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.

I May Have Two Stable Chapters

by Shelt Garner

I think it’s possible that the first two chapters of the third draft of my novel are now stable. I *hope* that this will mean that things will go much, much faster. But one problem I’ve discovered is even though the first two chapters are strong, all the changes I’ve made in those first two chapters are kind of forcing my hand.

In my mind, my heroine looks like Corrie Yee.

I’m going to have to rework huge parts of the rest of the novel to accommodate these improvements. And I had no idea that thinking up a new, better beginning for the novel would require so much work.

But, here I am, months after I hope to start to rewrite the novel in earnest, still somewhat spinning my wheels in the very beginning of the novel. I’ve also added about 30,000 new words to the novel — at least. The hope is, of course, that all these new, spicy scenes I’m working into the plot will turn this novel into a real page turner.

That’s the hope, at least. I know I’ve stumbled upon a really cool story. The question now is, of course, is my writing ability up to the task? And that doesn’t even begin to address my lingering fears about the rise of AI and the so-called “Fourth Turning” happening at some point in late 2024, early 2025.

But, at this point, I just want to finish the third draft sooner rather than later. I’m still shooting for April, 2024. That’s my goal. I just don’t want this to slip any further. I do not want it to be April 2025, I want April 2024.

That will give me time to pivot to the pre-flight work necessary to query in the fall of 2024, just as all hell may be about to break out.

The Rise Of The Agents

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though within 18 months the “Knowledge Navigator” shown above will finally — at last — be a reality. It seems possible that just as we reach the so-called “Fourth Turning” we will also reach something akin to a Petite Singularity in the sense that Agents will consume huge portions of the economy.

Add into the mix advances in robotics and, welp, I just don’t see what jobs will be left for humans to do, period. All of this — MIGHT — happen so fast that even ding-dong Trump might to address the notion of UBI as part of the 2024 election cycle.

It’s possible, but not probable. It could be that even if things advance as quickly as I suspect / fear, it will just all happen to fast for the slow-moving American political system to adapt and address it directly.

All I know is 2024 is shaping up to be a crazy year, one way or another. We’re now less than a year away from all the insane post-Election Night 2024 shenanigans that I fear might happen the moment it’s clear Trump is going to be re-elected.

But it’s possible that I’m over thinking things. Trump *may* lose and it won’t matter. We’ll punt our problems down the road another four years and it won’t be until 2029 that all of my dystopian hellscape predictions begin to come true.

At least I will — hopefully — be able to get a few of the six novels I want to write as part of this project done if that is the case.

But if agents really do take over sooner rather than later, the economic disruption could be astonishing. If we have AGI or something akin to “proxy humans” at our beck and call, then that’s millions and millions of jobs that will become moot overnight.

Things Should Now Go Really Fast With The Third Draft of My First Novel

by Shelt Garner

My heroine, in my mind, looks a lot like Corrie Yee.
There are a lot — A LOT — of lingering known unknowns when it comes to the third draft of my novel. But I’m still pretty confident that I should be able to write much, much faster now. I know the general relationships of the characters and so now I have to root around in the specifics as I move forward through the story to write a solid alpha release of the third draft.

I hope to do that by around April 1st. But it’s going to be a real struggle. Sometimes, I feel like my life is falling apart and everything will be thrown up in the air at any moment in a way or ways that I just can’t predict.

I wish some of these people who read this blog on occasion from unexpected, exotic locales had some connection to the Hollywood industrial complex and would be interested in getting the novel published. It’s shaping up to be really good. With my luck, of course, they’ll just steal the idea and I’ll be forced to watch other people have some success from all my hard work.


Things Are Getting A Lot Better With The Third Draft Of My First Novel

by Shelt Garner

My heroine has the general phenotype of Corrie Yee.
I’m giving myself about a day to kind of chill out before throwing myself back into the novel. I do this every once in a while. In the past, when I had more money, I would go to NYC for a little Writer’s Retreat.

Alas, I now live in abject poverty.

Anyway, here are a revised first few scenes of the third draft. I’m well on my way to revising them, but this will give you some sense of where things stand.

A Hot Take On ‘Woke’ Hollywood

by Shelt Garner

Everything is fucked up in the world. What I mean by that is everyone seems to have an agenda whenever anything makes them uncomfortable. At the moment, there seems to be two types of movies — big budget “four quadrant” blockbusters….and woke movies.

The president of Hollywood.
For someone who is a storytelling snob, this really grates on my nerves. It seems impossible to find just “a good movie” that doesn’t seem to be some sort of preening pontification on the “woke agenda.” And I say this as someone who considers himself center-Left.

I’m all for art having “a message” but there is this thing called….subtext?…that too many earnest Hollywood people seem to have forgotten about. I mean, I hope to write a six novel project that pretty much is just one huge, long screed against extremism in general and MAGA in particular. But my goal is to do it all in such a way that you, the reader, won’t really realize what’s up unless you give it a lot of thought.

That’s the dream, at least.

I know why we have such a problem with over-the-top “woke” movies — the economics of movies are such these days that the only people willing to do passion projects are people who are members of the “woke cancel culture mob” who think you can only tell a story if all its characters are gay and / or a minority. (South Park has a good recent episode on this trend.)

I’m all for having representation in art. In fact, I organically have a lot of representation in my first novel. But at the forefront of my mind is TELL A GOOD STORY. If your message browbeats the audience to the detriment of your storytelling, you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

And I know — I KNOW — that as a smelly CIS white male I’m opening myself up to a lot of hate by even bringing this up. But, I had to vent. I just would like to see modern interpretation of, say, a movie like The Big Chill or Time Bandits without the “message” of the movie making it unwatchable.

Things *Should* Move REALLY FAST Now With The Third Draft Of My Novel

by Shelt Garner

It’s time. I have got to start to push myself when it comes to wrapping up this third draft. I have a fairly stable first two chapters of the third draft, now is time to zoom through the first act. Once I hit the second act, things SHOULD move even faster.

My heroine looks a lot like Corrie Yee in my mind.
I have written and re-written so much of this novel, that once I get the new beginning of the novel done, then, zoom, I hope to wrap up the third draft no later than maybe April. I know full well that if I don’t keep and eye on the calendar, it could be fall 2024 before I finish the third draft and the whole world could be being coming apart at the seams.

Anyway. It’s officially put up or shut up time. I have got to finish this third draft ASAP so I can piviot to the next step in the process – querying.

No Matter What, Things Are About To Go VERY FAST

by Shelt Garner

Either my life gets thrown for a loop very soon and I have to focus all my attention on something unexpected, or I continue this idyllic situation I’m in. With either scenario, time is about to move, very, very fast and I need to buckle down and work on the novel with a lot more focus.

My fear is that if I don’t do that, I’ll wake up and it’ll be the fall of 2024 and instead of having a novel in my bug out bag to show people, I’ll be smarting over being a political refugee without anything cool to barter for food. Wink.

Anyway, the next few days could be….interesting?