America’s Surreal, Pre-Second Civil War Politics

by Shelt Garner

As I keep writing, all things being equal, rolling political violence should begin any moment now in the United States. Red people in Blue states and Blue people in Red states should flee their homes in search of safety. This would cause the two sides to grow more radical and their state governments to harden their views of states with opposing political views.

And, yet, to date, there is no real sign that this is going to happen. Not that it won’t, but there would have to be a catalyst. What’s more it would have to be something that caused people who obviously want a revolution or civil war — like all the people from South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama who keep looking at this blog — to take the next step and to actually start hurting people they disagree with politically.

MAGA 2020.

It appears there’s a reason why, to date, we’ve escaped such a civil war — Trump is such an lazy opportunist that he simply doesn’t have the leadership skill to force the issue. That, and how the court system surprised us all by not playing along with MAGA’s attempted coup there.

But we’re not out of the woods yet, I’m afraid.

Between now and around April 2021, any number of random events could occur that would push us into civil war. Sorry Neo-Confederates, I just don’t see there being a right wing revolution. You might secede, but an actual Right Wing revolution based on a hatred of woke liberal-progressive cancel culture….just doesn’t seem within your ability to pull things off. You can have all the fucking guns you want, but you’re too busy sucking Trump’s cock to actually use them on anyone.

But I will give you the possibility of a secession crisis in the near future. And, yet, you would need leadership to pull that off. And the Dear Leader just isn’t up to it. If Mike Pompeo or Tom Cotton was president right now, yes, but they’re not. We got a ding-dong as president who if he does manage to start a secession crisis it will be out of a weird mixture of spite and simple blundering into the situation by accident.

America right now.

While the Proud Boys are scary, they’re not as organize or as popular as, say, the Brown or Black Shirts of the 1930s were. This could change extremely quickly, but, still, Trump is very lazy and very incompetent. He has autocratic impulses, but, to date, he just can’t follow through.

And thus we have this surreal situation where we all know a civil war may happen at any moment — like a real, honest-to-God shitshow civil war with millions dying — but because the one person who has the means, motive and opportunity to actually start it — Trump — is a lazy idiot…it’s not happening.

So, either gradually over the next few years some Man on a Horse bubbles up to the political surface and pushes us into civil war, or, well, we just kind of drift in neutral until something happens I can’t predict.

It could be that it won’t even be MAGA at all that pushes us into political violence, but it’s successor. My guess it will be some sort of radical neo-Ludditism caused by Elon Musk burning the trucking industry to the ground virtually over night.

The point is — the United States is extremely unstable right now. And it’s only going to get worse. So, it’s possible Trump leaves office peacefully and the actual civil war happens officially on Biden’s watch because something totally unexpected happens.

My Hot Take On Kyle Rittenhouse

by Shelt Garner

Where to begin on this one. It definitely seems as though if you want something that encapsulates what’s going on in American politics right now, you need look no further than Kyle Rittenhouse murdering people in cold blood and the American Right rallying to his support.

There’s no defense, none what so ever, for what Rittenhouse did, and, yet, here we are with people spotting him his $2 million bail so he can get endorsements from a gun manufacturer. It’s completely bonkers. The only thing I guess you might use to explain this otherwise surreal behavior is Rittenhouse is now something of a John Brown figure.

He did what a bunch of grown men think they wanted to do, and so they bought into his martyrdom and here we are. I’ve come to believe that barring something pretty spectacular, that there isn’t going to be a civil war. Any violence is going to come from Trump’s use of the Insurrection Act — probably because of mass protests from him staging A Very American Coup.

But, otherwise, meh. Just don’t see it.

Or, put another way, it’s possible the far Right is going to start murdering people, the government will support it and then, and only then, will there be something marketed as a “civil war.”

For the time being, however, we’re heading towards something of a stalemate, not civil war. A lot of protests, maybe, and the occasional bonkers Right wing person like Rittenhouse killing innocent people, but otherwise, not a lot is going to happen.

I’m willing to revise that assessment as a events warrant.

Things Are Going Well With The Novel At The Moment

by Shelt Garner

For the moment, at least, I’ve kind of gotten into a groove with the novel. I’m averaging about one chapter a week, but I think some of that comes from how hot it is. Once it gets a little cooler I may get closer to my goal of three chapters a week.

My absolute deadline for the first draft is Thanksgiving and I just can’t be this slow. I really need to speed up. There are, of course, remaining holes in the outline I’ve been using, but hopefully as I write I’ll be able to fill them. I may just say “screw it” and write something anything in those “holes” in the outline just so I can finish a first draft of some sort.

But the story in general is so strong — and so lets me vent about the Trump Era — that I keep going. I keep having a lingering interest in writing a screenplay, but that’s just creative restlessness. Though I do think I have the skillset necessary to be a success in Hollywood, I’ve invested so much into this novel that I don’t want to take away any mental energy for a SECOND delusion.


I’m still at the point where I am allowing myself to be as delusional as possible. It’s not until the second draft that I’m going to take a deep breath and start thinking about the cold, harsh realities the marketplace. Things like word count and character names being “normal” will come to the forefront of my mind then. But some stuff I’m not going to change, even then.

I have a very specific vision. Some elements of the story are existential and if I can’t sell it if I have them in it, then I’ll just self publish.

It’s Surreal How Much My #WIP’s #MC Looks Like #Zendaya In My Imagination

by Shelt Garner

First, let me stress I fucking hate it when aspiring novelists preen about this or that actor would be perfect for the movie adaptation of the “work in progress.” Oh, Jesus. Just shut up and write.

But, I will note, in passing that the heroine the novel I’m working on IS Zendaya in my imagination. It’s not a perfect one-to-one for a very specific reason, but it’s spooky that I would independent of being any sort of Zendaya fan come up with a character that resembles her so much.

This is a novel, not a screenplay, so lulz. And I’m just an anonymous middle-aged man in the rural part of a flyover state so the probability of selling this novel is about the same as me winning the lottery.

And, yet, it is fun to occasionally daydream about such things. It’s all very much mental masturbation, of course, but no one reads this blog an I’m just talking to myself at this point.

It’s The Title of Jessica Alba’s Netflix Vehicle ‘Trigger Warning’ That Is Making Me Nervous

by Shelt Garner

The novel I’m developing is very personal. It’s also very much something of my autobiography in a gauzy, fictional form. But Jessica Alba — the Taylor Swift of major Latina movie stars — has a project with Netflix in development that’s really making me nervous.

It’s called Trigger Warning and when I heard the title my heart sank. It would be very easy for it to be essentially the novel I’m writing. In fact, Trigger Warning is one of several discarded titles I’ve mulled for the novel over the last two years.

But the once I learned what few details I could about Alba’s project, it just doesn’t seem I have THAT much to worry about. Yes, the two projects are similar in some respects, but I THINK that has more to do with simple form follows function than anything else.

And, yet, as I’ve said, should something happen, I’ve developed this novel far enough that I can pretty easily use the characters I’ve come up with for a different plot.

I hope it doesn’t come to that, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Sometimes, you just have to believe in yourself.

Of Someone Writing A Screenplay Inspired From My Development Writing Online

by Shelt Garner

I vacillate dramatically from assuming that, of course, someone is going to use all my development on this Website to write a screenplay that “steals” my idea to wondering, how, exactly, they would do it.

I guess you could get the general gist of the concept if you looked at what I’ve been writing about and talking about the last 18 months, but even if you did do that, your interpretation of the concept and mine would likely be dramatically different.

I keep seeing people poking around this Website in my Webstats and that alarms me because I assume that of course my worst fears are being realized. And, yet, really, the idea I am working on is so expansive and ambitious that a screenplay would be, by definition, dramatically different than the novel I’m writing.

If I had, like, friends and stuff, then this wouldn’t be an issue. I would talk to them about what I’m working on and I wouldn’t have this problem. My only hope is that even if people were actively stealing from me at this point, it would still take actual physical time to develop the screenplay. And the subject matter of this novel is such that I find it dubious that even if someone could somehow accurately reverse-engineer the concept from what I’ve done here, I’m not so sure they would actually steal the story beat-for-beat.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s exactly what’s happening.

But I’m of the opinion that you make decisions on what you know, not on what you don’t know. I could just give up and assume someone is going to steal this concept from me, or I can work harder and faster so at least I finish something sooner rather than later.

If you are trying to “steal” my story — fuck you, you hack.

Outline Rambling

by Shelt Garner

Things are moving a lot faster because I’m doing an outline of the novel instead of putting all that much work into fleshing out individual scenes. This process allows me to get far further into the novel than I usually do before everything falls apart and I have to start from scratch.

The downside of this is I realize what a massive task I have ahead of me. I have a very complex plot with some pretty huge structural issues that I continue to bump up against as I develop. The biggest problem is how ambitious this novel is. I’m trying to explore the entirety of the Trump Era through allegory. There’s just so much going on, that it’s a struggle to make it all easy to understand. And, really, the only thing that allows me to keep going is I know how great this story is.

I’m willing to throw my heart into this project because I know I can produce something pretty cool — an entertaining — if I just keep at it. I have to believe in myself. I can’t give up. I’ve gotten this far, I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to herd it to completion.

I’m trying to move as fast as I can on this outline. I hope to start writing again no later than June 1st.

An Unexpected Struggle With The Novel As It Grows Better

by Shelt Garner

Things are moving fast with the novel. And, yet, as my storytelling ability gets better, I realize there are some major flaws with what I have right now. I came up with a very complex situation for this story when all of this began and as my writing ability gets better I realize how much work telling the story I want to tell will entail.

I have a very specific vision and I’m willing to put the work into this novel to make that vision a reality. It’s just every once in a while, I have to re-calibrate some pretty significant parts of the story, long after I think I have things settled.

But at least I’m recognizing these problems now, instead of getting all excited and showing it to beta readers, only to have them laugh at me. (Or, worse yet, to simply give me silence.) I’m doing a massive amount of reading right now to catch up to where I should be with this novel.

One problem I’ve had is I’ve been drafting so much off of what Stieg Larsson did with The Girl Who Played With Fire, that now that I realize my novel isn’t served by doing that anymore, some fundimental issues have come up. I really want this novel to be something of a “brown shoe” for readers in the sense that superficially, at least, it seems like just another thriller — even though it’s, in fact, an allegory for the Trump Era.

So, I struggle a lot with how to properly tell this story in the way my gut tells me to — I’m essentially doing everything in a vacuum. I have no friends and no one will help me, so all I have is my personal vision of the story I want to tell. I talk a lot about this novel online for no other reason than it gives me a socially acceptable way to talk to myself.

At this point, the only thing that keeps me going is I know how important this story might be if properly written. There are a lot of existential problems with this novel — all of them, well, directly connected to me. But I’ve been working on this thing so long that I think the point is to just wrap up the outline and write something, anything starting June 1st.

Autumn 2020 Will Be Dark & Surreal

by Shelt Garner

We are never seeing Trump’s taxes.

What’s more, Trump is never leaving office. Ever. The only way he will ever leave office is if he goes stark raving mad at some point in his second term so either Veep Mike Flynn or Veep Ivanka Trump can take over. (If it’s Ivanka, she will serve as a figure head to Veep Tom Cotton.)

It’s comical that anyone would delude themselves into thinking House Trump will ever leave office as long as we’re waiting for the Graying of America to cross the Browning of America. House Trump will get it’s Constitutional Convention at some point between 2021 and 2025 and we’ll be nothing more than a wealthier version of the managed democracy found in Russia.

ICE camps will be full of political prisoners. MAGA paramilitary groups will keep everyone in check. America as we know it will be over. We’ll have to wait for someone like AOC to overthrow the government in about 30 to 50 years when the Browning of America finally grows powerful enough.

Maybe then, and only then, will we see Trump’s taxes.

I say all this because Trump could lose the popular vote in a historic landslide and he’ll simply use Twitter to sick deranged, bloodthirsty MAGA cocksuckers on individual Electors so they vote for him.

This is our future. Absolutely. I can think of no scenario where this doesn’t happen.

Trump will never leave office. Never. For any reason. He will become America’s Brezhnev for the next 10 years or so until whatever fucktard fascist House Trump decides to choose to be his successor.

Get of the country now if you can.

There is no hope.

Things Are Moving Fast Now

by Shelt Garner

Now that I have a handle on my POV characters, things are moving far faster. In fact, the only thing slowing me down finishing the outline and writing is the massive amount of research I realize I have to do. I have to understand the characters I’ve come up with and the only way to do so is to know what they would know.

I still have a fair amount of reading to do on the abstract of character development, but simply see that as more reading.

I really understand far better the point of this story (two novels, one story). That allows both the reading and the research to flow far, far faster. I have an absurd amount of reading to do if I’m going to develop characters that don’t embarrass me what how flimsy they are.

One thing I have to do is beef up my Hero. Right now, he’s simply an exaggerated — and far more stable — version of myself in Seoul about 12 years ago. But for him to be, well, the Hero, he has to be someone you can root for. He has to be active, not just a womanizing drunk who gets away with shit because of how colorful he is.

But I’m really pleased.

I’m reading as much as I can, as fast as I can. I hope to start writing again no later than June 1st. I am very unhappy with how long it’s going to take me — even under the most ideal of circumstances — to start speccing the story out to agents.

But I’m all in. My entire creative life is devoted to this novel. Every day my understanding of the story I want to tell grows stronger.

At the very least, I won’t embarrass myself.