Horror games are such a thrill to play, because they make us put our money where our mouth is for all the times we scream at people doing stupid things in horror movies. I like to think of it this way:
Me watching horror movies: NO DON’T GO IN THE BASEMENT YOU IDIOT YOU DESERVE TO DIE.
Also me playing horror games: I wonder if there’s anything cool in the basement?
So yeah. Having said that, there are some truly awesome horror games that have been released throughout history, that have terrified us out of our wits. And then there are the horror games that are so bad, the real horror is that you spent money on them. And so we’re presenting a list of those games, if the article title didn’t give it away.
Clock Tower was released in 1995 for the SNES as a point-and-click survival horror game, and man was it impressive. You would think that a point-and-click game would’ve been incredibly clunky on a console controller before thumbsticks were even invented, but somehow it just worked.
Human Entertainment did a great job of setting the pacing with a creepy atmosphere, numerous jumpscare moments and random events, and eight endings depending on the player’s actions.
Resident Evil 4
Considered the holy grail of the Resident Evil franchise, RE4 was originally released on GameCube in 2005, but has since been ported to like, literally every single console and handheld device ever made.
RE4 was able to use a new over-the-shoulder camera effect for a more action-oriented game, while maintaining the creepiness and atmosphere of the first three titles, before the franchise spiralled into a cliche Hollywood action-fest.
amnesia: The Dark Descent
Indie developers Frictional Games released Amnesia: The Dark Descent in 2010, and featured significantly polished weaponless survival horror gameplay over their previous survival horror franchise Penumbra.
What made Amnesia: The Dark Descent so incredible was 1) Mind-blowing graphics that could really test your hardware’s limits, 2) An intriguing story that kept you hooked into the gameplay, and 3) Legitimate “holy sh** oh god oh god what the f*** is that?!?!” moments, as you had absolutely no weapons and had to hide from monsters.
Microgaming Halloween Slot
The Halloween film franchise has been terrifying us since the first film’s release in 1978. It’s had its share of bad sequels and questionable reboots, but Halloween is certainly cemented as one of the “big three” horror franchises, which include Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.
Halloween fans can enjoy a spooky Halloween-themed online slot game at this casino online.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is not just known as one of the great horror games of all time, but also as one of the best games of all time. Rather than relying on cheap jumpscares, of which there are practically none, SH2 focused on incredible art direction, an amazing atmospheric soundtrack, and a deeply layered story that delves into all sorts of nuanced psychological themes.
One of the incredible things about SH2 was that it offered six different endings, but you didn’t achieve the endings by making conscious decisions throughout gameplay. The game actually had a system that would silently “judge” even your most miniscule actions, such as how near or far you stayed to a character under your protection.
Yes, a game that dealt with plenty of psychological issues psychoanalyzed your actions to give you the game ending it deemed you deserved. That alone was so groundbreaking and mind-boggling even today.
Honorable mentions: Condemned, F.E.A.R, Outlast, Fatal Frame II, Dead Space
Resident Evil 6
Where even to begin with how absolutely terrible RE6 was? We could start with the logo, which appeared so similarly to a giraffe performing a certain act that even Capcom was forced to respond.
You can’t unsee it. You know what we’re talking about.
We could talk about the absurd amount of quick-time events that made the player feel like they were watching a movie rather than playing a survival-horror game. We could talk about the fact that Resident Evil 6 barely even qualified as a survival-horror game, and Capcom admitted they only added zombies because fans expected it as part of the franchise.
We could also point out how Capcom was basically trying to capitalize on action-shooter gameplay and create something more akin to Call of Duty with a Resident Evil logo to boost sales, which ended up backfiring as they only sold 5 million copies and were forced to admit how disappointing it was. Yeah, we could talk about all of those things, but it’s better to just say “worst Resident Evil game ever”.
Ju-On: The Grudge
Take the ghosts from Japanese horror franchise Ju-On, add none of the characters from the films, give it bad Wiimote flashlight controls, call it a “haunted house simulator”, blend this all up into a milkshake, and what do you get? A pretty disgusting milkshake that only the most desperate would drink.
Ju-On: The Grudge was universally panned by critics, holding a 39/100 Metascore from critics, and an only slightly higher 5/10 stars from user reviews, with some user reviews basically saying “It’s the only horror game for Wii, so might as well give it a higher score”.
Friday the 13th
Nintendo made their reputation by strictly controlling the quality assurance of games on their console after the video game industry crash of the 80s, and yet, somehow this underwear skidmark of a video game made it onto their roster. Was somebody asleep at the levers?
Yeah, it was bad. And don’t give me any of that “It was the 8-bit era!” garbage either, because there were far better horror games on the NES. What exactly made Friday the 13th so bad?
Outrageous difficulty notwithstanding, it was basically a walking simulator, as you traversed from one end of Crystal Lake Camp to the other, collecting stuff, then rushing to mini-fights with Jason before he killed children. Also, that ridiculous neon purple jumpsuit they gave him.
Depending on your sources, the seventies were fucking lethal.
If you grew up on the output of the Children’s Film Foundation, your childhood was one where gangs of plucky children (and a maximum of one household pet) banded together to foil nefarious moustache twirling rogues, who sought to steal bullion and/or close youth centres. And where you would occasionally get to encounter a youthful Keith Chegwin pretending to be Robin Hood.
The other – if you believe the COI films from the seventies – showed a far different green and pleasant land. This Britain was markedly more ominous, noticeably beiger and greyer, and was mostly comprised of condemned buildings, disused quarries, fizzing power-stations and lethal or disfiguring death-traps disguised as innocent looking farms.
The COI (or Central Office of Information) was the UK Governments marketing and communications agency between 1947 and 2011, responsible for campaigns, advertisements and short films about issues that affected the lives of British citizens.
Children of the Eighties may well remember the BBC docudrama Threads as being one of the most terrifying (and formative) experiences of their childhoods. Children of the seventies, such as myself, may well shudder as they recall some of the output of the COI from that period.
The spectral form of the Grim Reaper (who sounded suspiciously like Donald Pleasance) haunted the edges of every British lake, pond and quarry. Un-gridded Grain Silos lurked like insatiable monsters, swallowing crying dolls whole in mere moments. Electricity Pylons existed solely to ensnare kites, tempting their owners to scale their metallic lattice frames and suffer a shocking fate. And, in the name of all that is holy, NEVER return to a lit firework.
But, perhaps most chilling of all, was the short film Apaches.
Directed by John Mackenzie – who later went on to direct the considerably less violent and harrowing The Long Good Friday – Apaches follows the (mis)adventures of six children, playing Cowboys and Indi Native Americans, from the days when kids used to play that and not just Fortnite.
Our group are like proto-Final Destination Kids, children blissfully unaware that they are in the opening scenes of a particularly gruesome episode of Casualty, youths so ill-fated that Edward Gorey could have written a book about them; K is for Kim – all squashed to shit, T is for Tommy, drowned in a pit…
To briefly interject, I have been accused in the past of rarely having happy endings in any of my stories. I would like to excuse this in some way, laying some of the blame of my nihilistic habits on short films such as Apaches. Films like this, and its COI ilk – including Lonely Water, Drive Carefully Darling, Building Sites Bite, The Finishing Line, Never Go with Strangers, and the spine-chilling Grain Drain – were the equivalent of Edwardian cautionary tales. Just like in real life, horrific things can happen to the careless and unwary. And these films do not shy away from these gruesome outcomes, hammering it home to young impressionable minds such as mine.
It all starts innocently enough, with the six children playing. Danny is the leader of the titular Apaches, insisting that his friends all call him Geronimo. The local farm, in scampering distance from their homes, is their playground. It is a pastoral maze of sheds and barns, an ideal landscape for their pretend Cowboy games.
It looks like great fun – we’re lulled into a false sense of security, watching them squabbling amongst themselves before they’re caught up in their fantasies, one of the two girls (squaws) in their party hitching a ride on the back of a tractor trailer as though she were ambushing a steam train.
Even watching it now, nearly half a century after initial release, your stomach physically lurches when the tractor turns suddenly and Kim is thrown under its wheels, her panicked scream cut abruptly short. The camera lingers uncomfortably long on the broken toy rifle and the spattering of fresh blood lying beside it.
My wife had never seen Apaches before, and visibly grimaced at the scene, letting out an audible gasp. And she has seen A Serbian Film.
Even with Kim gone, the farm continues to be their playground (Parenting standards have obviously improved a great deal since the late nineteen-seventies). Even when their numbers are so diminished that they are forced to play Starsky and Hutch instead of Cowboys (with some hilarious attempts at Californian accents), the children seem oblivious to danger.
The audience, fearing the worst, is not quite so lucky; every shed and outbuilding a makeshift tomb, every haybale secreting at least three pitchforks, every puddle a six-foot-deep quicksand pit.
Tommy loses his balance and falls into a slurry pit, drowning in moments. Robert is crushed by a falling gate, a huge grid of metal left carelessly leaning against a wall. Danny, playing on a tractor, accidentally disengages the handbrake and is crushed in a ditch, thrown under the farm machinery like a ragdoll.
The absence of each child is marked by the simplest of gestures; a name tag being peeled from a coat hook in a cloakroom, the contents of a school desk being emptied into a satchel etched with biro. Between each death scene, we can see a dinner party being prepared. It is only towards the end that we realise – with some inevitability and dawning dread - that the party is a wake for a dead child.
A party with Veal and Ham pie, too. Danny’s favourite. The silly dead idiot.
The worst death of all is Sharon. Considering that none of the children are actors – each has a lone IMDB credit for Apaches – they are all utterly convincing, and Sharon’s fate is the worst of all. Passing around a bottle of some unknown substance that they have found in a shed, with them all pretending to celebrate a recent victory, each child pretends to take a sip. Sharon forgets, and swigs a mouthful of the unknown liquid before spitting it out in disgust.
The last we hear of Sharon is from outside her bedroom window, her light flicking on as we hear her screaming out in dying, pained agony.
The six-year old me was fucking glad that he did not live anywhere near a farm. I lived quite near some pylons, but rarely flew kites, so felt safe in that regard.
Looking back on these films now, it is astonishing quite how brutal they were. I’m surprised children of my age ever dared leave the house, but – to the credit of the Central Office of Information – I’ve never once faked pretending to drink from a random bottle of liquid I’ve found in a farmers shed, which makes me infinitely smarter than Sharon. Daft cow.
Sleep well. That stomach-ache will pass.
“My mum and dad, it's a nice party, quiet, but nice. My cousin, Michael, my granny and granddad, all family are there for the party. I wish I was. I wish I was there. Honest.” – Danny, Apaches
The BFI have the entire short film hosted on their website, should you so dare; https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-apaches-1977-online
It’s also just been released in a lovely Blu-ray compilation of other COI films, which can be purchased from the BFI at https://shop.bfi.org.uk/dvd-blu-ray/documentaries/the-coi-collection.html
Lonely Water, probably the most terrifying safety film of all, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZWD2sDRESk
David Court is a short story author and novelist, whose works have appeared in over a dozen venues including Tales to Terrify, StarShipSofa, Visions from the Void, Fear’s Accomplice and The Voices Within. Whilst primarily a horror writer, he also writes science fiction, poetry and satire. His last collection, Scenes of Mild Peril, was re-released in 2020 and his debut comic writing has just featured in Tpub’s The Theory (Twisted Sci-Fi). As well as writing, David works as a Software Developer and lives in Coventry with his wife, three cats and an ever-growing beard. David’s wife once asked him if he would write about how great she was. David replied that he would because he specialized in short fiction. Despite that, they are still married. I’ll be back – ack – ack.
What drew me to horror, first as a reader and then as a writer?
I still remember being out on the sports fields at school and classmates surreptitiously passing around a worn paperback urging me to look at a certain page number. To this day I still remember the line: ‘putting his member into her like stuffing dough into a purse’ – or something along those lines. It’s from The Dark by James Herbert if I remember correctly, and there was something repugnant yet compelling about it that made me want to read more, so I did, I read lots more – especially of Herbert’s books. And not just for dark, crudely described sex scenes, but for the dark sinister feel and the brutality of the horror – a brutality which had overlapped into my life since I was born, being a child of domestic violence and having been on the receiving end both verbally and physically as a teenager.
I moved on from James Herbert, lapping up the likes of Guy N Smith and his books Deathbell and Satan’s Snowdrop, and then I discovered Stephen King – Firestarter being my first. I became one of his Constant Readers. And then Clive Barker came to my attention, and he encapsulated both horror and a surreal fantasy that was so extreme it was difficult to explain to people who have never read his work. I could only describe it as being so far beyond fantasy it was ‘the fantastic’; his use of crude, harsh, blunt words giving it a harder edge than a lot of books in the same genre, placing it in darker realms. But I loved it and consumed as much of it as I could find, and for me personally it was the ultimate in escapism, feeding the fantasies I used to disassociate from my real world.
I also reached a point that I was so used to reading this type of horror that it was hard for me to gauge how dark it was: I remember recommending Weaveworld to a friend, only thinking about the fantasy side, and they struggled with it. I did the same with Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz, when suggesting it to my book club.
It’s led me to ponder many times why I was so unaffected by it where others weren’t, and I knew it was reflective of my childhood. I had witnessed and experienced such real, tangible horrors that fictional tales like these didn’t affect me negatively, in fact they helped me escape and see that it was possible that things could be worse. I could relate to the fear and the suspense of uncertainty in a much more visceral way, whereas happy-go-lucky chick-lit or romance novels, where people’s struggles were minor in comparison, just didn’t cut it for me.
Despite their darkness, many horror books have a baseline of good triumphs over evil – and I needed to know that, I needed to believe it could get better and that there were people out there that got away or recovered.
The fallout of experiencing the kind of abuse and trauma I did as a child is that it has repercussions as you grow up and try and hold down relationships and jobs. I suffer from Complex PTSD, which shows up in lots of forms from anxiety and depression to suicidal ideation, and is caused by prolonged and repetitive abuse over many years. It also means I would disconnect from life around me and live in a fantasy in my mind, a form of dissociative behaviour that has caused me to struggle a lot, and which is what led to me moving from reading to writing my own horror.
I started with flash fiction, which enabled me to express emotions – emotions that I hadn’t been allowed as a child – through characters and situations. I could express their hurt and I could express their anger, I could explore what was going on. It was a release, and in sharing them I was also able to open a dialogue about them – a much needed dialogue.
The opening to my debut novel in September 2019 was written in 1991 as a mere snippet for a competition to win a copy of James Herbert’s Portent, but I knew then I wanted it to be bigger, that I wanted to express to the world what would drive a woman to murder, how that was possible, how a person’s mind can be broken. But I wasn’t ready at that time to write it and I knew that. I needed to unravel myself and gain some life experience, and after years in therapy I was able to finally write about that character’s break from reality and her recovery – all be it in prison. I wanted the audience to feel sympathy for her, to understand her, and realise that life is not black and white, it’s a whole world of grey and that mental health is a fragile thing and if people aren’t paying attention things can go array.
As a reader I want to be able to relate, to engage to connect in a way I struggle to in real life, and for me that connection has to be with characters and storylines that aren’t straight forward or ‘normal’, that are off kilter and warped in some way, because that is how I feel in myself. They add depth and give me a sense of belonging, and as someone who has suffered a whole half century on this planet without one that is paramount. I might go and visit other genres to read and write, but horror will always be my true home.
Miranda Kate, spent her early childhood in Surrey, in the south of England, and her teens and early adulthood moving round the UK, but currently resides in the Netherlands.
Miranda has been featured in several Flash Fiction anthologies, and has published two collections, one of dark flash-fiction tales, called Mostly Dark, and another of dark science-fiction fantasy stories, called Slipping Through. The latter containing a short novella, The Game, for which a sequel is forthcoming.
Under the pen name M K Boers, she has also released the novel, Sleep, a psychological thriller.
You can find out more on her blog: https://purplequeennl.blogspot.com/ or website: https://mirandakateboersauthor.weebly.com/
Facebook @MirandaKateAuthor and Twitter @PurpleQueenNL
Slipping Through: Journey into different dimensions by Miranda Kate
Journey into different dimensions
Containing two short stories and a novella, Slipping Through is a collection of other world tales.
In INTERDIMENSIONING, Logan and Elise side step into the wrong dimension and discover a place where the dominant species isn’t human.
In V.W.G The Professor and Vladimir are excited to about unlocking the secret to a parallel simulation, but find out it’s not what it seems.
And in novella THE GAME, David wants to get back to his own time, but needs to catch The Jester to do so. But will enlisting Rob’s help trap them in the Jester’s game and slipping through parallel times forever?
In this extraordinary collection of science fiction fantasy tales, and time-travel thrillers, catch a glimpse of parallel universes and surreal worlds, and see what lies in the cracks between.
“Bonkers brilliant.” – Michael Wombat, Author of The Raven’s Wing & Fog
“Intriguingly clever.” - Angela Lynn, Author of All The What Ifs & Of Lies & Zombies
Ever had to work while on the go? Or have you tried having to switch from your office desktop to a laptop to your phone?
If you have, you might’ve heard how Google Drive is one of the tech giant’s most useful tools. Whether you’re an individual or a business, using Google Drive for backups is invaluable. But if you aren’t adept at using this service, you might find it confusing.
Don’t feel discouraged just yet.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to backup files to Google Drive. These are common methods, both manual and automatic. Read on and find out more today.
How to Backup Files to Google Drive
Let’s start with the basics. Here are the steps to using Google drive for backups:
1. Download the Google Drive Application
The application is available for macOS and Windows. If you tried out other cloud storage apps before, Google Drive will function the same way.
2. Launch the Application
Once you launch the app, you’ll get a prompt. Type your login information, which means inputting your Google account details. After you’re done, the Google Drive application will take care of the rest.
It will start adding a folder to your hard drive and copy all your Google Drive’s online documents to your computer. The PC keeps the documents in sync with your Google Drive, whether you change the documents using your computer or other devices.
With your Google Drive files stored within your computer, you won’t need to log in to your Google Drive using a browser. Instead, look for the Google Drive folder on your computer hard drive and access the documents from there.
3. Back-Up Your Files
The good news is that backing up your files to Google Drive is as simple as dragging and dropping files to your Google Drive folder. But doing this needs some manual effort since you must remember to do it regularly.
A good practice is to move your documents to the Google Drive folder. Make it your default saving destination, like a new My Documents folder. That ensures you won’t forget backing up your files online.
How to Back Up Your Google Drive
These methods are for backing up your Google Drive, adding an extra layer of protection for your files. Use them when appropriate since some need payments. Here are some you should consider:
Backup and Sync Client by Google
This Google-based app enables your local drive to synchronize with your Google Drive. This ensures that all files added to your Google Drive will also be on your computer’s hard drive. With this, all the changes made in your Google Drive files will also reflect on your computer.
For example, if you delete a file in your Google Drive, the system also deletes it from your hard drive. It’s a good way to backup files to Google Drive, as long as you have a designated folder. If you want to keep some files separate, you can place them in a different hard drive or device.
Using Google Drive Backup and Sync means full automation, meaning all files and edits done on your Google Drive will reflect on your computer and vice versa. With this, you can access your main computer files regardless of the device you use.
While your files have a Google Drive backup, they still take up space on your hard drive. With that, be picky of the files you’ll save. Also, you need to save important files on other devices since the sync works both ways.
How to Set Up Backup and Sync
To use this feature, download the application from Google. After installation, launch it, and use your Google account to sign in. This will enable you to set synchronization options to fit your situation.
For local drive files, this application allows you to choose the folders you want to back up. If you want your Google Drive to have a backup in your local hard drive, go to the sync settings. Pick the folders you want or copy all files before pressing Start.
Depending on the volume of data, it can take a while.
Use Google Takeout
Google Takeout’s design allows you to create one-time copies of the information stored in your Google account. This covers a wide variety of services, such as Gmail, Contacts, Google Drive, and more. With this, you can have an additional layer of backups after saving your data on Google Drive.
Google Takeout supports all services related to Google. It’s also versatile since you can send the data to other cloud storage platforms. Otherwise, you can download all these data on your desktop.
The one-time save feature has no automatic options for backing up. If you aren’t conscientious in saving with this service, you can still lose your files.
Use Google Vault
This is an online archive and eDiscovery service. IT administrators often use this to keep their G Suite users’ data. It will back up and save files, regardless of any modifications done to it initially. That makes Google Vault an archiver, not a backup service, making its features unique.
Google Vault needs no installation and can keep data for long periods. It also has unlimited storage, meaning it’s ideal for business usage.
Since it’s an archiver, Google Vault can’t restore data using Google Drive. It’s only good as a reference point in the future. If something happens to your files, they won’t get restored quickly.
Also, this feature is exclusive to G Suite Business, Education, or Enterprise package subscribers. It’s expensive since the basic package is $60 a year while its Enterprise counterpart is at $300.
Backup Your Google Drive Today!
These are some methods showing how to backup files to Google Drive. Use these to ensure that your files’ safety, in case your computer gets damaged. If you want to maximize this, use the other methods to make more backups of the files stored in your Google Drive.
Did you find this guide informative? If so, we encourage you to read our other posts and learn more valuable tips and tricks. It will help make your life easier when dealing with computers.
Fun Exercise to Improve Creative Thinking
Some of you might think that creativity is something inherited, and if you’re not creative, you’ll never be; that’s not true at all. Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist, states that there’s no evidence that one person can inherently be more creative than another, but rather it’s a skill that can be cultivated. He adds that a significant factor that kills creativity is stress, which a lot of people struggle with daily.
The New York Times reported that Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world, and this affects our overall creativity. Our inventive thinking and ability decline as we get older and take on more responsibilities. That’s why a child can easily find animals in the form of clouds in the sky or imagine an alternative world while playing; they’re a lot less stressed than a college student or someone working multiple jobs to get by.
Don”t worry though, there are exercises you can start doing to improve your creative thinking, and we’re here to show you how!
Playing Games Some might think that playing video games or board games should be left for children and teenagers; however, there’s a lot of evidence that it can improve how we think creatively. The founder of D20 Collective stated that games “develop life skills such as math, critical thinking, social development, and camaraderie.”
While playing games, to be successful, you need to have a strategy and think outside the box. To move up in levels or to win, you must do things that no one else is doing. Also, in games that require players to imagine characters, settings, and obstacles, this involves a lot of creativity.
There are also games available specifically for thinking like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, Rubik’s Cube, and brain training apps. However, all games improve your thinking in some way or another.
Making ArtCreating art is one of the best exercises you can do to improve thinking. Art, in a way, is creative problem-solving. You can combine the correct colors to make it realistic, and you have to move the brush a certain way to get the right effect.
Also, creating art from bits and pieces around your home that aren’t traditional tools, like paint, paper, and pencils, can really boost creativity. You can’t look at a cardboard box and think, what should I ship in it? You have to think about the castle or dinosaur you can turn it into! It’s a fun way to relax your brain and activate your inner child.
As many have witnessed, stress is the leading killer of creativity, and art has been proven to lower stress in adults. In 2016, a paper published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association by a group of researchers found that 45 minutes of doing art lowers a person’s cortisol levels, which is produced in our bodies as a response to stress.
Writing Prompts Writing, in general, is excellent for your mind, but having unique things to write about boosts creativity. There are a lot of writing prompts online that have constrictions or are about something random that helps build a story.
Some of the best examples are using a picture and writing a story without using a typical letter, like “e,” “a,” “s” or “t,” or by using a prompt online. You can then post or publish your stories so that others can read your work. You can also read other’s interpretations to get a new perspective.
The Bottom Line
In a world that’s full of stress, our minds can become clouded. These are some exercises we can all start to do to improve our creative thinking. These activities will make us innovative workers, better problem solvers, and keep our brains active.
Content marketing specialist
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart - all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.
I don’t know what the big deal is about writing. You just sit around all day and make stuff up. I wish I had that kind of time. I’d love to write a book.
Would you? Would you really love to have that chance? Because the reality is that you do have that chance. More than people realize. Sure, your output may be more in the tune of George RR Martin or Thomas Harris. But you do have the time to write a book. So what’s really stopping you?
Sure, there’s plenty to writing a book that people don’t see or understand. It’s like cooking an egg. Yes it’s a relatively simple process but it takes skill to do it right. Such is the case with writing but that isn’t what this is about.
All you do is sit around and make stuff up.
Sure. No big deal. All you do is expose yourself to every possible nasty and mean-hearted comment from any person from across the planet. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Internet these days ain’t exactly a happy and sunny place. Publishing means putting your own self esteem and value down onto the chopping block of society’s narrowing restraints and all you can do is pray that you aren’t killed.
All of that is absolutely true. But for me, publishing has led to a completely different kind of fear and anxiety. Not that people will see your writing out there and respond with the meanest, most vile comments you could imagine. For me, it isn’t the fear of what people might say.
It’s the fact that people will see my writing and say nothing.
You aren’t terrible at what you do. You’re just irrelevant. You’re like tap water. No one hates tap water. But no one is going out of their way to get it, either.
I remember when I was getting my first book ready for publication. I had a tally in my head of the number of people who had promised to buy it when it came out. I was setting myself up for my first hard lesson of publishing when the day finally came and I watched my reports top off at twelve copies sold.
That didn’t make any sense. At least forty people had pledged their support. Surely Amazon must be slow in reporting their sales. That had to be it.
Still, that proved to be the extent of my first release day and in the weeks to come I would find even fewer reviews being posted. And as depressed as I was in the wake of this, I can only be grateful that I didn’t know then what I now know, that pitiful performance would prove to date to be my second most successful release, in terms of initial sales.
It’s not at all the challenge I was expecting going into this. It’s easy to imagine the fear of being mocked, rejected and put down. But almost worse than that is the notion that you’re so bland and un-noteworthy that readers can’t even work up the energy to insult you.
It’s a torture that often seems custom-fit for my own sensibilities and weaknesses. Like a shark that instinctively hones on my weakest areas, that’s the publishing industry for you. Growing up, I experienced several moves to new neighborhoods and new schools. I don’t say this to put blame on anyone, it’s just the way it was for me. And the result was that I didn’t have as strong a sense of that core group of friends that the people around me had, growing up. It’s not that I didn’t have friends, I did. And I think that I developed an inherent ability to kind of float from group to group, never fully rejected but also never feeling completely accepted, either.
Here’s how I behave at parties, just to give you a sense of my mindset. If I’m lucky enough to have someone engage me in something, I’ll happily prattle the night away. But if that doesn’t happen, often you’ll find me awkwardly standing amongst a group of people chatting away in their own conversations, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I don’t try and insert myself into any of it so I just end up feeling rejected from everything. I’m there physically, but in the same sense that the couch or the coffee table is there.
I only recently realized this about myself, or at least I think I only articulated this to myself recently but my personal hangup comes directly from always feeling like I’m on the outside, looking in. A tolerated member of a club that no one really wants to be around bit doesn’t want to outright exclude.
Absent any conflicting evidence, my default belief is that no one likes me.
If someone doesn’t seem talkative at work, it’s because there’s something wrong with me. If a post on Facebook about my books gets no engagement, it’s because no one likes me or my shitty writing. If I release a book and sell a grand total of one copy, it’s because I’m worthless and no one is interested in what I have to say.
There are obviously much more grounded explanations for bad sales. There are literally millions of authors out there and thousands of books published every day. It’s next to impossible to get noticed in that storm. But that’s not where my brain goes. That’s not what my brain uses to flog my already pathetic self-esteem. My books don’t sell because, unlike my various author friends out there, no one finds me compelling or interesting. Not enough to read a book, anyway.
I said recently that the best way to prove how irrelevant you are is to publish a book. How do I navigate this emotional mine field where the mines seem to go off on their own? Where every day I have a sales dashboard to permanently record how uninteresting and untalented I am? How do I convince myself that I’m any better than ground down dog shit when I’m also the one convincing myself that that’s exactly what I am?
But yeah, it’s no big deal. It’s just sitting around, making stuff up.
I don’t know why I do this. I honestly don’t. When every day passes with no change and everything I try just seems to immediately fail. I’ve told myself so many times that I should just quit. Walk away from all my non-existent readers who probably wouldn’t even notice if I was gone. It’s irrational. Makes no sense.
Still, I persist.
But that determination isn’t easy. It takes a mountain of willpower and resolve to continue publishing my work into a vacuum of seemingly permanently uninterested readers. I publish my work knowing that it’s only going to be further proof of my own inadequacy.
Still, I persist.
I wanted to be able to land this on a somewhat optimistic tone, hope for the future, hope for change, hope for anything different. Hope for the day that I don’t immediately notice when a new review has posted because I’ve long since memorized how many reviews all my books have. But I honestly don’t know if that hope will ever be anything other than just hope. I don’t know. I can only persist. I can only put my next foot forward. And forward. And forward.
Because I do love what I do. And at the end of the day I sometimes have to accept that even if I’m the only one in the auditorium, the acoustics in here sound beautiful. And I have to remind myself that this happiness has to come before my own emotional need for someone to see me, to show interest in what I do. I can’t turn off that voice in my head that tells me that I’m shit. I just need to cram a few cheerleaders in there as well.
Every day is a struggle of trying harder to see my own value. To not see things that aren’t there and to not imbue things with power that it doesn’t have. I can’t wait around for people to tell me I have value. I have to see my own value. That’s just not the easiest load in the world to pick up.
I try to have faith. That one day some heads might turn. That someday a book of mine will generate some interest. That one day someone out there might poke around to my website to see when the next book is coming out. I try to hold the torch of my own faith high enough to see the possibility of all those things that could change for me.
Of course, I could just be making all that stuff up.
Came Madness To Me by Chad A. Clark
There are other worlds all around us.Every day, there are near brushes with those worlds, though we rarely know it. Sometimes, the bubbles of existence that compromise everything we know and don't know come close enough to collide. Sometimes they merge and become defined as each other. Those other worlds can be seen in the abrupt acts of violence perpetrated upon the unsuspecting. It can be as simple as the sudden, darker aspects of the people we encounter in our lives. Those other worlds can be glimpsed in the random moments of impossibility we seem fated to encounter. Our lives are constantly on the precipice of sanity and reason.As are these tales.