For the moment, at least, I’ve kind of gotten into a groove with the novel. I’m averaging about one chapter a week, but I think some of that comes from how hot it is. Once it gets a little cooler I may get closer to my goal of three chapters a week.
My absolute deadline for the first draft is Thanksgiving and I just can’t be this slow. I really need to speed up. There are, of course, remaining holes in the outline I’ve been using, but hopefully as I write I’ll be able to fill them. I may just say “screw it” and write something anything in those “holes” in the outline just so I can finish a first draft of some sort.
But the story in general is so strong — and so lets me vent about the Trump Era — that I keep going. I keep having a lingering interest in writing a screenplay, but that’s just creative restlessness. Though I do think I have the skillset necessary to be a success in Hollywood, I’ve invested so much into this novel that I don’t want to take away any mental energy for a SECOND delusion.
I’m still at the point where I am allowing myself to be as delusional as possible. It’s not until the second draft that I’m going to take a deep breath and start thinking about the cold, harsh realities the marketplace. Things like word count and character names being “normal” will come to the forefront of my mind then. But some stuff I’m not going to change, even then.
I have a very specific vision. Some elements of the story are existential and if I can’t sell it if I have them in it, then I’ll just self publish.
First, let me stress I fucking hate it when aspiring novelists preen about this or that actor would be perfect for the movie adaptation of the “work in progress.” Oh, Jesus. Just shut up and write.
But, I will note, in passing that the heroine the novel I’m working on IS Zendaya in my imagination. It’s not a perfect one-to-one for a very specific reason, but it’s spooky that I would independent of being any sort of Zendaya fan come up with a character that resembles her so much.
This is a novel, not a screenplay, so lulz. And I’m just an anonymous middle-aged man in the rural part of a flyover state so the probability of selling this novel is about the same as me winning the lottery.
And, yet, it is fun to occasionally daydream about such things. It’s all very much mental masturbation, of course, but no one reads this blog an I’m just talking to myself at this point.
The novel I’m developing is very personal. It’s also very much something of my autobiography in a gauzy, fictional form. But Jessica Alba — the Taylor Swift of major Latina movie stars — has a project with Netflix in development that’s really making me nervous.
It’s called Trigger Warning and when I heard the title my heart sank. It would be very easy for it to be essentially the novel I’m writing. In fact, Trigger Warning is one of several discarded titles I’ve mulled for the novel over the last two years.
But the once I learned what few details I could about Alba’s project, it just doesn’t seem I have THAT much to worry about. Yes, the two projects are similar in some respects, but I THINK that has more to do with simple form follows function than anything else.
And, yet, as I’ve said, should something happen, I’ve developed this novel far enough that I can pretty easily use the characters I’ve come up with for a different plot.
I hope it doesn’t come to that, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.
I vacillate dramatically from assuming that, of course, someone is going to use all my development on this Website to write a screenplay that “steals” my idea to wondering, how, exactly, they would do it.
I guess you could get the general gist of the concept if you looked at what I’ve been writing about and talking about the last 18 months, but even if you did do that, your interpretation of the concept and mine would likely be dramatically different.
I keep seeing people poking around this Website in my Webstats and that alarms me because I assume that of course my worst fears are being realized. And, yet, really, the idea I am working on is so expansive and ambitious that a screenplay would be, by definition, dramatically different than the novel I’m writing.
If I had, like, friends and stuff, then this wouldn’t be an issue. I would talk to them about what I’m working on and I wouldn’t have this problem. My only hope is that even if people were actively stealing from me at this point, it would still take actual physical time to develop the screenplay. And the subject matter of this novel is such that I find it dubious that even if someone could somehow accurately reverse-engineer the concept from what I’ve done here, I’m not so sure they would actually steal the story beat-for-beat.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s exactly what’s happening.
But I’m of the opinion that you make decisions on what you know, not on what you don’t know. I could just give up and assume someone is going to steal this concept from me, or I can work harder and faster so at least I finish something sooner rather than later.
If you are trying to “steal” my story — fuck you, you hack.
Things are moving a lot faster because I’m doing an outline of the novel instead of putting all that much work into fleshing out individual scenes. This process allows me to get far further into the novel than I usually do before everything falls apart and I have to start from scratch.
The downside of this is I realize what a massive task I have ahead of me. I have a very complex plot with some pretty huge structural issues that I continue to bump up against as I develop. The biggest problem is how ambitious this novel is. I’m trying to explore the entirety of the Trump Era through allegory. There’s just so much going on, that it’s a struggle to make it all easy to understand. And, really, the only thing that allows me to keep going is I know how great this story is.
I’m willing to throw my heart into this project because I know I can produce something pretty cool — an entertaining — if I just keep at it. I have to believe in myself. I can’t give up. I’ve gotten this far, I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to herd it to completion.
I’m trying to move as fast as I can on this outline. I hope to start writing again no later than June 1st.
Things are moving fast with the novel. And, yet, as my storytelling ability gets better, I realize there are some major flaws with what I have right now. I came up with a very complex situation for this story when all of this began and as my writing ability gets better I realize how much work telling the story I want to tell will entail.
I have a very specific vision and I’m willing to put the work into this novel to make that vision a reality. It’s just every once in a while, I have to re-calibrate some pretty significant parts of the story, long after I think I have things settled.
But at least I’m recognizing these problems now, instead of getting all excited and showing it to beta readers, only to have them laugh at me. (Or, worse yet, to simply give me silence.) I’m doing a massive amount of reading right now to catch up to where I should be with this novel.
One problem I’ve had is I’ve been drafting so much off of what Stieg Larsson did with The Girl Who Played With Fire, that now that I realize my novel isn’t served by doing that anymore, some fundimental issues have come up. I really want this novel to be something of a “brown shoe” for readers in the sense that superficially, at least, it seems like just another thriller — even though it’s, in fact, an allegory for the Trump Era.
So, I struggle a lot with how to properly tell this story in the way my gut tells me to — I’m essentially doing everything in a vacuum. I have no friends and no one will help me, so all I have is my personal vision of the story I want to tell. I talk a lot about this novel online for no other reason than it gives me a socially acceptable way to talk to myself.
At this point, the only thing that keeps me going is I know how important this story might be if properly written. There are a lot of existential problems with this novel — all of them, well, directly connected to me. But I’ve been working on this thing so long that I think the point is to just wrap up the outline and write something, anything starting June 1st.
What’s more, Trump is never leaving office. Ever. The only way he will ever leave office is if he goes stark raving mad at some point in his second term so either Veep Mike Flynn or Veep Ivanka Trump can take over. (If it’s Ivanka, she will serve as a figure head to Veep Tom Cotton.)
It’s comical that anyone would delude themselves into thinking House Trump will ever leave office as long as we’re waiting for the Graying of America to cross the Browning of America. House Trump will get it’s Constitutional Convention at some point between 2021 and 2025 and we’ll be nothing more than a wealthier version of the managed democracy found in Russia.
ICE camps will be full of political prisoners. MAGA paramilitary groups will keep everyone in check. America as we know it will be over. We’ll have to wait for someone like AOC to overthrow the government in about 30 to 50 years when the Browning of America finally grows powerful enough.
Maybe then, and only then, will we see Trump’s taxes.
I say all this because Trump could lose the popular vote in a historic landslide and he’ll simply use Twitter to sick deranged, bloodthirsty MAGA cocksuckers on individual Electors so they vote for him.
This is our future. Absolutely. I can think of no scenario where this doesn’t happen.
Trump will never leave office. Never. For any reason. He will become America’s Brezhnev for the next 10 years or so until whatever fucktard fascist House Trump decides to choose to be his successor.
Now that I have a handle on my POV characters, things are moving far faster. In fact, the only thing slowing me down finishing the outline and writing is the massive amount of research I realize I have to do. I have to understand the characters I’ve come up with and the only way to do so is to know what they would know.
I still have a fair amount of reading to do on the abstract of character development, but simply see that as more reading.
I really understand far better the point of this story (two novels, one story). That allows both the reading and the research to flow far, far faster. I have an absurd amount of reading to do if I’m going to develop characters that don’t embarrass me what how flimsy they are.
One thing I have to do is beef up my Hero. Right now, he’s simply an exaggerated — and far more stable — version of myself in Seoul about 12 years ago. But for him to be, well, the Hero, he has to be someone you can root for. He has to be active, not just a womanizing drunk who gets away with shit because of how colorful he is.
But I’m really pleased.
I’m reading as much as I can, as fast as I can. I hope to start writing again no later than June 1st. I am very unhappy with how long it’s going to take me — even under the most ideal of circumstances — to start speccing the story out to agents.
But I’m all in. My entire creative life is devoted to this novel. Every day my understanding of the story I want to tell grows stronger.
I am feeling pretty good right now. Now that understand what’s going on happen — there’s going to be a sharp, brief spike in cases across the country before the situation stabilize — I’m not feeling as nervous. At this point, the only reason why I’m really concerned at all is what’s going on in Italy and Iran. China and South Korea have proven that with the proper measures, you can have a suddenly severe spike in cases that subsides to a manageable level rather abruptly. We’re probably going to get the shit scared out of us on an unprecedented level nationally, but we will live to fight another day.
At least, that’s what should happen.
The biggest threat to American security right now is not COVID19, but our own president’s reaction to it. He’s probably going to switch gears tonight and go full paranoid racist demagogue on the situation. He will see this pandemic as an opportunity to further consolidation power, not to bring the nation together.
Trump never loses on a political level because of his nature as an avatar for the MAGA base’s hatred of liberals, the browning of America and feminists. So, for the time being, Trump, is as always, his own worst enemy. In a sense, Trump may become a “War President” and, as such, he will have far more power than he might otherwise. If he really was the “very stable genius” that he and Maggie Haberman would have us believe, he would be in a very good position to dominate Joe Biden. Trump’s dream of losing the popular vote and winning the Electoral College in the fall would be a foregone conclusion.
This is Trump we’re talking about, so he’s going to self-own. I’m not prepared to say his self-own will be existential. He’s just too lucky for that to be an issue. But the context of his ultimate, inevitable victory in the fall may be a bit more different than he would like. He’s such a malignant force in American politics that 60% of the electorate is going to be seething about House Trump’s surreal control of America going into his second term. How that might manifest itself is anyone’s guess.
My best guess is he gets impeached again at some point in his second term, but by that point, Don Jr. or Steve King will be his veep so, lulz.
Another option is Trump implodes or explodes on a mental level just as the crisis reaches its denouement and there’s a momentary pause in the rise of the Fourth Reich and the Thousand Year Trump. I don’t want that to happen. I really don’t. That would be among the absolute worst case scenarios out there — I mean, do we really want all 328 million of us to see a picture of Trump’s cock on our phones via the Presidential Alert System?
Or, to put it another way, the only way House Trump doesn’t endup on top because of this crisis is Trump himself. That’s it. Otherwise, no matter what, they will be far more powerful, far quicker than they might have been otherwise in two years.
But, sadly, there are some other things that could make what might otherwise be a short, scary event in our nation’s history turn into not The Little One, but, THE BIG ONE. Besides Trump’s generally fuckery, there is The Gray Plague and the WuFlop to worry about.
If the Gray Plague begins to strike in any big fashion, then that would be a preventable tragedy of such proportions that I don’t want to think about it all that much. It definitely would give one pause for thought. The WuFlop, too, would likely cause so much panic in the United States if a recorded instance of it showed up on TV that the nation might buckle for a few days in abject terror.
Or, put another way, there are simply too many wild card known unknowns for me to properly gauge what is going to happen in the next, say, 60 days. In general, we’re going to get the shit scared out of us a few times, but House Trump will simply grow stronger and more hateful in the end. But if history decides to wake up in a big way, we all –even me — may be shocked by how surreal, how weird things get in a rather abrupt, unpredictable fashion.
I am not one for personality cults, regardless of ideology. Just not my scene. And I continue to believe that Nancy Pelosi had no plan when it came to Trump’s creeping tyranny — she was just lucky when his natural tendency to self-own finally happened to get bad enough that he was impeached. She had no idea when this would inevitably happen. We could be in the middle of his second term and still be waiting. Pelosi probably knew he would do it, but she had no “plan.” It was all just dumb luck. I, for one, would rather NOT have the fate of the Republic hinge on dumb luck. She could have been a LOT more aggressive on the Mueller front in January 2019, but did nothing.
Anyway, here we are.
It definitely seems as though Pelosi not giving something Trump assumed was his — easy “vindication” in the Senate — is beginning to eat away at him. So, it’s at least possible that Pelosi had a hunch this would happen. It’s at least possible that this IS a part of a “plan.” Now, again, we simply don’t know when — if ever — Trump is going to snap because of this Tell-Tale Heart situation. It may never happen. Trump runs on “vindication” no matter what, cruises into his second term, get a Constitutional Convention convened to “pass a balanced budget amendment” and away we go.
But there’s also a chance that Trump’s feeling of powerless may get the best of him in a pretty astonishing fashion. He may just lose his shit so bad that it’s THAT that leads to his conviction in the Senate. He finally becomes such a ranting insane person that Pelosi strikes — she sends the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and Trump’s removed from office not for any political reasons but because the 25th Amendment is a dead letter.
There is the risk, of course, that given how fucked up MAGA is, they could very well simply use this theory of mine as their “stab in the back.” In other words, they will whip themselves up into an apoplectic trance at the idea that if ONLY Nancy Pelosi hadn’t driven the Dear Leader bonkers, there could have been a Golden Age of American Nazism or some such bullshit. Fuck those guys. Fucking Nazis.
Anyway, here’s some other relevant writing I’ve done on this matter.
I hate to break it to you, folks, but if impeachment really does reach a tipping point we’ve entered the darkest timeline. It won’t be impeachment, it will be Trump’s reaction to it that we’ll be talking about.
Trump has long had some sort of chronic mental problem. The stress of simply an impeachment investigation — which would likely take months — would, in it self, potentially cause him to decompensate. It’s would make a lot of sense if Trump found himself in something of a logic trap. He would absolutely feel as though he would survive an Senate vote. But he would also absolutely feel paranoid that he might not.
So he goes bonkers.
I therefore propose that in the end, it won’t even be impeachment that is Trump’s downfall — it will be his reaction to it. If Trump finally goes off the deep end, some astonishing surreal thing will happen. The first will be MAGA Stalwarts will find themselves defending ever-more demonstrably indefensible things on Trump’s part. First they will simply say he was “joking.” But there will come a point when they take the final plunge into their own destruction. Trump will tweet out a dick pic. Trump will begin to tweet out the N-word to Obama. And they will defend it, thinking that Trump, like always, will stay in control of the narrative.
And so, in the end, Trump’s tendency to self-own will get so absolutely bad that there might be an intervention, of sorts. They might propose to Trump that he gets to choose Pence’s replacement as veep. And maybe a promise of a full pardon after Pence wins re-election in 2020. Trump accepting such an offer would be the best case scenario for Republicans.
The worse case scenario is he won’t accept it. And in the end, Trump so far gone mentally that the Senate finally does, in fact, convict him not so much because of any particular crime, but for the complete failure of the 25th Amendment to work.
And then, I’m afraid, we have a once-in-generation event. Young people won’t reference 9/11, they’ll reference Trump’s downfall. It will probably play out a lot like the OJ’s slow motion police chase in a white Bronco. It will last days, even weeks. The entire country will grind to a halt as we attempt to lure Trump out of The White House.
It will be a dark day in our history.
Here is how it may play out. I wrote this some time ago, but the premise is the same.
9/10ths a story fragment of a possible near future by Shelton Bumgarner
The eyes of the world were on the White House.
Just moments before, President Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, had been convicted by 67 members of the Senate for a whole list of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump had for weeks now been ranting on Gab about his case in the Senate, bouncing back and forth between threats to start a war with Iran or the DPRK and not-so-subtle hints that he might take his own life should he be convicted by the Senate.
And, now, at last, the moment of truth had arrived.
Trump legally, at least, was no longer president, but he had been oddly silent since the verdict had been announced with great fanfare from the well of the Senate. Trump’s conviction had come after months of investigations on the part of the now Democratic Congress. The length and breath of Trump’s malfeasance discovered by these hearings had rocked the nation to its very core. On more than one occasion, MAGA talking heads on cable news had been interrupted by astonishing breaking news that left them, for once, unable or unwilling to defend the president.
The hearings had ground on for months to such an extent that Trump’s approval had slowly drifted to the 20s and stayed there consistently. Trump’s support was now made up of the very rich and the very poor. Oddly, despite Trump’s near constant demands on Twitter for violence on the part of his supporters, little, if any was reported. Trump had grown so frustrated that he had all but abandoned Twitter at one point for the more receptive Gab social media platform. Though on more than one occasion Rudy Giuliani had made it very clear it was within the rights of the president to declare martial law if he deemed it in the best interests of the nation. More than one delegation of Senate Republicans had gone to the White House to explain to Trump that he was going to be convicted, no avail. Trump made it clear to them, in not so many words that his simply living in the White House made him president, a sentiment best expressed by the legal saw that, “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.”
Finally, a post to Gab came out: “My so-called ‘conviction’ is the work of the Deep State and as such illegitimate. I remain president.”
This set off a chain of events, the likes of which Americans had never seen. Suddenly, everyone on Twitter became a Constitutional scholar as everyone studied the exact wording of the Constitution as to what happens if the president is removed from office by the Senate. The wording is quite clear: he or she is no longer president and that’s it.
Nowhere in the Constitution did it explain what to do if the president simply decided to ignore the Senate. What’s more, nowhere in the Constitution did it state what to do with the nuclear launch codes should a president be removed from office and he refuse to accept the decision of the Senate.
The next few hours were chilling as they were surreal for millions of people not just in the United States but around the globe. The issue of Trump’s physical access to America’s nuclear launch codes was suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Though it was finally announced that while the nuclear football remained in Trump’s possession, Sec. of Defense Mattis had ordered the American armed forces to stand down for the duration of the crisis.
Trump, on Twitter, was as defiant and unhinged as usual.He threatened to kill himself. He threatened to start a nuclear war. He vowed to declare martial law.
The usual suspects on cable news did their best to spin all of this for Trump. As an anxious nation waited for the now former president to leave the White House, a cavalcade of former Republican Senators and Trump White House staffers attempted to make the former president’s case. Their final argument was that for the good of the country, Trump should be allowed to remain president, despite his lawful conviction by the Senate.
Things began to move rapidly at this point.
Vice President Pence was sworn in but Chief Justice Roberts in a dark, somber event in the Old Executive Building. Meanwhile, it was learned Trump had quietly replaced his Secret Service detail with a private security force that made it clear it was prepared to defend Trump until the bloody end.
At this point, two things happened. A final bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders came to the White House grounds under the flag of truce. During the course of an hour-long meeting, Trump screamed at them that they had never supported him and the world would be better off if it just ended instead of allowed the forces of the Deep State to ruin America. He made it absolutely clear that he would never leave the Oval Office willingly.
With that, they left.
Next, a surreal, bizarre event, the FBI slowly began to surround the White House. There was much debate online and on TV about how long the nation should wait for Trump to leave the White House. CNN went so far as to do a deep dive into the exact amount of food the White House grounds might have available at any one moment.
Finally, shots rang out from the White House as the battle was joined. It took several hours but in the end, the FBI was finally able to secure the facility. Nearly a dozen personnel on both sides died during the course of the Battle of The White House.
In what would become ionic footage, Trump was quietly escorted from the White House grounds. He spent the remainder of his days ranting on Twitter and Gab that he was the rightful president.