An Outline Update

by Shelt Garner

Things are going well with the outline. I still have a massive amount of both development and reading to do. But a lot of what I have to do is simply not being scared, to overcome any fears I may have. I have to go outside my comfort zone on a number of different levels.

I had a big “click!” in my mind today when it came to the outline. I now am much closer to having the first half of the novel and the third act outline. All I don’t know anything about is the police procedural part of the novel which is the second half of the second act. That’s something I have to do some serious reading about.

The general story is really good. It’s going to be two books, one story. I love these characters and am willing to fight for them to exist in a way that fits my vision.

It will be interesting to see how things work out.

Reworking The #Novel’s First Act Outline, AGAIN

by Shelt Garner

I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the novel’s outline tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to start reading a lot again, as well. I have so much reading to do.

But, in general, as of right now, things are going well overall. I just have to keep believing in myself. No one believes in me. No one cares. I’m just an anonymous nobody in the middle of nowhere with a dream at this point.

The overall conceit of the novel is extremely compelling. The reason why it’s taken me two years to get to this point is, well, I’ve had to develop my storytelling ability. I just went into this pretty clueless.

If I had done what everyone suggested at the time, which is “just write” I would have failed. I would have gotten bogged down in rewriting everything a zillian times. With the development method I’m using now, I can do a lot of changes to the novel very easily and very quickly without having to write 30,000 useless words to discover that.

Anyway, that whole “just write” advice still bugs the fuck out of me. It’s even more annoying that it came from people who claimed to “know me better than I knew myself.”

Uh huh.

My Delusional Stupidity About ‘Woke Park Slope Moms’

by Shelt Garner

I posted a call for a “reader” on the NYC Craig’s List and all I got was grief from people about how I was being both “stupid and delusional.” This came in no small part from the fact that I said things like “no — or little — money” and how I wanted the novel to be a “guilty pleasure for Woke Park Slope Moms.”

I guess I WAS being delusional and stupid.

And, yet, no one cares about what I’m doing. No one believes in me. I generally have a very quirky — and obsessive — personality and this novel has officially consumed my entire creative life. Which is good. I’m using what little ability I have to produce something at the high end of my ability.

I still want this novel to be a guilty pleasure for educated, wealthy women. But not in, like, a 50 Shades kind of way. More a novel that is really thought provoking and has strong female characters in it in a way that educated women really like. But I absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

I guess I’m just kind of annoyed how Olivia Wilde and Jessica Chastain complain about how guys can’t write female characters and I want to prove them wrong. I don’t know how successful I’ll ultimately be, but this irritation definitely gives me incentive to do better than I might otherwise.

Shrug. No one cares what I’m doing. I can do anything I want.

This Novel May Accidentally Be A Bit More Literary Than I Intended

by Shelt Garner

I keep saying the novel I’m developing “has no literary aspirations.” And that is true. And, yet, one of the characters has a name that is a little bit too on the nose for it not to be taken as a commentary on the Trump Era. And not like in the pulpy way I am aiming for, but in a Female Persuasion or The Corrections type of way.

But I’ve come up with an argument for why I like the name. Usually, when both my head and my heart like a name for a character, I keep it. And that’s the case with this character. It was just after some rumination that it occurred to me that…ooopse! Given how political the novel is meant to be from an existential level, the name of a very critical character would be an obvious wink and a nod to the reader about my views on things.

Anyhoo, I’ve read two really good books on character development and I may re-read them they’re so good. There’s just so much to learn about how to create believable characters.

So much of this novel is limited only in how good — or bad — my writing is.

Sometimes, You Just Have To Believe

by Shelt Garner

No one believes in me. And I’ve been talking and writing and livestreaming about developing a novel for about two years now and so everyone thinks I’m a joke. What they don’t know is Sonic Death Monkey is going to change its name soon and I’m going to start belting out “Let’s Get It On.”

I’m very close to wrapping up the outline of the novel. I’m going to go full speed in the coming days so I have enough to be able to sit down and start writing around July 5th or so. A *lot* could go wrong between now and then. A lot. A whole lot.

But given how inspired I’m feeling with this blog right now, I get the sense that my mind is ready to start writing. The only reason why I don’t just start right now is the number of times I’ve tried to do the past, only to have everything collapse on me.

So, I’m being extremely stubborn.

I’m going to continue to do a lot — A LOT — of reading about writing and just anything in general I can get myself to read. I’m reading The End of October right now and it’s really good. It’s kind of beginning not to be as interesting, though, which I think has something to do with it no longer being a cool scenario and becoming more just A Novel.

I’m really looking forward to writing again, though. I have a whole methodical setup laid out. Once I finish the outline, I’ll implement that next step.

What’s Jennifer Lawrence Up To These Days?

by Shelt Garner

I’ve always been a big fan of J-Law. I feel so bad for her given the Fappening situation. But she seems to have bounced back quite well. I often find myself wondering what she would think of the novel I’m developing. I think she would like it a great deal.

She would be perfect to play the female romantic lead, even though she IS a bit young for the person I have in my head. But, lulz, that’s never going to happen for any reason, so all I’m doing is wasting energy to even propose it. I haven’t even finished the outline yet, much less a first, second or third draft.

I’m so oblivious to the “right” way of doing any of this.

But I really do like J-Law. She’s got such a great personality and is an excellent actress. That she’s BFF with Phoebe Waller-Bridge is even better. I find J-Law’s personality very endearing.

J-Law seems like the type of person who would pop out a kid in private then come back with force. Maybe that’s what she’s doing with her new husband? Having a kid? Who knows.

Anyway, maybe one day I’ll finish the novel I’m working on and she’ll read it. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Of Music And The #Novel I’m Developing #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, music — specifically pop rock — is at the heart of this novel for no other reason than the novel is really me talking about those brief few months about 15 years ago when I was both DJing and publishing the sole magazine for expats in Seoul.

I finally figured out a way to tell that story, but only as a very deep layer. You would have to have a fairly lengthy drunk conversation with me for it all to make sense relative to what’s going on in my mind. But tell that story, I have, at last, figured out to do.

So, there you go.

Because I really, really have no clue what I’m doing and I’m doing it in a vacuum, I have spun my wheels for months and months and MONTHS. But, now, I think, out of sheer desperation, I’m going to just wrap up the outline about the July 4th weekend and just go for it.

I have to write a first draft so I can have a second.

I’ve worked really hard for this, now it’s time to follow through.

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.

There’s So Much To Manage When Developing And Writing A Novel

by Shelt Garner

A novel is like a machine with a thousand moving parts that you have to monitor at all times. You have POV management. You have tone and mood management. You have IP issues that come out of the blue when you least expect it. The list goes on.

But I’m slowly beginning to feel far better about this novel. I’m about to “abandon” Part One. It may be another 24 hours before I simply say I’m not going to tinker with the Part One outline anymore. But I’ve said that a dozen times before and it didn’t happen. So, we’ll see.

I’ve given myself a very strict deadline of the July 4th weekend. Whatever I have by that point, I’m going to use, even if it’s not finished. I’ll fill in the holes as a I go along.

I refuse to keep spinning my wheels forever. This is novel has no literary aspirations. This is meant to be pulpy like Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. It’s not nearly as nasty as that book was at times, but it is meant to be read as a dark, serious thriller. I say that knowing that it’s going to be a struggle. I, my nature, am quite carefree and happy-go-lucky and having to be serious in virtually anything for any extended amount of time is a real struggle.

But I can tell you one thing — this novel is going to be entertaining, especially if you like pop rock music. To that extent, this thing should be a breeze to adapt for the big screen. A mutual love of pop rock music of the last 50 years is the glue that keeps several of the characters close as the plot progresses.

And, really, I should have attempted to make this a screenplay from the beginning given how cinematic it is at its heart. But I wanted to write a novel, so there you go.

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.