The Struggle Is Real: Constructing A Complex, Believable Female Romantic Lead For My Novel

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

With the complaints of outspoken Hollywood feminists like Olivia Wilde and Jessica Chastain ringing in my mind, I find myself trying to construct a romantic partner for my Hero who is strong enough and complex enough that I feel she will be noticed by women who may read the novel.

I’m getting kind of desperate. I know what her name is and what she looks like. But figuring out her personality is proving to be really, really tough. In my desperation, I am turning to someone who has enough of a public footprint that I can use her as inspiration. (Who? Not tellin.) I only do this because, what else am I going to do? I know the woman’s musical tastes and her age, so that goes a long ways towards using her as the foundation of the character, at least in that side of her life.

One element of the character — her professionalism and career drive — is proving to be the hardest to construct because I would need to hang out with the woman who is inspiring that side of her and, well, I’m just a middle-aged loser in a fly over state. So, I’m going to have to some reverse engineering. For this side of her life, I’m really studying Jodi Kantor. She’s a little older than I need the character to be, however, so it’s not an exact fit. But I think if I look at the social media footprint of women like her on Twitter, then that will help a lot.

One thing that’s proving to be a real pain to figure out is, of all things, how my two romantic leads deal with Thanksgiving. Ugh. So difficult. But every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

‘Knives Out’ & Its Influence On The Novel I’m Developing & Writing

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I walk out of movies a lot now that I have been seriously developing and writing a novel. But I saw Knives Out last night and loved it. In fact, the third act was a real “ah-ha” moment for me in regards to the novel I’m writing. I spent the entire drive home talking to myself about the “big black void” that you want to hide from the reader for as long as possible after it happens.

In other words, I now know the exact sequence of events that pretty much the basis of the whole novel’s plot. Now that I know that, I can spend a lot of time dropping clues to the reader leading up to that event and then spend the rest of the novel slowly explaining to them what happened. It’s a major step forward in the plot. Though I have to admit the novel is going to be a lot more Knives Out and a lot less Gone Girl for no other reason than I simply am not as twisted and dark as Gillian Flynn is. I’m just too nice. But I still have a time to make things darker than I am naturally inclined to do, I guess.

One thing is clear — this novel is going to fast paced and very easy to film if it ever became that popular. I’m a visual person and love movies and it’s just difficult for me not to essentially write a novel that’s very cinematic in nature from the ground up. In that sense, I am very much like Michael Crichton in the sense that I think he wrote his novel’s with the assumption they would be filmed.

On a side note, I really, really like Daniel Craig. He’s the gold standard for who I imagine my Hero being in my mind. But there are a lot of problems with that relative to who the character is. My Hero is too much like me in ( some respects) for there to be a 1-to-1 correlation. But I am trying to make my female romantic lead a lot like a combination of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Alexa Chung. Sorta. She’s definitely sort of in that spectrum of brunette British woman.

But anyway, I still have a huge amount of work to do. But I am definitely pushing myself to my creative limits in development, if nothing else. This novel is becoming more and more a reflection of my own personal history and personality.

The Dumbest Timeline

The Muse In Question
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have something of an obsessive personality. Right now, I’m obsessed with developing and writing a novel. Things are going well as of this moment. It’s a lot of work and that was the whole point of writing novel seriously — I wanted a big creative project to suck up all my time.

A reasonably long time ago I was obsessed with fashion “It Girl” Alexa Chung. The whole thing was rather dumb. I had way too much time on my hand and I love to write, so I was writing a lot about her. Now, what was extremely dumb about this was there were people would apparently noticed this and were a least somewhat concerned.

I was simply a fan who liked to write a lot. At least, that was what it seemed like to me at the time. But I definitely got the sense that her “people” might have been aware of my obsession. It gets even more embarrassing when every once in a while I look in my Webstats and see someone from Sweden looking specifically at what I’ve written about Ms. Chung — even though I’ve not written anything about her in any conspicuous manner for some time now — maybe even years. I have no idea who it is — it could be anyone — but I feel a pang of mortification at the thought that it could be her Swedish boyfriend Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd.

Ugh.

I guess what bothers me is I wasn’t hostile or threatening in anything I wrote. I probably came off as rather delusional, but I thought I was just writing obsessively in a rather unimportant corner of the Internet. But the whole experience definitely taught me a lesson — anything you write about ANYONE online is at once everywhere and no where. Celebrities are people too and it’s actually rather rare for them to not be freaked out by a middle aged weirdo like me talking about them obsessively, especially a woman.

But I definitely have a lingering annoyance over that whole situation. People were so quick to assume the absolute worst about my intentions. Yet, I guess, that’s just the world we live in now.

‘Suitcase’ — #Lyrics To A Pop-Rock Song

This includes a dollop of found verse from an Alexa Chung tweet.

Suitcase
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

our love is like heavy as can be
but it’s light as a feather
when we pull left it together
like a heavy suitcase

our suitcase is one of a kind
we carry it together
it’s quite sublime
suitcase, suitcase, suitcase

traveling together to a better home
our suitcase if full of memories don’t you know
you help me pull my weight
I’m not insulted
just think you’re kind

[bridge]
unpacking our dreams
I’m busting at the seams
one day we’ll sit still
never have to move again

our suitcase is one of a kind
we carry it together
it’s quite sublime
suitcase, suitcase, suitcase

our suitcase is one of a kind
we carry it together
it’s quite sublime
suitcase, suitcase, suitcase

‘On The Fence About You’ #Lyrics — Pop Rock Song Based On An Alexa Chung Tweet

I’m extremely bored and I find Alexa Chung rather witty and inspiring, so here is a song based, in part, on one of her tweets. It is — at least relative to me as I write it — 100% value free. Just feel like telling a story and I saw this phrase in one of her tweets. That’s all that’s going on.

On The Fence About You
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

we can’t seem to meet
our minds aren’t on the same street
lean in so I can feel your breath
no this is not a test
all I want to say is

I’m on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you

don’t get me started
on how this will all end
target your words all you like
bend them with your thoughts
won’t change my view

I’m on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you

[bridge]
maybe we can bridge the gap
at least I think that’s a fact
we were meant to be it seems
just be there for me
don’t be mean

don’t expect this to end well
I’m going to fall off it seems
can’t know what I can glean
you always look steamed

I’m on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you
on the fence about you

Writing Popular Fiction In The Age Of Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m writing a scifi novel and while I’m trying my best to be as middle of the road as possible, it’s quickly becoming apparent as a first time novelist that it’d difficult to ignore the political environment of my times. While this novel as always been something of a liberal’s fever dream of First Contact, I time and again I find myself drawing upon the surreal political events seemingly happening with rapid abandon around me as I write.

It goes without saying that today’s political environment produces surreal events at an alarming rate. As a would-be professional daydreamer dealing with the fantastical, you sometimes find it hard to compete. The novel I’m writing is meant to be my personal Stranger In A Stranger Land or, if you really want to push things Atlas Shrugged. The first of a proposed trilogy, it is extremely political in a way that I could say turning off a lot of conservatives if it’s not handled properly.

As such, I’ve done everything in my power to make at least one character — the female romantic lead — a sympathetic conservative figure. My goal is for her to be a mixture of Andrew Sullivan and Alexa Chung. I wanted at least one character to be “famous” at the beginning of the story and that’s what I managed to come up with.

My fear is if I’m not conscious of how my how my personal politics might come off in the context of the novel that the entire endeavor risks being written off as something of a liberal Turner Diaries. As you may recall, the Turner Diaries was, I think, written in the early 90s and it was influential in extreme Right wing circles because it was something of a Right wing political screed against the centrist politics of the day.

Regardless, my novel has nothing in come with that Turner Diaries other than it definitely expressions my personal political worldview. It takes so long to write a novel, and there’s so much work involved, that you as the author find yourself struggling with issues you never thought you’d have to face. Making sure you get a concrete political worldview in the novel without turning off 48% of your readership is tough.

But, like I said, I’m trying my best. While I’m going to try to get this novel published in the traditional manner, I’m fully prepared to self-publish if need be. I really believe in the concept and this is, by far, the farthest I’ve gotten in writing a novel to date.

Today I hope — hope — I can spend all day writing and reading. The muse is quite fickle with me and I tell myself in a really conspicuous manner I’m going to do all this writing and then turn around and do next to nothing other than listen to music and stare out into space.

V-Log: The Influence Of Alexa Chung On The Female Lead Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Inspiration has to come from somewhere, people. While my female romantic lead in this scifi novel I’m writing isn’t so much based on Alexa Chung as she is inspired by her, I thought I’d take a little bit of time to explain my thinking about the character. For what it’s worth, the character in my head is a hodgepodge of several brunettes I like, including Alexa Chung, Eve Peyser, Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole and this or that other hot chick I’ve noticed. Throw in a tone of Andrew Sullivan’s political views and you got yourself as character.

V-Log: The State Of My #Novel I’m #Writing The Morning Of August 19th, 20018

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Where things stand as of right now.

V-Log: The State Of My #Novel As Of The Evening Of August 18, 2018

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

In a last ditch effort to save the novel, I’ve decided to shoehorn my personal experiences with the late Annie Shapiro into the narrative. I don’t know how successful I’m going to be in the first draft making this something that doesn’t make people groan, but we’ll see. I had to do something to make the concept accessible and throwing my relationship with Ms. Shapiro into the mix seemed the best way to do it.

I’ve also decided for kicks to loosely based the female romantic lead on a mixture of Ms. Shapiro and fashion icon Alexa Chung. It’s my story, I can do whatever the fuck I want do with it. Anyway, we’ll see how successful all of this is. I, for once, have hope.

V-Log: This Alexa Chung Thing Is Comical

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I noticed someone from D.C. of all places looked my Website, specifically my recent post mentioning Alexa Chung’s name in the title. Really? That’s just sad. Give it a break, guys. I’m harmless and you’re pretty paranoid, who ever you are. Please watch this video to allay whatever fears you may have about me.