful article was posted on the 18th of August, 2011 entitled SCP-670: Family of Cotton. Why do you believe this article succeeded instead of your previous attempts?

I would say two factors helped 670 out. When I first posted it, it had four really striking, iconic pictures that jumped right out at the reader (unfortunately, they weren't CC, so they're gone now). Second, there was an actual story to 670 - the relationship between these cotton people and the disturbing twist near the end. There's a little bit of bloat to it - the mention of "Grandfather" in the interview doesn't really go anywhere - but you could get away with that back then.

Which authors or works would you say have inspired you on the site? What can be learned from these writers, and what do you believe your best traits are as a writer?

I feel like, over time, I've taken inspiration from quite a few different writers. I'll just go over a few here.

  • Salman Corbette - this guy was the absolute master of comedic articles as far as I'm concerned. He was really nice to me when I first started out, and I'll always appreciate that. Come back someday ;(
  • DJKaktus - I love the way Kaktus can expand on a simple concept and make a huge narrative about it that stays interesting throughout. Plus, I love deep lore and the Kaktusverse has that in spades.
  • PeppersGhost - I love Pepper's stuff, each one of their articles gives off a very unique atmosphere and a lot of their best has that mysterious open-ended-ness that I just love.
  • CadavarCommander - His character writing is absolutely top-notch, and the way he can so easily make something relatable so quickly.

It's a little weird to talk about things I myself am good at, but people have told me I'm pretty good at presenting a surreal tone. That makes me really happy, as surreal horror and comedy are something I really love - so being able to contribute to that, if only a little, is great.

In your eyes, what actually makes a good article, tale, or format on the site? What do you believe is the most common aspect that new authors often struggle with on the wiki?

The narrative, definitely. With a lot of content on the website, there's the temptation for a magic item or a basic idea that doesn't fully explore the implications. The concept should be the starting point, not the whole thing. Once you get that, you'll naturally start enjoying the writing process more, and your writing will naturally improve.

SCP-5000: Why? is your most popular work on the site and rightfully so. It is always a risk to link many other articles to your own work, but what you decided to do with 5000 was very ambitious. Talk through your process with this article. Are there any aspects you would like to explain further or any parts you decided to cut out of the final product?

My initial concept with SCP-5000 was wanting to write a 'big' SCP, something with an in-depth story like SCP-1730. It's the kind of thing I've attempted a few times previously, but never really had an idea that could accommodate it. The concept of the Foundation turning against humanity was one that I thought I could get a lot of storytelling mileage out of so, uh, I did.

As for things that were left out, I can't really think of anything. I always wanted to focus on Pietro's single perspective, with just little looks at what's happening in the rest of the world like the Ganzir situation. To be honest, I think I went a little nuts with the article. Pretty much everything I wanted in there is in there.

There have been a number of articles that reference your SCP-993: Bobble the Clown article. Being one of your most popular works, what about this terrifying Pennywise-Ronald McDonald hybrid makes for an interesting story in your opinion?

I feel like I managed to hit while the iron was hot with both creepy clowns and haunted televisions with Bobble the Clown. He's a pretty monstrous character but just cartoonish enough that it can be darkly funny rather than just horrifying. To tell the truth, I don't know if he'd do as well if posted today, but I can't overstate how pleased I am with the reception to him over the years.

Your article, SCP-1437: A Hole to Another Place, is one of my favorite works of yours. The concept of a path between parallel universes itself is nothing new, but something about the way you introduced it made it interesting. What inspired this article and how do you rank it among your work?

I really love SCP-1437; it's probably one of my favourite things I've written. The idea developed naturally from wanting to have an SCP article presented from the perspective of numerous different parallel Foundations. I've always wanted to expand on Our Masters Above from the last log - which I've done a little with 2874 - but haven't fully gotten around to yet.

You have been around for the creation of many Groups of Interest over the years. Which GoI is your favorite thus far and why?

I have to say, the expansion by so many writers has really made the Church of the Broken God my favourite GoI. The unique mix of fantasy, alternate history, science fiction, and horror they allow has really broadened their appeal for me beyond the somewhat standard 'crazy cult' they were in their first appearances.

For anyone who is not aware, what exactly is BobbleCon? Do you have any future plans for the series?

BobbleCon is a tale series I've been writing (in the loosest possible sense) over the last two years about a breach of SCP-993's containment. I honestly have no idea what I am doing with it, but I'm having fun.

Your first 001 proposal, called Dead Men, was posted on the 21st of February, 2018. This proposal deals with the Ethics Committee, the introduction of MTF Omega-1 Laws Left Hand, and a neat dynamic between the Committee and the O5 council. Take us through the mind of 2018 Tanhony writing this. Was the final result what you originally envisioned?

Dead Men only became an 001 proposal about an hour before I posted it. It started off as just the first section, ending with the Ethics Committee note, then expanded with each draft until it became as long as it did. I'm pretty sure the AI framing device was the last thing to be added. I was really happy with the reception, but as it didn't originate as an 001 proposal, I didn't quite feel like I'd managed to properly made my mark in the way that other proposals had.

For many authors on the site, a successful 001 proposal is a great accomplishment. You happen to have two. The Black Moon is your second proposal, which of course pays homage to the old phrase on the wiki "Does the black moon howl?". Would you explain what the phrase pertains to and then describe your newest proposal to those who have not seen it yet?

I was so surprised nobody beat me to calling a proposal 'The Black Moon'. The very basic idea of this proposal was with me for a couple of years, but I didn't really know how to expand on it until I came up with the idea of doing it as an anthology of linked stories rather than one big article.

In the context of the article, the black moon 'howling' is it wiping something from existence - a kind of 'the bell tolls' deal. My second proposal basically charts the universe from beginning to end following the conflict between the Administrator and the Black Moon.

If you had to pick an article of yours that you believe is currently underrated compared to your other works, what article would come to mind? Please explain what you enjoy about this particular work of yours.

I don't know whether I'd call it underrated, but one of my favourite articles I've written to go back to is SCP-4972. It was partially based on a nightmare I had - one that really messed me up - and so I feel like I really managed to get this surreal horror out of my head and onto the page to a degree that I haven't matched since.

You have a member of staff since the 28th of August, 2019 as part of the Site Crit team. I have seen community members who were confused as to what the point of Site Crit is. Why would you say that this staff team is necessary?

Without engagement, there's no community. Something I hate to see is a good article with only six or seven comments, especially when those comments aren't really talking about the piece very in-depth. I love talking about the things I like, and the things I dislike, and in my mind, there's no better way to do that than through criticism - especially as that can help improve the things you like.

How have you changed as a writer and as a person over the years? What have you learned that you would like to share with whoever reads this interview?

My writing pace has slowed down, but that is probably because I don't write every idea that pops into my head regardless of quality anymore. I also have a much clearer idea of what I want to accomplish when I go into writing something, whether that's narrative, character, or just the general vibe I want the article to get across.

As for advice, I'd say - try weird stuff. Stuff that really shouldn't work. That's when you have the most fun.

You have been writing on the wiki for 9 years. In what ways is the site different from how it is now? In what ways have the community and staff developed over the years?

Quality has definitely gone up - and, weirdly enough, so has quantity. As a result, it's easy for individual articles to get looked over. I don't know if there's a way to fix that, but it's a little sad.

Staff has definitely become more professional, which I appreciate - looking back, some of the stuff that happened around the time I first joined just seems absurd now. The community, too, has matured quite a bit: the writing has become so much more complex since I first joined, and the site is so much more friendly to newbies.

This year, you and a friend, DarnellJermaine started a podcast called Discovering SCP. For those who have not tuned in yet, what is the premise of the podcast and why have you decided to undertake something like this?

In Discovering SCP, me and my friend Darnell (who knows very little about the SCP universe) read through the wiki starting from Series 1 and going through the different famous articles, tales, and groups of interest. I always love seeing people's reactions to things I enjoy, so doing this podcast with my friend is my way of sharing with him something I have a huge passion for.

Are there any projects outside of the wiki that you would like to talk about? I know of at least one that you have been working on.

I'm currently working on a web serial called Aetheral Space. It's a kind of science-fantasy space opera that I update every Wednesday and Sunday over on Royal Road. If you're interested, I'd love for you to check it out here!

So, after all of that, who is the person behind the name "Tanhony"?



Why not?

This concludes the interview. I hope you enjoyed it! I would like to thank Tanhony, he was great to work with. I really appreciate all of the positive comments I have received since I began the Meet the Administrators series. In addition to that, 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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