Struggling With Character Ages

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I think I have my ages figured out. But it took me a lot longer than I thought it would. The issue is the older my Hero is, the more gravitas he is accrued. But at the same time, if I have a fixed age for my Heroine, then the older he gets, the creepier any romantic connection between the two of them will be.

So, I have split the difference in a sense. He’s just old enough to benefit from being just about middle-aged, but young enough that the average person wouldn’t wince that he’s 20 years older than the Heroine. I keep thinking about basing my Hero on Daniel Craig, but he’s just too old. I can’t help that men at 50 are white hot career-wise when it comes to leading man roles. That says more about how men are given more power as their careers mature in Hollywood than anything else. It really warps storytelling.

But anyway, I have come up with men who are about the age of my Hero to use as a reference point. The real struggle at this point is my natural inclination to make my Hero a “proxy me” and as such far more of a doofus than maybe the audience would like. I need this to be a dark story with a strong Hero, not some Protestant Alvie Singer character who just is nervous and gets beat up. So, that’s a real issue right now. How to make my Hero, well, a Hero.

But, in general, the story is moving a long quite well. The real task at this point is making the second act — which covers a much longer span of time — interesting enough for the readers to spend the time necessary to finish the story.

‘Knives Out’ & Its Influence On The Novel I’m Developing & Writing

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I walk out of movies a lot now that I have been seriously developing and writing a novel. But I saw Knives Out last night and loved it. In fact, the third act was a real “ah-ha” moment for me in regards to the novel I’m writing. I spent the entire drive home talking to myself about the “big black void” that you want to hide from the reader for as long as possible after it happens.

In other words, I now know the exact sequence of events that pretty much the basis of the whole novel’s plot. Now that I know that, I can spend a lot of time dropping clues to the reader leading up to that event and then spend the rest of the novel slowly explaining to them what happened. It’s a major step forward in the plot. Though I have to admit the novel is going to be a lot more Knives Out and a lot less Gone Girl for no other reason than I simply am not as twisted and dark as Gillian Flynn is. I’m just too nice. But I still have a time to make things darker than I am naturally inclined to do, I guess.

One thing is clear — this novel is going to fast paced and very easy to film if it ever became that popular. I’m a visual person and love movies and it’s just difficult for me not to essentially write a novel that’s very cinematic in nature from the ground up. In that sense, I am very much like Michael Crichton in the sense that I think he wrote his novel’s with the assumption they would be filmed.

On a side note, I really, really like Daniel Craig. He’s the gold standard for who I imagine my Hero being in my mind. But there are a lot of problems with that relative to who the character is. My Hero is too much like me in ( some respects) for there to be a 1-to-1 correlation. But I am trying to make my female romantic lead a lot like a combination of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Alexa Chung. Sorta. She’s definitely sort of in that spectrum of brunette British woman.

But anyway, I still have a huge amount of work to do. But I am definitely pushing myself to my creative limits in development, if nothing else. This novel is becoming more and more a reflection of my own personal history and personality.

Update On My Novel

Shelton Bumgarner

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Things continue to go quite well with my novel. I’m kinda working on the scene summary for v1.5 right now. I’m very tired from working on it all day. I’m doing all of the work in longhand, so that tires me out. And things are going a lot slower than I’d like. But I definitely have a lot of forward momentum.

I’m trying to read as much a I can about how to write a novel. The story is strong and I’m pushing myself to the limits of my ability. I’m a pretty good storyteller, but not that great a writer. And there are a lot of things about writing a novel on a basic level that I continue to learn about every day.

One thing that kind of bothers me is I’m too old to do anything creatively successfully in real terms. I should just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling all day and feel sorry for myself. But I can’t help that I’m 20 years too late to the party. I just want to write a novel that I, myself, would enjoy. In large part, the whole thing is just a way for me to see what it would be like to go through the process of writing a novel to see how far I would get before it becomes too painfully obvious that I’ve made a fool out of myself.

But, in real terms, I don’t have anything else to do with my life right now. And I really, really, really like the concept. It’s great. It’s really strong and interesting and flips the script on some tropes more than once. And my characters are growing strong by the day. A lot of my characters are in my head still, though, and not on the page. But that’s changing quickly.

I’m just so tired right this second that it’s difficult for me to get much more work done tonight, even though I really want to. I hope to lay the entire second POV list scenes in front of me on one page then figure out how to make the whole thing as cogent as possible before I got much farther.

Anyway, wish me luck.

V-Log: Idle, Incoherent Rambling About #Impeachment & #Writing A #Novel

Some thoughts.

V-Log: Idle, Incoherent Rambling

Some thoughts.

V-Log: The Perplexing Pause In The Whistleblower Name Outing Saga & The State of The #Novel I’m #Writing

Some thoughts.

The State Of The #Novel I’m Writing

Midpoint Musings

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m at the midpoint of the first draft. This is the point where the tempo of the plot picks up considerably. I am actively not looking to see what my word count is. I don’t want that clouding my mind as I tell the story the first time. I am, however, pleased with the number of pages I have so far. I’m well on my way to wrapping up the first draft somewhere about 240 pages.

If you take into consider that a hardback novel’s dimensions are significantly smaller than that your typical printer paper, then that suggests I’m on my way to a novel that in paperback will be about 600 pages. Really, the goal is simply not to get too close to 200,000 words. If I can get into that sweet spot of about, say, 175,000 words then I’m going to be very happy.

The structure of the novel doesn’t fit the “rules.” My midpoint is actually probably maybe 20% past the actual midpoint. But I’m past the point where I have to lock myself into those artificial constraints. The amount of time the second half of the novel covers isn’t as much as the first part, so that’s another issue to take into consideration.

But the second half of the novel is definitely very action packed. Some pretty spectator things happen. I’m not too worried people won’t buy into the premise because, well, have you looked on Twitter today? So I’m trying to give myself a minor amount of time to clear my mind before I map out the specifics of the rest of the novel. Those six months of development I did really, really made writing the first draft much, much easier. I’m more worried about burning myself out at this point than anything else.

Anyway. Stay tuned.

V-Log: Idle, Incoherent Rambling About #Writing A #Novel

Some thoughts.

Nearly At The Midpoint Of The First Draft

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Well, I’m almost at the midpoint of the first draft of the novel. I have no idea how many words it is because, it’s the first draft and I don’t want to limit myself when it comes to telling the story.

But as of moment I’m feeling fairly confident. I can’t promise you my writing is all that great, but the story is really cool. I’m already sketching how some pretty significant tactical changes for the second draft. I have a whole lot of work to do, no matter what.

For the time being, my audience is myself. I just want to tell a great story that I enjoy. Everyone else can fuck off for right now. But that is going to change once I start writing the second draft. I’m going to care a lot more about word count once that starts. The point right now is to entertain yourself as the writer. The point is to finish the first draft.

You can’t edit a blank page, as they say.

Anyway. Let’s rock.