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.
Smith has been working on the assembly line at Ovivo for seventeen years, building the same steel triangles 720 times per day. He never knew what the parts were for—that was classified information—but he assumed the triangles were one small cog of a larger machine, something important and meaningful to the world in some way.
At least Smith thought so, until mistakenly entering the wrong production room one day. Inside, he would discover the workers next door disassembling the same parts he and his team put together. All his hard work, immediately undone. Why?
The revelation sets Smith on an investigative journey throughout the Ovivo factory, up the chain of corporate hierarchy, in search of what he and his co-workers are supposed to be building there and why.
The truth about Smith’s job may turn his entire world upside down—that is if he can uncover the company’s secrets without being fired… or worse.
One common question among writers (or would-be writers) in the initial phase of a project is: How do you know if an idea is a short story or a novel? I think the answer is that you should plan for every idea to be a short story. Try to make everything you write as short as it can possibly be without losing anything essential. Continue reading →
Black Mirror is the future. I don’t mean the dystopian technological prophecies in the show will come true (though many of them might). I mean the format of 50 to 70-minute self-contained stories are the future of film and television storytelling. Continue reading →