Day 58: Agency

by Shelt Garner

I’m going to pause until the 1st, so I can sketch out some personality profiles and mull how to take this thing to the next level.

As I get closer to wrapping things up, some things I didn’t really think about as I was developing this Goddamn thing over the last few years suddenly loom large in my mind.

The issue of my heroine’s agency is a big issue at the moment. And, yet, fuck it, I need to keep momentum going. And, in general, the story is sufficiently engaging that while there is an obvious structural issue near the end of the story…maybe if I get a manuscript consultant to look at the thing he / she can fix it?

I’m just not going to worry about it at the moment.

Things are going well with the novel. I have an interesting, engaging heroine who kicks ass and is very sex-positive. Let’s rock.

The Heroine of My First Novel Has a Lot of Spunk

by Shelt Garner

The personality of my heroine has gone in directions I didn’t expect as I grow closer to wrapping up the second draft of this novel. Some of this comes from simply me realizing that to date she’s been way too passive. I need a go-getter who can be a force of nature when necessary.

She’s much more colorful and interesting now that I’ve made her younger. Instead of being a Mare of Easttown character who is middle aged and jaded, she’s a younger woman consumed with a lot of drive who works hard and plays hard. My heroine is a very unique person in more ways than one.

I continue to be annoyed at how I have to do all of this in a vacuum. It would be so nice if I had someone — anyone — to occasionally chat about where things were going with the novel. But, alas, I have no friends (virtually) and no one likes me.

I am growing annoyed with how much day drinking I’ve been doing and I really want to lay off that behavior for the time being. I’m also reminded that there is no “right” way to write a novel. Do it however you want, just tell a good story that people want to read all the way through.

Day 55: Put Up Or Shut Up

by Shelt Garner

I got pretty wasted this afternoon and wrote one solid scene that really fleshed out my heroine’s character. I really need to shut up and write. I have a limited amount of time to wrap this second draft up. I continue to have problems finding anyone who is willing to read the second draft once I finish it. I’m growing a little concerned about this situation.

But it will be fun to finally accomplish something as big as finishing a sold second draft. I just can’t let time slip up on me. I really need to keep an eye on the calender.


I continue to be a little uneasy about how much daydrinking I do these days. I need to sober up and buckle down with writing rather than getting completely wasted in the middle of the afternoon in the name of “writing.” I can write without being drunk and I find myself feeling sheepish about my behavior.

But, you know, we’re all human. Nobody’s perfect.

Modern Music Is Weird: Where Is Dua Lipa’s Pop-Rock Album?

by Shelt Garner

It’s a testament to how fucked up modern pop music is that Dua Lipa is really leaning into neo-disco when, if this was 20 years ago, she might come out with a true pop-rock album.

I say this because the one person I can compare Dua Lipa to from the past is Nelly Furtado. Both women have deeper voices and, all things being equal, both women would have huge success coming out with traditional pop-rock albums.

But here we are.

Lipa is pretty much just doing neo-disco. That’s it. That’s the extent of her ability to do anything interesting — disco.

In general, everything sucks.

The Oscars Should Embrace Gender-Neutral Acting Categories

by Shelt Garner

I think it’s time to end the gender-specific acting categories at the Oscars. I believe this not because of any passionate fondness for non-binary people, but rather I just think its time.

Just like how I believe young women should be required to sign up for Selective Service, I think we should give male and female actors the opportunity to go head-to-head. I’m well aware that there are A LOT of problems with this idea. The whole non-binary issue — which is what the Little Gold Men podcast focused on — is besides the point.

We need to move past having Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, etc, so the point where men and women are judged by their ability head to head as opposed to sequestered by sex. From what I tell from the Little Gold Men podcast, The Academy is very, very slow to change such things.

I wouldn’t focus on the whole non-binary issue if I was marketing this for the broader public. I have no problem with non-binary people, but if their concerns are played up in any change of the categories then a lot of mainstream people will roll their eyes at how clueless Hollywood is.

But if you just say this is a “modernization” of the Oscars, then I think a lot of people will embrace it without all the “woke” fuss.

Or not. What do I know.

Day 54: A Potentially Surreal Future

by Shelt Garner

I suppose it’s possible that I’ll never get to enter the Promised Land because I’ll drop dead for some reason before I see this novel published — just like what happened to Stieg Larsson.

But there is a greater-than-zero possibility that not only will I enter the promise land, I will do so with such gusto that something really, really surreal will happen: people will actually give a shit about me. Or, more specifically, they will care what I have to say.

I have gone many years of my life not only living in oblivion but being so ill-considered by Very Serious People that I pretty much could say anything and no one would pay any attention. If I manage to write a novel that really is an old brown shoe for Stieg Larsson fans then…people might actually care about all the kooky things I’ve said over the years.

And, what’s more, they are probably going to poke around my past and they’ll soon realize that not only am I bonkers and something of a drunk crank, some pretty astonishing things happened to me in Seoul as a part of ROKon Magazine.

But I can’t really complain, now can I. That’s kind of the whole point of all of this hard work, right — to be A Somebody, again?

It’s very possible that, lulz, all my drunk behavior in Asia will come to bite me in the ass and I’ll be “canceled” for some drunk thing I did 20 years ago. I can’t change that, you know. I’m no innocent and I’m stuck with what I’ve done over the years, one way or another.

And, besides, it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.

In other news, I’m well on my way to beating my July 4th goal for the Beta Reader process. But it’s going to be a shit ton of work, nonetheless. And, I may have positioned myself to get “advice” from a local author in my hometown. If that pans out — which it may still not — then that will really help things a great deal.

I have very low expectations on the Beta Reader process at the moment. It’s going to be a very different dynamic when I have to get people to read a novel that could be over 100,000 words. I can barely get people to do ANYTHING for me, period. I’m just not a very persuasive guy.

Day 53: Once More, With Feeling

by Shelt Garner

I really need to figure out how to stop myself from rushing to the end of a verison of this novel when I get close to wrapping things up. But, here I am, having done it AGAIN.

But I do have a “finished” transitional draft to work with. I may pause actual writing for this weekend so I can psych myself up for yet another go at trying to finish a public beta draft — something I expect people to enjoy enough to read all the way to the end.

I’ve gotten a lot — A LOT — closer to that, but I’m still not there yet. I’m hoping that if I’m really patient that THIS draft will be the draft I use to write the Public Beta at last.

One issue is I just can’t keep wasting so much paper forever. This thing printed out looks like a proper novel in size and I’d prefer to keep the number of times I print the whole thing out to a minimum.

I really need to readjust my thinking about printing out copy at the drop of a hat now that I have a draft that is obviously over 100,000 words. I have to just methodically go through this draft and hopefully I won’t have to do anything but rewrite or edit scenes I’ve already written.