“Work for Idle Hands” Paperback, Plus Fun Facts About the Book

The paperback version of my new novella, Work for Idle Hands, is now available on Amazon.

Some fun facts about WFIH:

1. From Short Story to Screenplay to Novella

Work for Idle Hands was originally written in 2016 as a 9,000-word short story. At that time I was still pursuing screenwriting in tandem with prose writing, so I decided to adapt the story into a screenplay. But after unsuccessfully trying to pitch the screenplay to agents and producers, I decided to re-adapt it back into prose form, but longer since I had expanded the original short story when adapting it into movie form. This final version is a sort of amalgam of the short story and screenplay, which I expanded upon further. The final word count is triple the length of the original short story, at almost 30,000 words. I think this novella version is the best of the three. The novella may be my favorite form for a story. It is the perfect length to tell a full story and develop characters without getting bogged down by side-plots.

2. Where do you get your ideas?

The original conception of WFIH came from me having an idea for a Kafkaesque story about people doing a pointless job, partially inspired by a boring job I worked myself. The job I first envisioned was quite different from the one portrayed in WFIH. I originally wanted to write a story about people being paid to watch surveillance video of other people watching surveillance video of other people watching surveillance video, etc… I later decided it may work better for the story if the workers were actually building something. At first, it was a more nebulous widget before ultimately becoming steel triangles. The triangle motif and the number 3 reappear throughout the story. Why they build the triangles and what for are, of course, spoilers.

3. Alternative Cover Designs

I enjoy creating the covers for my books almost as much as writing them. That is one reason why I like self-publishing, so I can maintain complete creative control over every aspect of the book. Here are some alternative cover designs I experimented with:

4. Literary and Film Inspirations

Some inspirations for WFIH include: the movie Brazil directed by Terry Gilliam, the novel The Trial by Franz Kafka, the movie Office Space, and Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. There are many other influences, both conscious and unconscious, but to name them would be spoilers for the story.

5. Will there be a sequel?

No, I have no plans to write a sequel to WFIH—it is a complete standalone story—but WFIH is the first of a sort of loose trilogy of novellas I have planned. They are unconnected as far as story and characters, but they all concern similar topics and themes. To state those shared themes and topics would (again) be a spoiler.

6. Will there be an audiobook?

Yes… eventually. At some point I plan to record an audiobook version of WFIH (and of my previously published material as well) though that process will take longer.

7. What’s next?

Work for Idle Hands may best reflect the type of work (no pun intended) I plan to publish in the future. In my previously published work, I was still growing as a writer, trying to find my voice, and as a result I experimented with different styles (as evidenced by the varied stories within my collection, Story Addict). But I think WFIH is most emblematic of my ultimate voice—which is more serious philosophical science fiction, infused with mystery, while also maintaining some sense of humor. Many of my earlier stories veered more toward the comedic side, while some of my future work veers more toward horror with no humor at all. I still like to experiment with voice, genre, and style, but as all writers do (or hope to do), I am getting better at my craft with practice over time.

Once again, the paperback version of Work for Idle Hands is available now.

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