Of Zendaya’s Phenotype & My Planned Novel Series

by Shelt Garner

I’m a pretty ambitious person, all things considered. While it definitely outwardly seems as though I’m a drunk loser who hasn’t done much with my life, on an abstract basis, I dream big. As such, at the moment, in my mind I have a seven novel project set in the same small town in Virginia that will culminate with the a new series about a young woman who is kind of an American Lisbeth Salander.


Now, obviously, at the moment, this seems rather delusional. Add to this how fucking old I am and there’s every reason to believe my delusions about a seven novel series will remain just that — a delusion.

But I do, on occasion, see a picture of Zendaya and think how her phenotype matches that of the heroine I imagine will be the focus of the new novel series after I finish this possibly seven novel one I’m working on at the moment. But, of course, she will be too old by the time everything is finished.

But the heroine is introduced in the last three novels of the series. I’m really pleased with what I’ve managed to come up with. I just hope I don’t croak before I get near my goal. And that doesn’t even address how any number of unexpected things might happen that will throw my efforts to write seven novels totally up in the air.

I am, after all, abut 25 years too old to be doing any of this.

The Case For Zendaya to Be The New Ripley In a Hard Reboot Of The Alien Franchise — Hear Me Out

by Shelt Garner

The major scifi franchises have been so strip mined that they need to either be allowed to lay fallow for a few years (maybe a decade) or they need to be totally and completely rebooted.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m drunk, feeling inspired and need to let off some non-novel related creativity so you get this post.

Ok, the only way this works is if you give Zendaya a three picture deal from the beginning. Then find the best mainstream horror director you can find and do the same thing to ensure consistency of tone across the three movies. One key thing to remember is Zendaya is tall like the original Ripley, Sigourney Weaver. So it would be easy to give the shot of Ripley in her underwear that is so famous from the first film.

Anyway, you totally reboot the franchise from the ground up, with the third movie being set on an Earth overrun by Xenomorphs. I think the thing a lot of people don’t realize is there is an entire generation of people who are oblivious to the cultural significance of the Alien movies and won’t blink an eye if they’re hard rebooted.

A lot of Olds will try to gatekeep the movies, obviously, but lulz.

This 80s Kid Feels Cheated By The Alien Franchise — I Want My Xenomorphs Running Around Modern Day Earth

by Shelt Garner

Part of getting older is realizing that the Youngs don’t have the same reference as you do as an Old. As such, there is all established IP that Hollywood could do a hard reboot of that is currently fallow that your average GenZ person wouldn’t eve an blink at.

In other words, as I’ve written before, you could very easily do a hard reboot of the Alien franchise and make a huge amount of money. Yes, a lot of Olds would be enraged that you’ve desecrated not one, but wo great movies — Alien and Aliens — but we’re old coots and so fuck us.

Here’s what I would do — lock in Zendaya to play Ripley for three movies and get the best horror director you can find as well as part of the deal. I mean, I’ve seen the origin story for Batman, like, what six times now? Why not hard reboot the Alien franchise and finally, finally fix some huge fucking structural problems with it.

Let me explain — at the end of the second movie, I was promised Xenomorphs on earth. I never got it. I want it. I was reminded of this promise when I saw the next Jurassic World movie features dinosaurs running around Rome and such. So, what you do is, you somehow rework the third installment of this new Alien franchise such at you kind of get a World War Z vibe to it with Xenomorphs taking over the world and Zendaya having to save the world.

There you go, you can make $1 billion right there.

But, let me be clear, all three movies have to be R rated with lots of horror and gore. If you choke and make them PG-13, then you’re missing the point of the franchise.

Zendaya, Call Your Agent (Maybe…One Day…Eventually)

by Shelt Garner

I’m just about to enter the third act of the first draft of the first novel in what is projected to be a five novel project. And occasionally, I will stop myself with the realization that I’ve come up with a damn good concept.

And at the core of this concept is an American interpretation of the Lisbeth Salander trope. In my imagination, as I write these five novels, the person who would play my take on the Lisbeth Salander trope would be Zendaya.

But it’s not a one-to-one comparison for various structural reasons. Yet my dream is each one of the books will build your interest in a character that looks a lot like Zendaya and invokes the same type of affinity as Lisbeth Salander. At least, that’s my goal.

I want these five novel project to be an old brown shoe for the existing audience of Stieg Larsson. But I have to note that I’m, by nature, not nearly as dark as he is in his writing. Yet I am really working hard to flesh out the characters and to make them people who are, if nothing else, interesting enough that you want to spend enough time with them to finish five ~100,000 word novels.

Because these novels deal with decades of events, you get to see on the page as it happens why my heroine in the later novels — the one I imagine looks like Zendaya — is so fucked up. That’s what makes these project so different than Larsson’s stuff — the backstory isn’t back story.

But, I have to admit, that this is a massive, massive project.

A lot could go wrong. And as I keep saying, I have no idea what I’m doing. So, it could be that I’m writing such crap that no matter amount of re-writing will get me close to being good enough to sell any of this.

But, in the end, all I got is my dream. Just getting a positive reception from anyone that might read the second draft of the first book. The idea that I would not only sell these novels, but they would be popular enough that Zendaya would play the central character would be beyond a life long dream come true.

And, what’s more, there is another character in the series that I imagine being played by Olivia Munn as an AmeriAsian version of the Mare of Easttown trope. In fact, that’s the core of the project — the relationship between an Olivia Munn type person and a Zendaya type person.

Anyway. I have a huge amount of work to do. The key thing is for me is to simply get the first book in the project done.

I Believe The Zendaya – Tom Holland Relationship Is A Lie

by Shelt Garner

I have no inside information, but the so-called “relationship” between Zendaya and Tom Holland seems like a bullshit PR stunt. I’m sure they like each other as friends and co-starts, but I just don’t see Zendaya dating someone like Holland. It doesn’t fit her vibe.

He’s just too nice.

Seems like Zendaya would want an older bad boy with a little bit more edge. And, as I understand it all the Spidermen in the franchise have “dated” their co-stars, so, lulz.

But I could be wrong. I usually am. It just seems like this relationship is a little too pat and convenient for everyone involved.

Feeling Pretty Good About The Latest Iteration Of The Outline For The First Novel In This 5 Thriller Series

by Shelt Garner

I’m feeling just about ready to start writing again on this first novel. The plot now has a nice symmetry to it and the ending both wraps up the story and gives a nice lead-in to the beginning of the next novel.

While I continue my pause in writing, I’m going to try to sketch out the plots of the other four novels as best I can. At the moment, most of the novels have a beginning and an end, but not much in the middle. The last two novels are the most thought out, but they also have way too much plot and i have to figure out a way to pare all that plot back some.

But I’m feeling a lot of hope because of how well the first novel’s plot is beginning to shape up. I have it in me to flesh out the other novels’ plots, I just have to be patient and believe in myself.

As I keep saying, the emotional core of these novels is one woman’s love for a young woman who grows up to be my personal interpolation of the Lisbeth Salander trope. You get to see, over the course of a series of novels, the major events that lead up to the motives of the young woman in the last two novels. I find the whole project very compelling.

At the moment, the woman at the heart of this project looks a lot like Olivia Munn in my imagination, while the young woman who grows up to be my personal hot take on the Lisbeth Salander trope looks a lot like Zendaya. But I’m really just daydreaming at this point. I’m a very visual person and if the learning curve for screenwriting wasn’t so difficult, I probably would have gone into screenwriting instead of novel writing.

Yet, of course, I’m not going to live forever. I really need to get something done. I can’t just keep daydreaming about finishing these five novels, I’m going to have to actually do it soon enough. Otherwise, I’ll just be a dude who died of a broken heart over a failed magazine for expats in Seoul.

And I simply refuse for that to be what people think of me, if I have it within my power to do so.

I really need to get back to work writing .And, yet, I also want to use this pause in my writing to psyche myself up and do some of the reading I’ve neglected to do over the course of this project’s existance.

At the moment, I have a lot of hope. But the clock is ticking.

Thriller Novel Series Development Silliness: Casting Maggie Q Or Olivia Munn As ‘The Heart’ Of This Series

by Shelt Garner

It is the height of foolishness and self-indulgence to cast characters in any hypothetical movie adaptation of a novel you’re working on — especially if you’re just an aspiring novelist like me and don’t have anything finished to show people.

But I need to let off some steam. Things are going really well at the moment with this first novel in what I hope is a 5 (3 + 2) series of books and, lulz, no one cares what I say anyway.

Anyway, the point is, as I’ve written before, the character who I see as the “heart” of this overall project could be played very well by Olivia Munn. She’s about the right age and looks pretty much exactly how I see the character in my imagination as I write her.

I have noticed another woman who could play the character, however. Maggie Q. She, too, is very close to what I imagine the character who is the “heart” of this series looking like.

Remember, these project has ballooned into a multi-generational saga. These two women wouldn’t be playing my equivalent of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, but rather someone who cares deeply for that character. Though, I will note there is ANOTHER character that Maggie Q probably would be better suited as in the series — a love interest for the hero of two of the books.

My interpretation of the Lisbeth Salander trope would be, in my dreams of a movie, portrayed by Zendaya.

‘Old Brown Thriller Shoe’

by Shelt Garner

From the beginning of this project, Stieg Larsson’s “Girl Who Played With Fire” has been my textbook. My goal is anyone who has read Stieg Larsson’s three novels will read my work and instantly feel at home. It’s meant to be like putting on an old brown shoe.

Throw in a lot of influence from Mare of Easttown and away we go. I don’t want to challenge the reader with anything too fancy, I just want to spin a great fast-paced yarn. And, yet I also want a lot of character development. I’ve read parts of one novel that wants to do pretty much want I want to do and I found it lacking. It’s author seems to have come away from Larsson’s work with a dramatically different interpretation of what made those first three books so popular. It was way more about the vigilante thriller part of those first three novels rather than the part I liked — what a unique person Salander is.

To me, what makes Lisbeth Salander so interesting is she’s weird, yes, but the case could be made that she would have been a lot more normal but for her upbringing which was pretty fucked up. And I want to write something really fast paced — so fast you stay up all night on a weeknight to finish it — but I also want to present well developed characters that seem like real people.

One thing I find interesting is how using The Girl Who Played With Fire as my “textbook” has caused me to make some decisions that I keep hearing people contradict in books and in conversations. I think what I’m really noticing is there is no reveled truth as to how to write a novel. Everyone writes a novel differently and the point is you tell a story in a coherent, cogent manner that keeps people turning pages — how exactly you do that is very much up in the air.

My interpretation of Lisbeth Salander looks like this.

You’re the master of your own fate when you write a novel. There are plenty of rules of thumb to tell your story in a better, easier to understand manner, but in the end, lulz, do whatever the fuck you want. In the end, the only thing that matters is when a gatekeeper reads your work they like it and understand it enough to be willing to buy it.

That’s it.

In the end, that’s the only hard, fast rule of writing a novel. Everything else is a lulz, in real terms.

As such, these five novels owe almost all their structure from what I’ve been able to discern from The Girl Who Played With Fire, mixed with what makes the most sense to me from all the “how to write a novel” how-to books I’ve read over the last three years.

It just can be annoying sometimes how absolute people — or books — can be about how wrong this or that thing that Larsson did, or didn’t do is. But I’m quite please with what I’ve managed to come up with.

Let’s rock.

If My Publishing Dream Comes True, Zendaya May Become An Action Hero

by Shelt Garner

A basic rule of thumb is you’re just not supposed to worry about who might play this or that character in the movie adaptation of your novel or novels. But absolutely no one listens to me or cares, and I feel like some having some fun. So, here goes. It’s eerie how well the actress Zendaya matches the young woman who is central to this five novel series.


I’m really delusional, but I’m not so delusional at the moment to actually think there is a real chance that I will not only sell these five novels, then them being popular enough to become movies then have Zendaya specifically fulfill my vision on the screen.

But it is nice to daydream.

Really, the only reason I even mention this is how one-to-one Zendaya is to what the character looks like in my mind. But I have a huge amount of work ahead of me so lulz.

Looking Forward To Seeing James Bond In ‘No Time To Die’ To Get Some Inspiration

by Shelt Garner

I’m notorious for walking out of movies before they’re over. I usually do this because, as someone writing four novels, I know bad storytelling when I see it and I get fed up. I’m hoping I will make it all the way through the next James Bond movie, which as best I can tell from early reviews is pretty good.

What I find interesting is how conflicted the British seem about the character of James Bond, with the hot takes flying fast and furious. One person called him a “rapist,” while another called for him to be killed off altogether. Americans, meanwhile, I stoked to see a new James Bond movie.

I have to say — Daniel Craig is my favorite James Bond to date. It’s too band he’s leaving the franchise. I think he’s leaving because the character of Bond and his own character are probably so dramatically different that it’s difficult for him to personify the character much longer. Craig seems, at least to me, to have a very Jason Momoa personality. He’s a pretty laid back, normal guy who women love and men respect.

Another reason why I’m really looking forward to seeing No Time To Die is inspiration. I’ve developed my own personal take on the ever-elusive concept of the “female James Bond” (mixed with a lot of Lisbeth Salander influenced elements) and I want to study what makes James Bond so popular. I’d also like to see what makes him so appealing to mass audiences.

The world is ready for a female James Bond, I think, and I’d also like to think I’m the guy to introduce her. The major difference between my heroine and Lisbeth Salander is I don’t intend for her to be some sort of vilante avenging angel. She’s much closer to James Bond in her goals and motivations.

My personal attempt at a “female James Bond’ looks like Zendaya in my mind’s eye.

But I do understand why it’s so difficult to create a “female James Bond.” He’s supposed to represent what it means to be a modern male at any particular moment and, as such, that doesn’t really translate very well to a female character.

My heroine — that I’m writing four novels to give a pretty huge “becoming” backstory to — is meant to be really appealing to both men and women and be so unique and interesting that people will want to see her in book (and movie?) after book.

That’s really the dream at this moment, however. Just a dream. I also am well on my way to having a second creative “track” of (fashion) photographer soon enough and it will be interesting to see the dynamic between the two tracks.

Every moment of your life is precious. We live just a brief moment. Use all your talents while you exist.