The Power Of Right Wing Podcasts Is Very Real

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It is interesting how my far more conservative relatives — who I love dearly — often go out of their way to note that they don’t watch Fox News. What they fail to say by stating this is they DO listen to Right Wing podcasts that pretty much echo all talking points found on Fox New.

The thing that a lot of smug Twitter liberals are oblivious about is the fact that there are a lot of people who aren’t dumb or ignorant but who support Trump’s policies — if not the man. That cold, hard fact is probably one of the most dangerous issue floating around the American body politic as we careen towards the 2024 election.

All the Right Wing echo chamber — podcasts included — do is give Traditionalists an extensive permission structure to do what they probably were inclined to do anyway — vote for Trump.

The Kook Tax Strikes Again

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The exact thing that I’ve been navel gazing about since I started this novel project has happened — someone won’t work with me because they did due diligence on me and came away thinking I was a freaky weirdo. I THOUGHT I had found just the editor I needed for this novel, but, fun fact, no. She begged off because she read this blog and, essentially, didn’t like what she saw.

I’m not for everyone.

Now, my gut reaction is that this means I’m doomed. That all my hard work on this novel is meaningless because, well, I come across as a “delusional jerk with a good heart” as the late Annie Shapiro said. Or, more specifically, this specific novel turns off liberal white women. Or a liberal white women literary agent will read this blog — and me writing about liberal white women — and throw up their hands in disgust.

As such, I start to think seriously about my back up scifi novel that is far easier to pitch because it won’t have nearly as much sex in it and will abide by the conventions of the day — single POV that adheres to my gender.

But the moment I think that, I realize that it’s probably not the novel that is the problem — it’s ME. I have a colorful personality and I don’t always follow the media narrative. I could totally see someone who didn’t know me look at the contents of this blog and be totally turned off with any novel I might generate simply because they think I’m a weirdo.

I also got the sense from the woman who turned me down to be my editor that she saw me as maybe too much of emotional investment, like she was afraid I was going hit on her or something. I get it. I validate those concerns.

But, again, it pretty much all boils down to I come across as a kook.

I continue to believe in this novel and am going to finish it and let the chips fall where they may. But this event has also been a swift kick in the ass about what my expectations should be going forward.

I do really need to spend some time fleshing out my scifi novel as a backup plan. It’s really good and it seems like it would be a lot easy to pitch because it doesn’t have the “part-time sex worker” element to it.

I Have So Much Writing To Do

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have a number scenes I have to totally rewrite because I forked the alpha release of the third draft of this novel. But, the issue is — this novel is getting much, much better.

The only concern I have is how long it’s going to be. I think, if I’m lucky, that it will be no longer than maybe 140,000. But there is a chance it could be as much as 160,000 which would put it about where most of Stieg Larsson’s original works are.

The Heroine Of My Novel Has A Very Messy Love Life

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Things are moving quickly now with the alpha release of the third draft of my first novel. As I move into the second act, I am taken aback by how…messy…my heroine’s love life is. It’s so messy that I could even see that being played up in the marketing should I sell this thing.

In my mind, my heroine looks a lot like Corrie Yee.

One issue I really struggle with is the same-sex relationship aspects of this story which have grown in the third draft. I struggle with it because the novel is set in late 1994, early 1995 and A LOT has changed since then when it comes to people’s perceptions of such things.

With that in mind, I think in the beta release of the third draft, I’m going to try to make the fact that my heroine is in a lingering romantic relationship with a young woman A Big Deal that people mention in a very 1990s way. That will add drama and conflict to the story while making it more realistic. A lot has changed in the last 30 odd years on that front and I can’t pretend that even the less-controversial lesbian relationship would be all rainbows and unicorns for those involved in it.

Anyway, things are going really well at the moment. I’m very pleased. But I still have a lot of work to do to get this third draft anywhere near being good enough to show to a paid manuscript consultant. And, given how fucking broke I am, I am beginning to fear that is an element of my trek towards querying that I just won’t be able to do.

We’ll see.

A Modest Social Media Proposal

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It definitely seems as though we’re in a twilight of the gods moment when it comes to technology and, specifically, social media. We’re careening towards a brave new world of AI — even, maybe, a Petite Singularity — and, as such, all our notions about the nature and importance of social media will seem rather quaint soon enough.

And, yet, I continue to feel a bit of frustration over how bad social media is these days. I have a very specific vision of how one might bring the fun back to social media. But, alas, I’m flat broke, can’t code and have no desire to learn. So, in that respect, all my talk about this matter is just very prolonged bout of mental masturbation.

That’s why I’ve found a lot of joy writing a novel — writing a novel is something I can actually do using the resources I have at hand.

But back to my social media vision.

The key thing is my little social media daydream addresses the sweetspot of the using, say, Twitter. What I would do is actually have a paid editorial staff that would post to the service so as to make it really useful.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the service’s UX would be inspired by the old Usenet Newsgroups. Each user would have the ability to create an endless number of Groups that they would Post into. This idea solves a lot of problems when it comes to managing not only different elements of your life, but also grouping subjects together in a meaningful way.

Of course, by definition, having Groups causes an inherent design flaw that would have to be overcome. I think one solution to this problem is the use of the traditional newsfeed concept. As such, while you would subscribe to a Group, there would be a way to cut through all the Groups and see an excerpt of individual Posts within those groups.

That would be one way to prevent the problems associated with no just Usenet News, but Reddit as well.

Another element of this concept that I like is how within each Group you would have threaded full-page Posts. You could have essentially a whole multimedia Webpage that was threaded inside of a Group. This part of the service opens up all kinds of advertising possibilities.

Anyway, baring something I can’t predict this all just a daydream. It’s too bad. I think people would really enjoy it.

A ‘Woke Cancel Culture Mob’ Conundrum & The Six Novel Project I’m Working On

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I saw on Twitter today where someone was articulating an idea that is pretty much my worst fear at the moment — they essentially said “thanks, but no thanks” to people like me writing novels with non-white characters in them. Or, more specifically “love interests.”

The heroine of the first three novels in my six novel project looks like of like the above — that is, Nicole Scherzinger.

Well, jokes on you guys, my HEROINE is a POC — or, more specifically, Amerasian.

Now, there is a very specific reason for why I did this which gradually snowballed into something really cool. I needed an excuse for a character to abscond to South Korea later on in the series and what better way to do it than to make his mother — who is the protagonist of the first three novels — Amerasian?

I made this strategic move being only vaguely aware that there would be people in the POC community who would be annoyed that a CIS white male such as myself would do such a thing. I just did what I felt was best for the story, not really thinking about the broader creative and societal issues at play.

There are a lot of different ways this might play out. One is — no one will care and I’m over thinking things. Two is, if this series becomes as big as I want it to, EVERYONE will care and I’ll face something akin to an American Dirt situation.

…or Maggie Q?

Now, one issue that I find myself thinking a lot about these days is marketability. Is there a chance that the very thing I think is a positive — the organic “representation” in the novel, will be seen as too “woke” by some and that, by definition, will turn them off? I hope not.

I am dubious of the whole idea of a work of art being too “woke,” attributing most of people’s quibbles to what they’re watching or reading sacrificing good storytelling for banging a message over the audience’s head. I’m watching Andor right now and even though it’s obviously got some elements to it that might be thought of as “woke,” it’s good enough that I don’t even notice it.

…or maybe Olivia Munn?

It’s just a story. An interesting story that is, unfortunately, taking me some time to get into.

Anyway, I totally validate the criticism of CIS white men “telling the stories” of POC. Ok, I get it. But I’m ornery and, as such, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. The framework of the story is really, really strong and now all I have to do is buckle down and wrap up the first novel.

I Struggle To Imagine A World Where NBCUniversal Cancels SNL After The 2025 Season

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

All good things must come to an end, and, yet….SNL? And, yet, apparently there are rumblings within NBCUniversal top brass of doing just that once Lorne Michaels retires after 50 years after the 2025 season. (The show first aired in 1975.)

Long-running SNL cast member Kenan Thompson

The only reason why I could maybe see the show being canceled is TV executives are so wealthy and oblivious to how the average person interacts with TV that they would see the show strictly from a monetary standpoint and not from an entertainment or cultural metric. To them, it’s too expensive for the ratings it gets and so, once Michaels isn’t there to protect the show, it’s time for it to go.

And, yet, SNL serves as such a crucial element in the comedy entertainment industrial complex — and has so many very powerful fans and allies in the industry that I suspect any attempt to actually end the show once and for all would come under a huge amount fire. A lot of people, young and old, really love SNL and would be shocked if it was canceled.

But I know how the real world works and there’s probably a 50 / 50 chance that SNL will, in fact, be canceled whenever Lorne Michaels retires. He may even ask that it be canceled so there’s no cruddy replacement with its name but none of the talent. That’s kind of a dark scenario, though.

More likely, I could see Michaels negotiating for SNL to move to ABC or CBS with some sort of assurance that it would live on in the streaming era for decades to come. Or, the TV suits at NBCUniversal could all scare the shit out of us, only to change their minds at the last moment and pick someone new to take over the show and we move on like nothing happened. Like how Trump wanted to turn the Kennedy blue Airforce 1 into something painted like a WWE event…and then nothing happened.

So, we’ll see.

CPAC’s Plot Against America

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As a loudmouth crank, the idea that the American Far Right is publicly and conspicuously embracing an autocratic thug like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán by giving him a starring role at the current CPAC meeting give me pause for thought. For a number of reasons, there is not a direct 1-to-1 between the United States and Hungary politically. Should the States slide into autocracy there’s a chance that we wouldn’t stop at a Hungary-style version. We could — glup — very well careen towards an autocracy that looks a lot more like Russia or Nazi Germany.

Issues like race, the far more flexible role of women, income disparity and the being a much, much bigger nation cause the US to either drive into the ditch of hard core, old school fascism or, well, a civil war.

But I’ve all but convinced myself that we’re not going to have a civil war. The center Left in the US is just so concerned about dumb shit that it’s going to be totally outmaneuvered by American fascists like those at CPAC when the time comes. It definitely seems as though this is pretty much a forgone conclusion. The only doubt that it will happen is, well, I can’t predict the future and, as such, there’s always a chance that something I can’t expect might happen instead.

Viktor Orbán

What that might be, I don’t know.

The point is — it’s wishful thinking on the part of CPAC that they will get a Hungary-style autocracy in the United States. They are probably going to get an autocracy, but soon enough, once the connection between the governed and the government no longer exists, MAGA will consume the United States like the Nazis did Germany and, well, either get out or think long and hard about what you believe in, in the real world.

Long “Mueller, She Wrote” rants about how Trump is just about to be arrested won’t cut it anymore.

America On Edge

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

For some time, I have suggested that all America needs is a slight push and all hell is going to break loose. And I still think that. There are two reasons why I believe this to be the case.

One is, I continue to get a trickle of people to this blog looking at my hysterical “terribly negative” predictions of doom and gloom for America’s future, specifically the possibility of civil war. Not that it’s all that many people who are thinking this, but there definitely are a number of people floating around the country thinking enough about civil war that they’re searching for it online.

The other is each new mass causality event in the United States seems to make people even more anxious than they already are. To me, that seems to indicate that the nation is a lot more on edge than it has been up until recently.

As such, it’s at least possible that if some big historic event happened in the US that left us all wondering Which Side Did It long enough for the guns to come out.

Or not. It could be that that isn’t at all what is going to happen. It could be that I’m overestimating how fucked up things are in the US and it will be a lot later, like around 2024 – 2025 before everything is primed for something catastrophic if we get just a little bit more pressure put on our society.

At ~100,000 Words At The End Of The Second Act Of The First Draft Of The First Novel In A Projected Five Novel Project


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

After several years of hard work, I’m finally — finally — about where I want to be with this first novel. I’m now officially about to break the book (as you might say if you used magazine parlance) on the third act of this novel while being at about 100,000 words. That will put me still in the sweetspot of a first novel (80,000 – 120,000) once I wrap up this first draft.

Then I give myself a month off to read, daydream and generally develop. Then, around July 4th weekend, I’m going to throw myself back into the first novel. I’m hoping that I can keep the word count down. My fear is as the story gets better, the whole thing is going to balloon towards 200,000 words.

So, I’m going to have to combine a lot of scenes and maybe even reimagine some of the novel to make sure I don’t blow past the wordcount sweetspot. I thought I was going to do that with the first draft, to the point that I had a “second track” novel thought up that would be shorter and the calling card that I feared this novel couldn’t be because of word count.

But, now, I think maybe I can use this mystery-thriller as my calling card and the one I try to pitch to literary agents.

I always thought my first novel would be scifi. Oh well. Lulz. Let’s rock.