A New Era For The Novel

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have sent the first part of the novel — 20 scenes — to a few people and now I’m waiting for some sense from them if the conceit is as good as I believe it to be.

Last night was kind of rough. I have thrown my whole life into this novel and people simply were not giving me the turn-around on what I sent them in the way I expected.

But in a sense, I guess it is better I realize that dynamic now. If I waited until the second draft was finished it would be a real let down if people acted this way then.

Today is going to be development day for the novel. I’m going to sketch out the second part of the novel — which the story really begins — and then probably start writing again no later this tomorrow, this Sunday. I believe this novel is really strong. Really strong. But the tough part is getting someone, anyone to be willing to take a look at it in the first place.

Anyway, I just have to keep believing in myself. I have to keep going. No one will help you while you’re struggling. It’s only after you’re a success that anyone gives a shit.

‘Send Her Back’ — #Lyrics To A Country-Pop Song

Been struggling with how to use this phrase in a song. Finally figured it out. Not at all what I expected.

Send Her Back
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Please give credit if you produce or perform

looking at myself in the mirror
thinking what’s been done
is done
what happens next is anyone’s guess
but let me put it out there

if you find her
send her back
send her back
if you find my love
send her back

she was my center
when she left it was with a roar
I adored her with my all my might
now the pain enters my heart at night
gives me a fright without any delight

all I can do is think of the past
without a doubt it’s a rout
it’s over there’s no doubt
but maybe with your help she’ll come back

if you find her
send her back
send her back
if you find my love

(bridge)
she’s coming back I just know
letting me leave the pain
it’s all I got
it’s my last refrain

if you find her
send her back
send her back
if you find my love

send her back

It’s All Been Done

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I continue to think about the movie Network as I write this novel. It’s Network more than anything else that inspires me. I really like how that movie is so timeless and yet is a snapshot of America just after Watergate.

The novel I’m writing has the potential to be something of a Network for the Trump Era. That’s the absolutely best best case scenario. But I really have leaned into every possible zeitgeisty thing I can possibly think of while I develop this work.

But I do have pretty low expectations. I’ll be pleased if I simply finish something, anything that I can show people who think I suck. One interesting thing is I got as far as the second act a few weeks ago and the entire story fell apart on a tactical level. Strategically, it still works.

It really boils down to simply believing in myself. The thing is I really feel like I’m adrift in the middle of the Atlantic. I believe in my gut that if I just keep going I’ll reach the New World. But I have nothing my own ambition to guide me at this point.

I just feel like the Trump Era needs an easily accessible tale that explains to people who are as frustrated as I am. I still don’t have a canon for the work. And I still haven’t done character studies. Even when I do finally do those two things, I’m probably going to do it in longhand. What I need is a typewriter.

Anyway. I’ve finally managed to right myself after a few days of struggle. I’m feeling pretty good about what I’ve managed to come up with. Now, it’s just a matter of putting in the hard work.

‘Dystopia in the US’ — #Lyrics To A #Punk Song

Dystopia in the US
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Please give credit if you produce or perform

I live in a dystopia
I’m told lies everyday
by the people in charge

I don’t wanna be
in
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US

we’re better than this
or at least I thought
that’s what I was taught
this shame is going to leave a mark

no going back I’m afraid
they’re going to come for you and me
once they get done crushing the immigrants
gunna make us all live in a cage
it’s all the rage!

I don’t wanna be
in
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US

(bridge)
how did things change so fast
leaving all our hope in the past
now it’s stand and fight
or just be another dog in a cage

I don’t wanna be
in
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US
the dystopia in the US

‘Stand Tall’ — #Lyrics To A Old School Hip Hop Song

The only reason why I even mention hip-hop is I was listening to Public Enemy as I wrote these lyrics. Trump is really beginning to piss me off.

Stand Tall
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Please give credit if you produce or perform

fight on your feet
fight on your feet
fight on your feet
stand tall

you don’t have to preach
innocents are dying on the beach
we’re living in 1984
that’s the score

fight on your feet
fight on your feet
fight on your feet
not live as a slave

but let me state
I won’t be the man’s slave
that has time come and gone
so given the choice by the orange man
between living on my knees
or dying on me feet
I know what my choice will be

I can tell you for sure
I know where I stand
that choice is easy as pie
I know how I want to die
join me

fight on your feet
fight on your feet
fight on your feet
not live as a slave

(bridge)
black, brown or gay
they want to keep us on our knees
but the only please I believe is
that one day it will be seen
that we fight with all our might
on our feet
when given the opportunity

stand tall
stand tall
stand tall
fight on your feet
fight on your feet
fight on your feet
not live as a slave

Some Idle Rambling About The State Of The Novel I’m Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Insta: WriterShelt

I’m doing a lot of little videos using Instagram about the novel I’m writing. But here are some general thoughts. I’m about 40,000 words in right now and I’ve hit a moment in the early part of the second act where the sheer size of this project has begun to kick in.

I’m giving myself between 165,000 to 185,000 word to tell this story because I’ve been told anything past 200,000 won’t get published. The interesting thing is I finally am at a point in the novel where I rant about the Trump Era.

The entire novel is meant to be an indictment of the Trump Era disguised as a spy thriller. I’m really enjoying writing this novel. It’s just managing dates, characters and themes is tough when you’re doing it all in your head. I think once I finally finish the first draft things should move a lot faster. I’ll have the first draft to use as a stepping stone.

I have come up with a lot of ad hoc ways to manage development and writing, but none of them has come into any formal role yet. Again, I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time. In a sense, the novel is kind of Network if it was written as an homage to the Millennium series by way of James Bond.

Sorta.

There’s also a lot of Being There in this novel because it’s meant to be a snapshot in time. A time capsule of the few first years of the Trump Administration. Or, if you want to get rather dystopian — of the first Trump Administration.

I just have a lot — a lot — of work to do. A huge amount. It doesn’t help that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m probably doing everything wrong. But the point is to finish something, anything that I can edit.

I have to believe in myself. That’s the chief thing at this point. I have to keep going. I have a really great conceit. It’s just a matter of fleshing it out over the course of nearly 200,000 words.

Wish me luck.

Identity Politics & The Destruction Of Storytelling

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Instagram: WriterShelt

I’m trying to write a pretty breezy, accessible “thriller” that deals with some pretty deep concepts as subtext. And, yet, I’m a little — ok, a lot — nervous that because the story deals with characters who are brown, members of the LGBQ+ community and women that, well, a lot of the intended audience won’t even read it.

The reason is — dun dun dun — identity politics.

For me, identity politics is corrosive because it gives a huge pass to fuckwits like Trump to promote identity politics among white straight people. What’s worse, taken to its extreme — which is almost always is — identity politics divides the center-Left to such an extent that shithead MAGA people can walk all over them.

Is there a solution?

Probably not. Things have simply gone too far. All I can do is just write the novel I want to write and see what happens. That doesn’t stop me from being annoyed, though.

Why I Walked Out Of ‘Booksmart’ (But You Should See It)

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
Instagram: WriterShelt

I hated Booksmart.

I hated it — and hate it — so much that I begin to seethe with rage at the idea of it. And, yet, it’s nothing personal against Olivia Wilde and the movie itself is probably pretty good — if you’re a woke, bi curious Generation Z girl taking your SATs for the first time.

I walked out of the movie at just about the inciting incident because first I despised that clueless rant about lesbian sex, I hated how bad some of the acting was obviously going to be — Billie Lourd, sigh — I hated how much of an updated rip off of Heathers the movie was and I hated the entire premise of what I was expected to sit through for the next hour and a half.

So I bounced.

This is coming from a person who bounced from an equally critically acclaimed Bird Man. I hated that movie and walked out of it, too.

Now, the reason why I even talk about any of this to begin with is while movies like Booksmart serve an admirable purpose and help proto-lesbians see representation in film, they also have a corrosive effect overall. What I mean by this is Booksmart is a prime example of how Hollywood — or at least a woke subset of it — apparently has completely given up on 48% of the audience and just wants to suck its own dick (to quote The Mooch.) There’s a reason why Sniper was such a huge hit — there’s a pretty big untapped market for center-Right heteronormative storytelling. (Not to cast aspersions on non-heteronormative stories, just to observe what’s going on.)

Again — I was not the audience of this movie and only went because I keep seeing ads for it in my center-Left social media echo chamber. It was like I was being guilt-tripped into seeing it. I did not want to see it, knowing I would likely hate it. But I decided to give it a chance. And, guess what?

I fucking hated it.

The great sin this movie committed is it allowed its ideology to take over and warp the narrative of the movie to such an extent that I couldn’t get pass the inciting incident and left the theatre altogether.

But given that I was not the audience and I did not see the entire movie, I still feel comfortable recommending it to other people. If you’re younger than me, or more of a Leftist, you probably really will love the movie as much as the entertainment-industrial flack complex tells us you will.

Anyway, I’m writing a novel that deals with a lot of the same issues as Booksmart. But, given that I’m a smelly brutish male, I’m sure even if I’m as empathetic as possible to the stories of people don’t look like me, someone, somewhere, will discount the novel as simply another member of the patriarchy exploiting the lives of women, minorities and members of the LGBQ+ community for their own gain. (I’m being a bit sarcastic, dummy.)

All I can do is keep my head down and try to tell the story I want to tell. I think Wilde did a great job, you should go see Booksmart and ignore everything I just wrote.

Who would listen to me, anyway?

The Themes & Subtext Of The Novel I’m Writing

By Shelton Bumgarner
Twitter: @bumgarls

Instagram: WriterShelt

Here is a list of some of the issues I hope to address in the novel I’m writing currently.

— Global Climate Change
— Systemic racism
— Systemic misogyny
— Extremism in the Age of Trump (Both the Left and the Right.)
— The Lead Up To The Release of The Muller Report

I hope, though, that the story itself will be so accessible and universal in a timeless manner that you can read it Memorial Day Weekend 2020 and it not even really register that all these deep things are being addressed in what is marketed as a “thriller.”

That’s the hope, at least.

V-Log: A Depressing Trumplandia Future

Some thoughts.