On #Writing A #Thriller That Is An Allegory Of The #Trump Era

By Shelt Garner

I have been working on this novel for some time now. It’s totally consumed my life to the exclusion of all other creative endeavors. This is good on a number of different levels because, well, I was wasting a lot of my time and energy on a number of scattershot ideas. But now I have my creative life focused on one thing and one thing only — figuring out canon, plot and character.

Plot and canon are pretty much figured out. But character continues to a major issue. I have to figure out what motivates these characters to do what I need them to do. The point of this novel is it’s a thriller that allows me to run around an allegory of the Trump era in an entertaining fashion. I don’t want it to be preachy like, say Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart. I want it to be a sly rumination on the Trump era that is also something of a tentpole.

I will be the first to admit that sense I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m drafting off Stieg Larsson’s work. He has inspired and influenced me a great deal. But as I become a better storyteller, I find myself flexing my own creative muscles and using what he did as more of a stepping off point than anything else.

I hope to spend the next few days thinking out some crucial character details. I also am going to map out as much as possible the plot in a treatment of some sort. One thing I can’t do is continue to spin my wheels. I need to take a results-oriented, holistic approach to writing a novel. This business of simply doing development in a vocal manner for months has got to end.

It’s time to finally put up or shut up.

I have written at least 200,000 words over the last 18 months of development. I wrote 100,000 words then realized what I wrote was so horrible it didn’t deserve to be finished. But given that I’ve split the story into two novels, it is also now effectively my first draft. That is pretty cool.

Anyway, I know that if, like, anyone liked me, I probably would not have been spinning my wheels for as long as long as I have. But I’ve been working in a vacuum for much of this development and so I have no idea if anything I’ve written is any good.

Things are slowly changing on that front, however, which is pretty cool. Hopefully by the time I finish a professional-grade first draft in a few months, I’ll be able to find someone to read it all for me and ask, “What happens next?”

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