Novel Development: If It Makes Me Laugh, I Put It In

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

Though the novel I’m currently developing is supposed to be dark and serious, when it comes to actually developing it, generally, if something makes me laugh, I throw it into the mix.

And right now, I find the idea of a my female romantic lead being inspired by a specific famous person who is easy to do research on HILARIOUS. It’s just a hoot. And it gets funnier to more research I do because given the conditions of the scenario I have setup on an existential level in the novel, it it actually IS within the realm of the possible that my Hero could snag a woman otherwise so incredibly out of his league.

It’s very, very funny.

I mean, usually, constructing a character is hard work. You have to think up all these things about them to make them seem “real.” But since this character is inspired by a famous person who is quite open with their life, then it’s a lot easier to crib off of what is publicly known. And, as I’ve said before, this character is something of a treat to me for all the other hard work I have ahead of me.

And I like the idea of seeing if I can pull this off. I like the idea of SHOWING how life as an expat in Seoul leads to some surreal personal connections that otherwise would never, ever happen. The whole thing definitely lightens the mood whenever I look into how I can base the character in reality as much as possible and to see if I can make it believable that this otherwise bonkers thing (at least to outsiders) might actually happen.

Anyway. I’m sure I’ll see that person from Washington DC (is the FBI monitoring me?) or that other person from Sweden (ex boyfriend?) or that other person from Great Britain (member of her “team?”) snooping around my website in the paranoid fear that I’m some sort of crazy person when, in fact, I’m just a harmless writer looking for a bit of entertainment for myself.

Ugh. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Idle Rambling About The #Novel I’m #Developing

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

As of this moment, things are going fairly well with the novel I’m developing. That could change rather abruptly for any number of reasons, but I’m trying to enjoy this moment while it exists.

I have a lot of really interesting characters that I smash up against each other in interesting ways. I’ve made a number of clever editorial decisions if I do say so myself. I’ve created a number of characters who are an amalgam of a number of people I’ve crossed paths with over the years. I’m looking forward to writing the story for no reason than to simply see these characters come alive on the page.

I have one character who is inspired by one specific famous individual and it will be a lot of fun to see how realistic I can make the character in the context of how surreal the situation I’ve come up with would be in real life. But I’d like to think readers will grade me on a curve. That character is something of a treat I’m giving myself for all the hard work I have to go through over the next months.

I hope to start writing the official first draft no later than, say, April. I’m going to try to keep this first draft close to my chest as possible. The second draft I’m going to show to some Beta Readers. That probably will be August 2020 at the earliest before that happens, though.

Wish me luck. This is a really tough job that I love.

‘The Gray Plague:’ The Potential Political Scenario

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

After a few days of personal freak out, I’ve grown rather blase about what’s going on in Asia right now. This happening in large part because, well, while it’s all very tragic, the average American simply doesn’t care and won’t care until it becomes something other than an abstract in our collective clueless national conciousness.

There’s a 14% death rate for WuFlu for people 80 years of age.

And, really, it might stay that way. I have come to stay that 1 million Chinese could die in Wuhan and as long as Vox tell us it’s the *flu* we should really be worried about, then, well, lulz. So, as of right now, we might see a little bit of a slowdown in the global economy because of WuFlu, but not enough to stop the Russians from throwing the 2020 election to Trump AGAIN. Trump’s never leaving office, anyway, unless the doofus Crown Prince Don Jr. is assured as his successor at some point. I still think Trump’s going to demand a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment” then turn around and pass American Enabling Acts, but that’s just me.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume the absolute worst happens and my fears of a “Gray Plague” become a reality. The chief thing we have to understand is how old most of the most powerful people in the United States government are. And, what’s worst, our political system is about as taunt as you can get — if there was a Gray Plague and a lot of old people dropped dead suddenly, if the sequence of events wasn’t right, the Right would start to blow shit up because they would be ABSOLUTELY SURE the Deep State was out to get people on their side.

Of course, if, say, three major figures on the center-Left dropped, the MAGA fuckheads would gloat, mumble it was all “God’s will” as they worked to squeeze every once of political advantage out of it. If any MAGA person abruptly became president in the middle of a pandemic, they would use the opportunity not to help their fellow man, but burn the nation to the ground and establish a Fourth Reich. The fuckers. But if, say, a center-Left person was put in the same position, a civil war would start immediately because MAGA would assume “muh guns” and kill anyone who was different than what they feel America looks like. I’m not joking, I’m not exaggerating. This would happen.

It makes you wonder how many people would have to die for us to finally look past scoring short term political points to the point that we actually begin to put the needs of the nation first. A million? Five million? 10 Million? 20 Million? How enormous, really, would the human tragedy of the Gray Plague have to be for Sean Hannity to finally shut the fuck up about Hillary Clinton’s email server?

Of real concern is what would happen if the 30 year movement towards a majority-minority America happened not in decades but in months? What if, say, 30-50 million Americans (mostly elderly) died between the first report of a hotzone outside of Wuhan and when the vaccine was widely available? What makes that question difficult to process is it would be more like a war than anything else that we’ve ever experienced as a nation.

If an entire generation of the American political class got wiped out over the course of little under a year, there would be massive implications going forward. Probably what would happen is the country wouldn’t make it. The Second American Civil War that we may face in 20 years, might happen in a matter of months. But, I don’t know. Who knows. Anything could happen.

I can’t predict the future and don’t have reveled truth. Just stay aware of what’s going on.

Gray Plague: Back-Of-The-Envelope Apocalypse Notes #Coronavirus #WuFlu

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

47 million Americans are 65+.

35%-90% death rate for WuFlu once you hit 65 years of age.

If even 2.1% of that 47 million died it would be, at least to Americans, the greatest event since WWII. If 10%-20% of that 47 million died, then, well, that’s a different matter altogether.

There would be no narrative if a pandemic struck. It would be written later by historians. We would have no idea if we were going to make it as species or not.

If things got bad enough, a number of nuclear-tipped regional wars would likely happen in quick succession. Isreal-Iran, DPRK-ROK/USA and India Pakistan could all happen very quickly and right about the same time.

There would be a massive refugee problem, the likes of which we’ve never seen since the end of WWII.

If China imploded as a result of WuFlu, that would fundamentally change the nature of the global economy.

The movie industry probably wouldn’t make it past a pandemic because people wouldn’t want to go to see the movies and AR/VR/MX would replace the entire industry in months, not years or decades.

Russia, China and the US might have revolutions and or civil wars if the death rate was bad enough. If the browning of America happened in three months not three decades because of a pandemic, the same forces that are tearing the country apart politically would simply tear it apart in a much more traditionally violent manner. You might see Blue States align with Canada and Red States try to reform the Confederate States of America.

You could make the argument that as many as 50 million Americans could die if a pandemic struck because of not just the Gray Plague, but any limited nuclear exchanges between the US and the DPRK, food shortages, revolution, civil war and general batshit bonkers behavior on the part of a panicked public.

The issue of continuation of government might be a real problem for a few months as powerful people through the US government got sick and or died. The ability to hold free-and-fair elections — or elections at all — in November might be put into serious doubt. It would be unprecedented.

A real pandemic would suck. We don’t want it. It’s not a movie. It would be real people, real lives and real tears of a grief. It would likely take us decades to come to grips with how many people died.

Let’s hope none of this happens.

All Bow, All Tremble, Before The Possible Might Of ‘The Gray Plague’

Who knows.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

Let me make some things clear — first, I doubt we have anything to worry about at this point. We’ve reached the apex of all the issues with WuFlu and as such I can go back to developing my novel now. Also, I really, really, really don’t want the scenario I am about to suggest to happen in any way. But I have a moment of spare time, so here goes.

The key thing is what hasn’t happened yet. There are no new hotzones. There are no deaths in the West from WuFlu. And it definitely seems as though we’ve dodged a bullet on a macro level outside of a slight slowing of the global economy.

I have two metrics to determine if we in the West should begin to worry — the death rate among elderly celebrities and in South Florida. If that began to explode, then something is up. I say that only because the WuFlu death rate among the elderly — from what I can see online, at least — is rather staggering. There are 47 million Americans over the age of 65. If really was a “Gray Plague” they would be the majority of its deaths, hence the name.

Here’s the point where we have some real talk. If the absolute worst happened and over, say, about a year, 50 million Americans — mostly elderly — died from The Gray Plague, what would that mean? Well, first, the United States wouldn’t make it through it. The browning of America, which is on track to wrap up in about 30 years, would happen in less than a year. This would prompt such instability and bent up rage among MAGA that there would probably be massive civil unrest resulting in civil war and the implosion of the country altogether.

What would replace it, I don’t know. It might be something like Canada & a reborn CSA or something. It would not be pretty, whatever it was. But again, that’s rather fantastical at this point. More likely, all the good news we’re hearing from Wuhan is on the up-and-up and we can just move on. I hope I’m right, I really do.

Idle Rambling About The State Of The #Novel I’m Developing

Shelton Bumgarner

The Corona Virus & Possibility Of A ‘Chernobyl Syndrome’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

The thing about what’s going on with Wuhan, is there’s a real chance we have a HBO mini-series about it in 30 years that tells us 1 million people died in the city, but it could have been 100 million people all over the globe. So, in that sense, while what happened is A Worst Case Scenario, it was not THE Worst Case Scenario.

I say that because that’s pretty much what happened in Chernobyl. That accident could have been far, far, worst, with much of Europe either being dead or being force to leave a now uninhabitable continent.

And, really, as long as there are no new additional hotzones outside of Wuhan — as long as there are not spots on the globe were the death rate connected to WuFlu isn’t growing exponentially on a daily rate, then that particular Chernobyl Scenario could very well happen. The only thing we might notice in the West is the global economy slows down a little bit. Otherwise, it will remain a lulz and Western Twitter Liberals will chuckle that they were right all along about how “more people die from the flu.” That 1 million people died in Wuhan (because we won’t know for 20 years) won’t really be factored in.

As I’ve said, if you want some sense of any possibility that a lot of people are going to die in the United States, I would keep an eye on the number of obituaries of elderly Hollywood celebrities. Given that the mortality rate for elderly individuals with WuFlu is pretty brutal, that would be the first indication that we might be in for a bumpy few weeks, if not months. Just take a look.

I remain hopeful, however, that this is all being overblown. I have a novel to work on it would be a real pain in the butt if the Apocalypse got in the way.

‘More Cowbell’ — Celebrity Deaths Would Be Our Corona Virus Trip Wire

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

As you can see for yourself, you face a grim future if you’re an elderly person who catches wuflu.

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

Now, I hope this doesn’t happen. I hope we all look back on this moment in time and laugh over it all (if we’re not crying because we’re being tortured by an ICE agent during our re-education.) But if in the coming days 20, 30, 40 elderly celebrities all die in quick succession, then, well, buckle up.

Add to this the cold, hard fact that a lot of powerful people right now are, well, old, and it’s at least possible we’re in for something of a shakeup with nations across the globe. Just the Queen dying of WuFlu would be enough to cause a global panic for a few days. Of course, they would likely try to hide the exact nature of her demise for as long as possible because of that — they might just say she “died after a brief illness.” Her death will be of such historical import to millions of people across the globe that for her to die of WuFlu would rattle a whole lot of cadges all at once.

But, again, maybe I’m reading too much into things. Maybe we have nothing to worry about. I see a lot lot of bullshit on the Internet that tries to stoke people’s fears and feed into their confirmation bias. How much of what I’m seeing is real, I don’t know.

The chief issue is best I can tell, there are no new hotzones outside of Wuhan itself. If that changes — it would likely change in a pretty dramatic fashion if it did — then things are going to get bumpy. There’s a chance that we may have a Chernobyl situation on our hands where A worst case scenario, not THE worse case scenario happens. As I said, we’ll know soon enough when — and if — if the deaths of a large number of celebrities are reported in quick succession.

‘Recalibration’ #WritingLife #AmWriting

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

I’ve realized that I need to learn more about structure. What I have been doing — using Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire” as my textbook on structure simply doesn’t work with my novel for a number reasons on a number of different levels. I have an actual text book on scene and structure and I’m going to at least attempt to sit down and read that now. This has happened for a number of reasons. I can’t keep trying to do a one-to-one copy of The Girl Who Played With Fire’s structure. It just doesn’t work. I have to understand structure independent of that book.

I had an interesting conversation with an elderly woman who definitely had a very low opinion of my efforts to write a novel. But, ultimately, the chief take away was — I need to go faster and I need to realize I probably have a limited amount of time to get this done. I’ve been moving forward with development, yes, but this ideal situation isn’t going to last forever. I am going to at least try to re-double my efforts and be more focused on the task at hand. Hopefully.

Any normal human being would shut up about what he’s working on, but I’m not normal. I’m 100% extroverted and usually — unless there’s a specific reason to do otherwise — I pretty much just talk about whatever’s on my mind in as conspicuous a manner as possible.

Regardless, I’ve entered yet another new — if subtle — phase in development. I have a better understanding of how badly I miscalculated at the beginning of this process on more than one level. I thought this was going to be simple of a matter of casually studying The Girl Who Played With Fire and could happen all within maybe two years.

What happened was the whole thing was very poorly thought out at the beginning and as my storytelling ability has gotten better, my personal demands on myself have also gotten higher. And so there you go.

Some Theories On What Happens To Pop Culture Now

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

Now that we’re in the Fourth Reich after the acquittal of Trump, what happens to pop culture? I thought at first maybe a sizable chunk of the audience might want some sort of emotional catharsis. But I now think it may be a bit more complex than that.

What’s more likely to happen is we’ll enter a sort of second 70s in that a lot of people are just going to want to dance while other people want to see serious, gritty movies and TV show that address what just happened. I think. I don’t know.

Given what the novel I’m writing is about, I definitely have a vested interest in people wanting Trumplandia catharsis. But we’ll see. I’m writing a novel instead of screenplay because I live in the middle of nowhere, it affords me more nuanced creative universe building ability and just don’t want to write a screenplay right now.