The Day Before

We’re fucked.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It is growing more apparent on a daily basis that Trump is losing his fucking mind. Now, if he was still a Right wing celebrity Twitter troll then this would not be a big deal. It would be dealt with in private and Access Hollywood might made a passing reference to Trump retiring from public life to “spend time with his family.”

But, fuck, man, the guy’s president. So, it does not take much to pace out a scenario where Trump is so out of it that out that out of sheer incompetence there’s some sort of “limited”nuclear exchange between the DPRK and the States. The only reason it would be “limited” is if for some reason Russia and China sat on their hands and watched the whole thing go down.

It could go down like this — Trump is so totally out of it that he boxes in Kim for no damn reason. Things get really, really tense and Kim feels he has no choice on an existential level but to take down as much of the States as he can. Kim lobs a few ICBMs at the States, maybe blowing up — if he’s “lucky” LA, Chicago, DC or NYC. I have my doubts on how many of the intended targets would actually be successfully struck. Remember, it’s generally assumed that the DPRK has H-Bombs, so in theory we’re talking a citykiller bomb exploding over Hollywood or Wall Street.

Trump nukes the shit out of the DPRK and that’s that.

Several million (5+) people are dead and we, at last, end Trump’s reign. Though, it is just as likely that we’re already in the dystopia and, well, even though Trump gross incompetence was the reason for a few million American deaths, this will be used to abolish the Constitution and, well, we’re just as fucked as we would be anyway.

All I know is it’s self-evident, at least from Trump’s Twitter feed, that he’s not well and he’s getting worse every day.

Now what.

Given today’s unsettling news, I suggest you watch the very beginning of this trailer for the “scariest movie ever made.”

Remember, war doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If, say, Iran and Israel go at it and Israel uses a few nukes on Iran, that would likely be such a staggering historic event that both the Indian subcontinent AND the two Koreas may go poof (and take a us with them.)

Music Is The Heart Of This #Novel #AmWriting #WritingLife

You know it.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have no idea what I’m doing. And, in a sense, I think what’s happening is my natural inclination to write a screenplay is pretty much completely taking over development of a novel. So, in a sense, I’m obsessing over an aspect of the novel that in real terms won’t really make much sense until it’s somehow miraculously made into a movie.

The “heart” of this novel is my extensive knowledge of pop rock music published in the last 60 odd years. Or, to put it another way, pop rock music is to me what pop culture reference are to Ernest Cline. The vision I have for this novel, however, is so different than Ready Player One that the only reason why this analogy might be made is for marketing purposes. Other than that, the two books share nothing in creative purpose.

One thing that’s really helping me ground my characters is I’m really nailing down what type of music they listen to and the exceptions. I have a lot of real-life experience in this kind of stuff and I can make some of the more unexpected situations I need to have happen believable because of that. I have to keep an eye on the plot. I can’t get too bogged down in being a pop rock show-off. But the whole structure of the novel is built from the ground up as to make music an existential feature of the story.

The surreal thing is my development is reaching Gillian Flynn levels of thinking things through, and, yet, my native writing ability simply isn’t as good as hers. The whole process is being slowed down considerably, and, yet given that I am, in fact, pushing myself to my personal creative limits the end product has to be, at least, not embarrassing? Right? Right?

But I have to stay focused on tone, theme and mood. I can’t let my natural inclination to write an updated version of The World According To Garp take over. This needs to be a dark, fast, accessible ride with the occasional moments of levity. I’m trying to force myself to study John Connolly, Gillian Flynn and a few other writers who manage to do that in a pop-art fashion.

I hope that first thing New Year’s Day, I can get back into developing the rest of the novel at the scene level. Once I wrap that up — hopefully no later than my birthday in late February, then I will plunge back into writing the first-but-really-second-draft again.

Taking The Novel To The Next Level In 2020

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Since I can’t do what I want to do — which is go to NYC for NYE — I splurged on Amazon. Now that I understand the characters, plot and vision of the novel, I can start to do some basic research that a lot of people would have done a lot earlier in the process. The biggest addition is to my growing pile of books is, well, how to write a police procedural.

I started this process being lazy and not wanting to go outside my comfort zone of my personal journalistic investigation knowledge. But I now realize that was dumb. I need at least a subplot where I see what the cops (or cop) are doing. Given how high the stakes are in all of this,however, I may have to talk to the FBI’s PR guy / gal. They must have someone you can talk to to simply get some sense of what they might do in to investigate a fictional crime. This is a side of the story I’m so completely clueless about that I’m going to have to be kind to myself creatively — more so than I am usually — and allow myself to make dumb mistakes without feeling existential angst.

This novel’s conceit is improving significantly. The question, of course, is will my native writing ability be up to it? I honestly can’t answer that question right now. At this point, I really just don’t want to embarrassment myself. To date, everyone — including my own brother! — is obviously barely even humoring me.

Every once in a while, I re-calibrate this novel and the last few days has been once of those times. I now realize that while the whole thing is getting much, much better, it is also going to take a lot longer that I had hoped for a number of reasons. Several issues are slowing me down. One, I have no friends and this is all happening in a vacuum. Two, the original concept was so poorly thought out that it’s taken me a year to sort things out in large part because of one.

But I definitely know the general plot of the novel. I’m giving myself no later than my birthday in late February to start actively writing again. I’m hoping that it will happen a lot soon than that.

Things Will Be Either Dark Or Surreal In 2020

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

We have several different options ahead of us.

Dark
Trump is acquitted by the Senate. He runs on a platform of having been “vindicated” as well as the need for a “Constitutional Convention to pass a balanced budget amendment.” He bribes or doxxes Electors. He wins re-election through brazenly criminal and corrupt means. He is promptly impeached and convicted, but his new Veep (The Kooch, Kris Kobach, Tucker Carlson, Tom Cotton) picks up the mantel of a theocratic fascist white ethno-state and runs with it.

Surreal
A combination of Trump being goaded into losing his shit by Nancy Pelosi and an abrupt economic downturn caused by the Jan. 31 exit of the UK from the EU is enough to push him out of office in a rather abrupt manner. Ivanka Trump becomes Pence’s Veep. Suddenly, because Trump’s in a mental ward somewhere, Republicans abruptly revert to their early 2016 political stance and we all look at each other in astonishment that they want us to ignore everything they’ve said and done for the last four years.

Which one will happen? I just don’t know.

Is Nancy Pelosi *Trying* To Drive Trump Bonkers?

The Trump Zone.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@SheltGarner

I am not one for personality cults, regardless of ideology. Just not my scene. And I continue to believe that Nancy Pelosi had no plan when it came to Trump’s creeping tyranny — she was just lucky when his natural tendency to self-own finally happened to get bad enough that he was impeached. She had no idea when this would inevitably happen. We could be in the middle of his second term and still be waiting. Pelosi probably knew he would do it, but she had no “plan.” It was all just dumb luck. I, for one, would rather NOT have the fate of the Republic hinge on dumb luck. She could have been a LOT more aggressive on the Mueller front in January 2019, but did nothing.

Anyway, here we are.

It definitely seems as though Pelosi not giving something Trump assumed was his — easy “vindication” in the Senate — is beginning to eat away at him. So, it’s at least possible that Pelosi had a hunch this would happen. It’s at least possible that this IS a part of a “plan.” Now, again, we simply don’t know when — if ever — Trump is going to snap because of this Tell-Tale Heart situation. It may never happen. Trump runs on “vindication” no matter what, cruises into his second term, get a Constitutional Convention convened to “pass a balanced budget amendment” and away we go.

But there’s also a chance that Trump’s feeling of powerless may get the best of him in a pretty astonishing fashion. He may just lose his shit so bad that it’s THAT that leads to his conviction in the Senate. He finally becomes such a ranting insane person that Pelosi strikes — she sends the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and Trump’s removed from office not for any political reasons but because the 25th Amendment is a dead letter.

There is the risk, of course, that given how fucked up MAGA is, they could very well simply use this theory of mine as their “stab in the back.” In other words, they will whip themselves up into an apoplectic trance at the idea that if ONLY Nancy Pelosi hadn’t driven the Dear Leader bonkers, there could have been a Golden Age of American Nazism or some such bullshit. Fuck those guys. Fucking Nazis.

Anyway, here’s some other relevant writing I’ve done on this matter.

I hate to break it to you, folks, but if impeachment really does reach a tipping point we’ve entered the darkest timeline. It won’t be impeachment, it will be Trump’s reaction to it that we’ll be talking about.

Trump has long had some sort of chronic mental problem. The stress of simply an impeachment investigation — which would likely take months — would, in it self, potentially cause him to decompensate. It’s would make a lot of sense if Trump found himself in something of a logic trap. He would absolutely feel as though he would survive an Senate vote. But he would also absolutely feel paranoid that he might not.

So he goes bonkers.

I therefore propose that in the end, it won’t even be impeachment that is Trump’s downfall — it will be his reaction to it. If Trump finally goes off the deep end, some astonishing surreal thing will happen. The first will be MAGA Stalwarts will find themselves defending ever-more demonstrably indefensible things on Trump’s part. First they will simply say he was “joking.” But there will come a point when they take the final plunge into their own destruction. Trump will tweet out a dick pic. Trump will begin to tweet out the N-word to Obama. And they will defend it, thinking that Trump, like always, will stay in control of the narrative.

And so, in the end, Trump’s tendency to self-own will get so absolutely bad that there might be an intervention, of sorts. They might propose to Trump that he gets to choose Pence’s replacement as veep. And maybe a promise of a full pardon after Pence wins re-election in 2020. Trump accepting such an offer would be the best case scenario for Republicans.

The worse case scenario is he won’t accept it. And in the end, Trump so far gone mentally that the Senate finally does, in fact, convict him not so much because of any particular crime, but for the complete failure of the 25th Amendment to work.

And then, I’m afraid, we have a once-in-generation event. Young people won’t reference 9/11, they’ll reference Trump’s downfall. It will probably play out a lot like the OJ’s slow motion police chase in a white Bronco. It will last days, even weeks. The entire country will grind to a halt as we attempt to lure Trump out of The White House.

It will be a dark day in our history.

Here is how it may play out. I wrote this some time ago, but the premise is the same.

9/10ths
a story fragment of a possible near future
by Shelton Bumgarner

April, 2019

The eyes of the world were on the White House.

Just moments before, President Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, had been convicted by 67 members of the Senate for a whole list of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump had for weeks now been ranting on Gab about his case in the Senate, bouncing back and forth between threats to start a war with Iran or the DPRK and not-so-subtle hints that he might take his own life should he be convicted by the Senate.

And, now, at last, the moment of truth had arrived.

Trump legally, at least, was no longer president, but he had been oddly silent since the verdict had been announced with great fanfare from the well of the Senate. Trump’s conviction had come after months of investigations on the part of the now Democratic Congress. The length and breath of Trump’s malfeasance discovered by these hearings had rocked the nation to its very core. On more than one occasion, MAGA talking heads on cable news had been interrupted by astonishing breaking news that left them, for once, unable or unwilling to defend the president.

The hearings had ground on for months to such an extent that Trump’s approval had slowly drifted to the 20s and stayed there consistently. Trump’s support was now made up of the very rich and the very poor. Oddly, despite Trump’s near constant demands on Twitter for violence on the part of his supporters, little, if any was reported. Trump had grown so frustrated that he had all but abandoned Twitter at one point for the more receptive Gab social media platform. Though on more than one occasion Rudy Giuliani had made it very clear it was within the rights of the president to declare martial law if he deemed it in the best interests of the nation. More than one delegation of Senate Republicans had gone to the White House to explain to Trump that he was going to be convicted, no avail. Trump made it clear to them, in not so many words that his simply living in the White House made him president, a sentiment best expressed by the legal saw that, “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.”

Finally, a post to Gab came out: “My so-called ‘conviction’ is the work of the Deep State and as such illegitimate. I remain president.”

This set off a chain of events, the likes of which Americans had never seen. Suddenly, everyone on Twitter became a Constitutional scholar as everyone studied the exact wording of the Constitution as to what happens if the president is removed from office by the Senate. The wording is quite clear: he or she is no longer president and that’s it.

Nowhere in the Constitution did it explain what to do if the president simply decided to ignore the Senate. What’s more, nowhere in the Constitution did it state what to do with the nuclear launch codes should a president be removed from office and he refuse to accept the decision of the Senate.

The next few hours were chilling as they were surreal for millions of people not just in the United States but around the globe. The issue of Trump’s physical access to America’s nuclear launch codes was suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Though it was finally announced that while the nuclear football remained in Trump’s possession, Sec. of Defense Mattis had ordered the American armed forces to stand down for the duration of the crisis.

Trump, on Twitter, was as defiant and unhinged as usual.He threatened to kill himself. He threatened to start a nuclear war. He vowed to declare martial law.

The usual suspects on cable news did their best to spin all of this for Trump. As an anxious nation waited for the now former president to leave the White House, a cavalcade of former Republican Senators and Trump White House staffers attempted to make the former president’s case. Their final argument was that for the good of the country, Trump should be allowed to remain president, despite his lawful conviction by the Senate.

Things began to move rapidly at this point.

Vice President Pence was sworn in but Chief Justice Roberts in a dark, somber event in the Old Executive Building. Meanwhile, it was learned Trump had quietly replaced his Secret Service detail with a private security force that made it clear it was prepared to defend Trump until the bloody end.

At this point, two things happened. A final bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders came to the White House grounds under the flag of truce. During the course of an hour-long meeting, Trump screamed at them that they had never supported him and the world would be better off if it just ended instead of allowed the forces of the Deep State to ruin America. He made it absolutely clear that he would never leave the Oval Office willingly.

With that, they left.

Next, a surreal, bizarre event, the FBI slowly began to surround the White House. There was much debate online and on TV about how long the nation should wait for Trump to leave the White House. CNN went so far as to do a deep dive into the exact amount of food the White House grounds might have available at any one moment.

Finally, shots rang out from the White House as the battle was joined. It took several hours but in the end, the FBI was finally able to secure the facility. Nearly a dozen personnel on both sides died during the course of the Battle of The White House.

In what would become ionic footage, Trump was quietly escorted from the White House grounds. He spent the remainder of his days ranting on Twitter and Gab that he was the rightful president.

I Think My Novel’s ‘Hero’ May Look Like Bill Hader

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I really hate it when people in the so-called “writing community” on Twitter and Instagram preen about how many words they’ve written or what their hero looks like. Fuck that. Serious novels, at least in my experience, have far more intangible metrics. A novel needs some serious development before you worry about things like that. While I have the utmost respect for “pantsers” who just dive into writing a novel, I’ve discovered that I’m the exact opposite. Because my internal editor is a vicious, brutal and sadistic taskmaster, I’ve spend a year in breach-birth development hell. But things seem to be stabilizing — maybe — so I thought I’d allow myself to indulge in a bit of preening of my own.

The thing about Hollywood actors — who I’m using for inspiration for my characters’ physical appearance — is the guys I like, like Daniel Craig — are way too old. My Hero is 40 when the story opens and as such I need someone about that age to study to use as inspiration. One issue is my Hero is Southern. So the ideal person to play him in my mind is Matthew McConaughey, but he’s 10 years too old, just like Craig. Given what I imagine my Hero looking like, I think Bill Hader is just the right age and has the right countenance to be who I think about when I am writing my Hero. Hader is also from Oklahoma, so he might have some sense of Southern life and where the character is coming from. But, again, that statement is more a testament to my personal daydreaming than anything connected to reality.

But that’s simply a general guide in my mind. I *am* writing a *novel* and *not* a screenplay. While I may write a screenplay at some point, I want to write a novel because I have absolute control and I can simply sit down and start writing without worrying about buying Final Draft. The real issue for me at this point is establishing tone. I, by nature, want to write an early John Irving novel. But I need to read Gone Girl and Girl On The Train to hone closer to the tone needed and expected in the type of novel I’m developing.

Wish me luck.

Wiemar America & The Rise of The Fourth Reich

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I have several conservatives in my immediate family. I love them dearly on a personal level and they’ve been very, very gracious to me over the years. They aren’t really MAGA people but they love, love, LOVE Trump’s policies and so any debate with them on a political level is rather moot. They will concede that the Dear Leader is, in fact, fallible, but that’s about it.

They either feign political indifference or they say “they don’t know who to believe.” Both of these statements are extremely unacceptable to me because they’re pretty much just a modern, American version of the “Good Germans” of Nazi Germany. In other words, as we careen towards an American Reich their unwillingness to take a stand against the rise of American fascism is growing ever more alarming. This is because their willingness to act on a personal level to help me from dying in a weaponized ICE camp is growing less by the day.

A conversation tonight was very troubling. My conservative relative simply waved away my concerns that once Trump is inevitably acquitted by the Senate that he will turn around and run on a plank of calling a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment.” What is so troubling him equating my fears with InfoWars rhetoric during the Obama Administration is I’m not pulling this out of my butt. Trump is notorious for cherry picking concepts from the loony far Right and doing just as I suggest fits his MO perfectly. He already jokes about running for a third term and the groundwork is lain for Trump to do exactly as I suggest — we’re already just a few states away from a Constitutional Convention as it stands.

So once Trump wins re-election — through whatever illegal or corrupt means — he will babble about the need for a Constitutional Convention to balance the budget. The fact that Republicans gave a huge windfall to plutocrats doesn’t matter. MAGA has no shame and all they care about is power and cold hard cash. As best I can tell, members of the Constitional Convention would be named by members of individual state legislatures. As it stands, the vast majority these bodies are Republican. As such, the members of the newly convened Constitutional Convention would have a huge amount of incentive to codified the “American Carnage” of MAGA into the Constitution itself. This series of events is not InfoWars level bonkers. This is actually extremely likely given Trump’s autocratic leanings.

I would go so far as to say all MAGA needs is to get Trump into his second term. It doesn’t matter how. Trump could dox or brazenly bribe individual Electors. As long as they vote for him and get him into a second term, Trump’s new veep — be it The Kooch, Tom Cotton, Tucker Carlson or Kris Kobach will be the person who uses Trump’s blood-lust for Constitutional-level Enabling Acts to establish an American Fourth Reich.

Once they are successful, then we’ll enter about 1935-1937 in the Nazi takeover of Germany. And, I hate to break it to some people, but I don’t care how much Trump wants to fuck his Jewish daughter, once Trump’s peacefully shuffled off this mortal coil, some of the nastier aspects of MAGA will take over the whole movement and history will, in fact, repeat itself.

I would suggest you leave the country immediately if you have the means.

The only thing that may delay — but not stop — the rise of the American Fourth Reich would be Trump abruptly losing his fucking mind in a very, very dramatic fashion at some point between now and Election Day 2020. Here are some extended thoughts on that.

I hate to break it to you, folks, but if impeachment really does reach a tipping point we’ve entered the darkest timeline. It won’t be impeachment, it will be Trump’s reaction to it that we’ll be talking about.

Trump has long had some sort of chronic mental problem. The stress of simply an impeachment investigation — which would likely take months — would, in it self, potentially cause him to decompensate. It’s would make a lot of sense if Trump found himself in something of a logic trap. He would absolutely feel as though he would survive an Senate vote. But he would also absolutely feel paranoid that he might not.

So he goes bonkers.

I therefore propose that in the end, it won’t even be impeachment that is Trump’s downfall — it will be his reaction to it. If Trump finally goes off the deep end, some astonishing surreal thing will happen. The first will be MAGA Stalwarts will find themselves defending ever-more demonstrably indefensible things on Trump’s part. First they will simply say he was “joking.” But there will come a point when they take the final plunge into their own destruction. Trump will tweet out a dick pic. Trump will begin to tweet out the N-word to Obama. And they will defend it, thinking that Trump, like always, will stay in control of the narrative.

And so, in the end, Trump’s tendency to self-own will get so absolutely bad that there might be an intervention, of sorts. They might propose to Trump that he gets to choose Pence’s replacement as veep. And maybe a promise of a full pardon after Pence wins re-election in 2020. Trump accepting such an offer would be the best case scenario for Republicans.

The worse case scenario is he won’t accept it. And in the end, Trump so far gone mentally that the Senate finally does, in fact, convict him not so much because of any particular crime, but for the complete failure of the 25th Amendment to work.

And then, I’m afraid, we have a once-in-generation event. Young people won’t reference 9/11, they’ll reference Trump’s downfall. It will probably play out a lot like the OJ’s slow motion police chase in a white Bronco. It will last days, even weeks. The entire country will grind to a halt as we attempt to lure Trump out of The White House.

It will be a dark day in our history.

Here is how it may play out. I wrote this some time ago, but the premise is the same.

9/10ths
a story fragment of a possible near future
by Shelton Bumgarner

April, 2019

The eyes of the world were on the White House.

Just moments before, President Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, had been convicted by 67 members of the Senate for a whole list of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump had for weeks now been ranting on Gab about his case in the Senate, bouncing back and forth between threats to start a war with Iran or the DPRK and not-so-subtle hints that he might take his own life should he be convicted by the Senate.

And, now, at last, the moment of truth had arrived.

Trump legally, at least, was no longer president, but he had been oddly silent since the verdict had been announced with great fanfare from the well of the Senate. Trump’s conviction had come after months of investigations on the part of the now Democratic Congress. The length and breath of Trump’s malfeasance discovered by these hearings had rocked the nation to its very core. On more than one occasion, MAGA talking heads on cable news had been interrupted by astonishing breaking news that left them, for once, unable or unwilling to defend the president.

The hearings had ground on for months to such an extent that Trump’s approval had slowly drifted to the 20s and stayed there consistently. Trump’s support was now made up of the very rich and the very poor. Oddly, despite Trump’s near constant demands on Twitter for violence on the part of his supporters, little, if any was reported. Trump had grown so frustrated that he had all but abandoned Twitter at one point for the more receptive Gab social media platform. Though on more than one occasion Rudy Giuliani had made it very clear it was within the rights of the president to declare martial law if he deemed it in the best interests of the nation. More than one delegation of Senate Republicans had gone to the White House to explain to Trump that he was going to be convicted, no avail. Trump made it clear to them, in not so many words that his simply living in the White House made him president, a sentiment best expressed by the legal saw that, “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.”

Finally, a post to Gab came out: “My so-called ‘conviction’ is the work of the Deep State and as such illegitimate. I remain president.”

This set off a chain of events, the likes of which Americans had never seen. Suddenly, everyone on Twitter became a Constitutional scholar as everyone studied the exact wording of the Constitution as to what happens if the president is removed from office by the Senate. The wording is quite clear: he or she is no longer president and that’s it.

Nowhere in the Constitution did it explain what to do if the president simply decided to ignore the Senate. What’s more, nowhere in the Constitution did it state what to do with the nuclear launch codes should a president be removed from office and he refuse to accept the decision of the Senate.

The next few hours were chilling as they were surreal for millions of people not just in the United States but around the globe. The issue of Trump’s physical access to America’s nuclear launch codes was suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Though it was finally announced that while the nuclear football remained in Trump’s possession, Sec. of Defense Mattis had ordered the American armed forces to stand down for the duration of the crisis.

Trump, on Twitter, was as defiant and unhinged as usual.He threatened to kill himself. He threatened to start a nuclear war. He vowed to declare martial law.

The usual suspects on cable news did their best to spin all of this for Trump. As an anxious nation waited for the now former president to leave the White House, a cavalcade of former Republican Senators and Trump White House staffers attempted to make the former president’s case. Their final argument was that for the good of the country, Trump should be allowed to remain president, despite his lawful conviction by the Senate.

Things began to move rapidly at this point.

Vice President Pence was sworn in but Chief Justice Roberts in a dark, somber event in the Old Executive Building. Meanwhile, it was learned Trump had quietly replaced his Secret Service detail with a private security force that made it clear it was prepared to defend Trump until the bloody end.

At this point, two things happened. A final bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders came to the White House grounds under the flag of truce. During the course of an hour-long meeting, Trump screamed at them that they had never supported him and the world would be better off if it just ended instead of allowed the forces of the Deep State to ruin America. He made it absolutely clear that he would never leave the Oval Office willingly.

With that, they left.

Next, a surreal, bizarre event, the FBI slowly began to surround the White House. There was much debate online and on TV about how long the nation should wait for Trump to leave the White House. CNN went so far as to do a deep dive into the exact amount of food the White House grounds might have available at any one moment.

Finally, shots rang out from the White House as the battle was joined. It took several hours but in the end, the FBI was finally able to secure the facility. Nearly a dozen personnel on both sides died during the course of the Battle of The White House.

In what would become ionic footage, Trump was quietly escorted from the White House grounds. He spent the remainder of his days ranting on Twitter and Gab that he was the rightful president.

Writing About Writing: ‘Existential Angst’ #AmWriting

Shelt Garner

by Shelt Garner
@shelgarner

I am toying with the idea of having a num de plume. For me, it’s proof to myself that I’m taking the development and writing of this novel seriously. If I’m able to think up a new, better name — inspired by my legal name — then there’s not more can I can do.

I’ve been in development hell for about a year now. I am giving myself the deadline of Jan 1st, 2020. Whatever I have done in development at that point I’m going to use to either start working on a serious first draft or turn my attention elsewhere. I’ve learned a lot over the last year and could easily use the skillset I’ve developed to write a much simpler novel far quicker. And, yet, I’ve invested a year of my time into this — and I’ve actually reached the point where the framework exists on a structural level to tell my “Apocalypse Now” for the Trump Era that it really doesn’t make any sense to stop at this point.

Two things stick out. One, I simply did not think through this novel very well when I started. In fact, it was so poorly conceived a year ago that had I had anyone in my life to talk with about it, they would have either told me to not do it, or they would have had to have been very active in the development process. As it stands, I had no one to tell me “no” and so I spun my wheels for a year because I have a very brutal self-editor and I my hatred of MAGA is so intense that whenever I felt like dropping the novel I realized there was so much I could do with it that I kept going.

But I am going to make some changes in an effort to be more “serious” with this project. I have half a dozen novel writing “how to” books to read next to my computer. I need to start reading them in earnest. I also need to start thinking outside the box. I’ve already had to change some major structural aspects of the story in the last few days simply to get past the inciting incident.

One issue with this novel is it’s too grounded in reality for it’s own good. I never mention Trump in the novel, simply saying it’s “a” president, not “the” president. But, really, anyone who reads the novel will check when it’s set and know who “Individual #1” is. So, in a sense, that’s my Fleabag risk. I’m taking a pretty big risk that since I’m essentially attacking a real administration that could still be in office when I try to sell it that anyone will take it seriously. If someone had written a political thriller during the Obama Administration that made it clear he was the president in question, people would think the author was a nut.

And, yet, I think if I am careful that there might be “serious” Verified Liberals who might at least give me a page or two to make my case. I could probably strip the direct attack on Trump out of the story, and, yet, given that was the whole point of writing a novel to begin with — and, well, I’m not that smart — I guess that’s a risk I’m willing to take going forward. Though there is still a chance that if I do really well with the first and second draft that a Beta Reader my take pity on me and suggest how I could do that very thing and still stay true to my original vision.

I really love several of the characters I’ve thought up. I love them so much that I’m willing to keep going, to give them a chance to at least stand on their own in the marketplace of ideas.

The Dream Of Being Joshua To Stieg Larsson’s Moses.

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am fully prepared to die of consumption — or a Stieg Larsson-style heart attack — just as the novel I’m developing is sold — if it ever is. But there’s a little part of me that thinks maybe I’ll at least get to be Tom Clancy in the end. He was a bit older when he sold his first novel and lived long enough to enjoy some of the success generated by it. But it’s Larsson to whom I feel a real kindship on a number of different levels and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to live the dream he was never able to.

I have been developing this concept for about a year now and it’s time to put up or shut up. So, I’m giving myself until Jan. 1st, 2020. I have to accept that whatever I draft I finish by my deadline of about April 2020 is NOT going to be a second draft. It’s a first draft and, as such, something I can’t really share with a lot of people.

The major problem I’ve faced for a year is I came up with the plot really fast and was so ill prepared to give it the structure necessary to support. I spent a year pretty much just running in place as I came across existential problem after existential problem. If I had a wife or a girlfriend — or, hell, just a friend — they would have either told me the whole thing was way beyond my ambition or would have at least been my “reader” to speed up the process. But as it was, I had no one to tell me “no.” I dove full steam ahead into a project that I simply was not prepared to complete with the skillset that I had at the time.

Now, a year later, I finally understand some pretty basic elements of the story. That it’s taken so long to get to this point is really, really embarrassing. Now, at least, if I do manage to finish this novel, I’m not going to embarrass myself. The only difference between this novel and Gone Girl, or maybe Sharp Objects, to be more realistic, is my native writing ability. And Gillian Flynn’s background is such that Verified Liberals on Twitter instantly give her a lot more credit than they ever will me, the middle aged white man hayseed rube crackpot failure dreamer loser in the rural part of a purple flyover state.

Anyway, I can only hold this particular pity party for so long. If nothing else, relative my native writing ability this specific debut novel might be seen as my Reservoir Dogs-Sharp Objects to my second novel’s Pulp Fiction-Gone Girl. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’ll enjoy the I’ll get to enjoy its success. Maybe I’ll, for once, get to enter the promise land of commercial and artistic success, a place that not even Larsson lived to see.

Why Phoebe Waller-Bridge Is Such A Creative Inspiration

Yasss queen.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

All my heroes are dead. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John Lennon, Steve Jobs and Prince. All. Dead.

But one person who is alive who I get a lot of creative courage from is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. That woman has creative ovaries of steel and so as this novel’s development begins to quicken in pace (at least for the time being) I ask myself, “What would Phoebe Waller-Bridge do? Would she go there? Yeah, of course she’d go there.”

So, whenever I come up with an issue I, myself, have about the scenario I’ve come up with, I now address it head on. I wallow in it. I say to the audience, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. But we’re going to talk about it so much that any worries you had about that possibility are eliminated.”

It’s wild how two things have really, really helped speed things up: establishment of a canon and pretty much totally flipping the script on some huge influences on this novel. A lot of problems have been fixed rather abruptly, so — for the time being –development is rushing full steam towards the end of the first act. I’m just letting my mind go down the rabbit hole of the most extreme possibilities to make a point about how fucked up the Trump Era is.

This helps the plot because it adds both drama and obstacles to the Hero and Heroine’s goals heading into towards the second act. A lot of avenues I had not really thought about have opened up and they’re organic to the concept and universe, so it’s really just a matter of free styling as I think up what would happen as part of the most obvious sequence of events.

The plot, characters and universe are getting far, far better because of this so, at a minimum, I feel cautiously optimistic that I won’t — at the very least– embarrassment myself.

Let’s rock!