by Shelt Garner
Let me say for the record that I have no idea what I’m doing and I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to finish development of this novel, much less an actual first draft. But tonight I had a serious breakthrough on a canonical level which gives me added momentum going forward.
From the very beginning, I’ve wanted my heroine to be ethnically Latina. But as I’ve come to understand who the character is, I realize that she simply doesn’t fit the current media narrative about the Latinx community as advocated by Twitter Liberals. She’s her own person. She’s gorgeous and she can kick your ass. If you think that makes her just another “sexy slutty assassin” then fuck you. I only say that because I’ve spent much of my time the last year working to think up every possible way to flip the script on that particular trope while also giving the Latinx community a folk heroine to root for.
I want my heroine to be something that Lisbeth Salander isn’t — likable. As I’ve said from the beginning of this to-date year-long process, I want my heroine to naively be a “manic pixie dream girl,” but one that was shoved into a vat of Lisbeth Salander. Her personality has been warped because of events out of her control. She doesn’t have Asperger’s and you could actually see yourself hanging out with her but for a pretty big event in her past that totally changed who she is. I am well aware that I risk writing a younger, better looking female version of myself as my heroine. But I’m so super self-conscious about that possibility that hopefully that won’t happen.
Now, why I, a middle aged hayseed rube white guy living in a backwater portion of a purple flyover state, would do such a thing probably seems rather surreal to the average Twitter Liberal. I can’t help who I am. I can be empathetic, however. I have very strong opinions and sometimes I say things that could be perceived as offensive on any number of different levels. But I’m not racist,or a misogynist, or an incel or a bigot. I fucking hate MAGA with a white hot creative rage.
I guess some of it comes from who’s the one type of person MAGA hates the most? A Hispanic. So, if I’m going rant at the top of my lungs (using subtext) as to how much I fucking hate MAGA, the only way to do it properly is to have a Latina heroine. Throw in how much I love The Girl Who Played With Fire as a novel and, well, the rest takes care of itself. The ONLY reason why this novel is a thriller is I have to have an excuse to run around my Trump Era allegory in a way that keeps you turning pages.
I really, really want this novel to be as accessible as possible. I want everyone to have a good time — even MAGA fucktards who may be hate-reading it because Don Jr. told them it sucked. (That I even sell the damn thing is just a dream at this point. I full expect that I will have to self-publish and the best I will be able to do is get a profile in the local weekly.)
Anyway, just like you can’t hold a pregnant woman’s baby until it’s actually born, you’re going to just have to wait while I bounce between thinking, development, writing and talking a lot about what is, in real terms, still a moving object. I have a whole lot of work ahead of me still. AND my writing probably isn’t nearly as good as could be.
But I do know I’m not going embarrass myself. This could be my Sharp Object and my next novel will be my Gone Girl. Who knows.