I Think About Women Readers A Lot As I Write This Novel

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I do not purport to have any special insight into the female mind, but I do, at least, try to cater to that segment of the reading audience as I write this novel. I do this especially given the edgy, loaded nature of the novel.

I hope to write a novel that is as accessible as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

It’s not every day that your heroine is a part-time stripper.

Now, of course, if I was, say a transgender women writing this type of novel, then I probably be hailed as the second coming of Jesus Christ. But, alas, I’m just a smelly CIS white male — a middle aged one at that! — and, as such, slings and arrows and all that.

I have a vision for this novel and, as such, I’m prepared to take shit for what, of course, will be reduced down to “stripper solves a murder mystery.”

Ugh!

That’s not what’s going on! But no one is going to listen to me. Anything to do with sex and women — especially something out of the ordinary — is the thing that people will focus on. And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how Hollywood would market any adaptation of the novel should that miraculous thing somehow happen.

Anyway.

I’m really self conscious about how women readers might react to this novel to a fault. I have a few women “advisers” that help me when I feel a little bit nervous about this or that thing that I might broach in the novel while writing from a female POV.

But, like I said, I can only do so much. I’m a smelly CIS white middle aged male and a vocal minority of the reading audience will dismiss the novel the moment they see what I look like.

Pondering The Precipice Of Querying

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Now I’m worried that deep in the bowels of the Internet aether I’ve annoyed the liberal white women that make up most of the literary agent class, even before I’ve begun to query my first novel. All I can say is — I mean well. And I’m generally a fan of liberal white women. (Even if I do sometimes use them as a class as something of a comic foil in some of my drunk political rants.)

But what I’m NOT a fan of is being attacked for being a smelly CIS white male writing from a female POV. Or being forced to debate how many of my characters can dance on the head of the Bechdel Test pin. And I am who I am. Come what may.

I don’t MEAN to annoy anyone, but I’m not going to fake who I am. And, in general, I think literary agents will find me endearing, thoughtful and interesting — if they’re willing to give me a chance.

And, yet, who knows. I still have a few more months before I finish a stable third draft of the novel. Then there will be the struggle to find — and afford — a manuscript consultant to take the novel to the next level. And all of this will be happening in the context of a Petite Singularity / Fourth Turning in late 2024, early 2025.

So….good times?

I Don’t Have A Problem With Being ‘Woke,’ Just Don’t Come After Me For Being A Male Author Writing From A Female POV In My Novel

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I notice that someone is interested in all my ranting about the “woke cancel culture mob.” So, let me be clear — all my ranting on this subject is usually generated by booze and annoyance that I will be dinged by some hyper-woke people for being a male author writing from a female POV in my novel.

If Stieg Larsson can do that, why can’t I?

Anyway, I also know that being a drunk crank I’ve almost — certainly — done more than one thing in my personal life that will leave the hyper woke aghast. But, all I can say is the worse thing anyone ever said about me was that I’m a “delusional jerk with a good heart.”

My heroine, in my mind, looks like Corrie Yee.

So, yeah, I’m not perfect. But who is? And I generally mean well. So, I find myself wondering if all my talk about consensual kinky sex and periods in this novel will be poo-pooed by woke liberal white women because it’s ME, a smelly CIS white male, who wrote it.

Meanwhile, Emerald Fennell can go way, way off the creative beaten path and is hailed as the best thing since slice bread. It’s shit like that that causes me to rant when I’m drunk. Judge me by work, not by my gender. I GENERALLY support the media narrative about trans rights, etc, but I’m human and I have the occasional stray thought that maybe might get me in trouble with the woke Powers That Be.

I HATE this type of “woke.”

Regardless. My first novel is going well. So well, in fact, that I’m probably going to feel comfortable doing a lot more reading, watching of TV and movies and doing some writing on my “backup stories.”

Economics, AI & ‘Woke’ Hollywood

I’m Dreading The Due Diligence Of Literary Agents When I Start to Query This Novel

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

You know, you take yourself wherever you go. And I’m at a point in my life when I can’t get rid of all the evidence that I’m a drunk crank kook and have been that way my entire life.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee in my mind as I write her.

My fear is, of course, that in about a year, when I start to query my first novel that I will see agents crawling around this Website doing due diligence on me and obviously being shocked at what a drunk crank I am.

I’ve talked about these fears before, but as I get closer to zooming through the third draft of this novel, I find myself thinking about it yet again. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.

I suppose, in the end, I do nothing.

Slings and arrows and all that. I just have to accept that I may suffer something of a “kook tax” yet again — the liberal white women who I believe make up the vast majority of literary agents may be aghast at what a freaky weirdo I’ve been as I written — and talked — over the years at great length, in vague terms, about what I hope is a six novel project.

Only time will tell, I suppose.

A Hot Take On ‘Woke’ Hollywood

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Everything is fucked up in the world. What I mean by that is everyone seems to have an agenda whenever anything makes them uncomfortable. At the moment, there seems to be two types of movies — big budget “four quadrant” blockbusters….and woke movies.

The president of Hollywood.
For someone who is a storytelling snob, this really grates on my nerves. It seems impossible to find just “a good movie” that doesn’t seem to be some sort of preening pontification on the “woke agenda.” And I say this as someone who considers himself center-Left.

I’m all for art having “a message” but there is this thing called….subtext?…that too many earnest Hollywood people seem to have forgotten about. I mean, I hope to write a six novel project that pretty much is just one huge, long screed against extremism in general and MAGA in particular. But my goal is to do it all in such a way that you, the reader, won’t really realize what’s up unless you give it a lot of thought.

That’s the dream, at least.

I know why we have such a problem with over-the-top “woke” movies — the economics of movies are such these days that the only people willing to do passion projects are people who are members of the “woke cancel culture mob” who think you can only tell a story if all its characters are gay and / or a minority. (South Park has a good recent episode on this trend.)

I’m all for having representation in art. In fact, I organically have a lot of representation in my first novel. But at the forefront of my mind is TELL A GOOD STORY. If your message browbeats the audience to the detriment of your storytelling, you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

And I know — I KNOW — that as a smelly CIS white male I’m opening myself up to a lot of hate by even bringing this up. But, I had to vent. I just would like to see modern interpretation of, say, a movie like The Big Chill or Time Bandits without the “message” of the movie making it unwatchable.

I Love Developing & Writing Female Characters, But The Process Can Be a Pain In The Ass As A Male Author

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

People love, love, love to pick on male authors for all being a bunch of clueless hornytoads when it comes to the female characters that they write. I’m so self-conscious of this issue that I over think everything to do with my female characters.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee.
Then, of course, I turn around and turn my heroine into a part-time sex worker (stripper.) And given that I often write from a female POV, I find myself in a situation where I just can’t avoid talking about T&A, even though that’s the very thing that the fucking “woke cancel culture mob” things I have no right to describe at all as a CIS white middle age male.

But I dunno. It’s typical of my lot in life that I would inevitable gravitate straight towards the most problematic situation possible. And given that I’m a smelly CIS white middle age male, for some members of the “woke cancel culture mob” there just isn’t anything I can write that they would validate. So, fuck it, why not just endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and see what happens.

I like to THINK that I can write about women as a male author that won’t be embarrassing or cause women in the audience to want to throw the book across the room. But the whole sex worker element of the novel definitely makes it a provocative novel in the context of how sexless the “woke cancel culture mob” tends to be.

I’m happen with what I’ve come up with. I know people will really enjoy this novel once I finish it. The question is, of course, will the liberal white women who are often literary agents be cool with not just the contents of this novel but the fact that it was written by a smelly CIS white middle aged male.

Man, Dua Lipa Is Rather Chaste Compared To Madonna

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m old enough to remember how Madonna ran around quite naked in the late 1980s, early 1990s. It’s rather startling that someone like Dua Lipa — who clearly might be willing to nude for Playboy if it was still culturally relevant — is content with just the occasional spicy snap or faux nudity of a music video.

Its the rise of not just online porn but specifically OnlyFans that makes you realize what a brave new world we live in. Playboy is now a long-forgotten cultural backwater, a legacy brand. Meanwhile, mainstream culture in general has grown not only “woke” but rather chaste.

Of note — the moment MAGA Republicans have power again, they’re probably going to effectively ban online porn. It’s possible that soon enough that because of that specific act that Playboy may again have mass media appeal. I can’t predict the future, but such a thing is definitely one of those unexpected consequences of major policy changes.

I say all of this knowing how fucking dark the Playboy empire was in the shadows. But I do have an appreciation of the (romanticized) Playboy ethos. It would be so cool to bring back something like Playboy After Hours. That was the epitome of cool.

The ‘Barry’ Problem — Managing ‘Spicy’ Scenes In Third Draft Of My First Novel

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So. I have a little bit of a problem on my hands at the moment.I’m very leery about having any “spicy” maternal too soon in the third draft of my first novel. But that, unto itself, has caused me to struggle with how to drag things out with interesting scenes.

I have a few ideas, but it’s really difficult at the moment to think of how I can convey what I want to convey without things getting spicy. You see, my heroine is very much a “Barry”-like character in that she had two widely different elements to her life.

On one hand, she owns an alt-weekly and on the other…she owns a strip club.

Because I’m doing all of this in a vacuum, I have no idea if the audience will really like this dramatic dichotomy or if it will only cause them — especially women — to throw the book across the room.

But that’s where I am at the moment. The second draft only alludes to this unique situation, while the third draft really gets into the implications of such a surreal bifurcation of a woman’s life. And, yet, of course, the issue of why even have this as an element of the novel in the first place is another thing that the fucking woke cancel culture mob critics will bring up.

Well, to that, all I can say is, if you think like that — fuck off.

Anyway, I’ve decided to punt the sexxy scenes down the road as far as possible because I want to establish in the audience’s mind that this is a serious journalist we’re talking about. And, besides, if I rushed into things on the sexxy front, the first thing that the “woke cancel culture mob” would bitch and moan about is I was sexualizing my heroine from the get-go.

Ugh, sometimes you just can’t win.

But I’m very pleased with the state of the third draft. I just have to do a lot — A LOT — of brooding about how to make the “filler” scenes interesting enough that people will keep reading, not realizing that I’m biding my time to give them the mental images of T&A they want so bad.

Of course, given the nature of marketing, if I do actually manage to sell this novel, it’s not like people aren’t going to already know what’s going on as they start to read the novel.

It Seems Inevitable That My Novel Will Pass The Bechdel Test

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

There was a version of the first scene of the third draft of the novel where the novel passed the fucking Bechdel Test. I unfortunately(?) had to re-write it to add some tension the scene.

And, yet, given how many women are in this novel it definitely seems inevitable that there will come a point when it passes the Bechdel Test. I wish I could feel some satisfaction in doing so, confident in the knowledge that I have passed an ever-so-important metric of the woke cancel culture mob.

AND YET.

I AM a smelly CIS white male and, as such, according to the woke cancel culture mob, by definition, I have no write to do anything. I can’t even give them the representation they claim to want because, lulz…I’m a white dude. That’s why I always get angry when I’m attacked online by people to the Left of me.

“I’m on your side!” I think.

I don’t know what to tell you. The two sides are receding from each other at an alarming rate. There’s just no middle ground anymore. Sometimes I am astonished by how self-defeating the woke cancel culture mob can be. While, in general, I’m pretty center-Left, too often “woke” people seem so consumed by their ideological goals that they miss sight of how they’re driving a lot of people who believe they’re “centrist” into the arms of fucking fascism.