07 August 2020

Nailed it

After four hours, the man leans back in the uncomfortable metal chair and says, "I buried him in field behind my house." I sit back and let it rush through me, resist looking at the video camera. The man just confessed. We have some physical evidence. We have two witnesses who put him with the victim. We have a decent case and now we nailed him. A confession. The DA loves confessions. The interview continues as the killer gives the gruesome details and I'm on a high, a rush. We nailed him.

Didn't happen often but when it did it was such great feeling of accomplishment.

We nailed the case shut.

The rush isn't the same but when I nail a story or a novel, it's a great feeling of accomplishment. It doesn't happen often. I was taught early to write the best story or the best novel I can write. Never dare to be adequate. It works and when I go back and re-read the story after a number of drafts and see it's complete, it's a good feeling. When I go back and re-read a story or novel and feel the tingles on my neck, feel my heartbeat rise, I know. I nailed it.

A pause and I submit the story and hope it finds a home, but that's a different part of the writing life. Selection is so subjective. The story might find a home in a big magazine, might find a home in a small magazine, might go homeless until the right anthology creeps along or until my publisher puts it up on Amazon.com. But I nailed it.

During this pandemic I, and many of my writing friends, have written a lot of fiction. Get it written, then get it write. Lots of drafts, lots of polishing until the story or novel shines. Not all of them bring goosebumps when it's all over but when one does – it is a little treasure.

It's a great feeling. Time to find the cats and pet each, which can be pleasant or unpleasant, depending on the cat's mood. I can brag to the cats but not to anyone else. The story speaks to humans in its own voice.

But I nailed it.

Such a rush.

Then back to work.

That's all for now.


  1. Great post, O'Neil. You're so right--when you finally get a story down pat, there's a little goosebumpy tingle of satisfaction that lets you know you're done. (Now if I could only figure out whether that means the editor will like it . . .)

    Love your columns. Have a good weekend!

  2. Absolutely. There is no better feeling than writing "The End".
    Have a great weekend, and may your latest find a home very soon!

  3. Right on, O'Neil. The part I like is when you feel totally hopeless about a story, nothing seems to work, then you get that brainstorm for the lynchpin and everything falls into place. Nothing like that feeling.

  4. The other endorphin rush is when someone you never met before comes up to you and says, "Mister O'Neil, I really love your writing, especially the story in which....." And you know you have a fan.

  5. It's a great feeling when all the pieces seem to work, and you know you've got something good. I wish it happened more often.

  6. Congratulations, O'Neil! Well done.


  7. When you nail it, there's a high that no drug can duplicate.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>