I Really Like Kate Beckinsale

by Shelt Garner

I first became aware of Kate Beckinsale from her role in the movie “Cold Comfort Farm.” She seemed like your run-of-the-mill British actress and that was that. I kind of lost track of her after she started doing Underworld movies for her husband-director.

She recently caught my attention again because both her cat-friendly Instagram account and her brief relationship with Pete Davidson. I think she’s about my age and all I can say is wow-we-wow-wow. She’s a real babe now!

What makes her such a hoot is she’s obviously a freak. She keeps bouncing from boytoy to boytoy and it definitely puts a grin on my face. You go girl, as they say. Ms. Beckinsale’s conspicuous consumption of younger men is something I can really get behind. If guys can do it with younger women, why not older women with younger men?

Ms. Beckinsale seems like she’d be a lot of fun to hang out with. I wish her the best.

Ok, Back To #Writing

by Shelt Garner

I have rested long enough. Today, after I do my usual Sunday morning ruminating, I’m going to sketch out some scenes and get back to writing. This is just a first draft, so I have to give myself permission to write crap.

The issue about writing a first draft is, at least for me, it helps to give later consistency to the story because once it’s done I can print it out, read it through and use the annotations to make a much better second draft. There’s a whole lot I simply don’t know when it comes to the details of all of this — how long is it really going to take to write two drafts? I’d like to wrap up the second draft by Thanksgiving, but that seems like it might be pushing it.

I have a huge amount of reading to do, as well. A lot of the reading I have to do is to flesh out characters. Right now, a number of important characters are paper thin and only by doing a significant amount of reading can I make them far better. My bad guys aren’t really all that bad and my heroes aren’t really all that deep. I have some ideas as to how to fix that issue, but it’s going to take some reading to do.

The thing that is really at the forefront of my mind with this novel is how old I am. In general, conventional wisdom is if you don’t have a career in the arts (showbiz) by your early 30s, then, lulz. So, if I somehow win the lottery with this novel and write a break out novel, my age is going to be the angle that a lot of people use.

I find this very irritating because I can’t help how old I am. I should be judged on the merits of the work, not how old I was when I wrote it. Age is much like gender or race — it’s totally out of your control. Not everyone has the luxury of living a “normal” life and, as such, you shouldn’t be judged if maybe you’re about 20 years older than you’re “supposed to be” to sell your first novel.

I also find — if what they produce on Twitter is any indication — many of my peers writing novels to be insufferable. I don’t care how many words you’ve written. I don’t care who you think should play your MC of your WIP in the movie version. Give me a fucking break.

I’d much rather hear about your personal philosophy on writing than such preening bullshit. Now, I’m the first to admit that I often do similar things on video on Instagram or on this blog, but I feel that the context is different. I’m just talking to myself because I have no friends and no one likes me. I’m operating in a vacuum and all the talking I do about the novel is out of sheer desperation, not some preening need to prove I can write 3,000 words in a day.

Also, I get the sense that a lot of the established writers out there probably wouldn’t take me very seriously, even if I did managed to sell this novel. I’m not snooty or pretentious enough. I don’t take myself very seriously and I’m an extreme extrovert. (Hence all the talking into the void about the novel.)

Anyway. I’m looking forward to getting back to writing.

‘The Vision Thing’ #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I have a lot to say about the Trump Era. So much, in fact, that I’m allowing a novel I’m developing and writing that gives me about 165,000 words to vent to completely consume my life.

The thing about this novel is I feel compelled to keep working on it despite the massive amount of thinking I have to do because every day sees another enraging fascist act on the part of the Trump Administration. So every time I feel a bit discouraged at how much work I have ahead of me still, I simply look a Twitter for a few minutes and am, again, enraged.

I feel very powerless about the United States being a fascist state. I honestly can’t do much about it for various reasons. But I can tell a good story and love, love, love to write, so here I am. I have a number of decent stories I may piviot to once I finish the two books associated with this story I’ve come up with. But I have way too much invested in this specific project to look elsewhere just yet.

There are at least a half a dozen scenes that I really want to write sprinkled throughout the two novels I have planned and so I keep going. Add to this the huge fucking chip on my shoulder I have about people telling me how much I suck in general and, well, ain’t no stopping me now.

One thing I will point out is I will about once a week take a little bit of a breather from the novel to think . I’m very grateful for the opportunity I have at the moment to be able to do this. This special moment in time won’t last forever and so I need to stop dilly-dallying and start getting to work again as soon as possible whenever such a pause happens.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting back to actually writing the first draft again. I really need to make this thing darker, because right now it’s pretty much just The World According to Garp with guns.

There’s so much that can go wrong with this project, but as my dad says, “No one ever got anywhere in this world with taking a risk.”

Yet More IP Paranoia

by Shelt Garner

I honestly think I’m in the clear with the specific IP issue I’m worried about with the novel I’m working on. Given the exact circumstances of what I’m developing, it would be something of a stretch to get mad about it. It’s just I know how the real world works and, lulz, people sue just because they think they can get some money out of you if you’re successful.

One of my down-the-rabbit-hole fears is that IP lawyers are monitoring this blog so they can use my public ruminations against me in a later law suit. Given that I’ve not publicly stated what my fear is all about — and I’m a nobody at this point — I honestly don’t see how that’s the case.

That’s the thing I really hate about being obsessed with Webstats — I know where someone came from, but I have no idea WHY they came to my site. I, of course, always assume the absolute worst, so I go to great lengths to justify my fears that someone is going to steal my idea or use what I’m mulling in a vague-if-public-way against me in a later lawsuit.

But, really, you have to make your decisions on what you do know, not on what you don’t know. Everything — everything! — you do creatively comes with risks. From the whole thing being a dud, to someone, somewhere finding a reason to sue you or take credit for all your hard work.

So, really, either I can stare out into space in fear of what MIGHT happen, or I can keep going as fast as I can.

First Draft Delusions #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

As I often say, writing a novel as first time novel writer is a lot like being an explorer. At some point, you find yourself in the metaphorical middle of the Atlantic Ocean, having no reason to believe you’ll ever find land other than your gut telling you so.

So here I am.

I’m methodically making my way through my first serious attempt at a first draft and I have no idea if anything will come of all this hard work. There are many, many variables for me to weigh in my mind, least of which is what exactly the world is going to look like when I try to sell this thing.

The point of this novel is to give myself the opportunity to rant for about 165,000 words about how angry the Trump Era makes me. But, as I keep saying, the whole thing is so diffused that hopefully you won’t see it as preachy. If you do, then I’ve failed. I don’t want to preach at you, I want to tell you a great yarn and along the way maybe make you think.

And I go out of my way to rant about the stupid things I feel are happening within the center-Left as well as fucking insane things happening within the center-Right. In fact, in a way, the center-Left is far more frustrating because they are so busy scoring points on Twitter that they completely ignore how to engage the average person who is “too busy for politics” because they’re raising their kids and paying their mortgage.

But, like I said, I’m extremely delusional right now. The only way I’m going to get this novel done is to allow myself to be completely delusional to the extent that I actually think I have a shot at selling this novel.

One thing I really have to do is read, read, read. I’m basing much of my heroine’s personality on the late Annie Shapiro. Ms. Shapiro was, in short, something of a kook and it’s going to take some time for me to get beyond simply my romanticized version of her beliefs that I have in my mind (and heart.)

I am, however, in fact working on the first draft. It’s going pretty well. I’m giving myself a pretty tight deadline so I need to hurry up. The absolute latest I’m giving myself to finish the first draft is Thanksgiving 2020. But I hope to wrap things up a lot closer to maybe September.

‘Being Paranoid’ #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I have talked to a number of people about the conceit of the novel I’m working on and every once in a while something will pop up in my Webstats that will make me nervous. I mean, why did someone from “Wholesale Internet” look at the “Writing about Writing” tag for eight seconds? And they apparently got it via an email, because there was no referring link.

In large part because I have an extremely over-reactive imagination to begin with, I always automatically assume this means someone is actively working to screw me over. That someone knows the basic conceit of the novel and is going to “steal” the idea from me.

I have no ready answer to that paranoia.

I do know that, at least as far as I’m concerned, you could know the conceit of the novel and you would still have a lot of work ahead of you. I guess — maybe? — you could write a quickie screenplay — but that’s so far down the rabbit hole that, again, there’s not much I can do about it.

I think in large part my paranoia about these types of worse-case scenarios come from what happened with Annie Shapiro and ROKon Magazine. She really did “steal” my idea and so I automatically assume that is going to happen to me again.

If the worst does happen, I have a scifi concept I can pivot to pretty easily. And its development would go very rapidly because of all the hard work I’ve put into this novel.

But, in the end, you can’t lockup out of what MIGHT happen. You have to wait until something actually happens and then go from there.

IP Issues

by Shelt Garner

The thing about IP is a lot boils down to the willingness of IP holders to sue. You could be totally in the clear under any normal consideration of the issue, but, lulz, you get sued anyway. So, the issue of IP really weighs heavily on my mind because I feel as though I should be in the clear for a number of reasons, but that still doesn’t mean I won’t piss someone off.

What makes the issue so fuzzy is there are things I just don’t know about IP. I came up with my “gray zone” idea completely independent of what might be the source of contention, but there are many factors to consider. I’m fully prepared to simply eliminate the issue altogether by changing what I have to change, but I’m really in love with the idea I’ve come up with and I’m going to wait as long as possible for doing it. If someone says I have to, then I will. Until then, we’ll have to see.

All that is so much farther down the process than I am now, that I really need to chill out. The key issue is to just finish the first draft and see what happens.

Still In The Delusional Stage Of Development & #Writing

by Shelt Garner

The point right now is to simply finish a solid first draft. As such, I need to allow myself to be delusional. When I get to the second draft, I can start to think rationally again, but for the time being I am allowing myself to wallow in willful delusion.

There are some issues — especially with names — that I don’t have any ready answers for. I know what I want to do, and, yet, I’m really paranoid about any possible IP issues. But it’s one of those things were it could go either way. You could make a strong argument for me to be in the clear, and yet, you could also make a reasonable argument that maybe not so much.

It’s very frustrating.

All I can say is nothing you do is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be a problem — or a perceived problem — with whatever you do, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. I can’t know everything, read everything and watch everything.

Though I will take solace in the fact that when it came to the key character name issue that might pop up, no one said anything about it when they read Part 1. That’s a good indication that I may, in fact, be a bit too paranoid about that issue.

So, as I said, I’m allowing myself to be delusional. I’m not going to worry about “real world” issues like IP or how derivative the story may seem and worry more about not having my heroine come across as a sexxy slutty assassin designed specifically for me to want to fuck. If anything, I see my heroine as something of a willful child.

One thing that is definitely hitting home in this first draft is how difficult it is for me to be dark and serious. It’s just not my personality. But I’m going to try harder in the second draft, I guess.

Moving From The Abstract Of Development To Writing Is Jarring

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, I have to plot everything out beforehand when I get ready to actually start writing. The one big thing I’ve noticed is how jarring moving from the abstract of development to actually writing the novel is.

And this happens in the context of trying to make sure I get as close to the 90,000-100,000 word count sweet spot as I can. (The issue of word count is something that weighs heavily on my mind. I really want to just write the story the way I want to, but the cold hard truth is every word beyond that sweet spot ups the ante on how well this novel is written.)

Anyway, I’m moving along quite quickly with the first draft of the novel. I still need to do a lot more reading, however. There’s a lot of nuance that I’m discovering I need as I start to write. But I think I’ve finally accepted that the first draft simply isn’t going to be perfect. In fact, it’s going to be really, really bad.

I have to give myself the right to “fail” with the first draft.

Regardless, today I continue to flesh out the scene summary for another chapter.

Struggling With Structuring Scenes #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I have no idea what I’m doing. One thing that has come to the forefront of my mind as I get more serious about this novel is how, exactly, to structure individual scenes. I thought I had it figured out by following the advice in the book Scene and Structure, but studying my “textbook” The Girl Who Played With Fire, it just isn’t as effective as I would hope.

So, I’ve gone to a smile Beginning-Middle-End structure. But, really, what helps the most is simply plotting out what I need to explicate in any specific scene. That really helps a lot because all I have to do is follow the scene summary for that scene and move on to the next one.

That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve learned about how I, specifically, write a novel — everything has to be plotted out. Everything. I have to know exactly what I’m going to write about in a scene well before I sit down to write it.

One thing I don’t know how to do is manage the overall experience of the novel. I just don’t know how to do that. I think the only option I have is to write the first draft, then read it over and manage canon and overall experience that way. That’s all I got right now, at least.