#FOTUS — This Makes No Sense

By Shelton Bumgarner

I am at a loss. I have no idea what is going on. I continue to get a steady flow of interest in the now very debunked #FOTUS Theory from here and there around the world and it totally, utterly makes no sense. Why would anyone care about a theory that anyone who has been paying any attention knows isn’t true?

And, yet, since last week, I’ve had a steady little trickle of people who obviously are interested in…and I honestly am at a loss. It totally makes no sense what so ever.

It’s as if people are getting wind of something regarding the theory that on the face of it would be completely illogical and “big, if true” kind of thing. There was no cover story and we know what happened — Elliot Broidy got Shera Bechard pregnant and pretty much because of a very stupid dumb luck kind of situation it at one point appeared as if Trump was involved in some way.

And, weirdly enough, given what a piece of shit Trump is on many different levels, he was, in fact, not connected in anyway other than his personal fixer, Michael Cohen, being connected to Shera Bechard’s lawyer Keith Davidson.

But it’s as if deep in the bowls of the Internet, someone, somewhere, finds all of this interesting again for some reason. 

Some Observations About The Plot Structure Of The ‘Girl With…’ Series Of Books

by Shelton Bumgarner

The thing about The Girl With…series of books is the two main characters aren’t really all that romantically involved. They kinda are, but that’s kind of besides the point.

So I find myself thinking about that as I structure the novel I’m writing. Yes, I’m being rather vague, but meh. This is more about writing out an internal monologue more than anything else.

I find myself really leaning into what I remember of the structure of The Girl With books because the firsts one was done as a first novel and as such gives me a framing device for my own efforts.

The thing about the novel I’m developing now is it’s just a character driven story.  The concept isn’t really that “high.” It’s just an interesting story involving interesting people put in an interesting situation.  I’m really leaning into what I “know” as I write and that helps speed the process up a great deal.

Hence, I think I’ve come up with a decent story. I’m pleased. Really, as I keep saying, at this point it’s more about simply putting in the hard work of actually developing and writing the novel than anything else. 

The Curious State Of Affairs In Ukraine

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have no idea what is going to happen. But above are some thoughts.

A Subtle Shift In The Trump Era

by Shelton Bumgarner

It seems to me that as of Dec. 7th, we have shifted subtly into a new era under Trump. It seems as though we’ve silently shifted from the “shut up, Trump didn’t do anything wrong and if he did, everyone else did it” line of argument from MAGA, to something closer to this series of arguments “just tune out –> well, convict him, then if you think you can — > The Pence Pivot.”

What I’m saying is for those MAGA who are willing to engage The Resistance in the first place, if they’re not completely loony and gone QAnon on you, they try a sort of jury nullification. 

The first stage is:

Just Tune Out

In this stage, they say that we should just tune out and stop being outrage. Nothing Trump has done has harmed you personally, so why are you still talking about it. Why are you “obsessed” with it. This, to me, indicates that you’re actually making some concrete points and they’re tired of being reminded that, well, they’re wrong.  They’re tired of being reminded that you were right all along and they were sold a bill of goods by the Trump Campaign in the first place. They’re content with Trump’s policies and they just would prefer you be quiet so they can raise their kids, enjoy their tax cut and take pictures of their lunch.

Well, Convict Him Then, If You Can

The next stage, should things get this far, is in exasperation MAGA people (at least the smarter ones) will throw up their hands and say, “Well, he’s been impeached, but you’ll never convict him in the Senate. This is all a waste of time and you should just shut up.” 

This is there way of, again, saying the basic thing they should say, that their support of Trump was a mistake because it was based on fraud and a long con (not to mention racism and misogyny) they simply are not prepared to do. So, they avoid the entire issue altogether and say, “Well, if you can’t convict him, shut up.”

The Pence Pivot

This is the final and least likely to happen stage of this epic clusterfuck. At the very moment it becomes obvious that Trump isn’t going to survive in the Senate and Pence is likely to become president (or something), MAGA people will do The Pence Pivot.

They will suddenly talk about how they “really voted for Pence anyway” and how Godly Pence is and yadda, yadda, yadda, blah blah blah. In other words, if we actually get this far in the process, which is iffy at best right now, they would simply end the discussion by saying they “really” voted for Pence and Pence is the perfect person to MAGA, which what they voted for in the first place.

#FOTUS: — Deep Echo, Redux (What Is Going On?)

by Shelton Bumgarner

This makes no sense. It makes no sense at all that I continue to see an uptick in searches from all over the place about the FOTUS scandal theory. It it completely odd and puzzling on a number of different levels. The uptick has been pretty constant the last few days. People are really interested in what I’ve written about the now completely debunked FOTUS affair theory.

I honestly don’t know why this is. I thought it had something to do with Mueller’s sentencing memo of Cohen, but, obviously, it didn’t.

So, I don’t know.

The only possible somewhat within the realm of possibility I can think of is someone out there knows that for some reason Cohen is going to drop some of his tapes sometime soon. He allegedly did a shitton of them with some pretty important people and if somehow we actually heard him talk to Keith Davidson to screw over Shera Bechard, that would at least bring the whole imbroglio back into the back to the forefront.

That’s all I got. Really. The other, darker possibility is I’m somehow in trouble and am going to be sued. I haven’t done anything to warrant that — and I’m completely broke anyway — so that’s just me being paranoid (I think.)

AOC, Amber Rose & The Struggle To Flesh Out Minority Characters In Storytelling

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Amber Rose. The two women could not be more different, but I want representation in the novel I’m writing and as such I think I’m going to at least _try_ to base two POV characters on these two women.

One of the characters I want to base on a woman who isn’t black, but half-Singaporean, but I fear that’s just not going to work. The trouble getting the audience to understand why she would be that given the situation involved is too much. So, I think I’m just going to make the character black and be done with it. And, given that, in a sense, she’s the “MacGuffin” of the story and someone the villain is directly, well, villainous to, I think that would resonate with audiences in an visceral way. Her character is very much in flux right this second and I have to find a balance between her being someone you like and someone who is sufficiently passive that the villain could hurt her and make us have the catharsis of revenge against him.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is likely going to be the basis of a much stronger character, one who helps move the plot along by her dislike and opposition to the Hero. I’m not saying I’m the greatest writer in the world, but I definitely need someone to inspire the character of a strong, young Latina who doesn’t take shit from anyone. The issue is fleshing her out in such a way that she’s both believable and yet butts heads with the Hero enough that there’s conflictin an empathetic fashion.

I guess the whole point of this is I have a lot of work to do.

Character, Plot, Screenplays, Novels & Representation In Storytelling

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m watching a lot of YouTube videos about writing a screenplay. While I’m writing a novel, the concepts of good storytelling are essentially the same with a novel and a screenplay, even though the two forms of storytelling have dramatically different internal logic.

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with how things are going right this second. Things seem to be falling into place and it’s really just a matter of doing the hard work of putting things together. I’m really leaning into my own personal experiences for the most part. There are a few rough edges in the plot — there are some scenes I know I want to write, but I can’t figure out quite yet how they happen in the context of the story — but other than that simply by working from my own personal experiences things are moving quickly.

This go round, I’m establishing my characters first and then fusing that with the general idea of the plot so things hopefully will be a lot better this go time. A lot is going on with this novel, but not so much that it becomes too confusing. I have 200,000 words to play with and as such I have room to explore. One thing I have to study is how to make the focus and crux of the story the relationship between the Hero and the FRL (Female Romantic Lead.) I keep coming back to Lisbeth Salander as well as Joel and Clementine in The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. I have to figure out a way for us to care about the relationship between the two main characters without us hating them for being so flawed and generally unlikable. (That has been a problem with me with past novel attempts.)

I think I have it figured out, but I’m not sure. I really need to give more “screentime” to the two main characters so I don’t lose focus on what, really, is going on. As I’ve written before, the heart of the story is my relationship ten years ago with the late Annie Shapiro. That, at its core, is the story I want to tell. I just have to structure the story in such a way that that is the case.

The characters are growing stronger by the moment and I’m still reluctant to make the story a thriller, even though it’s going to probably lean into that genre for no other reason than it helps heighten the action and drama. But I have a lot of work ahead of me. But it’s still fun.

One thing I am struggling with his representation. I want there to be at least one Hispanic and one African American POV character and…that hasn’t happened yet. It’s simply a face of modern American storytelling that you need to represent your audience better. With the browning of America, you need black and brown characters among your those in your story for no other reason than, well, people are kind of expecting these days.

So, I think I’m probably going to have to do some fancy footwork and change a few characters in ways I didn’t really think about at first. This is an example of how there’s a little bit of pressure on me between the art and the market. But I think that says more about me maturing as a would-be novelist than anything else.

But we’ll see. The key point is to finish the first part of development and begin writing the scene summary so I can actually start to write the novel.

ROKon Magazine & The High Concept Of The #Novel I’m Developing

by Shelton Bumgarner

So, they say write what you know, so I’m doing that. But there’s a general high concept involved in this new novel I’m attempting to develop. As I see it, the story is, at its heart, my attempt to tell what happened between me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul about ten years ago. The rest is simply structural things done for expediency’s sake.

I really like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, so I’m basing my “girl with” on what I remember of the late Annie Shapiro. She was a piece of work, let me tell you. She’s ripe to be the basis of a really interesting character that people will want to read about. I just have to figure out how, exactly, the character will be fleshed out in the context of the story. One big issue is…uh…making the characters likeable? I run a real risk if I make the characters too…real…that people will hate them. So, there’s going to be a lot of dramatic licence in this one, let me tell you.

Meanwhile, I really like the idea that a group of people from unexpected places would find themselves in a rural community running a small town newspaper and something REALLY BIG falls into their lap. So, in a sense, I’m — in a very fuzzy way — recreating the conditions of Seoul, 2006-8 and the ROKon Magazine staff I remember. Instead of expats, it’s fish-out-of-water people dealing with the strange customs of a very small community.

As it stands, I see the high concept as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meets The Bonfire Of The Vanities meets…To Kill A Mocking Bird? Maybe? In a sense? I can’t think off the top of my head of a story based in a small Southern town. Maybe one of the Grisham novels, maybe?

Anyway, regardless, this is a character driven story. The interesting characters are what are going to drive the story forward. I’m just in the developmental stages at this point. I want to get the concept and characters down pat before I start to do a scene summary. Developing and writing a novel is really hard and there’s absolutely zero assurance that it will be a success of any sort.

But I have to keep going. I can’t just stare out into space for the rest of my life.

#Writing A Character Driven #Novel

by Shelton Bumgarner

While I am still very interested in the scifi novel concept and hope to return to it eventually, I reached a point with it when I realized it was maybe a little too epic for my current experience and writing ability. So, I’m putting it on the backburner for a little bit.

I’ve decided to start from characters and then work my way out. I have a general plot in my mind — the consequences of a small town newspaper staff having a national news story fall in their lap — now it’s a matter of building characters and slamming them against each other.

That’s what makes this novel attempt different than the scifi effort. I started with the conceit first in that effort, then started working on characters. With this one, I’m going to build the characters first and see what happens. As it stands, the “high concept” of the novel is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meets The Bonfire Of The Vanities meets, I don’t know, something set in a small town. I’m drawing upon what I know first hand for this one. I hope to make it really personal and as such feel genuine to the reader.

The concept is gradually growing into something interesting. I’m watching “how to tell a story” videos on YouTube and I bought a book on character traits to help me build the characters. I really, really like Lisbeth Salander and drawing upon what I remember of the late Annie Shapiro, I think I can probably build a really interesting female character that people might — just might — fall in love with.


I guess the really frustrating thing right now is it just takes time. Even though my efforts to develop a scifi novel have helped me speed up this process a great deal, I still have to think and think and think about how, exactly, things are going to work out. This novel is definitely for me as much as the audience and as such I think it will be a lot better than it might be otherwise.

But it’s just going to take time. It’s just going to take me time to figure out exactly what this story is about. I know the general gist of the story, but it’s going to take time to get the details straight.

#FOTUS: Clickbait! Nothingburger! (Or Nah?)

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let’s go through the datapoints we have at this moment.

1. Friday, Dec. 7th, 2018, Mueller is apparently set to drop some sort of sentencing document in regards to what Michael Cohen has told his investigation.
2. Donald Trump is flop sweating on Twitter.
3. The last 24 hours, I’ve seen a minor — but noticeable — uptick in Web searches about my what I called the FOTUS Theory. Just out of the blue, I noticed people were suddenly interested in what I had written regarding that now-debunked theory. The theory was, of course, that Elliot Broidy was the fall guy for Donald Trump having an affair with Shera Bechard that produced a fetus that was later aborted under duress. (This was proven in a court of law not to be the case. It was Broidy. Broidy was the babydaddy.)
4. The FOTUS Theory has been completely, totally debunked and it was all a misunderstanding caused by Shera Bechard picking Keith Davidson to represent her in the NDA negotiations with Elliot Broidy that Michael Cohen was heading up. (Davidson and Cohen were best buddies, hence we all thought it was actually the reverse — that Trump and Cohen had picked Davidson because they could trust him. Turns out, not so! )

It’s very possible that there’s some other explanation for the uptick in searches I’m seeing on this Website for FOTUS information. Very possibly, it’s nothing. What I think is happening — there’s chatter out there in the aether because somehow, someway people know something big is about to drop today that’s in some way connected to it — just isn’t there.

So, in a sense, there’s a 90% chance that all the posts I’ve been doing in the last 24 hours really are just misguided “clickbait” about a “nothingburger.” I feel as though I’ve made that clear writing these posts, but still. Reasons why it’s I’m really pulling the hunch that maybe something big is dropping out of my ass are:

1. We know what happened.
Shera Bechard has stated publicly and under oath that she had an affair with Elliot Broidy, she got pregnant and he paid her $1.6 million to “shut up” (have an abortion.) So, that’s what happened. Full stop. The end. All the confusion on this matter happened because Shera Bechard picked Keith Davidson as her lawyer in the NDA negotiations and he was best buds with the president’s fixer Michael Cohen.
2. A lot of people have looked into this.
The WSJ got the goods on this matter and many, many news organizations have looked into this and found that it really was a nothingburger. So, again, it goes beyond logic and good sense to think something, anything is going to happen today.

Ok, having said that, let’s look at what might be the source of search uptick.

1. Nothing — just random.
2. Something.

What that “something” could be is probably this: as part of his sentencing, the Mueller document will make reference to Cohen being in cahoots with Davidson to screw Shera Bechard over in the NDA negotiations. That’s the only thing I can think of that might be a “something.” It’s interesting, to say the least. Even if that is the “something,” it would draw attention to the issue again, yes, but the outrage and controversy wouldn’t last more than a news cycle and there’s probably plenty of other news that’s going to happen today to overshadow it.

A little video on this subject.

So, don’t get your hopes up that somehow magically Mueller will discover the for real for real truth and we’ll learn that somehow we all got hoodwinked and Trump really did get Shera Bechard pregnant and pressure her into an abortion. It’s just not going to happen. Too many people would have had to have lied and risked jail time to cover this up for that to happen. So, while today is going to likely be bumpy for several reasons, it’s not going to be bumpy for THAT reason.