by Shelton Bumgarner
Today’s big concept is something very obvious and simple: “plot” is a verb. This has been a major problem of mine since I starting developing, then writing, the developing again, this novel. In the past, I’ve thought up scenes that were static. They presented information, but had zero action or connection to other scenes.
Now, as I have repeatedly said in the past, I have no friends and no one likes me. I didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend to point out some massive problems with the universe I’d thought up and so I’ve repeatedly wasted months of my time by not seeing the obvious, only to abruptly have to re-calibrate the entire novel. I am functioning in a complete vacuum, with only seeing the occasional movie being any outside source to help me with this obsession.
But things are slowly beginning to bounce back. I have vowed to myself not to start writing again until I have some semblance of a complete scene summary that I can use as a guide to write the next draft of the novel. There’s a lot — a whole lot — going on with this novel right now. While it has a lot of layers (if you know me well enough and know how I think) it also has ZERO literary aspirations.
I’m graze-reading an essential book — at least for me — on scene and structure that I need to snort if this novel is to be any semblance of a success. Knowing how to develop both a scene and the plot that it would be a part of is crucial.
Having said all that, two things are really beginning to influence this novel, which I jokingly within my mind call a “political guilty pleasure for woke Park Slope moms.” This is not at all a real description, for no other reason than my background, personality and political views are maybe not Ken Bone bad, but they at least don’t easily fit the narrative that Blue Check Liberals are so fond of on Twitter. In fact, on an emotional level, this novel is essentially me running around naked to see if anyone notices what’s going on.
Two things are really at the forefront of my mind as I struggle to finish a second draft scene summary as quickly as possible so I can get back to writing — SNL and Pitchfork. SNL is important because it’s an organization that has a storied history and legacy that people love, love, love to hear about. I’ve only encountered one place in my life that was as intense about something creative that a team did together — in a sense — and so I’m leaning into that as the heart of this novel. It’s the thing that connects the whole universe together, at least from my point of view as the “prime mover.” It has to do with music, so maybe that might catch someone’s eye at some point when such attention is needed.
Meanwhile, I’m also interested in using the music Website Pitchfork as a cheat sheet for the musical aspect of this novel’s plot. I haven’t done it yet, but given what’s going on in the novel and when it’s set, it would make sense if I started to study Pitchfork to get some sense of what people who read it would think is “good” modern music. If I don’t do that, I really risk being bit too conspicuous about what I’m REALLY doing with this novel and that might be off putting. If I can hide behind updating the musical reference, that might help a lot.
Again, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m operating in a complete vacuum. This novel’s problems are MY problems. It’s just I’ve gotten better as a storyteller and so I’m growing a little bit more confident that at a minimum I won’t embarrass myself. The great irony is I do have a few very, very, very tenious connections to showbiz…but none of these people take my seriously and think of me as just a dreamer loser. So if I have any type of success with this novel, these people might have a few eyepopping surprises down the road.
I’m being really delusional on that one as of right now, though.
It could be that at the end of this process I still suck and I have to self publish. At least I will have gone through the entire process and can say I’ve written a “real” novel on my own terms.
Maybe I’ll write a screenplay next if that happens.