After Two Years Of Development I May Have Figured How To Structure My Novel

by Shelt Garner

Right now, my only concern is it’s taking me about a week to finish a chapter, which is way, way, way too slow. I need to triple that to get this done before Trump’s third term.

But at least I have figured out how *I* structure the development of the novel associated with actually writing the novel. Things are moving fast in that respect, at least. I have the ebb and flow of writing down pat.

Yet, of course, there is still the issue of speed. I understand how to be methodical with my writing — I’m not running of my passionate hatred of the Trump Administration that much anymore. Now, the novel is more like a job I really love.

As I’ve said before, I am in a very unique situation with this novel. This ideal situation isn’t going to last forever and I really need to squeeze every moment out of this opportunity. If I don’t, I’m going to be kicking myself when it’s no longer available.

I think I can speed things up some, maybe. I just really need to stay focused on the overall picture.

Dear Seth Rogen: Here’s The Plot of Your ‘Alien Test’ Movie

by Shelt Garner

Working Title “Radar Love”
The first thing we see before the opening credits is a microscopic spaceship slowing down as it enters our solar system. It lands on the moon. Soon a bigger — but still small — spaceship shoots out of the lunar surfance, heading towards earth. This small ship finally enters the earth’s atmosphere and lands somewhere rather non-descriptive in either LA or NYC. After a few moments, the spot where the little ship landed begins to shift and bubble.

Opening Credits

Act I
We open with our Hero walking into work at his 80s radioshow in LA (or NYC). We’re introduced to the zany characters of his show. We learn a little backstory. He’s recently broken up with his long-term girlfriend and he’s feeling a little sorry for himself.

But once he’s on air, he switches gears and is very much a Robin Williams in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”

Inciting Incident: Our Hero wraps up the broadcast for the day and is told by his secretary that there’s someone to see him. He notices a well dress ethnically ambiguous woman standing in the foyer waiting for him. He’s taken aback that someone so hot would want to talk to him. After some pleasantries we cut to the two having coffee.

The woman acts as if she’s been listening to his 80s rock show avidly and yet there’s something a little off about her. She finally looks at him and says there’s something she has to tell him. She places her hand on his and there’s a 2001’s star gate sequence that we see happening in his mind.

He wakes up on a cot in a strange windowless room. He searches his mind for what happened and is boggled by the amount of information he now knows. The woman he met for coffee appears again and asks him if he’s ready? Ready for what, he asks. Our meeting, she says.

Act 1 ends with our Hero realizing he’s in a huge spaceship floating over Washington DC. He and the woman go down the steps of the ship and ultimately meet POTUS.

Act 2

This portion of the plot involves our hero coming involved in a huge planet-wide struggle. Everyone is upset that some nobody has been chosen by aliens to take a huge test that will determine humanity’s fate. There’s lots of efforts to discredit him. The aliens are absolutely clear — they love the music he plays and he’s their guy.

Midpoint: Because no one believes the aliens when they say they can move several hundred million humans to a new solar system, our Hero has to test out the technology. He takes a pill and wakes up in a pod on the other side of the planet.

The rest of this act involves the bad guys trying to screw up our hero’s attempts to take the test in question. He ultimately takes the test — it’s simply a test of his musical knowledge — and he passes with flying colors.

The “all is lost” moment of the second act is when it seems clear that humanity is too divided to take advantage of this amazing offer. The aliens get fed up and leave earth. In desperation, our Hero plays rock music at his radio station in a desperate hope to convince them to come back. (He talks to them via the titles of rock songs.)

At the very end of the act, it seems All Is Lost.

Act 3
Surprise! The aliens come back. Act three involves the process of moving people off the planet. The last scene is our Hero waking up on the new planet and realizing humanity has a second chance to get things right.

Of course, you need to throw in some romance somewhere along the way…maybe with the alien girl who is some sort of synthetic human?

Becoming More Methodical With Development of This #Novel

by Shelt Garner

The general conceit of this novel is very strong. After about two years of struggle, I’ve come up with up with a reasonable way to explore the universe I’ve constructed that isn’t too convoluted.

But now that I’m going from the abstract of development to actually writing, I’m really bumping up against some serious problems on occasion. I have a general way I sketch out individual scenes in the outline I’ve come up with and sometimes I have to throw out entire scenes because they just don’t work. There’s no there there, as they say.

I have decided to do three chapters at a time now in hopes of speed the process up some. I’ve been doing about a chapter a week since I started writing again and that’s just way too slow.

I also need to start reading some of the 30-odd books I have floating around. They say if you have time to write you have time to read and I really agree with that.

One thing that’s difficult to deal with is the temperature. It’s brutally hot, even with the air conditioning on. So, that slows me down a little bit. But I’m giving myself an arbitrary deadline of Sunday afternoon to wrap up a the scene summary of a three chapter segment. Hopefully, if I can do that, then I can maybe wrap up three chapters in a week, no just one.

There’s so much to do still. It’s rather overwhelming, but at least I’m moving forward. The story still isn’t dark enough, but I’m hoping I can get there on that front with the second draft.

That’s the goal, at least.

Dear Seth Rogen — About That ‘Alien Test’ Movie Concept You Talked About On Howard Stern

by Shelt Garner

I saw on YouTube today that funny man Seth Rogen has the following idea for a movie: someone like him is the guy aliens pick to take a test that will determine humanity’s fate.

Well, I, too, have been thinking about something like this and he’s what I can contribute to your idea.

The reason why your character is chosen amongst all the people in the world is the aliens have been monitoring humanity’s radio signals for decades and they really like the morning show you have where you play Rock ‘N Roll. (For IP reasons, I would suggest something like it’s an 80s music morning show.)

The aliens REALLY LOVE Rock music and, as such, they love how you’re able to tell a story by stringing songs together. They communicate with humanity by doing this very thing and they make it clear they want YOU to be the person to take the test for humanity.

The test would be a test of Rock music knowledge, not an IQ test or anything like that. Conflict arises when the governments of the world try to screw you over by finding people they think can do what you do, better.

In the end, you take the test and pass it with flying colors — but then the real test begins. You have to use your new-found global celebrity to united humanity to take advantage of the offer given by the aliens — they are willing to re-settle much of humanity to a new solar systems, but humanity has to work together to achieve this goal.

I was thinking this would be deathly serious film, but it probably wouldn’t take a lot to flip it into something really funny.

Wait, What? Are Kaia Gerber & Cara Delevingne Dating?

by Shelt Garner

I’m simply a rando nobody in the rural portion of a purple flyover state. I don’t know anything about anything. Please actively ignore me. And maybe this speculation is a big “duh” to people who are more clued in than me, but it definitely seems as though Kaia Gerber and Cara Delevingne are dating.

The reason why I think this is there’s “normal world” and then there’s the tight little bubble of “showbiz world.” Or, in this particular situation, its subset “fashion world.” Both women are bombshells and Ms. Delevingne seems to bounce around a lot (no hating, she’s just doing what men do all the time — I’m looking at YOU Pete Davidson.)

But from Ms. Gerber’s side, it makes a huge amount of sense. She’s only 18 and she probably simply wants to sow her wild oats as quickly as possible — hence her brief relationship with — you guessed it — Pete Davidson. I guess because I’m ancient as all get out the fact that Cindy Crawford’s daughter may be dating female Lothario Cara Delevingne makes my eyebrows rise just a little bit. It takes a moment to process not because there’s anything wrong with it, just Ms. Crawford is such an icon that it takes my old brain a moment to fit into the new reality.

As an aside, I will note a picture exists of Cara Delevingne with BOTH Kaia Gerber AND Margaret Qualley. The latter two women both had brief relationships with Pete Davidson so it comes off as a little surreal. And in the picture Ms. Delevingne is making Ms. Qualley laugh for some reason.

Make of that what you will.

So, it seems as though it’s EXTREMELY LIKELY that Ms. Delevingne has beded both Ms. Gerber AND Ms. Qualley recently. It makes one’s head spin. But, remember, in the upper reaches of showbiz — especially fashion — same sex relationships are completely accepted (as they should be.) And let me stress — I’m simply making an informed observation. Maybe I’m pulling all of this out of my butt. I’m notorious for coming to the wrong conclusions, so this time is probably wrong, too.

The only reason why I even mention any of this is how showbiz news simply states things factually about Ms. Gerber and Ms. Delevingne as if it’s “Oh, you know, just two friends doing friends stuff. Nothing to see here.”

Maybe I’m wrong. I probably am. I wish both women well, regardless.

Trump Is ‘The Mule’ From The Foundation Series

by Shelt Garner

I have repeatedly ranted about this off and on since Trump became president, but the fact remains — the “Network” of the Trump Era is waiting to be made in the guise of “The Mule” portion of The Foundation Saga.

The perfect person to play The Mule, of course, is 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer. If it was a movie and it was written well enough, McBrayer would easily win an Oscar for his performance given what would happen to him at the end of the movie. (Though, I guess you could stretch the whole thing out to at least two movies if you really thought about it.)

Now, I’m well aware that Apple+ is working on adapting The Foundation Saga, so it could be that they effort is ultimately how The Mule will come to be seen by a larger audience. It would be too bad, however, if it wasn’t made into a movie. The Mule is so much like Trump that I think audiences would really love it. It would be an ideal way to address the Trump Era in a non-preachy manner.

But what do I know. No one listens to me.

Getting More Serious With The Novel

by Shelt Garner

I continue to allow myself to be as delusional as necessary to finish this first draft. That’s pretty delusional, all things considered. By the metric of any “normal” person I’m a fool wasting my time in a very conspicuous manner. But fuck those people. I have a vision and I’m going to see it to completion.

I keep mulling screenplays and pushing them aside. The thing I’ve realized about being serious about storytelling is the amount of research that’s involved. You really need to reach as much as possible if you want to give your characters some nuance.

Anyway, my goal, at least, is to use August to buckle down and write as quickly as possible. To date, I’ve finished about a chapter a week and that’s way too slow. I’m going to try to shoot for something closer to three chapters a week. It helps a lot that I know how *I* develop a novel now, so that speeds things up a great deal.

I guess the reason why I think this novel has a shot is I absolutely believe that when I finally get around to shopping it to agents, America is going to be seething with rage that Trump stole the 2020 election in a rather brazen fashion and and so people will be interested in reading something like an allegory of the Trump Era. I believe Trump is going to steal the election in such an absolute way, that I know the conditions will be there for people to want to read something like what I’ve come up with.

Though, even if somehow a literal miracle from Jesus Christ himself happens and Biden manages to actually, somehow become president, I still think people will be interested in such a novel because, well, people liked Apocalypse Now and THAT came out after the event it meant to described was finished.

Anyway. I hope to get far more work done on the novel than I have to date. I’m just going to read and write as much as I possibly can. This is a really strong concept and the only thing stopping me at this point is how much I’m willing to delude myself.

The First Draft Of This #Novel is Going Reasonably Well #amwriting

by Shelt Garner

After making what feels like every possible mistake one can make when working no a novel, I’ve finally figured out how I, personally, develop and write a novel.

As such, things are beginning to move a lot quicker. The only thing stopping this novel from being, say, something along the lines of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is I, well, I’m not as good a writer as she is. That and I’m simply not as dark and twisted as she is. Getting as dark and serious as this thing needs to be to fit the genre is going to be a second draft struggle.

But, in general, for the moment, at least, things are moving swiftly. I’m plotting things out in a very methodical manner so when I actually sit down to write, there isn’t a lot of work to do. All I have to do is just follow the summary for that individual scene I’ve written and that’s it.

It helps a lot that I know the universe of this story very, very well. Really, all I have to do is just tell a subset of the massive universe I’ve come up with via the plot.

One thing I do need to work on is character. I have several books on character development that I need to read and re-read. But, in general, I’m pleased with how things are going, even though there remain some pretty big holes in the plot I have to figure out.

Mulling Screenplay Concepts

by Shelt Garner

For a time, I was all excited about having two creative “tracks” that I was going to have going forward. On one would be the novel I’m working on, while the other would be a screenplay. This, however, did not work out. I’m so completely consumed by the novel that I simply am not able to pull myself away from it.

But I continue to occasionally think about different potential screenplays. Being a screenwriter is much, much different than being a novelist because, well, Hollywood. I know myself well enough that if I did ever manage to finish a script I am so good at self-promotion — and socializing — that there would be a decent chance I would find myself in Hollywood (which is on the other side of the country from me) on occasion to hunt down family people to hand my script to. I’m fairly good at meeting famous people and so that part would be a cinch.

Screenplays have a whole different internal logic than novels. With a novel, you have to explain in a lot of detail why something happens. In a screenplay, lulz, you can think up the most bonkers conceit and get away with it with not a lot of explanation because that would really, really slow the story down.

I’ve been working on one idea for about a decade because it’s something of The Impossible Scenario. I love scenarios and there’s been one I’ve been working on for years and years that I simply can not figure out. But I’ve thought it through so much, that I find myself returning to it again and again. I won’t give you details, but imagine if humanity got an astonishing offer but with a catch — we had to work together as a race to figure the specifics of something out.

I like the idea that the audience would be on the edge of its seat as I walked them through the Biggest Event In Human History that kept getting hung up on the stupidest of differences between humans.

Another idea I have is The Martian, but for time travel. I have a decent method through which you could get some regular guy stuck in the past and you’d see how he if not escaped, at least made his life a lot better. But that one is problematic because I would want to do it absolutely hyper-realistic. So that might make it a bit more difficult to place it in the far past. I had the idea of maybe The Martian meets time travel meets Mad Men.

That would be pretty cool.

Anyway, one issue is buying FinalDraft. It’s so expensive that I think buying it would be the end of the beginning of the process of writing a screenplay. I would have gotten all my development finished and would be literally about to sit down and write when I bought it.

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.