A Reimagining

by Shelt Garner

I finally did what I’ve been talking about and cut this thriller into two novels. But the way I’m doing it, they will be two separate stories as well as books — no cliffhanger needed.

My first novel is now much more a publishing thriller than murder thriller.

You will finish the first book thinking that the murder investigated in the second book has been solved.

This decision both speeds things up and makes the novel more pitchable because I’m going to be in the ~100,000 word sweetspot now. But one problem is I don’t know what to “comp” my novel to because the murder doesn’t happen until the third act.

The rest of the novel is about something different.

But the point is — the new version of the story is much more character driven and focused than the previous version. I have a lot more build-in wiggle room to talk about things than I did before.

AND, I HOPE, if I do a really good job that I might be given a lot more words to play with in the second novel. The second novel may also be about 100,000, but I’m not as sure about that because I’m REALLY going to have to totally re-imagine things.

But we’ll see. This is the second or third time I’ve done something massive like this to the project. But I do think that this decision will significantly speed things up so I can query a lot sooner than I might otherwise.

A Darkness At Noon: What If Trump Goes Full Tyrant in 2025?

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying — I can’t predict the future. So there’s every reason to believe that Trump will lose later this year and we’ll punt our problems down the road another four years.

And, yet.

I like to make my abstract fears concrete, so, I worry. I worry a lot. Specifically, I worry about what is going to happen if Trump wins and then goes “fully tyrant” in 2025. Will there be any reaction at all if Trump is literally snatching his opponents off the street in broad daylight?

That, specifically, is the thing I just can’t game out. It could be that nothing happens and it could be that Trump will be so ham-handed in his autocracy that he single-handedly causes those rarest of American political creatures, the “Radical Moderate” to pop out.

Radical Moderates only appear in times of great crisis — like the Civil War, The Great Depression or WW2. And usually they don’t last long. The calm down and go back to being just regular old centrists.

I just don’t know. I have no idea what to tell you about events going forward.

Am Querying (Eventually): Not Dead Yet

by Shelt Garner

Sometimes, I feel like I should just lie in my bed, twiddle my thumbs and wait to die. I’m old and I’ve wasted way too much of my life grieving over a dumb zine in Seoul. But every time I get into this mood, I immediately think, “Well, once more unto the breach.”

I hope that the heroine I’ve come up with is as interesting as Lisbeth Salander.

It’s just not my nature to give up, even though that’s exactly what I should probably do — give the fuck up.

So, I’m going to keep going with this novel as well as a back up novel. All I can say in my defense is I’m an eccentric and, as such, I willing to throw myself into something which objectively will never happen successfully — querying my first novel.

But I just refuse to self-publish, no matter what. I would rather fail on a spectacular level than self-publish because to me self-publishing is a huge co-out. I need and crave the validation of a third party — in this case a literary agent — so I can turn to people who have told me I suck as a writer all these years.

I can turn to them and tell them to fuck off.

I can prove them wrong.

So, I keep moving forward.

The End Of Coding(?)

by Shelt Garner

As a liberal arts creative person, I sometimes absolute fucking loathe smug tech bros whose answer to every problem is, “learn to code.” Fuck that and fuck them.

So the news that it’s at least possible that the blackboxes that are LLMs might, in the future, made the programming profession moot…fills me with a delicious liberal arts joy.

But I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And the moment there was some sort of threat of that happening, there would be a lot lobbying for human carveouts and my dream of a world dominated and controlled by creative arts people will be prevented from happening.

Oh well. 🙂


by Shelt Garner

It seems clear to me that we’re going to need legal carveouts for humans in the near future when it comes to much of the jobs that are available. Or we’re going to have to implement a Universal Basic Income.

One of the two.

The natural progression of capitalism is to economically screw over as many people as possible and what could be better — for a select few plutocrats — than for there to be NO jobs because a combination of AI and robotics made (humans) doing the jobs moot.

I am know to be hysterical and I’m not known for being able to predict the future. So, lulz, who knows. But the point is — we need to start thinking NOW about what we’re going to do when AI and robotics take all our jobs.

I still believe it’s possible that the far Left and the far Right may fuse into the next stage of MAGA, which would be anti-technology — a neo-Luddite movement, if you will. One thing is for sure — things are moving really, really fast.

I May Have To Split This Story In Two & Connect It With A Cliffhanger

by Shelt Garner

I’ve decided to just write the story without worrying about word count. Once I actually finish the novel, I will assess things. I will either split the story in two and have it connected by a cliffhanger, or I will try to pitch a backup novel that is the “proper” length.

I hope my heroine is as compelling as Lisbeth Salander.

I just don’t know yet. It could go either way.

But I am really interested in a scifi-Western. I think that is going to be my backup story. It shouldn’t be too difficult to bone up on how to write a Western then use the scifi universe I’ve thought up in the same story. The Western element would allow me to have a number of ready-made plots that I could fuse with scifi elements.

(L to R, foreground) DANIEL CRAIG as a stranger with no memory of his past and director/executive producer JON FAVREAU on the set of an event film for summer 2011 that crosses the classic Western with the alien-invasion movie in a blazingly original way: “Cowboys & Aliens”.

I do know I have to hurry up, though. I can’t keep screwing around. I now have just about six months to wrap up this third draft of my first novel, regardless of how long it turns out to be.

Evidence That MAGA May Evolve Into A Neo-Luddite Movement

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though we’re just one severe recession away from a massive disruption in not just the knowledge economy because of AI, but the broader economy as well. Throw in advancements in robotics and, lulz.

As such, it also seems possible that we may see MAGA evolve into something akin to an anti-technology neo-Luddite movement that demands strict regulation of AI and maybe human carveouts as well.

But our political system is so broken that, lulz, who knows what will happen. It could be that we won’t even be able to cobble together the political will to establish a UBI, even when only legacy plutocrats have enough money to eat.

Mulling A Scifi-Western Story

by Shelt Garner

I’m struggling to read a scifi novel. It’s just bad. As such, I find myself yet again thinking about writing some sort of scifi novel as a “second track” to the main mystery-thriller.

(L to R, foreground) DANIEL CRAIG as a stranger with no memory of his past and director/executive producer JON FAVREAU on the set of an event film for summer 2011 that crosses the classic Western with the alien-invasion movie in a blazingly original way: “Cowboys & Aliens”.

I have a really interesting scifi-Western story I’m tooling around in my mind. It’s one of my better ideas for two reasons — I can research how to write a Western really easily AND the already have this particular universe really well gamed out.

In fact, the only way I can think of to give this universe a plot is to make it a Western. I just find a standard Western plot that I like then tinker flesh it out in the context of the scifi concept I have thought through.

But, as always, what is probably going to happen is what always happens — I will make a lot of noise about a second creative track then I’ll just redouble my efforts on the main event.


Human Hollywood Is Going To Need Legal Carveouts To Survive In The Age of Generative AI Like Sora

by Shelt Garner

I think we’re one (severe) recession — or less — away from Hollywood being reduced to two types of people plutocrats and programmers. And, given how fast LLMs are approaching the ability to wrote code — Hollywood may just be plutocrats who license their content to LLM companies.

It could all happen a lot sooner than any of us want to think about. It could be by the end of the decade that we just don’t really have a “human” Hollywood anymore, to the point that the far Left and the far Right will come together in some new anti-tech MAGA movement that demands legal carveouts for human workers in entertainment.

Or not. What do I know. But I, in general, the trends do seem to indicate that Something Big is going to happen with “human Hollywood” in the near, near future.

Querying My First Novel Will Be Brutal

by Shelt Garner

Tomorrow, the day after my birthday, is kind of my January 1st. I have vowed to myself that this will mark a new era in my life where not only do I lay of drinking so much, but I also really buckle down with the novel.

I’m watching House of Cards a decade after everyone else.

I have something of an idyllic situation on my hands when it comes to developing and writing a novel and it could change literally at any moment. Then I’m going to look back at this moment in my life and be smarting that I didn’t take more advantage of it when I had the opportunity.

And, yet, having said all that, I know, just know, that once I transition from the delusional la-la land of developing and writing a novel into the cold, hard reality of querying that I have to prepare myself for A LOT of disappointment. I’m already preparing myself to piviot to a few scifi concepts while I query.

The biggest problem I can sense about this novel is it’s just not dark enough. Not enough fucked up, twisted things happen. But, having said that, I have come up with more than one reason for people to keep reading during the really long first act — there’s intrigue and lots of sex — some of it kinky, if consensual.

My heroine has a sleeve tattoo similar to this one on Megan Fox, even though I thought of the idea before I saw this.

I like the idea of talking about kinkier sex in a mater-of-fact, consensual way, even though it’s easy for it to be all rather funny. But, I can’t help myself. That’s just my nature — to be kind of droll instead of dark, twisted and scary.