by Shelt Garner
I’ve finally gotten to the most crucial aspect of developing this novel — character. I have about three books on character that I’m cramming as fast as I can so I can start writing again no later than June 1st. I need to understand these characters so I can control them absolutely. I don’t have time to let them play. They have to do what I want them to do, the way I want them to do.
I keep thinking about the brilliance of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. The plot of that story is organic to the character. What in mind, I’m using what I remember of my bonkers self in Seoul from 12 years ago as the basis of my hero’s personality. I have to be really careful, though, that he doesn’t come off as so comical that the story doesn’t have the serious tone I need it to have.
But I do remember how interesting I was in Seoul, if nothing else. I had more than enough character to go around, that’s for sure. The thing about being a long-term expat in Seoul is you find yourself meeting people you would otherwise never meet. For instance, I met Pinch Sulzberger of the New York Times in 2004. Totally blew my mind.
I really like the idea of digging into how bonkers being a long-term expat in Seoul can make you. When I lived there, I could never figure out if South Korea drew bonkers people to be expats there, or if the place drove you bonkers by simply staying a long time. (It may be a little bit of both.)
Anyway, in a sense, this novel is simply me thinking about my time as the publisher of ROKon Magazine in Seoul, but in a far more palatable — and easier to write – fashion than I had in mind when I first tried to tell a very angry version of it about 10 years ago.
I have worked very, very hard to get where I am. Now, to close the deal. I have to keep cramming about how to develop believable characters. Wish me luck.