Well, If Nothing Else, I Won’t Embarrass Myself With This Novel

by Shelt Garner

Things are finally beginning to click with this novel. As I’m going through and rewriting many of the scenes of the third draft so I can produce something I can maybe get a manuscript consultant to read — if I can find the money — I’m finally, finally feeling confident that this novel won’t, if anything, embarrass me.

My dream is to write a novel as popular and as successful as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

I can finally feel some peace about all the hard work I’ve done over the last few years with this project. A lot of why things are moving so fast now comes from how I have a stable outline. All I have to do is go through the outline and smooth out some of the rough edges while leaning into character.

I’m really beginning to use cause and effect on the scenes so they’re not just a series of scenes that move around constantly. There is some sense of a flow from scene to scene. This is why I really feel the Beta Release of the third draft will be good enough that it will feel like a professional novel.

My heroine as a sleeve tattoo similar to the one Megan Fox now sports, even though I thought of the idea first.

All systems are go for me to wrap this novel up around July 22 as I hope. When I finally do finish this novel, the real work begins. I’m at a total loss as to what I’m going to do when I start to query this novel. I’ve been developing and writing this novel in such a vacuum that I fear the transition into trying to sell this particular work could be extremely jarring.

But I’m prepared to fail — a lot. And I know the odds are against me big time. It will be like winning a creative lottery to get anywhere near my goal of being a published author anytime soon. Even if I stick the landing, I could be a lot closer to 60 than I am now by the time the book hits bookshelves and people can buy it

My heroine has the same phenotype as Corrie Yee.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the possibility of a political “Fourth Turning” happening or a technological “Petite Singularity.” But I have hope. I’m a peace one way or another.

I believe that when this process is over that I will have a finished novel that I can be proud of, regardless of any obstacles I may face to get it traditionally published.

I Finally Understand What My Novel Is About

by Shelt Garner

For a long time, I thought this novel was a murder mystery like Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire. Because of this assumption, I spent months — years — spinning my wheels, struggling to figure out how to make the story work. It wasn’t until I realized that the first novel in this series is actually more foundational than that that things began to click.

My novel is about a part-time stripper who is obsessed with owning a community newspaper in rural Virginia.

This novel isn’t about a murder, it’s about one woman’s struggle to own a community newspaper. Throw in that the woman is a part-time stripper and a few people do die during the course of the story and you got yourself a pretty good shot at a novel that is interesting enough to actually get published the traditional way.

What’s more, this is meant to be part of a six or seven novel series that ends with a NEW series about a Lisbeth Salander-type woman. So, in a sense, my vision for these novels is you get to see how one Salander-type woman had such a fucked up youth that she would turn into someone you want to read a lot of books about.

Writing a novel as accessible and popular as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is my dream.

That’s the thing about Salander, from my point of view, the reason she was the way she was is she had a really fucked up upbringing. Had she had the opportunity have a normal youth, she might not have gone bonkers the way she did.

So, now that I understand the nature of this first novel in the series, I find myself dwelling seriously about how successful I will be when it comes to querying this novel. At the moment, I honestly don’t know.

I’ve never queried a novel and it could be that despite all my hard work that over the years that, lulz, I’m still not good enough. But I know I’ve accomplished one thing — I’ve written a novel that at least won’t embarrass me.

More Of My Delusional Daydreaming About Going To Los Angeles

by Shelt Garner

It is beginning to sink in that I’m now an Old.

Age is far more than just a number. I’m kind of fucked. What’s worse, even if I get what I want — to write a break out hit novel — I don’t get what I want, which is run around New York City and Los Angeles with hot chicks on each arm as a young person.

Any success I get at this point will be in the context of being an Old who has done jack shit with my life for way, way, too long. In fact, even if I endup writing something as successful as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo….oh boy. The whole context of my success will be different than all the many elaborate dreams I’ve come up with over the years.

All my peers will be empty nesters with one eye towards retirement, while I’ll be crashing into “normal” life 25 years too late. Anyway, the point is, I continue to idly daydream about taking a trip to Los Angeles to snoop around, see how far I can get on just my innate ability to shmooze. I still half believe that if I can just get myself invited to a cocktail party that I might get drunk and talk about such interesting things that some well-connected person at the party might take notice of me.

And, yet.

I’m beginning to fear that that window of opportunity for that avenue of success has closed. Hollywood wants young people who are hot, sexxy and talented, not an Old like me who doesn’t even have a script but, rather a novel. But a part of me is still interested in at least swinging by LA for a few days. Los Angeles is a huge city and it could all be a huge waste of time.

I dunno. With my luck, the person I ran into would be Craig Mazin who I once said “didn’t have a soul” because he didn’t like flowers. (Who doesn’t like flowers? Very strange.) Anyway. Unless something pretty dramatic happens, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, into the future….

Why I Want A Nikon 780

by Shelt Garner

I’m in a unique position in my life where my obvious eccentricities work in my favor. At the moment, I kind of live in the middle of nowhere and all I have to do with my time — thankfully — is write the four novels I’m working on.

And, yet, I’m not getting any younger. I really need to squeeze out every interesting experience I can possibly squeeze out while I still have air in my lungs. If you don’t understand my logic so far, or you’re hate reading this — please fuck off. Why are you reading my blog to begin with?

Anyway, I find myself harkening back to something that is the OTHER part of my identity besides being a writer: being a photographer.

I have an innate, organic photographic ability and I’ve taken some damn good shots over the years. Some examples are below.

Photo Credit: Shelt Garner

Photo Credit: Shelt Garner

It’s been years since I owned a great digital camera that I wasn’t gifted. (I got a really good camera from someone, but it didn’t quite fit my needs so I haven’t really used it that much, sadly.)

But I remember the pride I felt with a real, honest-to-God camera in my hands — not just a cellphone with a camera in it. That’s the thing that people don’t appreciate — being a photographer is just as much an identity with meta needs as anything else. If you’re a photographer, you need a camera, not just a cellphone with a camera.

Since I don’t live in a city — not even close — and I’m going to have to go out of my way to think up something to take a picture of, I’m leaning into this fact. Instead of rushing into things, why not take my time and save the sizeable chunk of money necessary to buy such a great camera as the Nikon 780? I want a camera that is so good that not only can I grow into it but in a crisis moment it will allow me to take The Picture that is so good it might become historic or something. I have such a picture in me, I just need the proper equipment and the proper moment in time.

Things could still go wrong. And if something happens, I’m very open to buying a camera that’s not such a budget buster. But there are some very specific conditions that allow me to pursue this dream.

Once I get everything I need with the camera, I’m going to start looking for public events to take pictures of so I can practice my abilities. And I’m probably going to have to teach myself some of the actual nuts-and-bolts of photography.

As it stands, I just have an organic instinct as to how to take a great picture.

Me, before I got fat and old.

My Conflicted Relationship To Magazines Is Comical

by Shelt Garner

On one hand, I love, love, love magazines. I love them so much as an art form that I keep wanting to start a zine just so I can enjoy the opportunity to actually work for one.


On the OTHER hand, I never read them — even when I subscribe to them.

I guess like creating them and the idea of them, but when it comes to consuming one…meh. That’s been a real problem for me the last few years. I’m so obsessed with being A Creator that I almost never actively consume media. This is a real problem when I’m trying to develop and write four novels because, lulz, I need to keep an eye on the competition.

I can only conclude that, but for the want of a nail, I would be in NYC pounding the pavement trying to start up some sort of vaguely Village Voice type publication. It’s sad that barring something pretty dramatic, I’m going to die never fulfilling my dream of starting a magazine in, say, NYC or LA.


‘Truth North’ & Towards A Second Creative ‘Track:’ Fashion Photography

by Shelt Garner

We all have a precious few years on this planet. I’m old enough to know there are a few things I’m good at organically. I can tell a good story. I’m a damn good pop rock DJ under the right circumstances and….I am, organically, a great photographer.

Me, when I was still young and cute.

I’ve been struggling with what my second creative “track” would be and I’ve finally figured out what it will be: photography.

But let me put this in context.

I’m about 20 years too old to be traditionally successful. I live in the wrong place. I have the wrong background. And while I love fashion as an art form, I have the personal fashion sense of an ameba.

And, really, all of this is just another attempt to give my life some structure. I’m kind of adrift at the moment outside of the four novels I’m developing and writing and it would be nice to have a second “track” that I could turn to when I need to think about something else.

So, as far as I can tell, photography is it. My long term goal would be, like, to do something cool like do some wildcat street photography around NY Fashion Week. That would be a dream come true.

In Busan a long time ago.

But, given the things I can’t control I mentioned above, in a sense any interest in fashion photography on my part would be obviously delusional and nothing more than being creative for being creative’s sake.

My soul is that of a photographer, more than even a writer, and since I’m not going to live forever, I need to get to it and start the process of learning how to use a nice prosumer Nikon. I’m going to save up for a few months to get the camera I’m interested in (which is just the frame) then save up more to buy a nice standard lens and some sort of flash.

Then, I’m going to think about different places in my area where I can take photos to learn how to use the camera. I’m already preparing myself for the camera in question to have an unusually steep learning curve. But I really believe in photography, so it will be worth it. (At least to me.)

I surprised the haters when I DJed in Seoul and I can do it again with photography. A lot can go wrong — I’ve had this urge before, after all and that went bust — but it gives me something to think about, some direction in my life.

I have an eye for beauty, if nothing else and it’s nice to finally figure out what my second “track” will be.

Now, to be patient.

Such a great photo.