It begins….

The long and laborious errand of editing over 90,000 words of manuscript.  While I have already edited the first two chapters, I managed to edit the third one tonight.  With there being 28 chapters in this book, this is barely scratching the surface.

I’ll keep you all updated on my editing progress, and maybe even post a couple “samples”.

Until then, stay tuned and stay cozy at the Walker Estate….

It is finished!

My first book, The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is finished!  Well, the rough draft, at least.  I just finished it last night.

Now comes the fun part.  Editing over 200 pages of manuscript.  I might throw up a couple of sample chapters in the meantime.

This is going to take a while…..

But yay again!  I’m finished!  🙂

One more chapter…..

The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is nearly finished. The first part of it, at least, as this will be the first part of three.  The second part will focus on Zachary’s school years and the final part will focus on Zachary’s adult years.

With that, I am satisfied with the progress I am making on this story, and I hope to have the first part done soon.

More updates in the future!

A Sample….

Blessings

                Thomas Miller wiped the sweat off his brow, his eyes probing the entire kitchen.  Every cook was busy, preparing the numerous dishes that were asked of them.  On top of this, various new orders filled the kitchen.  The time was 6:24 p.m.  The orders were coming in faster than what they could manage.  It was crunch time.

“You’re all doing good!” Thomas shouted, above the various kitchen sounds.  The sounds of steak sizzling on a hot grill.  The clinging and clanging of various pans as the cooks prepared the other side dishes.  Then there was the noise of the pastry chefs on the other side of the kitchen.  Altogether, it was the sound of business.  A well oiled machine guaranteeing another profitable night.

With nearly 4,000 words and counting, that is all you get.  You will have to wait until I’m finished to get the whole story.

There will be more updates in the future.  Stay tuned!

A second appetizer…..

It’s time that I reveal another clue about my upcoming short story.

Do you like receiving gifts?  How about receiving one everyday?

That is all you get.  In the meantime, just be patient.  It will be done soon enough.

For now, I invite you to help yourself to some hot chocolate.  (You might need your imagination here.)

https://i0.wp.com/blog.seamless.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/hot-chocolate.jpg

An appetizer….

How are you doing today?  What kind of day are you having so far?  These kind of questions serve as a clue regarding what my next short story will be about.

If you’re curious what the next story is going to entail, good.  Like any well written story, I will keep you in suspense.  I will not be disclosing any other information regarding my upcoming story.  The next information you will get will be the entire story.   As the above title implies, this is an appetizer.  So chew on it for a little while and wait for the main course when it’s gone.

Whether your day is bad or good,  I hope that your day is amazing regardless.

Stay tuned for my next short story and keep yourself warm and cozy at the Estate.  To all who are gathered here, I wish you all a terrific Tuesday!

Book Review – Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing

So, are you ready to write that big novel?  I mean, REALLY – no excuses attached.

Now that you’re ready, have you written anything yet?  If the truth was known, you’re probably just staring at a blank screen.  You haven’t even written the first sentence!

The clock ticks and you get up from your seat.  “Oh, I’ll write something after I eat.”  You eat and then you look at the screen again.  “Oh, I’ll write after I do the laundry.”  You do the laundry and the blank screen is there once again, welcoming you.

Before you know it, it is now 10:30 p.m.  You have created a series of productive avoidances, one after another.  As you get into your sleepwear, you are filled with regret.  “Oh, I’ll just write something tomorrow.  Sure, you will.

The next day comes and you suddenly find out that your day is extremely busy.  The truth is, your day is no different than yesterday.  Another day for productive avoidances?  Maybe.

You sit down at the computer and wake it up from the screensaver.  That same blank screen is there from the night before.  “Oh, I don’t have time to write this.  Even if I did, it would be a horrible idea anyway.”

Does this describe you at all?  If it does in any way, then I need you to quit.  Whining won’t solve anything, but reading this book will.  Let me introduce you to Tricia McDonald’s Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing.

Now before you say that this is just another writing book, I will advise you.  This is actually a good one.  On the Acknowledgments page, Tricia tells us a little bit about this book.  It is a collection of everything that she considers to be the best advice that she learned about writing novels.  This is research from many how-to books, a few writing classes, lectures from novelists and shared experiences from writers and non-writers all crammed into this book.  And considering how much it would cost in both time and money, this information is quite valuable.

Getting into the book, Tricia shares with us all of the essentials.  In beginning with an introduction of what a novel is and ending with what you need to sell your novel, Tricia provides a lot of good advice, and provides you the tools you need to make your literary journey a success.

Now we all know what a novel is and we all want to sell ours.  But what’s in the middle?  Tricia covers a variety of topics, including the supplies you need for your journey, finding time to write, productive avoidances, outlining, the three points of view, conflicts and what to do when you hit a wall, to name a few.

If you are looking for applications, there are plenty.  At the end of each chapter, there is an exercise associated with it.  So if you’re struggling with “that elusive writing time”, you can make a writing plan, setting a minimum time of ten minutes per day.  If you’re struggling with productive avoidances, you can make a list to resolve them.  If you’re working on dialogue, then you can write a page of it, using two different characters.  From there, you can fine tune it, reading it aloud to see if if the voices are true to who your characters are.

Considering that there are so many books on writing out there, why should you buy it?  I will begin by saying that this book has been quite helpful in my writing.  Before reading this, I was dead set on creating the perfect third chapter of my fantasy novel.  After reading this book, I realized that perfection can come later.  Make a crappy first draft, and revise when you’re done.  On my new book, I kept writing, refusing to revise anything.  Messes can be cleaned up, and being almost finished with the book, I look forward to cleaning up the messy first draft.

Another thing that sold me was the Character Outline in the “Characters with Character” chapter.  In the past, I have never really used a character profile for any of my characters.  I just always had a general idea of who they were, and what they were like in my head.  But I like the idea of the Character Outline.  It lists everything about the character.  Name and birth date, physical appearance, favorites, habits, family….everything.  I liked the Character Outline so much that I am now using it on my main characters and characters that I will develop in the future.

And how could I forget?  Tricia McDonald has published two other books already, so she has made the literary journey twice.  Thrice if you count this book.  All of her books are self-published, meaning that she doesn’t have to deal with a giant publishing company, where publishing your book is not always guaranteed.

So if you’re whining about anything regarding your book, or even have ideas about it, please stop.  Stop whining and get this book.  Click on the book above, buy it, and be cured of the dreaded writer’s block once and for all.  I give Stop Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing a 5 out of 5.

My Next Project….

For those of you who are unaware of what I have been working on lately,  it’s time that I inform all of you.

I have been working on a novel since August, so I feel that the time is long overdue to share with the world my most recent project.

Before I get to the project, perhaps you all would like to know what this story is about.  I’m glad that you asked.  Even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.

To all who ever has undergone the long and perilous journey of parenting, I commend you.  Parenting may be old or new to you, depending on your age.  You may either be a new parent, an older parent, or even someone who hasn’t even thought about parenting yet.

Wherever you are in that journey, or if you are even on that journey at all, most of us can generally agree that parenting can be a very rewarding experience.  This is especially true when they’re all grown up.

With parenting comes the lack of choice.  None of us can choose the kind of kids that we have.  Furthermore, none of us can even decide whether our kid is normal or not.  For the kids that aren’t normal, they have some kind of disability.  Whether it’s a physical one or a mental one, these children are to be loved all the same.  They are the “special” children, and they are to be treated as such.  Not in a condescending way, but in very much the same way that a normal child is treated.

Now whether or not you even have a child, imagine this scenario.  You have just found out that you have a new child.  This child is a boy, and he has a rather unique disability.  Not satisfied?  Too bad.  I’m the one deciding the scenario, not you.

Continuing with the scenario, a lot of you are probably wondering what kind of disability this child has.  With your child having just been born, you’ll have to wait until he gets older.

To make this scenario more interesting, let’s say that your child was born on February 29th.  That would mean that you had this child last year.  In another month, your child will be a year old.

But what about the disability?  That’s the thing.  With your child being nearly a year old, he doesn’t look any older than three months.  Congratulations.  You now have a child with an aging deficiency, and he’s  the only one in the world that has that problem.  This is the premise for my latest project – The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox.

The scenario is pretty much what the story is about.  The mother has a baby boy named Zachary.  Over time, she finds out that Zachary is not an ordinary child.  With Zachary being born on February 29th, he doesn’t age as fast as we do.  For every four years that we age, he only ages one year.  Is the date of Zachary’s condition coincidental?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

The story is about a family coming to terms with the differences that Zachary has as a person and learning to accept them.  By family, I am referring to the Willowbrook Family.  The mother, the father and Zachary’s two younger siblings, which will remain a surprise for now.

Now Zachary’s condition in the present is pretty minor.  His parents can raise him and support him.  In the future, however, Zachary’s condition will pose some major circumstances.  Zachary will outlive his parents, his siblings, his grandchildren and even his great-grandchildren.

For a preview on this story, I would check out my “Think & Write” titled The Gift of Time. Click there and it will take you to that story.  This is the “Think & Write” that inspired me to write this novel.  I have put a lot of work into it, and I hope to have the first part done soon.  With over 44,000 words, I have discovered that I have a lot to say about Zachary and the wonderful family that he has.

As for the new “Think & Writes”,  I’ll have more up as I’m inspired with new ideas.  For the new ones, don’t expect them to be like the previous edition.  I feel that the first edition was purely experimental and served as a way to express my creative ideas.  Over time, I feel that the form has completely changed from “Think & Write #1”, and is now shifting towards something of greater quality.  I feel that a more polished piece of writing will be a better thing to look at than all of my second-rate drafts.  While they have achieved my purpose, I don’t think they achieve yours.  I also feel that having too many stories will overwhelm any newcomers.

For any of my stuff, just stay tuned.  And I’ll let you know how my Zachary story is doing.

A Little Housekeeping….

For one thing, I will not be leaving that many “Think & Writes” next year.

My reason for this is that I will be focusing more on the quality, rather than the quantity.  There will still be “Think & Writes”, just a lot less of them, since I want to focus on the quality of the material.  I want my writing to be the best that it can be, instead of a bunch of sub-par pieces.

So stay tuned for more updates as they unfold….

Think & Write #136

Solving for X-mas

David entered the office of the math department of Devonport College.  On his desk was a stack of Christmas cards, all addressed to him.

“Nice,” David quietly said, as he began opening them.

All of the ones that he read were very thoughtful.  The last one, though, really caught his eye.  The message read “Merry X-mas, David!”

At this, David smiled.  This card was from Patrick Murphy, head of the math department.  Looking at the card again, David nodded.  Something clearly wasn’t right about the card.

“He forgot to solve for x….” David quietly said.

As David was looking at the card, Mr. Murphy looked down at David.  “Did you like my card?”

David nodded, and gave him a jovial smile.  “Yes, Mr. Murphy,” David told his boss.  “There is, however, one problem.  And we all know this in standard algebra.  You forgot to solve for x.”

Mr. Murphy frowned.  “What do you mean, David?”

David pointed at Mr. Murphy’s message  “Merry X-mas, David!”.  “You did not solve for x.  You left it without a variable.  And I’m pretty sure that you know what that variable is.”

Mr. Murphy nodded.  “Yes David.  I do.  But you see, I am not a Christian, so I don’t feel that we even need to worry about that message.”

David nodded, looking slightly troubled.  “I am very sorry to hear that, Mr. Murphy.  I just found it strange that you would write an ‘x’ where ‘Christ’ should be.”

“Well, religion is for the weak,” Mr. Murphy told him.  “A man like me don’t need religion.  Now if you would excuse me, I have a class to get to, and so do you.  This is the last day before the break, Mr. Silverman.  Let’s not begin it on a bitter note.  You have a good day.”

“Merry Christmas!” David shouted, as he left the room.

David, still having another 15 minutes, looked at the card again.  If Mr. Murphy insisted on keeping it as “X-mas”, he was going to change that.  He decided that he was going to solve for “X-mas”.  David wrote on the card, showing his work.  X = Christ.  After writing that, he wrote “Christmas” underneath “X-mas”.  Putting the card away, David sighed.  “You can’t spell Christmas without Christ,” he quietly muttered.

With that, David left the room, towards his first classroom.   This would be the last day that he would be teaching before Christmas break.  Just a few short days before Christmas.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #135

Nativity Scene

Emily walked into the living room.  The house was nicely decorated, with a Christmas tree in one corner.  On one of the book cases, her mother was setting up a manger.  There were little figures that her mother was setting up, including one that was a baby.

Emily watched with curiosity as the whole manager got set up.  When she saw the baby, she was confused.  “Who is that little baby?” Emily asked her mother.

The mother turned to her daughter and smiled.  “That little baby is Jesus.  I am setting up the manger because this is what makes Christmas so special.

Emily still looked confused.  “Why?” she asked her.

“Honey,” the mother told her.  “All of these figures are part of a scene in the Nativity Story.  This is an extra special story because this story is about the birth of Jesus.”

“Who are those standing next to baby Jesus?”

“Those are the parents.  The father is Joseph and the mother is Mary.  There is also the three wise men, the shepherds and the angel, Gabriel.  A long long time ago, Jesus was born into the world.”

“Are those like dolls?  Can I play with them?”

The mother shook her head.  “Please don’t play with them.  They are fragile.  This is a very old collection.  This is the real meaning of Christmas, honey.  The birth of Jesus is the best gift that the world has ever received, and it is through him that all of us can be saved from all the bad things that we do.”

Emily smiled, and quietly stared at the manger.  She looked at baby Jesus and smiled.  When she saw her mother talking, she held out her hand.  “Shh!” she whispered.  “He’s sleeping, mommy.  We need to be quiet.”

The mother smiled, as she got the last of the scene set up.  “Okay.  We’ll be quiet around the manger, okay?”

The mother left the room, leaving Emily alone with the manger.

Emily smiled when she saw the baby Jesus figurine.  She then approached the little figurine and began whispering to it.  “When I entered the house yesterday, I forgot to take my shoes off.  I’m sorry, Jesus.”

At this, she left the room.  The Nativity Scene sat there, emitting a faint glow of light.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Every tale has its beginning.  For a couple of unsuspecting hobbits,  this was most certainly so.  Both hobbits began their tale and embarked on a long journey.  A journey that would change both of their lives forever.  First, with Bilbo Baggins.  And then, finally, with Frodo Baggins.  Nine years ago, we saw Frodo’s tale unfold.  He found the ring that was made and then made a long journey to the cracks of Mount Doom, where he was able to unmake it.  With that, Frodo’s tale came to an end, as he made his way back back to the Shire, with his other hobbit friends that accompanied him on his long journey.

But that was only Frodo’s tale.  What about Bilbo Baggins’ tale?  That clever old hobbit of Bag End returned from his journey with a rather big secret.  A secret that would require the telling of his tale to explain.  But this was not the only thing going on in this tale.  Some dwarfs needed to recover their treasure from an evil dragon.  This is the premise of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the long awaited prequel released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM Studios.

To start things off, this movie is based off of The Hobbit, a masterpiece written by J.R.R. Tolkien.  He has also created timeless classic The Lord of the Rings.  A classic that is still loved to this day.

While Tolkien has created pure literary gold, acclaimed director Peter Jackson is the one who has brought his classics to life.  We have already seen his work with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The movie adaptations are the best that I have seen of any adaptation dealing with the Lord of the Rings franchise.  But how does Jackson fare with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?  Is the movie a dazzling gem of gold like the trilogy, or is it a smoldering pile of ruins?  Let’s find out.

The movie begins with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) with Frodo (Elijah Wood), beginning to write the full story of his adventure that he went on 60 years ago.  We then see the prosperity of the dwarves, living in Erebor and their demise, when Smaug the Dragon arrives.  Having already destroyed the town of Dale, he drives all the dwarves out of Erebor.

After this, Bilbo officially begins his tale, with Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) pulling a trick on him.  A large host of dwarves enter, leaving Bilbo to feed them all.  The true reason behind all this was that the dwarves needed a burglar for their journey.  Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the leader of the band of dwarves, is on a journey to find their “long forgotten gold”.  Bilbo wants no part in this journey.  The very next day, however, he changes his mind, almost getting left behind.

The journey begins, leaving Bilbo without the comforts of home.  The group encounters mountain trolls, which end up getting petrified by sunlight.

After this, they encounter Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy).  He mentions how a strange presence that he encountered at Dol Guldur is poisoning the forest.  The group is then chased by Orcs on Wargs.  They were able to escape with the help of a couple Elven riders.

The company then enters the Elven stronghold of Rivendell, where Elrond (Hugo Weaving) was able to interpret the moon runes on Thorin’s map.  He explains that there is a secret door that will only be visible on Durin’s Day.  Following this, Gandalf talks with Elrond, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Saruman the White (Sir Christopher Lee), secretly sending Bilbo and the dwarves away towards the Misty Mountains.

After the Misty Mountains, Bilbo ends up in a cave with Gollum (Andy Serkis).  With Gollum losing the ring, Bilbo finds it and hides it in his pocket.  A game of riddles then begins between Bilbo and Gollum.  If Bilbo wins, Gollum will show him the way out.  If Gollum wins, then he will eat Bilbo.  Does he find the way out?  And what about the troubles that his dwarf-friends are facing?  When will this journey end?  Watch the movie and find out.

I completely understood the length of the movie, considering that nearly three hours was barely enough time to even get to Erebor, let alone the Battle of the Five Armies and the fight with Smaug.  They didn’t even come close to this.  But with two more movies on the way, it is clearly understandable why the plot cliffhanged at the end.  The plot advanced normally, with some other surprises along the way.  The music was amazing.  Especially all the versions of Misty Mountains Cold.

Getting to the characters, they were all portrayed faithfully as they were in the book.  We have Bilbo Baggins, with the Gandalf that we all know and love.  All the dwarves were portrayed well.  Gollum is another character that made the movie for me.  There was the inclusion of Radagast the Brown.  He was a rather interesting character, but in reality had no place in the movie.  Furthermore, while Elrond appeared in the movie as he should, Galadriel and Saruman the White were strangely present. Besides these odd inclusions, the characters were all executed quite well and were all unique in the manner that Tolkien would’ve intended them.

This movie did have a couple nitpicks, but they were not too many.  One of them dealt with the lines when Bilbo was with the trolls.  In the movie, Bilbo said “burglar….Hobbit”.  In the book,  he said “bur – a hobbit”.  I would rather have the trolls call him a “burrahobit” than a “burglar hobbit”.  Another nitpick was the inclusion of Radagast the Brown.  While he is an actual character in the Lord of the Rings universe, he is not anywhere to be found in the original book.  The last nitpick I have deals with the meeting at Rivendell.  During the meeting, Galadriel and Saruman the White were present.  There was no mention of them in the book!  I found this to be fan-servicey and a way to get more familiar characters back in the movie. If all these nitpicks were not there, the movie would’ve been a little better.

How did The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey do?  Looking at the box office results, it’s doing amazing, but it could do better.  Falling short of its $100 million opening weekend goal, it grossed $84.6 million during its opening weekend.  Even with a modest opening, it is still the best opening of any of the past Lord of the Rings movies.  Fellowship of the Ring grossed $47.2 million on its opening weekend.  The Two Towers grossed $62 million and Return of the King grossed $72.6 million.  The current domestic gross of this movie is $92.3 million. In adding the foreign gross of $138.2 million, the worldwide gross stands at $230.5 million.  With a $270 million production budget, it will surely make it back within the next weekend.  With all nitpicks aside,  I really enjoyed the movie.  I loved seeing the breathtaking scenery of Middle Earth again and I loved the music.  Jackson has done it again.  It is a visual masterpiece, complete with breathtaking scenery and visuals.  The reprising of Gandalf’s and Gollum’s role was important to the success of the movie for me, and I felt that it really made the movie.  With all differences set aside from the book, I think that Jackson has the formula.  The formula that he used in the trilogy is used again in this movie.  As every tale has a beginning, I believe that this tale began well.  I look forward to how this tale continues with the next two parts of this amazing prologue.  I give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a 5 out of 5.

 

Think & Write #134

Christmas Flick

Steven had stacks upon stacks of DVD’s in his room.  To call this his movie collection would only be the tip of the iceberg.  This was  Steven’s Christmas movie collection.

With at least 200 different Christmas movies, Steven was determined to see every single one before Christmas.  Having started on the 1st of December, this was going to be easy.

In his collection, Steven had a little bit of everything.  He had the Christmas classics, like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and the 1947 Miracle on 34th Street.  There were also some more recent classics.  He had both Home Alone 1 & 2.  He also had The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3, although he liked the first one the best.  He also had some Christmas Comedies, like The Grinch, Elf and Jack Frost.

Despite all of these, newer movies keep entering his collection every year.  While The Polar Express wasn’t as new anymore, Arthur Christmas was much more recent.

Steven’s total of watched movies was well past the halfway mark.  By Christmas Eve, his last movies will be watched.

Steven smiled, and put another DVD in.  For him, Christmas was all about the movies.  And with so many to choose from, he would surely not have a shortage of Christmas cheer this year.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #133

Twelve

Jimmy looked at the calendar.  It was the twelfth day of December.  Today, Jimmy would be celebrating his twelfth birthday with twelve of his friends.

The excitement died, when Jimmy realized that he had to go to school first.  After school, all the fun would begin.

With that, Jimmy got ready and went off to school.  Due to his mother setting up some of the party decorations, he wasn’t able to get there on time.  In fact, he was twelve minutes late.

The day wore on and Jimmy kept looking at the clock.  Time seemed to drag slowly.  Finally, Jimmy began the countdown.  It was twelve minutes to three.

After school, his mother picked him up and drove him home.

Once at home, Jimmy got ready for his friends to come over.  When he came out to the living room, he noticed the room was decorated with streamers.  A big banner read “Happy 12th Birthday, Jimmy!”  All around the living room were twelve balloons.

Finally, Jimmy’s friends came over.  There was a lot of food there, considering the number of friends that he had.  But this problem was easily remedied with Jimmy’s food of choice: pizza.  And there was plenty of pizza to go around.

After pizza, Jimmy opened up his presents.  There were twelve presents from his mom and another twelve from his friends.

When that was over, it was time for cake and ice cream.  Jimmy’s cake had twelve candles.  After they sung “Happy Birthday to You”, Jimmy blew out the candles.  Jimmy’s mom cut the cake into twelve slices.  Jimmy and all his friends ate it.

Finally, it was time for Jimmy’s friends to leave.  So Jimmy said bye to all his friends.

With the night being about over, his mom smiled.  “How does it feel to be twelve?”

“Just another year older.” Jimmy said with a smile.

After that, Jimmy got ready for bed.  He went to sleep and smiled.  All in all, it was a fun birthday.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker