Something Of A Pickle

by Shelt Garner

I’m beginning to sense a trend with prospective editors of my first novel — they’re just not interested.

This is curious because my little group of friends and relatives who are reading the latest iteration of the novel don’t, at least, hate it. They’re at least willing to humor me enough to keep reading, hopefully to its conclusion.

Now, this difference is beginning to fill me with a lot of navel gazing and angst. What is going on?

Well, one theory I have is the story is, in fact, “racy” and the liberal white women that I keep talking to about editing the novel can’t stand how “racy” it is, especially in the context of me being a smelly CISgendered white male. I suppose it doesn’t help anything that I am drawn to cute young women to work with as my editor. Maybe a dude wouldn’t be so touchy about a lot of sex in a novel?

For me, the key issue is that I have, at last, finished a novel that tells a coherent story. So, in that sense, I have succeeded in what I set out to do a number of years ago. What’s more, I now know how *I* develop and write a novel.

So, one idea I have is to keep searching for someone to edit the novel but with the understanding that this novel could very well never be published. As such, I am feeling a lot of pressure to throw myself into the scifi novel I’ve come up with.

It’s built from the ground up to be as marketable as possible and in my mind, at least, has a minimal amount of sex in it. With that in mind, I’ve begun to recalculate in my mind the chronology of events going forward. I have to prepare myself for the possibility that it won’t be until about a year from now before I begin to query the scifi novel because, well, lulz, cute, young liberal white women don’t like all the “racy” sex in my first novel.

And, of course, all of this is happening in the context of the potential collapse of Western Civilization starting in late 2024, early 2025 because of fucking Donald Trump. But I can just stare at the ceiling for months and months to see what is going to happen on that front.

I have to press forward.

Dare To Be ‘Done(?)’

by Shelt Garner

I just don’t know what to tell you. I have reached a point with my first novel where….I’m pretty much done? Maybe? I’m not sure because I still need someone to read the whole thing all the way through and give me notes as to how to improve in on a macro basis.

But, in general, this is it. I’m content with the story enough that once I get past people reading it for me, I am going to seriously begin the process of querying. I have a lot of slack in the process at the moment — I probably won’t begin to query seriously until sometime in August or September.

Probably closer to September because I’m going to assume most agents don’t even open up to queries until after August. So. As such, I’m probably going to focus on my other projects while I prepare myself to get the main novel ready to query.

Barring something unexpected, I just won’t be able to afford a proper editor. I’m just going to get someone, anyone to read the novel and give me some general input.

Wish me luck.

Who Knew Finding Someone To Read The Third Draft Of My First Novel Would Be So Difficult

by Shelt Garner

So, here I am “done” at last with a version of my novel that I want someone to read before I begin the querying process. I have one person I hope will read the novel for me, but I really want to pay someone to read it. And I’m living in poverty, so it’s going to take time just to save up the money for that.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the possibility that my would-be editor won’t blanch at the part-time sex worker nature of my heroine. There IS a lot of sex in the novel, but, in general, I don’t think it’s gratuitous. It serves a point and makes the novel run at a nice little clip.

And, yet, we live in a hyper sensitive world where a lot of people apparently hate sex of any sort. So, I don’t know. I may never find *anyone* to edit this first novel and will just have to wing it.

I have a second, sequel novel I’m working on that seems as though it might be developed at a pretty fast clip. It’s essentially the rest of the novel that I split into two when I realized that was the best course of action. All I have to do is rework it some and I can start writing it pretty soon.

But at least the scifi novel I’m working on has little or no sex (in real terms) and, as such, if I find myself languishing in the querying trenches I can at least hearten myself with the knowledge that I can always use the scifi novel if need be. The scifi novel I’m come up with is really, really good.

I gives me the opportunity to use a lot of ideas that I’ve been formulating about AI and robotics for some time now. My only fear is, of course, that things are moving so fast that by the time the damn thing is published, some of my predictions will seem quaint.

But, if nothing else, it keeps me moving forward.

At A Loss…For The Moment

by Shelt Garner

I’m kind of in a weird halfway spot in the process of writing and ultimately querying this novel. I’m pretty much done with the novel…but I know I need to work on it some before I begin the process of querying.

But when I go through the novel to edit it, I struggle to find any scenes that REALLY need to be rewritten. So, I’m torn. I think what I’m going to do is try to focus on improving scenes in the second half of the novel.

It’s in the second half where the quality really gets a lot more shoddy. So, I need to focus my energy on improve scene quality there.

One problem is I’ve read and re-read the entirety of the novel so many fucking times that I’m a little bit burnt out. As such, that’s one of the reasons why I’m kind of chilling out for a little bit.

I want to look over the novel one last time before I turn it over to SOMEONE who will read it for me. THAT will be the last step before I really piviot towards querying in a serious fashion.

And I’m really working on the new scifi backup novel I’ve come up with. I’m actually doing some writing on that these days and it’s going well.

I’ve Begun Writing The First Draft Of My First Scifi Novel

by Shelt Garner

So. Now that I’m kind of chilling out on my first novel so I can look at it with fresh eyes in a bit, I’ve decided to piviot to working on the scifi novel I’ve been developing. I have a complete outline that I’ve fleshed out.

Now, I’ve begun to actually write scenes out.

But I think I’m going be really self-conscious about the need to lean into character with this novel from the get-go. A story that’s all plot is just not very interesting. So, as such, I’m going to maybe TRY to sketch out character studies of all the major characters before I really get into writing the first draft.

And, yet, having said that, things at the moment seem to be moving really fast because I really understand what the novel is about. If I keep going at this clip — and the world doesn’t end because of fucking Trump — I SHOULD be in a position to query this novel at some point in 2025.

On The Cusp Of Beginning The Querying Process

by Shelt Garner

It’s going to be a while still, but I’m definitely in the process of transitioning into the querying process for my first novel. There are two things that I want to do before really get into querying.

One is, I want to hand the novel over to some sort of beta reader, one who doesn’t know anything about me or the novel. Once THAT process is finished, then I’m going to go through and make one last pass through the novel to make sure everything is good enough.

THEN I will really start to think about the nitty-gritty of querying my first novel.

But even as I’m doing that, I’m also going to work on the second novel in the series that my first novel is a meant to be a part of as well as a scifi novel.

All of this is happening, of course, with the looming possibility that Something Bad will happen in late 2024, early 2025. If we manage to avoid the end of the world around that time then, well, I’m hoping that I will sell my first novel at some point in late 2024, early 2025.

But I’m realistic.

I’m so fucking old and bonkers that it could be that either it’s years before I get published — even if we avoid blowing the world up because of Trump — OR I never get published at all, ever.

I have to prepare myself for that possibility.

Post Production (?)

by Shelt Garner

I’ve reached a point in this process where I may have officially crossed the Rubicon into post production. I have a choice at the moment — either just cool it with this novel for a while, or turn the latest iteration of the novel over to someone who has agreed to go through and serve as something akin to an editor.

At the moment, I think I’m going to do the latter.

If I do that, then at least I will feel some sense of keeping momentum going. And it’s going to take the person a while to read the entire novel. So, I can use that time to work on other writing projects.

It is growing ever more obvious that I just am not going to be able to afford any sort of actual editor for this novel. As such, I’m on track to start querying this novel later this year, maybe no later than August or September.

We’ll see.

‘~118,000 Words’

by Shelt Garner

I now have a rough estimate of how much wiggle room I have going forward with this novel as I enter the post-production process. I put all the scenes together and came up with about 118,000 words. That’s a bit long, but not so long that I feel like I have to cut anything.

I can now go through one last time and really look critically at the text. The biggest problem I have at the moment is the last third of the novel. That’s where the weakest scenes are, the ones that are going to have to be totally rewritten before everything is done.

But, in general, I’m feeling pretty good about things.

A Conundrum

by Shelt Garner

It is becoming clear that there is a pretty good chance that I will wrap up A Version of the Third Draft of my first novel pretty soon. I’m kind of trying to pace myself now that I’m near the end of the latest version of the third draft so I don’t rush through the last few chapters.

Something I just don’t know is how important it is that the draft you query is as absolutely perfect as possible. I say this because, lulz, I just don’t think I’m going to be able to afford a proper editor anytime soon. Given some of the prices I’m being quoted from possible editors, it could be as long as a year before I could save up enough for an editor.

And I’m just not getting any younger.

As I have mentioned, I have a friend who has agreed to go through and carefully look at the manuscript. I fear that’s about all I’m going to get with this novel. And, what’s more, I still don’t know how long it is!

Once I do finish A Version of the novel, I don’t quite know what I’m going to do. I will either hand it over to my friend to edit or I’m going to just sit tight for a little bit so I can work on my backup scifi novel before I return to the main novel with some clear eyes.

I continue to be taken aback by the chatter of other writers discussing their process. I reflect on how I’ve done things and just don’t quite know what to think. Like, apparently coming up with a synopsis of your novel is really hard? I feel guilty(?) that I can write a synopsis of my novel quite easily.

This is where I interject that one of my personal adages about writing is, “Every writer’s journey is different.”

The only thing I can think of is it’s difficult to write a synopsis because you have to be really careful what you exactly talk about in it? Is that why it’s so hard? I just don’t know. Then other people keep talking about all this research they’ve done for their novel and…uhhh….I’ve not really done ANY?

But, then, my novels are really personal and I draw upon my own personal experience to the point that I don’t really need to do any research. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

Anyway. I’ll be done with A Version of the Third Draft of my first novel soon-ish.

Now To Finish This Damn Novel

by Shelt Garner

I’ve finally reached the point where all I have to do is finish the latest iteration of the third draft. I think once I finish this latest version of the third draft that I have one more version to go before I feel as though it’s “finished.”

Once I reach that point, then I going to turn the novel over to someone I know who has offered to go through the third draft and give me detailed suggestions on each scene in the novel. My hope is that doing this will be a way that I can have some sort of developmental editing of the story.

It just doesn’t seem like I’m going to be able to afford *any* editor of the novel before I begin to query it. Or, to put it another way — it would take me over a year to save up the money to do such a thing and I’m not getting any younger.

As such, I will probably begin the querying process for the novel at some point after the July 22nd deadline. It may be as late as August or September, but it will definitely begin this year.

Of course, in the back of my mind there is the lingering fear that all hell may break loose this fall. There is a greater-than-zero chance that the United States, the greatest nation in the world, may collapse into the anarchy of revolution or civil war in late 2024, early 2025 because of “vibes.”

Only time will tell. It would definitely be poetic if that was the endgame of all my hard work on this novel over the years — everything works out but the end of the world happens.