Of Chris Pratt, Daniel Craig, Matthew McConaughey & #Writing A ‘Breakout Novel’ #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, I really, really hate how much cloyingly annoying preening I see on Twitter within its “writing community.” I have no beef with any of them. God speed, guys. Hope your “WIP” is a success. But one thing I fucking hate is seeing people go on about how their MC of their WIP is supposed to be this or that person.

Fuck that.

But no one reads this blog and I’m in the mood to write, so I thought I’d do the very thing I hate so much. Chris Pratt is who I think of when I write about my novel’s Hero. He’s got the ability to be both serious and comical. My hero is meant to be someone who likes to have a good time — and drink — but when push comes to shove, he grows serious and is willing to suffer for what he believes in.

In fact, the idea of the importance of having principles in an era when seemingly NO ONE has any is crucial to the story as I see it. I’m impressed with Pratt’s range and he’s the right age for the character. Setting the Hero’s age has been a real pain in the ass for a number of reasons. I’ve settled — for the time being — on 40, which is just about Pratt’s age. Any older, and some of the relationships I see for the character become, well, a little creepy.

Though, I will note, if I’m going to mentally masturbate about this subject anyway, that I could see Daniel Craig being interested in this character. Or, put another way, if he was interested in playing the Hero in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, he would be interested in playing this character, should the occasion arise.

Since my Hero is from the South, I could also see Matthew McConaughey being interested in the character. But, again, like Craig, he’s 10 years too old. But this is Hollywood we’re talking about, they don’t care about shit like that.

And, yet, Pratt lingers in my mind as the perfect person to convey my motivation for my Hero. My Hero is a guy that everyone underestimates because ostensibly he’s a womanizing drunk, when, in fact, he has a deepseated core of beliefs that he’s willing to fight — and suffer — for.

Now, let me be clear — the more serious I become about this novel, the less I care about any potential Hollywood adaptation. This happens in large part because as I grow more serious, the more I realize how unlikely it is that I’ll be able to even sell this novel, much less it become so successful that Hollywood would be interested.

About 99% of a novel’s “break out” nature is sheer luck. You spend years working on a novel and the context of the finished product is such that it hits the zeitgeist at just the right angle and blammo — it’s a huge hit. So, really, at this point, I have no idea if a lot of people are going to be interested in reading a thriller that’s really just a very diffused polemic on the Trump Era and extremism in general.

Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

And there’s a lot of other things to think about. Someone could steal a mach on me. Or people will be tired of hearing about Trump. Or whatever. There are half a dozen reasons why everything might work with the novel but for things out of my control.

This novel is not “A Confederacy of Dunces.” If I can’t sell it pretty quick, then, lulz. I’ll just self-publish it. I have a pretty tight schedule in my mind, but a lot of things could still go wrong.

Wish me luck.

Of Having A #Transgender Character In The #Novel I’m Developing & #Writing

by Shelt Garner

I’ve been thinking about and developing this novel for so long that I’ve grown rather dispassionate about it. It’s just my “job” as an artist at this point. One of the things I’ve wanted in the story since its original conception is a transgender character.

The story now has one — one who plays an important part in the plot — but I know that as long as there are people who like Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” I’m in danger of evoking some serious hatred from the Left as well as the Right if, somehow, I miraculously sell this novel. The reason is, while I mean well by having a transgender character I *am* a middle aged white male and so Mrs. Wilde’s acolytes are likely to be enraged that someone like me would do such a thing. Only someone who is approved by the Left’s Twitter ragemachine can do that. Meanwhile, the Right will hate me for having a transgender character to begin with. You just can’t please anyone — especially if your a middle aged white man. It’s just not possible. By definition, you’re a member of the patriarchy, and as such, must be “slayed.”

But I felt that if I was going to muse on the Trump Era, I had to talk about the transgender movement in some way. I’m extremely indifferent to it all at this point, but it is a crucial aspect of Trumplandia. Transgenders are the go-to boogie man of a lot of MAGA dipshit fucktards. (Orange man IS bad, by the way, you fucking cocksuckers.)


I have very, very low expectations for this novel’s ultimate fate. I have a very specific vision — it’s one story, two novels. I simply want to go through the process of developing, writing and trying to sell a novel. If that doesn’t work out, I’m simply going to self publish and move on to the next creative thing.

Maybe a screenplay.

Of #TrumpTaxes & The Allegorical Thriller About The Trump Era I’m Writing #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

It’s hard to properly convey how much rage I feel towards the Trump Administration these days. With the punt on the part of SCOTUS in regards to Trump’s taxes, it seem pretty obvious that Trump is going to cruise into a stolen second term.

On the bright side, now I can throw my heart into the novel I’m writing which is meant to be one epic rant about the surreal excesses of the Trump Era. I’m a man of peace, a man of ideas but I also feel extremely powerless to do anything about Trump. So, all I can do is use my native storytelling ability to hopefully get people thinking about what a fucking monsters Trump and his enablers are. The goal is for that rant to be so diffused, however, that it won’t be preachy. It is designed, however, from the ground up to be able to lay out an indictment of extremism on both sides of the political spectrum.

The story is set in the immediate past, right before the pandemic. The second book is likely going to end just about the moment in early 2020 when it became clear that COVID19 was about to strike the United States. I also, for what its worth, do some down low ranting about people being oblivious to global climate change for good measure.

Anyway, as I have said before, I hope to have something of a personal writer’s retreat this weekend. I need some time to just stare out into space, recharge my batteries and maybe drink and read a lot.

I’ve come up with a very unique way to rant about the Trump Era. All systems are go right now to start writing on the first draft sometime after I get back from my writer’s retreat. I still have a huge amount of reading to do. So much reading. But it’s worth it.

Having a novel to develop and write distracts me from being enraged over how Trump and his minions are turning the nation I love into a managed democracy like Russia.


Mapping Out Part 2 Of The #Novel I’m Developing #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I’ve pretty much figured out how to develop and write the rest of the first draft of the novel. The thing I was missing to date was an audience. Now that I’ve figured out how to “publish” chapters as I finish writing them, things should move a lot faster.

The reason is — I can’t go backwards. I have to accept that something is “real” in the novel’s universe because someone has seen it.

Things are going to get a little bit more difficult with Part 2 because it’s essentially the meat and bones of the first act. Right now, not a lot is going on in the novel in Part 1. I have to figure out how to spice it up some. I’m planning on going on a personal Writer’s Retreat this weekend and hopefully I will feel inspired by being alone with the novel for a few days. It’s worked in the past, so hopefully it will work again.

But, in general, things are moving fast.

I have a whole lot of reading to do. I really need to understand my characters better by reading up on subjects they would know about. That’s a lot of the backend stuff that is not as obvious on the page. It just takes time to actually read all this material.

I’ve been working on this novel for two years. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Things Are Falling Into Place With The #Novel #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

This weekend has been very productive so far. I wrote the first draft of the first chapter and now I’m doing a huge amount of pre-flight work on the second chapter.

Really, the only thing pausing things right now is inspiration is coming at me hard and fast so I need to make sure my scene summaries are as jam-packed with excitement, plot points and character development as possible. I don’t want to rush things. I want to be methodical.

Trump being a fucking enraging traitor continues to provide the energy needed to develop and write this novel. All I need to summon up some serious motivation is to “doomscroll” Twitter a little bit. One thing I’ve always wanted this novel to be is something of a “Twitter in real life” kind of thing where you see different types of people on Twitter represented as they would be in real life.
So, in that sense, this novel is — and always has been an allegory for the Trump Era hidden inside a breezy, pulpy thriller.

I hope to wrap up pre-flight on the second chapter very soon, maybe this evening. Then, as always, I’ll wake up at about 4 a.m., drink some coffee and write for a few hours. This is just such a huge project — and I’m not on crank like Phillip K. Dick — that even under the best of circumstances, I can only finish a scene or two at once sitting. That slows things down a little bit.

One thing about development of a novel is you never know what the context will be when you try to sell it. But I am trying to be as timely and topical as possible with this novel. The only reason why I will keep it in the immediate past at this point is it opens up really playing up the looming pandemic in the second book which will be set in very early days of the pandemic in the United States.

Anyway, as I keep saying, this novel has no literary aspirations. It’s meant to be a really fast read. Hopefully, you might notice after you finish a lingering sense that I really fucking hate the Trump Administration — and extremism in general.

The Novel Is Moving Faster Now #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I finally have something of a groove going in regards to actually writing the novel. Things are still very fluid and ad hoc in nature, but at least I’m “just writing” as so many people demanded I do two years ago.

There’s a real chance that I’ll wrapping up the first chapter of the first draft pretty soon. I keep printing it out and reading something I think is “finished” only to have it all fall apart because I think of some better way to structure it. But, in the end, it’s definitely getting better.

One real problem is canon management and workflow. I just have no idea how to do it the “right” way. I can only work within my my personality and experience, so, lulz. But this is just the first draft. So, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.

The crucial thing is I’m actually getting some writing done.

I keep being way too hard on myself. But I want this first draft to be the best it can possibly be. I don’t want to embarrass myself. (For once.)

My #Novel’s Development Is Really Taking Off Now #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I have like 30 books to read right now. But I’m also writing. I have a pretty methodical way to develop each individual scene. I don’t want there to be any question about what’s going to be in a scene before I write it. If there is, I’m only setting myself up for a lot of heartache.

So, I find myself doing several scene summaries for each scene before I actually write them. It really, really helps so much with all the different aspects of each scene you have to juggle. I have very exacting standards for myself. I am also very neurotic, erratic and eccentric in my work ethic, so I sometimes wake up at 4 a.m. and write a few hours simply because that’s when the mood has struck me.

I’m just about to wrap up the first draft of the first chapter, I think. I’m really pleased with the cause and effect sequence of events (the plot, duh) I’ve managed to come up with. It flows really well.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a little nervous about how many POVs I have. But I think the issue is a matter of focus. As long as I focus on the Hero (and group different people into easy to manage “groups”) then I think readers won’t get too confused. Again, I’ve been using The Girl Who Played With Fire as my textbook and he uses more than six POVs in that book, so I’m not going to stress too much about that issue.

The first draft is more about simply getting the story down than anything else. Once I get the first draft of the first chapter done, I’m going to go back to reading and general thinking for the July 4th weekend so I’ll be refreshed once that “holiday pause” is over.

I’m Modeling The Hero Of My #Novel After #ChrisPratt #AmWriting

By Shelt Garner

Let me be clear — I really fucking hate it when people preen about who they think should play this or that character in their “WIP.” I just want to scream at them to shut up and actually write the novel. But, here I am, doing that very same thing.

My only excuse, I guess, is I’m 100% extroverted and I can’t help myself. And, also, I’m not really being aggressive about it. It’s just something to write about while in thinking in the back of my mind about an important first draft scene I’m working on at the moment.

Chris Pratt is who I imagine my hero looking like right now. He’s the right age and fits the phenotype of the inspiration for the hero. It is interesting how men who are in the 40 to 60 age range can play just “the Hero” while the female romantic lead usually has to be played by a far younger woman. I think that says more about Hollywood as an industry and the power male actors accrue as they grow older. (And the fact that the more powerful an actor becomes, the more he seeks out all the younger hot actress to play against so he can bang them.)

What’s interesting is I could see Chris Pratt play my Hero and Jennifer Lawrence play the Female Romantic Lead. (Or maybe Phoebe Waller-Bridge.) Those two have worked together in a movie. I really need to get back to writing the first draft of the novel. But, for some reason, I just feel the need to mention that on this blog that no one reads.

Anyway, like I said, I really fucking hate when other aspiring novelists do exactly what I’m doing. It’s so cloy and preening. It fucking drives me up the wall.

Just write the fucking novel already, people.

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.

You Can’t Edit A Blank Page #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

I’m finally “just writing” again. It’s taken a long time, but here I am. It’s kind of a lot of fun having to plot out each scene after all this development then watching everything collapse again and again on a scene level. But much of the macro-level stuff is settled now.

The issue is really simply figuring out how to convey the information I want to convey within each scene. It’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. But I really, really have to just not over think things at this point. The point is to simply get the story down.

There’s a reason why they say don’t let people read your first draft — it’s going to suck, no matter what. I was all excited about the first scene then I realized how much is really, really sucked. But I’m not going to spin my wheels, trying to make it perfect.

I’ve done enough wheel spinning already.

Time to write.

You can’t edit a blank page.