Being Delusional About My Hollywood Prospects

by Shelt Garner

There’s a theory that some people — like Donald Trump — think they are able to do things they clearly are not able to do. But no one reads this blog, so let me indulge myself in some pretty outlandish daydreaming.

I’m well on my way to figuring out how I develop a piece of mass media. As such, once I finish the two novel connected to this story I’m working on, I will have the experience necessary to turn my sights to something like a screenplay. I keep thinking I can have different “tracks,” but that’s just not possible. I’m completely obsessed with this story and as such I’m too wrapped up with it to turn my attention elsewhere for the time being.

But when I do finish these novels, I have a number of very strong screenplay concepts that I will dive into. Here’s where the delusion comes in. I believe if I can just finish a screenplay that I’m personable enough as to have a decent shot of selling it.

Now, there are some obvious caveats to this idea.

One, is I’m going to have to visit LA every once in a while. I have a knack for meeting famous people and if I just endup in Hollywood on a sporadic basis after finishing a screenplay that I have a decent shot of being able to get someone in the Hollywood community to read it.

Again, I’m obviously being extremely delusional to think this.

Add to this the fact that I’m too old to sell anything to anyone for any reason and I really am being delusional.

But one man’s delusion is another man’s dream.

You never can tell.

Feeling Politically Powerless Drives My Creativity #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I’m feeling rather powerless as my nation slides into fascism. I really don’t have any other outlet but being able to tell a decent story, so that’s why I find myself having a huge amount of energy to develop and write this novel.

Every day, House Trump manages to enrage me more than the day before. That’s a limitless supply of creative energy for me to do whatever necessary to finish this this story (two novels) as quickly as possible. It really makes me feel a lot better to be able to articulate my rage at the Trump Era in a well-thought out manner.

As I’ve said many times before, I hate “woke” art for a number of reasons, chief among them if you’re so busy preach at me that you forget to tell a great story, then what’s the point. If you can’t use subtext to get your point across, then don’t even tell the story, no one wants to read it or see it.

Anyway, I’m moving fairly quickly with this novel. But I have to speed things up even more. If I don’t wrap this up sooner rather than later, we’ll be so far into Trump’s stolen second term that my window of opportunity will have closed and I’ll simply be snatched off the street — or pushed out a window.

I’m trying to do at least three chapters a week instead of the current one. That seems like one of the ways I can get this done by no later than Thanksgiving 2020.

Wish me luck.

Things May Be Moving Fast Now With The #Novel

by Shelt Garner

It’s possible that, in a sense, things are going to move VERY FAST now. I still haven’t finished the outline, but I am working on the scene summary (with a lot of help from the book Scene and Structure.)

My goal is to have “Part 1” sketched out pretty soon then start writing on it soon afterwards. I’m hoping that simply by stabilizing Part 1 that building out from that going forward will be pretty easy (or at least easier.) The story itself is really strong. The problem has always been my storytelling ability hasn’t been up to making a fairly complex situation implemented in a simple enough fashion that an audience could understand it.

There are some really, really great easy-to-film scenes (or at least scenes audiences would LIKE to SEE on the big screen) in this story and that’s one of the things get keeps me going. I keep putting all this work into this project because I really, really, REALLY want to write a few scenes.

Anyway, I hope to throw myself into development this evening. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Webstat Fun

by Shelt Garner

I’m obsessed with who looks at this Website. I spend an inordinate amount of time studying the URLs of people who look at what I post here, in large part because so few people do. (Though I think the monitoring software I use doesn’t get everyone — sometimes people obviously have gotten a link to a specific URL in email and I wonder how THAT happened, since it seemed to happen out of the blue.)

In all, it’s something of an addiction.

But of late, I really haven’t get very inspired to write that much on this site because it just doesn’t seem like anyone cares what I have to say. I’d much rather throw all my energy into developing the novel (my primary obsession) than writing for a blog that might get one or two unique views in a day.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you like what I’m writing here, see if you can get people you know from, say Studio City in California to look at it from a work computer. That would, like, make my day — maybe my week.

But, meh.

Once I finally — finally — wrap up the outline phase of development, I hope to be so busy writing that I won’t have all that much time to worry about such things. Even though, of course, I still will.

Liz Plank, Jodi Kantor, Erin Ryan & Some Mulling Of My Novel’s Female Romantic Lead

by Shelt Garner

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time struggling to figure out how my novel’s female romantic lead is. I know her appearance is inspired by Alexa Chung, but it’s taken a lot — A LOT — of struggle to get to the point that I have a character who can be a “Twitter liberal” for the purposes of the plot.

It would help if I, like, actually had friends, huh.

Anyway, I think I may have come up with a character that readers will like. She’s a lot more more a Liz Plank – Erin Ryan character than I expected. Jodi Kantor, while cool and all, just seems a bit more intense and reserved than I need for my purposes. As I’ve said before, if my win-the-lottery dream comes true and I somehow sell this novel and it’s optioned to be a movie, I see someone like Phoebe Waller-Bridge playing the character. At least, that’s who I think about a lot as I develop the character in my mind.

*I* have to want to hang out with this character to write them. Kantor seems like she would be always be quietly judging me for being the doofus that I am. I want someone fun and smart, not scary and smart. (Not to pick on her, but she comes off as rather intimidating to me.)

I’m quite please, like I said, with my female romantic lead. Things are starting to fall into place. I just have to figure out how to give her enough POV screentime so people are willing to see her as real and complex enough.

Though someone called me “both delusional and stupid” for suggesting there are “woke Park Slope Moms,” I do get the sense that these women do exist. I don’t know. No one cares what I do, why can’t I have a little fun to entertain myself by constructing a group of women who probably don’t even exist in any meaningful manner.

Edging Closer To Wrapping Up Development On The First Draft Outline

by Shelt Garner

I talked to a FBI PR person today and it was a lot — a LOT — of help. He really opened my eyes to some things I was totally missing when it came to the actual meat-and-bones of why you would read a story like this: the actual investigation.

He didn’t like it much when I mentioned The Company, even in fiction. That was a tense, awkward moment in an otherwise very pleasant and informative hour-long conversation. Talk about power. The Company is a very, very powerful organization within the Federal government.

Anyway, even The Company would likely get a kick out of how I’m portraying they and the NSA in this story. I’ve come up with something that resembles a Donald Trump waking nightmare after he’s had one too many Diet Cokes before bedtime after having watched the latest James Bond movie. This whole thing is meant to be rather pulpy and with a dab of magical realism to it than anything else. Or, put another way, you might see it as a Coen Brothers interpretation of Stieg Larsson, if you will.

So the next few days I’m going to plunge into the outline I’m working on. Hopefully, I will finally wrap it up by just after the July 4th weekend. I really need to root around the story on a structural level to make it clearer some of the aspects of the investigation and where things stand when the FBI character appears at the midpoint of the plot.

Wish me luck, I guess.

Hope To Start Writing Again July 4th Weekend

by Shelt Garner

Things are on track for me to start writing again on the novel around the July 4th weekend. The July 4th weekend might get in the way some, so it’s actually just after the July 4th weekend, but the sentiment is the same.

I’m doing a lot of work. Some of that work is flowing easier because I take little breaks working on the outline to refresh my creative juices a little bit. I’ve gotten into the part of the story that I’m most uncertain about.

But, really, it’s just a matter of staying focused. It’s a matter of believing in myself and not getting too distracted with this or that stupid thing. I should be ok, though. I’m not nearly as distracted as I used to be about the DC protests, so I think I should be able to plunge back into writing pretty easily.

I just have to stay focused.

My Novel’s Female Romantic Lead As Twitter Liberal

by Shelt Garner

Every story needs an outsider to serve as the proxy for the audience. They ask questions that you need to answer for them. For my story, I’m using someone inspired — sorta — by someone like Jodi Kantor. I’m not a good enough writer to properly represent this type person, but in general the novel’s female romantic lead is meant to be, essentially, a Verified Twitter Liberal.

There are some problems with doing this. One is, I fear Twitter Liberals will like this character more than the actual Hero if I’m not careful. I know the mentality of Twitter Liberals well enough to fake it in a character, but I’m nervous that if i do too good a job, they’re going to be more interested in my female romantic lead than, well, my Hero.

But the point of using a Twitter Liberal as my female romantic lead is to prove a point — in the end, we’re all human. That, and the fact that having a character inspired by Jodi Kantor fall for a character inspired by bonkers me is very, very funny to me. It’s both a challenge and entertaining to me as I develop to see if I can pull this otherwise surreal relationship off.

But, again, it’s going to be a huge challenge. Everyone thinks I suck. Everyone wants me to fail. Everyone is looking for some reason to make this all moot. But I believe in myself, nonetheless. I think Ms. Kantor has looked at this Website and found me, shall we say, lacking. I can’t help what a kook I am (using her metrics). I am who I am. I try my best to be the best person I can possibly be.

Anyway, things continue to move quicker with development.

I’m quite pleased.

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.

Learning About Character Development In Fiction Is Changing My Life

by Shelt Garner

The only reason why I’m obsessing about developing the characters in my novel so late in the game is I finally know what the story is about. As such, I now realize I have a strong plot and a strong canon, but when it comes to my characters I pretty much have empty vessels that walk around the other two without any motivation.

I am hoping to change that by cramming as much as I can about how to build not just characters, but people. I want my characters to be “real” in the minds of my audience. And the more I look into how to do that, the more I realize that’s a pretty road ahead. But it does help a lot that I’m drawing upon the resource of people I knew in Seoul 12 years ago. They were a pretty kooky lot — as was I — and so now I have to spend some time reading, reading, reading about things to flesh out these characters which to date have simply been placeholder “moods” that I used to think about the plot and canon.

Or, put another way, this is yet another re-calibration of this project. The story is going to get much, much better now. I’m giving myself some slack time to simply read as much as possible about how to build character, as well as the things these characters would be interested in, before I get back to writing.

I hope by the end of this process to have near-absolute control over my characters so they do what I need them to do in the context of my vision for the story. (Or, in this case, one story, two books.) That’s the goal, at least. I can’t keep spinning my wheels forever.

So, the next few days will be spent reading up on a lot of things I’ve thought about reading about, but have put off. No more. I’m really cramming about the interaction between plot, canon and character so I can turn around and write something good enough that people like, actually give me an opinion when they read it, instead of just silence.