Into the darkness

I write for money. I am a freelancer. I have written for national and international publications. I have written for about every local and regional publication there is. I have had some of the best editors out there, time after time. Yet time after time these editors would be fired, retire or move on to another publication that dealt with matters outside my expertise. Then I would make some proposals to their replacements, usually to no avail (as is usually the case for freelancers everywhere). But I kept swinging, selling and then crafting assignments and sending them off to the ether. The work seemed short-lived. Disposable. I was tired of writing for hire.

It had been this way since I was unceremonious sluiced out of the world of daily journalism along with my comrades and others, years before in the Days of the Great Layoffs. I continued to publish voluminously, online and off, but the idea of creating something lasting began to tickle my brain. Could I write a book? What about?

It was as simple as this. I looked at everything I had written, and found that I had written most extensively on horror film. I looked for a comprehensive book on the world history of horror film. I didn’t find it. So, I thought I’d write it.

O how easy it would all be! I would just fill in the gaps in my narrative with a little research, slap something together, and voila! make a quick sale. So began four years of work.

I had no idea what I was getting into, which I think is the ideal state for a writer. It prevents second thoughts. I pushed myself to know every bit of the history of my subjects, and so read source material and watched movies incessantly for months, coming to an understanding of a period and then laboriously outlining it, filling in significant details and moving on to the next chapter. I was a horror aficionado but became a horror expert.

It is somewhat damaging to watch a lot of scary movies. Often I would cue up some Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton as a break from the frights.

I went through who knows how many revisions. Meanwhile, I was crafting something as important and time-consuming as the book itself – its proposal package.

Published by bradweismann

Brad Weismann is an award-winning writer and editor. His work has appeared in such publications as Senses of Cinema, Film International, Backstage, Muso, Parterre, 5280, and Boulder Magazine. His first book, Lost in the Dark: A World History of Horror Film was recently published by the University Press of Mississippi. He contributed to the critical collection 100 Years of Soviet Cinema, and he was chosen by the Library of Congress to contribute explanatory essays to its National Recording Registry.

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