A Struggle With POV #AmWriting & Trying To Use The Snow Man by Jo Nesbø As An Additional Textbook

by Shelt Garner

I read in one of my many books that you’re only supposed to have six POV characters in a pop novel. Using The Girl Who Played With Fire as my textbook suggests this is not always the case.

So, I’m going to break the rule.

Stieg Larsson must have closer to 10 POVs in that novel and it’s quite readable. In fact, I think of it is a textbook example of how to write a great pop novel. Hence my use of it as, well, my textbook. But I must admit that I’m going to study The Snow Man by Jo Nesbø as well because I need to go outside my comfort one. I need to study someone else’s work, too.

Anyway, the main reason why I’m breaking the POV rule is my female romantic lead. I really want to show my hero from her POV for the purposes of character and relationship building. It is interesting how different the novel is in the abstract of development and the concrete of actually writing it. I definitely understand why they tell you not to show your first draft to anyone. I’m writing some pretty shitty copy right now, but it’s definitely helping to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.

I’m in a unique situation when it comes to how much time I have to develop and write this novel. I’m not taking it for granted. I’m trying to get a finished first draft done as quickly as possible, it’s just a huge amount of work and, as such, it slows things down.

Mission:Impossible — Fallout, My #Novel & Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series

by Shelt Garner

As a way of training my mind not to be so silly while writing this novel, I’ve started to listen to soundtracks to “serious” movies. I listen to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo OST and Gone Girl’s OST. But the soundtrack I listen to that makes me nod my head and say, “That’s what I want” is the one to Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

That’s what I want from this novel. While I love, love, love the Millennium series, they’re also slow as hell at times (the first book) or confusing as hell (the third book.) I really like how accessible and fast paced the Mission:Impossible movie obviously is from its soundtrack.

I have a number of scenes — especially in the second book — that are sit up in your seat exciting. Just thinking about being able to write them is enough to get me through the first book. The planned second book as two scenes that will knock your socks off if they ever were filmed.

Now, of course, that’s a ways down the road. But it’s what keeps me going. It’s what keeps my mind focused. I really need to stay focused. I need to keep my head down and read, read, read then write, write, write.

No one believes in me. This is all on me. This novel’s strengths will be mine, as will its weaknesses.

Let’s rock.

My Novel’s Heroine Is Shaping Up To Be A Combination of James Bond and Lisbeth Salander

by Shelt Garner

The more I think about it, the more I may have fire in a bottle with this novel. It’s not perfect — it’s just the outline of the first draft at this point — but I do think that about two years worth of development may, at last, be about to come to fruition.

I’ve come up with a heroine with a very, very unique background who is also something of a would-be spy (of sorts.) I really believe in this story, but I also know my limitations. It’s more likely than not that this whole thing is going to be an colossal disaster. And if it’s not a colossal disaster, someone is going to steal a creative march on me, making the whole thing moot.

But I guess I can enjoy what I’ve thought up while I can. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the outline when I finally start to write again.In the past, at least, I’ve started writing and the whole thing has gone haywire and I have to start all over again.

Hopefully, however, this time, at least, that won’t happen. Hopefully, my dream of coming up with an American answer to Stieg Larsson’s original Millennium series will at least come within shouting distance of being true. And, yet, given my age and background, lulz, who am I fooling?

At least I have no one to tell me “no.” As such, I can daydream in a vacuum far, far beyond what I might do otherwise. Generally, everyone wants to tell me I suck, so if I don’t have people telling me I suck, then maybe I might be able to produce the type of novel I know I have in me.

One major problem with all of this, of course, is how difficult it is to come up with a “female James Bond.” By definition, it’s very easy to slide into the “Sexxy Slutty Assassin” trope if you try to do that. But while Lisbeth Salander is a vigilante with Asperger’s, my heroine is far, far more accessible. And, in a sense, the two books I’m working on serve as her spy “origin story.”

But, who knows. Everyone thinks I suck.

‘Just Write’ #AmWriting

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

So, after about a year or more of development, I finally feel comfortable enough with the story I’ve been developing to “just write.” Do I win a prize? Am I cool now?

Anyway, things are not 100% set in stone, but I’m feeling pretty good. It’s taking me making every mistake possible to get here, but I’m finally now about to make a serious attempt at “just writing” a professional-grade first draft of a novel. It’s meant to be the first book in a two book story that might lead to an actual series if people like the characters.

The story is very much meant to be an American answer to Stieg Larsson’s original trilogy of work. But not in a derivative or hackneyed fashion. It’s pretty much meant to be an allegory of the entire Trump Era explored in the guise of a techno-spy thriller with elements of a police procedural. The first draft is going to suck so very, very bad. But all this hard work I’ve put into development at least allows me to feel confident enough to finish two drafts before showing it to anyone.

Whatever problems the novel has now comes from simply my innate inability to replicate the *structure* of The Girl Who Played With Fire because, well, lulz, I didn’t feel like doing all the hard work to follow it beat-for-beat. I really love that book, but not THAT much. I may eventually do such a next-level mapping out of that book’s structure out of sheer desperation, but for the time being, I’m content enough with what I’ve developed not to feel compelled to do that.

I have several other tracks I’m working on, too. I’ve got the second book in the story to work on (the first book ends in a cliffhanger) and I’ve got a first-person scifi-pandemic novel to map out as well as a scifi screenplay. I only am interested in the last two because I want the option of working on something creative should I need to catch my breath on the main “track.”

So, wish me luck. Sometime in the next few days, I’m going to “just write” as several people conspicuously told me to do 18 months ago. And those people can still suck it.

The Dream Of Being Joshua To Stieg Larsson’s Moses.

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am fully prepared to die of consumption — or a Stieg Larsson-style heart attack — just as the novel I’m developing is sold — if it ever is. But there’s a little part of me that thinks maybe I’ll at least get to be Tom Clancy in the end. He was a bit older when he sold his first novel and lived long enough to enjoy some of the success generated by it. But it’s Larsson to whom I feel a real kindship on a number of different levels and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to live the dream he was never able to.

I have been developing this concept for about a year now and it’s time to put up or shut up. So, I’m giving myself until Jan. 1st, 2020. I have to accept that whatever I draft I finish by my deadline of about April 2020 is NOT going to be a second draft. It’s a first draft and, as such, something I can’t really share with a lot of people.

The major problem I’ve faced for a year is I came up with the plot really fast and was so ill prepared to give it the structure necessary to support. I spent a year pretty much just running in place as I came across existential problem after existential problem. If I had a wife or a girlfriend — or, hell, just a friend — they would have either told me the whole thing was way beyond my ambition or would have at least been my “reader” to speed up the process. But as it was, I had no one to tell me “no.” I dove full steam ahead into a project that I simply was not prepared to complete with the skillset that I had at the time.

Now, a year later, I finally understand some pretty basic elements of the story. That it’s taken so long to get to this point is really, really embarrassing. Now, at least, if I do manage to finish this novel, I’m not going to embarrass myself. The only difference between this novel and Gone Girl, or maybe Sharp Objects, to be more realistic, is my native writing ability. And Gillian Flynn’s background is such that Verified Liberals on Twitter instantly give her a lot more credit than they ever will me, the middle aged white man hayseed rube crackpot failure dreamer loser in the rural part of a purple flyover state.

Anyway, I can only hold this particular pity party for so long. If nothing else, relative my native writing ability this specific debut novel might be seen as my Reservoir Dogs-Sharp Objects to my second novel’s Pulp Fiction-Gone Girl. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’ll enjoy the I’ll get to enjoy its success. Maybe I’ll, for once, get to enter the promise land of commercial and artistic success, a place that not even Larsson lived to see.