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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

If writing was like acting...would you be a hooker?

Writing is a tough business. Not only do you have to put the hours and effort in to create something worth reading, but you have to develop your skills. It's a long journey, and you'll take your knocks and learn things the hard way. Even then, you might never make a sale because your work isn't 'now' or simply may not fit what publishers want.

And this got me thinking (especially after reading The Last Deep Breath by Tom Piccirilli)...it's kinda like being an actor, trying to get that big break in Hollywood.

Where are you on the acting/writing scale?


Everyone knows you. Your face is on the cover of every magazine. Universal are on the phone, and they want YOU as the new James Bond. Get your people to talk to their people. Do lunch.

Or, as a writer...

Hello, Mr. King, Ms. Meyer or any of the other writers found on every coffee table, New York Times Bestseller list or (heavens, you made it!) Australian bookshop shelf. We want something. Anything! Give us your shopping list! We'll sell millions.... You don't even need to try. Not any more*.

*Author note. I'm sure Stevie tries his very hardest still, and I constantly enjoy his work. And hopefully one day, Meyer will try and write something that doesn't cause people to enter 'the reading rage'.


Okay, so we aren't exactly a starlet or Hollywood supremo, but we got some decent credits. You're the guy that always gets to be the funny sidekick, despite the odd serious role, or you're the gal who, far from making millions per movie, did get into the FHM top 20. You try so hard, and have the skill and talent to go all the way...but there's always that one guy who gets the lead role over you! Call your agent.

Or, as a writer...

Congratulations! You're Dean Koontz.


It may have been one role, but the fans, they love you! Well, I say fans, I mean the geeks. Yeah, sorry, guy. The line will be a mile long at Splattercon, full of thick lenses, bad breath (and skin) and leopard print leggings. Y'all know they're your biggest fan. Hell, you seen ma tattoo of ya face on ma inner thigh? Hyuck hyuck.

Or, as a writer...

Actually, you're pretty well respected. A strong, loyal following of readers who will guaranteed buy your latest novel, and do their very best to spread the word of your greatness with the rest of the reading community (that's the community of readers, not the community of Reading). Only problem is...you write horror? Or fantasy? Or sci fi? SPECULATIVE FICTION? Hmm. A spec writer who has the skills but will never be #1 in his field? Shit, you're Dean Koontz again. At least you have the nonfic about keeping dogs. I bet King can't write one of those...

What? The Dark Tower: Roland Get's a Dog?



Well, this coffee shop in downtown L.A is kinda like being an actor. No, it is. You have to pretend that you give a rat's ass about what bagel you want and how frothy you want your chocamochachino. Just keep telling yourself...this is only temporary. Okay, the last few auditions didn't get any call backs, and so far the highlight of your acting career was playing rapist #3 (and they cut your scene in the finals, the bastards), but you have another next week. Think positive. Keep going. You'll make it!

Oh, and can I have a blueberry muffin too, please?

Or, as a writer...

Welcome to the slush pile, bitch! No way you can escape without waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and, well, you get the idea. Keep sending out those submissions and notching up those rejections. It's what we all have to do. It's bootcamp. It's endurance training. It's DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS? Cling to acceptances like life preservers in cruel seas. Keep going. This is only temporary!


You think you can act...maybe...maybe not. You're a little wooden, but that's okay. We're looking for wood! Hell, technically it's still acting. You can tell your grandmother that you just landed a major part; you don't have to tell her it's in Ghetto Gangbangers 3: Back in da Hood. Just get on set, drop your pants, do your stuff and pick up your check.

Or, as a writer...

Okay, let's see (strokes chin). Vampires are popular. Can you you write me a vampire book in the next 2 months?

What do you mean you don't want to write a vampire book?

Wha? You have a revolutionary novel idea that compares the social and economic differences between the continents, and these concepts are addressed on a parallel dimensional level with a sympathetic protagonist?

No. I said vampires, dammit!


Yes, Hollywood is a cruel, cruel place. You arrived full of dreams with stars in your eyes...but the parts never came. Even the porn roles dried up once the heroine addiction kicked in. A girl gotta eat, and as that money your exboyfriend owes you still hasn't come through (a mix up with his account, he says), and the coffee shops all have workers who want to be in movies...it's time for the oldest game in town.

Unfortunately, you were too young for the over 75's mixed doubles table tennis tournament, so you became a prostitute.

Yes, the work is long and hard (or sometimes short and semi...and unwashed), but you get an honest day's pay at the end. No, wait. Your pimp gets the honest day's pay.

At least you still get to act, as faking an organism needs the timing and delivery of an Oscar nominee.

Or, as a writer...

I'm a writer. After all, I write. I must be a writer! Look here: I was in the Whatever Anthology #137. I got paid $5 in total, but the book sold for $30 a copy. Someone made the cash, and I'm just happy to be on board. Okay, the story wasn't even edited, and it took five months of emails asking where my $5 was to finally get it, but it's all part of the fun. You can't expect perfection when the publisher is releasing an anthology a week, can you? They're obviously very busy.

I'm a writer and I'm happy. Sigh...

Still want to be a writer? ><

DISCLAIMER! Hopefully, you can see this is a very tongue in cheek blog post with no offence intended towards anyone...except possibly Meyer, but then that's justified. I adore the work of Dean Koontz, and will often read one of his novels when King is having a slow year. Writers who struggle to sell work are no way hookers. Unless they're writing about being hookers from personal experience. No hookers were harmed in the writing of this blog, but nothing can be said about the hooker shoot I had with the boys from Skullvines. People who attend conventions to meet horror film movie stars are not necessarily geeks (although I'm a geek and proud of it. See you in line at the next Bruce Campbell signing).

Samhane news in the next few days. Byeeeeee!


Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 4:10 pm :: 0 comments

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