Hello.

Wow, it's been quite a ride. When I first began building this piece, I had absolutely no clue I'd garner the kind of response and widespread interest it generated. And to make matters difficult, it was like a carnival ride: Once I got on, I couldn't get off until the ride was through, otherwise everything that made Dionaea House effective would break down.

So finally, now that the ride has stopped and the restraint bar has lifted, let me answer some questions here, so I can clear things up.

Is this a hoax?
No. It's a story. There is a big difference, in my opinion. Were this a hoax, I would have been deliberately trying to con someone, and I would have done at least a dozen things differently. That was never my intention. The names and events here are made up. While Dionaea House uses an unconventional medium, it's still a work of fiction, and as many of you were quick to observe, it contains all the hallmarks of a story.

Why did you use yourself in the story?
Well, honestly, I'm hard to scare. I write first and foremost to satisfy myself, and my previous stabs at horror fiction have not been very frightening. Since most of the images and situations (like the tub string) were culled from my own nightmares, I felt more invested in the story as a character. It also let me be more honest and direct about my feelings and reactions.

If this isn't real, why did you put it on the Internet?
Dionaea House is a companion piece to a feature film I'm pitching. From day one, it was my plan to share the URL only to producers and other business contacts. It's clean and easy to send along, versus paper and brads. Early on I shared the link to a few friends for some peer review.

I had no idea it would spread like a flash fire. You all took me by surprise. :-)

Did other people help you write it? Who is [character name]?
I wrote all of the characters myself. I imagine it's easy to tell with many of them. Just the same, I created a spreadsheet listing all character names and, next to each, their personal writing style. How do they type emotes? Do they misspell certain words? Do they have a problem with contractions? Do they punctuate their messages oddly? What about capitalization? That was my cheat sheet during the construction of the story, and I returned to it often.

This reminds me a lot of [insert movie, book, game here].
I'm not surprised. It's not the first time a story has been told through a format like this, nor will it be the last. It just happened to work best for me. In fact, more fiction may lean this way, if the average reader is like me; numbed to most horror subgenres.

Will this be a movie?
I don't know, but I'll update this site if I have any news. The ironic part of this whole deal is that your responses (via email and comments) may be what sells it to a studio. In effect, each of you would be part of the reason for the story's success -- albeit a part I never considered before now.

A writer's most tragic personal moment is, at the end of the day, to have learned nothing from writing. Regardless of the future of Dionaea House, I can say it has taught me quite a lot about embracing new mediums for storytelling, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you all, my unexpected audience.

- Eric

P.S. - If you'd like to receive periodic updates about this project as it evolves, I've created a Yahoo! email group for just that purpose. It's an email subscription group.