Rebooting Characters

by Shelt Garner

I’ve decided to spend some time re-writing about the nature of character in novels. I have yet AGAIN re-arranged things and, as such, I need to contemplate about the nature of character and how I can take some of my “mood” characters to the next level.

My heroine is a part-time (for fun) sex-worker.
I have a limited amount of time, so I need to hurry. Having a sense of urgency is the key thing that is going to make or break my efforts to get the third draft of this novel done by around April 1st.

Things are improving with the third draft by leaps and bounds, but yet I still have a long ways to go. I really need to flesh out some characters that to date simply haven’t had a lot going on. I hope to at last have the first three chapters of the novel done pretty soon — ASAP.

But only time will tell. I can’t keep spinning my wheels. I need to accept that this third draft isn’t going to be perfect, no matter how much I work on it. The key thing is to just get it finished on a structural basis.

I’m Kind Of An Asshole When I Edit Other People’s Writing

by Shelt Garner

I think I may have hurt a young woman’s feelings when I read some of her writing. She’s a much better writer than I am — I’m really bad at spelling and grammar — but I felt her storytelling….lacking.

But I told her up front how harsh I was going to be. I fear that may not have helped anything. I think she got really, really upset at how brutal I was in my comments. But I could not help myself.

I’m brutal to my OWN STUFF and I thought she wanted to be a better writer. So I applied the same metrics to her storytelling as I did my own. But she ghosted me soon after she read my comments.

Oh well. This is a prime example of the “kook tax.” I just have no friends and no one likes me. I sometimes feel I could walk off the face of the earth and no one would notice or care.

Let’s Rock

by Shelt Garner

Things are beginning to stabilize with the third draft of the novel. Though, I found myself talking about it today and I realized there was a huge plot element that I had not yet formalized and I felt rather insecure.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee in my mind.

I *think* I have that fixed.

My fear is that the novel will be seen as a jumble of different genres to the point that it isn’t focused. And, yet, I also think my implementation of a variety of genres is interesting enough and seamless enough that there won’t be a problem with focus.

I hope.

I’ve decided to lean into a somewhat “supernatural” element to the novel that I think will make it really thought provoking. I am also flipping the script on some of the darker elements of Stieg Larsson’s stuff so while it may seem familiar to fans of his work, my specific interpretation of such behavior is totally different and not nearly as…problematic.

But the subject is so loaded that just using it as a plot point could cause some readers to either blanch or chuckle. But being a good enough writer that I can pull of such a risky move is why they pay me the big bucks, right?

I have *got* to lock down the first few scenes (or, even better yet, chapters) of this novel so I can start to progress into the second act. Things are getting much, much better and I’m just about to do just that — I am still on track to wrap up the third draft around April 1st, 2024.

But I have GOT to stop futzing with everything. It’s never going to be perfect. I have a great premise and if I won’t stop tinkering with it until it’s “perfect” the Fourth Turning could happen and I’ll be too busy dodging bullets or weaponized ICE agents to try to query the damn thing.

Once More, With Feeling (Redux)

by Shelt Garner

Not only am I falling apart, but I continue to feel like I’m spinning my wheels when it comes to the first few chapters of this novel. This is the point in the past, of course, when the whole thing would collapse and I would pretty much lurch forward in the plot so I could at least start writing with some momentum again.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee in my mind.

But this time, I’m not doing that. I’m going to press forward. I’m pretty sure that I have figured things out with the beginning of this novel. It’s just a matter of being really, really patient and methodical.

I’ve changed so much about characters and relationship when it comes to this novel that that, unto itself, is going to slow me down. But — hopefully — not too much. I am still on track to wrap up this third draft by about April 1st. That will give me a few months so do pre-flight things before I query to agents in the fall of 2024.

I still have no idea what I’m going to “comp” my novel to. In general, the novel could be compared to Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects.” And I’m sure I’m going to make many, many mistakes as part of the querying process. But that’s part of the fun of it all, the thing that gives one a sense of adventure.

Being an aspiring novelist, you are bombarded with a lot of advice, all of it being contradictory. It’s enough to make your head spin. But I’ve come up with my own, personal, set of arbitrary rules that I *try* to follow as well as possible as I write this third draft.

I believe I have a stable first chapter. I believe I’m well on my way to having a stable second chapter. The big issue will be how quickly — or slowly — it takes me to get past just the first few chapters into the core of the first act and then into the second act.

I can’t keep writing and re-writing this portion of the novel forever.

The State Of The Novel As Of December 4th, 2023

Well, If You’re Interested in The Story Of ROKon Magazine, Here It is

by Shelt Garner

I have noticed a bit of an uptick in interest in ROKon Magazine. What happened with the magazine changed my life. And I still think that there are only two people who could properly tell the story — other than me — Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Emerald Fennell.

If you want to know what happened with the magazine from my POV, here’s the below:

I’m Dreading The Due Diligence Of Literary Agents When I Start to Query This Novel

by Shelt Garner

You know, you take yourself wherever you go. And I’m at a point in my life when I can’t get rid of all the evidence that I’m a drunk crank kook and have been that way my entire life.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee in my mind as I write her.

My fear is, of course, that in about a year, when I start to query my first novel that I will see agents crawling around this Website doing due diligence on me and obviously being shocked at what a drunk crank I am.

I’ve talked about these fears before, but as I get closer to zooming through the third draft of this novel, I find myself thinking about it yet again. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.

I suppose, in the end, I do nothing.

Slings and arrows and all that. I just have to accept that I may suffer something of a “kook tax” yet again — the liberal white women who I believe make up the vast majority of literary agents may be aghast at what a freaky weirdo I’ve been as I written — and talked — over the years at great length, in vague terms, about what I hope is a six novel project.

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Struggling With The Idea of ‘Comping’ My Novel As Part of The Querying Process

by Shelt Garner

Even though I’m nowhere near finishing the third draft of this novel, I find myself mulling one element of the querying process — comping. You’re supposed to compare or “comp” your novel to an existing novel so agents will know what type of novel to expect.

My heroine looks like Corrie Yee in my mind as I write her.

Given that I don’t like, uhhh, really read fiction other than my own, this is kind of a sticky wicket. The best approximation I’ve come up with using AI is Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects.” But my vision for this novel is sufficiently complex and nuanced that I don’t know how accurate comparing it to Sharp Objects is.

The two novels are…similar…but are they comparable?

My novel is really unique — like me — and I’m going to have to take a deep breath and really go outside my comfort zone to figure out how I’m going to successfully query it.

Of course, I could just self-publish. But that’s just not my vision for this novel. I would rather fail in some spectacular manner after years of hard work than limit myself by self-publishing — not that I have anything against self-publishing.

That’s just not my vision for this novel.

Emerald Fennell, Have I Got A Story For YOU

by Shelt Garner

I’m just being silly, but I find it interesting how people are spooging their pants over Emerald Fennell’s “transgressive” movie Saltburn when I lived a real life story that is just as fucked up (in its own way.)

Emerald Fennell
I have not seen Saltburn, but from what I’ve read of its plot — oh boy. But it *does* remind me of how totally fucked up the story of ROKon Magazine is. There are so many twists and turns — and it’s all so character driven — that there are only two people I can think of who could write and produce a movie that properly conveyed what a fucked up situation all that was: Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Emerald Fennell.

Even though I hate to admit it, the only way to tell the story of ROKon Magazine is to use a framing device like that found in Daisy Jones & The Six. And, really, *I* should be the one to tell the ROKon Magazine story, given how important it is to me and my very specific vision.

The closest I’m coming to doing that at the moment is writing six novels that draw heavily upon my experiences in Seoul, what I know to be true from first hand experience at that point in my life.