Ah, yes. "The Grind."
Not talking about the popular '90s Empty-Vee dance program.
And not talking about the grim but effective series of business articles exposing bad practices and the shortcomings of globalization over at Slate magazine, either.
Not talking about the day gig.
Not talking about a coffee house (or a coffee company, for that matter).
I'm talking about powering through a writing project in its final throes.
Call it what you will: the slog. The muddle.
I call it "the grind."
I'm in the midst of something like that now. I've been working on it off and on over the last year. The idea is to expand a short story I sold several years back to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine into a novella.
|"Suicide Blonde" originally pubbed in AHMM Nov. 2008|
Vegas, and involves the travails undergone by a mob fixer who gets caught up in a murder that may involve in his boss' brother: a guy he's been playing nursemaid to for a while, now.
When the story dropped, friend after friend told me the same thing: that they wanted more. That they thought I had the makings of an actual novel here. So I thought, "Hey, what if I expand it to novella length, and put it out there and see what happens? How hard can it be, right?"
As it turns out: pretty damned hard!
The thing about writing a short story, or a novella, or even a novel, is that most authors (myself included), start out with a relatively clear idea about what they want to do. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser (I started out as the latter but am now firmly in the former camp), you have at least a rough idea of your potential beginning, middle and end.
I was not prepared for how utterly down the rabbit hole the attempt to expand my original short story by an additional 10,000 words would take me. It turns out trying to expand an existing story into something longer entailed changing it up as much as it did expanding it.
It meant that the initially lean style and terse descriptions had to be given room to work and breathe. It meant that conventions that suited my short story style had to be adapted and reworked, because what works well for 6,500 words, character/description/plot-wise, tends to look pretty thin, pretty stock and pretty flat over the course of 16,000 words.
Plus, as I've mentioned before here and elsewhere, I've a challenging day job, a terrific marriage and a lively five year-old, all of which require a lot of my time and attention.
So, a GRIND, indeed!
That said, I did it. Finished it tonight.
And on that note, I'm off to celebrate. See below for the banner ad teasing the cover artwork.
See you in two weeks!