Struggling With Developing The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing In The Context Of #Screenwriting

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m slowly, but surely, beginning to understand what this story is about. As it stands, apparently this concept is heavily influenced by a few movies — not novels — that I really like. I really like The Martian, The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Those three movies are really influencing me as I struggle to develop this novel. I’m very much an extrovert, so the lone-wolf nature of writing a novel goes against my nature of socializing while I’m creative.

But I have no friends and I don’t want to write a screenplay — at least right now — so here I am. I do find myself thinking on a visual level the novel as I write it. I really like the fact that when you write a novel everything is up to you, the author, to present to the audience. With a screenplay, really, all you do is think up a concept, some conflict and a lot of dialogue and then sit back and wait for the director and the producer to have at it.

I definitely do what to write a screenplay at some point in the future, for no other reason than I have many, many movie concepts floating around in my mind that I want to explore. But I’ve really put a lot of effort into this novel’s development, so I going to keep pushing forward.

I just have to believe in myself.

Idle Rambling About Character Development In The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to use what happened between me and the late Annie Shapiro in Seoul as the “heart” of the scifi novel I’m writing. It’s where I’m going to pull my character development from, if nothing else. But I’m no Charlie Kaufman, so I don’t really expect to pull off a Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. But I honestly don’t know where else to look.

My hope is that this novel will be nice fusion of scifi and love story just like Kaufman’s movie. But that really is a long shot given I’m a novice and I’m just writing this novel because I feel compelled to. But we’ll see, I guess. I really need to just keep going.

Honing in on the events of ROKon Magazine as inspiration definitely will help in writing the novel moving forward. It gives me an emotional core that I can cling to when I don’t know what else to do. But that comes with some dangers. If I don’t watch out, the whole story could devolve into a mish-mash of genres and goals that leaves everyone scratching their head. But I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I’m really enjoying writing this novel — I’m really just developing it at this point — and they say you’re supposed to give yourself permission to write crap the first draft, if nothing else. I’m going to do just that, I guess. I just have to finally reach a point where I feel comfortable with a scene summary to use as a guide to write the first draft. This is taking much, much longer than I ever expected.

‘The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’ As A #Scifi Story & My #Scifi #Novel

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is really two genres fused perfectly to such an extent that you can’t really tell where the scifi story ends and the romantic “dramady” begins. It takes a scifi conceit — what if you could erase bad memories? — and runs with it in the context of a failed relationship.

Meanwhile, I have a scifi conceit that I realize won’t have any heart if I don’t really make it a love story of sorts. And, sense I don’t really have any love stories floating around other than the bizarro story arch of what happened between me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul about a decade ago. I have to be careful that the story doesn’t devolve into me simply bitching angrily about how poorly I was treated all those years go.

I’m no Charlie Kaufman. I am simply not that good a writer, but I do have a really strong concept to work with and as such I think if I can get anywhere near the interesting romantic story told in The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, I’ll have accomplished something. What happened with me and Annie was really, really interesting and if I manage to shoehorn that general story into the scifi novel I’m writing then it will hopefully be a lot closer to The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and a lot less like, say, The Martian. (Even though I love that book / movie.)

But only time will tell, I guess.

The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind In The Context Of The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

As this concept evolves, I find myself taking inspiration from some unusual places. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a lot of inspiration from the latest Mission: Impossible as well as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But these days, I find myself mulling the emotional beauty of The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

The crux of that story is that it’s really a love story that just happens to have a scifi element. Given that I pretty much just have one plot in my head — what happened to me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul working on ROKon Magazine, when I got to the end of the first act the last go round, I was struck by the fact that not only did the story not really have any character development — there was no main character, if you will, but it still didn’t really have any heart.

That’s why I now find myself starting all over again — in a way — to lean into what I love about The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. As such, I hope to make the first half of the second act pretty much the same dynamic that existed between myself and Annie in the most eventful part of the ROKon Magazine mini-saga. That’s where I’m going to get my character development, at least. And it’s also where some of the more interesting aspects of this story are going to shake out.

To put it another way, the characters are beginning to take shape and as such the things needed to make them believable and interesting are beginning to change the structure of the novel. So tonight is going to be a lot of rewriting — again — to get the scenes to jibe with some much needed character development so we have some sort of setup for what happens once the two main characters find themselves in the “special world” of the second act.

Hopefully I will soon finish a new scene summary and be able to start writing the actual novel again. I hope, at least. I’ve been reworking the scene summary for months now and I think it has more to do with how bad the original scene summary was and less to do with me just not wanting to take a chance on writing a really bad first draft.

More Mulling Character Development In The #Scifi #Novel I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One of the things I really have to focus on is character development in the novel I’m developing. I have a really strong concept, but I got to the end of the first act the last go-round and realized there the novel didn’t really follow the structure of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In that novel, the focus of POV scenes is definitely on two people. There are subplots, but the most screen time is devoted two the two main POV characters.

So, that’s why I’m starting from scratch — in a sense — so I can build the foundation of the two main characters and their relationship. Each time I start all over again, not only does the story drift far, far away from the original conceit, it gets far better as well.

Anyway, tonight, I hope to fix some structural problems the new setup of the novel has developed. The story is definitely getting better, but each time I start all over again, I usually have some pretty big structural problems that I have to fix along the way as well.

It will be interesting to see how far I get tonight. It’s going to require a lot of thinking to figure out what the characters do in such a way that I can squeeze the most character development out of them going forward.

Character Development & The #Scifi #Novel I’m Working On #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Something occurred to me recently that really changed how I see this novel I’m developing. I realized that while the concept is strong, I have zero character development. In fact, the story is more conceit than it is a story. In other words, imagine if The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind dealt more with the fact that you could delete memories than how it influenced the every day lives of the people connected to it.

So, as such, I again find myself realizing that I have one really good plot in my mind — what happened to me with ROKon Magazine — and as such I need to lean into that. I think, at least at this point, that what happened with me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul is going to be the basis of the first half of the second act. The rest is going to be completely a figment of my imagination. But by structuring the story this way, I am able to tap into a lot of basic character development that is inspire by things that have actually happened to me in real life.

In other words, write what you know.

But it’s going to take a lot of work. I’m going to have to bang the reader over the head with how I get to the situation I need to get to so I can use what happened to me in Seoul in the first place. And I’m really going to have to be careful that it’s just not me mentally masturbating — again — about how wrong I was a decade ago by a bunch of manipulative, backstabbing expats. I need to use what happened to me in broad strokes so I simply use it to give the story character development and heart and that’s it. This story has changed so much since I started developing it that hopefully once I finally start writing it that it won’t be an enormous mess because I’ve overthought it too much.

We’ll see I guess. It will be interesting to see how things work out.

Inspiration Comes In Weird Places: Of ‘Hamilton’ & ‘The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

As I continue to plow ahead with developing my novel, I find myself mulling some of the crazy places I’m finding inspiration. I’m not obsessive fan of the Broadway play “Hamilton” but it definitely inspires me to be as creative as possible with this scifi novel. It’s not going to be your typical scifi novel, to say the least. It’s going to be really creative and, if anything, will hopefully be something like The Matrix in its creativity.

Meanwhile, now that I’ve established that I’m going to use what happened to me with ROKon Magazine as the basis of the first half of the second act, I find myself thinking about how, in real terms, The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is, in its own way, a scifi movie. I like the idea that in that story romance and scifi get muddled and interesting things happen spring from its novel conceit.

Anyway, I have a lot of work to do. I’m giving myself 200,000 words — because that’s how long The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is — so I have a lot of thinking to do. I have finally managed to come up with some interesting characters and now I have to smash them against each other for dramatic effect.

The issue, of course, is if I can pull this off given how everyone thinks my writing sucks.

Idle, Vague Rambling About The Structure Of My #Scifi #Novel’s Plot #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have finally finished a pretty good scene summary of the first act of the scifi novel I’m developing and now I’m pondering the rest of the book. It seems to me that I can use the one good plot I have — that of what happened me in South Korea with ROKon Magazine — as the basis of the first half of the second act. The second half of the second act will be where the 2016 presidential campaign becomes relevant.

I am well aware that I can talk big all I want, but when really comes down to it, my writing is what’s going to be important. I can talk tough all I want, but this novel is becoming extremely ambitious and as such it may make me happy but in the end it will just suck because my writing is so bad. And, as I keep saying, it’s very possible that some hack will use the original first act scene summary I posted here briefly as the basis of a screenplay.

But I probably have a limited window of opportunity to get ahead of that because, well, it would taken even the most basic of hacks a little while to write a screenplay inspired by what I posted. It might have been interesting, but it really wasn’t all that good. At least in my opinion. This new scene summary, however, is turning out great and I’m very pleased with the general direction it’s headed.

I hope to get a lot of work done on it today. Right now, I just have to figure out the exact chronology of things as I write so I can use what happened to me in Seoul as the inspiration for a big chunk of the plot effectively. In a way, if I pull this off, I could see someone seeing the high concept for this novel as Under The Dome meets Lucy meets Mission: Impossible — Fallout meets The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind meets Network.

Sorta.

Those, at least, are some of the major influences of this going forward. I really need to make this story character driven so people will actually want to read it. The premise is really personal and semi-autobiographical in some respects — not to mention completely ridiculous if it isn’t properly explained to you — but I’m slowly beginning to get a better understanding of what the story is about and what the characters are going to do.

I hope.

We’ll see.

V-Log: Struggling To Address The Trump Era In Fiction

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

This one is about me trying to figure out how to address the chaos of the Trump Administration in a scifi novel.

My Vision For The #Scifi #Novel I’m Developing #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The novel I’m developing right now — I say “developing” because I haven’t actually started writing it yet — is going to be summer beach read that you split into your purse Thursday night and finish up on your way home Sunday evening. At least, that’s the goal. I want it to be scifi, but not so nerdy and testosterone laden in its scifi that your average middle age suburban New Yorker reader will be turned off.

So, in a sense, my vision for this novel is it will have a lot more in common with The Martian than, say, The Matrix. I want a rip roaring yarn that is innovative and creative and ambitious. As I keep saying, I can talk big all I want, but it really boils down to how good a writer I am.

If the past reviews of my attempts to write fiction are any indication — this is probably going to be a disaster on more than one level. That doesn’t even begin to address that some hack might write a very bad screenplay from the original first act scene summary I foolishly published. But that was inevitable and there’s no much I can do about it at this point.

But, regardless, I have a lot ambition and I keep reworking this concept in a way that I feel is making the novel better. The latest reason why I threw everything in the air and started again is I got to the midpoint of the latest version of the scene summary and realized it just didn’t feel as though it was going to be as fun and action-adventure or, maybe thrilling, as I had hoped.

So, while I’m going to keep huge chunks of what I’ve developed so far, I’m also going to try to make this story something you would actually want to read and, hell, maybe even see on the silver screen if it became popular enough. This is something I really didn’t expect — that I would accidentally find myself working towards writing something akin to a thriller in the tradition of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo…if you threw Under The Dome and Network along the way.

I hope to get a lot of development done today so I can at least go back to working on the scene summary, if nothing else. This is where working on a novel is far less fun than what I imagine writing a screenplay would be like for no other reason than in real terms I have no one to talk to in detail about what it is that’s bother me. So, instead, I write posts like this that were me vaguely rambling about what’s troubling me.